Archives

All posts for the month December, 2019

Pink Fish

Published December 28, 2019 by piggie

To be honest, when I first visited Jewel Changi Airport, I have mediocre impression about Pink Fish. My first take was, it’s just another restaurant. But when I later learned of their motto, I’m sold.

It’s about sustainability… and MORE!

Firstly, Pink Fish uses biodegradable packaging and utensils, including the disposable bowls used. From business point of view, they eliminated washing and save on manpower, quite similar to what major fast food restaurants are doing. After all, Pink Fish’s concept is modelled after fast food restaurants, and with all items on their menu central around Norwegian Salmon. Pink Fish’s sustainability also applies to the food on the table, they claim that their salmon are ASC-certified, and sourced from suppliers committed to responsible farming from within Norwegian fjords. It is also stated that the carbon footprint per kilo farmed salmon consumed is considerably lower than all comparable meats.

Pink Fish at Jewel Changi Airport is their first oversea venture, and their menu are designed by one of the founders cum award-winning Chef Geir Skeie (Bocuse d’Or World 2009 winner). Bocuse d’Or World is akin to the Olympics of culinary skill (mainly dedicated to French cuisines) for chefs, while Michelin awards are focus on restaurants.

Chef Skeie drew inspiration from his many oversea trips, and developed his menu into 4 major categories, namely Burgers, Salad & Wraps, Raw, and Soups. Each of them are further laid out into Asian, European, and American. In a way, this is very similar to their menu in Norway. And their pricing mainly relates to the quantity of salmon (by weight) you desire in your bowl.

I meant to share my meals with a dining partner, so as to try as many dishes as possible in one visit, so we do away with the burger which is difficult to share, and order one each from the other categories. Similar to fast food restaurants, you order your food via the counter, or otherwise, you can also scan their QR code to download an app to pre-order. I did it at the counter, but perhaps because they took quite long to prepare my order (despite relatively dense customers), the food are served to our table.

Salad & Wraps European, 50g, $10.90

Our food are served all at once, but let me begin with the European Salad, which comprises grilled salmon, Tzatziki, Feta cheese, olives, and Quinoa. The Tzatziki sauce is quite appetising, it goes well with the grilled salmon as well as the accompanying veggies. The salmon are quite thick though, so the internal are still semi-raw, giving a contrasting texture upon every bite. The Feta cheese is salty, so overall, the taste is rather salty and sour, which brings out a great balance with the grilled salmon.

Raw Asian, 50g, $10.90

This is akin to Japanese donburi, comprising Japanese sashimi salad with raw salmon, Yuzu, Miso, Edamame, and rice. Frankly speaking, this may struggle to compete among the best of Japanese donburi, but I can see the Edamame and salmon sparkling with glamour of freshness, overall it really gave me a very Japanese homely feeling.

Soups American, 50g, $10.90

Their American soup is made of chili bowl with salmon, beans, coriander, and tortilla chips. While I confess the chili soup is spicy, and I do like it, but I feel there are few underwhelming points. Firstly, the tortilla chips should not be dipped inside the soup upon serving, because the crispiness is long gone before we can finish them, and the rest of the chips really do not taste great being soaky. Though the salmon taste good, but the coriander leaf is reduced to mere decorative purpose, its aroma is overpowered by the strong chili presence. I have to admit I was somewhat influenced by other reviewers prior to our visit, and if I haven’t read those, I’ll probably go with the other versions, which really sound better just by looking at their ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, like I said, the chili soup still taste good, but other ingredients apart from the salmon are a bit mediocre, or at least, done the wrong way. I guess there are probably some constraint because the idea of the restaurant is for a fast turn around, so the food have to be pre-prepared in a compromised manner to ease efficiency.

As a parting shot, I find Pink Fish’s pricing reasonable given its overall quality, its premium location, and Chef Skeie’s accolades. While I personally feel there is room for improvement, I suspect some of those are limited by operational constraints that I cannot foresee. I will be back to try their other items on the menu.

2nd Visit

I returned to Pink Fish in Jan 2020, barely one month after my first visit, and they had already changed their menu. Gone are the continental segregation, and now simply classified into Burgers, Poke Bowl, Salad & Wrap, Kids, and Sides. Price wise, likewise, depending on the quantity of the salmon you order, but this time, they do away with the weight, and simply classify them as small, medium, and large. As for the burgers, they are charged at $9.90 each, because the patty size is fixed.

I brought along old folks and kid this time, what I’m trying to say is, there’s a variety in age group, and some of them can be pretty fussy. We ordered a wide range of items, most of them combo deal, which cost $4 more and comes with standard soft drink or mineral water plus one of the listed sides (Chips, Soba noodles, Broccoli & Edamame Salad, Rice, Quinoa). My aunt wanted plain rice as side, which tempted me to ask, “You serious? I’m letting you try something unconventional, and you are asking for plain rice?” Anyway, she would insist with that, very well then.

Hot Massaman Curry

This is the Hot Massaman Curry that one of the old folks ordered, which comprises mushroom, potato, coriander, and cooked salmon. Actually, the term ‘hot’ does invite some discrepancy here, this is an European (chef) take on a Thai cuisine, how hot (spicy) can it get? Same thing, don’t expect the soup to be piping hot (here I mean temperature), it’s warm enough, better than lukewarm, and the fussy old folks ain’t complaining. I am not saying it’s excellent, but it certainly didn’t fail. I only managed to steal a gulp late into the meal, and I find it quite appetising, and the chunky salmon nowhere near raw as some diners described online. Ok, it may be a hit or miss, and there may be a different chef in-charge, fair enough.

Tangy Black Pepper Burger, $9.90

This was what my aunt ordered. I suspect she was just fancied by the name ‘black pepper’ (she probably loves black pepper crab, LOL!). Nonetheless, it comes with black pepper sauce, mango salsa, lettuce, and of course, salmon patty. She loves it! The salmon patty was grilled to a crisp exterior, while the interior retains its chewiness, and together with the other ingredients, the combination was rather flavourful for an otherwise bland-tasting salmon. And that’s coming from a fussy person, not me.

Rich Caesar Salad

This was what I ordered for myself. From their menu, I thought they have a wrap version, but I could be wrong. And why adding ‘Wrap’ in the header and showing a picture of it when it’s not available? Nevermind. The Caesar Salad is nice, with ample portion of sliced onions, Parmesan cheese and croutons to supply the savoury and crunchiness, although I personally feel the grilled salmon chunk comes better in the form of raw Salmon cube for a salad instead, but after all, they only use salmon fillet for their salad & wrap, whereas salmon cubes are use for their Poke Bowl and Stew.

Quinoa, $2.90

I asked for Quinoa as my side, it’s the healthier choice, and I certainly feel it’s the best to complement most of the items on their menu. I let the old folks tried mine, and they sort of agree too. As for my niece, she had soba noodles with her parents’ Massaman Curry and said it was nice. It certainly looks tasty comparing to conventional Japanese soba, and although I couldn’t help suspecting she could have been courteous, if so, for a 10-years-old, she must be pretty mature.

I came to aware that some diners complained online Pink Fish is a tad too pricey, while I can’t deny that and the restaurant was meant to be some sort of fast food after all, but bear in mind the location, its rental, and the chef’s accolades, it’s unfair to peg the price with McDonald’s or Subway in Singapore. Notably, Pink Fish emphasise on responsible farming, it’s akin to comparison between organic and non-organic ingredients price tags, you will find massive difference in price even in supermarkets, one simply can’t expect restaurateurs to absorb the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t defending for the restaurant, and there may be cheaper and/or tastier ones out there, and criticism on the food quality is fair, but if one wants to compare, make sure it’s apple to apple.

Pink Fish
78 Airport Boulevard #B1-261/262
Jewel Changi Airport
Email: SG@salmoncompany.com
Website: https://www.pinkfish.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkfishSG/

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

Suparakki Ramen

Published December 20, 2019 by piggie

I’ve got to confess I don’t usually visit local ramen restaurant before I visit Suparakki Ramen, but my first visit there really got me awed. Yes, although the name sounded Japanese (which means Super Lucky), it is really the joint effort of three local passionate chaps who undergone rigourous training in Japan prior to setting up restaurants here. Knowing that they probably cannot challenge the legacy of major ramen chains here, their strategy is to keep their price modest while delivering quality noodles. To sustain that, you can see the decor are basic, tables are optimised, leaving barely much room for manoeuvre, and even diners have to fetch their own noodles when their numbers are flashed, in other words, self-service. In trade-off, of course, there will be no service charge. Diners basically order and pay upon entering, and will be given an electronic buzzer before getting into the restaurant to choose their seats.

Tonkotsu Black Garlic Ramen, $9.90+

Suparakki Ramen use typical Hakata-styled noodles, and hard boiled Tonkotsu broth for 6 hours without adding MSG. I had this Tonkotsu Black Garlic Ramen, which is the most expensive ramen on their menu, and comes with two thin slices of Charshu, half a runny egg, scallions, black fungus, and seaweed. Even though without using MSG, I did not notice any unpleasant pork scent in their broth, which was overpowered by the nice aroma of black garlic anyway. In addition, I was also asked upon ordering whether I’d like their normal or spicy version, which I selected the latter, without incurring any extra charges. It can hardly go wrong with the thin Hakata-styled Hosomen used, which was cooked to a perfect firmness too. Frankly speaking, for such quality and configuration, one usually pay double the price from an established Japanese ramen chain in sunny island Singapore. As a matter of fact, I just patronise one the day before, seriously, double the price 😛

Tonkotsu Gyokai Ramen, $8.90+

My dining partner ordered their Tonkotsu Gyokai Ramen, which is the integration of pork and fish broth, while the ingredients inside are the same as mine. Again, no unpleasant pork smell, came with a hint of bonito, but I ain’t suggesting that they merely using Bonito flakes. It’s saltier, and Suparakki claim that their broth is akin to Tsukemen, where the broth is usually thicker, but not in this case certainly, or else it would be too excessive.

Set A, Ebi Fry ($5.50+)

For an additional $5.50+, I got 3 Ebi tempura plus a drink of my choice, which I selected Heaven & Earth Ayataka Green Tea. They do serve hot green tea too, as well as Coke, and if i remember correctly, mineral water. I have to say their choice of beverages are quite limited, but who cares when there are so many beverages option available in the malls they are located at. The tempura prawns are crisp, freshly fried upon ordering by the way. Besides Ebi Fry*, other option include Karaage and Gyoza, these, along with Chashu and Ajitama are also available as stand-alone add-ons. All in all, we were very satisfied with our meals, and I will surely return.

*Ebi Fry is not available at their Citylink Mall branch.

Subsequent Visit

My 4th visit came within a week from my first, you read that right, forth visit. I guess that’s sufficient statement to say how much I love their ramen, which is also reasonably cheap. My multiple visit only involve one new flavour, so I’ll just touch on their Dry Truffle Ramen here.

Dry Truffle Ramen, $6.90+

Suparakki Ramen’s Dry Truffle Ramen is using ingredients such as black fungus, half a runny egg, shredded seaweed, scallions, and braised pork cube, and of course, truffle oil. The chewy Hakata-styled Hosomen noodle is more springy than those in their broth ramen, and I feel in using braised pork cube instead of conventional chashu here is a masterstroke, the saltier pork raised the flavour of the noodle up a few notches, and the aroma of truffle oil is absolutely scintillating. The result is what made me go back repeatedly for more, this has got to be one of the best ramen I’ve ever tried, in my opinion, better than many I patronised in Japan. Having said that, I have to confess my dining partners have very contrasting opinion though, one of them like this because she dislike pork broth, another dislike this because she doesn’t like truffle scent. I can do with both! 😀

Suparakki Ramen currently have outlets in North Point, Westgate, and Citylink Mall.

Website: https://suparakki.com.sg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suparakkiramen

&Joy Dining Hall

Published December 8, 2019 by piggie

Yeah, the name &Joy Dining Hall does sound strange. It only recently opens at Jurong Point Basement along Japanese Food Street, and mainly comprises 6 main dining elements, namely Ramen Kiou, Sushi-GO, Roman.Tei, Pittarino, Wadori, and My Gohan. Some of these can be considered as stand alone restaurants, while others are sharing a common dining area. Besides that, there is also another sub-element, &Joy Eats•&Joy Drinks, somewhat like the drink stall inside a food court.

Realistically, I ain’t able to cover every element in my first visit, let’s begin with Pittarino, a stand alone pizza restaurant. I can understand, pizza is not really a Japanese thing, so why is it here?

Well, the Japanese are well known for their take on foreign cuisines, for example, ramen wasn’t really Japanese to begin with, but their evolution from their Chinese predecessors are so massive that these days, people tends to think the Chinese stole it from the Japanese because in general, ramen tastes so much better than many of their China counterparts. I said that not just because I love Japanese cuisines, but I had visited many cities in both China and Japan, and the probability of finding horrible noodles in China far exceed that in Japan. Coming back to pizza, I have to reiterate, I have been to Italy too, but ironically, I found the best pizza in Japan, seriously, inside a humble Kanazawa eatery, far away from the country’s culinary capitols (ie. Tokyo, Osaka).

Half – Half: Smoked Salmon & Prosciutto, $16++

This is only available during Pittarino’s opening promotion, offering half a slice each of their Smoked Salmon pizza and Prosciutto pizza, giving patrons a taste of both pizza for one price, both usually going for $17.90++ each (12″ whole pizza). One look at the pizza crust, you can tell it’s not pre-baked, it’s only baked upon order, because they can never anticipate what type of combination a customer wants. Amazingly, they can do it in 90 seconds! It’s not really a matter of speed, but by doing so in 90 seconds, they can maintain the juicy texture of the toppings, this is really how a good pizza ought to be done, and I can safely assure, you will find it very different from your usual pizza franchise.

Let me first touch on their Smoked Salmon pizza. It’s a cream based pizza with rocket, caper, tomatoes, lemon, and of course, smoked salmon. This is my favourite, and a chef recommendation. If the ingredient list ain’t sound convincing enough, the taste was fantastic, an excellent fusion of savoury, sourness, blend coherently with the cream to create a very appetising take, if anything, I thought the caper brought out the essence of the pizza!

As for the Prosciutto & Rocket pizza, despite having a more appealing appearance, would have to settle for second best. Prosciutto is Italian dried-cured ham, and naturally it’s slightly on the salty side, but the added tomato sauce, rocket, and Grana Padano cheese generate a good balance, and eventually, the juiciness truly made this pizza remarkable.

Tomato Cheese Ramen, $14.90

And this would be the ramen after it was stirred

Hailed from Osaka, Ramen Kiou’s signature ramen gotta be this Tomato Cheese Ramen. I believe the broth must be a pork based soup, but there is little hint of it as any Tonkotsu flavour is overpowered by the rich tomato broth. In the bowl, apart from the cheese, there ain’t any charshu, but only pork slices, veggie, and thin noodle. The taste is very much akin to tomato spaghetti but in a soup version. I’d say it’s very appetising!

Ebi Chahan, $8.90

We also ordered Ramen Kiou’s Ebi Chahan, and added a piece of Chashu. As can be seen from the picture, they use prawns and dried shrimps in their Ebi Chahan, but something just ain’t quite right. Perhaps it’s due to the dried shrimps, I smell strong aroma from that of mouldy food, quite akin to those you gather from Yam or Dried Mushroom fried rice. I don’t like it, I’d say, wasted the ingredients in this fried rice. I lose appetite straightaway. That said, I paid $2 extra for the chashu, which is great to be honest.

For Ramen Kiou, as it is basically a kiosk order, self-service concept, there is no additional service charges.

2nd Visit

Kiou Chahan, $6.90

For some reason, I didn’t order their ramen on my 2nd visit, and I had their Kiou Chahan instead. I won’t pretend this is fantastic, but it certainly tasted much better than their Ebi Chahan, no mouldy smell. Now, in my previous review, I did mention I was impressed by their chashu, and in this fried rice, shredded chashu is used, along with spring onions and egg. The aroma was good, and the chashu really brings out the taste up a notch.

Gyoza, $5.90

I also ordered their Gyoza. Ramen Kiou fried it in a way where the bottom is a big layer of flour, ensuring a larger area of crispiness at the bottom, while the top still retains chewy.

My dining partners both ordered their Abura Soba ($11.90), which was a little on the salty side, though the noodle was cooked to a perfect chewiness, according to them, so much so they claimed they would come back for this. For me, I am having reservation until I try it myself next time.

&Joy Dining Hall
1 Jurong West Central 2, #B1-49
Jurong Point
Singapore 648886
Website: http://njoydininghall.com.sg

Opening Hours~
Daily: 11:00 hr – 22:00 hr