Wednesday 27 February 2013

Etna @ Upper East Coast / Siglap – Delightful Italian Food with Sicilian Touch

We have frequented Etna @ Duxton a few times before and we are well aware of the standard of their food and service. So this time around when we are looking for Italian food in the east, we decided to try their upper east coast / siglap outlet.

Located on the first floor of a private residence in Siglap, this outlet has indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant ambiance is very cosy, with leathered chair and white clothed table. Feels like you are entering a fine dining restaurant with a homely service.

We started the dinner with Burrata di Andria con Rucola, Pomodorini Pachino e Prosciutto di Parma (in short – Burrata cheese with Parma ham - $32). We like this dish because of the combination soft and mild flavour of Burrata mozzarella cheese with the Prosciutto di Parma. The salad light and it lets the ingredients speaks for itself. Yummyy!!

Burrata cheese with Parma ham

Next come the pasta, I ordered Strozzapreti con Coda alla Vaccinara – Homemade pasta in slow-cooked oxtail tomato sauce ($26). Presentation wise, this dish might not be the most appealing, however don't judge a dish from its look. The oxtail meat is tender, fall of the bone but not mushy. The homemade pasta is thicker then normal pasta, and a little past al dente. However, the texture allow the rich tomato sauce to absorb and cling onto the pasta.

Homemade pasta in slow-cooked oxtail tomato sauce

My other half ordered the Seafood Risotto with tomato base version ($26). This is actually a special order and we are glad the Chefs at Etna for accepting the order. A perfectly cooked risotto with the natural fresh seafood. The tomato base sauce is light not as heavy as the cream sauce. Compliment to the Chef.

Seafood Risotto with tomato base version

A friend of ours ordered Taglierini al Nero di Seppia ai Frutti di Mare – Squid ink pasta with seafood ($26). She gave her two thumbs up for the pasta.

Squid ink pasta with seafood

Next come the Pizze Bianche Etna – White pizzas, mozzarella cheese base with porcini mushrooms, Parma ham, cream cheese and pistachio ($26). The dough is crispy, but the ingredients are still moist. The saltiness of the parma ham goes well with the cream cheese and porcini mushrooms. The grind pistachio is mild add to the texture, but not on the flavour.

Pizze Bianche Etna 

For desserts we ordered Creme Brule alla Banana ($14) and Etna Lava Cake served with Hazelnut ice cream ($14). The lava cake is good, with the liquid chocolate oozing from the cake goes well with the hazelnut ice cream. While the banana crème brulee does not sit well with us. We just find banana and crème brulee is a not a match.

Creme Brulee alla Banana

Etna Lava Cake served with Hazelnut ice cream

Service is very good. The service staff has a good knowledge of the menu and very accommodating. At one stage, the lady head chef actually came out to check on us and jokingly tell me to stop being a paparazzi of her food.

Overall, if someone ask me to recommend an Italian food, I will not hesitate to recommend Etna. The price is not cheap, but you are paying for the quality. Can't wait for my next visit, Grazie e Arrivederci !!

Food & Drink: 8/10 (but desserts 7/10)
Value: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10.

Etna @ Upper East Coast
Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
110 Upper East Coast Road
Singapore 455298

Tel: 6444 9530
Op Hours:
Mon – Sat: 12.00 – 14.30; 18.30 – 22.30
Sunday: 11.00 – 23.00
Menu and Online reservation available on their website.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Ren Ren Desserts – Good Desserts in Unexpected Location

You will not expect to find any good food in Katong Shopping Centre, but surprising there is a very decent dessert shop at the basement of the old shopping mall. This building is renowned for its numerous maid agencies, internet cafe, snooker place and some clothing shops cater for the older generations. It was by accident that we find this place as we were helping our friend to look for a domestic helper.

Sunday 17 February 2013

AngMoh Noodle House / Hong Mao Mian Jia

The Shop
This Noodle House recently made the news because two of the loyal patrons partner with former Park Royal chef bought over the store from the previous owner who decided to retire. For the article on the buy over, you can check on their Facebook page.

Friday 15 February 2013

[CLOSED] Kare Express Grill (KEG) – Simple and Delicious Japanese Curry

The Stall
Found this place by accident when I went out for lunch with my colleagues. The coffee shop is located behind Ang Mo Kio bus interchange, just beside Courts. Kare Express Grill (K.E.G) actually specialise more on Western and Japanese Curry.

It has been a while since I have a decent plate of Japanese Curry, so I decided to order Chicken Katsu Curry ($4.50). The chicken fillet is nicely fried, coated with batter and bread crumbs. The meat is tender and succulent. The portion of the rice is fulfilling, and so does the Japanese curry. They even provide you with a small portion of Japanese pickles.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Anyway, I am so happy with this meal, I even packed one for my colleague in the office that have not eaten. Additional $0.20 for take away. Based on the quality, I am sure they will not disappoint me on their other Western Menu. Check out their Facebook page photos for menu. Cheers :)

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

K.E.G. - Kare Express Grill
Block 727 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6
Singapore 560727
(Next to Courts)

Tel: 8100 0659 – Raj (Indian Dude)
9835 3149 – Fred (Chinese Guy)
Op Hours: 10.30 am – 10pm Daily
Menu available on the photos in the Facebook page

Thursday 14 February 2013

Dessert Bowl – Good Ambiance but forgettable desserts

We have notice this place for a while, but only until recently we have the opportunity to give it a try. Located on the second floor of the same stretch of shop houses with OCBC Bank, the orange colour logo does catch your eyes.

Upon entering the second floor, you can see the miniature buildings of Hong Kong's landscape. The furnishing is simple dark wooden square tables and rectangle chairs, like in HK traditional shops. Near the window, they have four red sofas where you can see the scenery of Serangoon Garden way while enjoying the desserts here.

Three of us ordered Aiyu Mango ($4.20), Mango Snow and Pearl ($4.70) and Mango Strawberry Ice ($4.50). The three desserts looks nice in terms of the presentation and the ingredients, however it seems that the individual ingredients does not blend or bind well. Its like eating each ingredients separately. The ice cream also does not mix with the mango or strawberry and make you feels a bit yucks or jelak.

Aiyu Mango

Mango Snow and Pearl
Mango Strawberry Ice

We also ordered Black Devil (Coke with a scoop of ice cream - $4) and Lemon Coke ($4). The drinks are actually better than the desserts we ordered.

Overall, it is a good hangout place if you want to catch up with your friends. However, if you looking for a good quality desserts, you can find a better place somewhere else. Cheers :)

Food & Drink: 5.5/10
Value: 6/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10

Dessert Bowl
80A Serangoon Garden Way
Singapore 555976

Op Hours:
Fri – Sun: 12.00 – 00.00
Tue – Thurs: 12.00 - 22.30
Closed on Monday

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Pow Sing Restaurant – My Top 3 Chicken Rice Place

This place is one of My Favourite Chicken Rice Place in Singapore. My first encounter with this place was 11 years ago, on my first visit to Singapore. To this date, I have visited this place numerous time but less frequent recently as I try to heed my GP's advice in watching my cholesterol level :)

So what to eat at this place: of course the Hainanese Chicken and Chicken Rice. The rice is moist, fragrant and al dente. It is not oily and the grain does not stick to each other. The Chicken is coated with oil and soya sauce, topped with parsley. The chicken skin has the right thickness and meat from drumstick to breast is moist and succulent. I rate it 9 / 10.

Hainanese Chicken

The other reason why I love this place, is that when I ask for the chicken bishop (Yup, the backside) they serve it to me on a bowl generously. Some elders said that chicken bishop can help with your face complexion, for me I just love the fattiness and the texture of it. I even master the skilled to remove the stinky part on the top of the bishop that normally put people off.

The Rice and the Bishop

Not to be miss here is their Crispy Nonya Tofu and Ngoh Hiang Nyonya Style. The tofu is made from egg tofu, deep fried perfectly with the crispy texture on the outside and moist tofu texture on the inside. The Ngoh Hiang also similar, crispy texture of beancurd skin and moist meat feeling inside. Really complement the chicken rice.

Crispy Nonya Tofu

Ngo Hiang

Pow Sing Restaurant also serve Peranakan food and other Chinese food. On our last visit we ordered the Steam Garoupa, Fish Maw Soup and stir fry baby kailan. The garoupa was served on aluminium plate with a heating fire below it. Although the fish is fresh, it was a bit over steamed and the meat was slightly though. The fish maw soup has a nice thickness to it but it is neither robust or flavourful. The vegetable is still crunchy, but a bit oily.

Steam Garoupa

Fish Maw Soup

Stir Fry Baby Kailan

The furnishing of this place is very simple. They hang the picture of their recommended dishes on the wall. The service is very minimum and no fuss.

Overall, I consider this place in my Top 3 Chicken rice place because its consistency in producing the Hainanese Chicken and chicken rice. Of course the bishop parts also helps. Cheers :)

Food & Drink: 7/10
(but 9/10 for the Hainanese Chicken and Chicken Rice)
Value: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 6/10

Pow Sing Kitchen (merged with Pow Sing Restaurant)
59 Serangoon Garden Way
Singapore 555961

T: +65 6284 0800
Op Hours: Daily 11.00 – 15.00, 17.00 – 22.00
Menu available on the website

Sunday 10 February 2013

[CLOSED] Chili's (The Central) – Chillin and Grillin Menu

Thank you and Chili's for the invitation to this food tasting session.

Chili's (The Central) was opened in October 2012. This time we were invited for a food tasting, as the brand came out with a new seasonal menu “Chillin and Grillin”, available in between 30 Jan 2013 to 9 April 2013.

We kick off the tasting with: Chile Garlic-Rubbed Ribeye – ribeye steak seasoned with garlic-chile rub, topped with chipotle pesto and green onions. On the sides, spicy jalapeño mashed potatoes and broccoli with bacon.

Chile Garlic-Rubbed Ribeye

The ribeye was grilled to medium with a nice charred grill on the outer part to seal its juicy and tender steak. You can taste the garlic-chile rub on the ribeye, while the chipotle pesto give a nice flavour, similar to a garlic butter. Yummyyy!!! For the sides, the mashed potatoes has a nice texture, and the jalapeño is there for Texmex taste and little heat on the tongue instead of mind blowing spicy which the legendary jalapeño are famous for. The broccoli are crunchy with bacon flavour, but I do not see any bacon or bacon bits on the plate.

Next come Triple Smoked Burger – the patties are seasoned with smoked paprika, salt and pepper blend, topped with melted smoked chipotle cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onion. Serve with homestyle fries and zesty chipotle aioli.

Triple Smoked Burger

The burger are grilled nicely, where it is still tender and juicy. The bacon and cheese serving are generous to complement the burger. You can actually taste the smoky flavour. The best part of this dish is actually the homestyle fries with aioli. Let's put it this way, once you start dipping the fries to the aioli, you just can't stop.

Next, Smoked Chicken Jalapeño Mac and Cheese – Penne pasta in a creamy Alfredo sauce, sharp cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and smoked chicken seasoned with smoked paprika. Topped with melted cheddar.

Smoked Chicken Jalapeño Mac and Cheese 

I am actually more of a chicken thigh person, but I have to admit this is the most succulent chicken breast that I ever taste. The smoky flavour of the chicken is just so memorable. I don't really like the penne and I find that there is not enough sauce in the mac and cheese.

The Tender Chicken

The same can be said about the Chile Garlic-Rubbed Chicken. The meat is super tender and juicy. The same seasoning that are used on the steak, with similar presentation. It is drizzled with creamy cilantro aioli. A quick query to Stephen, the Director of Culinary for Chili's, they imported most of the ingredients directly from USA,  including the chicken and steak.

Chile Garlic-Rubbed Chicken

Other than than the Chillin and Grillin menu, we also tried their famous The original Grilled Baby Back Ribs. The ribs was smoked over 4 hours and the meat just come off the bone. As they do not boil the meat first, there are parts of the ribs that tasted dry out and a bit tough. But the smoky flavour is excellent.

Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Pulled Pork Burger. The pork was cooked over a long period of time and pulled / shredded into pieces, topped with cheese and crispy onion strings and BBQ sauce. This pulled pork is just juicy and tender and complemented with BBQ sauce. On the sides, are homestyle fries.

Pulled Pork Burger

Wings over Buffalo. The size of the wings are more like duck wings rather than chicken. The deep fried mid wings and drumlets are coated with a very tangy sauce. A bit too tangy for my liking though.

Wings Over Buffalo

Texas Cheese Poppers, deep fried meatballs with cheese fillings. Very juicy and tender.

Texas Cheese Poppers 

For dessert, we tried Chili's famous Molten Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake is the size of 3 combined cupcakes, topped with vanilla ice cream under crunchy chocolate shell. First we have to smash the chocolate shell, then push the ice cream through the cake, and you can see the chocolate oozing out from the cake. At this stage, we are drooling already and just can't wait to attack the cake. The cake is moist, the combo of oozing liquid chocolate and vanilla ice cream is just yummyy.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Located at The Central, this outlet offer easy access to customers by MRT. The outlet can cater for more than 150 customers. It has a very vibrant atmosphere with American sports playing on the TV near the bar. Service was good and efficient.

Overall, Chili's @ The Central is a nice American Style Restaurant / Diners. It can cater to a individual, small group or large crowd. Let's just say, I am a fan. Cheers :)

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: 7.5/10

Chili's (The Central)
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#01-18 The Central
Singapore 059818

Tel: 6225 1687
Op Hours:
Sun – Thu: 11.30 – 23.00
Fri – Sat: 11.30 – 00.00
Menu and Online Reservation available on the website.

Victor's Kitchen – Hong Kong Dim Sum the Hong Kong Way

If you ever wonder how traditional Dim Sum is in Hong Kong? Victor is the a good place to gauge your expectations. This place served HK style Dim Sum with the HK attitude and atmosphere. It is no fuss, long queue, cramp, back to back seating and table sharing. Service is minimum, but the food is excellent on a good day. The Chef / Owner, Victor is Dim Sum Chef from HK that decided to open up his own place. So if you are looking for a Dim Sum place like in East Ocean, Tung Lok, Peach Garden or Crystal Jade Kitchen, then this might not be the place for you.

So what is the rules of engagement: 1) Queue and find a seat; 2) Get the order sheets and fill in your orders; 3) Place your order on the counter and make payment; 4) Eat your food and chop chop get out, if you take your own sweet time, you can feel the stares behind your back from the people queueing :)

Food Menu

Drink Menu

So how is the food? A few things that you should not miss here: Golden Egg Yolk Lava Bun (Custard Bun / Jing Sha Nai Wang Bao), Victor's King Prawn Dumpling (Har Gao), Yutiao Cheong Fun; and Chicken and Sausage in Glutinous Rice (Lo Mai Kei).

The Golden Egg Yolk Lava Bun come straight from the steamer. The bao is soft texture, when it is perfectly steam, the salted egg custard will be oozing out from the centre of the bun when you tear the bun. Nice combination between the salty and sweet flavour, Super Yummyy!!!!

Golden Egg Yolk Lava Bun (Custard Bun / Jing Sha Nai Wang Bao)

Oozing Custard
Next the Yutiao Cheong Fun, a nice crispy texture of the fried Yutiao wrapped with Cheong Fun swimming on light soya sauce mix. The cheong fun is slightly on the thicker side compare to common cheong fun, but it is to my preference. The Lo Ma Kei is fragrant, soft and moist. A little sticky as you expect in glutinous rice.

Yutiao Cheong Fun

Lo Ma Kei

We are a bit disappointed that they run out of their Har Gao this time around, but we order stuff such as: Tasty Queen Siew Mai – slightly on the tough side, the filling is very compact; not the Siew Mai that I prefer.  

Tasty Queen Siew Mai

Fresh Chicken w/ Wolfberry Fruit and Rosey Wine Steam Rice – Chicken are tender and moist, but can't taste the rosey wine. Slightly bland, and need to add the soya sauce to give more flavour to the dish.

Fresh Chicken w/ Wolfberry Fruit and Rosey Wine Steam Rice

Scallop, Sausage Carrot cake with XO Sauce – The carrot cake taste is smooth but a bit bland. You can't really taste the the scallops and the sausage. After we are finished, we realised that we did not order  the XO Sauce, no wonder it is bland.

Scallop, Sausage Carrot Cake with XO Sauce

Rosey Wine Yummy Char Siew Bun – The bao is soft and moist, goes well with the fragrant and sweet char siew. Good but not great.

Rosey Wine Yummy Char Siew Bao

For drinks, the H.K. Summer Ice Tea is a must try. They place the ice on the outside of the cup to chill down the drink. This to ensure the melting ice does not effect the texture and smoothness of the tea. Yummyyy, authentic HK Milk Tea.

H.K. Summer Ice Tea

Overall, if it is not a busy day, Victor's serve quite satisfactory HK Dim Sum. However, there are times when they are too busy or miss the timing to take it out from the steamer and causing their food quality standard to drop. Don't expect restaurant standard, but if you want a real deal of how HK commoners eat, you can give this place a try.

Food & Drink: 6.5/10
(but 8.5/10 for the Custard bun and HK Summer Ice Tea)
Value: 7/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A

Victor's Kitchen
91 Bencoolen Street
#01-49, Sunshine Plaza
Singapore 189652

Tel: 9838 1761
Op Hours: Tue – Sun, 10.30 – 20.00

PS: Psssttttt!!! This is a common sight of the tables in Victors. But not to worry, the boss will come out and give the helper a scolding to clear the table. Just soak up the atmosphere and you be the judge!!

Our Popular Reviews: