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All posts for the month September, 2013

Violet Oon’s Kitchen

Published September 29, 2013 by piggie
Violet Oon's on a normal Saturday noon...

Violet Oon’s on a normal Saturday noon…

I had wanna bring mum here for sometime, somehow, she was always not at home over weekend. Today, consider it lucky she is, and since it was a last minute decision, I didn’t book in advance. Good thing Violet Oon’s Kitchen was not crowded. In fact, we were the first diners at 11.45am, it wasn’t until some 10 minutes later when the second group appeared, and I suspect they are foreigners staying nearby.

The decor was a delight to me, a tint of nostalgic setting with two notable large mirror diagonally placed, projecting a false ambience of expanded space.

I have some brunch vouchers complimentary of Singapore Women’s Weekly, and did some homework before coming. The review so far has been rather diversed, but I carefully selected a few dishes I personally favour (at least from the pictures), nevermind mum, it could easily take quarters of an hour for me to explain to her each entry on the brunch menu.

Vietnamese Pulled Pork Burrito, $18++

Vietnamese Pulled Pork Burrito ($18++)

The Vietnamese Pulled Pork Burrito was served rather promptly after I placed the order, probably because there were no other patrons at that moment. Far from impressive from its look, but it tasted quite appetising for an otherwise plain tasting pulled pork. Personally, I prefer Burrito with tender chicken, but Violet Oon did pretty well in spicing up the slow cooked Vietnamese sweet pulled pork wrapped in tortilla with ingredients including salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. I was a little puzzled why the avocado was served in a tiny appetiser bowl instead of wrapping it together with the burrito, I thought for the benefit of appearance, the vegetable salad did fairly well, but the colour of avocado really didn’t add a good touché, looked a little bit overdone in my opinion.

Otak Panani ($15++)

Otak Panani ($15++)

I like Otak and bread, and this Otak Panani gave me a little surprise! Hang on a second, what is Panani? I guess it’s a mis-spelt of Panini, a general term for pressed and toasted sandwich in English speaking countries, although the word was derived from the Italian word Panino.

Violet Oon’s Otak Panani was my cup of tea, not for my mum though, I guess it was the use of melted cheese which irked her. She doesn’t like cheese. I found the toast was rather crisp, and absorb the taste of melted Monterey Jack cheese and otak well, so much so it was already smelled nice on its own! As for the spiciness of the otak, I found it quite mild, but I suppose that part can be quite subjective here.

Asian Big Breakfast ($20++)

Asian Big Breakfast ($20++)

I found that this Asian Big Breakfast is a very good miniature collection of Violet Oon’s Peranakan culinary prowess. From the Otak, fried chicken wings, sambal egg Indonesia, nasi kunning (yellow rice), and cucumber with ikan billis salad (I think should be ikan bilis), even the chili tasted nice except the nasi kunning (agh.. it’s been painful needing to correct their spelling here! It should be kuning). Let’s start with the rice, which I found to be rather hard and dry. The fragrance was there, but the rice simply lacked moist. I wasn’t sure whether it was down to the rice grain, or was it because Violet Oon tried to minimise oil on the rice for a healtier recipe, I certainly did not enjoy it. As for the rest, well, otak tasted the same (as my previous order), the chicken wing appeared dry, but turned out it didn’t taste as badly done as it appeared to be. The cucumber with ikan billis salad was a welcome spice to the otherwise dried nasi kunning, but the most credible among here had definitely got to be the sambal egg, or rather the sambal itself! I don’t know how I can describe the taste here, something rather exceptional.

I don’t want to see Violet Oon’s Kitchen as a Peranakan restaurant, to me, it’s more of a fusion. Overall, the taste of the food I ordered was quite pleasant. But I have to confess, the price will be difficult to convince me for a return visit. If I have to list one thing that truly impressed me, their service was highly commendable.

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文华东方酒店樱桃园冰皮人参奶皇月饼

Published September 21, 2013 by piggie
$62+

文华东方酒店樱桃园冰皮人参奶皇月饼 ($62+)

这盒冰皮小月饼是赢回来的,过程有些曲折,但不在本文叙述范围之内,我也就一笔带过,总之不是文华东方酒店或者樱桃园报效就是了。我本来是觊觎冰皮榴莲月饼的,但是基于某些因素,只能退而求其次,选择了较为罕见的樱桃园冰皮人参奶皇月饼。

近年来,新加坡的月饼趋势似乎有趋向促销包装的势头,也就是说,一些很普通的饼家或餐馆为了行销,刻意推出很精美的包装,然后却明显地把成本转嫁给顾客,却忽略了注重月饼品质的原则。真正的行家例如大中国却是保持十年如一日的作风,包装普通,但月饼油水十足,吃起来口感极佳。我个人却很欣赏有创意的餐馆制作的特色月饼,譬如这里将介绍的冰皮人参奶皇月饼。

极富本区域特色的猫山王月饼已经没有新意了(不过还是很好吃!),其他如雪糕月饼、核桃月饼等虽然口味出色,却也像雨后春笋般充斥市场。坦白说,这是我首次听闻樱桃园,其人参奶皇月饼让我发现他们的无限创意,真的,堪称月饼至尊也不为过!当然,至于好不好吃来说,我只能发表限于冰皮人参奶皇月饼的个人看法。说了这么多,立刻切入正题!

冰皮月饼需要冷藏,这是众所周知的常识。当我从冰箱取出这人参奶皇月饼当儿,犯了项失误,真不该立刻送入口!因为在解冻之前,过冷过硬的月饼麻痹了味蕾,吃不出月饼的精华。还好有8颗,在我让月饼稍微回温之后,轻尝浅止,淡淡的人参味就从奶油馅里渗出来。有没有用真的人参我是不知道啦,不过味道不会太强烈就是。这人参奶皇月饼并没含有咸蛋黄,奶油馅也许有些喧宾夺主,却也不会过份腻,但也不建议吃太多。毕竟跟传统莲蓉比较起来,说实在的还是后者较为耐吃。

除了人参奶皇月饼之外,樱桃园也推出了含有榴莲与山竹馅的冰皮宫廷月饼、含有荔枝马丁尼与巧克力的冰皮荔枝巧克力月饼、传统莲蓉馅及巧克力的冰皮巧克力脆饼月、巨峰提子绿茶月饼,哦,我还没提到正主儿呢…樱桃园也推出樱桃至尊礼盒,猜猜看什么馅,多少钱??

答案∶ 包含燕窝、珍珠粉、松露等高级馅料,每盒8颗,S$1,188!

别把那些无聊饼家加入金箔的无味月饼拿来比较,这真的是名副其实的至尊呢!就不知道如果我要求的是这盒至尊礼盒,新传媒还会不会送我呢?哈哈!

樱桃园 Cherry Garden
5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square
Singapore 039797
Tel: 68853500

Bukit Purmei Lor Mee

Published September 21, 2013 by piggie
Bukit Purmei Lor Mee ($3)

Bukit Purmei Lor Mee ($3)

I confess I have a weak spot for noodles, and not just restricted to ramen. But because of ramen’s outrages prices, I suppose it’s reasonable to ask a higher quality out of them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean our local noodles are inferior. Yes, the standard varies significantly, I agree. But for this stall, the broth itself surpasses many ramen outlets locally! Enough said.

Popularly known as Bukit Purmei Lor Mee, this stall actually doesn’t have its own name. There are only two coffee shops in Bukit Purmei, and although I have never patronise the other one, but whenever the term Bukit Purmei Lor Mee is mentioned, it must be referring to this stall at block 109 coffee shop #01-157. You simply can’t miss it, it will be the stall with the longest queue and lots of accolades from several food events.

I went there on a Thursday afternoon, well after the busy lunch hour, yet I had to queue for around 15 minutes as there were about 7 patrons before me, nevermind the old auntie behind the counter was painfully slow because of her age.

I came here specifically for their noodle, there aren’t much thing to see in Bukit Purmei as it is a residential estate, unless one is curious enough to see a hidden kampong near block 102, which I only discovered today 😀 And since I was pretty hungry, naturally, I ordered a larger bowl (ranges from $2.50 to $3.50). If you don’t specify, they usually give you the medium thick, flat noodle. They also have kway teow, thick round noodle, and rice vermicelli (bee hoon). I notice there were three types of meat, roast pork for sure, and fried pork (without the red yeast), fish cake, bean sprout, and ngoh hiang (spiced meat roll). After the broth rinsed through the noodle, I couldn’t tell the different taste between roast pork and fried pork, but that’s not really important. What essential was the overall taste of the noodle. I couldn’t tell the exact recipe of the broth, but I know it contains a generous supply of garlic and vinegar, while offering a sweet taste, it also masked off any reminiscence of the noodle’s alkaline base.

This is when one would really appreciate an old hand behind the broth, the quality can really tells! Consider the fact I came here all the way, tells just how good their noodle is. If a Micheline 3-star defines worthy of a special journey, this is one!

And finally, let’s not put off by its location, even though the bus stop in front only serves 3 bus services, but the main road behind, Kampong Bahru Road, has more bus services plying between Outram Park MRT and Harbourfront MRT. Alighting there, the short climb uphill takes about 5 minutes.

Lor Mee
Coffee Shop @ Block 109 Bukit Purmei Avenue #01-157
Singapore 090109
Opens Tue – Sun, 7.30am to 3.30pm

Update: The stall has relocated to Block 501 West Coast Drive Singapore 120501. Please note that the stall only operates in morning on Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun.

Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo

Published September 17, 2013 by piggie

My last ramen adventure was more than a month ago, in New York’s Brooklyn. And today, I suddenly have an urge for some Japanese vaccine. In recognition of Japanese Restaurant Week in Singapore (JRWSG), I decided to pay a visit to Keisuke Takeda’s outlet in Millenia Walk, Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo.

It was a quiet Monday evening, and I suppose Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo’s location in the deep corner of Parco @ Millenia Walk didn’t do much help, there were only a handful of diners as I entered the restaurant.

I had made up my mind to try their Watarikani Ramen ($13.80++), something unique in the local ramen scene. I was promptly shown the menu and an order slip, on which I was given the option to select the flavour level of the broth, amount of onion/chicken oil, as well as noodle’s texture. I selected everything as normal, and it took slightly more than 10 minutes for my ramen to be served.

Wakarikani Ramen ($13.80++)

Watarikani Ramen ($13.80++)

The ramen looked pretty normal, and no, no crab meat actually (please, look at the price, and one has to be sensible to expect any crab meat in the ramen, let alone Japanese crabs, and Keisuke didn’t want to deceive customers with fake crab stick like Bishamon did), just the usual suspects of charshu, leek, bamboo shoot, seaweed, chikuwa, and some ‘mysterious’ red ‘straws’ which I couldn’t identify, minus the flavoured egg though (add $2++). But the star of the noodle got to be its broth. I didn’t want to add any seasoning prior to trying it ‘raw’, and found it to be reasonably thick, with a good flavour of crab & chicken stock. To quote from the official source: The fragrant crab-based broth of Kani (Crab) Ramen is created from an elaborate cooking philosophy where crabs are first being pan-fried and crushed, then fried with onions and carrots, before being simmered with chicken stock. Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo was using the medium flat noodle, and it was rather attentive of them to let patrons choose the level of noodle between soft and extreme hard, as well as the thickness of the broth etc. So that returning patrons will know in their subsequent visits, what would be their preference. Such system will at least garner them an addition chance to appease patrons should they found their preliminary visit less than satisfactory. One notable observation, Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo offered freeflow of marinated bean sprouts and bonito flakes (more of powder instead of flakes actually) on the table, which I added aplenty into my noodle without the slightest hesitation and found my broth to be more adventurous! And I really believe this would be how a noodle is define! Quite frankly, I didn’t have good impression on generic Tokyo ramen, I found them lacked identity in comparison to Hokkaido & Kyushu. But I have to admit Keisuke Takeda (its Japanese owner and a genuine Tokyo Ramen Champion. And don’t listen to what Koji Tashiro and his Ramen franchise claimed, some of them might be good, but some are plain mediocre) completely altered my opinion. He has 4 outlets in Singapore, and each serving signature type of ramen distinctly associated with the branch, and yeah, I was kind off attracted simply by the creativity of his ramen, simply waiting for an opportunity to try out more of his innovations now that I had my first taste of Keisuke’s. It’s that good, that I didn’t feel a thirst for water after leaving the restaurant, with a strong crab and benito aftertaste for the next hour or so.

I have to feel appreciated, if I understand correctly, Keisuke Takeda started his first oversea venture in Singapore, many ramen addicts in Hong Kong and Taiwan don’t have such privilege.

Currently, Keisuke’s franchise is offering 7% discount to all patrons who register and show the offer coupon from this site. You’ll get 7% discount right away and no need such nonsense as subsequent visit kind of thing. For their price (and with such discount in mind), I would say it’s food at great value!

http://keisuke.sg/

Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo
9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk
#P3-02 Parco Marina Bay
Singapore 039596
Tel: 63377919
Weekday Lunch: 11:30HR ~ 15:00HR
Weekday Dinner: 17:30HR ~ 22:00HR
Weekend/Public Holiday: 11:00HR ~ 22:00HR

Ramen Dining Keisuke Tokyo has since ceased its operation in Millenia Walk, and has since re-located to Suntec City.