Was out of town quite a bit last month, but the eating was mostly good.
Crystal Jade (3/15) : The Korean restaurant remains a favourite because the food is consistently good. For a change, we had the beef soup, a fiery and very shiok mish-mash of beef slices, vegetables and tofu.
They've recently opened a Macanese restaurant in Bugis Junction, serving favourite dishes from Macau. I visited twice and came to the same conclusion. Either Macanese food is bland and uninspiring or the cook at the CJ is not particularly competent. The Cod-Potato Croquettes which was supposed to have bacalao in it did not have any perceptible taste that indicated its bacalao connection, I reckon the Korokke Chan versions are more value for money. The signature Baked rice with Pork Chop was similarly unexciting- the tomato sauce seemed to have come straight from a can before it got thickened with plenty of corn starch- I had to load a lot of CJ's (excellent, btw) chilli oil into the rice to excite the meal a little. Second outing was slightly better, their Crispy Fried Squid was tasty enough but Spiced Roast Chicken had an unusual spice balance that I could not quite accustom myself to.
Andhra's Spices, Race Course Rd: It's been over a year since we ate here but I don't remember the standard being so abysmal before. The spinach was pureed till it became an unappetising green mush. The naans were flat and hard and the lamb curry was a miserable jumble of gristle and tough fibres floating in its radioactive-orange sauce.
Le Bistrot, Joo Chiat: Good. Report here.
Cedele by Bakery Depot (2/10): On one of the visits, noticed they have a new sandwich.
umami: What is Thai Sawadee sandwich?
umami: uh huh.
server: It comes with sauce. Would you like to try our rosemary chicken?
umami: So you don't recommend the Thai Sawadee?
Two girls in front of me laughed. Cashier hastened to reassure me that the Thai Sawadee was really yummy. She was right, the sandwich was spread with a creamy red sauce distinctly fragranced with kaffir lime leaves. Made a welcome change from rosemary chicken.
Liang Kee with makankakis: It is a Teochew restaurant along Havelock Rd. Famous for cold crabs. My favourite dish that evening was the Char Keow Teow, couldn't really tell what was particularly Teochew about it but it was yummy and had plenty of wok-hei.
And then there was the food bloggers lunch at Mag's.
Ajisen Dining, Takashimaya: Mistake. Maybe they are still finding their feet, but they better find it soon. The conveyor belt sushi is easily the worst in town, and they have a worrying tendency to butane-torch everything. Their mentaiko tofu was inedible, the blameless tofu was covered with a thick blanket of hard un-meltable cheese and the merest hint of the spicy roe. Ajisen should not give up their ramen business yet.
Azhang: A small restaurant with a big attitude. Since they opened, Azhang's have attracted many loyal customers who are fans of their good and unpretentious food. Diners are not rushed over their meal and there is an understanding that their table is theirs for the night; this of course results in some people not able to get in sometimes.
Last Sunday, a friend organised a long and relaxing lunch of sausages and pork leg. Personally I was not terribly excited about the meats but my meat-loving friends were very pleased with the spread. The sausages were admittedly from a local sausage supplier Tierney's and the pork leg was done well but not my favourite way of cooking this cut of meat, I would sum it up as decent but not special. I much preferred their side dishes. The accompanying sauerkraut (or choucroute as husband would call it) was delicious, so was their slow-roasted carrots. They make a most excellent espresso too. The food is, as the owners said with some pride, average, but their consistency, perceived good value, friendliness and familiarity may be what makes it such a successful restaurant.
Penang Place, IBP (1/5): Spring rolls and DIY ice kacang. A little boring but better than the mediocre food court offerings in the neighbourhood.