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Archive for the ‘Don't Mind Going Back’ Category

The latest addition to the neighbourhood of Kampong Bahru, Old Boys Gallery serves western-fusion cuisine with more than 50 different variety of craft beers and ciders to suit every palate. This was formerly an art gallery but has now been transformed into a bistro where food meets art – from graffiti art and wall murals to canvas paintings.

Of course, I was not there to check out the alcohol or art, but for the food! Always for the food ha.

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We seldom eat fried food but when we do, sweet potato fries usually top our list. I love the version here! Fried to perfection and that curry mustard dip on the side is a flavourful bomb in the mouth.

Potato Head ($7.90)
sweet potato fries, curry mustard dip

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There’s a good selection of bar bites – think wings, meatballs and fried food like fish fingers. Go for the “make your own triplets” if you are in a group, or not in the mood for a full meal. For $27, take your pick of three appetizers from the menu. It’s great value for money! Speaking of which, there is no GST or service charge so the food is really affordable.

OBG Crab Cake ($11)
sassy flavors of special crab cake with mango relish

Cremini in Disguise ($11)
breaded portobello mushroom topped with louisiana spices

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Our choices were most satisfying – filler-less crab cakes, savory crunchy breaded portobello mushroom and addictive fried baby squid that’s a danger to the waistline.

Crispy Baby Squid ($11)
fried squid with tangy sauce to go with curry leaves

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Chef introduces a special dish every month and when I was there, it was a delicious slab of miso cod. For this month, it’s a massive Knuckle Up meat platter for $69 nett. You get a huge ~1kg pork knuckle, chorizo/lamb/beef sausages, Australian ribeye, German potato with crispy bacon, sauerkraut and sauteed vegetables, woah. Beer is a must to go with that, so for every 3 pints of beer, the 4th one is on the house!

OBG Special
cod fish, vegetables, miso sauce

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For something equally hearty for just for 1 pax, the handmade beef burger stacked with cheese, bacon, egg and caramelized onion will fill your stomach and heart. I swear, K was super happy with this, especially on a TGIF night!

Manster Burger ($17.90)
cheese, bacon, egg, caramelized onion, served with fresh greens and fries

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Desserts are the only letdown. We tried the tiramisu and a ramekin filled with mousse-like chocolate. Too sweet and not impressive, head somewhere else for a sweet ending!

Devil’s Double Choc ($9)
served with ice cream

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Thank you for arranging dinner, Amanda and Yong Sing!

Old Boys Gallery
67 Kampong Bahru Road
9187 0756

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Walk past #20 along Bukit Pasoh Road and you will unknowingly miss breezy Seattle-style Humpback, the sister restaurant of Jigger & Pony and Sugarhall.

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Buckets of oysters at the raw seafood counter are the star attraction. If you love your oysters (I don’t ha), you will be pleased to know that they are served as fresh as possible – from farm to table is the goal.

Oysters ($6++ each / Happy Hour $2-3++)
Kumamoto – Peale, Washington USA
Shigoku Fat Bastard – Samish Bay, Washington USA
Rocky Bar – South Puget Sound, Washington USA

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It’s not all about oysters, of course. The seafood menu is deliberately kept small (but changing constantly) so that only the freshest will be purveyed.

Clam Dip ($10++)
cream cheese, ritz crackers

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But let’s talk veggie first. Anything but ordinary, the “Garden” and “Pantry” selections are gems in themselves.

Carrots ($8++)
yoghurt, cumin salt

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A random assembly of carrots with creamy tahini yogurt and a dash of cumin salt is magic, and I love the different textures in the seemingly simple kale salad.

Kale ($14++)
buttermilk, pear, kale chips, pecan nuts

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The top veggie pick will be the grilled cabbage though. I have never seen such a combination before – cheese, quinoa and more importantly, chilli oil! Brilliant flavours.

Cabbage ($10++)
herb cheese, crispy quinoa, chilli oil

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The seafood section focuses on inventive preparations – rainbow trout with intriguing almond milk, tender black cod with chestnut puree, and hamachi ceviche cleverly lifted with just a touch of yuzu. So many hits!

Rainbow Trout ($16++)
egg yolk, almond milk, pickled mustard seeds

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Hamachi Ceviche ($22++)
avocado, yuzu, radish, almond

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Cod ($20++)
leek, chestnut, vinaigrette

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Beef Short Rib ($23++)
grain fed 120 days, carrot puree, broccolini

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There are only two desserts on the menu. While the panna cotta infused with fernet (a type of bitter herbal liqueur) is interesting, the smooth rich and creamy chocolate mousse is the one we fight over!

Valrhona Chocolate Mousse ($8++)
berries compote, fresh cream

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Fernet Panna Cotta ($8++)
bitter cocoa, orange

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Special thanks to Marie for hosting dinner!

Humpback
20 Bukit Pasoh Road
6750 4461

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I tell you, I left RedBank Bar & Grill in a food coma.

That’s because it’s impossible not to over-order and over-eat when quality good ol’ American fare at pocket friendly prices is part of the deal! Located at the newly renovated Claymore Connect, RedBank Bar & Grill took over the space of what was previously Tony Roma’s and comes equipped with a life-size screen to telecast major sporting events.

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Contrary to American cooking stereotypes, the focus is on the food, not the sauces. There is no need for special flavouring as the ingredients speak for themselves. The tuna tartare is the perfect example – fresh chopped tuna lightly tossed with a citrusy dressing, so refreshing!

Tuna Tartare ($20++)
tuna, shallots, herbs, lemon, olive oil

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Rooted to traditional recipes and cooking methods that have been passed down through generations, the menu features many East Coast favourites such as Maryland soft shell crab, Virginia-style crab cake and the less common fried oyster biscuit. All three are delicious and I’d order these again in a heartbeat!

Maryland Soft Shell Crab ($18++)
with old bay seasoning

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Virginia-Style Crab Cake ($18++)
crab, mayo, lemon

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Virginia-Style Oyster Biscuit ($18++)
large oysters, butter milk biscuit

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“Salad” sounds light and healthy but at RedBank, the cobb salad is one hearty dish that will satisfy both carnivores and ladies with a small appetite ha. Generous ingredients threaten to overflow the bowl!

Brown Derby Cobb Salad ($22++)
iceberg, avocado, egg, bacon, cheese, chicken

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French Onion Soup ($15++)
fresh onions, cheese gratin

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Typical American side orders like mac & cheese and home-style coleslaw are available but the hush puppies are the most interesting! These are nicely spiced handmade cornmeal fritters which taste somewhat like our Chinese “ham chim peng” (fried bread).

Hush Puppy ($12++)
cornmeal, onions, red pepper

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Dishes from the restaurant’s Josper charcoal grill are featured prominently on the menu, bringing the typical American backyard grill experience indoors. The traditional outdoor barbecue flavor is imparted to many of its items like the large U.S. steaks (ribeye is huge and most value-for-money!), ribs and seafood.

Mixed Seafood Grill ($33++)
prawn, salmon, seabass, tuna

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As if the serving is not big enough, each grilled meat comes with a side of fries while the seafood and poultry mains come with rice pilaf or fries.

Grilled Whole Seabass ($33++)
european-sourced

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Grilled Deviled Chicken ($28++)
taragon, pepper, white wine reduction

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Rib Eye ($45++)
300g steak

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We were full but no way were we going to leave without desserts, especially when the tempting hand-crafted creations include NY cheesecake with speculoos base (the unanimous favourite, even for myself who’s not a cheesecake fan!), classic lemon pie (so sour, I love it!), chocolate chip tiramisu and creme brulee.

New York Cheesecake ($12++)

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Lemon Pie ($12++)

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Creme Brulee ($12++)

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My thanks to Melody for hosting dinner!

RedBank Bar & Grill
#01-02 Claymore Connect
442 Orchard Road
+65 6694 5376

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There seems to be a trend for my Sumiya dining experiences – lunch usually borders on average but dinner are always much more enjoyable!

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The new Sumiya branch at Suntec City boasts a unique circular Enomatic sake dispenser with 16 different types of Japanese fermented rice wine! Just get a post-paid card from the staff, insert into the machine, press your selection and drink away! The sake range from lighter, easy-to-drink brews to higher quality, more full-bodied varieties meted out in a tasting (20ml from $2.20++), half (60ml) and full (120ml) portion.

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Freshness is key in Japanese cuisine and if there is only one dish you can order (I hope not!), get the bluefin tuna! It’s brilliant – a single cut of imported tuna showcasing three premium parts all at once, i.e. akami, chutoro and otoro. I adore it, of course!

Fresh Bluefin Tuna Sashimi Steak-Style ($68++)
three cuts of sustainably-farmed bluefin tuna in one – akami, chutoro and otoro; served with ponzu, spicy sauce and truffle paste

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A simpler but no less delicious way to enjoy seafood at Sumiya is to order it isoyaki-style. Doused in a house-made soy-dashi broth and grilled in its shell over charcoal, the plump scallop burst with umami flavour tinged with a tantalizing smokiness.

Fresh Hotate Isoyaki ($11.80++)
half-shell scallop charcoal-grilled with soy sauce-dashi broth

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The garden salad is forgettable and not that great value-for-money either.

Garden Salad ($14.80++)
assorted fresh vegetables, crab stick, flying fish roe and potato salad

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Dried fish is a traditional delicacy among the Japanese for thousands of years and despite the name “dried”, the fish is actually very moist and retains its natural juices! A special fish-dry machine is used to achieve this – heat controlled at 30°C replicating the warmth of sun rays is emitted and intensifies the flavour of the fish.

Today’s Homemade Dried Fish ($28.80++)
renkodai, a type of sea bream

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Another blast from the past is irori genshiyaki – an ancient Japanese style of charcoal-grilling fish. This entails skewering whole or selected fish parts and slow-grilling them vertically around a stack of smoldering charcoal for 20-40 minutes. I highly recommend the yellowtail collar – so juicy and tender with evenly crisp skin!

Salt Grilled Yellowtail Collar ($20.80++)
yellowtail collar grilled irori genshiyaki-style and seasoned with salt

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One of the restaurant’s signature is “Can Can Mushi” (a.k.a. ryoshi mushi), a hotpot of sorts inspired by the way Japanese fishermen cook freshly-caught seafood in a tin can on the boat or on shore. Think of it as a Japanese-style steamboat! You can even pick the soup base – original clear broth, tom yum soup, and soy sauce miso-based soup with garlic and chilli. Not my favourite since I’m not a fan of steamboats in general ha.

Today’s Chef’s Ryoshi Mushi (open price, depends on customization of seafood)
“hotpot” filled with assorted seafood – kodai sea bream fish (market price), hiroshima oysters ($4++ each), prawns ($5++ each), scallops ($11.80++ each)

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Desserts are worth a try too! With only 15 precious servings available daily, a pre-order of Sumiya Tropical Dessert is advised. The beautiful hand-carved ice bowl holds multiple colourful gems such as fruits, sago, azuki paste and even matcha ice cream!

Sumiya Tropical Dessert ($18.80++)
cubes of mango, watermelon and rock melon, sago, green tea ice cream and red bean paste in coconut milk sauce

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Other indulgent treats include mango and yogurt with matcha ice cream and deep-fried moreish pumpkin cake. I can’t pick the best out of the lot because my sweet tooth loves them all!

Pumpkin-filled Karinto Manju with Matcha Ice Cream ($8.80++)
crispy deep-fried japanese cake stuffed with pumpkin, served with green tea ice cream and sweet red bean paste

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My thanks to Rachel for hosting dinner!

Sumiya
#03-332 / 333, Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard, North Wing
6235 1816

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Violet Herbs

Violet Herbs is too… Purple.

Seriously, I’ve never seen a more purplish restaurant before.

Disturbing colour theme aside, the food is pretty good, and the affordable price tag is another plus. The Modern European menu offers easy-to-like choices – I couldn’t decide on the roasted chilean seabass or red miso cod so K suggested that I get both, score! The former is delicious with soft and fatty flaky meat; the latter can do with less miso but still very agreeable to my palate, all thanks to the lovely buttery texture and plump eggplant coated with almond on the side. My seafood choices fare better than K’s grilled tenderloin – slightly overcooked (errr, he eats it rare…) so that’s a shame. For dessert, get the decadent nutella bar! It’s as good as it sounds, only if you are a chocolate/nutella fan.

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Roasted Chilean Seabass ($32++)
saffron mushroom ragout, truffle egg fluid, kabanyaki lobster sauce, shiso cress

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Marinated Red Miso Cod ($33++)
roasted pumpkin puree, almond eggplant, mix herbs

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Char Grilled Tenderloin ($42++)
grain fed 120 days, herb potatoes, sauteed baby spinach, onion thyme reduction

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Nutella Bar ($12++)
strawberry coulis, nutella tuile, pearl chocolate, bailey ice cream

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Violet Herbs
81 Tras Street
6221 3988

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Korean food is not high on my list of preferred cuisine but Joo Bar is an exception only because it serves modern Korean bites, thankfully nothing too traditional, phew. Oh, and also because I really like makgeolli! Meaning ‘alcohol’ in Korean, ‘Joo’ is the first in Singapore to brew its signature makgeolli and the makgeolli sampler is the best way to taste-test this cloudy and light-bodied 6-8% ABV rice wine. Out of the five different flavours, my favourite is the tangy yuzu makgeolli, so good when it’s icy cold!

On to the food now. Creative starters such as the baby eel paper and house-made tofu chips sound tempting on paper. The former was a dangerous snack – I polished it off easily with the makgeolli in hand! The cracker-like tofu chips tasted nothing like tofu hmm, and the shrimp avocado salad was heavy on mayo and salt. Luckily that meant I had more stomach space for the delicious seafood risotto and soft tofu stew! If generous portions of carbs and soup ain’t comfort food, I don’t know what is ha. One of the recommended meat dishes is the slow roasted mangalitsa pork belly (I liken that to the meat version of otoro? LOL) but mom said it’s “ok, too fatty” so it’s a love-or-hate dish, I suppose.

Dessert is straightforward – there is bingsu but sadly unavailable so tiramisu it is! Very very moist and I love that they use makgeolli in it too!

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Makgeolli Sampler Set ($35++)
original, yuzu, lychee, strawberry, passionfruit

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Baby Eel Paper ($14++)
deep fried baby eel, chilli salt, lime zest

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Tofu Chips ($14++)
guacamole, kimchi salsa, cucumber

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Shrimp & Avocado Salad ($14++)
hass avocado, tiger shrimp, miso mayo dressing

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Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Belly ($32++)
thick cut mangalitsa pork belly, onion, garlic, dijon mustard, spring onion salad

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Seafood Gochujang Risotto ($24++)
shrimp, black mussel, clam, squid, red pepper paste cream sauce

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Seafood Soft Tofu Stew ($24++)
black mussel, clam, shrimp, squid, egg

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Joo Tiramisu ($12++)
mascarpone, shaved dark chocolate, cocoa powder, korean raspberry wine, makgeolli

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Special thanks to Cherry for arranging dinner!

Joo Bar
5 Tan Quee Lan Street
8138 1628

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Have you heard?

Japanese-inspired and serving an array of colourful eclairs and gourmet yogurt parfaits, Karafuru (Japanese for colourful!) is the latest to-go cafe for instagram-worthy desserts!

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There was a period of time when I was cray cray over Windowsill Pies, so imagine how happy I am to find out that Chef Michael Liu (ex-Windowsill Pies creator) is the man behind the unique, one-of-a-kind menu!

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Priced between $6 to $7, each slightly savoury choux is carefully baked before being hand-piped with smooth velvety creams. Karafuru’s eclairs are lighter, fluffier, and more dainty than its French counterparts so expectations need to be managed as some may think the flavours are muted and the pastry too soft.

Ume Shiso ($7)
umeboshi creme, shiso

Black Forest ($7)
kirshwasser creme, candied wild cherries, raspberries, dark chocolate

Marc de Champagne ($7)
marc de champagne creme, marzipan, silver leaves

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Traditional Japanese flavours get a contemporary facelift in the form of an unusual ume shiso, complete with a real shiso leaf! If you like choya, try it! Otherwise, the other “boozy” eclairs include marc de champagne, irish cream and black forest.

Matcha Azuki ($6)
matcha crème, azuki beans, matcha sables

Cafe Au Lait ($6)
milk coffee creme, marzipan, dark chocolate sables

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My personal favourites are the matcha azuki and cafe au lait, as both have strong and distinct flavours. Plus, they go well with UCC coffee (for K) and Lupicia tea (I highly recommend peach momo)!

Irish Cream ($7)
coffee whiskey creme, mascarpone chantilly, toasted almonds

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A generous swirl of freshly made yogurt soft serve sits atop a plate surrounded by a spread of moist souffle cake, wobbly pudding, Japanese dango balls and thin buttery langue de chat… That’s Karafuru’s spin on the classic Japanese parfait!

Gianduja Parfait ($16)
hazelnut souffle, chocolate pudding, hazelnut and orange crisp, dark chocolate curd, candied orange, curaçao sauce

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My heart broke when I was told that the matchazuke parfait was sold out (go early, especially on weekends!) so I settled for gianduja (chocolate will never fail) and the more interesting daizu with white miso souffle, soybean pudding and kinako sauce. I didn’t fancy every element (like those chewy dango balls) but what won my heart were the creamy soft serve, dense “souffle” (quite a misnomer) cakes and the hazelnut orange crisp! Now I can’t wait to try the matcha parfait!

Daizu ($16)
white miso souffle, soymilk pudding, kuromitsu, sesame dango, ‘rice stalks’, kinako cream

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My thanks to Joseph for the sweet treats!

Karafuru Desserts
8 Jalan Klapa
62914430

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