Monday, February 28, 2005

No. 3 Crab Delicacy – Seafood Restaurant

256 Outram Road
Singapore 169059
Tel: 63272148

I personally think that it is rather curious that this place calls itself No.3 because the address of the shop isn’t 3 Outram Road, and any shop with aspirations of being number 1 would name itself that isn’t it? The only plausible guess I could make was that it had 3 crab specialties – Claypot crab with bee hoon, curry crab and cold crab. I however tried none of those this trip here. I had the pepper crab instead, mainly because our resident crab eater cum expert, also know as the mother said that the pepper crab here is as good as our favourite stall and we don’t have to queue here and that secondly the last time she tried the curry crab, she didn’t really like it.

So what do I think about this place? I was impressed by the service, mind you this isn’t some posh restaurant where I do expect good service, but I was pleasantly surprised by the level of service, the good knowledge on their menu and Mr. Thomas Lim who served us was friendly and gave good recommendations. The food was pretty good, we had a vegetable dish of tofu strips with ginko nut which also served on a bed of braised cabbage and they complemented each other pretty well. Along with that, we had the hokkien mee which I thought tasted better than the one I had at the hokkien restaurant, black pepper crab and also rojok chicken with is very interesting and something you should try when you come here, especially if you like rojak. I think what I find interesting about these two dishes is the way they combine flavours and so recommend this place. Plus, if you really like crab, this place boosts of about 7-10 different ways of preparing it.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Au Petit Salut - Salute Salute

Au Petit Salut
Blk 44 Jalan Merah Saga
#01-05, Singapore 278116
Tel: 64751976

This place is fast becoming my family’s favourite place for our Sunday lunches. Although our lunch here today took longer than usual, I’m still as satisfied with this place. They offer a set lunch everyday except Saturdays because they aren’t open for lunch on Saturdays. For S$22+++, you get 3 courses and a coffee or tea to round off your meal. I promise you that you will not be disappointed, service is efficient, the menu changes constantly based on what is in season or what is fresh, the food is good and it is good value for money.

Catch of the day: Parrotfish with Orange and Butter Sauce

In the former menu I used to have the lentils salad with warm goats cheese for my starter, but now that they have changed the menu, I had the marinated beetroot with a blue cheese salad and walnuts. Other things that are always in the appetizer section are the escargots and a soup of the day. For main courses, the house specials are their Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks with Carrots, Button Mushroom & Parsley, and there are usually lots of choices consisting of a pasta, a risotto and a catch of the day. I ordered the paillote Cod Fish but it was terribly terribly salty, I think someone in the kitchen was daydreaming and triple salted it so I had it sent back. The chef agreed with me but the only problem was that they had run out of cod so I had to order something else and I went with the catch of the day which was parrot fish with an orange and butter sauce. It tasted light and wonderful and the beef cheeks chunk that I stole from my mother’s plate was wonderful as usual. The desserts aren’t disappointing too, they don’t give you a mass produced dessert, but you get a range of choices that include soufflés, ice cream, crème bruleé and such. I’m not a real dessert person so I always have the ice cream which is one of my favourite happy foods. You get three scoops and a choice of vanilla, Belgium chocolate, coffee, macadamia nut and mango and strawberry sorbet. They serve it on a really nice biscuit that I am still trying to reproduce in my kitchen. All I can say is that, I LOVE HAVING LUNCH HERE.

Silk Road Noodle Bar - There is a fire in my belly

Silk Road Noodle Bar
9 Raffles Boulevard
Millenia Walk #01-52/53
Singapore 039596
Tel: 63392810

Handmade Noodles with Beef Sichuan-Style

An offshoot from the Silk Road Restaurant, this place serves up a list of handmade noodles, rice dishes and side dishes such as dumplings and shaanxi skewer delights. Noodles were the order of the day for us at the table and we had handmade noodles with beef Sichuan-style; chicken soup and gingko and soup with spare ribs, priced at S$6 each. I had the handmade noodles with beef Sichuan-style and it was reasonably good, the beef pieces swimming in generous in size and tender. The soup was spicy, but it wasn’t spicy till the point which it was undrinkable and hence it was rather good, the spicy element in the soup brought out the beef fragrance and taste in the soup which was delightful. We also ordered the Shaanxi beef and chicken skewers priced at S$1.50 each, and they were tender and nicely spiced. Dinner was thus rather inexpensive and it wasn’t too bad and it is a cheaper alternative than dining in Silk Road restaurant, however, I’m not sure if I was really bowled over.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: My Homestyle Soba

I like making this when I have to cook up a quick lunch for myself.


A handful of dried soba (about 50-75gms)
Egg Tofu Cubed
3-5 shiitake mushrooms sliced
Straw mushrooms
¼ cup store bought Japanese soup base
Chopped spring onions for garnishing (optional)


Bring water to a boil, add soba and cook for about 3 minutes, add in mushrooms, tofu and soup base and cover till it comes up to a boil again and check if the soba is cooked. Once cooked, sprinkle with spring onions and EAT! And if you like, you can add an egg just after you turn off the fire.

Sometimes I can’t wait and I am too lazy to wash up too many items so I’ll just slurp it from the pot! Yum!

Tai-Tai in Training: Royal Copenhagen Café

Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Level 3
391 Orchard Road
Singapore 238873

From the outside, this coffee joint looked like a place looked like a tai-tai hang out. My experience inside told a different story. I was hoping to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and maybe a scone or a cake with a friend of mine during the mid-afternoon. To my horror there were children running up and down and it bothered me because I feel that my environment of peace had been broken.

Mini mocha chocolate cake

Nonetheless, I persevered and ordered myself a cappuccino and a mini mocha chocolate cake with chocolate sauce. The waitress informed me that they couldn’t give me a skinny cappuccino because they didn’t have skim milk. I looked at her speechless for about 30 seconds because for a coffeehouse which seems to service these tai-tais who are constantly weight watching, I think it is an audacity that they don’t even carry skim milk. So I had my cuppa with full fat milk. As the name of the coffeehouse suggest, they serve everything on Royal Copenhagen china, it is beautiful, but my cappuccino came in an interesting looking mug which didn’t even have a saucer for me to rest my teaspoon and so I had to rest it on the table. So as my tea went on, I got my agitated that I had no skinny cappuccino and no saucer, in other words, I don’t think I will ever come back here. The cake wasn’t too bad, they served it with grapes and strawberries but nothing too extraordinary, they have a wide selection of cakes and they serve food here as well and a set lunch is about S$18.90 if my memory does not fail me, but my S$10 tea was a disaster. The plates impressed, but that’s about it. 2 air kisses out of 5.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Les Saison

Central Mall,
7 Magazine Road, #01-03
Singapore 059572
Tel: 65570080

The restaurant is cozy, classy but not intimidating and it was a lovely spot for lunch today. The service was reasonable, nothing much to complain about and I guess if you are served by the co-owner Mackie Chee, you should be assured of good service. They didn’t give me much to complain about since they were rather attentive.

Foie Gras with red wine reduction sauce

We went with the set lunch which is prices at S$28+++ and if you elect for a foie gras appetizer, it will cost you an extra S$8. I think the menu changes on a regular basis and so I’ll narrate to you the choices that were available today to give you a rough idea of what they would normally have. For appetizers there was a choice between a soup with prawn ravioli, yellowtail salad, and a foie gras dish (today’s was served with a red wine reduction sauce). For main courses there was a choice between seabass with pumpkin mash and a cream sauce or the osso bucco served with gratin and grilled asparagus. Then to end it off, you had a choice between coffee/tea or a chocolate torte with passionfruit sorbet or a strawberry parfait. If you do come for dinner, there is also a degustation menu available for S$80 a person.

I was pleased with my lunch. I hate it when they give you set lunches where you might have a great appetizer and they give you a really lousy dessert that tastes like it came out of an instant packet and no effort was put into it. One of the reasons why I think it was good on a holistic level is that despite the smallness of this restaurant, it has its own pastry chef, so one can be assured of good desserts. I went with the foie gras, the osso bucco and the chocolate torte. I enjoyed everything but I would say I enjoyed the osso bucco the least, no fault of the dish, but I think I would have rather have had the seabass which might have been lighter on the stomach. Nonetheless, I liked this place and I like its smallness, in this case, I don’t think bigger is better. It’s smallness has a cozy charm.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Nanbantei – The Famous Yakitori from Tokyo

14 Scotts Road, #05-132
Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213
Tel: 67335666

After taking my seat in this restaurant, I was delighted to hear the chatter of Japanese people in their native language. I like the ambience of this place, it is really informal and cozy, and I think having the visual effect of watching the yakitori chefs at work gives this place some character and your meal more interactive. There is a reasonable number of choices from the menu and you should be able to find a morsel on a stick that would suit your taste. We ordered the Yakitori dinner set which is priced at S$34 and it consist of the following 12 sticks:

Asparagus wrapped in bacon
Okra wrapped in bacon
Quail Eggs
Chicken Balls
Chicken with leek
Chicken liver
Shiitake Mushroom
Ginko Nuts x2

To finish off, they give you a small dessert, which is red bean with mochi.

"Chicken Yakitori Plate" - (from R to L) Quails Eggs, Chicken Balls, Chicken with Leek, Chicken Liver.

Because they serve you such small portions of everything, it can get really addictive. So the only thing that you should watch out for is your spending, because you could just keep ordering these tasty morsels and before you know it, you might run yourself a really long bill.

The other dishes that we ordered were pretty good as well, in addition to the yakitori set, we ordered a grilled squid which was wonderfully grilled, where there was that slight charred taste. We also tried the special chewy udon which was in my opinion very disappointing. It came with a lovely light broth, but the udon wasn’t chewy and it was far from what being spectacular. Furthermore, priced at S$15 a bowl, where you get a bowl of noodles, hot broth and a sprinkling of spring onions didn’t make me very happy.

The service here was fantastic. The girl that served my table was wonderful. She had good knowledge of the menu and was very helpful in giving suggestions and recommendations. Along with the yakitori set dinner, you can order a rice set, but instead of that she recommended a rice dish which is rice topped off with stewed mushrooms and minced meat, which wasn’t on the menu but tasted fantastic. They also have set lunches price at S$12.80, which is rather decently priced for the great food that they serve here, so, come to this Yakitori bar.

Tai-Tai in Training: Marmalade Pantry

Unit B1-08 to 11
Palais Renaissance
390 Orchard Road
Singapore 238871
Tel: 6734 2700

Tuna Carpaccio with Crispy Noodle Salad

My first tai tai stop is the marmalade pantry. I like the food they serve here. I had the tuna carpaccio with fried noodles and salad. Impressively served up with my noodles and salad forming a tower over the bed of tuna, it was wonderfully pleasing to the eye and it really got me excited about my lunch that was before me. The tuna was great, lightly seared and still raw in the middle and drizzled with a wonderful asian dressing. The noodles however tasted terrible. It served to impress and to dazzle but I didn’t think it did much to impress in the taste department, since it tasted like crispy cardboard, but at the same time it wasn’t that crispy and tasted a little old. However, since the noodles weren’t the highlight, I would say I enjoyed it very much. My fellow eating companions also had good meals laid before them, the steak sandwich spotted a rather good slice of beef between the bread and they came with really nice sweet potato chips. The chicken pesto salad was also rather good, the chicken was nice and char-grilled giving an extra dimension in taste. Food wise I liked it the last time I was here, and I still like it. Although, a meal here would set you back at least S$20-S$30 a person. What I also recommend you having is the sticky date pudding with caramel sauce. It was a delightful surprise on the menu as I’ve only had it Australia and it is one of the few places in Singapore that I know serves it.

I like this little basement hideout. I think it has got a cute location because it is in an uppity shopping place and it is open enough for you to be spotted having your cuppa. I say it scores on the tai-tai factor because of the crowd, location and the food but I thought the services was lacking. My overall rating, I would say is a 3.5 air kisses upon 5.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Tai-Tai in Training.

Tai Tai

noun 1. A term used in Chinese circles for supreme wife (implying situation where a man is wealthy enough to have several "wives') but no longer strictly interpreted. Term now applies to citizens of the world with an Asian viewpoint who have bounds of time and money. A Tai Tai is a privileged lady of means. 2. Supreme of the Supreme is its literal translation. The term implies respect.

Taken from:

Since I’m going to graduate soon, it is assumed that I should have some sense of where I’m heading, what I want to be, what I want to do, etc… So until I find that pot of gold that I am still hoping is somewhere in the attic, garden or backyard, I shall aspire like most women aspire to be a tai-tai. So I’ve decided to start a new sub-section in this blog – tai-tai in training. So in this column I’ve decided to write about all these tai-tai, che-che places that I discover and I shall grade them accordingly with a number of air kisses upon 5.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Ah Hoi’s Kitchen

Traders’ Hotel
1A Cuscaden Road,Singapore 249716
Poolside, Level 4
Tel: 6831 4373

As you walk towards the restaurant, you will be greeting with the wall that seeks to impress with all the awards and praises that have been lavished on the food here. It is however the chili crabs here that has been the highlight of all the talk. I, however beg to differ. Maybe I’m being obstinate, but I think I might have found one of the best crab places in Singapore and so I don’t really like to try other places and to be irritated with the sub quality of whatever they are going to serve me.

Champagne Pork Ribs

Anyhow, we spent S$80 on dinner for 4 of us and we had, black pepper seafood hor fun, braised tofu, champagne braised pork ribs and steam seabass in assam sauce. The only thing that I liked was the hor fun, nice and peppery, but at S$13 a plate, I rather eat somewhere else. The seabass despite being fresh was disappointing, you can have a choice of how you would like your fish done, and seeing how assam sauce was the chef’s recommendation, we decided to go with that. This is how I think it was done, they took a bottle of ketchup and diluted it with water, put it over a stove and maybe but a chili in it, it wasn’t spicy, it wasn’t great, it was just terrible. The champagne pork ribs were slightly better, but I did expect them to be tender but they tasted a little dry but the sauce was alright.

The ambience here is interesting, I guess dining by the pool would be nice, but it was really warm and so we hid indoors with the aircon. In addition to that, the restaurant tries to create an informal setting with their waiters dressed in Bermudas and white tee shirts and a “goodmorning” towel around their neck to invoke a sense of nostalgia, but it didn’t work for me. In all honestly, I feel that it was slightly over priced (but it is a hotel coffeehouse), average to below average food, and perhaps with the tourist they can get away with it, but as for me, I think I rather camp out at some hawker center and eat like a king.

Friday, February 11, 2005

My Chinese New Year Diet

With all the festive feasting,and the constant need to make sure that my waistline doesn't disappear, this is my solution to enjoying the new year without the aquisition of a double chin -- The YU SHENG DIET. I’ve thought about this and this are my findings, most things that we get during the new year, you can get all year round in Singapore: the pineapple tarts, bak gua, kueh lapis, etc, etc… but when it comes to Yu Sheng, you only get it for about 2-3 weeks in a year. Furthermore, it makes me feel less of a pig when I’m eating this since I’m consuming vegetables and fish, which I feel is healthier food. Plus, I think Yu Sheng has really grown on me over the years since I have given up my anti-vegetables days and I actually really love this stuff now. I’m not sure if this is a Singaporean culinary creation, but whatever it is, it is damn good and I’m eating it for the next 2 weeks.

Chinese New Year food glossary:

* Yu Sheng: a salad of raw fish and shredded crunchy vegetables (such carrots, turnip, cucumber, pickled ginger and pomelo) in a plum sauce dressing.
*Bak Gua: roasted pork slices
*Kueh Lapis: thousand layer cake

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Eggplant Fritters by Emeril

This is appetizer number 2


1 1-pound eggplant
1 cup oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cut off and discard stem and bottom end of the eggplant. Cut eggplant crosswise into 3/4-inch slices, then cut slices into 3/4-inch strips.

Place strips in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Set colander over a bowl or in the sink and let eggplant stand for at least 1 1/2 hours, preferably for 2 to 3, stirring it a couple of times.

Rinse eggplant under cold, running water, rubbing the strips lightly in your hands. Shake colander to drain. Lay strips on a triple thickness of paper towels; cover with another triple layer of towels.

Using your palms, press each eggplant strip very firmly until it looks green and translucent and feels firm and leathery when pressed between fingertips. Repeat pressing process on fresh toweling if eggplant has not yet reached this stage. Repeat with remaining eggplant strips.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy saute pan to 360 degrees F.

Combine flour, salt, turmeric, cayenne and coat eggplant batons with the mixture, shaking off any excess. Place as many of the batons in the pan as will fit loosely without overcrowding. Fry, turning, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt.

* my twist on it: I sprinkled some ba-hu on it for some sweetness

Kitchen Experiments: Asian-Flavoured Salmon Fishcakes by Ken Hom

This is one of the two appetizers i served for our little Chinese New Year lunch which had my relatives raving about.

Serves 4


225g Boneless salmon fillets
2 tbsp fresh ginger juice
2 tbsp mirin
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
300 ml oil for frying

For Fishcakes:

3 tbsp chopped ginger
4 tbsp chopped spring onions
3 tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp djion mustard
175g breadcrumbs
Plain flour for coating
2 eggs, beated


Rub the salmon fillets with ginger juice and mirin. Combine the salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly on both sides of the salmon. Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Steam the salmon for 5 gently for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can microwave it at full power for 3 minutes, covered with film. Let the salmon cool.

Flake the salmon in a large bowl, removing all bones. Then add the ginger, spring onions, shallots, salt, pepper, coriander and garlic. Drizzle in the olive oil, add the mustard and 100g (1 cup) of the breadcrumbs and mix well.

Divide the salmon mixture into 6-8 pieces. On a floured surface, shaped the pieces into round, flat patties with a butter knife. Dredge the cakes in flour, then the egg and finally the remaining breadcrumbs.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, turn the heat to low and add the salmon fish cakes. Fry for 3 minutes, then turn over and brown the other sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Chutney Café

3 Temasek Boulevard#B1-024/025/045
Suntec City Mall Restaurant Unit 3
(Fountain food terrace)

This place serves up fusion northern Indian food. The menu has the conventional things like tandoori chicken and a variety of naan or you can have a side of cumin rice along with it. They also have daily specials which is usually a curry based dish served with a serving of cumin rice, vegetables and a plain naan.

Chicken Tikka Wrap

What I recommend is the chicken and fish tikka wrap which would set you back S$7.50 and S$8 respectively. The two wraps are served with a special chili yoghurt sauce that is light and wonderful. What makes the wraps good is the attention to details, the fish is lightly fried and has a good texture where it is firm and let a little flaky. The chicken on the other hand is the same as the tandoori chicken that they serve and so there is an added layer of taste instead of it simply being grilled chicken. So which ever you choose they are both good. The meat is then topped of with some vegetables and their special chili yoghurt sauce and wrapped with a hot fluffy naan. Sounds good? It is, the fish tikka wrap has won a food award but my personal preference is the chicken tikka wrap.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Pasta Brava - Bravo! Brava!

Pasta Brava Restaurant Pte Ltd
11 Craig Road, Tanjong Pagar
Singapore 089671
Tel: 62277550

Pasta Brava gives you good Italian food without the any snobbery and I think that is the heart of Italian food. Unlike French food which draws attention to the chef, Italian food draws your attention to the food. It’s a nice place to kick back with some friends to pig out over some food and I guess that’s what we did today. For S$30 a person, four of us shared 5 dishes at the dinner table -- Pumpkin ravioli with red capsicum sauce, spinach ravioli with ricotta and sundried tomato served with a tomato sauce, black ink squid risotto with seafood, seafood stew in a thick tomato sauce and beef flavoured with white green peppercorn and blue cheese sauce.

Pumpkin Ravioli with red capsicum sauce and cream

I’ve been here twice and the food has not disappointed me yet. Everything on the menu is pretty good and the menu is rather extensive. The pumpkin ravioli however is a must try, don’t be too put off if you aren’t a pro-veggie eater, it is really quite good, and if you really don’t think you will like it, at least share it with someone. Other things that I would strongly recommend are the squid ink risotto which is bursting with flavour from the white wine that it is stewed in, the beef carpaccio that is served with rocket and parmesan is also classic Italian and nice and the seafood stew which is gives you a warm fuzzy feeling. These are just the various dishes that I have sampled in the restaurant, and I honestly feel that the other items on the menu won’t disappoint as well.

I was really hungry at the dinner table that once the food came I found myself almost gobbling my food since everything was delightfully yummy that I literally had to remind myself to chew my food as I was eating. So when you come here, don’t be like me, the food is good so take your time to enjoy it.