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All posts for the month August, 2017

Tomi Sushi 富寿し

Published August 31, 2017 by piggie

Osusume Lunch, $45++

Hailing from Niigata, Tomi Sushi has a history of 63 years since started off in 1954, and Singapore is their first and only oversea venture since 2010. To date they have 4 outlets here, including Echigotei. Despite having no Michelin accolade to brag with, Tomi Sushi associates themselves closely with one important ingredient in making good sushi, Niigata Koshihikari rice. Among Japonica there are different grades, the best among all is definitely Koshihikari, notably those from Niigata’s Uonuma. Tomi Sushi claims that they use Koshihikari rice from Niigata, but stop short of saying whether it’s from Uonuma, which cost a few dollars more per kilogram. Chances are, they aren’t. Nevertheless, Koshihikari from Niigata alone is enough justification of its premium status. The reason Niigata’s rice is so famous is because the area has massive snowfall. After winter, the snow would melt and dissolve into and fertilise the ground, and along with good climate, able to cultivate possibly the best rice on earth. As a result, other by-products using Niigata’s rice garner rave review too, notably their sake.

Niigata is located on the west side of Japan, facing Japan Sea. As such, Tomi Sushi imports their fish from Niigata as well as from Tokyo. Hence, depending on season, sometime they may have special import that you won’t find on their menu, needless to say, for a premium price. I guess that’s where they stand out from some competitors.


After a long introduction, allow me to finally comment on the food. My friend and I were promptly served hot tea as soon as we were seated inside their Millenia Walk branch, and we each ordered their Osusume Lunch (おすすめランチ), notably the most expensive item on their lunch menu. This is a set meal as well as Chef’s recommendation on their menu, with Maguro Chutoro and Maguro Otoro being the highlight among the sushi.

Maguro Chutoro (3rd from left), Maguro Otoro (1st from left)

Less than 10 minutes later, the sushi platter came first, with the main meal coming briefly afterwards. I have no intention pretending to be a sushi expert here, I’m definitely not. But I did learn somewhere that normally, diners are suppose to start from sushi with a lighter colour, towards the darker one (usually also stronger in taste), in-between eat a piece of ginger and sip tea to rinse off any remaining taste from the previous sushi, just so diner can fully appreciate each single piece of sushi. So I had to save the best for last, starting from the maki roll first. Oh, just to clarify, the restaurant certainly didn’t have such requirement, they know most of the non-Japanese diners here don’t know such ritual. I usually don’t bother such practice in any normal sushi restaurant either, but this certainly is a premium one. Firstly, the freshness was never in doubt, my friend called and found out their last shipment came just a day ago. Secondly, their sushi rice did not come with excessive vinegar taste. Thirdly, the rice didn’t split easily away from the fish upon consumption (Trust me, even a Japanese chef in a Tokyo restaurant can fail this! LOL). Now, come to the taste of the Maguro Chutoro and Maguro Otoro, which means Fatty Tuna and Extra Fatty Tuna from different part of the fish respectively. I have to reiterate I am no expert, and this is the first time I try premium tuna like these. I do find both having a softer texture, slightly tastier, but I couldn’t tell much difference between the two, if anything, the former is probably firmer.

The spotlight of the main meal must certainly be on the tempura. The prawns taste fresh, and the tempura flour is thin and crisp that my dining partner find this better than that from Tempura Kohaku. I guess I would just say each has its own merits. Personally, I love the Shiso leaf tempura, so crisp and retaining some mint flavour of the leaf. Salad was appetising, and their Chawanmushi though looks thin, but has quite a handful of ingredients within.

Apart from the meal, Tomi Sushi also takes pride in providing different soy sauce for sushi and sashimi respectively, going into such meticulous details is truly exemplary!

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Penang Place

Published August 30, 2017 by piggie

Penang Place first started in Jurong East, and has since moved on to Fusionopolis before settling now at Suntec City. My friend and I saw a new tenant in Suntec City and decided to give it a try over a busy lunch hour. Although there was no queue and with spare tables available, we were warned by the waiter it could take about 30 minutes if we were to order a la carte. Sure, no issue.

We ordered Penang-Style Mee Goreng and their famous Penang Char Kway Teow, intending to share among us. Eventually, our order were served within 10 minutes, which really surprised us, prompting us to wonder whether they pre-fried the noodles and probably re-fried it with ingredients upon ordering. But that’s just speculation, and is not important as long as the dishes taste great. Fair statement?

Penang-Style Mee Goreng, $10.90++

Their Mee Goreng was served just shortly before the Kway Teow, it has a fragrance of wok hei and nicely presented with lime, cuttlefish, potatoes, tofu, prawn fritters, egg. The sweetness is perfectly done and overall, quite appetising! On a whole, of course, their ingredients are better than most hawker fare one can find.

Penang Char Kway Teow, $10.90++

The Kway Teow was only served briefly after the Mee Goreng, understandably, the appearance is a bit less flamboyant, but given the fact that it once earned “the best Penang Char Kway Teow in town” from Business Times, I expected it to taste better, even if just moderately. Reasonable? However, despite the presence of prawns, squids, eggs, bean sprouts, both me and my dining partner felt it lacked cohesion, it looks stale, and it tastes stale, which is why I suspect might be because the noodles were pre-fried, but lost the texture after been left luke warm for sometime. Their Mee Goreng at least has the sauce to cover it. But the Kway Teow tasted slightly dry. I had tried Penang Char Kway Teow in Penang which I chanced upon, from an ordinary coffee shop, not even a famous stall, it tasted much better, not to mention cheaper. OK, fine, I understand the absence of lard just so our Muslim friends can also enjoy it, or probably using less oil for a healthier meal. However, allow me to share a hard truth, that their competitor along the same stretch offers the same dish cheaper and better, no lard too! And I had actually blogged about that last year. I really wonder what made the Business Times correspondent declared this “the best Penang Char Kway Teow in town”. Very very far from it. Either their standard dropped, or possibly the correspondent had never tried good Penang Char Kway Teow before. Or maybe just my luck, we encountered a trainee chef? Another possibility is that they had taken from the buffet pot and re-presented it on a platter. I know I’m bold, but this is at best, mere average, I hope they improve their standard if they want to continue using that tagline.

By the way, they serve buffet too!

Penang Place
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Mall, West Wing
#02-314/315/316
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 64677003
Website: http://www.penangplace.com/
Email: catering@penangplace.com

Opening Hours:
11:30hr – 14:30hr,
18:00hr – 21:30hr

Hattendo 八天堂

Published August 4, 2017 by piggie

I came to know Hattendo during a Japan Rail Cafe event late last year, when they were still under renovation (they actually started business here in Jan 2017), but I didn’t try it until recently. Hailing from Hiroshima with a history dating back to 1933, I really regret didn’t hear of it during my my three visit there since 2008, but actually their outlets in Hiroshima prefecture are based in Mihara, some 70km away from downtown Hiroshima. I thought it was just another ordinary pastry when they ventured into Singapore, and how wrong I was!

Prior to trying Hattendo, I thought what wrapped underneath was some type of biscuit. I was wrong. It’s more like soft bun. They do offer more than just these cream buns of course, but undeniably, cream buns are their forte. Hence naturally, I’m trying their cream buns for a start.

Not sure if there’s any minimum quantity for a box purchase, but they included two ice pack in mine to keep the bun cooled. If you haven’t guessed by now, that gives you a strong hint what its content is like. I was told the ice pack can last for 2 hours, then you will have to keep them in fridge, and the buns have to be finished by the next day.

Each of these cream bun cost S$2.50, but 5 of these in a box cost S$12.00 nett. Their pricing here is surprisingly cheaper than what you will be getting in Japan, at ¥250 (before tax) each. I suspect they may be localising some of the ingredients here, anyway since it tastes this great, I won’t have mind. In general, Hattendo has 5 basic flavours, including Azuki Sweet Bun (Red Bean, clockwise from top left), Custard, Whipped Cream, Chocolate, and Matcha. Recently, they also launched a Melon bun for a slightly higher price, the filling will still be the same, just that the soft bun is replaced by Hong Kong styled melon bun.

The cream bun is indeed a bun, at least on the exterior. Be warned (and I hinted you on ice packs, remember?), don’t leave it in the open for too long before you consume it. Inside, was something with texture like molten ice cream, probably because I ate it as soon as I brought them home, which was still not as bad. It’s actually best to fridge them for some time before consumption, otherwise, you will find that the content melted and before you knew it, you may need to clean yourself and/or mop the floor. Now I understand why my friend told me it’s best to consume from their store (So that’s why they have seats in their outlet! Just kidding, it’s a café really, with their coffee created by Itsuki Coffee from Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture).

As for the taste, it’s rich, creamy, and flavourful, miles better than the ice cream produced in this region, and quite unlike those world renowned premium ice cream, if you know how Japanese ice cream tastes like, you will know what I mean. Among them, only the Azuki Sweet Bun contains beans, the rest are very much just cream.

Notice the packaging indicates ‘Singapore’, which makes me wonder whether if it tastes much better in Japan. Mihara, where Hattendo originated from, is not a place where tourists normally stop by, unless you are going to/fro Hiroshima Airport, and that’s where you will find the nearest Shinkansen station. Anyway, they have an outlet right at Hiroshima Airport too (Oh, the airport is hidden deep inside the mountain by the way, very far from city center)! Come late October, SilkAir will fly Hiroshima, and if you fly there, do try out Hattendo there and let me know the difference! By the way, Chugoku (where Hiroshima prefecture is) is really a nice place to visit, I would say right after Kanto, Kansai, and Kyushu, ahead of Hokkaido because the latter is only wonderful over summer. Chugoku is a gateway to many hidden gems in Japan that many Singaporeans have yet to uncover! Oh, before you get the wrong idea that this article is sponsored, I assured you it’s not, and certainly not from SilkAir, LOL! I just got excited whenever the topic involves travelling in Japan, not just Japanese cuisines, and I actually write a lot better on travelling than food review! 😛

Hattendo 八天堂
7 Wallich Street #01-05
Tanjong Pagar Centre
Singapore 078884

Opening Hours:
10:00hr – 21:00hr (Mon~Fri)
11:00hr – 20:00hr (Sat~Sun, PH)