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Archive for the ‘Still on the Fence’ Category

I don’t quite get the hype and raves over National Kitchen. Most of the dishes are average-nice but definitely nothing spectacular nor memorable. For a truly kickass Peranakan meal, I’ll head to Candlenut any day!

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Standard starters such as achar and rojak were good but not great. If you like refined hawker dishes, it’s time to make a reservation here.

Sambal Timun Nanas ($4++)
pineapple and cucumber with chillies, onions and lightly sweet rice vinegar

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The most special item we ordered was the “kimchiam” salad. I have never had this combination before – boiled prawns, sweet and slightly tangy starfruit, chewy dried lily buds, all tied together by a spicy chilli dressing. Interesting!

Sambal Kimchiam Udang ($15++)
lily buds tossed in a sweet and spicy dressing topped with prawns and starfruit

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Rojak ($7++)
guava, sour mangoes, rose apples, pineapple, cucumbers, julienne of pink ginger flowers, jellyfish and crispy crullers tossed in a sweet, sour and mildly spicy sauce

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We were expecting the chicken buah keluak to be served with a thick fragrant gravy (maybe I went to Candlenut too many times) but the diluted version here was disappointingly akin to… Chicken curry?

Buah Keluak Ayam ($23++)
classic nyonya spicy and tangy chicken stew and buah keluak nut infused with fresh root spices of lengkuas and turmeric

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I first tried the meatless meatballs back in 2013 at Violet Oon’s Kitchen and liked them a lot. Fast forward two years, the walnut and cheese “meatballs” turned out too mushy on my visit and could really do with a crisp crust.

Meatless Meatballs Rendang ($15++)
walnut and cheese dumplings braised in spices flavoured with kaffir and bay leaves in a coconut cream sauce

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The description of “cod in laksa sauce” already had me salivating and thankfully, the execution was exactly what I imagined it to be. The fresh slab of fatty cod went very well with the sinfully rich and creamy laksa sauce. May be overwhelming for some people but it’s right up my alley!

Cod in Laksa Sauce ($34++)
baked cod in a creamy laksa sauce drizzled with coriander pesto

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National Kitchen by Violet Oon
1 St. Andrew’s Road
#02–01 National Gallery Singapore (City Hall Wing)
+65 9834 9935

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… which (un?)fortunately didn’t manage to displace Hanare and Koji from my heart.

#1: Sumiya Charcoal Grill

I enjoyed dinner at Sumiya very much but lunch was a tad underwhelming, especially when there were so many gorgeous photos of the bara kaisen don on my Instagram feed.

Mix Bara Kaisen Don ($18.80++)
assorted seafood sashimi chunks on rice

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Lunch sets come with salad, chawanmushi and mochi for dessert, but I can certainly do without the frills (not even a mochi fan ha) if that means more fish on slightly dry sushi rice. The anago don was better – four long and tender (albeit thin) anago almost spilling out of the bowl, a beautiful sight!

Ni Anago Don ($16.80++)
simmered conger eel on rice

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#2: Manzoku Japanese Restaurant

Again, my expectations were (very) high due to the raves I read on Instagram (I’m an addict!!) lol.

Chirashi Set ちらし寿司 ($25++)
sliced sashimi on rice

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The chirashi don had thick slices of salmon, tuna, swordfish and amberjack, a couple of commercially produced (I guess) tamago, and a spoonful of ikura. Fish was fresh enough but the rice was strangely sweet and wasabi too “fake” (I mean artificial)…

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#3: Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant

Price tag being equal, I much prefer Hokkaido Sushi’s chirashi don to Manzoku’s. It may not be the best nor my favourite, but the generous slices of fish were very fresh!

Chirashi Don ($25++)

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Other than going cray-cray over bara/chirashi, I’ve also had a ridiculous infatuation with maki rolls. Of course, Koh Sushi and The Sushi Bar are unbeatable (to-date) when it comes to rolls but the special maki here is definitely worth a try! I love the contrasting texture from the crispy salmon and soft anago.

Special Maki ($25++)
crispy roll (anago & salmon)

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The highlight though was the platter of salmon sashimi. 20 pieces for $18++, what a great deal! And so fresh, soooo good!

Salmon Sashimi ($18++)
20 pieces

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Sumiya Charcoal Grill
#12-02, Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road
6509 9618
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Manzoku Japanese Restaurant
18 Purvis Street
6734 4436
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Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant
M Hotel Singapore Level 9
81 Anson Road
6221 3075

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Public service announcement: Toby’s Estate is undergoing kitchen renovations for the rest of this month.

Was intending to use my Entertainer app for more 1-for-1 deals with my colleagues but obviously, not gonna happen (yet). Which was why we ended up at Anthesis next door, which didn’t leave me with a good impression last year. This time, while I’m still not totally won over, the cutesy eggs duet I ordered was pretty good! Light enough for lunch that I didn’t have a food coma that afternoon…

Tomato Medley ($9)
mozzarella, pesto

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Eggs Duet ($14)
smoked salmon scrambled eggs, mushroom frittata, avocado (default: chipolata), sauteed mushrooms (default: bacon)

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Anthesis
86 Roberson Quay
6737 9873

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I felt kind of bummed that we did not enjoy Nordic deli Gæst as much as I imagined we would. In fact, K has already written off this place completely (his recent infatuation with The Humble Loaf is not helping) while I’m still hopeful of a repeat visit someday, maybe…

To be fair though, I think he chose the wrong dish (which was my doing since I had read raving reviews about the to-die-for pork sandwich). Unhealthy crispy roasted pork which screamed fat!! with a capital F was totally unsuitable for a relatively clean eater (the chicken breast option sounds more like him). Plus the mustard mayo made the sourdough soggy – his ultimate sandwich nightmare since it reminds him of *ahem* sanitary pads (his words, not mine), oops.

I had the poached eggs off the weekend brunch menu and while it was certainly photogenic, we returned it to the kitchen as one of the eggs was overcooked, a no-no for me. Second attempt was all good and I love the rye bread so very much~ Perfect mopping-up-the-yolk material. Consistent with my dining experiences in Scandinavia, we find that the food tends to be on the salty side so the post-meal sodium rush was not too pleasant hmm.

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Pork Sandwich ($13)
roasted pork with crackling, orange marinated red cabbage with parsley, red apple, mustard mayonnaise, homemade sourdough bread

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Poached Eggs with Eggplant & Goat Cheese ($15)
rye bread, salad, smoked salmon (additional $4)

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Gæst
#01-01, The Clift
21 McCallum Street
6634 0922

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Not impressed with Concetto at all. This is the new offshoot by Saveur, and concept is along the same line: good food for all, affordable prices for all.

The only dish I found agreeable was the salmon which was almost (but thankfully not) overcooked. The bed of pea ragu was lovely; I like it when fish is paired with legumes! Pan-seared tuna was quite nice as a light starter, if not a tad bland. Despite the funghi risotto being one of the chef’s recommendations, it was laughably underseasoned. To put it bluntly, it was tasteless. Seriously. Probably scarred K for life haha. Cod was way overpriced for such a miniscule piece, and serving it with a sourish broth doesn’t seem like such a bright idea imo. Too acidic.

Bad day in the kitchen, perhaps?

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Tuna ($8.90++)
baby romaine, honey mustard sauce

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Salmon ($13.90++)
parma ham, pea ragu, bonito oil

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Funghi Risotto ($9.90++)
mixed mushrooms, pickled shallots

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Cod ($22.90++)
pan seared cod, puff pastry, clams, fennel salad

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Concetto by Saveur
#01-11/12, THE CATHAY
2 Handy Road
6735 1141

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Restaurants housed in VivoCity have come and gone but The Queen & Mangosteen is still going strong, well done! After five years of serving British gourmet pub grub to shoppers and regulars, the menu has undergone a revamp with unpretentious and relaxed dining in mind.

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The (literally huge) menu is very comprehensive, comprising modern renditions of traditional British bar food and quick nibbles with Asian touches, as well as hearty mains and desserts. We tried a lot of food for two persons and my conclusion is that the appetisers are definitely worth a try, starting with the shiok chilli crab dip, interesting quiche-like truffle crème brulee and the home cured gravlax salad! You can get better crab cakes at any Thai restaurants so skip those rubbery stuff. The main courses and desserts are at best average, with the former being too salty and the latter too sweet. Rather extreme flavours, not a fan.

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Pimm’s & Lemonade ($14++ by the glass/$44++ per jug)
25% alcohol by volume gin-based alcohol, mint, cucumber, orange, strawberry

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Thick Cut Chips ($12++)
chilli crab dip

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Truffle Crème Brulee & Seared Scallops ($16++)
wild rocket leaves

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Thai Crab Cakes ($12++)
mango salsa, baby cress

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Gravlax ($16++)
home cured salmon, marinated seaweed, cucumber, ginger & wild rocket salad in mirin dressing

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Baked Jumbo King Prawns ($26++)
truffle pasta, wild rocket

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Pan Seared Barramundi ($26++)
risotto, asparagus, salsa verde

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Grilled Salmon Fillet ($28++)
gratinated with white wine sauce & cheese, boiled potatoes, wild rocket leaves

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Pistachio Gelato Mousse ($10++)
chocolate sauce

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George Alexander Grandma’s Lemon Cream Cake ($10++)
pine nuts, berries compote

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Coconut Ice Cream ($10++)
rum and sea coconut

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My thanks to Hui Fen from 37 Communications for the kind invitation!

The Queen & Mangosteen
#01-106/107 VivoCity
1 Habourfront Walk
6376 9380

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The only thing I can remember about Miz Japanese Restaurant is the impossibly soft and fluffy and moist tamagoyaki served fresh and hot from the pan. IMO one of the best tried and tested in Singapore so far and trust me, I’ve had a lot of tamago in my life. Other than that, it was a daintily portioned meal that’s just average at its best…

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Top right, clockwise:

salmon avocado maki, soft shell crab maki, negitoro handroll, shiroyaki anago, maguro natto with quail egg.

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salmon tataki

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Miz Japanese Restaurant
7 Craig Road
6225 5761

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