Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Guriru - JPOP X KPOP [MEDIA INVITE]

Guriru is a new concept by Japanese food guru Chef Teppei Yamashita (Chef and Owner for Restaurant Teppei) in collaboration with Anangram Food Lab. Guriru focuses on the charcoal-grilled seafood concept, inspired by Japanese Hamayaki or fisherman’s grill.

Guriru 
Every month, Guriru will run a Pop-Up Theme Event on a Sunday to showcase new creations or collaboration with different chefs from different backgrounds. For July, the theme will be JPOP X KPOP. Helming the KPOP side is High Rollers Gimbab, serving authentic Korean Street Food. The pricing is $68++ per person. The event received a positive response and all the tickets are sold out.

JPOP x KPOP Menu
LD and I are here with T and CK.

Tsukune Shio
For the Japanese side, most of the food will be served Yakitori style. The first round from JPOP served is yakitori Tsukune Shio, Chicken Thigh, Chicken Wing and Pork Belly. I find the Japanese are fixated on inventing the best Tsukune (Chicken Balls). The version here is juicy and succulent. As it is only seasoned lightly with salt, it can taste a bit bland.

Chicken Thigh

Chicken Thigh
The chicken thigh is nice grilled, charred and crispy externally, followed by a succulent interior. The chicken wing sure gives us a surprise, as the mid-wing part is filled with ikura. Once you bit through the crispy skin, you will feel the popping and bursting texture from the ikura. Meanwhile, I find the pork belly in need of more generous basking of homemade yakitori sauce.

Chicken Wing
Chicken Wing with Ikura
Pork Belly
The KPOP side started with Banchan: Cucumber Kimchi, Beansprouts, Fishcake, Mixed Pickled Vegetables, Seasoned Spinach, and Chilli with Soya Bean Sauce. LD feels like their banchan has a more homemade feel, especially the cucumber kimchi, mixed pickle vegetables and chilli with soya bean sauce. The banchan are very good, we ask for a second serving.

Banchan
For the Japchae, the glass noodle is a bit overcooked. Instead of a chewy and bouncy texture, I feel the texture is a bit softer. Also, it can do with a bit more sesame oil to add silkiness to the glass noodle.

Japchae
Pork Bulgogi Gimbap, the star from the KPOP section. The fillings are generous and tasty. I like the combination of pork bulgogi, vegetables, pickle and egg a just great. I just can’t help but compare it to the one that we ate in Seoul. It is almost there, maybe a few more brush of olive oil on the seaweed enhances its shiny presentation and also add flavour. LD says she will like it better if it can be slightly bigger in size.

Pork Bulgogi Gimbap
LD & T also feel that if they serve the gimbap with tteokbokki, it will be awesome.

Chicken Sausage, Beef Yakitori, Tsubugai / Whelk. The sausages are juicy and bursting with flavour. I was surprised by the saltiness level is very minimum and we enjoy it very much.

Chicken Sausages
The beef yakitori is well marinated with its special yakitori sauce. It is tender and a bit bouncy. You must eat this while it is hot, if not the beef will turn chewy. The whelk is great, soft, chewy and filled with natural sweetness.

Beef Yakitori
Beef Yakitori
Whelk
Fried Spicy Chicken and Chijimi (kimchi / chive / seafood). True to its name, the fried chicken is very spicy. I tried my best to finish 1 piece and I end up putting off the fire in my mouth. T on the other hand, enjoy it very much. She said the chicken and sauce are very good and the spiciness level is acceptable.

Fried Spicy Chicken
Chijimi (kimchi / chive / seafood), is also known as Korean pancake. However, it is different compared to what we eat in Korean restaurants here. The size and shape look more like those homecooked pancakes in K-drama. They are about the size of your palm, chewy and tasty. I like the chive and seafood. LD, T & CK finished off the rest.

Chijimi (Seafood, Kimchi, Chive)
Completing our meal are Broiled Scallop with Sea Urchin, Tsukune Teriyaki Sauce, Scallop with Bacon and Geso Karaage (fried squid tentacles). The broiled scallop is a hit with everyone, though we wish there was more uni on each scallop. The scallop with bacon is a nice yet tricky combination. The grill master needs to ensure you get a crispy texture for the bacon, while not overcooking the scallops. It is nicely done here.

Broiled Scallop with Sea Urchin
Broiled Scallop with Sea Urchin
Scallop with Bacon
Compare to the shio version, the Tsukune Teriyaki Sauce is just awesome. The sweetness from the teriyaki sauce adds a touch of caramelisation to the chicken balls plus it extracts the flavour of the shiso leaf mixed into the chicken balls. The geso karaage has a crispy exterior followed by a chewy squid texture.

Tsukune Teriyaki Sauce
Geso Karaage
To accompany the meal, there are a few alcohols you can choose from at a very reasonable price. See below for the complete list. LD and T had the prosecco, while CK choose the red wine. I just go for the trusty non-alcoholic beverage.

The Drinks List
My Coke Light
In case you need something sweet for the ending, try their goma ice cream. Solid and creamy. Yummy!

Goma Ice Cream
Overall, it was a great dining experience where we get to enjoy Japanese Yakitori cuisine together with Korean Street Food. From the JPOP side, we like the Tsukune Yakitori sauce, Beef Yakitori Sauce, Chicken Wing and Broiled Scallop with Uni. From the KPOP side, the Gimbap, Chijimi and Banchan are great. For more great meals, keep a look out for the next Pop-Up Theme Event at Guriru. Kanpai!! Geonbae!! Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 8/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 8/10
Budget per Person: $81 and above

Guriru
2 College Road
Level 1
Singapore 169850

T: +65 9010 7020
OH:
Mon - Thu: 12.00 – 23.00
Fri – Sat: 12.00 – Midnight
Hamayaki menu from 16.00
Lunch menu from 12.00 – 16.00
Closed on Sunday
Menus available online

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Cherry & Oak – A Smoking Good Meal

Cherry & Oak (‘CNO’) is an Asian smokehouse, that combines the art of slow-cooking with traditional local dish Nasi Lemak Bakar. The name of the restaurant is derived from the wood logs used to smoke all the food served here. Cherry wood is known for its flavour and colour, while oak wood maintains the temperature of the smoker.

Cherry & Oak
I met up with YP for our regular catch-up. However, LD is not feeling well, so she can’t join us.

Smoked Satay Madura Chicken 
We started the meal with Smoked Satay Madura Chicken ($18), thick chicken cubes marinated with Madura spices and served with peanut sauce. The chicken cubes are succulent, well marinated and filled with a nice smoky aroma. The satay is already good on its own, however, the nutty and sweet peanut sauce, just brings it to another level. How I wish they give us more of the peanut sauce.

Smoked Satay Madura Chicken
Smoked Satay Madura Chicken
Rainbow Sausage ($16) comes with the complimentary Nasi Lemak Bakar. The sausages are original, spinach, beetroot and curry. I am usually a bit apprehensive when ordering sausages because they can be very salty. However, I am glad CNO proves me wrong.

Rainbow Sausages
These handmade chicken sausages are well smoked, juicy and bursting with flavour. The saltiness level is very subtle, allowing the flavours from the marinade to shine. I was surprised by the clean taste of the beetroot and spinach sausages. A must order here.

I can’t remember when was the last time I tried Nasi Lemak Bakar. The version at CNO is as good as it comes. The combination of coconut milk and smoky aroma just whet your appetite. The Nasi Lemak Bakar is served with fried ikan bilis and peanuts plus the sambal. It is also nice with the peanut sauce from the satay Madura.

Nasi Lemak Bakar 
Brisket 200g ($23) comes with the complimentary Nasi Lemak Bakar. The smoked brisket is the main reason why YP and I choose this place. CNO uses pure-bred Black Angus, MBS 3 -4 from Australia. The brisket is soft, juicy and delivers a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. It has a rich beefy flavour and is filled with a beautiful smoky aroma. The best part is it just goes well with the Nasi Lemak Bakar. Yummy.

Brisket
Since CNO is a Muslim-owned establishment, no alcohol is served here. Instead, you can enjoy the mocktails. At that time there was 1 for 1 promotion. I ordered Cassanova ($18) and YP ordered Paloma. Both the mocktails have complex and multi-layer of flavours. A treat to your five senses.

Cassanova
Paloma
The design of the restaurant is based on industrial concept. The cherry wood, oak wood and even the mini smoker are displayed as part of the décor. Some of the seating areas are separated using tall plants, that add nice greenery to the restaurant. The piano tunes playing in the background created a relaxing ambience and a nice environment to catch up with friends. I prefer the indoor seating, however, for those who like the outdoor, there is an al-fresco area available.

Part of The Dining Area
The service is friendly and attentive. Although we order through QR code, the service staff also check with us again to ensure the order is correct. During the meal, they also drop by a few times to ensure the food is ok and if we need anything else. Do take note that reservation is recommended and you will have to put your card as a guarantee for your reservation.

Part of The Dining Area
Overall, we had a great time dining at Cherry & Oak. The food is great and so does the service. The smoked Brisket, Nasi Lemak Bakar and Rainbow Sausages are a must-order here. We’ll surely make a return visit to try the rest of the dishes. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 8.25/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

Cherry & Oak
95 Owen Road
Singapore 218907

T: +65 9119 4074
OH:
Tue – Sun: 11.00 – 22.00
Closed on Monday
Menu is Available Online

Monday, 25 July 2022

The Gong Great World – Great Food, Great Wine & Good Time [MEDIA INVITE]

We visited The Gong by Drinks & Co at their latest outlet in Great World. Following the success of their outlet at DUO Galleria, it fuels their expansion on their 4th outlet at Great World. Known for its wide selection of wine, great food and good services, The Gong is the place to go for a good time.

The Gong By Drinks & Co @Great World
The Alcohol Shelves & Part of the Dining Area
Welcoming you at The Gong @Great World is the familiar shelves filled with a wide selection of wines and other alcohols. There are two dining areas, indoor and al-fresco. According to Amanda, the lady boss, The Gong @Great World is the only restaurant in Great World to have al-fresco seating.

The Alcohol Shelves
Part of The Dining Area & The Bar
Al-Fresco Seating Area
We start the tasting with Sour Dough Bread (3pcs, $5 Member / $6 Regular), served with kombu butter and olive oil with balsamic vinegar. The sourdough is served warm, thus enhancing the crispy crust and soft interior. While the olive oil with balsamic vinegar provided the Italian traditional dip, the homemade Kombu butter really stands out. It tasted creamy and pungent, tasted almost like soft blue cheese.

Sour Dough Bread
Sourdough with Kombu Butter
Tuna Tartare ($18M / $20R). Sitting on the slice of sourdough bread, the chopped raw tuna is mixed with ponzu, avocado cream and topped with a generous scoop of caviar. It was an explosion of flavour in my mouth. A beautiful appetizer.

Tuna Tartare
The Gong Salt & Pepper Squid ($18M / $20R). It might look like your regular salt and pepper squid, but it’s not. It has a crispy exterior, followed by springy and bouncy flesh. The surprise comes from the chili padi. Yes, this fried seafood packs heat. So, watch out for those mini seeds.

The Gong Salt & Pepper Squid
The Gong Salt & Pepper Squid
Chilean Black Cod ($35M / $37R). A fat and buttery cod fish served with Asian-inspired risotto, edamame, kale and seaweed. Without a doubt, the Melt in Your Mouth texture of the cod fish is just awesome. A must-order dish here, LD and I agreed that we will return for this dish.

Chilean Black Cod
Pizza Mushroom ($20M / $22R). This is the upgraded version compared to the one we tried at the Duo Galleria outlet. The homemade dough is light and crispy, while the toppings of white button mushrooms and truffle paste are generous. If we want to be picky, we were hoping for the egg to be runny instead of well cooked.

Pizza Mushroom
Pizza Mushroom
Mixed Grill Meat Platter ($48 for 2, $90 for 4 Member; $52 for 2/ $95 for 4 Regular). We were served the 4pax portion. Consist of Argentinian ribeye, lamb rack, gochujang pork ribs, Bali pork ribs, chicken satay, fennel sausage, grilled cabbage and roasted garlic. On the side are chimichurri sauce, olive and meat sauce.

Mixed Grill Meat Platter
Mixed Grill Meat Platter
The chicken satay is thick, juicy and well marinated. While the fennel sausage is firm, nicely seasoned, not salty and a bit spicy. I was taken back by the Argentinian ribeye. Usually, the beefy flavour is very strong, however, there was almost no beefy flavour. Cooked to the point of medium-rare it can easily be mistaken for Australian or New Zealand grain-fed beef.

Chicken Satay
Fennel Sausage
Ribeye - Medium Rare
The mini tomahawk lamb rack is just awesome. Juicy, succulent with minimum lamby taste. The pork ribs come in two versions gochujang and Bali style. The gochujang is a bit spicy and familiar Korean flavour in it, while the Bali style has a nice sweet aroma. Both are equally good. However, I prefer the Bali style, while LD prefer the gochujang.

Lamb Rack
Bali Style Pork Ribs
Bali Style Pork Ribs
Gochujang Pork Ribs
While the platter is meat-centric, we find the grilled cabbage is a star on its own. Filled with a nice charred and smoky aroma, the grilling also extracts the sweetness from the cabbage. Combining all the flavours, you get an awesome vegetable. I think The Gong should serve the grilled cabbage as a dish on its own. Yummy!

Grilled Cabbage
Of course, dining at The Gong will not be complete without the drinks. For the wine, LD and the rest tried Little Giant Pinot Noir 2021 and proceed with Little Giant Barossa Shiraz 2020 when the Mixed Grill Platter is served. For the non-alcoholic mocktails, I tried the Mango Virgin Margarita, while Kris tried the Lychee Virgin Mojito.

Little Giant Pinot Noir 2021 
Mango Virgin Margarita
Lychee Virgin Mojito
For desserts, we shared the Gong High Tea Set ($45++) for 2 pax. It comes with 4 savoury bites, 4 sweets and served with 2 cups/glasses of coffee, tea or prosecco. The pan-seared foie gras, tiramisu and burnt cheesecake are not to be missed.

The Gong's High Tea Menu
4 Savoury Bites
4 Sweets
Lily Tea and Tea Sets
Overall, it was a great experience dining at The Gong @Great World. We were surprised to see Chef Wan helming the kitchen there and he has up his game. The food is delicious and we recommend the Tuna Tartare, Chilean Black Cod and the Mixed Grill Meat Platter. Not forgetting their reasonably and wide selection of wines. Cheers!!

Thank you very much Kris for the invite and Amanda plus The Gong @Great World team for hosting us.

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7.75/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

The Gong By Drinks & Co.
@Great World
1 Kim Seng Promenade
#01-128 Great World
Singapore 237994

T: +65 9619 4568
OH:
Sun – Tue: 11.00 – 22.30
Wed – Thu: 11.00 – 23.00
Fri, Sat, Eve PH: 11.00 – Midnight
Alcohol LO 30 mins before closing.
Food LO 22.30 every night.
Menu and Other Outlets locations are available online.

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