Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where do you go for the best burger in Singapore: I recommend &Made

Burgers. Simple meal. Meat, bun, a bit of cheese. What could be more simple. But a good burger is hard to find. A great burger is worth a trip just to eat.

I have chronicled my burger adventures in Singapore for a while. From the high brow Daniel Bolud's wagyu and foie gras creation, to my favourite from Fullerton Bay. But this one at &Made by Bruno Menard beats them all!

Best burger I have eaten.

Beautiful. The meat is dry aged angus. Not wagyu, which I feel is probably wasted on burger. The meat is hand chopped, and grilled to perfection. A small of melted cheese, slap on the bun and viola, ready to go!

Shown above is their B-Burger, just a plain burger...and boy what a burger. I also tried the equally amazing bacon burger:

Glorious! Same beautifully made and cooked patty. But with some lettuce, tomato, and gorgeous crisp bacon! Delicious does not begin to describe this! Truly magnificent.

But that is not all, their fries are also fabulous. Reminded me of the fries I had in Paris. Beautifully thin shoestring fries. Crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. Shiok!

Their dessert is also superb. We had the molten caramel cake.

Superb. The cake was made just right...if I was forced to criticize, then perhaps a bit more moist would be perfect. But cut open, revealing the molten caramel. Gorgeous! Went perfectly with the vanilla ice cream coated with what I think is sliced toasted almonds.

Very highly recommended. I will be back for more. Their menu also offers pork and lamb burgers, and steak and one gets in Paris. I tried the steak and fries at their sister restaurant L'Entrecot. The steak is good, but not totally spectacular, but the fries, the same as you get with your &Made burger is absolutely wonderful.

9 Scotts Road
Pacific Plaza
Singapore 228210
6690 7566

Monday, October 28, 2013

Great Penang food in Singapore? Enter Gurney Drive Restaurants

I have often lamented the poverty of authentic, well cooked Penang hawker fare in Singapore. While understadable as Singapore is not Penang, but yet, inexplicable because of the great popularity of Penang cuisine amongs our inhabitants.

So it is with a bit of joy, that I present a restaurant which brings us one step closer...not exactly there yet, but at least all the flavours are authentic and well cooked.

I had eaten at Gurney Drive...the real street food in Penang as well as the restaurant here in Singapore. My first experience with them was a few years ago, when they first opened in Suntec City. My conclusion then was it was not ready for prime time, and thus never wrote a review. But recently, I sampled their cooking again, in Changi Airport Terminal 3, and was pleasantly surprised. So I went to re-sample, to ensure that there was indeed consistency in the cooking at the Jems outlet. And indeed was pleasantly satiated, yet again. Bravo!

The Penang Prawn Hokkien Mee, shown above was rather well presented. Two large prawns, the correct ingredients. Taste wise it was quite good, though a tad salty. The soup had a deep savoury flavour typical of those found in the better hawker stalls in Penang. This is not a crustacean flavour in the Singapore version, but a pork bone based flavour with a touch of rock sugar.

Of course the Penang Char Kway Teow is indicated...rather prescribed

This is an all time favourite of mine and apparently a lot of Penangites. One would find a CKT stall almost every other coffee shops in Penang, and there are at least 3 or perhaps 4 which can claim to be world class in their interpretation of this dish. The Gurney version is very good. With nice wok hei, beautifully fried, not too greasy...though a little grease cannot be avoided as the kway teow itself is a bit greasy and pork lard used to fry it. Very nice.

The Penang version of the Mamak Mee Goreng is also very good

A bit different from the ones offered by the mamaks in Singapore, where we tend to use a red dye,they tend to add potato bits and croutons with the slightest bit of kichap manis, and fresh lettuce. Quite authentic. Nice flavours. Again a tad salty.

Their rojak is also authentic

With very nice ingredients. Tiny, sour mango, sliced cuttlefish, jambu, cucumber, bangkuang, pineapple, croutons from yu tiao, all mixed in the fabulous hae ko based sauce, and sprinkled with crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Very nice.

The dessert is equally nice. The classical Malaysian iced dessert of ice kachang...or ABC - air batu campur is superb:

A mountain of finely shaved ice, drizzled with a tricolour syrup, topped with sweet corn, and covering a base of red bean, jelly, attap seeds. In the Gurney version, the chef take a bit of poetic license and adds thinly sliced nutmeg and crushed peanuts. The nutmeg lifts the dish from good to quite exceptional.

and the chendol

Nicely flavoured. Reminds me of the Teochew Chendol stall in Penang Road when I visited as a youth. Alas, the last visit several years ago, the taste of the stall in Penang Road has deteriorated. But this version concocted by Gurney brings back those memories of the good times for me. The red bean was large, soft, nice aroma. The ice finely shaved. The gula melaka used to sweeten the dessert could have been a bit more aromatic and flavourful, and the coconut milk could have been fresh instead of out of a can, but this was good enough for a fascilime.

With this tasting, I can safely recommend Gurney Drive for Penang Cuisine. I had also tried the jew her eng chye and lorbak at my second tasting in T3, but still find them to lack the authenticity for a recommendation.

Gurney Drive Restaurant
04-27 JEM
Various other locations

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wonderful curry noodles with chicken chop: Cantonese Delights

Sometimes, even for a jaded foodie...there are dishes which revitalizes one's outlook for food. Cantonese Delights, a little stall in Hong Lim Complex is one such place.

It renewed my interest in curry noodles. To a thick, savoury, spicy, wonderfully aromatic curry poured over egg noodles, they add a slab of deep fried, crispy chicken chop.

Truly magnificent. Very nice. The curry was done very well. Tastes wonderful. And the crispy chicken chop is a mastertouch. It goes so well, I wonder why no other stalls are doing the same. The chicken is crisp on the outside, but nice, tender, juicy within. Delicious!

Their curry yong tau foo is also quite famous...

Another superb dish. This style of yong tau foo...where you don't choose the pieces which goes into comes standard. The lady boss just ask if you want bitter gourd and other option. Comes with a deep fried very crisp bean curd skin. Same wonderful curry. Magnificent.

Definitely highly recommended. But come early...queues start to form early and are quite long. I waited some 25 minutes on a weekday lunchtime...arrived at about 12:45pm.

Cantonese Delights

Hong Lim Food Centre
#02-03 8.30am to 3pm
Closed Alt Mon and PH

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gusto Restaurant reopens after makeover

Gusto, the Italian restaurant at the corner of Ion has reopened, after a makeover. With a new menu, new seating.

A totally new menu, East meets West...Gusto's new menu features intresting dishes like the soft shelled crab, served with a quirky do-it-yourself crab shaker. A very nicely done crisp soft shell crab is served with a paper bag and a small satchet of seasoning. Dump the crab and the house made ginger seasoning into the paper bag, shake and serve. Nice!

Tastes delicious! Addictive. I almost couldn't stop eating...but the allure of the other dishes called...and the tender lamb ribs with a crunchy corn bread coating was another interesting dish...tender meat, on the bone, coated with a crispy crust. Some of the other dishes were also quite interesting, like the Tomato Beer...looks like a glass of beer, even smells like one, but tastes like tomato juice.

Seating for 160 pax is available, with most of it along the side of ION...some 60m long.

The menu is designed by Chef Tim Ross-Watson, who was formerly from Eponymous Gordon Ramsay, and the Head Chef Julius De Sagan takes charge of the kitchen.

Very nice concept. Good for evening chill outs. Many thanks to Amira for the invitation and hosting the Media Lunch.

Gusto Restaurant

#01-15 ION Orchard

Friday, October 18, 2013

Oktoberfest special: Brotzeit celebrates...

Oktoberfest may be over in Germany, but it is still going strong in Singapore.

I recently attended one such riotious event at Brotzeit in Vivocity. With a rip roaring, truly entertaining band in attendance, the place was crowded...had great mood and ambience. Just like a wild evening during Oktoberfest in Munich.

A special beer, the Paulaner Marzen is served in addition to the regular Paulaner beers. The Marzen is a golden, bottom-fermented, typical Bavarian speciality beer for the Oktoberfest, fermented to medium strength, with a malty and very mildly bitter taste.

And a special combination platter for food...with all the usual delicacies...good for 4 to 6 pax

Running till Oct 20, this Oktoberfest event runs nightly from 17th Oct. Thanks to Brandon and Wesley from Right Hook for the invitation.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The University Club: by Prive

While NUS is my alma mater, its been a long while since I ate there. So when my friend...a specialist in campus food, recommended The University Club, it piqued my interest, and quickly a small group was assembled for a tasting.

Operated by the Prive Group, and on lovely premises within the Shaw Foundation in the Kent Ridge campus, the restaurant looked very nice.

There were 8 of us who attended the lunch, so there were a variety of dishes that was ordered. We all had the Set Lunch...$25 for 2 courses, $28 for 3 course including coffee or tea. Quite good value, methinks.

I ordered the 3 course meal, starting with crab cakes.

Very nicely done! The cake is loosely formed, probably by hand, into a very savoury cake...with lots of crab meat, and hardly any filler. Sits on a few strands of asparagus, and piled with a sweet, sour sauce and salad. Delicious.

My neighbour had the scallops, which also looked wonderful.

For my mains, I had the braised lamb shank...

A whole shank, rather large serving. Wonderfully braised. Very tender, and full flavoured...I don't mean strong lamb/mutton type odours, but a beautiful, aromatic perfume which wafts into the nostrils...very nice. The meat was excellent as well.

And the steak being served next to me looked equally marvellous

And for dessert, I ordered one of my favourites...sticky date pudding...

Thumbs up! The pudding is done just right...correct consistency...with a bit of bounce, and a consistency which resists crumbling, but yet soft enough to break open at the prodding of the spoon. The scoop of ice cream went nicely, as ice cream tend to do, and the butterscotch bits provided crunch, and an intense sweet note...kind of like an orchestra crescendo over the sweetness of the pudding and the ice cream.

Excellent meal, well priced. Beautiful dining room and good service.

The University Club
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, #04-02
11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244

Monday, October 14, 2013

Recipe: Amazing Roast beef...a recipe from Electrolux's Chef E

Roast beef: recipe. How to get wonderful, beautifully cooked roast beef, by Chef Eric Low.

Roast beef...oohs and ahhs. Wonderful when done right. But in the wrong hands, can be dry, unappetizing. How to make the perfect roast beef? Here I share Chef E's recipe. Slow roasted beef with mushroom sauce.

I recently attended a demonstration by Chef Eric Low to show the ease of use of Electrolux kitchen gear.

Electrolux, the Swedish household and appliances manufacturer, presented their latest campaign, the Electrolux Home of Blissful Living with an interactive Facebook quiz that seeks to test players on their home management knowledge and award prizes! The quiz will test players on every day household skills, through multiple-choice questions in an interactive game show format. Successful players will win $50 vouchers weekly, culminating to a grand prize of $2500 worth of appliances from Electrolux. Having tried it, I must say it is not only fun to play, but also very informative.

To enter the contest, all one needs to do is visit the company’s facebook page at to have a go at testing your household knowledge and winning prizes. The entire idea behind the Home of Blissful Living is for users to have a sneak preview at the company’s latest range of intuitive appliances that seek to take the hard work out of housework. To demonstrate the simplicity in its appliances, Electrolux invited Chef Eric Low for a quick cook off. Chef Eric will also be sharing original recipes that have a special touch, tips on cooking and how to use cooking appliances smartly to fans of The Little White Book.

Quite an extraordinary chef. Full of little tips, ready to share secrets. Learned a lot. Thanks to Beatrice of AKA and the fine folks at Electrolux for your wonderful hospitality and hosting the event.

On to the recipe:

Roast Beef with Truffle Soy Braised Mushrooms

4 portions


  • 800g Beef Sirloin Piece, cut into 3 long strips
  • Salt and Coarse Ground Black Pepper


  • 100g Dried Shitake Mushrooms, soaked and sliced
  • 300g Honshimeiji or Bunashimeiji Mushrooms, trimmed
  • 70ml Light Soya Sauce
  • 1tsp Dark Soya Sauce
  • 2tbsps Sugar
  • 250ml Water
  • 2tsps White Truffle Oil

Preparation Method:

Season beef loins with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 100⁰C.

In a hot pan, sear the beef on all sides.

Transfer to roasting tray and roast the beef for 25 –35 minutes depending on thickness.

Typically, one would roast at perhaps 250C or higher. Roasting at 100C needs a longer time in the oven, and slow cooking does not dry out the meat, as the protein molecules within the meat are not heated agressively such that they contract quickly, squeezing out the moisture. Roasting at a lower temperature also ensures that the meat is cooked across evenly. At higher temperatures, the outside tend to be well done and getting to medium rare deep inside the meat. But this method ensures the meat is cooked evenly, medium rare all the way to the centre.

Place mushrooms and soya sauce in a braising pot.

Add sugar and water, bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. Add truffle oil to the mushroom mixture. Important that the truffle oil is not used in cooking, it will burn, so only add the truffle oil at the last minute.

Rest the meat, because it was slow roasted at a lower temperature, resting time is less than normal.

Slice the roast beef and serve with truffle mushroom sauce.

Note that as Chef E sliced the beef, the juices did not it was totally absorbed within the meat, making the beef very moist and juicy.

And the finished product...

The sauce is quite amazing. But I actually preferred the beef on its was tender, juicy, and wonderful.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dajie Wanton mee: an institution

Wanton mee is another of the nice (almost little) meals we can have in Singapore. Quite a balanced meal on a have the carbs, the greens, the proteins...but also with a bit...ok, a generous bit of fat.

One of the interesting ones I discovered recently...this stall have been serving great WTM for a long time, but for me this is a new discovery...good to just "friend" KF Seetoh on Facebook..haha.

Dajie, or Linda as she is known is the owner and operator, and have been running this stall, quite famous for the braised chicken feet in her wanton noodles. I don't quite cozy to the idea of the chicken feet...I do like them, but not especially I ordered the wanton mee.

The noodles are quite good. The noodles are very nice, al dente, with a very fragrant eggy flavour. Lard is used, and this fortified the noodles even more, making it even more shiok. The char siew is ok, not anything special. The deep fried wanton is quite good. Crispy, nice meat filling within. The wanton in the soup was also very good, but I found the skin to be a bit thicker than the wonderfully delicate ones we get in Hong Kong.

I met with Roy...Linda's husband, and discovered they have recently taken up cycling as well...riding roadies from their place in Senkang...we talked shop about bikes a while. And I left the stall, feeling nice and comfortable with the food. And warm and fuzzy with the hospitality. Definitely recommended.

Dajie Chicken Feet Noodle

209 Jalan Besar (corner of Jalan Besar and Sam Leong Road)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Comfort foods: Steamboat at Crystal Jade

Steamboat is one of the comfort foods of my childhood. It comes in many variants, primarily in the soup base but also in the ingredients to be cooked by dipping into the boiling stock. Crystal Jade, who have been quietly making big strides in the Singapore and Asian culinary scene with good quality food in very convenient locations, recently opened a new restaurant specializing in steamboat.

This outlet, in the new-ish Zhong San Park, with the restarant's glass walls looking into a beautiful landscaped garden court. The new mall houses 2 hotels in its complex. I was there as part of the media tasting organized by JJ Koh of Pinstripes Communication who hosted the lunch with Samantha of Crystal Jade.

We tasted a duo of stock a superior broth of Pork Bone and another of Tom Yam.

The soup bases are rather special, and are the key to a good steamboat. The pork bone soup is made from a superior broth simmered for more than 12 hours, with fresh whole chicken, chicken feet, lean pork and pork bones. This is a robust, hearty stock, very comforting. The Tom Yam soup base is for those with a prefer a spicy base, and is made with superior broth, simmered with a Thai chilli and fresh chilli padi, lemongrass, scallion and lime juice.

A sauce station is placed for self service, and offers many varieties of sauces, from sesame to chilli, to diverse sauces to satisfy a wide range of tastes.

And the steamboat ingredients...

Handmade squid ball

Squids, carrots and celery...minced, hand made into balls. Very nice...beautiful sweetness of the squid and a very good springy texture. My favourite.

Fishball, Teochew style

Fresh white fish, hand formed. Nice tasting. Goes very well with either soups, but for me, I prefer the fishballs in the Tom Yum.

Meat balls

Another tasty one! The pork is handcut and rolled into a ball with fresh water chestnut. The meat is very nice with the pork bone soup, and the water chestnuts gives it a crunch.

They also offer a hand made prawn ball with black tiger prawns and a bit of squid.

Also on the menu, fresh meat, sans marinade, so it is critical to have fresh meats being presented for the steamboat

And a special Chef creation of grilled sea bass with preserved vegetables.

In addition to the traditional style steamboat, also available are two casserole type dishes which can also be turned into steamboats. The first is a fish soup, and another is a chicken pot dish.

A staple of Teochew cuisine is the stemed fish with preserved vegetables. The chefs gives this typical dish a twist by grilling the whole fish till golden brown, and on this, a savoury piquant sauce is dished over. The fish was very fresh, the meat firm, yet yielding. Very nice, with the soup, which, after the meat has been eaten, the fish bones can be removed, and the soup used as a stock base for steamboat. Quite superb.

By this time, we were already quite full, but a pot bearing the sauteed chicken with dried chilli and onion was served.

This was an intense dish. Very aromatic, with chicken sauteed the dried chilli in a sizzling hot pot. Broth can also be added after the initial tasting to make this into a spicy steamboat.

And finally a comfort food...salted pork bone and dried vegetable porridge

Pork and bones are salted for 8 hours, blanched and boiled for 2 hours with rice. Then the steam dried vegetables are added...a simple, but hearty and robust, comfort porridge.

Highly recoommended. If one choses the ingredients properly, can be a very nutritious and yet healthy meal.

Crystal Jade Steamboat Restaurant
#01-18 Zhong Shan Mall
20 Ah Hood Road

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tandoor: supreme Indian cuisine

Indian good when they get it right. I long for the magnificent meals I had in India, even though the cuisine does travel rather well. I have had great Indian meals in London, New York, Malaysia, Singapore and even in Geneva. So it is with pleasure for me to review an old favourite - Tandoor at the Holiday Inn City.

An old establishment, holding court for some 28 years as one of the premier Indian restaurants in town, it was recently renovated, and the menu refreshed.

Renovated, now brighter than before. Cooking is still classical, but slightly modified to be less heavy, less greasy, and all the more healthy.

Traditional papadams, oven roasted.

A sourplum drink...very refreshing, perfect to start the evening

We had the Dinner Gourmet Trail at $68+++, and started with Samosa

Regular samosas...tasted very nice...but I was slightly...emphasis on slightly...disappointed as it was not served piping hot.

Next, a rich chicken soup with fresh mint...with a spiced scallop on a skewer on the side

Served at the table, a la Michelin, the soup was very nice. Beautiful, rich, very tasty broth. The bits of chicken, very tasty too. Great soup!

Then a series of 4 kebabs as appetizers.

From left, the Jalapeno corn kebab, Murg Lemongrass Kebab, and Malmali Seekh Kebab. I particularly liked the minced mutton sheekh kebab...rolled on a skewer and grilled in a tandoor. Juicy meat, beautifully flavoured, and wonderful fragrance. The Jalapeno corn kebab was also very interesting. The jalapeno had a nice bite, and went well with the corn. The Murg lemongrass was made of morsels of chicken, flavoured with lemongrass and grilled to perfection.

A jumbo prawn, spiced with chilli, honey and delicately flavoured with dill leaves was also served

The prawn was very fresh, succulent. I found it to be a bit sweet, testament to the honey used in the marinade.

Then came the mains...but first, one of their signature drinks...the Bollywood Belini...

Champagne, combined with a mixture of lychee and raspberry. Very nice, ingenious mix. Relieves the palate and gets it ready for the main courses...of which there were 6!

First, the Goan Fish Curry

The fish, ocean perch was marinaded, cooked in a tandoor, and served on a hot plate. The coconut curry is poured over the fish at the table. This was one of my favourite dishes in India, and the Tandoor version brought back memories of my wonderful experiences in Mumbai eating this dish. Very good. The fish was very fresh, beautifully marinated. My only nit pick was that the fish was slightly overcooked...mind you, this is very slight...and regular readers would know that I prefer my fish slightly undercooked...which demands super fresh fish, so take this minor nit pick with this in mind.

A magnificent lamb curry, called Nalli Gosht

Lamb shanks were used. Very tender - melts in your mouth is a catchphrase, but in this case is totally apt. The curry was very mild flavoured. Delicious.

A wonderful chicken dish was next

A dum cooked chicken, infused with Indian spices, saffron and mace. Very nice indeed. The fragrance wafts into the nose before one puts the chicken into the mouth. And once on the palate, the flavours reveals itself, each of the spices with its calling card, and the chicken itself the catchphrase...melt in your mouth tender.

A dhal was also part of the mains served

Dhal makani: black lentils slow cooked with tomatoes, garlic and with butter and cream. Very smooth, rich. Not the best I have eaten, but very good indeed. And perfect for the basket of Indian breads

and the magnificent basmati rice, with saffron

The mains on my plate, each a small serving good for a bite or two.

With a serving of Palak Paneer...cottage cheese with spinach and a unique invention of the chef...the Mango curry...a dish inspired by the chef's grandmother trying to get the children to eat more vegetables, and truly successful.

Another cocktail was served...chai mojito

Masala infused Barcadi rum with a home made sugar syrup with fresh mint and coriander. Churned through crushed ice and topped with soda and garnished with fresh mint and lime wedge. Great drink!

And finally, dessert...a trio medly of Baily's Kulfi, rose and elainchi pana cotta and Gajar Halwa

Sweet! I particularly liked the kulfi...traditional Indian ice cream, but with Baily's Cream. The Gajar Halwa is very traditional, sweet. Kin loved the panna cotta...which was rose infused, and delicious.

A fitting tribute to the new chef Sujit Naik

The menu is traditional northern Indian, and the cooking very good indeed. The new decor is bright, lively and truly modern.

Many thanks to Cheryl of Ate Consulting for hosting and inviting me for the tasting. And to Chef Naik for his excellent cooking. Truly enjoyable dinner. Kin loved it so much, she returned with her friends the very weekend for her school reunion. And the girls loved it too!

Tandoor Restaurant
Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre
11 Cavenagh Road
6733 8333