Thursday, March 20, 2014

Putien introduces the Spring Menu

It is no secret that Putien is one of my favourite restaurants. The flavours and authenticity of the ingredients are quite incredible, and the lengths the chefs take to get this authenticity is unparalleled in a Chinese restaurant in Singapore.

So the spring menu by Putien is no different. The ingredients are air flown in twice weekly from the city of Putian in china. And the preparation is done in the traditional and natural methods and retain the flavours of the ingredients. I went to a tasting of their Spring menu, and was pleased with the food presented.

Broad beans are reaped in Putian in spring, and this process is munual so as to ensure the fragile beans retained their soft texture.

Simply sauteed with just a dash of salt, the dish is very light, delightful flavour.

Putian leeks stir fried with prawn cakes

Very natural tasting. Sweet, quite delicious. The prawn cakes are made just with prawns, no fillers and the taste and texture is very nice.

A slew of bamboo clam dishes were presented. They were all very nice, I particularly loved the omlette and the garlic versions. But here are the photographs of all I sampled. First, just plainly salt baked.

Natural tasting, sweet.

One of my favourites, clams steamed with garlic.

Supremely sweet. Very aromatic fragrance and flavours. The garlic was excellent...I love garlic, so this dish is right up in my alley.

With spring onions

With a wonderful savoury soup

Steamed with rice wine

And deep fried with a light batter

We then had the famous putian beehoon, done Putien style

One of my favourites. The beehoon is finer, more wiry and have a harder and springy texture than the Thai style beehoon we get for example in the ones served as breakfast in many hawker centres.

And for dessert, a loquat flavoured jelly with a preserved loquat. Loquat is plentiful during spring, and have a sourish sweet taste. But this tasting is a bit early in the year for loquat.

Another winning menu by the chefs at Putien. They remain one of the most interesting and authentic tastes in the industry. Highly recommended.

Pu Tien Restaurant
127 Kitchener Raod

Monday, March 17, 2014

Rocku Yakiniku Restaurant

Rocku is a fun place. Built like a large dining room, each table with its own smokeless charcoal grill. It has been a popular venue for the younger set to have a good meal, and catch up with friends. The venue provides live band entertainment 5 nights a week. And from March, every first Sunday, it turns to be a Cosplay styled venue.

Guests will be entertained by Cosplayers from Singapore, China, Malaysia and Korea. And if you come dressed in a Cosplay costume, you get 50% off their $29.90 Yakiniku buffet.

The discount will be moot if the food is not good...but I was pleasantly surprised that the food is actually very good.

I particularly liked the wagyu beef. The regular buffet features Australian beef, US pork. But we wanted to try the premium wagyu (not part of the buffet)

Nice cuts, no marinade, perhaps just a touch of salt. The beef was nicely marbled, and grilling over the hot, smokeless grills at the table proved to be easy. And made a delicious meal

We also had the seafood platter, which is part of the buffet promotion

Here the marinade is quite well done. Grilling the squid, salmon, mussels and prawns were a treat.

As were the buffet, but to be ordered as a la carte garlic fried rice

Wonderful fragrance. The rice was a bit on the wet and sticky side, but it was nicely aromatic, and tasted very good.

An in addition to the good food, we were entertained by the Cosplayers:

All in the name of a fun evening, good food and drinks, and nice entertainment. Kinda of a different style of establishment as I am used to blog about, but one which I enjoyed all the same.

Rocku Yakiniku
Bugis +
201 Victoria Street
6634 3313

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fatboy's The Burger Bar

Who doesn't like a good burger? This quintessential of western meals is a favourite, especially amongst the youth and those on the go.

Convieniently packaged, a bun, meat patty, some vegetables, cheese...tastes yum, and easy to eat on the go...except when it comes to premium burgers...where the patty is large and thick, and when assembled, the burger is at the verge of toppling over and collapsing. Most are so large, it is not possible to hold it on one hand, and bite over to get a mouthful of bun plus meat plus veg plus cheese...

But we still do love a good one. I covered &Made and the Landing Point burgers as my reference standard for Singapore. Today, I touch on Fat Boy's of the mainstays of the gourmet burgers in the city...we don't talk about McDonalds or other fast food burgers (yes, I did review Carl's Jr once).

So how is it? The ordering experience is interesting...many options available, on the bun, patty (beef, pork, chicken, lamb), cheese type, vegetables (tomato, pickles, lettuce), sauce, and other additions. I ended up with a cheese burger with all the veg, and a barbecue sauce, with fries and a soft drink.

The burger is rather big. The bun, with black and white sesame was very fluffy, light, soft, but grilled till there were crisp edges. The patty was a large beef patty, minced meat, but tastes gorgeous. The cheese was provolone. Really a nice burger. Juicy, tasty. Very nice.

The fries

In my view, a bit less successful. They were freshly fried, yes, but they were a bit thick for me. The outside were crisp, but not quite enough...not like the superb fries one gets at L'Entrecot or even their burger place &Made. The potato within was a bit powdery.

But overall, excellent burger experience. In my opinion, better than Burg's, but still below the standards served at &Made. But bear in mind, Fat Boy's is almost half the price of &Made, where they hand chop the pattys, and of course with higher quality meat cuts. So for the price of Carl's Jr, I think this is a better, more tasty and more satisfying experience.

Fatboy's The Burger Bar
Many locations island wide

This meal tasted at
Far East Plaza #01-16
Monday - Thurday: 1600pm - 0000am
Friday - Saturday & PH: 1200pm - 0000am

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whampoa Keng Fish Steamboat Restaurant

Fish Head Steamboat, or yee tau lor is one of the healthier dishes on our staple diet of hawker foods.

And Whampoa Keng is one of the better ones around. The main restaurant is in Balestier, but a little bird told me that their outlet in Rangoon Road is better, so we went to sample the restaurant, and found it to be quite excellent.

Located in a quieter part of Rangoon Road, with quite a few parking spaces available when we arrived for a late dinner at about 10pm, the restaurant was rather large, but almost full when we got there, though most of the diners were at the end of their meals, as we were about to start ours.

We began with the hae cho

This was truly superb. The deep fried prawn/pork/crab/tofu ball wrapped in a thin bean curd skin had no hint of grease, and the skin was supremely crisp. While the inside was succulent, juicy, and wonderfully tasty, with the intermigling of the flavours of the ingredients culmulating in a delicious whole. Ho Chiak!

We also had the har cheong kai, or prawn paste deep fried chicken

Much has been written about this dish in the blogosphere, especially prominent blogger Leslie's recommendation. I found the chicken to be good, but not spectacular. All the ticks are in the right places. Crispy and light, ungreasy batter: check. Nice succulent meat: check. Flavourful chicken: check. But some I found the balance of spices, herbs to be a bit out...only very slightly, mind still a very good and enjoyable, but I think the chef has to seek to find that balance to make it spectacular for me.

And to the piece de resistance, the fish head steamboat

A very traditional steamboat pot, heated with glowing charcoal was served. The fragrance as it landed on our table was superb. The bubbling soup was very good. The broth had a very robust savoury flavour, full of umami, and yet had a light, slight creamy mouthfeel with a touch of spice. Magnificent.

The chunks of garoupa slices, of which there were more than chunks of fish head, despite the name of the dish was truly spectacular.

Very fresh, so the flesh was firm, with a slightly springy texture as one sinks one's teeth into it, with the skin a bit more than the meat. Very sweet, and excellent fish.

Definitely one of the best fish steamboat I have eaten. I at the original store in Balestier some years ago, and left unimpressed, but this visit left me wanting more and yearning to return. Soon.

Whampoa Keng Fish Head Steamboat Restaurant
116/118 Rangoon Road

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Halia at The Raffles Hotel

Raffles Hotel is a one of the Grande Dame hotels, probably in the world. And within the beautiful fascade, are some very good eateries. Amongst them the Long Bar Steakhouse and Halia.

Originally located within the Botanic Gardens, the restaurant has made its name in interesting, and often fusion styled cuisine. Afterall, its name means ginger in Malay. So I had expected a mix of cuisine. I was not disappointed in some, but felt some dishes could be a bit more innovative.

The ambience is excellent, service very good, as is befitting a 5 star hotel.

I had lunch recently at the restaurant, and was well pleased. For starters we had the deep fried calamari, which I found to be nice, but not unusual. But the braised lamb was rather spectacular

The 12 hour braised leg of lamb, beautifully done so that the aroma and fragrance is very well done. Eaten with the very crisp toasted sliced baguettes. Very good.

Their speciality is a spaghettini with a chilli crab sauce

Spaghettini is a thinner version of spaghetti...similar in texture and taste to spaghetti. The sauce is quite interesting. A mildly tangy and spicy with a light flavour of crabs. Some strands of crab were detected. The serving is rather large. Interesting, and lives up the fusion namesake.

But yet, one of the speciality recommended by the chef is the utterly standard steak.

I ordered it medium/medium rare inside, and charred outside. But delivered as above. Not quite what I ordered. But the steak turned out rather nice. The meat, an Irish angus rib eye, was tender, though I had a tendon running through the side, and a sliver of fat which was too rich to be eaten. But the lean meat was nicely flavourful, good beef taste, and very tender. The fries were standard offering, nothing special.

For dessert, we shared a sticky toffee pudding

This was heavenly, as desserts often are. The blend of sweet, salty and the hot and cold was masterfully done, and it was rather nice. In case some of you are wondering, the watch was the business at hand, as this was a business lunch for Vulcain to re-introduce the alarm mechanical watch to the market with their new distributors: Melchers.

Overall, Halia kind of lives to its expectation being in a 5 star hotel, and a name which suggests fusion cusine. I recommend this restaurant.

Halia Restaurant
Raffles Hotel
Open daily

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lam's Prawn and Crab noodle

I love prawn noodles. And have cravings to eat the dish every once in a while.

My gold standard is Wah Kee at Cambridge Road, but the queues are too long. I often eat at Khoon Kee at Bukit Merah, which is close, but not quite the same level. But there is another which is also very good, though a different style, and not directly comparable. This is Lam's Prawn and Crab Noodles.

Tucked in a coffee shop in Rangoon Road, this little stall is quite interesting. It offers not only regular prawn noodles, but also large prawns. And also offers the customers to add scallop and crab to their noodles. I have not tried those specials, bu thave eaten the regular and large prawns a few times.

The regular prawn noodles is rather nice, though I found the prawns to be crumbly and powdery in texture. The prawns were also not sweet enough, but the soup was very good. And the more one drinks the soup, the more satisfying it is.

The $5 portion comes with 6 fairly large prawns.

I also tried the large prawns version, only 3 very large prawns were served.

The prawns were altogether different. The prawns were very large, measuring perhaps 3 inches in diameter. And the prawns were quite fresh. The flesh is firm and very sweet. The noodles were ordered dry, and came with a magnificent sauce, which is savoury and very tasty.

Mildly addictive soup, magnificent large prawns. Recommended, but certainly does not dethrone Wah Kee as my reference prawn noodle.

Lam's Prawn and Crab Noodles
137 Rangoon Road
9am - 9pm(Closed on Tue)