It is nearly the end of April so I thought I better get on with the March installment of "What did I eat". Also, the photos were gathering dust in my PC.
This is not a manipulated image. The tempura prawns were really as tall as a bottle of Asahi beer. Is is the best in town? Absolutely. Is it the most expensive in town? No doubt about it. The bill for two ramen, one tempura prawn and two bottles of beer came to S$90! The memory of the delicious prawns will have to suffice for the moment, I don't think I can afford to eat it that often. Where? Kado Man (1/1) at Grand Plaza Hotel. I think their ramen is excellent, and the place is very popular with the Japanese expat community. One of my favourite haunts in pre-pseudo-Atkins days, but have not been for at least three years. Not much has changed though, the waitress still recognised me.
On the subject of prawns, the ngoh hiang (prawn roll) at the Whampoa Street FishHead Steamboat (2/2)- used to be at Whampoa Market Food Centre, now relocated to somewhere along Balestier Rd- is one of the scrummiest around. Prawn roll is a bit of a misnomer, most places omit the prawns altogether. The basic ingredients are minced pork, diced chestnuts and prawns rolled in tofu skin, or pig caul as in the original recipe. The cze char at this place is not too bad either, but if ordering the fish head steam boat do remember to ask them to omit the alcohol as it completely overpowers the light fish tastes.
And just a spit away is Urban Pooch, a cafe for dogs and humans. The human food is very simple, think fried chicken and hot dogs. By comparison the dog menu is almost gourmet. Dogs get to enjoy home-made Shepherd's Pie and Grilled Lamb cubes drizzled with a meaty gravy. The best thing about this place though is a whole shopfloor area just for dogs to run and play-in total air-conditioned comfort, this is amazing because humans eat in the shaded but non-air-conditioned area. Which is why I bring Mimi there at least twice a week. She is their regular customer and her favourite dish is the Grilled Chicken Meatball which looks very white for something which is supposed to be grilled but Mimi is crazy about it she inhales it in like 30 seconds flat. The frequency with which we visit this place would make it to the top of the list of eating outlets that I am compiling but the food is really not to my tastes, so we will make an exception and omit it from the contest. It is already No 1. in Mimi's book anyway.
Other dog-friendly but not dog-targeted places that we like is Epicurious (2/2) at 60, Robertson Quay, the Quayside tel 6734 7720. They offer dog bowls of water automatically, which is good because some places would not even serve plain water for their human customers. The food is down-to-earth good with a contemporary touch, generally thumbs up especially the brunch items and the apple crumble. They have a huge selection of magazines for browsing (Delicious, DestinAsia, Vogue Travel and Entertaining etc), I also love that they use a lot of retro Chinese plates instead of the predictable white, and their cutlery is the ergonomic type- see, Epicurious is just full of these endearing little touches.
Across the pavement from Epicurious is River Cafe, another modern restaurant in this rather lonely and unlikely setting for the not few eating outlets that are located there. This place was so quiet we were the only customer on our midweek visit. The food, I cannot remember what I ate exactly, was passable and moderately expensive. It was also very quiet which makes it a good place for people who wants to have a quiet meal.
Another place we took Mimi along to was Da Paolo, Chip Bee Gardens. Upmarket Italian. Already successful so I will say no more about it other than its outdoor deck is comfortable with very adequate shading from the sun and tables laid with crisp tablecloth.
Jia Peng (2/2), which I blogged about earlier. Took husband back to try their CCF. Madam Lum has a chihuahua and a golden retriever at home. The chihuahua likes to ride piggy back on the golden, I wish I can see that.
Above, orange french toast with crispy bacon at Cedele (1/7) at Great World City. Very yummy, husband was practically robbing my plate.
And one day we were at Ikea Cafe because I needed to shop for cushion covers, so we joined the crowd in devouring their $1 fried chicken wings.
Another day we were at Mustafa's. Shopping makes one hungry, and at 11.00 pm in that neighbourhood the best thing to eat is the freshly made thosai from Ananda Bhavan. The cashier tried to make me order a masala thosai, onion thosai, bathura, anything but the cheapest-thing-on-the-menu plain thosai, but plain was good enough for me thank you very much.
And also blogged before, the makan gang's outing at The Family Wok.
Near my office is a building named The Atrium, which houses Penang Place. We didn't eat from its popular buffet spread, but I really liked their version of assam laksa which came with loads of chopped pineapple, fresh onions slices, flaked fish bits and gollops of brown prawn paste.
The best eating of the month was undoubtedly from Kaisan (1/2). An under-rated place that does not deserve to be so. Its standards have not dipped in the least since it opened last July, in fact the food is better than ever.
Some sublime dishes from dinner one March evening:
Left: jewel-like sweet prawn sashimi. I had to resist sucking the roe from all the heads, I mean, six of them at one go is probably not a good idea.
Middle: Hirame (sole) sashimi. Impeccably fresh and sweet.
Right: Fresh juicy oyster in a zesty ponzu sauce. Oceans better than boring old lemon.
There was also a grilled whole tuna cheek. And uni done a new way, mixed with ika (squid), delightfully creamy and slippery. Husband, being leery of uni in general, gave me his share so I enjoyed it twice over.
Left: We always end our meals at Kaisan with a soup. Because their soups are usually quite wondrous. One time it was with slow roasted fish bones. Another time it was some unique winter fish. This time it was made with live seaweed gathered by Ama, that small group of Japanese women who dive for things like scallops ( and seaweed).
Right: Dessert made from sweet potato and pumpkin.
And including the Shanghai eating, March turned out to be one of the best months for eating out this year.