Saturday, January 29, 2011

Food Review: Ming Kee Live Seafood

I am a big fan of the dry type of crab bee hoon and if you are a fan as well, you would know the two most talked about crab bee hoon restaurants are Sin Huat and Ming Kee.

Well, I blogged about Sin Huat before. In short, the thick bee hoon had robust flavour and "wok hei", while the crab remained succulent. There were lots of roe, in small dough-like lumps but they were chewy and overcooked.

So what about Ming Kee's? You might ask.

Well, the crab itself was huge but didn't possess much roe. That, plus I suspect the broth which was used to "kong" (simmer) the noodles was not very flavorful either, resulted in a dish that fell short of all that expectations built up from various other reviews. I would choose Sin Huat's over Ming Kee's anyday.

That said, what I would return for at Ming Kee are the following:

1. Fried fish skin. They were thin, freshly fried until crispy and seasoned just enough to require the soy sauce dip that comes with the dish. I'm going to order two of this next time. One for me.

2. Fried mee sua with seafood. These noodles were so much better with great flavor and generous amounts of seafood.

That sums up my meal at Ming Kee. Any other crab bee hoon places to recommend?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Food Review: Bistro Soori

This lovely little restaurant is the come-back child of local chef Jimmy Chok. In the day, I love how I could see the modern backdrop while dining in a retrofitted traditional shophouse.

The restaurant is lovely with simple brown and white tones, clean and elegant look. Low back cushioned arm chairs felt comfortable unless I found it a little too high and I had to do a hunch and bendover all through the meal.

I was looking forward to my first meal at Bistro Soori and when my business lunch date didn't turn up on time, I got worried she perhaps couldn't find the place. Her cell phone ring tone revealed she was out of country and I just felt disappointed and embarrassed that I might have to walk out of the restaurant alone after sitting there for 20 minutes.

But I was glad I stayed to have lunch alone. The cream of mushroom soup, which could be thicker and more robust in flavour, was generous and did a good job in warming me up.

The main course of cod fish was well cooked if not quite ordinary.

Dessert was a strawberry dessert with sweet and thick balsamic syrup and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I loved the contrasting textures and tastes but wished they served better ice cream that did not taste like Wall's. Not that there is anything wrong with Wall's but not in a classy restaurant I thought.

Lunch concluded with Nespresso coffee served with an interesting milk container that reminded me of something not so appropriate to mention here.

My lonesome affair felt like a welcomed respite when compared to the dread of going back to the grind.

Bistro Soori offers classic, no frills food and a much needed break away from the world, even just for a couple of hours.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food Review: Forty Hands

Safe to say that this will be the umpteenth review on this coffee place but I just have to add my version as well because it is not often that a cafe makes a deep impression.

I am not going to give you the long story about the origin of the place, blah, blah; all that can be found on their website here.

But what I will tell you is that the surrounding neighbourhood that the cafe is tucked within has such a quaint and retro feel that I felt like time has stopped.  Old-fashion provision and coffee shops lace the streets.  I saw regulars sitting around, enjoying their afternoon coffee break, not in a rush to go anywhere.  I enjoyed my walk around the streets, peering into the shops as much as I did enjoy my latte (S$5) and my truffled mushroom sandwich ($9) in the cafe.

I am glad that the cafe is enjoying so much attention.  As it draws foodies and coffee enthusiasts from afar, such as myself, the beauty of the old Tiong Bahru estate could be discovered as well.

Forty Hands 
Blk 78 Yong Siak Street #01-12 Singapore
Tel: +65 6225 8545

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Win a pair of tickets to Art Stage Singapore

Yesterday was just a crazy day with the launch of Art Stage Singapore, Singapore (and some say Asia)'s premier art fair!

I had a preview and let me tell you, the galleries and works are pretty amazing.  I am not really an arty-farty sort of person, can barely tell different mediums and styles, but to me, the works are still pretty eye-opening.  I would not have expected anything less from such a reowned art fair director (Lorenzo Rudolf).

Let's hope this fair will propel Singapore onto the international radar screen of the arts industry :)

Anyways, you can check out details here:

BUT, dear followers, I have a pair (2) of tickets to give away. Just leave a comment on this post by 14 Jan, Friday, 6pm with a note on your thoughts about the current arts industry in Singapore and how you envision it to be in, say, 10 years' time.  I am curious!   Anyway, most interesting and visionary answer win those tickets! 

Hope to get your comments fast and furious :)


Saturday, January 01, 2011

No Signboard (Geylang)

My first meal out in 2011 was at No Signboard (Geylang) and I was glad it was a good one.   There were some folks from overseas who were in town and we wanted to bring them somewhere good to eat chilli crab and other local tze char dishes.  We chose No Signboard because we have not been there before and heard a lot of good reviews about the food at the Geylang branch (the original).

There were eight of us so we managed to order quite a number of dishes.  The prices are above average but luckily, the quality of the food compensated and I was happy the guests seemed to enjoy the dishes too.  Alas, I did not take any pictures because I was quite shy in front of strangers.   But here's my take on what we ate:

1. Chilli Crab ($45/kg): Crab was cooked perfectly well.  The crab was also cracked open at the right places that I didn't really need any mechanical assistance.  There was plenty of sauce for the man tou to dip into.  The sauce was neither too starchy nor spicy, which was good to me in fact.  But it lacked a certain depth and complexity. 

2. White Pepper Crab ($45/kg):  Again, the crab was cooked very well.  It was "fall off the shell" tender!  Together with the white pepper sauce was lots of spring onions and they really complemented the fresh crab meat.

3. Cereal Prawn ($40/med):  There were about 16 medium prawns.  I requested to deshell the prawns, leaving the heads and tails on so we could skip the shelling process.  I could also then eat the whole thing head and tail.  The prawns were fresh and not overcooked.  They were very generous with the cereal as well, deep fried and crispy with aromatic buttery tones. 
4. Fried Baby Squid ($15/med): well done - crispy little squid coated with sweet black sauce.  Hit the mark.

5. Salad You Tiao ($15/med):  Many places over-fry the you tiao but here, they were fried to a nice golden brown and the squid paste to you tiao ratio was good so you could taste both ingredients and the squid paste was still "Q" .

6. Sambal Kang Kong ($? / large):  Tender stalks of vegetables were cooked with a spicy and fragrant sambal.  Not too oily at all.  Wished there was more to go around.

7. Venion with Ginger and Spring Onion ($35/large): I didn't try them but the guests walloped them pretty quickly so I think the dish couldn't be too bad.

8. Fried Mantou (4 mini ones/order):  they were okay; could be more crispy.

9. Fried Ee-fu noodles ($17/med): It was just enough for each of us to have a small bowl of noodles.  Simply fried with straw mushrooms, the noodles were cooked until al dente, a feat in my opinion, and absorbed the tasty stock.  It made a decent carb dish to fill us up a bit more.

So there you go, my first experience with No Signboard.  We spent about $41 / head (all-in).  I heard the other branches are not as good.  I don't know if there is any truth to that, but I'm inclined to stick to the Geylang branch.

No Signboard (Geylang)
416 Geylang Road
Tel: 6842 3415
Valet Parking available

Happy New Year!

Here's to another new year of inspiration, fulfillment, joy and love!

2010 was a good one filled with good eats and satisfying the wanderlust to Spain, India and China.  2011 is not looking bad.  I will be back to Japan and most likely pay a re-visit to the east coast of USA.  Hit me with recommendations!