Saturday, 17 April 2021 – Flavour of Russia [MEDIA INVITE]

Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter is an authentic family-owned Russian restaurant, brainchild of Russian Owners Vadim Zoubovski and his wife, Alena Zubovska. serves dishes from Vadim and Alena family-owned recipes that have been passed down over 100 years. In short, you can expect to taste authentic home-cooked Russian food, Russian drinks together with Russian hospitality.

LD and I were there on Friday afternoon and the place are buzzing with lunch crowd. The restaurant is cosy, with industrial design flair and without a doubt, the bar is the centrepiece of the restaurant. It can also fall under the classification of Gastropub.

The Bar
We started our tasting with Kholodets (Chicken Jelly Terrine, $8.90). Our first-time trying this and we just loved it. These mini jelly chicken cups are light and wobbly. The initial taste is very neutral almost bland like it is not seasoned at all. However, once you eat it with the mustard and spring onion, the flavour of the chicken, egg and dill just burst. Awesome.

Kholodets is served with slices of Rye Bread, also known as Black Bread in Russia. The Rye bread is a staple of the Russian household and always available on every dinner table. Rye bread is normally made with sourdough, but this version served by is soft, moist and neutral in flavour, slightly different from the rye bread we tried before.

Shuba (Salted Herring Salad, $9.90). Nicely plated salad filled with chopped potatoes, carrots, onion, hard-boiled egg, salted herring, chopped beetroot and topped with mayo and spring onions. We like the medley of flavours in the salad as it works well together, in between you get the surprising salty flavour from the salted herring that perk up the salad. A refreshing salad indeed.

Pork Chebureki 2pcs ($12). I called this the giant fried wanton. It has a crispy exterior (like Malay curry puff) filled slightly with pork fillings. The fillings are a bit salty, however, they can be offset with mayonnaise dip. Suitable for bar bites during drinking.

Pork Chebureki

Pork Chebureki - The Fillings
Okroshka Cold Summer Soup ($8.50). A quick sip of the soup tasted like watery yoghurt soup. Ingredients consist of potato, cucumber, egg, dill, sour cream, vinegar and served cold. It is refreshing, suitable for summer and also helps to balance the carbo-loaded dishes.

Okroshka Cold Summer Soup
We finally reach the star dish of the restaurant, Pelmeni (Russian Dumpling). We ordered the Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter ($19.90). It comes in multi-colour; each colour represents one type of fillings. Black for beef, green for lamb, orange for hog (pork), yellow for chicken, white & pink for salmon. For the complete guide, see Dumpling 101 photo below.

Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter 
Unlike the Chinese version of the dumpling, Pelmeni skin is thick, dense and chewy. The colouring does not influence the flavour of the skin, instead the flavour come from the fillings.

Dumpling 101 - Your Dumpling Guide
We like the black (beef) and orange (hog / pork) flavour most. They are moist and tasty. Surprisingly, the dumplings with potato fillings are moist and delicious, like mashed potatoes fillings.

Dumplings 12pcs Combo Platter
The lamb fillings are very gamy and best eaten with the sour cream that serves with every order of the Pelmeni. If you don’t like strong gamy flavour, you might want to give the lamb a miss.

To end the meal, we choose Medovik (Honey Cake) and Napoleon Cake ($7.90 each) as desserts. Medovik is a traditional honey layer cake, well-loved by the Russian. It is fragrant, sweet and just melts in your mouth. The unique flavour comes from honey and browned butter and sugar. Think of it as Russia’s version of Mille Crepe. As the Medovik came out straight from the fridge, it is best to let it thawed for about 5 to 10 minutes. Once it’s thawed, you can enjoy the dessert melts in your mouth with each bite.

Meanwhile, Napoleon cake is another multi-layer traditional Russian cake. It is made from filo pastry and cream. It is light, fluffy and easily melts in your mouth. For Napoleon, you can eat this straight away, no need to let it thawed.

Dining in a Russian restaurant will not be complete without the alcohols. I shall not mention their world-famous vodka, instead let me cast the light on their beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks.

Kompot & Khvanchkara
LD tried their red wine Khvanchkara ($17 per glass), also known as ‘Joseph Stalin’s favourite Georgian red wine. The schuchmann is semi-sweet, smooth and easy to drink. I tried Kompot, a non-alcoholic fruit punch made from cooking fruits such as strawberries, apples, rhubarb with sugar or raisins. It tasted like cranberry juice with reduced acidity and sweetness.

Khvanchkara - The schuchmann also serve bottled Russian Beer ($16 per bottle). From the size, it will give the German beer a run for their money.

Russian Beer
Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience at The food is tasty, hearty, delicious and homely. The kholodets, schuba, pork chebureki and dumplings are a must-try. Not forgetting sweets offering or Napoleon cake and Medovik. Cheers!

Thank you very much Protegie Consultancy and team for hosting us.

Food & Drinks: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7.25/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50
32 Maxwell Road
#01-05 Maxwell Chambers
(Tanjong Pagar MRT Exit B)

T: +65 8875 7033
Mon: 17.30 – 20.30
Tue – Sun: 12.00 – 14.30; 17.30 – 22.30

Sunday, 11 April 2021

George Town – New Authentic Penang Creations and Drinks Line Up [MEDIA INVITE]

Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish

George Town Tze Char and Craft Beef have added NEW Authentic Penang Creations and exciting drinks line up to their menu. These new dishes inspired by signature Penang dishes and perfectly complement the current craft beers, wines, cocktails and also the new range of craft beers, soju and sake.

We started the feast with Crispy Chef's Homemade Chestnut Beancurd ($12). Made from scratch with soya milk, sotong paste, water chestnut and vegetables. It has a light crispy exterior followed by soft, velvety soya beancurd texture and crunchy water chestnut. You will hardly notice the sotong paste, however, it contributes a unique savoury flavour to the dish.

Crispy Chef's Homemade Chestnut Beancurd
Butter Prawns ($20). Huge tiger prawns, deep-fried and deliver a crispy and crunchy texture. The flavour bomb comes from the mini granules of the butterball, made from butter and coconut milk. Eat this together with curry leaves and chilli padi (if you like), it will be an explosion of flavour in your mouth. Best dish with their range of Hitachino Japanese Craft Beers, LD recommend their Red Rice Ale, as it paired well with the seafood as it gives a slight sweetness to the taste buds.

Butter Prawns
Salted Pepper Crispy Brinjal ($12). Probably the only way I will eat eggplant is when it is deep-fried as I don’t like the mushy texture. The crispy exterior, followed by a soft interior and seasoned with salt and pepper, does the trick for me. Pop a few pieces of the brinjal and I really enjoy it as well.

Salted Pepper Crispy Brinjal

Salted Pepper Crispy Brinjal
Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head ($28). From our previous visits, we know for sure that Charles (the owner) source one of the freshest fish head around. This dish delivers a nice balance of sour and spicy. It has a thick lemak gravy, haeko and topped with assorted vegetables that is signature to Penang cuisine. For those who like a spicier version, you might want to ask them to increase the heat during ordering. Definitely a rice thief! Cool the heat down with the Brewdog Craft beers from Scotland, LD loves their Hazy Jane.

Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head 

Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head
Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish ($25). Simply the best dish of the night. Most of us on the table just nods in agreement. The mutton ribs are stewed for more than 6 hours in special sauce producing juicy and succulent ribs. The long braising time also extracts the essence of the mutton into the sauce, absorbs by the radish and beancurd, creating another superb "rice thief" dish. Yummy.

Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish
Salted Egg Yolk Soft Shell Crab ($18). One of the easiest ways to enjoy crab without getting your hands dirty. The crispy batter filled with salted egg yolk, followed by juicy soft-shell crabs. A great dish to have with your drinks.

Salted Egg Yolk Soft Shell Crab
Penang Crispy Fish (Tilapia, $28). This dish brings back the memories of fried fish from a defunct Indonesian restaurant in Singapore. The fish is butterflied, then deep-fried until crispy to the bone. Topped with Haeko (Black Shrimp Paste) base sauce and refreshing garnish. It is delicious, enjoyable and finger-licking good. You can hear the crunch with each bite of the fish.

Penang Crispy Fish (Tilapia)
Golden Chicken ($20 for half chicken and $38 for whole chicken). A dish that requires great skill and painstaking preparation. The chicken needs to be deboned and meat removed. It is then blended with the sotong, stuffed back into the chicken and air-dried. Upon order, the chicken is deep-fried to produce that addictive crispy skin. The version here is has a bouncy flesh, infused with the chicken flavour as well. The taste itself is unique, different from what on offer in the market. A must-try dish here.

Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken - The Chicken and Sotong stuffing
To complete the dining experience here, you can freely pair your meal here with craft beer on tap from Brewlander, bottled craft beer Hitachino Nest (Japan) or Brewdog (UK), fine wines, award-winning sake, soju and gin (including Chendol Gin and Rojak Gin). The drinks are curated by Charles, the owner and also drink aficionados, PLUS they are reasonably priced, almost like Happy Hour all day long.

Hitachino Nest (Japan) 

Brewdog (UK)

You can check out the full review of the original dishes at George Town Tze Char and Craft Beer here.

Overall, it was indeed a pleasure to return to George Town to try out their new dishes. Our personal favourites this round is Claypot Mutton Stew with Beancurd and Radish, Penang Laksa Steamed Fish Head, Penang Crispy Fish (Tilapia) and Golden Chicken. We’ll definitely come back for awesome claypot mutton stew and the rest of the dishes. Cheers!!

Thank you very much Jennifer Yeo Consultancy and George Town Tze Char & Craft Beer Team for hosting us.

Food & Drinks: 8.25/10
Value: 8.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Tasting)
Ambiance: 8.5/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50; $51 - $80

George Town Tze Char & Craft Beer
81 Boat Quay
Singapore 049869
T: +65 6535 6277 / 9682 3826

IG: @Georgetowntzechar
OH: Daily 12.00 – 23.00

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Enjoy Eating House – Singapore Comfort Food with A Twist [MEDIA INVITE]

Grandma's Te Kah Bee Hoon 

Enjoy Eating House & Bar @ Stevens is the new flagship outlet of the popular Enjoy Eating House & Bar at Jalan Besar. A labour of love of Owner and Head Chef Joel Ong, this new establishment at Hotel Mercure on Stevens will feature Singapore comfort food complete with Chef Joel own unique twists and simple tweaks.

The Bar
When you enter Enjoy @ Stevens, you feel like travelling back to the 80s and 90s Cha Chan Teng. The décor is retro, the utensils are ceramic plate disguise in old school melamine and the menu itself designed to look like the traditional Lunar 365 days calendar that our grandparents used to have. The music from the era of Hong Kong 4 heavenly kings will serenade you throughout your dining session. Hanging on the wall are animated posters showcasing the inspiration of the dishes created here.

Part of the Dining Area

Animated Posters
Our meal started with Chef Joel's XO White Fish Soup ($10). The fish is fresh and silky, swimming in the cloudy broth. The milky colour in the broth is not from milk, instead, it is extracted from a long period of preparation and simmering. The broth tasted sweet and robust, infused by the Chinese cabbage, goji berries and a generous sprinkle of XO. It is comforting, delicious and slowly opens up our appetite.

Chef Joel's XO White Fish Soup 

Chef Joel's XO White Fish Soup
Hainanese Chicken Satay ($10). It is well marinated with sweet spices, succulent and finished off with the signature charring on its exterior. The satay sauce is solid, with roughly grounded peanut and a pineapple puree. Completing the dish is homemade achar that nicely cuts through the sweetness in this dish.

Hainanese Chicken Satay 

Hainanese Chicken Satay
Singapore Style Chilli Prawns ($22). This is a “die die must try” dish here. The prawns are fresh, crunchy and for those who like the prawn heads, you will definitely love sucking on these ones. The chilli sauce is bold, showcasing the sweet, tangy, spicy and eggy flavours. Don’t forget to order and crisp and pillowy mantou (50 cents per pcs, min order 4 pcs) to soak up the gravy. LD and I like the gravy so much, we simply slurp it till the last drop. Yummy!!

Singapore Style Chilli Prawns 

Singapore Style Chilli Prawns 
Grandma's Te Kah Bee Hoon ($14 for small). Fork tender braised pork leg that reminds me of the Thai version. The bee hoon exudes “wok hei”, smooth with a slight al-dente texture to it. It is served with Thai Style Green Chilli sauce, to spice up the dish and balance the richness at the same time. The Thai influence on this dish derives from Chef Joel’s experience in running a Thai restaurant.

Grandma's Te Kah Bee Hoon

Grandma's Te Kah Bee Hoon

Grandma's Te Kah Bee Hoon

Foie Gras with Truffled Sous Vide Eggs ($14). A different culinary style for this dish. We like the crisp and creaminess of the foie gras. However, I find the egg yolks are slightly overcooked. Maybe it is better, if they do a soft boil egg style, like in our Nanyang breakfast style.

Foie Gras with Truffled Sous Vide Eggs 
Popiah Garden ($14) - Flagship exclusive. Old school style of ice cream served in popiah skin and drizzle with crushed peanuts and microgreens. There are three flavours of ice cream: blue pea, soursop and Horlicks with sea salt. The soursop and Horlicks are our picks as they have a stronger flavour, while the blue pea is very subtle. Best to finish the desserts fast as the popiah skin can get chewy after a while.

Popiah Garden 

Popiah Garden 

For the drinks, we tried Iced Thai Milk Tea and Pandan Lemongrass Tea. Both drinks are very fragrant and we like the fact it was not overly sweet. For the alcoholic drinks, the fully decked bar with Singaporean-inspired alcoholic beverages like Compendium Chendol Gin and locally-brewed craft beers from Lion Brewery Co. ready to crunchy your thirst.

Pandan Lemongrass Tea and Iced Thai Milk Tea
Overall, we are impressed with the food served at Enjoy @ Stevens. The food is comforting and delicious, while Chef Joel unique twists and tweaks elevate the dishes to another level. The Singapore Style Chilli Prawns are a Die Die Must TRY dish. We will be back to try the rest of the dishes in the near future. Cheers!!

ENJOY Souveniers to purchase
Thank you very much for Protegie PR and Enjoy Eating House & Bar Team for hosting us.

Food & Drinks: 8.5/10
Value: 8.510
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 8/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25, $26 - $50

Enjoy Eating House & Bar @ Stevens
30 Stevens Road
#01-07 Hotel Mercure on Stevens
Singapore 257840

T: +65 8511 1478
IG: @Enjoyeatinghouse
OH: Daily 11.00 – 23.00

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