Ippudo – Still not hitting the Mark

23 12 2010

It’s been a year since Ippudo opened its flagship Singapore branch in Mandarin Gallery. Back then, it opened with much fanfare with full page write ups on The Straits Times and I was inevitably lured to see what the commotion was all about during their soft launch, even foregoing a movie ticket (Zombieland) I had purchased as I waited 2 hours in line just for an available seat.

Did it wow me then? The answer is no but one year down the road, I decided it was finally time to pay them a revisit, especially on hearing that standards have gone up and previous teething issues have been sorted out.

This time around, I tried the Shiromaru Kakuni($19.50++) which is a smooth Hakata-style ramen served in Tonkotsu broth. For this ramen, you get a slice of chashu and simmered pork cubes. Having been spoiled by the kurobuta pork cheeks at Santouka and Tampopo, the chashu here wasn’t very impressive. Likewise, the simmered pork cubes was not as tender as I thought it would be. Still, I do see improvements in the texture of the ramen and rich tonkotsu broth since my prior visit. I also liked the fact that like how you can order your steak rare, medium or well done in steakhouses, Ippudo allows you to order your ramen Hard, Medium or Soft to cater for personal preferences.

I made a side order for the Nitamago($2++) aka flavour egg which I feel is essential in completing the whole ramen experience. Sadly, the egg white was overcooked and it pales in comparison to the Nitamago at Marutama and Tampopo.

Also notably pricier than other ramen joints, it will probably be at least another year or more before I do patronise Ippudo again.

Bon Appetit!

IPPUDO

333A ORCHARD ROAD, #04-02/03/04 MANDARIN GALLERY

TEL: +65 6235 2797

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Oriole Cafe & Bar – My New Favourite Hangout

15 10 2010

Oriole Cafe & Bar is no new find. Heck it’s not even hidden anymore, at least not with the recently built extension which links 313 Somerset with Pan Pacific Suites.

Opened by Keith Low, winner of the Singapore National Barista Championships 2010 and managed by John Ting, winner of the Singapore National Barista Championships 2008 & 2009, coffee is supposedly the highlight at Oriole with unique competition coffees such as Chili Chocolate Mocha and Citrus Sin.

Rustic furnishings, brick walls and chill settings, dining here is both comforting and casual.

I had a go at their Chili Chocolate Mocha($6). Interestingly, instead of a tea spoon, it came with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer for that extra fragrance. I’m no coffee connoisseur, I actually only started coffee drinking this year to get through 3 hour university seminars. So when I say that I wasn’t taken by Oriole’s Chili Chocolate Mocha, take it with a pinch of salt. I just didn’t like how there was this burning sensation as it trickled down my throat.

The Beef Cheek Tagliatelle($16) is one awesome main. It’s really tasty and generous with the tender beef cheeks. One of the better pastas I have had this year.

Unexpectedly, what blew me away was the humble Cod Fish Pie($28). It might be slightly on the pricey side compared to the other mains available but it’s so very worth it. When fresh Cod Fish prices are hovering around $40/kg (i think), I truly didn’t expect such a huge serving of cod hibernating within the buttery crisp crust. The creamy mushroom & cod ragout, asparagus and puff pastry is a serious recipe for success.

I like my ribs braised till tender and fall-off-the-bone rather than the grill or BBQ versions which leave the ribs dry and parched. Hence, the St Louis Pork Ribs($24) here (which was grilled) didn’t sit very well with me compared to the previous mains. The marinate used was quite unusual though, kicap manis-chili marinade(Indonesian Soy-chili marinade) and sambal matah(shallot & lemongrass sambal). It isn’t as spicy as it sounds and amazingly the marinade tastes just like a chinese herbal chicken soup(yes that’s quite unbelievable unless you try it yourself).

Close friends of mine will know that I can’t say no to a Sticky Pudding($9) aka Sticky Date Pudding as it is more commonly known in other eateries. I have tried Sticky Date Puddings with Chocolate Dip, Butterscotch Sauce and Caramel Sauce, but this is the first time I’m trying it with rum and raisins. I guess the rum and raisins does the job just as well and the Vanilla Ice Cream here passed the taste as well as visual test (where the black specks of Vanilla beans are visible to the naked eye). A pretty decent rendition.

For something more heavy, I would suggest the Chocolate Fudge Cake($6.50). The superficial layers of chocolate ganache is rich and thick but not yet an overkill, an attribute I which find plagues most chocolate fudge cakes.

Having this opportunity to dine at Oriole leaves me with ambivalent feelings. On one hand I’m happy that I have found a new favourite hangout, but sad that I didn’t find out sooner.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

ORIOLE CAFE & BAR

96 SOMERSET ROAD, #01-01

TEL: +65 6238 8348





Ootoya – Complimentary Dessert for UOB Cardholders till 30 Sept 2010

18 08 2010

BFF K and I had a nice meal over at Ootoya last Monday (yes its a backlog due to the start of uni term). I remember the first time I patronized, Ootoya had only recently opened but has since garnered a loyal customer base. There’s no secret to their success, just good old unpretentious nosh and service while keeping prices at a reasonable level.

Currently they are having a promotion for UOB cardholders, giving away a complimentary dessert for every main course ordered.

I ordered the Ootoya Special Dish($15) again, same as my last visit.

Ootoya Special Dish($15)

It’s not that I’m a boring person who only orders the same food at the same places, if I was I wouldn’t have started this food blog! It’s just that Fried Chicken and Fried Potato Croquette will always hold a special place in this little boy’s heart. I didn’t bother using the dipping sauce for my chicken, it tasted great on it’s own!

Be it Tonkichi or in any other Jap restaurant, K always ends up ordering either the Unagi or Miso Pork Cutlet. This time, it was going to be the Miso Pork Cutlet($16).

Breaded Pork Loin Cutlet with Miso Flavoured Sauce & Half-Boiled Egg($16)

I preferred my fried chicken more to the pork cutlet but that’s probably personal preference.

What I like about Ootoya’s fried items is that it doesn’t leave one with an excessively unctuous feel after the meal and I love the little gestures such as serving the fried chicken on the metal grill thingy so that it doesn’t get soggy over the course of the meal.

Due to the UOB promotion, K and myself also got our complimentary desserts!

The Green Tea Ice Cream with Soy Milk Syrup tasted very peranakan (think coconut milk desserts) after we poured in some Gula Melaka given to us. The sweet Gula Melaka helped to balance the slightly bitter green tea jelly and tasteless mochi found at the base of the dessert.

Green Tea Ice Cream in Soya Milk Syrup($4.50)

I really loved the mildly sweet Milk Ice Cream though I don’t really have a thing for green tea (mousse in this case) and was too full to eat anymore rice ball desserts (mochi) since it was also present in the previous dessert.

Kyoto Uji Matcha Green Tea Mousse & Milk Ice Cream($6)

Bon Appetit!

OOTOYA

181 ORCHARD ROAD, #08-12 ORCHARD CENTRAL

TEL: +65 6884 8901





Wild Honey – Look out for the honeys!

5 05 2010

Brunch was invented a long long time ago for many reasons. The first that comes to mind is the story where Adam(the first human who ate brunch), after a night of partying, woke up in the region between 10am-2pm feeling rather guilty he hadn’t done anything for the whole morning. So instead of having lunch(where he would have inevitably admitted to wasting the whole morning), he invented brunch to refute others when they accused him of bumming around. He would then reply, “Nope. I took brunch and did some work after that, thus not wasting the whole morning.”

I believe myself to be a direct descendant of Adam, finding myself on many an occasion having brunch. For me, Wild Honey is a Godsend with a whole day brunch menu! Yes, attempts to guilt trip me if I wake up at 4pm are now futile. “Yes. I took brunch and did some work after that.”

Being a whole day brunch place, the demographic of Wild Honey is skewed heavily towards the fairer sex, whom are better known at enjoying brunch. Hence, when 7 testosterone laden males decided to dine here, unsurprisingly interesting silly ideas such as “Why don’t you start reviewing restaurant waitresses along with the food?” came up. Typical immature guys…was I going to get taken in? NOOOOO!!!

So I decided to snap some pics of the chio patrons surroundings instead.

Amuse Bouche for the day: Eye Candy! But B’s sweet tooth was not so easily satisfied. Therefore, he ordered a Banoffee Brulee($9++) which was this Banana Mocha(or Chocolate) Drink. I took a sip and it was not bad though I don’t see how it warrants such a hefty pricetag.

Wild Honey specialises in the signature breakfast/brunch items from various countries, hmm do you spot the slight oxymoron here? Anyways, I shall start with the Scandinavian($24++). Grilled Norwegian salmon fillet and green asparagus, potato rosti in Hollandaise sauce. My Salmon Fillet was overcooked such that the skin was burnt and gave off a sooty bitter taste. The Rosti(it’s a swiss german invention says wikipedia) was acceptable, just some edible fried potato strips… 

The European($18++) smacked my sweet spot with the Eggs Benedict with Field Mushrooms & Sausage. I love the Eggs Ben here for some reason, as well as the sauteed mushrooms but the sausage didn’t really taste all that good though I could tell it was packed with relatively high quality meat.

New York($24++) comprised of Scrambled eggs with caramelized onions & smoked sturgeon, bagel & cream cheese. The portion was really pathetic. B was really sad and had a tough time locating the smoked sturgeon within the omelette. Initially he thought the sturgeon would come as a large piece or at least in strips. Sobz…

 
I guess the most value for money would be the English($22++) since it had Eggs(any way), Sausage, Tomato, Mushrooms, Baked beans, Potato & Bacon with Thick Toast. It made for quite the hearty meal.

My favourite though was the Tunisian($18++) with it’s Sizzling pan of Tomato Stew, Fried Eggs & Chorizo Sausage. The spicy sausage went well with the tomato tang and the myriad of colours was so psychedelic.

Belgian Waffles with Mango($18++)! Freakishly Bo Hua and doesn’t even match up to Gelare…And Waffle Dinner? LOLzzz…

Canadian Pancakes($18++) for dinner ain’t exactly any better than waffles. No wonder the Americans keep laughing at the Canadians but there’s bacon! Niceeee…

Generally mediocre and overpriced, I guess the most awesome dish here is the Eye Candy after all!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

WILD HONEY

333A ORCHARD ROAD, #03-02 MANDARIN GALLERY

TEL: +65 6235 3900








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