RamenPlay’s Seasonal Summer Menu

20 07 2012

I found myself heading back to RamenPlay at Nex to sample their Seasonal Summer Menu which will be available from 23 July till 30 September 2012. My previous tasting at RamenPlay last year had been positive one, where I discovered that chain restaurants can surprisingly offer quality rivaling standalone “authentic” ramen-yas.

For their summer menu, RamenPlay has introduced 3 new mains, 2 desserts and 2 drinks. Before digging into the new items however, we tried out some of their existing appetizers.

For fried chicken fans, do order the Mustard Chicken Salad. It’s a generous slab of chicken thigh that is fried to perfection, crisp on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside and yet doesn’t give off an excessively oily feel.

My favourite appetizer here is the Okura Mentai. Poached ladies fingers topped with mayo, cheese and cod roe and subsequently seared lightly for that nice char. Tiffany, one of the hosts for lunch, started raving on about how awesome mentaiko is. Her tip of the day: Go to Ikea, buy their Mentaiko paste which is sold in a tube form and squeeze onto bread as a spread.

The Bamboo Chicken is pretty good as well. Tender minced chicken is compacted into bamboo sticks and grilled to a lovely shade of golden brown. While some might cringe at using the raw egg yolk as a dip, I personally think that the creamy yolk goes really well with the chicken.

New Summer Menu Items

A slight deviation from the usual Tonkotsu, RamenPlay has come up with the Herbal Infused Tonkotsu Ramen. As the name suggests, herbs such as wolfberries, fennel seeds and dang gui (aka Chinese Angelica) are boiled with RamenPlay’s signature Tonkotsu broth to impart a mild herbal flavour. Garnished with Honshimeiji Mushrooms, Eringi Mushrooms, King Oyster Mushrooms, Cabbage, Braised Pork and a Prawn, this light tasting ramen is something I would desire when I’m down with a cold.

RamenPlay’s 2 other new mains are identical as they both employ the use of Umani Seafood Gravy. For the Umani Crispy Ramen Ishinabe, the Umani Seafood Gravy is poured over ramen that is flash-fried and for the Umani Rice Ishinabe, the Umani Gravy is poured over premium Nigata rice. The gravy is influenced by Chinese cooking styles and tastes somewhat similar to the oyster sauce gravy you would get in a claypot tofu dish. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very taken by these 2 mains as the gravy comes across as unexciting for us Chinese folks who have been eating zi char for a good part of our lives.

There are also 2 new desserts available, the Niigata Original Rice Ice Cream and Niigata Brown Rice Ice Cream. If you are into plain Vanilla Ice Cream, stick with the Original Rice Ice Cream which comes dotted with broken bits of rice in the ice cream.  But if you like a slightly grainier taste and coarser texture like how Pulau Hitam tastes like, the Brown Rice Ice Cream is for you.

The 2 new drinks available from the summer menu are the Yuzu Mojito and Lychee Mojito. The Lychee Mojito was a little too sweet for my liking but it seemed to be quite popular amongst the other guests at my table. I preferred the Yuzu Mojito because it was really refreshing with a citrus tang and light carbonation. There is also the option of spiking the drinks with soju for an extra kick.

It’s great that RamenPlay is innovating their dishes but overall, I still very much prefer the items on RamenPlay’s existing menu such as the Toroniku Double Soup Ramen, the Cha Shu Tonkotsu Ramen and the various appetizers.

Special Thanks to RamenPlay for the lunch invitation!

RamenPlay

23 Serangoon Central, #B2-58 Nex Mall

Tel: +65 6634 4089





Hanayoshi – A Lesson on Wagyu that I didn’t get to Eat

26 06 2012

It has been almost a year since I last met up with E but as they always say, better late than never. It was a friendship fostered in the days when revelry was the in thing, where both of us had the luxury of time and energy to groove on the mambo dance floor, a hobby that we used to share.

I picked Hanayoshi as our dinner spot. After all, online reviews were promising and the ability to survive in the competitive dining district of Tanjong Pagar/Outram already says quite a bit in itself. It was surprisingly quiet on this Saturday night though, with only 2 other tables being occupied excluding E and myself.

A word of advice from me. Make reservations to sit at the counter on the ground floor rather than on the 2nd floor. Firstly, you get a great view of the chef’s masterful cutting techniques and will probably get the chance to interact with the master during the meal, but most importantly, you also get to avoid the cramped 2nd level. The tables are packed so awfully close to one another in an enclosed area such that private conversations aren’t at all private. So there goes all the socially inappropriate jokes you could have cracked during the course of the meal, making one feel constipated holding so much crap in.

“Age” literally means deep-fried while “dashi” is a japanese soup stock, often made by simmering ingredients such as kelp, fish parts or mushrooms. Put together, an Agedashi Tofu simply refers to Fried Tofu in Dashi Sauce. No complaints about the ones here, but no glowing comments either. It’s just too standard fare that you already know what to expect.

We shared a serving of the Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab too which was decent but not amazing, as the crab meat tasted a bit flat, while the seasoning was on the salty side.

I really wanted to try the Wagyu and Sashimi Set but found out that they do not serve set meals during dinner. Dang, it would have been quite a steal for $42++. Yea, there’s the option of ordering a grilled piece of Wagyu but at $90 (if I recall correctly), it’s not quite as tempting. Why the stark difference in price you ask? Well, not all Wagyu are equal, some are more equal than others and I postulate that the $90 ones are just a tad more equal. So lesson to learn is not to swoon straight away when you see the words Wagyu and probe a little deeper into its marble score. Wagyu originated from Japan and just like every other Asian country, Asians love competition, scores and grades. As such, Wagyu is scored with a number between 1 to 12 based on factors such as the extent of marbling and colour of the meat, with 12 being the most premium. As a general guide, scores of 6 and above are already considered to be relatively good cuts of Wagyu. For the $90 cut of Wagyu here, the menu states it scores a 12. Time to swoon folks.

However, still being a student does have its limitations and I had to rein myself in, ordering the Chirashi ($45++) instead. Quite a good spread of fresh seafood like salmon, tuna, kingfish, swordfish, shrimp, uni and ikura but missing my favourite scallops 😦

E got herself the Udon Noodles in Hotpot and commented she could make it at home. There wasn’t any reason to doubt her. After all, she’s one of the 2 co-founders of Strictly Pancakes, Singapore’s first dedicated pancake cafe. Go support her shop if you can! Simple as it might seem, I have had some hotpots that would be difficult to replicate at home given the flavourful stock used. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say that this is one of them as it fades into mediocrity.

Given all the hype from the online community, I admit I expected better. The Chirashi is also giving me an Aoki craving.

Hanayoshi

21 Duxton Road

Tel: +65 6225 5567





The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay – What’s The Big Deal? Promotion

10 06 2012

Just an update on what this foodie has been up to recently:

It’s currently university holidays now so I’m interning at a private equity firm for 10 weeks and I’m currently in my 6th week now. I would say that the firm I am at is quite unconventional. While most private equity firms function with a high degree of corporate culture (since most of the partners and founders of such firms tend to come from an investment banking or consultancy background), the firm I’m at is pretty “creative”. I go to work in casual attire (tho a polo-t with jeans is the minimum I would tread) unless I have have a nice restaurant dinner scheduled that night (I hypothesize that service staff tend to treat me better in working attire than when I’m in casual attire). There’s a drum set, guitar, keyboard and amps in the meeting room where my colleagues sometimes jam (everyone is musically gifted except me), and sometimes we project youtube using the projector, where my colleagues will play to the beat and I will just sing along. I will be traveling with my colleagues to Korea in July for 5 days (which intern gets to travel overseas during their internship?!) so I’m quite excited as well, and since the trip falls on the last week of my internship, I’m considering extending my stay over there to travel around Korea a bit more since the last time I was there was a decade ago. After that, I will be heading down to Hong Kong, Macau and Hainan Island for a long relaxing 11 day trip till end July before I start school in mid-August.

Apart from internship, there are a few other reasons why my blog posts are coming out in a tad slower than expected. I just started taking up golf lessons with some friends. I’m finding it pretty fun but it takes up quite a bit of time since I try to go twice a week. I also pre-ordered Diablo 3 and am slowing making my way through the game as well. Overall, think summer hols is gg great for me so far 😀

Anyway, I visited The Square on 2 separate tastings as coincidentally, a tasting was also extended to SMU Gourmet Club (that I’m a part of) and I went a second time on behalf of the club, playing the role of the meal photographer, so I guess I have a pretty good idea of what’s good here. The buffet is priced at $38++ for Lunch (Everyday), $48++ for Dinner (Sun-Thurs) and $58++ for Dinner (BBQ nite, Fri-Sat).

Unlike The Line from Shangri la, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts or Triple Three from Meritus Mandarin, admittedly The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay isn’t very well known for their buffet and most of the patrons here are hotel guests. But with newly appointed Head Chef Jean-Philippe Couturier at the helm, has the buffet spread at The Square been rejuvenated?

I’m not a buffet person per-se. I used to be when I was younger, when the appeal of having free-flow sashimi was still there but now, the elements of authenticity and having freshly prepared dishes seems to take precedence so I have been slowing moving away from buffets. As such, dishes that I find decent here are in my mind, really laudable for buffet standards.

Currently, they are having the What’s the BIG Deal? promotion, where 3-4 BIG dishes are featured every night during dinner such as a variety of risottos cooked a la minute. This promotion lasts till the end of June. They also have an upcoming Father’s Day Special every weekend, where fathers get to dine for free with every 4 dining persons.

On the buffet line, there’s a selection of appetizers to choose from, such as assorted sushi, salmon and tuna sashimi, potato and pasta salad, oysters, chilled prawns & shellfish, brie cheese, club sandwiches, seaweed, golden coin bak kua, ham and parma ham just to name a few.

The Roast Beef at the carving station is pretty good but it requires diners to carve it themselves. Although the intention might have been good, to ensure that the beef does not dry up when left in the open for too long, few people actually take the effort to carve the meat themselves and end up missing out on this splendid roast.

As mentioned above, some of the “big dishes” will be prepared a la minute, with the risottos being one of them. On my first visit, I tucked into the Seafood Risotto which I found rather pedestrian. If only there was a pure-scallop risotto (I’m sure they can whip it up), scallops are my favourite!

However, on my second visit, I received a Vegetable Risotto which came with a side of Parma Ham. I thought this was much better executed than the seafood risotto and something I might consider ordering again. The cheesiness was balanced well with the the hint of tomatoes puree and basil pesto and if the parma ham served with the risotto isn’t enough, just head down to the buffet line to get a refill.

Ironically, my favourite main here is only available from the ala carte menu, the Poached Cod Fillet in Spicy Coconut and Prawn Broth, served with Sauteed Vegetables and Chicken Rice ($34++). The gravy tastes like a creamy sweet laksa sauce with a little more concentration and richness than the usual laksa gravy. This is fusion done right.

The Laksa prepared at their live cooking station falls short when compared to the cod dish. The gravy is a tad too spicy and not as smooth as what you can get from the reputable hawker like Katong Laksa.

The buffet line also features a vast array of other international and local dishes. Other dishes that I found palatable were the Fried Kuey Teow which had a nice “wok hei” character and the Curry Mutton.

As for desserts, the Chocolate Mousse with Mint Chocolate (left of bottom pic) is clearly unrivaled. It is so darn good and chocolatey that it was the only dessert I took that I left none for the ants. Seriously, save stomach space for at least 2 of this, or maybe 3 because it’s the star of the buffet. I would even come back specifically for this if it was served ala-carte. The Green Tea Panna Cotta (bottom left of bottom pic) is not bad as well.

Overall, I would say that the buffet is priced at fair value. The selection and quality might not be as good as some of the more renowned buffet restaurants in Singapore, justifying the more affordable buffet prices at The Square but there are definitely a few gems here that are waiting to be discovered. Coupled with the current What’s the Big Deal promotion, it might just be worth dropping by.

On a random note, guests who stay in the “executive rooms” of Novotel Clarke Quay also get access to their premier lounge, where they get complimentary food and booze (wine included), plus a great view (bottom) from the private balconies in the lounge. I believe the executive rooms are around $60/night more expensive than the standard rooms, so I think its quite a good deal to just upgrade since you get a larger room and I’m pretty sure most of us can guzzle $60 worth of booze a night easily.

Special thanks to Novotel and John for hosting an enjoyable evening.

The Square

177A River Valley Road, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay Level 7

Tel: +65 6433 8790





Sweet Salty Spicy – But Mainly Spicy

18 05 2012

SSS is a Thai eatery that dishes up a wide variety of Thai delights in a casual setting.  As it is owned by the same operator and shares its premises with Cafe Epicurious (Rail Mall), diners get the benefit of mixing and matching their food orders between the 2 restaurants. Xinli from the the4Moose (you can view his review of SSS here) and myself were down for a tasting session about a week ago where we managed to chat with the chef/owner for a bit. Coming from a Caucasian background, we were puzzled as to why the he (who requests not to be named) would want to operate a Thai eatery and he mentioned that apart from having some friends who run reputable Thai restaurants in Sydney (Sailor’s Thai) and London (1-star Michelin restaurant Nahm), he felt that there was a major market gap in Singapore’s mid-end Thai restaurants. You can more easily find either affordable Thai eateries such as Ah Loy Thai and Nakhon Kitchen or the fine dining restaurants such as Patara Fine Thai Cuisine and Jim Thomson.

We started off the meal with the Tasting Platter, which comprised of 4 appetizers from the menu. Of the 4, 2 were note-worthy, the Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Chili Jam & Lemongrass Dressing and the SSS Crispy Rice Cakes with a Warm Chicken & Prawn Chili Dip, and are items that I would order again on future visits. The crabs are meaty and flavourful, and the chili jam was more of a curry cream sauce. The Traditional Prawn & Vegetable Rice Rolls with a sweet Tamarind Dressing & Crispy Garlic looked like sushis’ but apart from the beancurd, it was difficult to located any other flavours. “Miang” is a traditional street snack originating from Thailand and Laos, meaning “food wrapped in leaves”. How it is made is quite flexible as different types of leaves and fillings can be used. The ones offered at SSS use fillings of Prawns & Pomelo on Betal Leaves with a Palm Tamarind Dressing & Crispy Garlic. You are supposed to eat it in one mouthful but that is definitely not easy and it’s quite easy to mess up (as I did) and the dressing can end up all over your hand if you are not careful.

I would have loved to have some Thai Iced Tea, since the meal was course after course of spicy and curried dishes. Milk is one of the few drinks than can alleviate spiciness because of a compound present in it called casein. It effectively disengages capsaicin, a compound that gives off the spicy taste, from your mouth and helps to wash it away. There was no such option on the menu though so I settled for the Lemongrass Juice.

If I’m correct, the Thai name for the Spicy Chicken & Coconut Broth infused with Thai Blue Ginger, Kaffir, Lime & Lemongrass ($10++) is Tom Yum Kai. Nothing very exciting about the dish as the chicken thigh meat was rubbery though the sour tang of the tom yum was a great lead up to the mains.

The Deep Fried Silken Tofu Stuffed with Fresh Crab, Coriander & Minced Pork ($18++) is a bit overpriced to me. Eating the tofu without the accompanying thai chili sauce, you can definitely taste the fresh crab meat but the tofu might be a little bland for some. For me, I thought the milder flavours of this dish was greatly desired amidst all the pungent spices present in Thai cuisine.

Excluding any curries found in the appetizer or noodles section of the menu, there are 5 other types of curries available at SSS. For first timers who do not know which one is their appeals to their palates, I’d suggest opting for the Curry Triplets, which as the name suggests, allows diners to pick 3 of the 5 curries in small tasting portions. For Xinli and myself, we tried the Roast Duck Red Curry with Seedless Grapes & Fried Shallots, Green Curry of Baby Snapper with Apple Eggplants & Holy Basil and Jungle Curry of Scallops & Prawns with Long Green Beans & Sweet Thai Basil ($20++ inclusive of Jasmine Rice). My favourite of the 3 was the Jungle Curry because the prawns were really springy and I’m a huge fan of scallops as well. The jungle curry tasted a little like a belachan chili sauce, reminiscent of what you might find being fried with long beans at a nasi lemak stall. An interesting fact about jungle curry is that no coconut milk is normally used for this dish, as you would not expect to find coconut trees in the Thai jungles. The Green Curry was decent but slightly watered down.

I found the curry in the Chiang Mai Curried Noodle with Chicken & Mustard Greens ($12++) tasting a bit like sweet laksa gravy. It’s rather spicy on its own, but diners will also be given a dip made using sesame oil and spices which you can dip the noodles in. For some reason, the dip makes the noodles more fragrant and quells the spiciness to an optimal level. Personally, I find it a bit too rich to have it all by myself though so I would advocate sharing this.

I was really quite stuffed by now but it just felt inappropriate not to try any of SSS’s Thai desserts, so Xinli and myself shared the Black Sticky Rice with Cashews. In Singapore and Malaysia, we usually refer to this as Pulut Hitam but in Thailand, it is known as Khao niao dam. In retrospect, this was definitely too heavy a dessert so I gave up after 2 mouthfuls since it was very standard fare.

Special thanks to SSS for the kind invitation!

Sweet Salty Spicy

392/394 Upper Bukit Timah Road, The Rail Mall

Tel: +65 6877 2544





Charly T’s – Spreading its Wings

10 04 2012

This was an invited tasting by Charly T’s.

SMU students should know Charly T’s well. After all, its flagship outlet has been operating at NOMU (besides The Cathay) since December 2009. Having patronized them 3 times and counting, I’m no stranger. In my humble opinion, they do a mean roast chicken, one that is way better than Kenny Rogers. So last week, I headed down to their new outlet at 112 Katong (also known as I want to Katong) to check out their latest offerings.

Apart from their signature rotisserie-style chicken, the menu features many other items that are inspired from Charly T’s (the owner’s nickname) travels around the globe, though I’d regard them as mere peripherals compared to what Charly T’s is best known for.

Charly T’s I12 Katong restaurant seats approximately 100 in total, including an 8-seater private dining room designed to reflect Charly T’s eclectic heritage.  With the addition of “Charly’s Porch”, an open-air porch which seats up to 24, guests can watch “live” sports matches on a 60” widescreen, a perfect spot to unwind at night over a selection of house wines, beers and cocktails. For more booze for your buck, head down before 7pm to enjoy their happy hour rates.

Charly T honed his mixology skills while working in London at the popular Lamb and Flag Pub. He nearly lost his job as his fresh juice concoctions were favored over the pubs’ other spirited beverages. These refreshing juice Odysseys ($6.50++) are now available at Charly T’s, with options such as the Green Flash (a mix of green apple, orange and pineapple) and Red Tang (a mix of strawberry, cranberry and lychee). Ironically, I found the Green Flash a lot more tangy than the Red Tang, especially since sour green apple juice is used as the base. Between the 2, I’d go for the Red Tang.

Charly T’s love for Rotisserie Chicken was first conceived in Hamburg, where he grew up in. His signature dish comes in 4 flavours, priced at $13-$15 for a quarter chicken with 2 sides, $24-$27 for half a chicken with 3 sides and $42-$46 for a whole chicken with 4 sides. In line with its new outlet opening, Charly T’s has conceptualized 2 new flavours (Black Pepper and Kansas City BBQ), adding on to the previous 2 (Original and Kampong). Amongst the differing flavours, I felt that the main difference lies in the chicken skin rather than the meat, where the infusion of flavours from the marinate is most apparent, especially since the chickens are marinated for a whooping 13 hours before being slowed-cooked rotisserie style. What you get thereafter is a crisp exterior and juicy meat one can never find in a Cold Storage Roast Chicken.

4 Sauces came with the chicken (from top left clockwise): Chimichurri (A traditional Moroccan sauce of cilantro, garlic and cayenne pepper sauce and our favourite based on general consensus), Sesame, Hot Sauce and BBQ. The chicken is good enough to be eaten nude though, especially when it comes out of the grill piping hot.

To complete the meal, guests can choose from a delightful range of side dishes such as the German Potato Salad, Fresh Vegetables, Macaroni & Cheese and Butter Garlic Rice, which comes as sides to complement the savoury chicken. The sides are available as ala carte orders as well at $4++ per portion.

The Kalua Pork ($16++) from Honolulu, is a spin-off of an indispensable dish found at Hawaiian luaus or feasts. Giving off a hint of smoky flavour, the pork belly is well marinated and slow-cooked. However, I felt that the pork meat was rather stringy and too lean for my liking.

The Chicken Schnitzel Burger ($14++) commemorates Charly T’s many visits to Vienna during his mid-teens. An Austrian-German staple, the dish features an escalope-style chicken coated in bread crumbs, fried till golden brown, and served with a helping of CT fries. The breaded chicken fillets are generously portioned, and rather succulent for breast meat.

I had some issues with the CT Beef Burger ($10.50++) as the beef patty was much too chewy and bland. Its saving grace is that it comes with a side of nachos that goes really well with the hot sauce.

For Dessert, I’d recommend the Apple Strudel ($8++), which is served with a scoop of either French Vanilla ice cream or Hazelnut Brownie ice cream. We opted for the Hazelnut Brownie which I felt could be better if it were richer, creamier and more chocolatey. The apple strudel was really good though, very crispy like a spring roll with saccharine caramelized apple fillings.

We also find Kaiserschmarrn ($14++) being served here. An Austrian German dessert, Kaiserschmarrn, loosely translated means Emperor’s Mishmash and there is actually a story behind this which you can easily find on the web. It is a type of warm and fluffy caramelized pancake sprinkled with powdered sugar, raisins and served with a generous scoop of French Vanilla ice cream. I would suggest sharing this since it can get a little too doughy and starchy after a while.

Overall, some hits and misses. For the risk averse, sticking to their signature roast chickens are your best bet.

Special thanks to Charly T’s for hosting this meal.

Charly T’s

112 East Coast Road, #03-15 I12 Katong

Tel: +65 6636 4701





Shin Yuu Japanese Restaurant II – Higher Expectations, Lower Standards

11 02 2012

The last time I visited Shin Yuu was 2 years back. In my view at that time, it was one of the best ala-carte Japanese Buffets around for its price range of about $50. I knew of some friends who loved it so much that they visited it on three consecutive weeks after discovering it. My lastest visit though, confirmed rumours that standards have since fallen.

However, I wouldn’t consider it a wasted trip since this was a SMU Gourmet Club event and I only paid $20 for the lunch buffet, the remainder being subsidized by school/club funds. The usual price for Lunch Buffet is $36.90++, while Dinner Buffet is priced at $49.90++. The buffet menu is essentially the same for lunch and dinner and the only difference would be the one-time only (premium) orders that are served at the start of the meal.

Personally, I’m not really the buffet sort. I hate having to sieve through mounds and mounds of dishes just to find a few semi-decent ones, not to mention most non ala-carte buffets have their dishes being left out for god knows how long, compromising on quality and freshness. Fortunately for us, such problems wasn’t faced at Shin Yuu since it’s an ala-carte buffet and dishes are freshly prepared upon order.

We first had a one-time only order of Seared Minced Tuna Belly Sushi and Smoked Duck (seen in background). The tuna sushi is pretty good and I would have ordered seconds if it wasn’t a premium item, but don’t go expecting to taste much of the tuna belly though as the savoury sauce more or less conceals its taste. The Shin Yuu Special Aburi Special (in foreground, multiple orders allowed) is in essence a seared salmon sushi coated with a layer of mentaiko sauce. This combination works and I had multiple orders. I have to say the minced tuna sushi and salmon aburi sushis are probably my Shin Yuu favourites.

Just a meme that I made to complement this post. We know this is too true.

The Sashimi Moriawase aka Mixed Sashimi Platter included slices of Salmon, Tuna, Swordfish, Kingfish and Octopus Sashimi. The sashimi tasted rather muted and barely thawed (especially the swordfish), but this is to be expected of buffet standards.

Tamago Nigiri Sushi

Had I not been so full already, I would have probably enjoyed the Shin Yuu Special Sakana Chiizu (“Dory Fish topped with Cheese”) a whole lot more. I had a few rich dishes and by the time I reached this dish, the excessive cheese coating came across as much too cloying. The dory is fried well though with a nice light crispy batter.

The Ika Sugatayaki (“Squid with Sweet Soy Sauce”) suffered a case of over-grilling, such that it became too tough to chew in some areas. You can probably skip this.

While friend C commented that the Buta Misoyaki (Pork Loin with Miso Sauce) had an overly porky taste, I thought it was fine as the thick miso sauce helped to mask the gamey scent she had mentioned. I’m a sucker for fatty pork dishes anyways.

One of the better dishes from Shin Yuu, I found the Hotate Mentaiyaki (Grilled Scallops with Cod Roe Sauce) pretty fresh, with the scallops having a nice springy texture.

The Saba Shioyaki (Mackerel with Salt) comes across as very average to me, probably not much different from what you can get at a nice Japanese food court stall. The one at Kaiho Sushi, ah that’s one to be remembered.

The Ebi Tempura is something worth ordering too. The prawns aren’t as sweet as I would have liked but it’s fried nicely, with the batter remaining crisp for a noticeably lengthy period when it was left on my table.

The Shin Yuu Special Ebi Miso Mayo Yaki (“Prawns with Miso and Mayonnaise Sauce”, left of picture) is one of my favourite items on the menu. It arrives looking like an orh lua (oyster omelette) with a slight outer crisp of fried cheesy mayo that is really yummy. On the other hand, the Tebasaki (“Grilled Chicken Wing”) is glazed in a sweet sauce and proves to be simple comfort food.

The most disappointing dish today was the Kuruma Ebi Teriyaki (“Tiger Prawn with Sweet Soy Sauce”). The prawns had a fishy odour, so much so that I left it untouched after a small nibble.

The Wafu Tenderloin Steak (left) is forgettable as well. The beef isn’t marbled, nor is the sauce remarkable enough to warrant an extra order. I liked the Spare Ribs Teriyaki (right) though, the pork is well marinated, tender and falls off the bone easily. As for the Grilled Salmon Head (background), you can just give it a miss as well.

I really love Kani Karaage (Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab) but the ones here lack flavour. The crabs lack its natural sweetness and I tasted more batter than crab.

The Shin Yuu Speicial Chawanmushi with Salmon Roe is competently done here, exceeding expectations. The egg is light and smooth, lacking any discernable air bubbles. The Shin Yuu Special Makimono (“Unagi with Avocado Sushi”) would have been better if they were more generous with the eel.

One of my grouses here was that the sushi tends to have less ingredients and more rice as lunch progresses on. All in all, compared to the time I last visited 2 years ago, I’m now finding it hard to think of a good reason to come back and at the lunch price of around $45, I’d rather settle for a simple lunch set at reputable Japanese restaurants elsewhere. For buffet lovers however, it might possibly be worthwhile to drop by Shin Yuu if you are around the area.

Bon Appetit!

Shin Yuu Japanese Restaurant

16 Greenwood Avenue, Hillcrest Park

Tel: +65 6763 4939





Pierside @ One Fullerton

28 12 2011

There is a sheer abundance of discount coupon websites nowadays like Groupon, deal.com.sg, VoucherWow etc, and while I used to be intrigued by them initially, the novelty has worn off somewhat. Apart from the more common holiday and spa coupons, some of these websites do offer coupons for restaurant meals as well, often including a glowing excerpt of the restaurant and a brief overview of its dining concept on its website. Using such a website, my friend C had purchased $170 of food credits at Pierside (using $100) and invited me along. Personally though, I have never trusted these excerpts, I mean, why would a restaurant offer a discount unless it’s not doing well enough the draw in a crowd? Hence, despite a very promising menu (avail on their online website), I kept expectations in check just in case.

We were first served a complimentary amuse bouche of marinated fish. While it looked rather dry, it tasted surprisingly good, with a taste and texture resembling unagi in a light kabayaki dressing, though springier.

As excessively greedy individuals, we figured getting a Plateau De Fruits De Mer ($60++) consisting half a Maine Lobster, 3 Rock Oysters, Prawn Cocktail, Tuna Tataki, Cured Salmon, Baby Octopus, New Zealand Green Shell Mussels, Venus Clams & Brown Spotted Shrimp provided more flexibility and utility than any other appetizer on the menu. Sadly, we found the platter slightly underwhelming, pulled down by the stale deep fried shrimps that had been left to air for too long, the lackluster tuna tataki and salmon as well as the tasteless lobster lacking its natural sweetness. However, I did enjoy the Rock Oysters which starts off briny before a gentle sweet undertone hits you, as well as the fresh prawns.

The Pan Roasted Foie Gras on Toasted Brioche, Aged Port & Prune ($28++) turned our moods around as the portion was pretty generous, not to mention it’s also one of the better ones I have had. Forget about the Brioche and just savour the wobbly livers in its unadulterated glory. Eating the pineapple at punctuated intervals does help to relieve the unctuous nature of the foie gras too.

The Char Grilled Organic Pork Rack with Fava Beans, Compressed Granny Smith & Green Mustard Grain ($38++) fared averagely as some portions of the pork was a little to lean for my liking but I like how the poached sweet apple (under the round piece of meat)  goes well with the pork. The round piece of fried meat (which the server said was a roulade though it doesn’t look it) was bad, way overfried and utterly dry. We left that untouched after an initial bite.

From what I read on Hungrygowhere, the Oven Roasted Miso Cod with Minted Pea Puree($33++) seems to be a popular item here. It’s not bad but I would have preferred if more miso marinate was used as the flavours comes across as slightly too mild, especially since the sweet miso flavours was retained almost entirely on the cod surface and failed to infuse into the cod flesh. If you read food blogs often enough, you might have come across a Miso Cod that is most highly acclaimed in Singapore. The one I’m thinking of is the Miso Cod at Restaurant Ember, currently my favourite restaurant for a set lunch. Coincidentally, I’m going to be lunching there tomorrow, ready to be spoiled once more. Yay!

I was too full for desserts, partially because I had downed 2 pots of their herbal camomile tea as I was having a sore throat. Overall, I guess what you pay is what you get. While I would not rate the food as stellar, the full view of MBS makes up somewhat for it.

Bon Appetit!

Pierside Kitchen & Bar

1 Fullerton Road, #01-01 One Fullerton

Tel: +65 6438 0400








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