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.

Sunday 24 August 2014

The Winteringham Fields UK review: A michelin worthy menu

The Winteringham Fields is a 3 AA rosette restaurant on the banks of the river Humber. Previously the restaurant was one of the best in England, holding two Michelin stars, however the previous chef sold the restaurant and as things stand some have considered it a fall from grace. However things have been looking up as new owner and head chef Colin McGurran became a well known face on the Great British Menu (a competition between the top regional chefs of Britain) and twice has had his dishes on the final menu beating top competition. 

Despite no Michelin star the kitchen clearly has ambition and talent with Colin at the pass and modern techniques are handled very well, not too obtrusive, actually adding to a dish.

We visited last year and looking back the tasting menu showed real skill and precision and is definitely somewhere I am keen to visit again to see how things are and should be progressing.

The menu we chose was the 9 course “surprise” menu at £79. With only a tidbit of information given for each course the menu should show the chefs vision for the restaurant whilst also perhaps exploring new flavor profiles for the diner. 

Thursday 21 August 2014

Hatter Street cafe Singapore review: Lacking a touch of magic.

Despite desserts on the menu at Nakhon, we decided to try the acclaimed Hatter Street café just a few doors down. Decorated with whimsical artworks, objects and quotes, the café is every teenage girl’s fantasy café style that has taken the island by storm and just like Nakhon, can generate a long queue. 

Opened by Yvette who was trained at 3 Michelin star Bo Innovation, the website says the desserts push the boundaries of the “norm”, yet it also says the “Hatter Street’s culinary movement will be characterized by comfort food influenced by Asia culinary traditions versus the implementation of avant-garde techniques.

A little bit contradictory, so which is it?

Nakhon thai restaurant Singapore review: Thai classics served whilst being screamed at.

Anybody that has been to Thailand, or loves the cuisine, knows the food they serve is often some of the most interesting in the world, with its expert balance of sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter the key to a good dish. When I was in Thailand I did a cooking class in Chiang Mai that opened my eyes to the depth of flavour you can create with their ingredients and the David Thompson of Nahm green curry I made was fantastic even without some of the more local ingredients.

My green Thai curry

We have a particular favourite in Singapore on Orchard Road (which we will review later) but on this occasion, with one of our friends leaving the country, she wanted us to try Nakhon, about 5 minutes walk away from Kovan MRT.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Artichoke Singapore review: A taste of the Middle East

Decent Middle Eastern food is actually quite difficult to find in Singapore as in general it is mostly SE Asian or Western. Recommended to us by one of Louise’s friends, we have already eaten at Artichoke once before but both times have been similarly good.

The restaurant is relatively out of the way, likely not on the tourist path, however if you do fancy something acceptably priced but more importantly with good ambience and service this restaurant is a great place to come.

Saturday 16 August 2014

The Star Inn Harome UK review: Modern Yorkshire food

Hey folks!

Despite the close proximity of the Pipe and Glass, another great restaurant in Yorkshire is the Star Inn Harome. Indeed James Mackenzie, head chef of the Pipe and Glass, was once head chef at the Star, however despite the shared philosophy of local ingrediants the style of cooking is very different. Both James and owner/head chef at the Star, Andrew Pern, have done a great deal for Yorkshire food and it seems the two remain close friends judging by their own “two chefs ale” used to make a tasty bread at both restaurants.

Monday 11 August 2014

Ippudo Ramen Singapore review

Hey folks!

After living in Singapore for over a year you soon come to realize it is not that easy to get a decent meal at a good price unless you really look hard. Food is at a premium away from the hawker centers but sometimes it can be worth the hunt.

Ippudo is a Japanese ramen joint that has number of outlets on the island however Mandarin Gallery is where we chose this time. We ate on a Saturday night and were seated immediately by the friendly staff however other reviews seem to suggest it can get very busy and indeed the staff did seem used to a faster pace.

The Pipe & Glass Inn UK review

Hey folks!

To start the blog I thought I would take a look back at one of my favorite restaurants. The Pipe and Glass Inn is a 1 Michelin star set in the pretty village of South Dalton and is one of the few top restaurants in East Yorkshire and even named pub of the year by the Michelin guide. The building dates back to the 15th century and is a very comfortable setting for great food or simply a pint at the bar. Fortunately, the restaurant is just 30 minutes drive away and so we have been a number of times over the last year or so. 

Looking back at what I ate the first time we went shows one of the greatest assets the restaurant holds, consistency. Over the blog posts hopefully you will see a range of its options and why I love going there.