Sunday 28 September 2014

Nam Nam Singapore review: Vietnamese delights and one tasty little vanilla pudding.

Nam Nam, a shining light in the Singapore market of restaurants overcharging for something with little substance. Expected perhaps considering it is under the Les Amis brand, the 86th best restaurant in the world (review here) that transferred their standards here. The restaurant is very conveniently located in Wheelock Place (under the escalators) on Orchard Road, 5 minutes walk from Orchard station in the comfort of Ion’s air conditioning.

Vietnamese is my favourite SE Asian cuisine alongside Japanese and for the very reasonable price you pay at Nam Nam, I feel the standard is very good. The Pho, a beef broth simmered for likely over 24 hours is packed with meaty flavour  and lifted by the fresh herbs and whilst never as good as a true Vietnamese pho this is more than acceptable, we get the beef slices pho ($8.90).

Thursday 18 September 2014

Special Shanghai guotie and Tong Heng egg tart review Singapore

If you do happen to be at Maxwell Food Centre to try the famous chicken rice there is all a favourite of ours nearby, Special Shanghai Tim Sum. We order guotie ($4 for 8) which are fried dumplings served alongside vinegar and chilli sauce and are filled with moist meat contrasting the crispy exterior, very nice and well worth a try.

Guotie, fried dumplings

Another popular place just down the road from the food centre is Tong Heng bakery that specializes in Chinese baked treats. We only tried the egg tarts ($1.40 each) which they are famous for and are supposedly the best in SG. Diamond shape with a smooth soft set custard they look nice. The pastry however was a little bit too crumbly and went everywhere and for me and Louise the taste of egg was too strong. This may be just not too our taste as they are called “egg tart” after all but our previous experience with Portuguese egg tarts in Macau was far better. These have a crisped sugar skin and therefore more sweetness to mask the egg flavour.

Egg tarts (they were bounced around a little bit during transport)

Anyway these were not to our taste and therefore perhaps also to other westerners.

Rating: Special Shanghai= 8/10, Tong Heng: 4/10
Expect to pay: $4 for guotie and $1.40 each egg tart
Would we go back: Special Shanghai yes, Tong Heng no
Any freebies: No

Special Shanghai Tim Sum
Stall 92
Maxwell Food Centre
Chinatown MRT

Tong Heng Confectionary
285 South Bridge Road

Tel: 058833

Beautiful but hot day in Chinatown
Tong Heng confectionary

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Tian Tian vs Ah Tai chicken rice: Maxwell Food Centre Singapore Review

Chicken rice, the dish every tourist and local must have whilst in Singapore. Anthony Bourdain loves the stuff and whilst Singaporeans will tell you it is not their most tasty dish, it is their most popular. Unfortunately, I don’t see why, and despite the cheap price fail to be wowed by it every time I have eaten it. And yet, it is a dish that you will crave on the most random of occasions, purely for its simplicity.

Tian Tian
Poached chicken, rice cooked in that chicken broth, slices of cucumber, glue like thick soy sauce and fragrant chilli sauce…that is it.

Friday 12 September 2014

Simple Pad Thai at home recipe and adventures in Thailand

Pad Thai in Thailand is seriously good and recreating the same flavour at home is not easy, getting close however could not be simpler.

Every tourist who has been to Thailand will tell you of the street food joys the country has, though not necessarily the after effects...and I have been fortunate to spend a few weeks there. One friend who travelled with me during New Years Eve ate pad Thai for nearly every meal for an entire week and this says nothing for the heavenly curries.

Pad Thai and tea

Sunday 7 September 2014

The Pipe & Glass Inn UK review, second visit: A christmas treat.

As I said in my first review of the Pipe and Glass Inn (click here), the meals were some time ago, however I feel this will show the consistency of what I feel is a great restaurant.

This review covers the meal that we ate just before Christmas 2013.

Seeing the little inn as you drive along the small county road to its entrance you know that it will be a warm taste of an English country home and the decorations and roaring fire to keep the guests warm inside will only heighten that illusion. 
For the starters we opted for two dishes we thought fitting to the season, the ‘Yorkshire game terrine with pickled pear, semi dried grapes, mulled wine jelly and hazelnut flatbread’ along with ‘Creamed and truffled Shetland mussels with chestnuts, smoked bacon, chanterelles and crispy kale’ which was on the specials board.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Blue Diamond Indian restaurant Singapore review: Dum good briyani

Walk out of Little India station, the smell of rose water lingering on the air, past crates of fresh produce and bright colour’s and you will reach Blue Diamond Indian restaurant. Considered makers of one of the better briyani’s on the island, as Rick Stein once said, “when you crave a curry, nothing else will do”.

Indian spread

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Lunch at Les Amis Singapore review: 14th best in Asia, 86th best in the world

As the second part of Louise's birthday I wanted to take her somewhere special and after looking at Iggy'sJaan and Les Amis I decided on the latter. All three are amongst the best in Asia and Singapore without being beyond my means like Waku Ghin and Restaurant Andre by offering reasonable lunch menus.

Les Amis is a mainstay on the Singapore fine dining scene and has been popular for some years and I personally feel that although not quite as useful as an evening degustation meal, a lunch option can show a lot about a restaurant. Although the head chef may not be there overseeing, particularly on a weekday, their standards and expectations of the staff should continue to every guest, no matter their budget, even more so when you are in the top 100 restaurants in the world.

The restaurant is just off Orchard Road so has a very convenient location for locals or tourists and practically runs the small street with various different off shoot restaurants. Inside does seem a little dated and as soon as you enter the door you are practically at your table (though you may be also be seated upstairs) but despite this the room is bright with full length windows and quiet.

We were given our lunch menus and you can choose from three options at $55, $70 and $125 but I had already decided on the middle "Decouverte" option with the supplement dish bringing the meal to $95pp. Looking at the menus beforehand I was happy to see that some of the dishes also feature on the evening degustation menus so I knew we would not be shortchanged and in fact the cheaper two menus seem better value as the $125 option seems more about classic French cuisine, i.e. as many expensive items as you can use rather than doing more with less so to speak.

2am:Dessert Bar Singapore review: Asia's best pastry chef?

With it being Louise’s birthday, and both of us dessert lovers, I had no choice but to treat her to the 2am:Dessert Bar in Holland Village run by Janice Wong. Janice has been voted Asia's best pastry chef two years previously and has also worked at some of the biggest restaurants including Per Se, L20 and Alinea, so I was expecting good things from my surprise.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Pizzeria Mozza Singapore review: Decent Pizza

Located in Marina Bay Sands, Pizzeria Mozza is a very popular restaurant and even on a weekday night you can expect a little wait (though no need to reserve). Me and Louise are disappointed by pretty much every food spot in MBS and almost everyone charges a premium, presumably to cover the rent. The benefit of this is that if you are a tourist you may as well eat at one of the actual restaurants rather than the hawker centre next to ice rink as the food you get there is literally daylight robbery, I repeat, do not bother eating there.

Opened as a two part restaurant, one casual pizzeria and one fine dining osteria, Mozza offers food in the mid to high end price range. The pizzeria supposedly offers one of the better pizza in Singapore so we felt we may as well try ourselves.

Monday 25 August 2014

51 Mingfa wanton egg noodles Kovan SG review: Good broth

Wanton mee is one of the most popular hawker foods in Singapore and can be found at every food centre. 

A Cantonese dish based upon thin egg noodles, small dumplings, leafy vegetables and a hot broth with the addition of char siu pork in Singapore.

The aim is to get al dente noodles with a nice broth that isn’t too strong to overpower the other flavors.
One of the popular hawkers of this dish is 51 Mingfa at Kovan food centre. We arrived at 1pm on a Sunday and there was a queue of about 10 people and by 1.30pm the stall had already closed suggesting its popularity.
We ordered both the dry and the soup version, with the dry version having a bowl of broth and dumplings separately. Despite ordering the spicy version I think the auntie thought the white guy could not handle it hot, despite that we enjoyed the food.