Thursday 28 November 2013

[CLOSED] Ramen Champion – Opening Our Eyes to The Ramen World

Ramen Champion (“RC”) is a multi-brand ramen concept brought to Singapore by Komars Group that sources popular ramen brands from Japan and invite them to compete in the annual competition for the prestigious “The Ultimate Ramen Champion”. Their latest outlet after Bugis and Changi Airport Terminal 3 is located at Great World City.

Following their concept, each outlet will have different brand of ramen with their own unique taste, flavour and personality of ramen. The outlet in Great World City is represented by Bishamon Zero (existing brand), Tonkotsu Itto (existing RC competitor), Miyamoto and Butaou (new RC competitor).

The Four Ramen Masters

The opening of this outlet was kick start with inaugural Ramen Big Eater Challenge, with the presence of celebrity competitive eater from Japan, Miss Tomoko Miyake. I saw her on a variety show, and it seems that she has a stretchable stomach and gigantic appetite. So without a doubt, she was the winner of the eating challenge. If you got time, you should check her out online, you'll envy her ability to eat so much and stay in shape.

Different Bowls use Ramen Champion, including
"Ramen Big Eater Challange "

We begin this ramen adventure with Bishamon Zero's Sapporo Miso Special Ramen ($14.80). Originated from Sapporo, the broth is cloudy, robust filled miso texture. The ramen has a medium thickness, springy (qq) and tasty. The pork belly Cha Shu is tender and does not overwhelmed with its fattiness. The egg is cooked to perfection. In the soup, there is mild chilli flavour with subtle spiciness to give the warmness in the ramen.

Bishamon Zero's Sapporo Miso Special Ramen

Tonkatsu Itto's Special Tonkotsu Ramen ($16.50) from Tokyo follow next. The ramen size is very thin, similar to Angel hair pasta size. It is springy, not very flavourful, but carry the broth well. The pork base soup is robust and full of collagen taste from part of the pork bones. The egg is cooked nicely with the soft yolk in the middle. The cha shu is tender, however it is tasteless. You might want to eat it while its hot, or you will be overwhelmed by the richness of the broth.

Tonkatsu Itto's Special Tonkotsu Ramen

Narita's City Miyamoto's Pork and Vegetable Ramen ($16). Once we saw the bowl, we decided to named it Army Boys Ramen, due to its humongous size. It seems the chef is throwing everything except for the kitchen sink in this dish. The noodle size is pretty big, similar to Mee Pok, but thicker and very resilient. The broth is difficult to spot as it is basically buried under the the layers of ramen, bean sprouts, sliced cabbage, cha shu and diced pork. Once you get through the layers above, you can taste milky robust broth with a strong garlic presence.

Narita's City Miyamoto's Pork and Vegetable Ramen

The half boiled egg here serve in full, as it is slightly under cook compare to the previous two ramens, the yolk just ooze out when you poke the egg. The cha shu is tender and flavourful, but I find the most tasty and tender part is the diced pork. Little Devil ('LD') and I feels that this bowl can easily filled two person.

The Oozing Yolk

The last bowl of ramen that we tried was Butaou's Special Sukiyaki Ramen ($16). Originated from Saitama Prefecture in Tokyo and inspired by Sukiyaki, the broth of this ramen originated its taste from sukiyaki sauce. The broth is robust and sweet, while the ramen is thin and springy. The egg was slow boiled with the yolk ooze out as soon as we break it. The cha shu is the tender, flavourful and the tastiest of all ramen, and the shabu-shabu style pork is just tender. Something different, but take a lot to get used to due the sukiyaki soup base and it will be a favourite to those who love sweet soup.

Butaou's Special Sukiyaki Ramen 

The Oozing Yolk

For the sides, we tried Okonomiyaki Gyoza with bonito flakes ($5.80 for 5 pcs) and Mentaiko Gyoza ($5.80 for 5 pcs). The gyoza are tasty with a combination of crispy skin and juicy fillings. We prefer the Okonomiyaki gyoza as the combination of bonito flakes and the sauce create a more flavourful gyoza. The Mentaiko sauce, seems to lack the punch, it can do better with stronger taste with extra mentaiko mayonnaise or mentaiko toppings.

Okonomiyaki Gyoza with bonito flakes

Mentaiko Gyoza 

Tori Karaage ($4.80) is quite delicious. Crispy on the outside, with well seasoned juicy succulent chicken thigh meat inside. While Spicy Chicken ($5 for 3 pcs) is quite ordinary. It lacks of seasoning, crispiness or even spiciness. The meat is tender, but it seems lacking in the obvious seasoning.

Tori Karaage

 Spicy Chicken 

Overall, we find the Ramen served in Ramen Champion does have a certain standard. It is very difficult to decide which as are the best as individual preference and taste can be different. For LD's and mine, we decided that Bishamon Zero's Sapporo Miso Special Ramen as our 1st preference followed by Tonkatsu Itto's Special Tonkotsu Ramen. Why don't you give it a try and let us know which ramen you like. Kanpai!!! Cheers!!!

Thanks to Malcom and Ramen Champion Team for the tasting invitation.

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: 7.5/10

Ramen Champion @ Great World City
1 Kim Seng Promenade
#01-22. Great World City.
Singapore 237994

Tel: 6325 1295
Op Hours: Daily 11.30 – 22.30

For other branches, check out their website.

Saturday 23 November 2013

No.1 Adam's Nasi Lemak – Supposedly One of The Best Nasi Lemak In Singapore

Adam Spread Nasi Lemak

Have you been to Adam Road Food Centre around lunch time? If you have, then you definitely seen this stall or even tried it before. The queue from this shop and the rival next door are just tremendous, basically nobody wants to seat at the tables near their stalls.

Chubby Botak Koala & The Little Devil survived 60 minutes wait here to get the taste of the ever popular nasi lemak here. We have heard of these notorious nasi lemak place, but this is our first ever visit and it was unplanned as well.

While I was waiting for my turn, I was listening to other customers on the phone checking with their office or family if they want any takeaway for their lunch. Apparently the sight of customers ordering between 10 to 15 packets each are normal here. When it is almost my turn, I heard that they are actually preparing order for 100 packs. No wonder the line is moving at turtle speed.

I ordered the Adam Spread ($5) consist of mutton rendang, chicken wing, fried egg, bergedel, ikan bilis & nuts, acar and of course the coconut rice. LD ordered Sutra Special ($4.50) consist of otah, fish cake, chicken wing, ikan bilis & nuts. While LD requested for extra chilli, I asked for extra rice and the lady just build rice mountain on my place and with no extra charges.

Adam Spread Nasi Lemak

So after 1 hour in line, how is the Nasi Lemak? The rice is very fragrant and unique. They use basmanti rice, which is more healthy than normal long grain rice resulted in more al dante version of rice. Ikan bilis and nuts is crispy and crunchy. The chicken wings are pipping hot, crispy and juicy. However the marination is only skin deep, while the meat is tender but tasted bland.

For my mutton rendang, the gravy is thick and sweet. The mutton is tender, but more on the dry side due to the lean meat used. Begedil is very tasty. LD's otah is huge in size, creamy and very flavourful. The fish cake is springy (qq) and in her opinion, the sambal (chilli) is the top notch and star attraction here. It is sweet, not to spicy, with multiple layer of flavour and very appetizing. No wonder people willing to line up, like bees going for their honey.

Sutra Nasi Lemak

The service here is very friendly but your patience will be tested while waiting. Normally there will be two lady serving, however today she is flying solo. Also, the popular stall next door was on holiday, so their customers went there to overcome their cravings for nasi lemak. The positive side of the slow service, is that the kitchen can keep up with demand and churn out pipping hot food.

As we ordered the two most expensive set, the rest on the menu are chicken set and fish set ($3.50 each). Consist of chicken wings / fried fish, fried egg, coconut rice, sambal, ikan bilis & nuts. There are some other dish you can add to your set, unfortunately you can't order extra chicken wings.

Overall, we can now say we tried No.1 Adam's Nasi Lemak. The pricing here is very reasonable. However, if you ask me to wait for another 1 hour for a grub of Nasi Lemak here, I will say NO! But if I am around the area before or after the peak hours, I might try my luck and eat here again. Cheers!

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 9/10
Ambiance: 6/10

No.1 Adam's Nasi Lemak
2 Adam Road
Stall 1 Adam Road Food Centre
Singapore 289876

Op Hours: 08.30 – 15.00
Closed on Tuesday.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Peperoni – All They Knead is Love

Benvenuto! (Welcome in Italian.) The motto of Peperoni Pizzeria, from Les Amis Group. Peperoni @ Frankel is the third branch of Peperoni when they expand their dough kneading adventure to the east side of Singapore.

This is actually our first visit to the east branch. We were looking for a place to catch up with our friends D&C, and after shortlisting a few restaurants, we decided on Peperoni. As it was on Monday night, we manage to find parking at the roadside with ease. Once we start chatting, D&C told us that they had Peperoni at Suntec the night before with their family, however, since the pizza is good, they don't mind to have another round.

Peperoni @ Frankel looks very casual and Italian. The colours of Italian national flags of green, white and red are well represented in the establishment. The entrance is painted in green, the walls are painted in white, while the chairs and wood fire oven are red. Both the chairs and wood fire oven are so eye catching, you won't miss them.

For starters, we decided on Prosciutto Crudo di Parma & Melone ($18), Mozzarella Fasciatta Con Prosciutto ($18), and Wedges ($8). Prosciutto Crudo di Parma & Melone is the traditional pairing of Prosciutto di parma and rock melon. The combination of salty and sweet from these two ingredients are just irresistible. The Prosciutto flavour is just intense, multi layer but the best part it just melts in your mouth. The rock melon is a bit small in size though.

Prosciutto Crudo di Parma & Melone

Mozzarella Fasciatta Con Prosciutto is pan fried mozzarella wrapped with Parma ham. The prosciutto is cover the chewy but soft mozzarella nicely and has a crispy texture from the pan fried. The glaze of balsamic vinegar on top of it, just seal the deal. It helps to counter the intense saltiness from prosciutto while bind the whole ingredients together, especially with the rocket salad. Big thumb-up from LD.

Mozzarella Fasciatta Con Prosciutto

The wedges has a crispy texture on coating, with a nice seasoning and soft on the inside. Served with mayonnaise as a dipping sauce although sour cream will taste better with it. Actually a good food for the little ones if they don't like pizza.

Wedges with Mayonnaise 

For the pizzas, we ordered 2 large pizzas of half and half ($24 each). The first combination is Fungi & Margerita - Button, shitake & porcini mushrooms; Mozzarella 'di bufala', cherry tomatoes, basil and oregano. The pizza base is thin and crispy. The toppings are generous combine with cheese and tomato sauce is just create a juicy toppings. The fungi and margerita pizza just allow its natural ingredients to speak for it self.

Pizza Menu
 Fungi & Margerita Combo Pizza

The second combination is Pancetta & Prosciutto Crudo di Parma - cured bacon, sliced tomatoes and egg; Parma ham and rocket salad. This pizza has more intense salty flavour because of the cured meat. The egg and rocket salad on each size of the pizza helps to counter the saltiness, but this combination just 'scream' meat, cured meat & meat; and I simply love it.

 Pancetta & Prosciutto Crudo di Parma 

Satisfied with the mains, we took our time before we move to desserts. Creme Brulee ($9) and Tortino al Cioccolato ($13) - rich molten valrhona chocolate cake served with strawberry ice cream.

The crème brulee has a nice thin layer of caramelized sugar. The custard however is more dense in texture which constrain us to taste full taste of the custard. For the Tortino, it is actually suppose to come with vanilla ice cream, however they are kind enough to switch ours to strawberry. The molten chocolate cake is overcook, no chocolate ooze out when we cut through the cake. Meanwhile, the strawberry ice cream with the walnut crust was just superb to compensate the disappointing chocolate cake.

Creme Brulee

Tortino al Cioccolato 

If you are looking for a non alcoholic drink, give Gunner ($7) a try. The combination of Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer and Agostura Bitter is just refreshing.

Considering this is a Les Amis group establishment, there are works needed to be done on their the service side. During the dinner we were served by two service staff, one of them is very friendly and attentive, while the other was just grumpy with a don't care attitude. Hopefully, they can deliver more consistent service standard. After all, they are the Les Amis Group.

Overall, when it come to Entrees and Pizzas, they are almost faultless. This has been the case in their other establishment as well. The desserts need some fine tuning, but the ice cream is just great. All we can say, if you are looking for a good pizza, Peperoni is one of the place. Saluti! Cheers!

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 5.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10

Peperoni @ Frankel
95 Frankel Ave
Singapore 458221

Ph: 6445 5661
Mon – Sat: 12.00 – 22.30
Sun: 11.00 – 22.30
Closed on certain PH.

For Other Branches, check the website.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Monster Curry – Monster in Size, Monster in Flavour

Monster Curry sounds more like an animation rather than a restaurant. However, in Singapore Monster Curry is restaurant serve a jumbo size Japanese curry with different type of protein such as chicken, eggs, pork, prawns, fish and scallops.

I was looking for a place to grab a quick bite after collecting my rewards from one of the food review website. When I spotted Monster Curry, my cravings for Japanese curry just get the better of me. Quick look at the menu, I decided to order Cheese Chicken Katsu Curry ($14). You actually has a choice of spicy level from 1 (normal hot) to 5 (monster hot). I decided to went with normal hot.

When I grab a seat after ordering, then after looking around the area, I realised that I was in a deep trouble. I saw how huge the plate was and normally each couple is sharing one dish. So when the dish come, I was staring at a 30cm in diameter huge plate. The rice filled more than half of the plate and the protein is the same size as the rice, with shaved cheese covering the top of my pork katsu. On the side, a few pieces of Japanese pickle and shaved cabbage. Staring blank at the plate, I was starting to wonder how am I going to finish it.

The pork katsu is quite tender and the batter is very thin and crispy. The curry is thick, flavourful and generous in portion. As I have only ordered a spicy level of normal hot, they added only one chilli sauce heart shape. Although the katsu is tender, it is also very lean, so you can feel on some part to be dry, instead of juicy all over. For the curry, it is served just like a sauce instead of with potatoes and carrots like other normal Japanese restaurant.

                                                                                   Cheese Chicken Katsu Curry

Service wise is very minimum. You place your order in the counter, make payment and they send the food to your table when it is done. So interaction with them is very minimum, other example of Japanese fast food culture with low labour cost involved. Like a normal Japanese establishment, we are still greeted very warmly as we enter or exit the restaurant.

Overall, I find the portion is tremendous and generous, so you won't mind paying a little bit more. Thus, if you are looking for a place to satisfy your Japanese Curry, give this restaurant a try. I assure you that you won't come out unfulfilled. Kanpai! Cheers!

Food & Drink: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 6/10

Monster Curry
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-52. Ion Orchard
Singapore 238801

Tel: 6509 8081
Op Hours: Daily 11.00 – 21.30

For other location, check out their website.

Monster Curry is part of En Group. A group that are well known for their passion in Japanese food. The founders not only want to showcase Okinawa style of food, but also traditional and modern Japanese treat as well. For their complete profile, check it out here:

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Little Vietnam – Vietnamese Flair

                                              Bun Ga Nuong Xa
    Grilled lemongrass chicken with fresh vegetables and rice vermicelli   

My Little Devil always have Vietnamese Pho cravings, especially during rainy days. Instead of going to our regular Vietnamese pit stop in Joo Chiat, we decided to try something new. A quick research, we notice that Little Vietnam keep popping up in some food review.

Located at the outer side of the main entrance of Grandlink Square, Little Vietnam has both outdoor and indoor seatings. The indoor section is air conditioned, while in the evening you can dine under the stars at the outdoor seating. Giving it a familiar feeling as if you are dining in Vietnam with their outdoor deco of red lanterns. Parking is a breeze as the retail outlet in the building are pretty empty.

We started with Fresh Rice Paper Roll / Goi Cuon ($3 – for 2 pcs). Filled with rice vermicelli, prawns and vegetables this dish are the popular choice during the summer in Vietnam. The prawns are fresh, however the rice paper wrap is slightly dry and chewy. The sauce is bland, although the crush peanuts give a different texture to the dish. Slightly disappointing.

 Fresh Rice Paper Roll / Goi Cuon

Fried Rice Paper Roll / Cha Gio ($4.80) has a unique texture of crispy and resilient. The fillings is fresh and the fish sauce is just elevate this dish further. Better than the fresh paper roll.

Fried Rice Paper Roll / Cha Gio

For main, LD ordered Pho Tai Bo Vien - Sliced beef and beef balls with flat noodle soup ($6.50) and I ordered Bun Ga Nuong Xa – Grilled lemongrass chicken with fresh vegetables and rice vermicelli ($5.50).

According to LD, the rice noodle in the Pho is al dente while the sliced beef is very soft and tender. However, the soup base is on the light side, not very robust. The beef ball is quite dense and not springy. So its kind of ordinary on the Pho side.

Pho Tai Bo Vien - Sliced beef and beef balls with flat noodle soup

My grilled lemongrass chicken thigh is very tender and well seasoned. You can feel the lemongrass marinate absorb into the chicken. The textures combination of rice vermicelli, raw vegetables and the chicken is just so diverse and the fish sauce just bind them well together. I do wish the portion of the food can be bigger though.

 Bun Ga Nuong Xa
Grilled lemongrass chicken with fresh vegetables and rice vermicelli

Service here is very minimum, but the food are delivered quite fast. Decoration of the place is very minimum, but the pictures Vietnamese people and cultures on the wall just hit the spot. They only accept cash payment only.

Overall, there are some good dishes is Little Vietnam unfortunately Pho is not one of them. We actually wanted to ordered some Vietnamese Baguette, but they run out of stock. Maybe this will be the reason for us to come back. Vô! Cheers!

Food & Drink: 6/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10

Little Vietnam
511 Guilemard Road
#01-25 Grandlink Square
Singapore 399849

Tel: 6547 8587
Op Hours: Tue – Sun: 16.00 – 01.00

Thursday 14 November 2013

Jones The Grocer – Aussie Brunch at Dempsey

What is a perfect way to spend your Sunday morning? After all the buzz catching up with your chores on Saturday, Sunday morning is just a good time to sit back, relax and tuck in to a good brunch and cuppa.

Jones the Grocer is one of the more popular destinations to tuck in for a weekend brunch. It is a branch for popular Australia grocer / food emporium to provide natural and artisan ingredients from Australia and worldwide. The one that really catch our eyes, is the bread that freshly baked on the premises.

Freshly Baked Bread

We pop by on Sunday morning, just after the morning drizzle clears. As this is our first visit to Jones The Grocer @ Dempsey, we notice that they do not take reservation for brunch. Luckily, due to the rain, the crowd was not there yet thus the queue was quite short and we got our seats in 15 mins.

Sweets Selection that entice me while waiting

So what's good on the menu? Little Devil's (LD) decided on Jones Big Breakfast ($24), I had French Toast with Berries ($18), while our friend SH had Eggs Benedict ($20).

Jones Big Breakfast basically have everything you want in a big breakfast. Sourdough Bread, eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown. For something more up class, they also have sautéed baby spinach. The bread is fragrant, nice and crispy providing a nice bedding for the eggs. The sausages, bacon are cooked perfectly. Good solid brunch.

Jones Big Breakfast

Since LD's decided on big breakfast and I know I will probably eat half of that, I decided on something light. Cinnamon French toast with mixed berries and vanilla crème fraiche. The bread is nicely coated with eggs, crispy and soft. The combination of mixed berries, icing sugar and vanilla crème fraiche is just so inviting to dig in into your breakkie.

French Toast with Berries

Eggs Benedict come with smoked ham, spinach & poached eggs on house baked English Muffin. Don't let the simple presentation of this dish fool you. To produce the a nice hollandaise sauce, you need to be very skilful in the kitchen. Slight miscalculation will turn the sauce into sour scramble eggs. The eggs poached to the right temperature, while exuding white vinegar aroma the yolk will ooze out when you cut through the egg. The sauce is smooth and creamy while the ham is slightly salty.

Eggs Benedict

Nothing better to complement a beautiful breakfast a great coffee. The coffee here is imported from Australia. It has a full body flavour, slightly bitter, but bode well for milk base coffee such as latte or cappuccino. Nice caffeine shot to start the day.

Barista at Work

Latte & Cappucino

Basically when you are dining in Jones the Grocer, you are dining in a grocery shop. Surrounded by artisan produce and wine sold by Jones the Gorcery. It is a open concept shop with a high ceiling. Certainly does not feel like you are dining in Singapore. The service staff here is very good and professional. Our order took around 15 minutes to come, while we took turns to check out the produce selling on the shelves.

Overall, if you are looking for a place to have a good breakkie, I would recommend Jones the Grocer. Delicious food complement with delicious coffee. G'Day Mate.!!

LD's seal of approval

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10

The Dempsey Project (previously Jones The Grocer)
Block 9 Dempsey Road
#01-12. Dempsey Hill
Singapore 247697

Tel: 6476 1512
Op Hours: 
Sun - Thu: 08.00 – 21.00
Fri - Sat: 08.00 - 21.30

In case you like to see more pictures, the following are some picture of the surroundings:

Coffee, Tea, Wine and accessories Section

Cold Cuts, Cheese and Preserved section

Cook Books Section

The Kitchen behind the cook books shelf

Chilled Beers and Wines

Missing from the pictures: Jams and dry goods section. 

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