Friday, 17 September 2021

Aburiya – Japanese Wagyu Yakiniku

Wagyu Akami Foie Gras 
Aburiya is a Japanese Yakiniku restaurant that prides itself in sourcing the best Wagyu all around Japan for the pleasure of your palate. In Singapore, they are located at Boat Quay and Robertson Quay. This time around we visited their Boat Quay outlet.

Aburiya @ Boat Quay
Aburiya at Boat Quay occupied 2 shophouses. One unit is for indoor yakiniku and the other is set up like a bar / izakaya-style with al-fresco seating.

While waiting for the charcoal grill to heat up and the meat to be sliced, we munched on Namuru Mori ($10) & Kimchi Mori ($10). Since it is Japanese yakiniku instead of not a Korean bbq, you need to pay for side dishes. Namuru Mori is a mixture of non-spicy Japanese side dishes include Beansprout, seasoned burdock, seasoned spinach and seaweed. While the Kimchi Mori consists of Chinese cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, okra kimchi and cucumber kimchi.

Namuru Mori

Kimchi Mori
One of our makan kaki ordered Large Asahi Dry Beer, which comes with a mini side dish of pickled wagyu trimmings. It is fatty, juicy, soaked in tangy juice. It helps to open up your appetite.

Sidedish for Beer
Wagyu Akami Foie Gras ($18). For this wagyu and foie gras combination, we were not told how to cook it. However, after a bit of trial and error, I suggest you do the following. Grill the wagyu directly on the fire and the foie gras cooked on the aluminium tin. Once the beef is charred, cooked to rare take it out and let them rest. Once the foie gras is almost cooked, tossed the beef back into the tin, to absorb the butter and fats from the foie gras. Once the foie gras are cooked, take them out and eat the beef together with the foie gras. Although the combo is delicious, I find the foie gras here has a very strong gamy flavour.

Wagyu Akami Foie Gras 

Wagyu Akami Foie Gras - Cooked
Wagyu Roast Beef Yukke ($16) or known as Wagyu tartare. The raw beef is coated with fresh egg yolk and spring onion. Aburiya uses a leaner cut for the yukke, delivering a slightly chewy texture. I would prefer if they use a fattier cut, for that melt in your mouth sensation.

Wagyu Roast Beef Yukke
Tokusen Kazoku Mori ($88). This platter consists of 3 premium wagyu, outside skirt, wagyu finger ribs, pork belly, chicken, pork sausage, corn, mushroom and onions. We take this as a tasting platter. We grilled the outside skirt and wagyu finger ribs first, as they are the lean cuts plus vegetables on the sides Followed by chicken, sausage and pork belly. The idea is to start with average meat and finish off with the fattiest / best cuts.

Tokusen Kazoku Mori
The chicken is juicy and succulent, while the sausage is firm and full of flavours. The pork belly is sliced too thin, it does not leave a lasting impression. The outside skirt and ribs have less marbling and come with a bit of muscle. Therefore, it is chewy and meaty, preparing us for the best cuts to come.

For the 3-premium wagyu, you start cooking from the less marbled cuts to the most marbled cuts. You can’t go wrong with the premium wagyu. They are juicy, buttery, delicate and slowly dissolve in your mouth with each bite. Yummy!.

Beef Tongue
We followed it with 2 servings of Tokusen Wagyu Sirloin ($34 for 1st plate, $17 for 2nd plate) on promotion. Sirloin is probably is most balance cut for the wagyu. You don’t want your wagyu overly fat, because it will be too overwhelming for the palate. The proportion of the marbling and meat in the sirloin is just perfect, delivering a juicy buttery texture of wagyu beef. #beefgasm.

Tokusen Wagyu Sirloin
For the finale, we tried three different seasonings for the beef tongue. Tongue ($20), Negi Shio Tongue (Marinated with Japanese Leek Sauce, $22) and Atsugiri Tongue (Premium Cut of the beef tongue, $24).

Negi Shio Tongue
The regular tongue has a thick cut, delivering a crisp, bouncy and meaty texture of the tongue The leek negi shio has a thinner slice, yet the distinct sweetness from the leek marination enhanced the flavour of the tongue. Meanwhile, Atsugiri taste like a premium wagyu cut, it simply melts in your mouth. It is indeed an exquisite experience.

Atsugiri Tongue

Atsugiri Tongue
The décor in Aburiya is distinctively Japanese with light colour cedar wood dominate the seats, dining table and even the booth area. Service is friendly and efficient.

Part of the Dining Area
Overall, Aburiya delivers a wonderful yakiniku experience. The price is very reasonable and the wagyu cuts are excellent. We’ll return to try the rest of their menu. Kanpai!! Cheers!!

Food & Drinks: 7.5/10
Value: 7.25/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80; $81 and above.

Aburiya
78 & 79 Boat Quay
Singapore 049866

T: +65 6532 0365 / 8499 6064
IG:@Aburiyasg
OH: Daily 18.00 – 23.00

The Robertson Quay Outlet
60 Robertson Quay
#01-03 The Quayside
Singapore 238252
T: +65 6735 4862 / 9129 7242
OH:
Mon – Sat: 18.00 – 23.30 (LO 22.30)
Sun: 18.00 – 22.30 (LO 22.00)

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang – Jalan Besar [MEDIA INVITE]

Chong Qing Style Skewer Hotpot @ Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang

Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang (“LJCCX”), a renowned Chinese hotpot restaurant serving Chong Qing style skewer hotpot. The LJCCX brand in China already has over 500 outlets in China and its 1st Singapore outlet opened its doors in 2017.

Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang @ Jalan Besar
LJCCX Singapore has just launched its second outlet in Jalan Besar. In this outlet, LJCCX will also serve signature private dining dishes by the distinguished Chef Ng Sen Tio. Chef Ng has more than 30 years of Chinese culinary experience, including his last stint at Yàn, National Gallery.

1st Floor, dining area
We started the tasting session with Chef Ng signature Lobster Noodle (龙虾伊面, $120 for 1kg). The lobster is fresh and perfectly cooked. The flesh is bouncy and packed with flavour. The best part is the ee-fu noodles, smooth, silky and infused with the essence of the lobster and seafood broth. Yumz! A great start to the meal.

Lobster Noodle

Lobster Noodle
While we were enjoying the lobster noodles, our hotpot broth slowly simmers and reach the boiling point. We have 4 flavour soup base ($18); Mala 麻辣锅底 (清油), Green Pepper Chilli Mala (李记独特青一色锅底, plus $2), Chicken Broth (三鲜鸡汤锅底) and Tomato Broth(番茄锅底).

The Hotpot Broth (Clockwise from top left):
Tomato, Green Pepper Chilli Mala,  Mala, Chicken
The soup bases have been fine-tuned to suit the Singaporeans’ lighter palate; if needed, they can also be adjusted to suit your taste. For example, the version of the mala here is less salty and less “mala” compared to those in China. However, they can bring up the “Power” like those in China upon request. On top of the normal mala, the popular Green Pepper Chilli add a unique touch of sourness that will open up your appetite. Like Mala X Tom Yum. Frankly, LD and I are not a fan of mala, so we are glad the flavour is less spicy.

Cooking the Skewers
In most of the hotpot restaurants that we have been to, we notice that the broth is usually very flavourful at the start, then it will become diluted after a few top-ups. The surprising part about the chicken and tomato soup base at LJCCX is that the flavour becomes more intense and robust after a few top-ups. We really enjoy the flavours at the end. Plus, we notice we did not get any MSG attack after the meal. This is a plus point here.

Pork With Corriander Skewer
Into the pot are the skewers (50 cents each). This kind of reminds me of lok lok, the stick hot pot that is famous in Melaka. We have Beef with Coriander Skewer (香菜牛肉), Pork with Coriander Skewer (香菜猪肉), Special Recipe Beef (秘制鸡肉) and Special Recipe Chicken. The beef and pork on the skewers are tender, spicy with a strong hint of cumin. To my surprise, the Special Recipe Chicken are juicy and succulent, although it uses breast meat.

Special Recipe Chicken Skewers

Special Recipe Chicken Skewer
Not limited to meat, vegetables also come in skewers, such as winter melon, broccoli, lotus root, potato, pumpkin and mushrooms.

Vegetable Skewers
For the plate ingredients, we tried Signature Beef Slices ($8), Chinese Yam ($6), Pork Belly ($8), Fresh Prawn Paste / ball ($10), Sweet Potato Noodle ($5), Fatty Beef Slices ($8), Ring Roll ($4), Pork Collar ($8) and Tang Oh ($5). Don’t expect the super high-end ingredients, considering the price, but the quality of the ingredients that they used are very good.

Part of their Wine / Spirit Menu
We ended the meal with 3 Treasure Dessert Plate (三宝金典甜品, $8) from Chef Ng. It is a red bean and banana paste wrapped in pastry, accompanied with watermelon and refreshing ice jelly topped with diced hawthorn flakes. It is a nicely plated Chinese dessert that showcases the skill of Chef Ng and also hoses down the heat from the hot pot. LD is not a fan of red bean but she is pleasantly surprised that the banana in the pastry actually covered the taste of red bean so well.

3 Treasure Dessert Plate 

The Banana Red Bean Pastry
The décor is spacious, bright and Oriental setting. There are two-level seating areas and private rooms located on the 2nd floor.

2nd floor dining area
Overall, Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang at Jalan Besar showcased the perfect reunion between private dining and hot pot. The culinary experience of Chef Ng plays a big part in serving up exquisites private dining menu and we also find the LJCCX hot pot has a diverse range of offerings for mala and non-mala lovers as well. Looks like LD and I will return to try out their other dishes. Cheers!!

Note: Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang also offer a delivery service for the steamboat. We find the price is very reasonable and the offerings are extensive. Check out their menu and order online from www.lijichuanchuan.sg

Thank you very much Jennifer Yeo Consultancy and Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang Team for hosting us.

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

Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang 李记串串香
206 Jalan Besar
Singapore 208892

T: +65 6291 2289
IG: @lijichuanchuanxiang
OH: Daily 12.00 – Midnight
Full Menu for Dine-In and Delivery are available online

Flagship Restaurant
295 South Bridge Road
Singapore 058838
T: +65 6221 9629
OH: Daily 12.00 – Midnight

Sunday, 5 September 2021

WKD Cuts – Steak Tasting Pop Up

Dry Aged Tasting Platter

Last week, the foodie algorithm in my IG (@Chubbybotakkoala) displayed a sponsored post by WKD Cuts on their Steak Tasting Pop Up. I send the screenshot to LD and she said Let’s Go!!

WKD Cuts is a purveyor of the best quality meats and serving them up to perfection. Their business model is to deliver perfectly cooked meat (beef, lamb, pork plus sides) to your doorstep. Taking their business to the next level, WKD Cuts is having a Pop Up at Duxton for 2 weeks. Due to strong response, the team has extended the pop up till 02 October 2021.

WKD Cuts Steak Tasting Pop Up Menu
Image Credit: WKD Cuts
As a foodie, we love trying new things and steak tasting give us the freedom to try different cuts at one seating. A quick check through their booking website, we manage to get seating, though it is at the lounge area instead of the dinner area. While the menu is the same, you are seated on a comfortable leather sofa and eat your food from a knee-height table for the lounge area. Not ideal, but it seems to be the trend nowadays.

We wanted to order Smoked Burratina ($24) to start our meal, however, it runs out. Therefore, we decided to skip the starters and load up on the main. We decided on Dry Aged Tasting Platter ($148). Consist of:
100g USDA Angus 45 Days Dry-Aged Grain-Fed Striploin,
100g John Stone Irish Dry Aged Grass-Fed Beef Ribeye,
500g Galician Australian 45 Days Dry-Aged Bone-in Ribeye.
However, the grass-fed ribeye is unavailable, so the team replace it with upsized Bone-in Ribeye.

Dry Aged Tasting Platter
Left: Striploin, Right:Bone-in Ribeye, Top Right: Foie Gras and Bone Marrow
We enhance our platter further with Foie Gras ($12), Bone Marrow ($18) and Bearnaise Sauce ($6). WKD served a warm bread basket for us to nibble. We did not know that the waiting time is more than 40 minutes, so we decline the offer of extra bread. Big mistake on our side, because we had only brunch as we expected to overload ourselves with meat. Do take note to order a starter or accept the extra bread.

Bread Basket
Our dry-aged tasting platter is surely a heart-stopper. All the proteins are nicely grilled, with a charred exterior and medium-rare doneness internally. The 100g USDA Angus 45 Days Dry-Aged Grain-Fed Striploin just hits the spot for us. It has the right marbling, intense MOO MOO flavour and a slight bite in each of the cuts.

USDA Angus 45 Days Dry-Aged Grain-Fed Striploin
Our 800g Galician Australian 45 Days Dry-Aged Bone-in Ribeye (a.k.a Côte de boeuf) deliver a meaty steak, filled with rich MOO MOO flavour. Don’t expect a melt in your mouth sensation, this cuts one is for those who prefer the longer chewing process of their steak.

800g Galician Australian 
45 Days Dry-Aged Bone-in Ribeye.

The platter is served with three different types of salt, lemon and also grilled garlic. However, we find the steaks are nicely seasoned and you don’t even need the extra sauce.

The additional foie gras that we ordered is thick and well-executed. Slightly crisp externally, followed with buttery and velvety texture internally. The bone marrow is slightly disappointing as it has a shallow depth and we can only extract around 2/3 of the marrow instead of the whole bone length.

Foie Gras
Duroc 21 Days Dry Aged Pork Chop ($30). #Porkgasm. Our first experience with exotic pork chop dated back to 2014. Once you tried Duroc, Mangalica or Nagano pork, you won’t ever look at pork chop the same again. We find Korabuta and Iberico are too common. The Dry-aged Duroc is nicely seared and cooked to medium doneness. If you can’t take your pork chop pink in the middle, you should give it a miss. The meat is juicy, succulent and it has a high-fat content. The grilled onion on the side helps to balance the “jelakness” in this meat. Yumz!!

Duroc 21 Days Dry Aged Pork Chop 

Duroc 21 Days Dry Aged Pork Chop
For the sides, we have Roasted Ratte Potatoes ($15) and Creamed Spinach ($12). The potatoes are fragrant, crispy externally and soft internally. Cooked in duck fat and rosemary, it adds crispiness and a nice aroma to the potatoes.

Roasted Ratte Potatoes

Meanwhile, the creamed spinach portion is very generous. We enjoy the freshness of the spinach, perfectly cooked in the cream. We highly recommended these two sides to accompany your steak.

Creamed Spinach
Overall, we find the food are delicious and this pop up allows foodies to try out different types of meat from different suppliers worldwide. The Duroc pork chop is an absolute must try. We just hope that in the future, the team can consider adding steak knives in the cutlery arsenal and warm up the plates before serving. The warm plates prolong the fats from coagulating early and allow diners to enjoy the steak longer. Hopefully, we can come back for another round. Cheers!!

Food & Drinks: 7.75/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80; $81 and Above

WKDcuts Steak Tasting Pop-Up
9a Duxton Hill
Singapore 089676

T: +65 9782 2661
W: http://wkdcuts.com/popup (for Pop up)
http://wkdcuts.com (For delivery)
IG: @Wkdcuts
OH: 18.00 – 22.30
Seating: Dining Area – 2nd Floor, Lounge – 3rd Floor.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

The Clan Hotel Singapore – Premier Room Review

The Clan - Premier Room 

The Clan Hotel Singapore ★★★★★(5 Stars Hotel)
10 Cross Street
Singapore 048417

T: +65 6228 6388
IG: @Theclanhotel

Room Type: Premier Room
Stayed: March 2021
Booking: Direct with Hotel (Opening Promotion) – Complimentary 2nd-night stay.

The Clan

The Clan is a modern luxury hotel by Far East Organisation located nearby Singapore Central Business District. Nestled in the heart of Telok Ayer, The Clan is inspired by its historical surroundings and drew inspiration from the Chinese immigrants who settled in Singapore during the 19th century.

Unlike other luxury hotels that have a grand entrance, The entrance to The Clan is inconspicuous, cloaked and you won’t think twice about it when you drive past it. Even when we arrived at the drop off point to put our luggage, I thought we are arrived at an affluence executive club or entering the den of the unknown secret society, especially when you passed by the gigantic black door.

Location (9.5/10)
Situated above Telok Ayer MRT station and junction of Telok Ayer Street and Cross Street, The Clan offer a perfect location for foodies. It is gastronomic heaven. A few steps from the Clan you have restaurants, gastro pubs at Far East Square, China Square Food Centre and China Square Central. Across the street, the Telok Ayer gastronomic area, from K-BBQ, Japanese, Café, and Western selections.

The View from the room
Also located within a short walking distance are Amoy Street Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Hong Lim Complex and Market Street Interim Hawker Centre.

It is a walking distance to most of the amenities in CBD, Chinatown and the Singapore River.

Room (9.5/10)
Cleanliness (10/10). Space (10/10). Room Amenities (9.5/10). Ambience (9/10)

The Premier Room boasting the size of 31 M2. It is bright, cosy, spacious and feels brand new. I like the modern décor, paired with classical touch and dark colour wood interior. Most of the furniture is built-in, including the side tables and benches under the windows making it feel extra spacious.

The Clan - Premier Room 
The king-size bed is huge and sturdy. The mattress is firm, topped with a very comfortable pillow and quilt allowing you a comfortable good night rest. Don’t expect a greenery or sea view out of the windows, instead, you will be surrounded by skyscrapers and gazette shophouses.

King Size Bed
Hot beverages options come with Nespresso coffee, the traditional Clan tea set and customisable in-room refreshment that you can order through their booking confirmation link before you check-in. To reduce the environmental footprint, provide a nanofiber membrane technology water tap, located at the basin to replace the bottled drinking water.

Open Wardrobe and Hot Drinks Counter

The Clan Tea Selection

Customisable in-room Refreshment
Near the seating area by the window, we also receive a unique “Welcome Amenity Kit” sitting on the transparent teapot set. In the box, wrapped with cloth, consist of Nanyang Ritual Oolong Tea paired with Bak Kut Teh Cookies.

The Clan's Touch

The Clan's Touch
You will be indulged by the spacious shower area that comes with a rain shower option. The toilet bowl comes fully automated washlet, like those commonly found in Japan, including the dryer and even heated seat. Unfortunately, the Premier room does not come with a bathtub and I find the basin is too small, considering the size of the toilet overall.

The Shower

Toilet & Basin

Fully Automated Washlet

Basin with Nanofiber Membrane Technology Water Tap for drinking

As part of the 5 Star Hotel experience, you will also receive a turndown service in the evening.

|Working Table

Room Entertainment (8.5/10)
To keep you entertained in the room, they have a moveable huge flat-screen TV 50” or above, Audio Pro Bluetooth speaker and WiFi. I did not manage to do a speed test for the WiFi; however, it is sufficient for me to do my work.

Moveable Flat Screen TV

Bluetooth Speaker

Dining – Breakfast (8.5/10)
The booking comes with complimentary breakfast for 2 adults at the main restaurant, QIN Restaurant & Bar by Tung Lok.

QIN Restaurant & Bar by Tung Lok
Image Credit: Booking.com

Due to the COVID situation, the breakfast is ala-carte, where you can choose one main each. Each order is served with traditional local toast, an artisanal fruit bowl and free flow of fruit juice and tea / coffee.

Traditional local Toast with Homemade Kaya and Butter & Artisanal Fruit Bowl

Pancakes
Since we stayed for 2 nights, we tried most of the breakfast menu. Overall, the food is well above average especially their traditional toast. It is a brioche-like toast served with homemade kaya and butter is not to be missed.

Chef;s Daily Special

The QIN Breakfast

Hotel Facilities (9/10)
The rooftop infinity swimming pool is just magnificent. It has a good view of the Singapore skyline and offers a nice place to chill. The Sky Gym is located on the 30th floor, providing a great view for your workout.

Rooftop Infinity Swimming Pool
Image Credit: Booking.com

Rooftop Infinity Swimming Pool - The View

Resting Area outside Sky Gym
The Lobby of the hotel is located on the 2nd floor. While completing our check-in process, we are attended by the Tea Master, who served us The Clan special blended tea, Tau Sar Piah and a cold towel. (Hint: if you don’t like a hot tea, ask the Tea Master for their Cold Brew tea) This added to the atmosphere of entering the secret society den.

Reception 
Image Credit: Booking.com

The Tea Master at Tea Station

Welcome Refreshment
While the space in the lobby is not huge, it also acts as a mini-museum, displaying artwork and daily items used by the immigrants when they arrived in Singapore.

Mini Museum at The Lobby

Mini Museum at Level 30
Check out the outdoor area on the 4th floor. A nice place to chill out and have a drink.

Outdoor Seating Area 

Services (10/10)
The service is faultless. Friendly, attentive and you almost feel like you have your own interchangeable personal butler. Starting with the concierge, service staff, dining staff and housekeeping. Thank you, Mr Sam Gil, the guest experience manager for the awesome experience.

Complimentary Birthday Cake

Since we stayed there during LD’s birthday, she received a complimentary birthday cake.

Others Perks (9/10)
The booking also comes with:
- 1-way limo transfer (we did not use)
- Local precinct tour experience led by The Clan Keeper
- Complimentary 2nd night stay
- Complimentary Parking
- $100 voucher for next stay at either Oasia Hotel Downtown, Orchard Rendezvous Hotel, The Barracks Hotel (valid for redemption from 1 May to 23 Dec 2021)

CBK Verdict
A memorable staycation. Highly Recommended and will bookmark The Clan for a future staycation.

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