Penny University

7 09 2014

Quoting from Wikipedia: 

Penny University is a term originating from the 18th-century coffeehouses in London, England. Instead of paying for drinks, people were charged a penny to enter a coffeehouse. Once inside, the patron had access to coffee, the company of others, various discussions, pamphlets, bulletins, newspapers, and the latest news and gossip.

This environment attracted an eclectic group of people who met and mingled with each other at these coffeehouses and through these interactions, one could ensue in wide-ranging conversations ranging from the commercial, to the political, and the purely intellectual; the idea that one could acquire an education for the price of a cup of coffee, that is, a penny, took hold of the poetic imagination…

Situated along East Coast Road, Penny University isn’t the most accessible of cafes, with no MRT stations within walkable distance. What this does is to help regulate diner traffic, which is especially vital given that the cafe isn’t large to start with. Still, one can expect a waiting list to form on weekends. Alongside a minor revamp of the menu recently, prices have also undergone a slight increase but are still kept at fairly reasonable levels, in the low-$20 range for a Full English Breakfast with Juice or Coffee.

MZ had the Honey-infused Greek Yoghurt with Granola ($6.50+) and the Scrambled Eggs on Toast ($5.90). The thing I like about the scrambled eggs here lies mainly in its texture and consistency but tastewise, I would have liked a richer creamer flavor.

I had the Full English Breakfast ($16+) and it was one of the better ones I have had recently. From what I have read, the cafe does not have a halal certificate but runs a halal kitchen and only uses halal ingredients, so don’t be too surprised to find the texture of the bacon slightly different from usual. It still tasted awesome though. Loved the very flavorful sausages and the garlicky sauteed mushrooms too.

Wanted to have desserts but was too stuffed from the generous brunch portions.

Cakes, glorious cakes…

Overall, I had a pretty positive experience having Saturday brunch here and would recommend it to Easties. The service staff was friendly, the meal was unrushed and despite sitting at a long communal table, it wasn’t too cramped so I could actually get a conversation going without the heightened perceived risk of having other diners around me listening in.

Penny University

402 East Coast Road, Singapore 428997

Tel: +65 9008 9314

Opening hours: Mon: CLOSED / Tue – Thu, Sun: 8:30am – 6:00pm / Fri – Sat: 8:30am – 12:00am

Cotton Restaurant @ ECP – Grilled items done right

1 04 2014

A new restaurant called Cotton has recently taken root in East Coast Park, taking over the premises from 1-TwentySix. Interestingly, the name Cotton was given because of the resident cotton tree that grows at the entrance of the restaurant. The facade of the new establishment looks similar to 1-TwentySix and boosts a similar laidback vibe as well, with an al fresco dining area, a stage for the live band and an outdoor bar area but one of the key changes is that the indoor dining area will be converted into a cocktail bar after the ongoing renovations is completed.

Cotton serves European cuisine with a hint of Asian influence, with its char grilled items being a distinctive strength. While it is known more as a dinner and post-dinner drinks place, the restaurant has also started offering a weekend brunch menu as well.

Al fresco dining area

Outdoor bar area

I was here on invitation with XL from the4moose and WS from cafehoppingSG. We kicked off the tasting with some of the restaurant’s signature cocktails and mocktails.

XL had a cocktail named Jar of Heart ($18++), made from a combination of Whisky Sour (Whisky, Lemon juice and Sugar and Egg white), Amaretto (a type of Almond-based Italian liqueur) and Mixed Berries. Suffering from a bad ulcer, I opted for a mocktail instead. This uncharacteristic move was a blessing in disguise as I managed to sample the Superstar ($16++), made from a mix of Watermelon, Apple, Cranberry Juices with a dash of Melon syrup. It’s an awesome drink for a warm summer evening, especially with the refreshing taste of watermelon juice. If you have a preference for mango, try the Anita ($16++), a mocktail made from fruit punch, mango juice, grenadine (a pomegranate flavored syrup) and lychee.

Jar of Heart

While I’m not a fan of tuna in general, the Maguro Tuna Nicoise ($22++), which is a mix of French Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Quail Eggs, Potatoes & seared Tuna, left XL with a positive impression. It did however, come across as slightly pricey compared to the other items on the menu.

Taste-wise and value-wise, I much preferred the Vongole ($20++), a hearty bowl of clams with a dash of white wine and basil served with  a Toasted Baguette & Tomato Salsa. Definitely one of the better renditions around, the bittersweet gravy was rich and robust with the clams not overcooked, retaining a nice gelatinous texture.

For mains, the New Zealand Rack of Lamb ($38++) was strongly recommended by the staff and it wasn’t difficult to see why. It was one of the most succulent lamb racks I have had and I was surprised to find no areas being dried out from the grilling. Diners can choose from 4 different sauces (Wild Mushroom, Bordelaise, Lemon Garlic Butter or Pink Peppercorn) to accompany the grilled meats and I would highly suggest the Pink Peppercorn, which is milder than the usual Black Pepper Sauce and allows for greater appreciation of the natural flavours from the lamb. Incidentally, pink peppercorn is not technically a peppercorn but dried berries that come from a different plant.

What I really liked about the Whole Market Fresh Red Snapper ($32++) was that despite being served whole, the meat peeled off the bone easily and cleanly. We were told that the fish is sourced daily from the markets, providing greater assurance of its freshness, which came evident with the taste and texture. At this price point for a roughly 600g fish by my estimates, this is really quite a steal.

The Angel Hair Pasta with King Tiger Prawns, Smoked Sea Urchin Butter, Ebi Sakura & Vine Tomatoes ($38++) on the other hand, was less impressive. The pasta was a tad dry and lacking any hints of Sea Urchin. On the bright side, the king tiger prawns were quite sizable with a nice char.

For desserts, we had the Mango Panna Cotta, the Warm Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream and the Profiteroles ($14++ each). They weren’t bad but neither were they great, each falling short in a certain aspect. For example, I liked the ice cream in the profiterole but the choux pastry wasn’t airy and crisp enough, I liked the balanced sweet and tangy flavours from the mango panna cotta but the biscuit base lacked butteriness, while the chocolate fondant was spongy throughout instead of having a crisp outer layer.

Overall, I found the experience at Cotton to be a step up from its predecessor 1-TwentySix, mainly due to the adept execution of the char grilled dishes. The restaurant is still in the midst of fine-tuning their menu offerings and I’m looking forward to drop by again once the dust has settled.

Special thanks to Cotton for the invitation.

Cotton Restaurant

902 East Coast Parkway, #01-26 Big Splash

Tel: +65 6348 2126


Lower East Side Taqueria – A Chill-out Mexican Bar

14 03 2014

The folks at Spathe Public House have done it again, this time with their conceptualization of Lower East Side Taqueria, a relative newcomer to the red ocean of Katong. Standing out from all neighboring eateries with its prominent shop sign and happening vibes, this Mexican joint is hard to miss as you drive pass Katong Shopping Centre and Katong Laksa. I was definitely eager to dive into their interpretation of Mexican cuisine and suggested meeting up with several old buddies here for dinner and drinks.

Closing time

While there’s no lack of affordable watering holes around the area, with the likes of Bar Bar Black Sheep and Two Fat Men, Lower East Side doesn’t seem to compete on price. Non-happy hour prices (8pm onwards) of their Australian/New Zealand draft beer goes for $15-$16 a pint, compared to just $11 for a pint of Kronenbourg at Bar Bar Black Sheep @ Tanjong Katong. What Lower East Side does strive at however, is to create a much more holistic dining experience with a well thought out interior design that I personally found pretty hip.

Spacious seating arrangements

Having not been to Mexico, I can’t attest to the authenticity of the food here, though my gut instinct told me the flavors seemed tweaked to suit local palates. A beer list featuring a mere two types of mainstream Mexican beers (Sol and Corona) further fueled my skepticism. Then again, it does take ingenuity to improve on tradition and if a Singapore-inspired Mexican cuisine works, that’s fine and dandy too.

Whilst waiting for everyone to arrive, we ordered Les Mix ($14+) that comprised of Garlic Fries and Corn Chips, with 4 accompanying sauces (Cheddar Cheese, Sour Cream, Salsa, Guacamole). Nothing worth raving about unfortunately. Just simple bar snacks to keep the liquid courage flowing more smoothly.

I was initially worried that the Ancho Pulled Pork Burrito ($13+) wouldn’t fill me up. After all, what does $13 get you in a bar nowadays? Surprisingly, my doubts were unfounded and what was presented was a bursting burrito filled with fragrant basmati rice, chunks of pork in a hearty stew-like gravy, black beans and fresh avocado that brought perfect balance to the dish. I would imagine that the creamy avocado would also help sooth the burns had a high spice level burrito been requested. Was pretty glad that the basmati rice wasn’t clumpy and yet defied the laws of physics by not flying everywhere as I sank into the burrito. Overall, this was something I would recommend ordering here.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the Chipotle Beef Burrito ($15+) quite as much. The beef was a little too sinewy, hence much chewing was involved. The burrito fillings of sweet corn, pineapple salsa and guacamole weren’t as compatible either.

If you are less hungry or more carb conscious, tacos might be a better option. I only tried the Hake Tacos ($18+) and found that the size of the hake fillet on the petite side.

Range of Japanese beers > Mexican beers

All in all, keeping food expectations in check, Lower East Side is a pretty nice place to chill out. The staff were very friendly too and took the initiative to offer a complimentary tequila shot since my friends mentioned it was my belated birthday.

Lower East Side Taqueria

19 East Coast Road

Tel: +65 6348 1302


Taste of Taiwan Food Fair @ Parkway Parade (1-14 July 2013)

8 07 2013

While Japan and Korea food fairs might be commonplace, this is the first time I’m hearing about a Taiwan Food Fair in Singapore. Held between 1-14 July 2013, Parkway Parade will be playing host to nearly 30 stalls (based on my estimate) selling a variety of Taiwanese food, such as Xiao Long Baos (小籠包), Stew Pork Baos (扣肉包), Oyster Omelette, Oyster Mee Sua, Fried Chicken Cutlet, Spicy Fish Balls, Taiwan Sausages, Taiwanese Rice Dumplings (肉粽), Pineapple Cakes, Sun Cakes, Taiwan Vinegar etc.

In addition, several entertaining activities will also be ongoing on the stage area during weekend afternoons, such as Taiwanese traditional dances, puppet shows, kite making, as well as cooking demostrations by Taiwanese Chef Ho Tien Tsai of Copthorne Kings Hotel.

Since I live relatively close to Parkway Parade, I accepted an invitation down to check out the food fair held at the mall’s basement atrium. I was down rather early on 6th July (Saturday) and most of the stalls were just opening then but when the crowd started streaming in, it started to feel like an indoor night market.

The gf accompanied me for the food fair and made a short video snippet of what to expect there.

Walked past a vendor selling mochis, durian pancakes and durian cakes. The durian pancakes were the bomb, whose filling we believe to be made with the highly acclaimed and robust tasting Mao Shan Wang (猫山王) durians.

There was a stall specializing in braised pork (扣肉), selling items such as braised pork bao, braised pork bee hoon, braised pork cheong fan and braised pork with glutinous rice. The braised pork bao was better than what is usually found outside and I quite liked the cheong fan as well since it goes unexpectedly well with the pork.

Sampled some Xiao Long Baos and Meat Baos from one of the stalls but sadly, I think these were frozen prepackaged ones meant for quick fixes at home.

The best thing of this food fair was the Taiwan Fried Chicken Cutlet and Fried Mushrooms, which I find tastier (especially the honey glazed fried chicken) than what is available at the numerous chains of Taiwan Street Snacks in Singapore.

There’s a stall selling duck crepes and oyster omelette too. The Taiwanese oyster omelette is quite different from the oyster omelette (蠔煎) that we get at our local hawker centres, as it uses a lot more starch. Personally, I still prefer our local version.

Taiwan street food is never complete without the oyster mee sua. There’s a few stalls selling this here and the one I got was decent.

I ordered the meat ball soup from the same stall I got my oyster mee sua. I had mentally prepared myself before drinking the soup since most of the time, it’s turns out to be just MSG solution but the soup here was actually not that salty and I could taste the radish that had been simmering in the base. The meat balls were quite tasty and springy too.

There was an interesting keropok (called pong pong 饼) stall as well, which was selling “healthy” keropok because the keropok is not fried nor is any MSG or oil used. Instead, the keropok in its powder form is put into a machine, which applies pressure and heat for about 10 seconds and out pops a keropok with a “pong” sound. It’s quite interesting to watch the machine at work so there’s usually a crowd around. The keropok comes in flavours such as cheese, curry, spring onion, prawn etc and I really couldn’t tell that it wasn’t fried when eating the samples.

Had a go at the Basil Pork Sausages and Bacon wrapped Cheese Sausages as I was leaving the fair. The latter was really good and I didn’t expect the bacon to actually be so crisp.

Ultimately, is the food fair worth dropping by for? Not having been to Taiwan before, I can’t attest to the authenticity of the food but I noticed there were a few stalls selling prepackaged food items from Taiwan so if you are a hardcore Taiwan fan and want to get your hands on some Taiwan mochi or fresh seaweed from Taiwan, this might just be worth your while. Staying true to the ideals of street food, prices were reasonable too, with most of the food items being sold in the range of $3-$5.

All food expenses were sponsored by Parkway Parade. Special thanks to Parkway Parade for the invitation.

Etna Italian Restaurant (East Coast)

27 01 2013

Etna Italian Restaurant’s East Coast outlet has been around for the longest time. I still remember my first time there back in junior college, more than six years ago. It wasn’t an overly memorable experience and I never went back (I actually did try going to the Duxton outlet once but it was full house). As time went by, more and more people started raving about Etna and I wondered if I had been too quick to judge, only having had their crabmeat pasta and pizza back then. This time around, I was back under the guise of a tasting session hosted by Mr Gianluca Impemba, one of the partners of Etna, who shared with us a bit more about Italian cuisine and the concept behind Etna.

I guess one of Etna’s main selling points is that about 70% of the ingredients used here are imported from Italy, so as to preserve the authenticity and quality of its dishes. Despite this, Etna positions itself more as a neighbourhood family joint rather than a fine dining establishment. I guess to be a little more specific, there are 3 main categories of Italian eateries. The Osteria; traditionally taverns or inns that also served simple food and wines, the Trattoria; typically family-run establishments that are slightly more pricey than the osteria, and lastly the Ristorante; full-service restaurants that serve up sophisticated dishes. Etna lies somewhere between the Trattoria and the Ristorante in this respect.

These traditional definitions might not be that closely followed nowadays however, as we have seen with Osteria Mozza at Marina Bay Sands, which is a fine-dining establishment.

Unlike the outlet at Duxton whose clientele is made up of mostly corporates, the East Coast outlet is relatively more family friendly. The restaurant boosts a dining hall and an al fresco area that sits a total of about 50-60 pax but reservations are recommended as it can get packed, especially during weekends.

We started off the tasting with the Grilled Calamari topped with crispy garlic & chili, served with homemade aioli sauce ($18++). The highlight of this dish would be the aioli sauce, which has a very robust hint of garlic amidst the richness of the mayo. Without it, the grilled calamari would have come across as slightly bland.

The Baked Eggplant with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese & light Basil Pesto in a Tomato Sauce ($18++) was excellent. The eggplant flesh was delicate and while some people might find the taste of eggplant repulsive, much of it had taken a back seat to the tangy tomato sauce.

As usual, my favourite appetizer was the fresh Burrata with Rocket Salad, Pachino Cherry Tomatoes & Parma Ham ($32++). It’s a wad of creamy sinfulness that is worth taking on as a starter for every Italian meal and Parma ham just goes so well with it. Just think about the last time you washed down briny slices of ham with a cup of full fat milk. Burrata with Parma Ham is even better! The only downside is that Burrata can be quite fattening, as about 1/4 to 1/3 of its weight is comprised of fats. Tell your girl friends only after they have eaten this and sit back to watch the drama unfold.

In addition to the main menu, Etna does from time to time update their chalkboard on daily specials. The Mussels topped with Pistachio that we had was just one such example. It’s a pity that it hasn’t found its way into the main menu yet because it was one of the finest mussels I have ever eaten. Not only were the mussels fresh, springy and sweet, but the choice of pistachio and possibly mayo to complement the mussels was a bold and creative option that worked (the usual tomato or wine white sauces do get a little boring over time). From the looks of things, the pistachio must have been seared lightly before serving, resulting in an encrusting layer of savoury nuts that was reminiscent of the texture of brittle breadcrumbs.

The Linguine with Scallops in a Prawn Cream Sauce ($25++) was possibly my favourite main. I liked it because the cream sauce had a nice bittersweet tinge to it, which I’m guessing was derived from the prawn or scallop juices. If you are lucky, you might also find the orange roe sac of the scallops tossed in this pasta.

The Linguine with Crab Meat in Lobstear Cream Sauce ($25++) was quite similar to the scallop pasta (sans the bittersweetness), but it felt somewhat heavier because the sauce tends to cling to the generous chunks of crab meat. Very enjoyable nonetheless.

The Slow-cooked Braised Veal Shank with chopped herbs and Indian Saffron Rice ($34++) was cooked in a Mediterranean style, where light flavours were employed. Not my favourite dish that night given that I prefer heavier sauces for my veal shanks.

The Roasted Pork Knuckle with Potatoes ($48++) was slightly different from the German ones I’m so used to having. Instead of being deep-fried, the knuckles here are marinated in beer first, braised and then roasted to get that nice golden exterior. The benefits of cooking the knuckle in this way is that the meat still remains really moist and tender, at the expense of having a slightly less crispy skin. Personally, I’m still on the fence as to which style I prefer, but I would guess that the execution risk of a deep fried knuckle is definitely a lot higher, where you might just end up getting a disappointingly dry meat and soggy skin.

The Home-made Semolina paste in a Cream Sauce of Porcini Mushrooms, Pork Sausage & Italian Truffle Cream ($28++) seemed to be the crowd favourite that night, with me being the only contrarian. To our delight, there was a discernible scent of truffle in the sauce but I found the cream sauce was just a little too rich and dense for my liking. The texture of the semolina paste was something like the hand-cut noodles in 刀削面, slightly more chewy and having a bit more elasticity as what one might find in other pastas like linguine.

Good lasagna in Singapore is hard to find and Etna’s Oven-baked Lasagna with Bolognese Ragout, bechamel sauce, Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese ($19++) is perhaps one of the better ones I have had to date. Just to sidetrack a bit, in French cuisine, there are 5 mother sauces which are Sauce Tomate, Sauce Hollandaise, Sauce Veloute, Sauce Espagnole and Sauce Bechamel. The Bechamel sauce (which is also widely used in Italian cuisine) is a white sauce that is used to layer between the sheets of lasagna pasta to give the buttery creamy taste.

The Fresh Sabayon with Pantelleria Moscato Wine – right of picture  ($14++) wasn’t something I took to. It is most often made by whipping eggs yolks (sometimes with the whites too), sugar and a sweet wine over gently boiling water, so that the egg thickens to form a light custard.

While the Bi-colored Panna Cotta with Mango & Mixed Berries ($14++) tasted very refreshing, the taste of the vanilla scented Panna Cotta tends to get lost in the array of fruity flavours.

My favourite dessert was the Tiramisu with Pistachio Cream ($14++), which wasn’t too strong on the liqueur, in fact I could hardly taste it.

Before we hit the road, we helped ourselves to some Italian liqueur to help digest our food (definitely going to kiv this reason for future drinking sessions). Anyway, I just found out something new today. The difference between liquor and liqueur! I had always thought that it was just an American vs UK spelling deviation but apparently not. “A liquor is an alcoholic drink that is distilled from grains or plants, such as rum, vodka, gin or whiskey. A liqueur is a sweet or herbal alcoholic drink that is made from fruit, herbs, flowers, nuts or spices plus (usually) sugar and a spirit such as grain alcohol, vodka or rum.”

I tried 3 types of Italian LIQUEURs that were recommended by our host. The yellowish Limoncello is a rather popular Italian Lemon Liqueur that is around 25-30% alcohol by volume (ABV). It was rather sweet but still retained much of the bitterness of the lemons, great for cleansing the palate after a heavy meal. The reddish liqueur was a almond flavoured one that was about 25-30% ABV. I swore I heard our host say it was Amaro but based on the almond flavour, it might have been Amaretto and I possibly misheard. Didn’t really take to this though. The colourless Grappa was the strongest of the lot at 45% ABV, made from the fermentation of grape pomace (the leftovers skin, pulp, stem and seeds after the grapes have been pressed during wine-making). Despite being the strongest, it was also my favourite amongst the 3 liqueurs as it had a very clean taste and remarkable smoothness to it, going down very much like a high quality vodka.

Overall, I would rate Etna as an Italian restaurant worth checking out, especially for their appetizers and pastas. Prices are really reasonable and portions are hearty. I believe they are planning to participate in the next Restaurant Week so this might just be a perfect excuse to pay them a visit.

Special thanks to Gianluca from Etna for hosting the great meal and Hungrygowhere for coordinating the tasting.

Etna Italian Restaurant (East Coast)

110 Upper East Coast Road

Tel: +65 6444 9530

Two Fat Men – Not your Everyday Neighbourhood Pub

9 11 2012

Pub food rarely has to be good. After all, they are served to customers who probably won’t remember a thing by the next day. That’s why I find Two Fat Men an interesting discovery. It operates along a similar concept as Bar Bar Black Sheep, offering excellent Thai and Western food at an affordable price point. Another plus point is that they have my favourite beer, the very light and fruity tasting Kronenbourg Blanc on tap at $6.50/$12 for half or full pint!

It was pretty quiet when I visited last weekend, probably because of the light drizzle. For that I’m thankful as well, as we hardly waited 5 minutes before our first dish arrived.

The Grilled Pork Neck with Tamarind Spicy Sauce ($9.90++) is a signature dish here and comes highly recommended. Interlaced with sufficient fat, the texture of the pork is kept moist and tender even upon grilling. I love the dipping sauce too, which isn’t exactly spicy but still leaves a tongue numbing effect from the tinge of sourness present. The sourness and spice also helps to moderate the unctuousness. Definitely a great accompaniment for booze!

Perhaps one of the most underrated burgers around is Two Fat Men’s rendition of a classic beef burger aka Plain Joe ($8.20++). Retaining a slight pink hue, this beef patty was definitely far better than the dry ones from our favourite fast food chains. It was tasty and had just enough bite, not too rubbery from overcooking nor too soft from the liberal use of fats in making the patty.

I harboured ambivalent feelings towards the Fish & Chips ($8.50++). On one hand, it was a joy to eat while still piping hot but I did detect the taste of raw flour in some areas where the batter was thicker.

Don’t expect too much from the ambience though, as it’s really just a neighbourhood pub perfect for catching up with your mates and making a ruckus.

Two Fat Men

376 East Coast Road

Tel: +65 6346 0046

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

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