Saturday, 23 October 2021

Tapas Club – Spanish Dining Experience

Arroz Negro - Squid Ink Paella
It has been a while since LD & I had a taste of Spanish food. Therefore, prior to the group dining restriction enforce in September 2021, we decided to have a lunch gathering with our foodie friends at Tapas Club at Jewel. The restaurant presents a very focused food menu with less than 50 items from cold cuts to desserts.

Tapas Club - Dining Area Right
Tapas Club - Dining Area Left
We started with Jamon Iberico ($32). One of the most popular cold cuts from Spain, Iberico Ham served with Bread and Tomato. The bread is light and crispy, providing a good vessel for the sweet and tangy tomato sauce. The Jamon Iberico is sliced nicely allowing us to savour the delicious saltish and meaty texture of the ham. Yumz!

Jamon Iberico

Bread and Tomato

Bread and Tomato
Ensalada De Burrata ($18). This burrata salad can easily be mistaken for the Italian version. I notice the version here is creamy, yet lighter compare to the Italian burrata. The cheese is simply drizzled with olive oil and served on the bed of salads and tomatoes. Simplicity at its best.

Ensalada De Burrata 
Arroz Negro ($30 - Squid Ink Paella). Cooked and served on a shallow pan. I find the paella version at Tapas Bar is a blend of risotto with our claypot rice. It uses short-grain rice similar to risotto, which absorbs a substantial amount of stock and squid ink. For the top part, the rice is al-dente, plump and packed with flavour. The little drops of sour cream cuts through the richness of the squid ink and kind of reset your palate to enjoy more of the paella. Meanwhile, for those who like crispy rice, you should scoop the bottom part and enjoy the scorched rice. The mussels are tasty, though I find it a bit overcooked.

Arroz Negro - Squid Ink Paella
Calamares A La Romana ($16 – Battered Squid Rings). It has a crispy exterior followed by light and bouncy squid. The lemon and mayonnaise accompanied the squid rings nicely. It will be a better dish if the batter is evenly spread and it has a more consistent crispy texture.

Calamares A La Romana – Battered Squid Rings
Cojonudos ($16 – Chorizo & Quail Egg). These mini bites represent the essence of tapas. It served up different texture and flavours in one bite. The chorizo is chewy, smokey and spicy, followed with creamy and delicious quail egg on top of crispy toast. It like a party in your mouth.

Cojonudos - Chorizo & Quail Egg

Cojonudos - Chorizo & Quail Egg
We end our meal with Churros Con Chocolate ($9 -Churros with Chocolate sauce). It looks promising; however, I find the churros a bit doughy. The chocolate sauce is thick and solid.

Churros Con Chocolate - Churros with Chocolate sauce
Of course, Spanish dining is not complete without Sangria, Spanish sweet wine served cold.

Sangria

The décor of the restaurant is a blend of modern and traditional with a Spanish flair. You can’t miss the signature clay flowerpot, the flamenco logo and the robust passionate red colour representing Spain. The service is friendly and efficient.

Tapas Club - The Bar
Overall, it was a good Spanish dining experience at the Tapas Bar. The food, drink and dining companion making it a great dining experience. We’ll definitely return to try the rest of the menu. Salud!! Cheers!!

Tapas Club Menu
Image Credit: Tapas Club
If you are here for lunch, check out their lunch set offering. (See menu)

Tapas Club - Lunch Set Menu
Image Credit: Tapas Club
Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 7.75 /10
Budget per Person: $26 - $50

Tapas Club
78 Airport Blvd.
#03-220/221/222
Jewel Changi Airport
Singapore 819666

T: +65 6602 8081
IG: @Tapasclubsg
OH:
Mon – Fri: 12.00 – 15.00; 17.00 – 23.00
Sat & Sun: 12.00 – 23.00

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Gyu Co – Seriously Awesome Gyudon [MEDIA INVITE]

Classic Gyudon plus Meal Set
The Gyu Co present to you their humble Gyudonya. Located at Vision Exchange, Jurong East, The Gyu Co focused on everything about Gyu (beef). Currently, The Gyu Co focused on churning out Gyudonya before adding new creations for their dinner service menu at a later stage.

The Gyu Co
Classic Gyudon ($9.90 for reg, $15.90 for double meat). I was scratching my head at first when I saw the price. I was not sure what to expect as most premium Gyudonya is usually priced from $16 and above.

Classic Gyudon plus Meal Set
The plating is neat, showcasing all the toppings blanketing the rice completely. You can see the sliced beef, onsen egg, the homemade sauce with its root vegetables, pickled ginger and spring onion.

Australian Wagyu Beef
The beef has a good marbling, it is juicy and succulent. The onsen egg is cooked to perfection, the yolk gently flows into the toppings when you poke it. Meanwhile, the homemade sauce is thick, sweet yet mellow perfectly bind all the ingredients together. You can also see the sliced burdock root spread all over the topping. It is comforting, very delicious gyudon and worth every cent.

Burdock Root
Truffle Foie Gras Gyudon ($17.90 for reg, $23.90 for double meat). While the basic ingredients are the same as the classic gyudon, the shaved truffle and pan-fried foie gras are added to this bowl. If you serve this bowl in a high-end Japanese restaurant, you are looking at a substantial dent in your pocket.

Truffle Foie Gras Gyudon
There is one thick cut of foie gras served on top, plus a few smaller pieces hidden below the toppings. LD and I notice that the truffle aroma is very delicate, unlike those stinkers from artificial truffle oils. The use of shave truffle enhances the overall flavour of the gyudon. After you mixed all the ingredients evenly, you can taste the foie gras in each scoop of the rice. Yummy!!

Truffle Foie Gras Gyudon
The hidden Foie Gras
You can complete each gyudon / don with Make it a set! Miso + Chawanmushi + Drink ($3.50). The chawanmushi is filled with extra ingredients, such as Japanese fish cake, bits of prawns and sliced mushrooms. The flavour of the chawanmushi is on the lighter side and the same can be expected with their miso soup. According to Wilson, the owner, this is to cater “health-conscious” lunch crowd from in the building.

Make it a Set! Drink
He also highlighted that most of the ingredients like the sauces and even slicing of the beef are made in house and from scratch. Therefore, their gyudon has its own unique flavour and tasted delicious.

Chicken Karaage
Chicken Karaage ($5). It is crisp externally, followed by juicy and succulent flesh. It is served with generous dollops of mayonnaise, furikake plus healthy cabbage and lettuce at the bottom. Missing from this side dish is a slice of lemon, which might further enhance the taste.

Chicken Karaage
The Chicken
The décor is simple. Due to the size of the shop, most of the seats will be located outside the shop. Service is limited but friendly. You grab a seat, place your order at the cashier, play with your handphone and wait till your food comes.

CBK Verdict: A very nice Gyudon and value for money. Definitely worth a visit. If I work nearby or stay in the West, I will have the gyudon regularly. Cheers!!

Menu 1
Menu 2
Thank you very much Protegie Consultancy and The Gyu Co team for hosting us.

Food & Drinks: 8/10
Value: 8.5/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 6/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25

The Gyu Co
2 Venture Dr
#02-35 Vision Exchange
Singapore 608526

T: +65 8233 9138
IG: @Thegyuco
OH:
Mon – Sat: 11.30 – 14.00; 17.00 - 21.00
*Limited to 100 portions per meal service

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Dapur Penyet – Authentic Indonesian Comfort Food

Bebek Penyet @ Daput Penyet

We found Dapur Penyet when we were looking for a place to sit while waiting for my turn to collect my items from a collection point in Centrepoint. The set-up of the shop is almost like any fast-food chain, however, instead of the usual Western fare, you get Indonesian food.

Our first time there, we tried Siomay ($7.50) and Batagor ($7.50). Siomay is steam Indonesian fish dumplings served with steamed cabbage, beancurd, hard-boiled egg and peanut sauce dipping. It is one of LD’s favourite Indonesian dishes and the version here got her approval. The fish dumplings are bouncy, tasty, while the peanut sauce is aromatic and packs with flavour.

Siomay
Meanwhile, the Batagor is the fried version of the fish dumplings. The ingredients are the same with siomay, except the fish dumplings are deep-fried.

Bebek Penyet ($10.50). Smashed Fried Duck. The fried duck has a crispy exterior, followed by fork-tender and succulent flesh. The flesh also infused with spices derive from long hours boiling in spices filled broth, while the deep frying just intensifies the flavour. The crispy crumbs on top also add different texture to the dish. The bebek penyet is usually served with sambal terasi (Indonesian shrimp paste sambal), but I ask for no chilli. I feel that I like the duck version better than the ayam penyet, as it has more flesh and is more succulent.

Bebek Penyet
Ayam Ijo ($7.50). Smashed Fried Chicken with Padang Green Chilli Sauce. LD got the breast part of the chicken instead of the thigh part. Although the exterior is crispy, the breast meat is dry. The Padang Green Chilli is very spicy and LD describes it as SHIOK!!. (Next time I need to remember to write down Chicken Thigh).

Ayam Ijo
Ikan Joget ($12.50). Fried Sundanese Dancing Fish. A uniquely Indonesian dish. The flesh of the tilapia fish is sliced in such a way, making the fish stand up after it is deep-fried. It has a crisp exterior with juicy flesh. While it is delicious, this dish can be better if it is crispier, so you can enjoy the crispy fins and tail like keropok.

Ikan Joget

Ikan Joget
The fried chicken and fish are served with fried crispy tofu and boiled cabbage. The staple does not come with your protein order. So, remember to order it separately. Nasi Putih ($1) - White rice.

Nasi Putih
The décor of the place is a typical fast-food setup. It is simple and functional. The service staff is friendly; however, you need to place your order at the counter, collect your drink and wait for the beeper to page you to collect your food. Everything is self-service, except for cleaning your table afterwards.

Water, Lime Juice & Lime Juice with Sour Plum
Overall, Dapur Penyet serves Indonesian style of comfort food. It is delicious and it will satisfy your Indonesian food cravings. Cheers!

Menu 1

Menu 2
Food & Drinks: 7.25/10
Value: 7.75/10
Service: N/A (Fast food concept)
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $0 - $10; $11 - $25

Dapur Penyet
176 Orchard Road
#01-59/62, The Centrepoint
Singapore 238843

T: +65 6734 2840
IG: @Dapurpenyetsingapore
OH: Daily 10.00 – 21.00 (LO 20.30)

Other Location
810 Geylang Road
#01-43, City Plaza
Singapore 409286
T: +65 6842 5034

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Pi Food – The Good, OK ONLY and Die Die Must Improve

Steamed Kwei Fei Chicken - One Serving 
It all started when a photo of Steamed Kwei Fei Chicken (贵妃鸡)pop up on LD’s IG, making it an open invitation to visit Pi Food. I first tried it in Hong Kong and it become a must order dish when I am there. So, when a new place opens up in Singapore serving Kwei Fei Chicken, I must give it a try. This led to our 1st visit to Pi Food in August.

Pi Food
The Good
The Steamed Kwei Fei Chicken is served in three sizes; one serving, half and whole ($13.80 / $18.80 / $35). Our first impression was WOW, the version here is one of the closest versions compare to those that we ate in Hong Kong.

Steamed Kwei Fei Chicken - One Serving 
The chicken has a bouncy skin, marinated with turmeric and ginger powder, followed by succulent flesh. The thigh meat is juicy and even the breast meat is very tender. You will also notice the layer of chicken fats jelly in between the cuts. Yummy!

The Jelly Fats
The ginger and scallion dipping sauce is very powerful here. It complements the chicken nicely, or you can mix it with white rice or noodle. For us, the chicken is cooked to perfection. Meaning, you can see a bit of blood near or in the bones.

Steamed Kwei Fei Chicken - Half Chicken (return visit)  
The positive impression on the first visit led to a return visit in September. This time around, we notice the quality drop in this dish. It was served colder than the last time and it is missing the layer of the jelly fats on the chicken. What happen? Something wrong with the SOP? Hopefully, the team take notice of this and improve on its consistency.

Cold and No Fats (return visit)
Scallop and Egg White Fried Rice ($13.80). The fried rice impresses us with the generosity of the ingredients and the perfectly executed wok skills. The rice is al-dente, light, fragrant and tasty. You can taste the egg white, shredded conpoy and scallops in each bite.

Scallop and Egg White Fried Rice
Steam Rice Pork Ribs with Black Bean ($10.80). This huge bowl of steam rice can easily satisfy 2 pax. The pork ribs are tender and succulent, while the black bean sauce comes with a bit of spicy kick. Steamed together, they infused the aroma and flavours into the rice.

Steam Rice Pork Ribs with Black Bean 

The Rice
The OK Only
HK Fresh Shrimp Wanton Noodle ($10.80). It has a similar look and feels to the one served in Crystal Jade Kitchen and Imperial Treasure Kitchen. The broth is made from prawn stock, light in flavour. While the egg noodle is thin and slim, but it is on the softer side instead of springy. Luckily the solid and crunchy shrimp wantons carry this dish crossing the acceptable line.

HK Fresh Shrimp Wanton Noodle

The Egg Noodle
Kailan in Oyster Sauce ($4.80). It is thick and crunchy. Not much can go wrong with this dish, except this time around it is excessively bitter plus missing the OMPH from the oyster sauce.

Kailan in Oyster Sauce
Milk Tea. I tried both the hot and the cold versions of the milk tea. For the hot version, the portion of the tea and milk is almost right, although I feel the tea can be stronger. Since they also use the same measurement for the cold milk tea, it does not take into account the water content from the ice, resulting in weak and watery iced milk tea. Better to order the hot version on the safe side. I won’t be happy paying $3 / $3.50 for watery iced milk tea.

Milk Tea - Cold

Milk Tea - Hot
The Bad (Die Die Must Improve)
Any 3 Combination Platter ($25.80), we choose Char Siew, Crispy Pork Belly & Roast Duck. It is one of the worst meat platters we ever had. The roast pork is so gamy / porky, we left half of it untouched. We know that restaurants sometimes reheat the meat with microwave, however, this time the heat on the roast pork is inconsistent. Some part hot, some part cold.

Any 3 Combination Platter ($25.80)
Char Siew, Crispy Pork Belly & Roast Duck
The roast duck and Iberico char siew (supposed to be signature) barely passed. The char siew is lacked of flavour and characters; it is just disappointing. I think they need to get a better-quality supplier for their roast meat. Seriously, I tried a better “Ready to Eat” char siew, than the one served here.

PI French Toast ($5.80). Their attempt to create an up-market version of the French Toast, feels like a secondary school kids home economic final project. The bread is sliced too thin and the heat control is just amateurish. Instead of a crispy exterior, the toast soaks up the frying oil like a sponge. Tasted like eating a peanut butter sandwich that passed its expiry date. Yucks!! They need to get back to basic on this, use a “THICK TOAST”, be generous with the eggs and use a thermometer and timer to ensure the correct temperature and cooking time.

PI French Toast

PI French Toast - Soggy 
The service staff at Pi Food is hospitable. Do take note that this is not a full-service restaurant. You need to place your order at the counter and make payment first. Unlike most Cha Chan Teng in Singapore paying tribute to nostalgic Hong Kong in the 80s and 90s, PI Food décor is modern, simplistic and fun. I like the full-length windows, allowing abundance of natural lights to brighten the restaurant. Also, a plus point for the train making its rounds at the ceiling of the restaurant.

Menu 1

Menu 2
Overall, we find the gap between the best and the worst food here is just too wide. A lot of work needs to be done to improve their overall food standard and consistency. Luckily, Pi Food is still in the infancy stage, hopefully, they can learn and improve. Just observe and learn from the more popular Hong Kong brands that are doing well and expanding in Singapore recently. Cheers!!

Food & Drinks: 6/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 6.5/10
Ambiance: 7.25/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50

Pi Food
9 Penang Road
#01-18
Singapore 238459

T:+65 9239 0686
W: https://pi-food.business.site/ (in Chinese Only)
IG: @Pifood.sg
OH: Daily 11.00 – 22.00

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