Sunday, 1 October 2023

88 Pocha + BBQ – Vintage 80s Korean BBQ [MEDIA INVITE]

The 88 Pocha + BBQ is the extension of the 88 Pocha brand, owned and operated by Food Palace Group Pte Ltd. The first outlet of 88 Pocha opened at Lor Mambong, Holland Village earlier this year and the second outlet at Kovan opened a few months later. A full review of this exciting Pojangmacha at Holland Village is available here.

The Inflatable Man
This third 88 Pocha outlet at Duxton has incorporated Korean BBQ into its menu. Instead of offering the regular Korean BBQ menu that you usually find in Singapore, the team introduced the time-honoured tradition of frozen pork BBQ, revisiting the cherished memories of the 1980s and 90s. In the late 90s, the advancement of modern refrigeration methods ensured Koreans were able to enjoy fresh pork all year round and curtail frozen pork BBQ. However, this old-cherish tradition starting to make a comeback in the Korean dining scene. Again, due to the advancement in technology, frozen pork is delivering a better flavour compared to the vintage years.

88 Pocha + BBQ
The furnishings of 88 Pocha + BBQ outlet are slightly different from the first 2 outlets. There are still pojangmacha tables and chairs at the back section of the restaurant, but the front half of the restaurant is decked up with proper Korean BBQ tables and exhaust system. To spice up the atmosphere, the restaurant also uses colour lights just like in the retro era.

Proper Korean BBQ Table 
For the tasting, we tried the Duroc Pork Set ($45.88), which comes with Pork Belly (180g), Pork Jowl (180g), Kimchi, Chinese Chive and Watercress. To ensure the dish reached the optimum flavour, the service staff did the cooking at the table.

Duroc Pork Set
Duroc Pork Set
We get started on the banchan. Consists of mashed potatoes, strips of pickled radish, kimchi and fresh lettuce to go with BBQ.

Dipping Sauce: Salt + Sesame Oil, Samjang and Garlic
Mashed Potatoes & Pickled Radish
Kimchi
Fresh Lettuce with Black Pepper at the Back
There are a few ways to eat the thinly sliced grilled pork belly. First, with the watercress. The duroc pork belly is naturally sweet, complimented by the bitter and crunchy watercress. Second, with grilled kimchi. According to LD, the kimchi is slightly aged, when they are grilled the flavour becomes more intense and balances out the fat in the pork belly.

Duroc Pork Belly with Watercress
Duroc Pork Belly with Grilled Kimchi
Duroc Pork Belly
The pork jowl is paired with Chinese chives and BBQ garlic. I like the texture of the pork jowl as it is thicker, juicier and has a nice bouncy texture. The Chinese chives provided aromatic and bitter flavour that enhance the taste of the pork jowl.

Duroc Pork Jowl, Chinese Chives and Garlic
Duroc Pork Jowl
For dipping sauce, we have salt + sesame oil, samjang sauce and garlic. There is also a pepper on the table, it is recommended to sprinkle this on top of frozen pork.

Citrus Highball
To accompany the pork duroc set, we choose the Seafood Soft Tofu Stew ($12.88). It is packed with ingredients and the stew is on the lighter side. Though the clams are light in flavour, we can still taste it in the broth.

Seafood Soft Tofu Stew
Seafood Soft Tofu Stew
Completing the BBQ experience is Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice. Due to the holes on the grill plate, the fried rice is done on an aluminium foil. Instead of using the existing pork fat left on the BBQ, the fried rice uses bacon. The texture of the fried rice is good and flavourful as well thanks to the generous kimchi, Chinese chives and seaweed,

Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice
Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice
LD also tried Golbaengi (Topshell) Bibim Naeng Ramyeon ($12.88). Korean ramyeon style cold noodle with topshell. I think it looks menacing due to the red colour sauce but LD likes it. It is springy, refreshing and packed with flavour.

Golbaengi (Topshell) Bibim Naeng Ramyeon 
Golbaengi (Topshell) Bibim Naeng Ramyeon
Other than the Duroc Pork set, 88 Pocha + BBQ also serve Chicken Set ($45.88) – Chicken oyster (4 pcs), Boneless Neck (100g), Chicken Thigh (200g), King Oyster Mushroom, and Leek. Plus, there is also A5 Wagyu Beef Clod ($38.88 for 150g) part of the BBQ ala carte.

Menu 1
Overall, it was nice experiencing the vintage Korean frozen pork BBQ. The combination of the pork belly, eaten with kimchi and watercress brings out a different flavour to the dish. I like the pork jowl the most as it is packed with the goodness of the OINK OINK. Check out 88 Pocha + BBQ for the nostalgic BBQ and street food of Korean in the 80s and 90s. Geonbae!! Cheers!!

Menu 2
Thank you very much Protegie and 88 Pocha + BBQ Team for the invitation.

Lunch Menu

Menu 3
Food & Drink: 7.25/10
Value: 7/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50

88 Pocha + BBQ
17 Duxton Road
Singapore 089483

T: +65 9273 9957
OH: 11.30 – 15.00; 17.00 – 23.00 Daily
Menu, Reservation and Delivery Links available here

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Wine Mansion Keong Saik – Captivating New Menu [MEDIA INVITE]

Wine Mansion at Keong Saik (“WM”) is a cosy wine bar tucked away in Singapore Heritage Landscape at Keong Saik Road. They are known for their diverse wine selections that are popularly priced. To complement the wine, the chefs have prepared a diverse and captivating menu.

Part of Dining Area
Recently, the team at WM unveiled their new menu and I was there with Epicurious Caniggia to sample the new creation.

Fresh Japanese Hyogo Oyster
We started with Fresh Japanese Hyogo Oyster ($28 per half dozen). Every Tuesday & Friday it’s Oyster Night at WM, so each piece is priced at $2.50 only. Additional $1/pc for Baked Version. The oysters are fresh, plump, sweet and juicy with minimum brainy taste. I had mine in two different ways, first with freshly squeeze of lemon juice; and second with lemon juice and the salsa.

Fresh Japanese Hyogo Oyster
Fresh Japanese Hyogo Oyster
The oysters paired nicely with the Prosecco that was served at the start of the meal.

Prosecco
Harissa Eggplant ($14). The eggplant is cooked with Harissa paste, the recipe originated in Tunisia. It is made from roasted red peppers, red chilies, tomato paste, olive oil and lemon juice. I don’t usually eat eggplant due to its soft and mushy texture; however, I find the bold flavour from harissa paste covers the texture of the eggplant nicely. Watch out for the spicy kick that comes out at the end. It is served with a few slices of toast bread, providing a different texture to the dish and help to carry the paste.

Harissa Eggplant
Harissa Eggplant
Baked Spinach ($14). Creamy spinach is normally a side dish found beside your steak order. However, the chef baked this dish to create a crispy cheese crust on top. It is rich and creamy but the bitterness in the spinach helps to reduce the “jelakness”. It is served with a few slices of bread on the side, making a comforting entrée.

Baked Spinach
Baked Spinach
Crispy Pork Belly ($12). The pork belly is light and super crispy. It is served with purple cabbage sauerkraut, which is crunchy and acidic plus homemade chilli sauce. I also paired the red cabbage with baked spinach to offset the rich and creamy flavour.

Crispy Pork Belly
Crispy Pork Belly
Moving to mains, Pulled Pork Cheese Melts Quesadilla with Fries ($18). Juicy and tender pulled pork, infused with Philippines’ Adobo flavour and wrapped in the toasted tortilla. Instead of using fork and knife, I dive in with my fingers and enjoy the delicious quesadilla. The quesadilla is served with fries and garlic mayo. Don’t miss out on their fries, as it is super crispy externally but moist and fluffy internally. Dip with the garlic mayo, it is just a flavour bomb. Yummy!!

Pulled Pork Cheese Melts Quesadilla with Fries
For the mains, the wine served is Shiraz from Australia.

Shiraz
Tomahawk Steak ($148 per portion, 1 to 1.3kg). Every Thursday is a Tomahawk Steak Day, it is priced at $98, making it one of the most affordable Tomahawk Steak in Singapore. It is cooked perfectly to the point of medium-rare. The exterior has a nice charred crust while the flesh is juicy, succulent and with nice chewiness on it.

Tomahawk Steak
Tomahawk Steak
Tomahawk Steak
The tomahawk is served with salad with balsamic dressing, grilled tomatoes and three sauces; Brown sauce, honey mustard and chimichurri. (*Pre-order is required for the tomahawk steak promotional price to apply and waiting time is 45 to 90 minutes)

Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Honey Mustard, Chimichurri and Brown Sauce
Dessert is Black Sambo Panna Cotta ($14). Black Sambo is double-layered gelatin of chocolate and milk flavour. In short, it tasted like chocolate pudding with cream, topped with crushed pistachio, chocolate garnish and strawberries. Smooth bouncy texture and very comforting at the same time. Yumz!!

Black Sambo Panna Cotta
Black Sambo Panna Cotta
The setting of the restaurant is very cosy with dimmed lighting. The walls are purposely left with unfinished looks, showing some part of the bricks, creating the atmosphere that you are entering a wine cellar. Near the bar, a diverse range of wine are displayed prominently.

Part of Dining Area and The Bar
Part of Dining Area
The service team is very attentive. It had been raining before we arrived at WM, once we were seated the service staff immediately served us warm water. This allows us to get settled comfortably. Kudos to the team.

Check out the Daily Promotion for Wine Mansion Keong Saik below.

Daily Special
Overall, it was nice to be back at Wine Mansion Keong Saik. The dishes from the new menu are very delicious and well-executed. I like the Hyogo Oysters, Crispy Pork Belly, Pulled Pork Cheese Melts Quesadilla with Fries, Tomahawk Steak and Black Sambo Panna Cotta. Do visit Wine Mansion Keong Saik for your next dining destination. Cheers!!

Thank you very much Epicurious Caniggia for the invite and Team Wine Mansion Keong Saik for hosting us.

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

Wine Mansion
26 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089133

T: +65 6225 4468
OH:
Mon – Fri: 11.30 – 22.30
Sat: 17.00 – 22.30
Closed on Sunday

Sunday, 17 September 2023

Hai Tien Lo – Mid-Autumn Festival 2023 [MEDIA DROP]

Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival 2023 with Hai Tien Lo new and tantalising flavours snow skin mooncakes. It includes Strawberry Paste Hai Tien Lo No.1 Tea Ganache Snow Skin Mooncake, the enchanting Yam Paste White Rabbit Candy Ganache Mooncake, the Orange Paste Matcha Ganache Snow Skin Mooncake, and the Gula Melaka Paste with Desiccated Coconut Ganache Snow Skin Mooncake; a showcase of Hai Tien Lo’s unrivalled artistry in blending cherished nostalgia with contemporary culinary mastery.

Hai Tien Lo's Snow Skin Mooncakes
My pick from this range is the Orange Paste Matcha Ganache Snow Skin Mooncake, as the matcha blends well with the orange paste. Following that is the Gula Melaka Paste with Desiccated Coconut Ganache Snow Skin Mooncakes as it brings out the traditional local flavour, yet it does not look like the original local dessert.

Hai Tien Lo's Snow Skin Mooncakes
To complete the Snow Skin Mooncake line-up, Hai Tien Lo’s bestselling Mao Shan Wang Durian Snow Skin Mooncake.

Regular Gift Box with Snow Skin or Baked Mooncakes
Image Credit: Pan Pacific Singapore
The Traditional Baked Mooncakes will showcase Hai Tien Lo's delicate masterpiece – the No. 1 Tea Baked Mooncake, a harmonious fusion of East and West with its robust blend of tea and herbal ingredients to captivate and deliver an indulgent experience for tea connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. Baked mooncakes available this season also include the decadent Black Sesame Baked Mooncake, Single Yolk White Lotus Paste Baked Mooncake, and the Double Yolk White Lotus Paste Baked Mooncake.

Pan Pacific Singapore Hai Tien Lo No 1 Tea Baked Mooncake 2023
Image Credit: Pan Pacific Singapore
For those special someone, indulge in the epitome of luxury with our limited edition Four Treasures Baked Mooncakes Premium Gift Set, available with an accompanying teapot set or bottle of exquisite Taittinger Brut Réserve Champagne. This opulent set, placed within a stylish Hai Tien Lo leatherette bag, is the ideal gift for loved ones and esteemed business associates.

Premium Gift Box with Baked Mooncake Selection
Image Credit: Pan Pacific Singapore

Hai Tien Lo Mooncakes
When: 19 June to 29 September 2023
Collection: 18 August to 29 September 2023. 10.00 – 20.00 at Hotel’s Mooncake Booth,
Level 2 of Pan Pacific Singapore (beside JTB Lounge). Alternatively, delivery can be arranged from 10:00am to 8:00pm at a fee. Three working days are required for all orders to be processed.

Price of the mooncakes are as below:
For more information, please call +65 9009 5936 or email specialevents.ppsin@panpacific.com

Hai Tien Lo
7 Raffles Boulevard
Level 3, Pan Pacific Singapore
Marina Square, Singapore 039595

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