Wednesday 31 October 2018

Q-Wa Izakaya – Yakitori, Beer and Sake [MEDIA INVITE]

Hokkaido Kawa Ebi with House Pour Sake

Q-Wa Izakaya is the second outlet from the folks behind Q-Wa Bar and Yakitori at East Coast Road, which opened in September 2015. Inspired by the success of the 1st outlet, Q-Wa Izakaya at Beach Road opened in June 2018.

Q-Wa Izakaya
Beer Promo

Like most Izakaya, the focus at Q-Wa is their small bites, sake and beer. Their main promotion for Asahi beer is $35 for 3L tower for happy hour between 5 – 7 PM on Monday to Thursday and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, their house pour sake also comes highly recommend, as it tasted smooth and slightly sweet, according to LD.

House Pour Sake

House Pour Sake

We started with Pork Katsu Cheese ($14.90) and Hokkaido Kawa Ebi ($8.90). The pork katsu is crispy externally and juicy, succulent with gooey cheese internally. The cheese is not pungent, instead, it is very mild. I just wish the katsu is thicker.

Pork Katsu Cheese

Hokkaido Kawa Ebi is delicious. These mini prawns are the perfect companions with your drinks. It is crispy, crunchy, salty and filled with umami flavour from the prawns. It is so good, you will feel that 1 portion won’t be enough.

Hokkaido Kawa Ebi

Shime Saba ($18.80) and Surame Ika ($15.80). The saba fish here is marinated with rice vinegar before it is grilled. While most saba fish can be a bit fishy, the vinegar-marinated actually helps to balance the fats and remove the fishiness. A splash of lemon juice helps of spice up the dish. We just can’t stop admiring the knife skills on the saba fish, amazing. Each piece is sliced to almost equal size.

Shime Saba

Meanwhile, the squid is nicely grilled and seasoned. The springy, juicy yet succulent with a touch of sweetness from the yakitori sauce.

Surame Ika

The chicken parts definitely a must try here. I personally like the chicken skin / Torikawa ($2.80), heart / Hatsu ($2.60), liver / Reba ($2.60) and bishops / Bonjiri ($2.80). Chicken heart has a combination of crunchy and springy texture, slightly chewy but if you like it, it is irresistible.

Chicken Heart

Chicken liver is always considered as the stepsister of foie gras (goose liver) or even duck liver. Although it is creamy and smooth like foie gras, chicken liver is denser and not as fatty as goose and duck liver. If you like foie gras, you should try “Chi-gras” as well.

Chicken Liver (2 sticks at the top) - Chi Gras

Chicken bishops are one of my favourite part of the chicken, while LD like the chicken cartilage / Nankotsu ($3.60). Surprisingly, the quail egg / Uzura ($2.90) is very good, especially when it is basked with yakitori sauce.

Chicken Tail / Bishop and Chicken Cartilage

Anything with bacon here will not disappoint as well. We tried their Quail Egg Bacon / Uzura Maki ($3.30), Cherry Tomato Bacon / Tomato Maki ($3.20) and Golden Mushroom Bacon / Enoki Maki ($3.30). The bacon is not overly salty, it helps to season the other ingredients nicely.

Chicken Wings, Asparagus Bacon, Quail Egg Bacon and Golden Mushroom Bacon

Normally Pork Belly Shio / Butabarra ($2.90) and Pork Belly Miso / Butabarra Miso ($3.20) are two of the items that I will order. However, the version here is average and does not give me the Oink Oink feel.

Golden Mushroom Bacon, Cheery Tomato Bacon, Pork Belly Miso & Pork Belly Shio

For the main staple to end the meal, we tried two item, Garlic Fried Rice / Garlic Yaki Meishi ($11.90) and Pan Fried Udon / Yaki Udon ($10.90). While both dishes are well fried, the springy texture of the udon got my pick. The garlic fried rice can be bolder and more garlic can be added into it.

Part of our spread and Garlic Fried Rice

Pan Fried Udon

Q-Wa Izakaya has indoor and outdoor seating. For the indoor, the seating of each table is very close, so expect to bump into each other when you are seating. The Japanese décor wallpaper, sake bottles line-up and draft beer raise up the Izakaya feels to the restaurant. The outdoor seating is more spacious, but only limited to 4 tables.

Part of the Decor

Overall, Q-Wa Izakaya décor bring back a lot of memories during our venture in the back alley of Tokyo. The close proximity between customers, lots of sake and beer, accompanies with lots of yakitori and small bites are a good combination to wind down and catch up with friends. Luckily the food here is not as salty compare to those in Japan. So, you can enjoy it without drinking too much. Kanpai!! Cheers!!

Thank you very much for Ai Ling and Q-Wa Izakaya team for the tasting invitation.

Food & Drink: 7.25/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50, $51 - $80,

Q-WA Izakaya
103 Beach Road
#01-02 Marrison Hotel
Singapore 189704

T: +65 8336 7728
IG: @Qwaizakaya
OH: Daily 11.30 – 14.30; 17.00 – 23.00
Closed on PH.

Other Branch
Q-Wa Bar and Yakitori
39 East Coast Road
Singapore 428756

T: +65 6348 9938
Mon - Fri: 17.00 - 23.45
Sat - Sun: 11.30 - 14.30; 17.00 - 23.45

Saturday 27 October 2018

Pu Jim – Busan BBQ Experience

 Pu Jim Set

Finding a Korean BBQ Restaurant in Singapore very easy nowadays. For sure each meat lovers will have their go-to place to fulfil their bbq meat cravings. Pu Jim distinguish itself through focusing its bbq experience uniquely Busan.

Pu Jim at Amoy Street

Pu Jim at Amoy Street

Since we have a wonderful bbq experience in Busan, we are looking forward to our feast here. As per the norm, side dishes were served first. Don’t expect an extensive spread, about 6 mini sides (3 type of kimchi, mayonnaise apple, caramelised small fish and pickled vegetables) with onions salad, wrapped vegetables and fresh chilli.

Side Dishes 
Side Dishes

Three of us decided to choose the Pujim set ($170 for opening promo price, U.P$218). It consists of Boneless Short Rib 200g, P. Chuck Flap Tail 200g, Iberico Pork Neck Small Pax, Iberico Jowl 200g and Pork Belly 200g. However, they run out of their chuck flap tail, so we got it replaced with beef brisket.

Boneless Short Rib 200g, Iberico Pork Neck Small Pax, Iberico Jowl 200g and Pork Belly 200g. 

Beef Brisket (Replacement)

First to the grill was the boneless short rib. The marbling is just amazing. Cooked to perfection, it has a nice balance between meat and fats. It just melts in your mouth Yum Yum, I still drool when I imagine this.

Boneless Short Rib

The Iberico pork neck comes next. The cut is thick and it took a while on the bbq. It was masterly grilled resulting in a crisp exterior with juicy and succulent interior. Interestingly, it is to be consumed with the grilled bread that is soaked with the pork oil dripping from the Iberico pork. Sinfully good.

Iberico Pork Neck

Iberico Pork Neck

Iberico Pork Neck

Pork Belly is next. The slices are thick and the balance of the composition of the fats and meat are so inviting. #porkgasm indeed.

Pork Belly

Pork Belly

Those that have not tried pork jowl, you might want to consider the version offered by Pu Jim. It is crunchy, juicy and will send you going Oink Oink. This is definitely a must try for meat lovers.

Pork Jowl

The beef brisket here is almost the equivalent of thinly sliced pork belly. Fatty with a slight of springiness to it.

Beef Brisket and Pork Jowl

Pork Jowl

Though the bbq meat is definitely delicious. we found Hwang Tae Soup ($11) is as good. The cloudy coloured soup is robust, filled with the essence from the dried pollack. The pollack fish itself is slightly chewy but absorbs the broth nicely. The texture is like a combination of tau pok (fried beancurd puff) and codfish strips. If you have this for lunch with a bowl of white rice, it will be very fulfilling.

Hwang Tae Soup

Hwang Tae Soup

LD and her friend decided to try the Jajang Mian. At first glance, it looks like regular jajang mian. However, the version here is extremely spicy, almost like those spicy Korean noodle challenge.

Jajang Mian

Of course, having a bbq in a Korean restaurant will not be complete without their alcoholic beverages. The offering here consists of beer (Tiger and Hite), soju, baekseju and soft drinks. Unlike other Korean restaurants, they don’t serve free water or barley tea. Instead, you need to purchase mineral water or canned drinks for this.

Service is very good, however, only the manager speaks good English. The rest of the Korean service staff speak limited English; thus, you might have a problem communicating with them in regards to the menu. The décor of the restaurant is open industrial concept with a bare minimum décor. Practical and no fuss.

Part of the dining area

Overall, Pujim offered a delicious and well-marbled meat. The team at Pujim sure know how to bbq their meat and a must try place if you are looking for a different Korean BBQ. They have different variety of soup, but we highly recommend their Hwang Tae Soup. The price comparing to other Korean BBQ restaurant is on the high side, thus we hope they maintain their opening price promotion, so we can visit it more often. Geonbae!! Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80, $81 & Above

Pu Jim
82 Amoy Street
Singapore 069901

T: +65 6224 1588
OH: Daily 11.30 – 14.30; 17.00 – 23.30

Tuesday 23 October 2018

[CLOSED] Mak’s Noodle Singapore – Yummy Boiled Pork Liver

Wanton Noodle Soup @ Mak's Noodle Singapore

The name Mak’s Noodle in HongKong has always been associated with wanton noodle. It is not surprising, as they are one of the top names in HK when it comes to wanton noodle. Currently, it has 5 branches and I have visited their branch in Jordan a few times.

Its Singapore outlet opens its door in July 2015 to much fanfare, however, the reviews so far was underwhelming so I did not take much notice of it. Only recently, LD and I gave it a visit.

Mak's Noodle Singapore @ The Centrepoint

A must try here is their Boiled Pork Liver ($15.20). Yes, no joke. When we are in HK, delicious boiled pork liver is abundance, not comparable to Singapore. The version here is plump, sweet, a bit of springy and juicy with the Oink Oink liver creaminess at the end. As taught by our HK friends, HK version of pork liver tasted better is because the chefs have taken the effort to washed off the irony taste in it; The soy sauce did a perfect job in enhancing the flavour of the pork liver. Absolutely delicious.

Boiled Pork Liver

Boiled Pork Liver

Their signature Wanton Noodle Soup ($7.40 for Regular, $9 for Large) has a super springy noodle. The consommé like broth is robust and filled with the essence of prawns. Meanwhile, the wanton is a slight let down, instead of crunchy and bouncy, it is firm and dense. A slight let down in comparison to the HK version.

Wanton Noodle Soup - Regular

Wanton Noodle Soup - Regular

Tossed Noodle with Shrimp Roe and Oysters Sauce ($8) is comparable to the HK outlet. The flavourful oyster sauce and shrimp roe gave the springy egg noodle a much-needed OMPH. Although I must say, I like the SG version better as the shrimp roe is not a pungent as the version in HK.

Tossed Noodle with Shrimp Roe and Oysters Sauce

Tossed Noodle with Shrimp Roe and Oysters Sauce

Mak’s An Congee ($12), the signature congee of Mak’s Noodle. The ingredients are generous, including pork liver, mushroom and chicken. The congee is velvety smooth with a subtle comforting flavour.

Mak’s An Congee

Mak’s An Congee

We visited the restaurant after the busy lunch period. The service is friendly, no fuss and efficient. Décor of the restaurant is simple and it has the same feel as Mak’s Noodle outlet in HongKong.

Overall, the quality of the wanton noodle is getting close to the version in HongKong. We will return for the Boiled Pork Liver, as it is just heavenly. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 6.75/10
Service: 6.5/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25

Mak’s Noodle
176 Orchard Road
#01-63/64, The Centrepoint
Singapore 238843

T: +65 6235 5778
IG: @Maksnoodlesg

OH: Daily 11.00 – 22.00

Sunday 21 October 2018

T.K. Kitchen – Unique Peppery Chicken Hot Pot [MEDIA INVITE]

Chicken Hot Pot / White Pepper Kampung Chicken Soup 

T.K. Kitchen is a well-known Zi Char (Tze Char) at Teban Gardens neighbourhood known for its seafood dishes. Following its success, they have opened up a new outlet at Clementi West focusing on a couple of new signature dishes.

T.K. Kitchen @Rong Fa Coffee Shop

Zi Char always provide Singapore neighbourhood with delicious food cooked a la minute at a reasonable price. From time to time, some of the Zi Char stalls will create its own signature dishes that stand out among the rest. T.K. Kitchen (“TK”) is one of them and at their new outlet, TK is introducing their Chicken Hot Pot / White Pepper Kampung Chicken Soup ($12 for ¼ chicken/ $22 for ½ chicken / $40 for whole chicken).

Chicken Hot Pot / White Pepper Kampung Chicken Soup  with Vegetable Set

This chicken hot pot used kampong chicken as their soup base, boiled over a long period with white pepper and red dates. Sliced pig stomach is added at the later stage. The result is a robust, sweet and peppery kampong chicken and pig stomach soup. The flesh of the chicken is succulent yet springy, and the yellow colour of the skin is just so appetizing. When you have it at the start, it will just warm up your stomach and wake up your appetite along the way. (In the picture is the $22, ½ chicken portion)

Chicken Hot Pot / White Pepper Kampung Chicken Soup 

The reason it is called a hot pot because you can add ingredients to it. First order, you will get a vegetable set with your order. You can also top up other ingredients such as the chicken ($10 for ¼ or $16 for ½); Fish or Abalone ($7.80 per plate); Seafood such as prawn, lala and sotong ($5.80 per plate); Meat – pig stomach, pork, chicken, pork ball or fishball ($3.80 per plate); or Vegetables ($1.80 per plate). Of course, topping up their superb broth is FOC.

The Pig Stomaach

Together with the Chicken Hot Pot, you can enjoy other cooked dishes such as Assam Prawns ($15 for small). The prawns are crunchy and well coated with the spicy and sour flavour from the assam. The portion is decent and the sauce definitely goes well with a bowl of white rice.

Assam Prawns

Cai Pu Beancurd ($8 for small). The smooth, silky egg tofu is homemade topped with fried Chai Po that is deep fried and tossed with sugar. It will definitely be a popular dish with the kids.

Cai Pu Beancurd

Thousand Island Sliced Fish ($10 for small). Deep fried snakehead mural fish slices, coated with thousand island sauce. A creative dish that incorporates the Thousand Island salad dressing, where most places usually like to use mayonnaise. I like the crispy texture to the fish, however, I am not so sure about the thousand island sauce.

Thousand Island Sliced Fish

Sambal Kang Kong & Sweet Potato Leaves ($6 for small). An interesting combination of two type of vegetables. The sambal is solid and fragrant, however some folks on our table feels TK can turn up the heat more in the sambal.

Sambal Kang Kong & Sweet Potato Leaves

Our finale dishes are Salted Egg Crab and White Pepper Crab ($40 per crab). TK uses Sri-Lankan crab that is about 600gram in weight. The price is fixed at $40 per crab, irrelevant to the market price. The salted egg version that we tried is the deep-fried version. It reminds me of the typhoon crab, the HongKong style. The flour that coated the crab did well to soak up salted egg flavour, however, due to the dual cooking process, you can feel the crab is overcooked.

Salted Egg Crab

We definitely love the white pepper crab. At the first bite, you can taste the juicy and natural freshness in the flesh, followed with slight spicy, warm flavour from the white pepper. It just tickles your palate, enticing you to keep going for the next piece of crab. Definitely worth the try. Yum Yum

White Pepper Crab 

T.K. Kitchen is located at Rong Fa Coffee Shop at Clementi West. There will be plenty of seats for dinner as they are the only stalls operating at the coffee shop together with the drink stall in the evening. 

Overall, the Chicken Hot Pot is definitely something worth trying. Not only it nourishes you, the taste itself is also very good. For seafood, we recommend the white pepper crab. I am sure there are other yummy dishes that are not shown here, but we only have so much space in our stomach. So, if you are in the West or Clementi area, give T.K. Kitchen a try. Cheers!!

Thank you very much to Darren and T.K. Kitchen for the tasting invitation.

Food & Drink: 7/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Media Invite)
Ambiance: N/A - Coffee Shop
Budget per Person: $11 - $25

T.K. Kitchen 
Blk 37 Teban Garden
Singapore 600037

T:+65 8330 7554
OH: 12.00 - 15.00; 16.00 - 22.00

710 Clementi West Street 2
#01-247 Rong Fa Coffee Shop
 Singapore 120710
T: +65 9885 5066
OH: Daily 11.00 – 14.00; 17.00 – 23.00

Blk 115 Canberra Walk #01-01
Singapore 750115

T: +65 9164 1448

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