Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Ju Shin Jung East – Unlimited Korean BBQ

Ju Shin Jung East ('JSJE”) has been our Korean dining destination in the East Coast Park Singapore. It started more than four years ago, before Korean cuisine become a hype in Singapore.



It seems there is an affinity between us and this place, for just a few simple reasons, the food is great, easy to get a seat and very open environment with high ceiling. Located on the second floor of Burger King in East Coast park, this restaurant has a similar setting to a dining hall. You will be glad that they have a high ceiling, it will reduce the chance smelling like BBQ beef or pork when you step out of the restaurant. They also have some private room if you want more privacy or hold a private dinner.


Dining Hall

Monday, 29 July 2013

Sky on 57 – Terrance Bar, The Perfect View

Sky on 57 is gastronomic dining experience opened by Singaporean French trained Chef Justin Quek. Located on the 57th floor of Tower 1 Marina Bay Sands ('MBS'), this restaurant provide the awesome view of Singapore skyline to accompany your dining experience. According to the MBS website written by those tongue twisting PR people, Sky on 57 showcase a modern interpretation of Franco Asian Cuisine. Chubby Botak Koala's simple interpretation, fusion between Asian & French cuisine. So it is normal to see Chicken Rice, Laksa or Xiao Long Bao serve side by side with Foie Gras, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Champagne on the same table.

Before we proceed further, let us be clear that this review is based on our visit to the Sky on 57 Terrance Bar, not the main restaurant.


We visited the sky bar for drinks on one Wednesday night. Luckily without reservation, we manage to get a seat. As we were then ushered to our seat, I can feel my jaw dropped. The Terrance Bar has a first class view of Singapore CBD skyline, including the Fullerton Hotel and Esplanade. The view can be only described as Breathtaking!. Magnificent! Amazing!

Suntec City
Esplanade
The Fullerton
Clifford Pier

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Kinsa Sushi – Good Japanese food in the Heartland [CLOSING Final Day 09 May 2015]

I heard about this place from a friend in F&B business telling us how good was his Omasake dining experience in a Japanese restaurant. When he told us, it was in Jubilee, Ang Mo Kio, it was to my disbelief. So when the opportunity arises, I decided to give this place a try.

Located on the 2nd floor of Jubilee Square, we thought the place will be packed on a Friday night, to our surprise, it was the opposite. It seems the closure of the cinema on the upper floor, depleted the human traffic going to the building except to the Popular book store.


We arrived at the restaurant on time for our reservations and was seated immediately. This time around we (group of 4) decided to order from the menu instead of Omasake.

Appetizer of Grilled Stingray Fin ($8.8), Tatami Iwashi (Tatami Style Slices of White Bait) and Ika Mentaiko Ae (Squid with spicy cod roe – $4.80). The squid is fresh and combined nicely with the spicy cod roe. The white bait is crispy and appetizing, can be considered as white bait crackers. While the grill stingray fin has a slightly chewy texture which was nice to bite on but not fishy. Similar taste to dried sotong, but without the fishy smell. It is actually a good dish to have when you are drinking sake or beer.

Grilled Stingray Fin

Ika Mentaiko Ae (Squid with spicy cod roe) 

Tatami Iwashi (Tatami Style Slices of White Bait)

Our sashimi adventure begin with half of Aji (House mackerel), 3 kinds of sashimi (salmon, swordfish and sweet prawns – $15.80), and Sake to Shiromi no Karupatcho (Salmon and white Fish carpaccio – 13.80). This is our first experience with Aji. As it come from a smaller fish, the cuts are smaller and it has a clean, firm and resilient texture. Unlike swordfish, where it is more firm and taste buttery. The salmon sashimi and swordfish cuts are thick and generous. The carpaccio combines the soft texture of the sashimi, with the crispiness of the vegetables and well balance sauce. Yummy.

Aji (House mackerel)

3 kinds of sashimi (salmon, swordfish and sweet prawns 

Sake to Shiromi no Karupatcho
(Salmon and white Fish carpaccio)
 

Moving to the maki, we had Sanshoku Dragon Roll (Fried King Prawn Rolled topped with Avocado, Mango and flying fish roe - $12.80) and Soft Shell Crab Roll (fried soft shell crab roll topped with flying fish roe – $7.80). The prawns and soft shell crab are well fried. However it was let down with the sushi rice which was slightly loose, a little under cooked and not well season with the rice vinegar.

Sanshoku Dragon Roll

Soft Shell Crab Roll
From the debacle of the maki, we proceed to the perfectly executed tepanyaki dishes. Kinoko Sarada (Assorted Mushroom salad – $5.80), Wakadori Teriyaki (Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce), Gyu Tataki (Thinly sliced surfaced grilled beef – $12.80), Saba Shio Yaki (Grilled mackerel with salt) and Ebi Mentai Mayo Yaki (Grilled Prawn with cod roe mayonnaise). The mushroom salad are crunchy and refreshing. The chicken teriyaki has a slight crispiness texture on the outside, with well marinated, juicy, tender and succulent.

Kinoko Sarada (Assorted Mushroom salad)

Wakadori Teriyaki (Grilled chicken with teriyaki sauce)
The beef tataki is done medium rare, where you can see the pinkish side of the beef in the centre. Combine well with the tangy dipping sauce. The saba fish has firm but juicy meat on it. While the grilled prawn is immaculate with a well balance cod roe mayonnaise. It was flawless.

Gyu Tataki (Thinly sliced surfaced grilled beef )

Saba Shio Yaki (Grilled mackerel with salt)

Ebi Mentai Mayo Yaki (Grilled Prawn with cod roe mayonnaise)

To end the meal we had zaru soba and su udon (plain udon). The texture of both are al dente.

Zaru Soba

Su Udon (Plain Udon)

The service here is very attentive and caring. However, the food come out from the kitchen is in an irregular order. Such as maki – grill – sashimi – appetizer – grill, so it kind of become slightly confusing for the palate. For the décor, it is very Zen like, but more towards modern Japanese restaurant. Can't really comment much on the inside, as we are seated on the facing the escalator and can't see the activity in the sushi counter.

Overall, it is not very common you can find a good quality Japanese food in the heartland other than the bigger Japanese Restaurant operator. The best part of the restaurant is that they have different range of pricing in their menu to accommodate different range of customers. We hope they continue to thrive and we should be back for more. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10.

Kinsa Sushi
61 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8
#02-03/3A Jubilee Square
Singapore 569814


Tel: 6452 1798
Website: http://www.kinsasushi.com/
Op Hours: Daily 11.30 – 22.00
For Menu, click here: http://bit.ly/13K0I2l


Note: Apologies for some missing price, as we lost the actual bill and we can only rely on our photos.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Baker & Cook – Getting to know Artisan Bread

Baker & Cook is an European style Artisan bakery, brainchild of Kiwi origin Global Baker Dean Brettschneider. Born in New Zealand, Celebrity Global Baker Dean is citizen of the world, with working experience spanning from his native New Zealand, Europe, USA, Britain and Asia. Baker & Cook in Hillcrest Road is his first outpost in Singapore with the vision to expand a couple more bakeries in Singapore heartland should the opportunity arises.


When you step into Baker & Cook, you can see the bright, warm, modern but with slightly rugged finishing. Designed by top architecture firm in Singapore, Ong & Ong, the design drew inspiration from the breads texture, grains and crumbs. The products such as bread, cake, tarts, cookies, quiches, sandwiches or salads are proudly displayed on the counters and shelf in the restaurant. There is a humongous wooden dining table inside the restaurant for indoor dining and lots more table and chair for the alfresco section.

Counter - 01

Counter - 02

Counter - 03

Coffee Counter + Pie & Salads Counter

Eggs Benedict ($19) this is the main reason that I came here for. Two poached eggs, laid on two slices of Pain au Levin (White sourdough) bread, topped with hollandaise sauce with generous glaze of balsamic vinegar and chilli oil. You can choose bacon or salmon as the topping. The eggs are cooked to perfection, with the yolk ooze out when you break the eggs. The sourdough is firm but light with crispy edge, managed to absorb the egg yolks and hollandaise sauce. The balsamic vinegar and chilli oil act as the counter balance against the richness of the sauce. Yummyyy!!

Eggs Benedict

Next come the Pancake Stack ($17) served with compote of caramelized apples, Greek yoghurt and lashing of homemade toffee sauce. The pancake is quite generous in size. Although the pancake is moisty, the natural apple compote with cinnamon powder and greek yoghurt made the dish slightly sour and dry. Personally, it is not to my liking, but the Little Devil's ('LD') liked it.

Pancake Stack

LD also ordered sausage rolls with salad for her main dish. It was reheated, with a nice crispy texture on the outside and moist filling on the inside. Again, I am a meat pie person rather than a sausage roll, so I just endorse her opinion that it is good.

Sausage Roll
As a little greed sips into our marrow, we also ordered Baker & Cook Freshly Baked Bread & Viennoiserie Selection ($10). They are served with butter and three type of homemade jams (marmalade, mixed berries and blackberries). The jams are natural and not too sweet, as I used them to help me finished my share of the slightly dry pancakes. The whole bread basket basically went to a paper bag and brought home for the satisfaction of family members at home.

 Baker & Cook Freshly Baked Bread
& Viennoiserie Selection

The service staff here is friendly, good and efficient. However, just like the common practice in may café or food establishment in Singapore, you actually have to place your order in the counter and make payment first before you can enjoy your food.

Overall, we are glad that Baker & Cook brought European Atrisan Bakery to Singapore to satisfy the well-travelled food lover Singaporeans. They have some many delicious, yummy looking products, we just find one visit to this place is just not enough. We want to try the cake, croissants, bombolini doughnuts, cakes and many more. “We'll BE BACK!!!” Bon appetite !!!

Things on our hit list for the next visit:

Meringue 

Bombolini Doughnuts

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 8.5/10.

Baker & Cook
77 Hillcrest Road
Singapore 288951

Tel: 6469 8834
Op Hours:
Sun - Thu: 07:00 - 20:00
Fri - Sat: 07:00 - 22:00
Eve of PH: 07:00 - 22:00
Menu available on the website and pdf format.

PS: Oh, how I wish I have a wide angle lens to capture the inside this shop!!

Other Branch:
38A Martin Road
Singapore 239703

Tel: 6636 5865
Op Hours:
Sun to Thurs: 8am - 6pm
Fri to Sat: 8am - 6pm


[CLOSED] 1 Market by Chef Wan – Average Food with Overwhelming Crowd

1 Market is Malaysia Number 1 Celebrity Chef, Chef Wan first foray in Singapore restaurant scene. Located in Plaza Singapura, this place opened with much fan fare and publicity in Singapore and across the Causeway. This buffet restaurant is filled to the brim everyday, so if you never make a reservation, your chance of getting a table is very slim. Reviews on this establishment on food review websites has not been positive, however it did not stop me from suggesting this place for a catch up session with our friends.


Let me start describing our experience from reservation. It actually took me two days to get through to get a reservation. First, I make a few calls during the break time in hope that the staff will be lessen their work stress in taking reservation during their busy period. Unfortunately, it went unanswered. Later I found out from their FB page, they only take reservation during their operation hours. So I tried the next day and by luck, managed to get through and place my reservation for our big group. The person on the other line was courteous and give me the details on pricing, especially for kids under a certain age.

Come to the D Day, we arrived on time and was shown to our table. Luckily they already allocated the table, so as long as someone come on time, they will allow you to be seated and the rest can come a bit late. Normally you need to pay before you enter, however as we are in a big group, they actually do the final count at the end and we can pay the bill before the end of our meal. Kudos to them for allowing this flexibility.

The Crowd
So once you enter the restaurant, can see their food selection starting with cold seafood, Japanese section, Rotisserie section, Asian Home cooking, Grill Section and deserts. So how is the food.

Cold Dish Selection

We start with the cold dish section. The prawn and blue swimmer crab are quite reasonable in size, but not fantastically fresh. The cockles, clams and mussels are over cooked, and the meat actually shrinks. To accompany the seafood, you can choose their Thai Chili Sauce mix, but according to the Little Devil, it is not spicy enough. Got no KICK!!

The Condiments
Food the cold dish section
For the Japanese section, the selection is quite limited. For sashimi you will have the Salmon, Tuna, Octopus. It is not the best cut, but it is all right. The same can be said on the sushi and maki selection.

Sashimi

Come to the rotisserie section. Two options of meat, roast chicken and beef rump. The service staff tried her best, however it is difficult to de-boned and sliced chicken on the spot where you got a long queue of hungry customers. Both the meats are very dry and it was not well-seasoned. Disappointing.

The Beef Rump

The Beef Rump - sliced

The Roast Chicken - sliced and a bishop

Come to the Asian section, Laksa Lemak, Kueh Pie Tee, and Rojak. The lemak gravy is quite thick and you can feel the lemak (coconut fat). Rojak. The rojak here is DIY (Do It Yourself), so you can mix and match the ingredients. The dressing is quite well balance, where you can taste the ingredients of belacan, tamarind and black bean paste. Can't comment on the Kueh Pie Tee, it seems we miss out on this.

The Laksa Counter

Laksa Lemak

Rojak
On the home cooked Asian section such as Chicken Belado, Lamb Stew, Thai Prawn and Tumeric Crab. All the dishes are quite flavourful, however nothing really pop up to be highlighted.

The grills section. Probably the best part of section of the restaurant other than the desserts section. The Satay, you can choose chicken and beef complete with the condiments, ketupat and satay sauce. This is fresh from the charcoal grill, you can taste the charcoal burnt part with the thick satay sauce. The meat was well marinated but slightly chewy. The ketupat is all right but not fragrant. Their grilled sotong / calamari is a must-try. It is nicely grilled and tender and you have to be quick as both dishes flying off the serving place at an extreme pace.

The Satay Master!!!

Satay
Last but not least, the desserts section. They have a numerous selection of deserts, however the most popular is the waffle with ice cream. It is so good, if you leave this till the end, you can expect long queue until you want to give up. The sago, pandan pudding, peach pudding, jelly are average. So don't miss the waffle. The drinks are free flow.

Waffle with Ice Cream

Sago, Pandan Pudding, Lychee Pudding

1 Market has a modern decoration, bright and well space in between tables. Service is average, but our table got cleared before any noticeable stack of plates.


Overall we find 1 Market provide another choice for Halal buffet. The food is average but I was really amazed by the popularity of Chef Wan as the number 1 celebrity Chef in Malaysia. This place continue to be packed, packed and packed. I personally feel that if you never been to this place, you should try at least once. Just keep your expectation in check and have a good time with your friends. So Selamat Makan!

Food & Drink: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 7/10.

1 Market by Chef Wan
68 Orchard Road
#04-45 to 49. Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839

Tel: 6341 9159 (Only call during op hours)
Op Hours: Daily 11.30 – 14.30; 18.00 – 22.00
Pricing available on facebook page.


PS: Apologies for the pictures, as we were more focus on catching up with friends then taking photos :)