Charly T’s – A Resounding Rotisserie Chicken

4 10 2010

Whenever someone mutters “Grilled Chicken”, somehow or another I’m just prone to conjure up an inkling of Nando’s rather than Charly T’s. It’s probably just how Nando’s sounds so much more catchy. Anyways, though I haven’t tried Nando’s in Singapore, I wasn’t impressed by my Nando’s meal in Adelaide. Hence, I’m quite surprised at how hot our local Nando’s is compared to Charly T’s, which in my opinion whips up Singapore’s best Rotisserie Chicken so far (I have yet to try new French entrant Cocotte’s Rotisserie Chicken!).

Being a fast casual diner, you have to place your order personally at the counter, pay first (much like a fast food joint) and they will serve the food to you afterwards.

Ordering food here is quite a no-brainer. What else than to have their signature Whole Rotisserie Chicken with 4 Sides and Sauces ($37) to share? I know most people simply can’t reconcile paying around $40 when you can probably get a whole Roast Chicken for 10 bucks at Cold Storage but I’m positive these same people haven’t tried Charly T’s. The meat is as tender and moist as it gets, even for the chicken breast which I normally shun away from. I was secretly happy one of my friends didn’t fancy chicken skin for it’s health detriments as I found it exceptionally delicious due to its long period of marination.

4 Sauces came with the chicken so I chose the (from top left clockwise): Sesame, BBQ, Hot Sauce and Chimichurri (our favourite based on general consensus. Made from parsley, red wine vinegar & red pepper). Actually, just do away with the sauces because the chicken tastes great on it’s own!

The 4 Sides I chose were the (from top left clockwise): Mac & Cheese, Roasted Potoatoes, German Potato Salad (I think) and German Salad (much like Sauerkraut). Nothing very memorable though J did enjoy the Mac & Cheese.

Having a bout of rashes, G’s doctor advised him against eating seafood and poultry. So he decided to order a beef burger instead. Can’t recall what it’s called exactly but it definitely tops any fast food burgers, Burger, Bench & Bar or even The Handburger in terms of it’s juicy beef patty.

Charly T’s is probably one of the most severely underrated restaurants in Singapore. I actually reviewed on it half a year ago on Hungrygowhere but business hasn’t seemed to have picked up much since despite its splendid Rotisserie Chicken.

Bon Appetit!

CHARLY T’S

20 HANDY ROAD, LEVEL 1 NOMU (BESIDE THE CATHAY)

TEL: +65 6336 7789

Advertisements




Strictly Pancakes – All Day Pancake Cafe

24 09 2010

I really wanted to be there to support it’s opening day on 19th September where owners Joanne and Eunice decided on their pay-as-you-wish opening day promotion for Strictly Pancakes. Alas work caught up with me again, so I had to settle heading over a few days later than initially planned.

The crowd hasn’t seemed to have diminished one bit since it’s opening day. Indeed, the concept of an all day brunch cafe isn’t new to Singapore with the likes of Wild Honey, as well as Prive and Cafe Hacienda with brunch menus extending till 5pm. But an all day specialist Pancake cafes? This is definitely a first! Pancakes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper (Strictly Pancakes opens till 1am on Fri/Sat, and 11pm on other days), that’s the concept behind Strictly Pancakes.

This is probably the few times I’m uploading pictures with actual people on it. Yep, I brought some friends over to Strictly Pancakes, not purely for the extrinsic reason of introducing them to a new eatery, but also because of intrinsic self interest so that I could get to try a larger variety of pancakes!

Strictly Pancakes occupies 3 floors, the first and second for dining purposes and the third functioning as a small office for their paperwork I presume. To accommodate my large group, we sat at the second level whose setting reminded me a lot of The Coffee Nations @ Bali Lane.

My favourite Milkshake is probably the one at Billy Bombers (ironically it’s also the only thing I find worth ordering there) but the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Milkshake($5) found here cuts it really close. My friend Jing Cong found this much better than the milkshakes @ Once Upon A Milkshake but since I haven’t visited the latter (but I’m so going to very soon), I shall refrain from making any further comment that might draw flak.

If you feel a bit uneasy and guilty loading up on all that maple syrup, butter and high carbo pancakes, take comfort in the fact that maple syrup is actually healthy! Or so says the staff of Strictly Pancakes haha.

Apart from the regular stacks, savoury and sweet pancakes are also available, with savoury pancakes coming with a side of Butter(choice of salted, unsalted, garlic & herb, rum & raisin) and Maple Syrup.

My favourite item here is the Savoury Garlic Butter Prawns($12). It’s description reads “Medium Stack served with Prawns buttered generously with garlic and Cherry Tomato Salad on the side for an aromatic, mouth-watering treat”. The prawns are really fresh and and crunchy, with a flavourful garlic butter sauce. My friends were commenting on how the use of such tasty prawns would have contributed in the creation of a delectable Prawn Aglio Olio.

Another crowd favourite, the Chicken A La King($11). Think of it as Chicken Chop with Cream Sauce with Pancakes. I found the chicken to be a little on the salty side when eaten on it’s own but just nice when eaten together with the pancakes. Not sure if Strictly Pancakes read Vanilla & Breakfast’s post where she ranted about the small chicken serving size and 1 lonely looking piece of asparagus but my Chicken A La King didn’t have such problems. I really loved the cream sauce with onions too!

I wouldn’t have thought pancakes would have gone so well with Smoked Salmon before having a taste of the Salmon Run($12). The side of sour cream with dill ensured that things didn’t get out of hand to an overly salty level.

They call this the Druggie($11) because it’s so addictive. Who can ever dislike a “Chocolate Pancake served with Chocolate Ice Cream sprinkled with Chocolate Flakes and sliced Strawberries topped off with Strictly Pancakes’s own Homemade Chocolate Sauce”. Definitely a chocoholic’s fantasy!

My love for Butterscotch drove me to order the Bananas-Scotched($11). Should have read the description more carefully though, there isn’t a trace of butterscotch, just Caramelized Bananas, a dash of Rum and a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (with visible vanilla beans). Great for Dessert!

Joanne and Eunice are in the best position to recognize the needs of students being students themselves, so don’t be surprised to see a 10% discount off the final bill! Awesome, finally a perk of being in school!

Love Pancakes Remember! I will.

Bon Appetit!

STRICTLY PANCAKES

44A PRINSEP STREET

TEL: +65 6333 4202





1 Caramel – The 4th Visit

17 09 2010

Are Women really from Venus and Men from Mars? Evidently, our diets do differ on the most fundamental of levels. Most men enjoy cheap food that is massive in quantity, messy(think full rack ribs with much gravy) and not necessarily all that palatable as long as it fills the tummy. Women enjoy their food petite, aesthetically pleasing with a focus on taste and presentation. Men thrive on mains while women on starters and desserts. At least that’s my take…

In an attempt to attain the status of a New Age Man, the male equivalent to the Tai Tai, my resolution in the fine art of dessert appreciation had advertently led me to 1 Caramel, a place known for it’s chic setting and overpriced albeit laudable desserts.

-An excerpt from my previous post on 1 Caramel

Ever since I have gotten to know the existence of 1 Caramel, I have been endeavoring to slowly but surely make my way through it’s lengthy cake menu. Today marked my 4th visit to 1 Caramel and I’m still only halfway there. Yet, each new visit has filled me with new insights, intrigue and wonder, never ceasing to brighten up my day.

There are some things that are worth ordering over again and again simply because it’s just too awesome. In this case, it’s the highly raved about Strawberry Shortcake($8.90++). The Strawberry cream and cake batter is especially light. This is one cake you will never get tired of.

I would have preferred the Chocolate Berry Lust($8.90++) to be without the Berries. I know it’s presence was to cleanse the palate and not allow the chocolate to become threateningly cloying but it’s acidic sharp sour tones was a bit too much that I had to set the berries aside.

Another chocolate based cake, this time in the form of the Chocolate Slut($8.90++). “Multiple layers of chocolate flourless sponge, caramel peanut butter mousse, marshmallow chunks, crispy struesel dough and glazed with dark rich coating”. Need I say more? It wasn’t as cloying as I expected it to be though, the chocolate was a bit too runny for me and I wished for a denser consistency of rich peanut butter.

The Tea-ramisu($7.90++) here was pretty decent too. Instead of Espresso or Rum, it seems that the Finger Sponge was soaked in Tea instead, giving rise to a unique tiramisu taste that I couldn’t easily place my finger on.

1 Caramel does customization of cakes too! Some of the designs are really out of this world and very lifelike, ranging from Chanel Bags, iPhones etc. I highly recommend checking out their facebook photos page, it’s a serious eye opener. There was a wedding cake being displayed there today and I think this modern take is an improvement from the traditional wedding cake.

Ideal for knocking back a cuppa while nibbling on a slice of heaven, 1 Caramel is a must visit for dessert enthusiasts, especially those who have a thing for inspiring French Cakes with a Japanese twist.

Bon Appetit!

1 CARAMEL

6 HANDY ROAD, #01-01A THE LUXE

TEL: +65 6338 3282





Aroy Dee

5 09 2010

J told me he had discovered a Thai eatery around the SMU area which served awesome Thai food at really cheap prices but he couldn’t recall the name of the place. So a list of possible eateries immediately popped into mind. Perhaps it was Yhingthai Palace, Bumbu Restaurant, Tom Yam Kungfu or Ah loy Thai? All of which were part of my supposedly comprehensive to-go list? To my surprise, it happened to be an eatery totally foreign to me – Aroy Dee at Bencoolen Street.

Aroy Dee’s menu is both comprehensive and cheap, with a range from poultry to seafood and really resembles an affordable zi char cafe. When I was here on a weekday night, the cafe was full so service was a bit sluggish.

Thai Tea($1.80) was a great way to cool down after the walk from SMU.

I didn’t feel that the Phad Thai($4 for Pork/$5 for Seafood) was deserving of J’s rave reviews, simply because it wasn’t tasty enough. Thai flavours are meant to be sharp and strong, but this was one mild tasting Phad Thai with a noodle texture which I found too dry and sticky. Thai Express does a better job. 1 good point I can say though is that they didn’t scrimp on the ingredients since I found 7 shrimps in my Phad Thai.

I’m not a fan of Tom Yam Goong($6) because I can’t really take much spicy food but this Tom Yam Soup was nothing noteworthy anyway.

Having been spoilt by the Green Curry I had at Nu Thai (Probably one of the Best Thai Restaurants in Adelaide), I found the Green Curry Chicken($6) here much too watery and the chicken meat too tough.

While the food here isn’t spectacular, at least it’s cheap right?

Bon Appetit!

AROY DEE

91 BENCOOLEN STREET, #01-12 SUNSHINE PLAZA

TEL: +65 6336 8852





Tao’s Restaurant – Casual Dining with Fine Foods

7 08 2010

Dinner at Tao’s was a direct result of Guoren’s lucky streak. You know those lame SMS competitions where the answer is so ridiculously obvious? Guoren took part in one, sent out 1 sms that cost him 20 cents and bazinga, 2 free Vip tickets to the 1st day of Singfest 2010 with performances from Wondergirls, Orianthi, Tokyo Hotel, Katy Perry and The Light. Ok VIP tickets are such an overstatement, the only difference was that we had 3 free Tiger Beer coupons each and sheltered seatings that were was so bloody far that we ended up jostling our way through the horde of sweaty & smelly “normal” Singfest ticketholders to get a better view of the performances. So much for thinking that VIP meant an exclusive seating location directly in front of the stage, with access to a  buffet and waitresses moving up and down asking if you would like any complimentary cocktails, and maybe a throw in of a backstage pass as well? Anyways, I felt quite bad just taking the “VIP” ticket for free (the “normal” tickets already costs $175 for a day pass!) so I treated Guoren to dinner at Tao’s before walking over to Fort Canning for Singfest. Still, I feel like I’m somewhat shortchanging him.

Having had memorable meals at sister restaurants Dozo for it’s Japanese Fusion & Ju Ju Hokkaido Hot Pot for its awesome hot pot, I finally visited Tao’s Restaurant, the third and final sibling of this dining group.

The dining style here is simple. 6-Course Set Lunch is priced at $19.80++ while 7-Course Set Dinner is priced at $29.80++. Unlike semi fine-dining sister restaurant Dozo, Tao’s portrays itself as a casual dining restaurant with a touch of class. Nothing too posh or over the top, just comfortable surroundings with good food and service, though I did question the sexual orientation of our waiter but at least he was friendly right? I’m no homophobe anyway.

The 7-Course Dinner between my friend Guoren and me kicked off with a cheesy Bacon  & Mushroom Gratin. Served with 2 thick slices of Toast, it’s looked and tasted like heaps of Baked Mozzarella over a Creamy Mushroom Soup. It’s hearty and we both liked it but it did seem a bit filling for a starter.

Bacon & Mushroom Gratin

2nd Course: Salads.

The Topshell Salad with Jap Noodles was served chilled with chopped nuts and an oriental dressing that tasted very Thai and refreshing.

Top Shell Salad with Cold Japanese Noodle

The Pork Floss with Prawn Roll was a much better choice of Salad in my opinion. It was very much like a Pork Floss Crepe or Popiah which agreed with my palate. The Mango Sauce that was drizzled over it complemented it well too, resulting in a good mix of sweet and savoury!

Prawn Roll with Pork Floss

The only difference between the Lunch and Dinner Set is this course – The Grilled King Oyster Mushroom with Sorbet. I forgot to take a picture of the Sorbet but it’s essentially a sweet citrus drink(if I’m not wrong it’s Yuzu Sorbet) served with crushed ice in a shot glass that aids digestion (Dozo and Ju Ju serves this too!). I loved the Grilled Mushrooms too! They were awfully fresh and crunchy. (I’m just a Mushy person, pun intended)

Grilled King Oyster Mushroom & Sorbet

4th Course: Soup

The Fish Consomme came in a cute looking pot. Crystal clear and void of any impurities, the consomme was flavourful and rich yet light at the same time. Again, portion was too much for 1 person to stomach. Why do I sound like I’m ranting? Bigger portions are a good thing right? I think it’s just because I hate wasting food, tasty ones at that.

Fish Consomme

GR fancied a more traditional Chinese Soup and hence chose the Sharkfin Melon Herbal Soup. There wasn’t a whole lot of sharkfin, I actually didn’t spot any at all but it had a nice mild herbal undertone of Ginseng, Red Dates & Wolfberries.

Shark-Fin Melon Herbal Soup

5th Course: Main

I don’t see why anyone would want to pay $15 bucks for a Cafe Cartel St Louis Pork Ribs or a $20-$30 Rack over at Tony Roma’s when you can get one that is of better quality and value right here! Slowed cooked to a near tender perfection, my only gripe was that the side of pumpkin mash wasn’t very smooth.

Slow-Cooked Pork Back Ribs

The Marinated Rack of Lamb was succulent and tasty on it’s own even without the side of was it Mint sauce? I did have a stronger preference for the ribs though.

Marinated Rack of Lamb

6th Course: Desserts

The desserts at Tao’s are good but not mind-blowing. Especially staple desserts like Tiramisu whereby after you have eaten so many, they all start tasting more or less the same and only the really poor or really awesome ones stand out. What I liked about Tao’s Tiramisu though was that the Mascarpone’s smooth consistency, denseness and sweetness suited my tastebuds.

Tiramisu

The Brownie with Ice Cream on the other hand was just unsophisticated sweet comfort food!

Brownie with Ice Cream

I really love the signature fruit teas from Dozo and Tao’s. We had the Ice Rose Apple Tea and Ice Summer Peach Tea and we both favoured the former. Its really refreshing and the Rose flavour was clearly evident even after all the ice melted. Guoren couldn’t stop raving about it.

Ice Rose Apple Tea & Ice Summer Peach Tea

We enjoyed our dinner at Tao’s tremendously. The food is not as sophisticated nor as intricate as Dozo’s but still tastes as good. Tao’s owner Mr Huang has indeed succeeded in his endeavor in making quality food that is value for money accessible to the masses.

Bon Appetit!

TAO’S RESTAURANT

1 SELEGIE ROAD, B1-19 POMO

TEL: +65  6333 0779





Lao Beijing – A High Tea Buffet Pictorial

2 08 2010

Run by the Tung Lok Group, Lao Beijing might not be in the running for Singapore’s Best Dim Sum, but priced at a modest $10.20++ for Weekdays between 3pm – 5pm, it’s definitely in the running for Cheapest Dim Sum Buffet around.

When you pay peanuts you get monkeys. The dim sum buffet here is self-service for the most part so you have to physically go and select your dim sum off the buffet counter. 

I wouldn’t say that the variety of dim sum available is plentiful since several staple items like Har Kows, Char Siew Puff Pastry & Fried Prawn Dumplings seemed to be missing but it is definitely sufficient with Sweet & Sour Soup, a myriad of appetizers, Dumplings and Dessert. A non-ala carte dim sum buffet spells trouble though, since good dim sum will never have to endure prolonged steaming. Fortunately, some items like the Xiao Long Baos still remained ala carte style, whew…

A sweet dessert to wash down any unctuousness and signaling the end of our high tea buffet.

Nothing very spectacular about the dim sum @ Lao Beijing but it sure is an ideal place for XLB spamming and lazing a good part of the afternoon away without busting your wallet!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

LAO BEIJING

68 ORCHARD ROAD, #03-01 PLAZA SINGAPURA

TEL: +65 6738 7207





Chalk – Warm Sticky Date for a Double Date

9 06 2010

“Old School at Mount Sophia is one of the few places left in Singapore that exuberates an enchanting and undemanding atmosphere, out of the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a treasure trove and you never know when you might stumble across an arts exhibit or movie screening here. Chalk Restaurant does well too to blend into this serene setting and at the same time, promises patrons a gastronomic dining experience.

First thing that struck me was the chic ambience. Not overly posh but with the feel of a mid-upper range restaurant. Lightings were dim which contributed to the relaxed and tranquil nature of the eatery. The kitchen has an open concept which allows patrons to marvel at the mastery of the chefs. There is also an extensive wine selection here with all the wine placed at a nice rustic corner of the restaurant for patrons to pick their poison. Only downside I noticed was that noise levels can get a bit on the high side.” -excerpts from my past review of Chalk on Hungrygowhere.

One of my favourite restaurants, Chalk is relatively hidden from the masses(mainly due to it’s inaccessability by public transport and the deterring 136 step climp up the “Stairway to Heaven” to Mount Sophia’s Old School for non-drivers, definitely not for the faint-hearted). I was here this time on a double date, with my vertically-challenged ex-canoeist CCA mate and fellow soon to be SMU freshie Justin and his lovely also equally vertically-challenged gf Elsia, and Chalk provides the atmostphere for such a meetup. It’s not posh enough to rouse one’s insecurity but elegant and cosy enough for a nice dinner among friends and loved ones.

Rawrrrr! I was in a foul mood because I left my Panasonic Lumix LX3 at home which I normally use. I find it compact and light enough compared to DSLRs yet still functional for basic food photography. Anyway, I had to make do with S’s ancient vintage compact camera instead so I apologize for the poorly taken pics to come. At least it’s better than my 3.2Megapixel Camera Phone so let’s be THANKFUL!

Pizzas clearly aren’t the forte here. We had the 4-cheese pizza($20++) which I felt lacked depth and came across to me as being very one-dimensional in taste. Probably no one will understand my rantings so I will put this way. There are 3 types of pizzas; The great, the average and the scum of the earth. The one here was just a thin-crusted average.

 

While I don’t want to believe it, I’m forced to come to terms that Chalk’s Duck Confit with Sweet Potato Mash($30++) is just not good as it used to. Or maybe because I have just found better elsewhere. Actually, it’s probably both. Chalk’s rendition is dry for the most part, too salty for my tastebuds(though the mash does provide some relief) and the portion was also undeceptively shrivelled and rather petite. That said, I have heard great things about Saint Pierre’s Duck Confit available in their weekday set lunch and I’m eyeing that as a potentially sustainable alternative for all Duck Confit enthusiasts!

Fortunately, Justin has a penchant for a nice beef stew and ordered it, causing any disappointments I have had till now to fade into obscurity. The Beef Stew with Red Wine Sauce($28++) was absolutely stellar! I couldn’t ask for more; The beef was tender, it’s flavours robust and though the velvety mash was slightly bland on it’s own, dipping it in red wine sauce really works wonders.

My first love, an old flame. Drifted apart yet with latent feelings that have ceased to diminish. Of course, I have gotten in and out of relationships since but at the back of your mind, she had always been the benchmark to beat. I have always been on the lookout for someone similar in tastes, character and background but I have not found anyone as genuinely warm and uncloyingly sweet. A year’s past before I saw her again. Pent up emotions gushed forth like the escaping crude from BP’s oil well off the gulf of Mexico and I unleashed a smile that extended from ear to ear. My mouth met hers and a tear slid down my cheeks, with the thankful realisation; I was lost but now am found…The Sticky Date Pudding with Ginger Ice-Cream($13++). We requested to change the ice-cream to vanilla and it ended up being a bit too sweet to me compared to the ginger ice cream. It’s a match made in heaven, sweet and utter bliss.

I had high hopes for the Passionfruit Souffle with Vanilla Anglaise($13++). After all, we waited 25 minutes after our mains while it was being freshly baked in the oven. Refreshing and light, it had all the attributes of a well-executed souffle. Everyone liked it but me though(passionfruit really isn’t my thing). Beauty does indeed lie in the eyes of the Beholder. 

Amid some minor disappointments, I’m left with 2 lingering thoughts.

1) If my school ever had Chalk Restaurant in it, I wouldn’t have ponned school so often.

2) Sticky Date Pudding

Bon Appetit!

 

 

CHALK RESTUARANT

11 MOUNT SOPHIA #01-03

TEL: +65 6883 2120








%d bloggers like this: