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All posts for the month July, 2013

Fish & Co

Published July 25, 2013 by piggie

It was a long time since I last visited Fish & Co, and this seems like a refresher course for me. Admittedly, I quite forgotten how I found it few years back 😛 And since I have a few vouchers to spare, I decided to bring my parents for a little food adventure!

Grilled Salmon Cajun Fingerlings ($10.95++)

Grilled Salmon Cajun Fingerlings ($10.95++)

The old folks always seem to have synchronisation issue, somehow, dad already had his lunch before we came here for lunch, so he settled for the fingerlings portion of Grilled Salmon Cajun. Dad was offered one side, he chosen Chips, which would have otherwise cost $2.95. According to the menu, sashimi-grade salmon was grilled with unique blend of Cajun spice and topped with lemon butter sauce. The fries tasted quite normal though, nothing sensational. It lacked the crispiness of McDonald’s fries, but good thing it wasn’t too salty. I didn’t try the salmon, can’t comment on that.

Seafood for 1 Platter ($20.95++)

Seafood for 1 Platter ($20.95++)

I love seafood! I thought it’s time to pamper myself a little by indulging in a platter, which apparently, was dominated by the prawns. Grilled prawns, white fish, and grilled calamari was served with paella rice and chips in this platter. There’s nothing much to talk about the fries really, and the white fish was actually lightly grilled cod fish. While the taste of the fish was nothing exceptional, I appreciate they kept it light for a healthy flavour, though not so for the calamari, which really had to be well grilled to bring out the taste. The prawns were fresh, butter-grilled, and obviously the star of the dish. Not to forget the paella rice, which was cooked with raisins, offered a sweet taste and served as a good compliment to the seafood. For this order, I was not asked for any side, it came as offered. And as can be seen, the quantity of the grilled items was abundance enough to cover the paella rice with a great help from the chips, imagine how filling can it be! And indeed, after finishing the paella rice, it’s like taken two meals for me. The portion was so generous that for once, I almost thought I was back in Europe or States.

Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Scallops ($18.95)

Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Scallops ($18.95++)

Mum ordered the Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken with Scallops, she had the paella rice and homemade coleslaw as sides (otherwise $2.95 each), but I guess she probably regret having the rice, because she found the rice too oily, with the oil dripped from the Peri-Peri Chicken apparently. While there was nothing worth mentioning about the coleslaw, the chicken was tastefully done, the thick gravy indeed spiced it up, and if you asked for some garlic chili which they kept inside a closet, you’d probably find the taste up another level like we did. The scallops were tastefully coated with cheese, much to my delight, that really compliment the chicken well. This would be a dish I’d love to try on my subsequent visit, but I won’t take the paella 😛

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On 26 Jan 2014, I re-visited Fish & Co, this time their Vivocity outlet, and again, with my parents. I read that not all Fish & Co are equal, especially their Ang Mo Kio outlet, notorious for their service standard, but at least for Vivocity, they are earning rave reviews.

Sneak Preview, $16.95

Sneak Preview ($16.95++)

The old folks were rather flicker-minded over their selection, but eventually decided to try different order from the menu from what we had at their 313@Somerset branch. Mum ordered this, but when this platter was served, for a moment, we thought they had served us a wrong order. It was quite a large serving for $16.95, certainly in contrary to its name Sneak Preview, which I expected to be of finger portion. As it turned out, it was big enough for two person. This order comprises nachos, fried calamari, fish nuggets, and prawn fritters. While there was nothing worth mentioning about the nachos, we absolutely love the calamari, which didn’t give us the usual rubber-liked texture we’d tried elsewhere. For the prawn, they had crusted it with just the right amount of coating, retaining the freshness of the prawns as the main draw without over emphasising on the flour. Overall, this will be a good order for sharing!

Soft Shell Crab Salad ($11.95++)

Soft Shell Crab Salad ($11.95++)

Dad ordered this Soft Shell Crab Salad, which looked petite, but he doesn’t eat much usually. In any case, we shared all our orders, and good thing this one ain’t that filling, or else we would have struggled with the Sneak Preview. The green’s definitely the mainstay of this order, but I was surprise salad sauce was not given separately. Their soft shell crab is nice, but I would not want to brag excessively beyond that.

The Best Fish & Chips in Town! ($15.95++)

The Best Fish & Chips in Town! ($15.95++)

Fish & Co must be very proud of this order from how they named it huh (or was it their gimmick??)? I like Fish & Chips, and Fish & Co has quite a number of different styles over how it’s made, from New York, to London, to our sunny Singapore, wonder what they would come out next? The cod fish fillet was tender and juicy, but I guess the magic must be on the sauce, or rather the cheese spread over the fillet. Overall, it was tasty, but I certainly won’t claim it to be the best I ever tried. Fries were well fried, though anytime I’d still prefer those from McDonald’s.

All in all, we were very pleased with Fish & Co’s service at Vivocity. The quality of the food was good, and the serving time reasonable, despite almost a full house on a Sunday evening.

I’ll be visiting again, though not sure which outlet 😛

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Paradise Inn 樂天客棧

Published July 14, 2013 by piggie

This is my first time visiting Paradise Inn, and I must confess I wasn’t given a very good impression prior to my visit. I had browse through their menu previously, and nothing much amazed me. However, it has proven to be a wrong perception upon my first visit. Blame it on their marketing, or their mediocre menu, as a matter of fact, dishes that I ordered turned out to be surprisingly nice!

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Recently, Paradise Inn came out “The Chef’s Challenge” promotion, where 6 of their chefs produced a new dish each, apparently vying for the best dish award. Diners can vote for it and stand to win one of 3 x Samsung Series 5 notebook worth $599.99 each. And for OCBC credit card members, they would also be given double chances and particularly a 10% discount over any of these 6 cuisines. Other terms and conditions applies.

I have to reiterate I am not trying to promote for Paradise Inn here, but was actually attracted by these cuisines to give them a try. So, on a Saturday afternoon, mum & I stepped into the very secluded Paradise Inn at 313@Somerset, and ordered Four Treasures Soup, Crispy Pork Strips with Honey Sauce, and Thai Style Crisp-Fried Tofu (from their main menu).

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To start with, I was very impressed with their cutlery set, in particular the plates, which has a printing of the famous 清明上河图 (only a portion, as the original is very long), a very famous Chinese painting dating back to Northern Sung dynasty. It oozes class, although I feel it looks better in white ceramic.

Four Treasures Soup ($7.90++)

Four Treasures Soup 四宝羹 ($7.90++)

When this was served, mum was skeptical whether they served the correct order, because the bowl used was very different. They used a tonic pot in their brochure which gave an impression of a larger portion, though at $7.90, I was practical with the portion. I understand this cuisine comprised shark fin, fish maw, black fungus, and scallop. Frankly speaking, I never try this, not even a sip. I told mum to have a bigger share, as I refrain myself from shark fin in recent years. Mum ended up finished the whole bowl, I suppose that meant it’s delicious. In fact, mum only had one comment, “Great!”

Crispy Pork Strips with Honey Sauce 密汁烟肉 ($12.90++)

Crispy Pork Strips with Honey Sauce 密汁烟肉 ($12.90++)

I wasn’t sure whether the restaurant was really so poor with Chinese or are they playing with words here. The word ‘密’ usually relates to secret or proximity. Looking at the term ‘Honey’ in its English name, I suppose they meant ‘蜜’. As for ‘烟肉’… I shall say people here are probably more familiar with the term ‘腌肉’, or otherwise known as ‘培根’ or bacon. Anyway, discarding such words discrepancy, this dish was absolutely fabulous! Yes, it was bacon, fried in flour and soaked in honey with sweet & sour sauce, served on an edible rice platter. Gone was the tenderness of bacon, replacing with a crispy bite, but the sweetness of the bacon retained. It was a good thing we also ordered rice (@ $1.60++), the fried bacon really went well with rice, and left a spicy yet sweet aftertaste.

Thai Style Crisp-fried Tofu 泰式脆皮豆腐 (S6.90++)

Thai Style Crisp-fried Tofu 泰式脆皮豆腐 ($6.90++)

This is yet another order that looked very different from their menu, which looked more glamorous (but still not impressive in my opinion). The tofu was smooth, fried in flour skin, and tasted slightly salty. To be honest, the essence actually lied in the accompanied sauce, which was a fusion of chili and Vietnamese nước chấm sauce (fish sauce), and the combination was truly excellent! Nước chấm sauce offers adequate level of fragrance, sweetness, sourness, a little salty, and mildly spicy to the tongue, I really cannot find substantial words to describe it, but it is a wonderful condiment but surprisingly not popularly embraced by Chinese (no, I don’t refer to the mainlanders here, but Chinese population as a whole), whom I consider masters of cooking with the knowledge in spices and vibrant styles in cooking.

After the meal, I told mum this was that same franchise we shunned while at Marina Bay Link Mall, gosh, was she surprised! This just proves how mediocre their menu is, what a letdown to the otherwise excellent dishes!

Return Visit:

Mum said it would be great if dad can try it too, so here we were, together with dad, for a return visit!

Seems like they took down the banner for The Chef’s Challenge for unknown reason, I thought it’s suppose to end in September? Anyway, for 3 diners, I ordered four entrees with rice.

Braised Tofu with Seafood and Pork Floss in Mini Wok, Small (聚宝红烧豆腐,$12.90)

Braised Tofu with Seafood and Pork Floss in Mini Wok, Small (聚宝红烧豆腐,$12.90)

Their Braised Tofu was a little unconventional. Coffee shop eateries would normally have it cut up and fried, Paradise Inn had it in one whole piece, probably to accommodate the pork floss, which would otherwise become too moist and lost its texture. The dish was not served as shown, I scoop up the shredded shrimp which would otherwise hidden under the Tofu and thick gravy, otherwise it would have looked just like the sibling of the Pork Floss Bun from Breadtalk. Pathetically, I consider this dish a failure. Firstly, pork floss should never be used with gravy, as it really failed to bring out the best in fried tofu despite a mediocre attempt in improving the overall sweetness, especially when digesting it with the gravy, which easily overcame its taste. Is it too troublesome to fried it with minced pork instead? Secondly, why use the term ‘seafood’ (should really had just put ‘shrimp’) when all they had was ONLY shrimp, right? I can understand crab meat may be a bit costly, but if they wanted to use the term ‘seafood’, the least I expected was to also include ANY of scallop, fish, clam or something! I wondered whether that was the reason the waitress was trying to dissuade me from ordering this in the first place by suggesting an alternative Tofu dish. Frankly speaking, as an (very) amateur cook myself, this dish is what I would come out if I wanna cook some quick meal with these bare minimum ingredients at hand, disregarding the overall appealing and taste. It would be fit for eating, but certainly not food of class (fit for a restaurant). To me, whichever chef who came out with this was just been lazy (just like I’d do in a hurry), not to mention for his uninspiring attempt, this dish certainly wasn’t worth half its price.

Sambal Kang Kong, small 马来风光 ($8.90++)

Sambal Kang Kong, small 马来风光 ($8.90++)

Mum ordered this. While the taste and look was acceptable. I know Paradise Inn actually started off from traditional coffee shop cooking stall, but really, the least they could do, was to re-invigorate their dishes to match their restaurant status. For a moment, I was feeling as if visiting a food court. And, I reiterate, it’s not that this dish was outstanding from other coffee shop eateries. It wasn’t bad, just pretty normal. Don’t bear any (I don’t even want to use the word ‘high’ here) expectation.

Steamed Fillet or Grouper with Orange Day-lily and Black Fungus, small 金针云耳蒸班球 ($14.90++)

Steamed Fillet or Grouper with Orange Day-lily and Black Fungus, small 金针云耳蒸班球 ($14.90++)

Finally, at least something that was worth mentioning, although still not very impressive given the satisfaction of my previous visit. Mum ordered this too! I found the grouper fresh, and it was a delightful mix with those ingredients, and he overall appearance was reasonably appealing too. I would say, this dish was above average.

Stewed Pork Belly served with Lotus Bun, 3pcs 招牌扣肉包 ($6.90++ for 3 pcs)

Stewed Pork Belly served with Lotus Bun, 3pcs 招牌扣肉包 ($6.90++ for 3 pcs)

More popularly known as Kong-bak Pau, this was reasonably nice, although I felt they may have someway to go before becoming among the elite in Singapore. But first and foremost, the name lotus bun was very misleading. It generally refers to buns which contain lotus paste inside, specifically, those pink colour buns shaped like a peach which normally associate with Chinese festive or offerings. Here, it was plain steam bun, period. Apparently, some ‘smart’-alec trying to come out bombastic name without adequate knowledge. That aside, nothing special about the steamed bun really. The pork belly was distinguishably half fat, half lean, so it was easy to strip away the fatty part if one find it sinful, but that was really the characteristic of Kong-bak Pau. While the cabbage was a welcome addition, and the inclusion of coriander leaves was smart, even though it was more of a decorative purpose given the stingy quantity.

Basically, I felt Paradise Inn need to improve a number of dishes on their menu (and their misleading names too). If they want to pass off as a genuine restaurant, they ought to ensure their quality is at least one level above conventional food court or coffee shop eateries, not just a few dishes. But if they simply want patrons to see them as an alternative to food court, then don’t bother, they are doing good enough.

Kenny Rogers Roasters

Published July 14, 2013 by piggie

Call this my tribute to Kenny Rogers Roasters, after many years of patronising them, the feeling they give me is still as great as the first time I stepped into their restaurant, I still remember they were playing some of Kenny Rogers’ favourite songs then, though I admit I wasn’t really one of his fans but the music was quite soothing nevertheless.

On a quiet Thursday noon, I walked into Kenny Rogers Roasters at 313@Somerset, intending to order their trademark ¼ Roast Chicken but changed my mind upon seeing they also have this promotion on Chicken Pot Pie. Since I had tasted their Roast Chicken several times before, I thought why not gave their Pot Pie a try?

Chicken Pot Pie ($15.90++)

Chicken Pot Pie ($15.90++)

Their weekday promotion (available for ¼ Roast Chicken too) was that a free drink is bundled together with the Pot Pie and two side orders, which I chosen Mashed Potato & Gravy and Macaroni & Cheese. However, when the Pot Pie was served, I had a tint of regret… probably should have stuck with ¼ Roast Chicken instead. Make no mistake, not that it tasted terrible, just that the portion of the pot pie far exceeded my expectation. With this bread-based pot pie and the size of it, I could probably skipped dinner altogether! Which was relatively proven true afterward. Yeah, I could have left the bread untouched, but I wasn’t one who waste food.

The pot pie contained chicken, carrots, and potatoes amidst pepper gravy, it was warm when served, though I can’t say remained so throughout. Afterall, it took me about 45 minutes to finish it 😛 But one aspect I was quite impressed was that the bread was surprisingly crisp when it was served, and I ain’t referring to its crust! Overall, it really tasted great.

As always, Kenny Rogers butter corn muffin was sensational, the smell of the sweet corn was tastefully melted into the butter muffin, and I have never tasted better elsewhere. They claimed their muffins were homemade, but I don’t buy that 😛 Self-made perhaps, but seriously, how do they define ‘home’?

Of the two side orders, Mashed Potato was my all time favourite (particularly at KFC, and especially Popeye’s), but I found their version rather hard or compact, I would have preferred a little softer and with more gravy. As for the macaroni, it’s truly meant for cheese lover, fortunately I’m one! The thick and creamy cheese thoroughly turned on the macaroni, and offered a diversed taste from the chicken pot pie gravy, simply enjoyable!

For the drink, I was allowed to choose any soft drink or ice tea, which I selected the later. It just wasn’t the usual Seasons Ice Lemon tea, I love the rich tea taste with a slice of lemon to freshen it.

All in all, this was one set meal which I couldn’t find a single compromisation on any single component. I won’t called it exceptional, but so far, Kenny Rogers NEVER fail to appease me with their quality.

Quarter Chicken Set ($15.90)

¼ Roast Chicken Set ($15.90++)

Perhaps I said it a little too haste. On my subsequent visit to their 313@Somerset outlet in as many weeks, I had the opportunity to try out their ¼ Roast Chicken set, which also came with two sides but not the drink (the free drink offer is valid only over weekday afternoon). I selected Mashed Potato & Gravy again, plus Garden Pasta Salad. My friend had Sweet Corn and Macaroni & Cheese. Somehow, we felt the muffin was not as good as before, and so was the roast chicken. It seem the chicken could do with more pepper but most significantly, we both felt the chicken shrunk in side in contrast to our previous respective visit (from other branches). Or maybe the ¼ portion with wing looked smaller? Hmm…

Kilo at PACT

Published July 11, 2013 by piggie

Hiding in a remote corner of Orchard Central diagonally facing Orchard Plaza, Kilo at PACT is a raw gem. But before I touch on Kilo, I would like to elaborate a little on PACT, which, as its name implies, is a collection of three sub-outlets within one brand. K.I.N (Know It Nothing) is a simple clothing and accessories outlet selling mostly gents wear. PACT +Lim is a hair salon with Japanese influx. And Kilo at PACT, is the offspring of Kilo Kitchen from Kampong Bugis.

Food Menu

Food Menu

I have never visited Kilo before, so I did a little research on recommendations from fellow bloggers so as not to step on landmines during my first visit. On recommendations, my dining partner ordered a Beef Short Ribs Rice Bowl while I had two sharing items of Baby Eggplant and Salmon Avocado Sushiros.

My understanding is that, Kilo at PACT serves Japanese and Vietnamese fusion food, they are particularly good at the Japanese aspect of it. And if I remember correctly, they are using Niigata’s Koshihikari rice variety, arguably the best rice in Japan, if not the world. So, I have certain level of confidence my order of Salmon Avocado Sushiros could not have gone very wrong.

Salmon Avocado Sushiros ($15++)

Salmon Avocado Sushiros ($15++)

Served with soy flaxseed chips, which was nothing much worth mentioning really, the Salmon Avacado Sushiros looked very much like a hand roll, except that seaweed swapped position with the rice, which was then wrapped around with paper instead. The vinegar rice was sweet, offering a diversion from the conventional impression of a seaweed wrapped handroll, somewhat masked off the taste of the seaweed a little bit. However, by doing this way, it’s hard to avoid rice sticking to the fingers, although on hindsight, it required less technique wrapping up the ingredients with the seaweed inside rather than using rice in the traditional method. As can be seen, the filling of prawns, Japanese cucumber, tamago, and spring onions were quite generous, and strictly speaking, freshness was never in doubt. While most conventional hand rolls gave more texture of vegetables, here, my mouth was filled with the sweetness of the tender salmon. The overall satisfaction beats whatever hand roll I ever tried, even though I hate avocado, I didn’t find it disgusting on this aspect.

Baby Eggplant ($12++)

Baby Eggplant ($12++)

As far as I can remember, I have never eaten eggplant my whole life. I simply don’t like its soft texture, and particularly the way it was cooked. But I was encouraged to try this after reading several good reviews, and gosh, it’s indeed awesome! The combination of the donburi sauce and tempura flakes did wonders to the eggplant, injecting new dimensions on it, and with the marscapone cheese adding a creamy touch, I was overwhelmed. Honestly, I have never expected eggplant can taste this great!

Beef Short Ribs Rice Bowl ($17++)

Beef Short Ribs Rice Bowl ($17++)

And now, the order which I didn’t try. It was my companion’s actually, and as I don’t take beef, I cannot touch on much about this, except that along with the ribs were Niigata rice, sweet corn, radishes, sugar peas, and wasabi sprouts. Sounds really nice to me!

One thing I notice is that, most bloggers ordered 3 items from Kilo like yours truly here. I wonder whether they were also budgeting $50 at this humble outlet 😛 And I absolutely have to compliment the waiter & waitress, who never failed to bring on a smile and cleared our table quite promptly throughout. Also, I was very pleased that my dining partner secured a seat close to the window overlooking KPO, that view was not only scenic, but only let in adequate light for my pictures!