[Berlin, Germany] Tim Raue – Asian Fusion Confusion

5 01 2014

Food aside, Tim Raue has the unlikely makings of a Michelin 2-Star restaurant. First off, the entrance of the restaurant does not face the main street but is hidden in a nondescript courtyard (or parking lot, euphemisms aside). I initially wondered if I had accidentally stumbled into a residential premise as I navigated my way in. Secondly, the staff while friendly and professional, are all given standard issue sneakers (think White Converses) to match their formal blazers. Well, hot pink blazers for the gals doesn’t scream formal. Lastly, the ambiance of the restaurant doesn’t scream fine-dining with its rather minimalistic oak decor. That said, I gladly embraced the obvious attempts to downplay the fine-dining aspect of the restaurant and immediately felt more at home.

I was first given a set of complimentary appetizers (Curried Cashews, Pickles in Wasabi Sauce, Japanese Cucumbers, Seaweed wrapped in Daikon) to nibble on while deciding on my courses.

I opted for a 3-Course Lunch, priced at 38 Euros, which was very much a steal and prompted my visit in the first place. Diners are allowed to choose from a list of appetizers, mains and desserts to make up the 3 courses regardless of the category, meaning that you can effectively order 3 mains. Do note that certain items on the menu do require additional supplements of between 8 to 12 Euros.

If 3-Courses isn’t enough or if you want to take the rare opportunity to try more things on the menu, additional courses can be added for 10 Euros each.

For starters, I had the Dim Sum “Partridge, Mache and Black Truffle” which I found pretty disappointing. The dumpling skin was much too thick and doughy in my view, while the black truffle sauce was excruciating savoury and overwhelmed the subtle partridge.

For main, I had the Peking Duck Interpretation (additional supplement of 12 Euros), a signature dish of the restaurant. It came as an ensemble of 3 items to be eaten in succession, starting with the Crispy Duck Breast over Bread Stuffed with Apples and Leek, followed by the Duck Liver Terrine with Leek & Ginger Mousse and ending off with the Duck Consomme with Duck Heart, Stomach and Tongue. In larger portions, this could have been a meal in itself which I would have gladly accepted.

Of the trio, I found the soup to be the most interesting, tasting like a blend of very rich turtle soup and braised duck sauce from Singapore hawker stalls. It was my first time having duck tongue and I thought it was pretty awesome, possessing a texture of smooth duck skin without the ensuing fattiness.

For dessert, I had the Mango, Vanilla & Kardamon. Kardamon is a type of plant similar to Ginger and I believe it was used to make the little meringue balls. Didn’t quite see how it fitted into the overall picture though. Overall, the dessert was pleasant but nothing to shout about. The aesthetics was probably the highlight of the dish.

I was also given a complimentary dessert of Iced Apple with Coriander Cream, which came together with the bill. Oddly, there also seemed to be Shredded Purple Cabbage inside, which I found to be superfluous and should be left at the doner kebap stands.

In one word, the whole experience here was interesting. Interesting is an interesting adjective because it hardly describes whether something had turned out great or bloody horrendous. For me, the food and staff outfits were interesting, with some courses bordering on unusual rather than tasty. Frankly for the price paid, I held greater expectations.

Tim Raue

Rudi-dutschke-str 26

Tel: +49 30 2593 7930

[Amsterdam, Holland] – Of Pancakes, English Breakfasts and Chinese Roast Meats

20 11 2013

While there are many coffeeshops in Amsterdam, not many actually sell coffee so it was great that we managed to find a decent cafe called Greenwoods that served a proper English Breakfast. I’d imagine it would be a great way to perk yourself up after a visit to the coffeeshop that does not sell coffee.

Ground Floor of Greenwoods

I had the Full English Breakfast (9.95 Euros), comprising two eggs with bacon, sausages, grilled mushrooms & tomato, baked beans and toast while friend JS had the Eggs Royale (8.95 Euros), comprising two poached eggs with smoked salmon on toasted English muffins topped with Hollandaise.

My toast was crisp but at the same time rather airy, the grilled mushrooms were flavourful, the eggs poached to perfection and the Hollandaise sauce rich and smooth. Nothing short of excellent.

Full English Breakfast

Eggs Royale

Another plus point was that while the cafe was pretty popular, the staff were uber friendly and I never once felt rushed during the meal.

Another cafe that’s hugely popular and also worth visiting is The Pancake Bakery, which has the widest selection of pancakes I have ever seen. Initially I was a little bummed, mainly because I perceive a restaurant with a wide menu selection as a jack of all trades but master of none. Thankfully, I was painfully mistaken this time around.

Question marks all around whenever someone asks about what foods are authentically Dutch. Well, something I learnt from this trip is that the Dutch invented a type of mini-pancake called Poffertjes. We had the Poffertjes with Honey, Nuts, Mandarins and Whipped Cream (7.10 Euros) and it was wonderful. Compared to the other pancakes we had here, this one was more on the fluffy side, with the texture of hotcakes but with a lighter body and less floury taste.

If you like Hawaiian Pizza, then you will surely love the Pineapple and Bacon Pancake (9.95 Euros). It was my favourite of the 3 pancakes we ordered. The bacon wasn’t overly salty and there was a pleasant smoky tinge (from the bacon) lingering within the batter.

Pancake with Apples, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Cinnamon Liquor and Whipped Cream (12.15 Euros)

Having had to skip lunch to make it for a bicycle tour of the city, we were pretty famished when it was over and couldn’t wait for our pancakes to arrive. So while waiting, we had some Taco Chips with Melted Cheese and Chili Sauce (4.65 Euros) to nibble on. Was appreciative that the cafe took the effort to toast the chips before serving.

For tourists, do remember to flash your Holland Pass to enjoy a drink on the house.

Zaanse Schans Windmill Village

PS: This advice is mainly for Asians in Europe hankering after a decent Roast Meat and Roast Duck Rice. Say goodbye to 4 Seasons in London, Amsterdam’s Nam Kee is the place to be for Roast Meats. It might just run some stalls out of business if it ever opened shop in Singapore.

Nam Kee

Zeedijk 113, 1012 AV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 624 3470

The Pancake Bakery

Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 625 1333

Greenwoods English Tea Room & Restaurant

Keizersgracht 465, Amsterdam 1017 DK, Netherlands

Tel: +31 20 420 4330

Equinox @ Swissotel – Restaurant Week Lunch

21 03 2013

It’s Restaurant Week again and as usual, I went into a rabid booking frenzy when seats were released. It’s not like I have the time to eat 4 Restaurant Week meals but guess I’m still a true blue Singaporean at heart, scared to lose out when there’s a queue. So while I had rather hard-to-get reservations at Basilico, Brasserie les Savuers and Keystone Restaurant over the course of the week, I had to drop them all, leaving me with just a sole lunch date at the highly acclaimed Equinox @ Swissotel.

Just a bit of advice from me. While the goal of Restaurant Week is to allow would-be diners to sample restaurants’ offerings at more affordable prices, not all restaurant week menus are value for money, so it pays to do some basic research first. For example during the Oct 2012 installment of restaurant week, I actually noted a restaurant that charged $40++ for their restaurant week lunch menu, which was just a truncated version of their normal set lunch menu, meaning diners had to pay more for less choices of appetizers, mains and desserts! Thankfully, that same restaurant isn’t guilty of that this time around (but that’s because they increased the price of their normal set lunch).

Equinox is probably one of the more value for money restaurant participants for restaurant week as the restaurant week menu ($40++) doesn’t deviate much from their usual set lunch ($59++). Their lunch menu comes in the form of a semi-buffet, meaning that appetizers and desserts are buffet style while diners can order 1 main (from 3 choices) off the menu.

Given that my expectations of the buffet was along the lines of a salad bar in Pizza Hut (I do exaggerate sometimes), I was pleasantly surprised by the spread. There were appetizers like Shrimp Cocktail, Cold cuts, Proscuitto, Mediterranean dips like Hummus and Baba Ganoush, Smoked Salmon, Roast Duck Salad, Chilled Seafood (Fresh Oysters, Chilled Crabs, Clams, Mussels & Prawns), Sashimi (Salmon & Tuna), Assorted Sushi (featuring interesting ones like Hokkigai aka Surf Clam Sushi and Herring Sashimi) and unlike some buffets where the food is left in the open for long periods of time, I noticed that food refills here were carried out fairly regularly which is a good sign.

The dessert and cheese line was pretty decent too. Apart from an assortment of cakes, there’s also the chocolate fondue fountain and Ice Cream!

The sushi with bright yellow roe at the bottom of the plate is a Herring Sashimi, something not so commonly found at buffets.

M liked the Watermelon with Feta (plated on the small saucer below) so much that she took 5 servings of it.

There were 3 choices of mains available from the restaurant week lunch menu.

M got the vegetarian option of Wild Mushroom Raviolo with Vegetable Linguine & Mushroom Dressing. Raviolo is simply an oversized Ravioli and this one was filled almost entirely with Mushrooms that tasted excruciatingly sour from the excessive use of vinegar. The faux linguine made from grated vegetables didn’t help alleviate much of M’s suffering either.

I didn’t try the Pan-seared Barramundi with Sauteed Green Beans, Shitake Mushrooms & Herb Broth but G didn’t have any complaints about it.

For myself, the choice of main was a simple one, the Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Curried Sweet Potato, Roast Onion & Zucchini in Cider Sauce. It was the most unhealthy dish I could find on the menu and going by my assumption of equivalent exchange, this would prove to be the most tasty dish.

While it’s probably the best imo of the 3 mains available, it fails to impress, falling short by quite a bit relative to some of the Roasted Pork Bellies I have had. The meat wasn’t as tender as expected and slightly on the dry side. Didn’t favour the mash either since it was more chunky than smooth and the curry flavour didn’t complement the pork well.

For good roasted pork bellies, try Skyve Elementary Bistro & Bar (which does it sous vide style) or Ember Restaurant (my favourite place for set lunch).

Just for restaurant week, diners can also opt to add on a Pan-seared Foie Gras for an additional $10, which I did. It didn’t turn out too well though as it was unsalted (intentionally as I clarified later) and overcooked, which saddened me a little especially since it was M’s first time trying Foie Gras and I always believed that your first time is supposed to be special. Shall bring her to somewhere with decent foie gras next time to atone for this atrocity.

Sadly the pretty desserts didn’t taste as good as they looked. The more palatable ones include the Creme Brulee and the light Ivory Dome White Chocolate Cake.

Coffee/tea is included within the set lunch and Equinox uses TWG tea in case you are wondering.

I guess word on the street is right. Food doesn’t seem to be the main draw of Equinox. The experience of dining 70 floors up with a panoramic view of the Marina area however, is another story.


2 Stamford Road, Level 70 Swissotel The Stamford

Tel: +65 6837 3322

Good Ol’ Days @ Silver Shell Cafe, Rasa Sentosa Resort

16 08 2012

On National Day evening, while most Singaporeans were glued onto their tv screens, I was at a buffet hosted by Silver Shell Cafe at Rasa Sentosa, together with Melissa from Melicacy and Derrick from SG Food on Foot.

The theme of the buffet is entitled “Good Ol Days” and features a wide range of local culinary delights, cultural performances for entertainment and games from yesteryear, which I found rather apt for this occasion. No effort has been spared into conceptualizing the theme, with cafe staff donning on traditional hawker attire, and Chinese, Malay and Indian crockeries and utensils have been specially purchased to add a more authentic feel for the meal.

Good Ol Days is priced at $58++ per adult and $25++ per child and runs every Thursday for the month of August but due to the overwhelming response, Rasa Sentosa has decided to continuing running it into September as well.

1) Chinese Food

One aspect that sets Silver Shell Cafe apart from most other locally themed buffets is the extensiveness of the live cooking stations. You can get oyster omelette, carrot cake, hokkien mee, laksa and lor mee, all of which are prepared ala minute.

Oyster Omelette

Carrot Cake

Hokkien Mee


Lor Mee

Of course, there is pre-prepared food as well, ranging from bak kut teh, dim sum and chili crabs. Would have loved to have some fried man tou to dip the chili crab sauce with!

Chili Crab

One of the hits from the chinese food section was the kueh pie tee, which diners prepare themselves and can overload with whatever ingredients they like best. The kueh pie tee cups are replaced frequently due to the high turnover of this dish, so the cups were always fresh and crisp to my delight.

Kueh Pie Tee

There’s also a roast meat section, which serves steamed white chicken, roast chicken, roast duck, char siew and roast pork. There’s chicken rice available as well with all necessary condiments like ginger, dark sauce and chili. Would have been great if they included innards as well, as some tourists might not get the chance to try this back home.

2) Malay Food

While less extensive than the Chinese food section, the Malay section features signatures like otak, satay, begedil (fried potato cutlets) and mee rebus. Something I would love to have added to the mix as well is BBQ Stingray!

Mee Rebus

3) Indian Food

There’s an Indian chef that makes the roti prata from scratch at the Indian food section, and it was fortunate that I manage to snag a fresh batch to go with my curry chicken, vegetable dal and Assam fish curry. I thought the curry chicken was fantastic, with a thick creamy consistency from the coconut milk that goes well with the prata.

4) Appetizers & Seafood

There’s a section for appetizers and seafood as well, where you can get fresh prawns, bamboo clams, crabs, scallops and mussels, cold dishes and sushi.

5) Drinks

In tune with the theme, diners get to sip on local favourites like soy bean milk, grass jelly, bandung  (rose syrup drink), longan red date drink and coke off vintage glass bottles.

6) Desserts & Fruits

What I loved most from the dessert line was the Durian Pancake which was prepared ala minute as well, so it comes to you crisp and piping hot. It can be improved upon though, as the pancakes are on the thick side.

For this special occasion, in addition to the standard buffet fruits such as watermelons, oranges, lychees, bananas and rambutans, durians and mangosteens were also available just outside the cafe.

Tau Suan

Durian Pancake

During the course of the meal, we were also entertained by Malay and acrobatic Bhangra dances. There’s also a chance for audience participation if you feel up for it!

There are game stations which showcase games from yesteryear like five stones, chapteh, zero point and many other trinkets for the kids to have a go at.

In conclusion, if you are looking for the best carrot cakes and laksa in town, you will not find it here. What you will find though, is a great introduction to Singapore cuisine and culture, to reminisce the good old days.

Special Thanks to Rasa Sentosa for the invitation!

Silver Shell Cafe

101 Siloso Road, Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort Level 3

Tel: +65 6371 1966

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

Rumah Rasa – Sedap Indonesian Food?

5 05 2012

Ever since I was a tween, I have always had Indonesian tenants living with me under one roof. Most of them are part of the same extended family and came out to Singapore due to the supposedly better education system. My home hosted 8 of them at our peak, all kids around my age and we would watch anime and cartoons together and play games like Risk and soccer in our free time. It is also thanks to them that I have had some contact with Indonesian cuisine, whenever they brought out food and keropok from Indonesia. Growing up however, I was never a fan of spicy food, though my palate has evolved somewhat since then. So I was glad to get an invitation by Rumah Rasa, a new Indonesian restaurant housed within Bay Hotel located opposite Vivocity as I seldom encounter Indonesian restaurants in Singapore (the only other restaurants in this genre that come to mind is Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant at Furama Hotel and Bumbu Restaurant).

Heading the kitchen at Rumah Rasa is veteran Chef Sharifah, who has previously honed her skills at SATS, Raffles Hotel and St Regis. She comes across as a humble lady with a real passion for her trade, and I was looking forward to be educated on what authentic Indonesian cuisine is really about. The other bloggers present at this tasting were a friendly and relatable bunch, Rachel from Oyster Dairies, Dawn from 365Days2Play, and Peter from Ho Chiak.

Since Rumah Rasa is the hotel’s sole restaurant at this time, the kitchen caters to both room service, dine-ins and takeaways, doubling up as a breakfast venue for guests staying at the hotel. Revelers from St James will be pleased to note that this eatery is open from 6am to 4am daily.

Arriving slightly ahead of schedule, I was first served some Belinjau Chips while waiting for the other guests to arrive. I have had this a couple of times at home, but always thought it was tapioca chips. Belinjau is actually a type of nut-like fruit that turns from green to yellow to red upon ripening. The chips are mildly bitter so I don’t really like to eat it on its own, however it does go well with sambal. To cool of the spicy sambal, I also had a Ais Serai aka “Homemade Lemon Grass Juice” ($6++). Initially, it tasted unexpectedly sharp because quite a bit of carbonated soda water was used to make the drink but it got better as the ice melted. Would have opted for a still version if it was available.

The Soto Ayam Madura ($8++) is appetizing but it is not one of the more spectacular dishes here in my opinion. It’s simply a light and hearty Chicken Consomme with Shreaded Chicken, Beansprouts and topped with a Potato Croquette.

You can’t go very wrong with the Ayam Korma ($14++) aka Chicken simmered in Mild Yellow Curry.

The Tahu Telur Surabaya ($8++) is made using Fried Beancurd and Egg topped with Sweet and Spicy Dark Sauce. The taste is about there, very nice and eggy but what was lacking was the accompanying crispness as it seemed like the Tahu Telur had been left in the open for some time.

The Sayur Lodeh ($8++) is made with Mixed Vegetables in fragrant Coconut Gravy. It’s a personal preference but I prefer mine to be heavy on the coconut milk, so that the gravy is very thick and rich. I felt that the one here is too watered down but apparently, this is how it is done in Indonesia.

One of the better dishes today, the Udang Petai Belado ($18++) or Prawns Stir-fried in Chili Gravy with Petai Beads was fantastic. The prawns were fresh and the chili had enough oomph to make me swelter. As I’m not really into spicy food, my knowledge on the differences between the different sambals is extremely limited so it forces me to go online to understand more once I encounter terms like “Belado”. At the back of my mind, I always thought that sambal just means chili but in reality, there are many different varieties of sambal. Two common types would be Belado and Belacan and they possess very different tastes and origin. Belado has an Indonesian influence while Belacan is more Malaysian. The main difference between the 2 is that in addition to the common ingredients like Chili, Garlic, Lime Juice, Salt and Oil used for both sambals, Belado requires the addition of Tomatoes as a base ingredient while Belacan requires that Shrimp paste be added. So I would think that Belado is slightly more watery, has a brighter colour and less salty (because of the lack of shrimp paste) compared to Belacan.

The Ikan Bakar Rumah Rasa ($28++) is a Charcoal Grilled Red Snapper marinated in turmeric and topped with homemade Spicy Sauce (as stated in the menu), though the wait staff said it was Sea Bass. Not sure 100% which is right but I believe this was Sea Bass. Taste-wise isn’t worth much mention.

Rendang Sumatra ($14++) or Beef simmered in spicy Coconut Gravy was pretty good. Some people like their beef lean and meaty, while other like theirs fatty and tender. I lean more towards the latter. The beef here is lean, but not tough to chew. Out of all the dishes we tasted, general consensus was that this was a clear favourite.

The Paru Belado ($12++) is Crispy Beef Lungs served with Chopped Chilis and Onions, something I haven’t tried before and didn’t even knew could be eaten prior to this meal. I had always wondered why we can eat chicken and pig liver but never their lungs and I just shrugged it off thinking its probably a very dirty organ like fishes gills that we don’t eat. So today was definitely an eye opener. When it first comes out piping hot from the fryer, it really tastes quite good with the chili, crispy like keropok. There was some remnants of a bloody taste though, so if you don’t like organs like liver, you would probably want to skip this.

The Ayam Panggang Berkakak Jakarta ($14++) aka Grilled Chicken served with Rumah Rasa’s Homemade Spicy Sauce is decent, a nice mix of savoury and sweet as the chicken is marinated using palm sugar as well.

I would definitely recommend the desserts here. We had the Deep Fried Banana Fritters served with Vanilla Ice Cream ($8++), which had a very light batter so one can definitely polish this off on your own.

The Es Chendol ($6++) made using Fresh Coconut Milk with Kidney Beans, Green Jelly and Sugar Syrup is great too. A creamy dessert is a fitting end to a spicy meal.

Overall, I felt that there weren’t any dishes that was particularly sedap (delicious), but nothing was incredibly terrible either but it’s indeed a good place for an introductory lesson into Indonesian cuisine.

Rumah Rasa

50 Telok Blangah Road, Bay Hotel

Tel: +65 6818 6681

Food Republic Beer Garden – Need A Supper Place?

26 03 2012

*This meal was sponsored by Food Republic

Let’s take a short break from all the atas Restaurant Week meals and cover some hawker fare!

Surely you must have heard of the Makan Sutra Gluttons Bay @ Esplanade right? Well, Food Republic has done something very similar, bringing together a collection of famous hawkers under one retractable roof that they call Food Republic Beer Garden. Located just outside St James Power Station, it is a collaborated effort between the BreadTalk Group (who owns Food Republic) and St James Holdings, where Food Republic manages the food stalls while St James handles the alcoholic drinks Stall. Opening hours are from 6pm to 5am (opens till 6am on Fri-Sun), catering to the working crowd who want to place to grab a cheap beer over some hawker fare, tourists coming from a day out at Sentosa, hungry locals looking for supper and revelers who just want to have a snack or drink after a night of partying.

I was down for an invited tasting last week and that was actually my first time hearing of the place. After all, I’m more of a Zouk and Velvet person than a St James person.

Launched a year ago, the theme of the 400-seater open-air Food Republic Beer Garden likens that of a scene straight out of Singapore in the 60s, where you see pushcarts, truck stalls and kiosks selling all manner of Singapore-style hawker fare. There’s also live entertainment here, where a chinese band comes on stage and plays a few sets throughout the night.

There are quite a couple of decent stalls here but I will only be covering what I feel is worth coming back for. And I apologize that I’m going to be using some of their professional taken photos and I want to mention beforehand that they might not represent exactly what you might end up getting upon order.

The first on my list would definitely be the Kung Pao Frog Leg Porridge ($8/reg). The stall here is a branch from the famous Lorong 9 Geylang Frog Leg Porridge. This was so awesome that a week after the tasting, I headed down to Geylang to relive this wonderful memory and it was just as good! The congee was smooth, the frog leg tender with a winning kung pao sauce that complemented the congee well with a mix of savouriness and spiciness (chili padi was probably used in addition to the dried chili). I dare say this is one of the best Kung Pao Frogs you can get in Singapore.

Anyway the difference between porridge and congee has always troubled me so here’s what differentiates the two. Congee is a subset of porridge, and usually made using rice while porridge can be made using oats, cereals and grains.

My relationship with Tutu Kueh goes way back. I remember about 15 years ago, there was a NTUC opposite the former National Library at Marine Parade and within this NTUC, there was a stall selling Tutu Kueh and everytime I accompanied my mum for grocery shopping, we never failed to get some. It was one of my childhood guilty pleasures, alongside KFC and Muah Chee. Coming in flavours of peanut and coconut, I always had a hard time deciding what to get. Now that I’m older with more pocket money, the answer comes so much more easily, get both. Tutu Kueh stalls are quickly dying out in Singapore, so if you haven’t tried it before, do visit Chinatown Tan’s Tutu Kueh Kiosk, where your Tutu Kuehs ($0.60 each) are prepared a la minute.

Two other stalls that trail closely behind is the Bak Kut Teh and Hokkien Mee.

The Bak Kut Teh stall here is named Balestier Bak Kut Teh, but given that I have yet to try any of the numerous Bak Kut Teh shops at Balestier, I can’t testify if this is the real deal. Still, it’s hard to find fault with a Bak Kut Teh ($6.50) that has pork ribs whose meat falls off the bone. A clear peppery soup base is used for this Bak Kut Teh with just the right zing. Surprisingly however, the stall’s Pig Trotters ($6.50) doesn’t fare just as well. The trotters failed to absorb the flavours of the spices and the braising could have been executed better.

I asked Joy, our lovely PR correspondent for the night which was her favourite dish here and she pinpointed the Thye Chua Fried Hokkien Mee ($7). Served on an opeh leaf, the hokkien mee was a “wet version” with a very fragrant stock base, sure to appease one’s locally attuned tastebuds.

Last but not least, there is a Rojak stall called Aunty Jessie Rojak that serves pretty interesting Rojak renditions. Rojak means “mixed up” in Malay so who is to say what can or cannot be used as mixing ingredients? Their more conventional Black Rojak uses the usual Youtiao, Cucumbers, Peanuts and dark Prawn Paste Sauce, while in their White Rojak ($7), you get to see strawberries and a tangy Sour Plum Sauce is used instead. The Sour Plum Sauce tastes a little similar to the Lemon Lime Sauce you get at Aston’s, so while some might find the combo weird, I found it very appetizing as a meal starter.

On the whole, I find lots of potential in Food Republic Beer Garden. The standards here are definitely above the average hawker centre or food court, but just like Gluttons Bay @ Esplanade, hawker food here is priced at a slight premium given the impending inflow of tourist traffic and live entertainment. I choose to believe that I will return in the near future, for supper beckons.

Special Thanks to Food Republic for organizing this tasting session!

Food Republic Beer Garden

3 Sentosa Gateway, St James Power Station

%d bloggers like this: