Monday, July 28, 2014

STREET 50 National Day Buffet Highlights

I have reviewed the food at STREET 50 located at Bay Hotel a few times. It is one of the interesting places, a bit out of the way, but usually one which can be depended on for a nice, quiet meal.

For National Day, they have, for only August 9, a special buffet. I was invited to do a tasting of the highlights. Many thanks to Wanzhen of Craft Communications for the invitation and hosting the delightful dinner.

To start off, we had Tiger Prawns with warm ginger sauce

Beautifully fresh tiger prawns were marinaded in ginger juice and steamed. A helping of home made ginger sauce is ladled atop, and served. The prawns were fresh, and crunchy...and had a nice aromatic kick due to the ginger. Simple but delicious.

We then had the experience of the chef's local favourites with a twist...steamed hainanese chicken rice...but served with breaded chicken rice balls.

As can be seen, the chicken is almost bog standard...nicely done, cooked just so...the meat was tender and juicy...and passes muster, but hardly original or interesting. 

What made the dish interesting was instead of just chicken rice balls, a la those served in Malacca and in one restaurant in Square 2, the rice balls, made from chicken rice, was breaded, and lightly fried. The outer crust of the bread crumbs were crispy, and the chicken rice within rich, bursting with flavour, and still very moist. I found the chilli which is made from tomato chutney to be quite piquant and uplifting as well, though like many dishes in this tasting (and earlier tasting) to be a tad sweet...not too sweet, but on the sweet side of neutral. I guess the chef has a predisposition towards a sweet palate.

The next dish blew my mind. Penne with chilli crab sauce

Absolutely my favourite for the evening. The penne was cooked perfectly - al dente, and very nice. The sauce was something else. Sweet, slightly sour and powerfully spicy, with a touch of sweetness. The crab meat added another dimension and a depth to the taste. The dish is prepared a la minute, as pasta dishes should, and definitely a must try.

The spread on the buffet is quite substantial, but these were the highlights. Other dishes on the buffet spread are dishes like braised sea cucumber with baby abalone, fried scallop cake with yam, bak kut teh, Teochew braised duck and their popular durian pengat:

Crepe, like those prepared in a French styled Creperie, wrapping a cold dollop of pure durian, a dash of gula melaka makes this a beautiful dish to was the meal down with a sweet note. 

The National Day Buffet is only for August 9, and is priced at S$49++ for adults with a complimentary Singapore Sling, and for every 3 paying adults, the fourth pays only S$4.90++. Children at S$25++ will come with a complimentary Merlion Swing mocktail.

STREET 50 Restaurant & Bar
Bay Hotel Singapore
50 Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 098828
Tel: +65 6818 6681
Opening Hours: 6am – 4am

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Madrina Pizza at Queens Road

Pasta...who can resist it? The bane of weight watchers because it packs a wallop of carbohydrates. But I love it...

And use the excuse of my cycling as the need to eat plenty of carbs. In this review, I want to touch on one of our go to places for pasta, mainly because it is very near to our home, but also it is quite good, and we love the quiet ambience on weekdays.

My standard to judge pasta places is the deceptively simple aglio olio...just spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic, chilli and some herbs. I usually add some prawns as it goes particularly well with the aglio olio.

Simple dish, yet deceptively difficult. The pasta must be done just right, al dente. The virgin olive oil sufficient, but not too much as it will make the dish greasy. The bits of garlic, chopped parsley were nice, fragrant. And the prawns were superb. Very fresh, crunchy, sweet and tasty.

Kin had her spaghetti carbonara

To our taste too! The pasta was al dente as with the aglio olio. And the sauce was quite rich, it should be. The crispy bacon bits and shards of parmigiano completed the dish. We loved it! In true Italian style, the sauce was to be enough to stick to the pasta and no more. Too many Italian places in Singapore leave a pool of sauce after one finishes the pasta. This is not how it is meant to Italy, the sauce is to accompany the pasta, so it needs to be enough, and not too much. 

When Edwards eats with us, these days he is serving his NS...we needed another dish...and to mix things up, we tried (for the first time after years eating here, we always had the pastas...but we tried this time) the pizza.

Pizza with cooked parma ham, with plenty of rucola leaves. We lapped it up too...for some reason, the cooking just suits our taste. The bread was thin, crispy on the bottom, and only slightly fluffy...not chewy at all. The toppings were very good, and the ham was very nice. We found the rucola a bit much, but I am not one to complain about that, as I love it just as a salad.

For us, this little restaurant just works. I try not to compare it to the other Italian restuarants I have eaten, but I dare say it compares well. We will return for many more meals there.
Daily: 11:30 - 14:30
Daily: 17:30 - 22:00

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice in Changi Village

Interesting name for a shop which is in Changi Village. I don't quite know the origins of the shop, but I would imagine it was in Tiong Bahru at one time in history.

But all the historical aspects is useless if the chicken rice is not good. And as they say, for a good chicken rice, the rice, the chilli and the chicken must pass that order.

And this chicken rice meets all the criteria, with room to spare. The rice is beautifully fragrant, not greasy, but fragrant infused with chicken fat...not too starchy, nice and chewy as I like it...a bit on the al dente side. 

The chilli is marvellous. That's why I have surrounded the plate with a moat of chilli. Piquant, slightly sour, slightly salty, very spicy. Magnificent.

And the chicken is also beautiful. This single plate version with skinless breast meat...sometimes breast meat can be a bit tough and dry. But not this one...moist, very nice. Fragrant, savoury. 

Excellent plus plus. Highly recommended.

Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice
5 Changi Village Road

Monday, July 14, 2014

Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng Chicken and BBQ Restaurant in Ngee Ann City

I make no secret of my fondness with the food from Crystal Jade chain of restaurants. From their Hong Kong styled dim sum, to fine dining, and the Korean styled restaurant reviewed here.

Celebratigf its 10th year, the Korean restaurant has moved to a new location at Basement 2 of Ngee Ann City. I went for a tasting of the main dishes, many thanks to Crystal Jade's Samantha for hosting and JJ for invitation.

As a starter, 6 different types of Korean appetizers...but here are my favourites: the Stewed Top Grade Beef Ribs

This is my absolute favourite amongst the dishes tasted that afternoon. The beef is Australian prime beef ribs are tenderly braised for several hours with rock sugar, pepper, sesame, red dates, ginger, garlic, apples, pears, carrots and radish. With the slow simmering, the meat is cooked over the low heat and is very tender, while full of flavour. Absolutely delicious. The radish has also absorbed the beef flavours very well and is very tasty.

Of course, the namesake Korean Ginseng chicken

An absolute favourite in Korea, especially during the summer months, this dish is known for its ability to provide stamina and strength to endure the long, hot months. A fresh young chicken is stuffed with glutinous rice, red dates and ginko nuts, and simmered in ginseng water and Korean ginseng. The pot is sealed and steamed for 1.5 hours before combined with a rich chicken stock and boiled slowly for a further 3 hours. 

The taste is marvellous. The meat and rice is aromatic, and the chicken is very tender, while still retaining the flavour. The ginseng root itself was a bit bitter but on the palate gives way to a light sweetness characteristic of ginseng. Very nice.

We also the BBQ.

Shown above, my favourite which is marinated beef short ribs. Marinated over 3 hours in a secret recipe, then broilled over a gas fire for a short while. Very tender, and flavourful. I preferred the stewed short ribs, but this is quite good too.

And a beautiful dessert to end the meal

Known as "baesuk" in Korea as a remedy for colds and coughs, the Crystal Jade version is made the traditional Chinese way with whole snow pears double boiled with chuan bei, dried longans and rock sugar. The chuan bei is a traditional Chinese medicine to treat dry coughs. In the cold version we were served, it was a fitting end to a beautiful meal, refreshing and nourishing. 

Excellent meals to be had. The braised beef ribs will keep me coming back for more...eaten with just a bowl of steamed rice...magnificent. Highly recommended.

Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng Chicken and BBQ Restaurant
Mon - Fri: 11:00 - 15:00
Mon - Fri: 17:30 - 23:00
Sat, Sun & PH: 11:00 - 23:00

Monday, July 7, 2014

More Prawn Mee: Joo Chiat Prawn Mee

One of the older prawn mee stalls around, and as I understand a spin off run by the daughter of the famous Beach Road stall, this little stall is tucked in a quiet residential street near Joo Chiat.

It came highly recommended for the flavourful soup and the tender pork while I tend to order only prawns for my prawn noodles, I tried the pork rib version this time.

I was not disappointed. The broth is old school...very tasty, bursting of umami, and very flavourful. The prawns were quite large, fresh and sweet, nice bite, and very tasty. The pork ribs were very tender...almost cliche fork tender, and rather nice. The deep fried shallots and pork lard crisps complete the ensemble, making it wonderfully aromatic and very tasty. The noodles were cooked the soft side of a bit over, but not too much, and still had some life in it to have some bite.

Overall, a nice bowl of prawn noodles. The soup, which it was famous for, however I feel is bested by the Penang Kia at Compassvale. The broth there was more robust, even more flavourful. But Joo Chiat Prawn Mee deserves a recommendation.

Closed on Tue, Wed to Mon: 7:30 am - 3:00 pm