Enbu 炎舞

Published April 24, 2017 by piggie

It seems like I’m pretty addicted to Eat at Seven of late. Enbu is yet another of Eat at Seven’s element, but probably the most neglected one because of its secluded spot. In fact, it was the very first Eat at Seven restaurant when it opened although its location on roof top almost gives the impression it doesn’t belong to them. Enbu is an izakaya styled restaurant presumably partially related to Tomo Izakaya in Clarke Quay. As such, other than the food, they also carry a wide range of Japanese sake.

What makes Enbu special is their use of charcoal for grilling, or more impressively, straw-grill (warayaki). They claim to be the first (and probably only) restaurant in Singapore doing so.

Enbu Grilled Original Chicken Pattie with Ponzu Sauce, $15++

I must have left my spectacle at home when I read their menu but missing out on the straw-grilled items, anyway, I ordered Enbu Grill Original Chicken Pattie with Ponzu Sauce. The meal came with refillable tea, miso soup, a salad (if I remember correctly, I believe it’s avocado salad), and the main course. In my opinion, the Ponzu sauce definitely makes the meal more appetising. In fact, I have to credit them for the seamless effort in their presentation, which truly makes the main course such a fine piece of art!

Enbu Grilled Original Chicken Pattie with Half Boiled Egg, $15++

Their Enbu Grilled Original Chicken Pattie with Half Boiled Egg is just as impressive. Japanese love to stir egg yolk onto their rice, which gives a sweeter taste overall.

The above items are only available during lunch hours, but come during the night, I assure you the restaurant ambiance will be simply exceptional!

During my visit, JCB card holders are entitled to 1-for-1 promotion (until Jun 2017) on selected items. It’s actually quite worth it!

2nd Visit

Well, now that I learned Enbu is actually well-known for their straw-grill cuisines, what I intend to order for my return visit is pretty straightforward, one of the straw-grilled items on their menu!

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Straw frame Grilled Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce, $14++

I ordered Straw frame Grilled chicken with Teriyaki Sauce. I must confess I have never tasted anything straw-grilled before, as such, I have totally zero idea how it would taste like, but full of anticipation. To be honest, I found straw-grill pretty much a gimmick, it’s quite unlike charcoal-grill where one can virtually smell the difference, though I do find the chicken delicious. And as before, Enbu’s presentation is awesome! In fact, take away the somewhat distracting term ‘straw-grill’, and this meal excel on its own right, with Teriyaki sauce of adequate sweetness that doesn’t take away any spotlight from the chicken.

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Spicy Straw-Fire Grilled Chicken, $14++

On appearance, there seems to be no significant difference between this order and that I elaborated previously. It was suppose to be spicy, somehow I don’t find it so. Again, I couldn’t tell of any straw-grill aroma.

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Mixed Diced Sashimi on Rice, with Yuzu Pepper Sauce, $17.50++

This is basically Kaisen-don (seafood rice), and the seafood sashimi are fresh and flavourful, and the Yuzu Pepper Sauce is delightful!

Enbu 炎舞
3 Temasek Boulevard #03-307
Suntec City Mall
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 62688043

Opening Hours:
11:30hr – 15:00hr,
17:30hr – 23:00hr

Hi Leskmi Nasi Lemak 榮興椰漿飯

Published April 23, 2017 by piggie

Singapore has its fair amount of great Nasi Lemak, and Hi Leskmi definitely deserves to be among the best. Exactly why they have such strange name (which doesn’t synchronise with their Mandarin name anyway) is pretty puzzling, but hidden inside a residential area in Whampoa, Hi Leskmi is actually well known among food hunters in Singapore. Somehow, I suspect, its location (particularly the lack of MRT connection) probably put off more patrons to their stall. However, come lunch time you will see a snaking queue forming outside, though waiting time is reasonably fast.

As can be seen from their signboard, they typically offer 3 types of set meal for an affordable price of $3.00, but you can order your own a-la-carte selection possibly for a little bit more. Hi Leskmi’s signature lies in their green-colour rice, presumably cooked with pandan leaves and of course, coconut milk. The rice is very fluffy and flavourful enough to make you return for more.

Set B, $3.00

In addition, it ain’t just their rice that is good, they did well with their egg and peanuts too! Their egg was still runny and the peanuts demonstrate crispy freshness, while the chili is a great blend of sweet and spiciness. Still, I must reiterate, I feel it’s the rice that has stolen the show.

Set A, $3.00

My friend ordered set A, the difference being the choice of chicken wing or fish cake. Set C comes with Otak.

Hi Leskmi Nasi Lemak 榮興椰漿飯
90 Whampoa Drive #01-24
Singapore 320090

Opening Hours:
10:00hr ~ 22:00hr

Tempura Kohaku 天ぷら琥珀

Published April 17, 2017 by piggie

I have walked passed Tempura Kohaku more than a dozen time, and couldn’t understand the commotion for the super long queue outside. But one fine weekend, when I was trying to impress someone special, I decided to bring them queue for Tempura Kohaku. This is one outlet that I had never failed to see long queue outside no matter what hour I drop by, and on this occasion, we queued for a good half an hour. If you think after queuing, your food will be served shortly afterwards, you are utterly wrong! We waited for ANOTHER half an hour before our food were served. This is strictly not for the hungry tummies.

I suppose I don’t have to (re)introduce Eat at Seven any further (read my post on Tokyo Sundubu for further details), and Tempura Kohaku is another tenant here, certainly the most popular one without a doubt. And before I go on with the main course, I absolutely have to mention their free pickles.

From first glance, it’s just radish. But notice the yellowish flakes? It’s not just ginger, it’s spiced up with Yuzu pulps and overall, it’s quite appetising!

Kohaku Tendon Spicy, $15++

Tempura Kohaku basically offers two different types of tendon, Kohaku Tendon and Vegetables Tendon, priced at $15++ and $14++ respectively, and further segregated into spicy flavour and non-spicy flavour. They generally use Hokkaido’s Nanatsuboshi rice, but diners can also choose 16 Multi Grains + Nanatsuboshi rice at no extra charge. It is claimed that all 16 grains and rice are produced in Japan. I almost cannot taste the difference but it certainly provides more healthy benefits. Kohaku’s forte very much lies in their sauce, it’s sweet and flavourful. Of course, their tempura are quite generous and yummy too! I was amazed by their tempura variety, which include long bean, pumpkin, mushroom, squid, chicken, crab stick, baby corn, and two shrimps. When it was served, they placed a small plate on my donburi, I seriously don’t know what’s it for, but I used it as a spare plate to place my tempura, which, as you can see, almost shielded the entire bowl of rice from daylight. I have to say, this is the best tendon I ever tried! It’s not just me, the old folks love it too, and we all came to the consensus the long wait was worthwhile.

Kohaku Tendon, $15++

This is the normal Koharu Tendon (non-spicy), but I think the difference lies in the spicy sauce spread on the rice, not on the tempura.

Vegetables Tendon, $14++

The meatless Vegetable Tendon… I’m wondering what’s that long long vegetable though. Mum actually loves this tendon so much she wants me to take her to a tempura restaurant when we visit Japan. But seriously, I can’t be certain I can find anything better, unless we go out of the way and wasted precious time queuing for it.

In addition, Tempura Kohaku offers set meal too, which cost an additional $4.50++ for an added bowl of Udon.

Tempura Kohaku 天ぷら琥珀
3 Temasek Boulevard #03-311
Eat at Seven, Suntec City
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 63334386

Opening Hours:
11:30hr ~ 21:30hr

Tino’s Pizza Cafe 堤諾比薩

Published March 22, 2017 by piggie

I only get to know about Tino’s Pizza through Tiong Bahru Plaza’s promotion, and its premise there is well hidden in the new annex area that I would have otherwise probably not getting inside unless I can see any shop that draws my attention.

Initially, I thought it was the franchise from some European country but I was rather surprise to find out its origin. Guess where? Taiwan! So that explains the traditional Chinese name on its sign board. Quite interesting isn’t it? But how good can a Taiwanese Pizza gets?

Me and my dining companion initially intended to share a regular size pizza. Oh, wait. Tino’s Pizza has a very fascinating way in terming the size of their pizzas. They offer their pizzas in either Neapolitan or Roman, which literally means Thick crust and Thin Crust respectively. The fact that the former is sliced into 6 pieces and the latter 8 pieces, as well as more costly for the Roman version, could very well means the latter should be of larger size.

Just then, my dining companion saw a different promotion leaflet on another table, offering personal pizza set meal with a drink (soft drink, iced/hot black tea or Americano) for only S$9.90++ (weekday lunch time only), which of course, let us try two different flavours. That sounds like a good idea! We ordered a Mr. Tino and a Sicily Seafood Pizza each. Oh, by the way, I had their iced black tea while my dining companion a hot Americano, and their black tea was served in a conventional bubble tea plastic cup, sealed of course. First sign of a Taiwanese proprietor. Take note, their black tea is plain tea, no sugar, though I suppose you can add sugar or syrup as you wish, but I couldn’t be bother with that.

Mr. Tino

Mr. Tino, as the name suggests, is their signature pizza. It comprises chicken or beef bacon and pepperoni, oyster mushrooms, capsicums, shredded onions, oregano and black olives. The pizza looks simple, but the ingredients are evenly spread, and I found the taste was remarkable. And if you require some extra cheese or chili flakes, they are readily available on the table.

Sicily Seafood

Sicily Seafood pizza offers an oceanic taste completed with tuna, calamari, shrimps, capsicum, basil, and padano. The highlight is the use of basil in bringing out a mint taste to the pizza, and I thought I found the seafood reasonably fresh too!

Tino’s pizza range is not really plenty, but they do have some interesting flavour, such as what I would call dessert pizza, yes, sweet pizza with honey, fruits, oreo etc. You just have to give them credit for the creativity!

Menya Sakura 麺屋桜

Published March 22, 2017 by piggie

Chuka Soba Special, S$14.90++

Menya Sakura is yet another new ramen restaurant in the scene. In their grand opening special, they introduce a 3-day one-for-one promotion starting with this, Chuka Soba Special at S$14.90++ on Mon, 20 Mar 2017. They were offering Tonkotsu Ramen Special (S$13.90++) and Tonkotsu Tsukemen Special (S$18.90++) one-for-one promotion for the next two days respectively. I asked my dining companion on her choice and she settled on Chuka Soba Special on day 1. I didn’t voice any disagreement though I actually prefer trying their Tonkotsu Ramen.

Hailing from Nagoya by founder NAGATANI Hideto, my first impression was nothing spectacular given the fact that Nagoya is not a major ramen battleground when compare to the likes of Hokkaido and Kyushu, where pretty anywhere else are more inclined towards Shoyu-based ramen (actually, also the signature in Asahikawa, Hokkaido). However, when the name NAGANUMA Sho comes up, it’s a different ball game. Chef NAGANUMA was the former executive chef of Hide Yamamoto in Marina Bay Sands, and currently helming Menya Sakura. I’m really interested to see how can he brings out the difference in this highly competitive ramen market.

My personal preference has always been Tonkotsu, Miso, Shio, and Shoyu ramen in that order, preferable with a tint of spiciness. It doesn’t help when Soba is also my least favourite noodle, behind ramen and udon. I tried my best not to carry prejudice, but whatever little prejudice I have was completely wipe out the very moment the noodle was served, right before I even have a chance to take a look. Yes, I ain’t bragging, the broth fragrance just hit my nose before I can even lay my eyes on the noodle, and I can never imagine a Shoyu ramen (oops! I mean soba here) can be that good! Now, I’m beginning to apprehend why Shoyu ramen is more popular in Japan, though, however, I didn’t ever tried ramen (or for that matter, soba) as good as this in Japan despite visiting there no less than 7 times in the last decade.

Menya Sakura claims Chuka Soba special is their most popular ramen in Japan, with a rich flavourful soup made with Saba, Niboshi, and other ‘secret’ ingredients, paired with 4 pcs Nori seaweeds, 3 pieces tender charsiu (chashu), a whole Aji Tamago egg, along with bamboo shoot and leeks. The broth tastes a little salty though, but as Menya Sakura claims they don’t use MSG, it’s still bearable for me. Well, if this is the same standard they have in Japan, they certainly earned their bragging rights. Notice I haven’t mention the noodle? Wait, was that really soba? My dining companion and I almost wanna rub our eyes and summon the waitress over to verify whether the chef had mistakenly used ramen noodle instead? OK, I exaggerated a little bit here. Simply put, it’s that good! No, simply outstanding (for a soba, that is), putting them on par with the so-called soba I tried at Menya Takeichi in Suntec City. It was very smooth, chewy, and most importantly for me, lack the usual buckwheat texture of conventional soba. Somehow, over an amazing 3 days, I probably tried the best soba I ever tried, twice (the other one being Yomoda Soba)! And I’m starting to get disillusion over how good soba can get. I ain’t disguising the fact that I’m practically a novice when coming to soba, which I used to dislike because of the buckwheat texture.

Apart from the broth and noodle, the charsiu was reasonably thick and chewy, retaining what I feel is the ideal texture and flavour a good charsiu shall possess. Wait till I come to the Tamago. Usually in ramen, how good the Tamago depends on how runny the egg can get and the flavour it brings. Menya Sakura’s Tamago is truly outstanding, somewhere between a soft boiled egg and a hard boiled egg, upon biting, the texture was so remarkably molten and flavourful, gosh I’m seriously running out of vocabulary to describe this, it’s so good I feel like ordering a few more of it!

As a side note, the restaurant also offers free kimchi and ice water for diners.

In conclusion, all I can say is, Menya Sakura makes their ramen simple, but taste heavenly good!

Menya Sakura 麺屋桜
69 Boat Quay
Singapore 049857
Tel: +65 94693366

Opening Hours:
Mon – Sat : 11:30hr ~ 20:30hr

Ikkousha Hakata Ramen 博多一幸舎

Published March 22, 2017 by piggie

This is not my first time visiting Ikkousha Hakata Ramen (first time to their Tanjong Pagar outlet though), but this is a tasting invitation where I’m obliged to provide the sponsor a link to my review, so I have decided to start a new post to distinguish from my previous visit. Previously, I had tried their God Fire Ramen as well as Red Tonkotsu Ramen, both on the spicy side. For this tasting invitation, me and my dining partner were treated to their standard Tonkatsu ramen.
Ikkousha Hakata Ramen can’t emphasize enough their broth are painstakingly made by simmering pork bones over long hours, distancing themselves from some ramen restaurants who saved these troubles by using broth essence. And I can testify that, because upon entering their outlet at Tanjong Pagar, I can immediately smell a strong scent, that can’t go wrong.
Upon ordering, Ikkousha gives diners the choice to choose the firmness of the noodles, as well as the denseness of the broth, along with other optional toppings. We left all options at normal, and added a plate of Gyoza because we felt uneasy to walk off without paying anything.
Before the ramen were served, let me touch on the condiments on the table. Ikkousha offers free-flow hard boiled eggs, along with Spicy Takana (Leaf Mustard), Furikake (rice seasoning), ginger, sesame, pepper, and a large jar of ice water. In a moment, I shall explain why I mentioned these.

Gyoza, S$5++

Our gyoza came almost immediately. Ikkousha’s gyoza are tiny, apart from the bottom where gyoza skin are crisply fried, the gyoza generally retains tenderness.

Tonkotsu Standard, S$12++

When our noodles were subsequently served, along came the scent of genuine pork broth. Although I am not really a fan of strong pork scent, but to retain that signature flavour, that means they can’t add too much spices to overpower the broth, however, something still needed to be done to neutralise the stink scent of pork bone. On the kitchen side, MSG sounds like a simple solution without altering too much of the flavour, but on the dining table, that’s where the condiments come in for diners to customise to their preferred taste, though that’s very much the same practice in almost any ramen restaurant elsewhere. As a Tonkotsu ramen restaurant hailing from Kyushu, naturally Ikkousha uses the thin and chewy Hosomen as their noodle, which, I understand, is proudly house made. The broth is sweet, and adds much flavour into the noodle. Their chashu are thinly sliced, I guess that allows its texture to blend with the broth easily.

Per my usual practice, I finished all my broth, but I felt the urge for more water after that. Good thing Ikkousha provides a large jar of ice water on the table conveniently.

Official Website:
http://www.ikkousha.sg/

Yomoda Soba (よもだそば)

Published March 19, 2017 by piggie

First and foremost, allow me to stress this is a sponsored article, but I will nevertheless stay neutral in this review. Let me start by giving a brief history on Yomoda Soba, but to begin with, I need to elaborate on Japan Food Town, where Yomoda Soba (よもだそば) and other 15 authentic Japanese restaurants are located.

Japan Food Town can be found inside Isetan level 4, Wisma Atria, it is a collaboration between Cool Japan Fund and The Japan Association of Overseas Promotion for Food & Restaurants. The former comprises organisation such as ANA, Isetan, JTB, and many other established corporations. When it was first opened in Wisma Atria last July (2016), it was met with much fanfare. Just like Eat at Seven in Suntec City, which also involves ANA, I feel it can hardly goes wrong, I trust ANA to select the best of Japan for diners here. ANA is a 5-stars Japanese airlines, and they would risk tarnishing their image and reputation otherwise. So, naturally for the first few months at least, I was expecting Japanese chef to helm the restaurants (or maybe they are here to stay for the long haul? I don’t know), pity I didn’t have the opportunity to visit until now, and my visit is certainly not disappointing.

The name Yomoda actually came from a Matsuyama (Ehime, Shikoku) dialect, meaning a jovial friend who loves to see the funny side of things. The soba restaurant is hailed from Tokyo, but its proprietor is actually an Ehime native, that explained. Frankly speaking, Soba is actually my least favourite Japanese noodle, I still prefer Udon and ramen anytime, provided of course, the noodles are done genuinely (definitely not the terrible Singapore flavour, particularly for Udon). Soba is probably the most economical noodle one can find in many parts of Japan, but personally, I don’t quite like the overpowering buckwheat taste.

Tempura Seiro Soba, S$23++

As an invited guest, I am allowed to choose between their Tempura Seiro Soba Set (S$23++), or their Tendon set (S$20++). Both sets include their signature soba, but I selected the former anyway. Seiro Soba is served cold, in Japan it’s marvellous for Summer, when diners dip their ice cooled soba into a bowl of cold dipping sauce, and usually enjoyed with an assortment of tempura. My Tempura Seiro Soba comprises a variety of prawn, braised pork, chicken, paprika, pumpkin, and kidney beans, dipped in tempura batter and fried. Yomodo claims their soba is Sarashina Soba, using only the inner part of buckwheat, which is why their soba noodle looks a little whitish instead of the conventional green colour, and handmade on-site using buckwheat from Nagano, a prefecture famous for their soba too. Yomodo’s soba is moderately springy, not so strong on buckwheat taste, for me, that’s really great! But having said that, they do offer traditional-styled soba such as Kitsune Soba, Hanamaki Soba (and also the less conventional ones such as Tomato Asari Soba, Hot Spicy Soy Milk Chicken Soba) too. Pardon me, I ain’t a Soba expert, you can refer to Japan-Guide for further elaboration. In addition, they also serve a thinner version of Sanuki Udon. As for their Tempura, it was crisply fried, not excessively oily, and the goodness within is mesmerising, it’s definitely fried on the spot, not pre-fried like my favourite Udon restaurant in Singapore did.

Yomoda Soba claims to import their flour, sauce, and rice from Japan. That’s probably one of the reasons why their prices (and probably likewise the other restaurants here) are much more than their outlets in Japan.

Yuzu Sorbet, S$5++

I didn’t want to walk away without paying anything, so I ordered a Yuzu Sorbet after my meal. It has a rich citrus flavour and plenty of fruit pulps, pretty appetising! Yomoda Soba serves free plain water, other than that, they have limited range of cold drink and dessert. But being a traditional Japanese restaurant, you can expect lots of sake!

Yomoda Soba (よもだそば)
Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Rd
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623467
Website: http://www.japanfoodtown.sg/stores/yomoda-soba/

Opening Hours:
Daily – 11:30hr ~ 21:30hr