Wednesday 30 October 2013

[CLOSED] Daikokuya Ramen Dining – Tonkatsu or Shoyu Ramen ??

Cha Shu Shoyu Ramen

In the last few years, it seems that a lot of Ramen House sprouting around in Singapore. The positive side of this, we are getting more quality ramen sold in Singapore, and is satisfying LD's cravings for good quality ramen that she had tasted in Hawaii. Daikokuya Ramen is one of the new ramen shop that open in recent years and offers a variety of regional ramen specialities such as Sapporo, Tokyo & Kyushu-style ramen in a contemporary and relaxing atmosphere.

Located at the entrance of myVillage in Serangoon Garden, the store can be consider small as it only can accommodate less then 30 customers. The surrounding glass wall allowed passerbys to check out the delicious food served in the shop. However, this glass wall also works to the disadvantage of the shop. The shop location seems to bear the brunt of direct afternoon sunlight and turn the temperature inside the shop up. The central aircon is insufficient to cool down the dining area which we experience during our visit.

For ramen, I normally like my soup base to be solid and robust, therefore Tonkatsu Cha Shu Ramen ($15.90) was my pick. The ramen is springy (QQ) and the Cha Shu, although it is quite lean, it turns to be very tender and flavourful. It shows that the Cha Shu has gone through a long cooking process and well marinated. The broth has a white milky colour, thick with a sticky collagen feeling coming out from the bones.

Tonkatsu Cha Shu Ramen 

On the other hand, Little Devil ('LD') prefer a more clear type of soup. So she decided on Cha Shu Shoyu Ramen ($15.80). The broth is much lighter compare to mine, more like a clear soup, however the shoyu (soy sauce) give the broth a distinct flavour. The ramen texture are consistent, al dente and springy (qq), while the Cha Shu is tender and flavourful

Cha Shu Shoyu Ramen

For side dish, we ordered Mentaimayo Gyoza and Leek Mayo Gyoza ($6.80 each). Both the gyoza nicely pan fried until crispy on the outside. I find that Japanese Gyoza normally has a stronger taste from the leek. The good thing about Mentaimayo Gyoza, it has salted cod roe toppings and mayonnaise that helps to cover the smell and give a nice salty creamy flavour.

Leek Mayo Gyoza

Mentaimayo Gyoza

The service here is quite minimum. Although there are not many customer, it seems that the service staff is having problem clearing the table quick enough for the next round of customers and always slow in handling the customer order. Improvement is definitely needed in this area.

Overall, we find the ramen here is good and consistent. However, it seems to be missing something to elevate the ramen to the next level. Avoid visiting this place during a hot afternoon, unless you like to enjoy your bowl of ramen while you're sweating. However on any other time, Daikokuya will be sufficient to satisfy your ramen cravings. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: 6/10

Daikokuya Ramen Dining
1 Maju Ave
#01-01. my Village @ Serangoon Garden
Singapore 556679

Tel: 6509 1690
Website: (not working)
Op Hours: Daily 11.30 – 22.00

For Other Branches, check out their Facebook Page.
Note: Photos are taken using LD's Samsung Note 1. 

Fatboy's The Burger Bar – Burgerlicious!!

Fatboy's The Burger Bar ('Fatboy') is a home grown burger chain, founded with the promise of bringing burger evolution to Singapore burger lovers. In the recent years, Singaporeans palate for burgers has evolve due to the exposure of many top notch artisan burgers. We are no longer satisfied with ordinary fast food chains burgers, we expect, NO! we DEMAND better quality burgers.

Filling the gap between upmarket artisan burgers and fast food burgers is Fatboy. Fatboy offered reasonable priced burgers; different type of patties such as chicken, lamb and beef; and best of all freedom to build your own burger. In short, the menu in Fatboy is similar to typical American Diners, of course with a slight 'naughty' local twist included.

BYO Burger (Build Your Own Burger)

As I was not that hungry that night, I ordered Wimpy Beef ($11.50). This is actually a single patty version of their best creation Fat Basterd. The chuck patties are topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, a fried egg and homemade BBQ sauce. The patty is thick and juicy. The bacon and fried egg gave a different texture to the burger and the BBQ sauce just provide a nice finish. The burger has the nice thickness to hold with both hands and bit it. Delicious!!

Wimpy Beef 

Each burger are served with thick fries, and only a single slice of tomato and lettuce leaf. The fries crispy and moist inside, however the portion is quite small and tasted quite ordinary. The tomato and lettuce is merely there for decoration, I hope they can actually give more salad for a more balance presentation instead of looking quite stingy on the plate.

Meanwhile, Little Devil had Swiss Shroom ($13). Fatboy use sauteed shitake mushrooms instead the normal portabello, melted Swiss cheese, with garlic aioli to accompany healthier whole meal bun. The patty is thick and juicy, the shitake mushrooms gave a stronger mushroom flavour and the garlic aioli just bind the whole ingredients together. For the heat, LD add jalapeno to the burger and pickles to balance the richness in the burger. Yummyyy !!

Swiss Shroom 

To add some healthy veggies to complement our burger, we decided to order Chicken Caeser Salad ($11.50). The Romaine Lettuce is just fresh and crisp. The chicken fillet is flavourful, juicy and succulent. The Caesar dressing is lighter than the usual, however it just provide a light and refreshing salad.

Chicken Caeser Salad

One item in a drink that get our approval is Lemon Lime and Bitter. Although it came in the bottled Bundaberg from the Australian manufacturer, we are just glad we had something refreshing to enjoy with our burger.

Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitter

The atmosphere in Fatboy is very casual. They have TVs that is showing the EPL games, so it is a good destination when the games are on during the weekend. Service is very minimum and inconsistent between the each service staff. It seems that they are more a part timer, which lack the proper service training. Luckily Fatboy does not charge customer for service.

Eyes on the TV

Overall, Fatboy deliver a good, solid and flavourful burgers. Based on the food that we have tasted so far, the rest of the items on the menu should be quite good. If you can ignore the inconsistent of their service level, Fatboy is the place to go for good-priced American Diner food. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: 7/10

FatBoy's The Burger Bar
187 Upper Thompson Road
Singapore 574335
OH: Daily 12.00 – 23.00

Previous Location reviewed:
465 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427677

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee – Legendary Bak Chor Mee

Mince Meat Noodle - Bak Chor Mee

Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee (Bak Chor Mee - “BCM”) is one of the first hawkers that was awarded Singapore Hawker Legends by Makansutra in collaboration with Singapore Tourism Board to acknowledge the contributions and dedications of Hawkers to their craft and perfection of their dishes.

Monday 21 October 2013

[CLOSED] The Orange Lantern – Nice Comfort Food During Rainy Day.

Orange Lantern came to our attention recently when a friend of ours post it up in FB on his dining encounter there. When we see the size of the bowl they serve for the Pho, we decided we need to give this place a try.

Located in Killiney Road, finding a parking spot can be quite a challenge. This time around we were lucky and we manage to get a spot just outside the restaurant. We went on one Saturday afternoon, after the busy lunch hour, and the heavy rain just subsided.

Decorated in bright orange, similar to its name, you will easily notice this place from far away. When we walk in to the restaurant, we are the only customers inside. The modern orange decoration created a welcoming warmth atmosphere. The proudly display Vietnamese ornaments allow you to experience the Vietnamese culture.

For starter, we ordered the Prawn Paper Rolls ($6.90). The vegetables such as lettuce, bean sprouts and basil leaves are crunchy and fresh, topped with sliced boiled fresh prawn. The dipping sauce, made from hoisin sauce and crushed peanuts, complement the paper rolls nicely. A good, fresh simple starter.

Prawn Paper Rolls

Special Beef Noodle Soup ($11.90), sliced beef, brisket and beef balls with Vietnamese flat noodle in fragrant beef soup serve in a gigantic size bowl. This is the big-size dish that lured us here, because it brings back many memories of days in Melbourne. Behind every bowl of innocent looking clear soup, the soup of the Pho show us the dedications and love of the chef in giving their customers the comfort of a bowl of home cooked noodles. Orange Lantern's Pho is packed with a lot of beef flavour from a long and tedious boiling process of beef bones, vegetables, and special herbs and spices to bring out their unique flavour. The thinly sliced meat are tender with the pinkish texture clearly shows that it was raw and fresh when the pipping hot soup was poured into the bowl. The beef ball is springy and the brisket is mellow and tender. The combination of slightly chewy rice noodle with crunchy bean sprout is just wonderful. Yummyy, a nice comfort food during the rainy days.

Special Beef Noodle Soup

Special Beef Noodle Soup

Service was very minimum. They took our order, deliver our food and bring us the bill when requested. No fuss. The food came very fast, less than 10 minutes overall. The price is reasonable, considering the location and standard of this establishment.

Overall, we are satisfied with their rice paper roll and beef noodle soup (Pho). Although they are not the best or the most authentic Vietnamese food we have ever tried in Singapore, they had win us over with it's freshness in ingredients and full of its own unique flavour. However, if you need a quick fix of Pho, this is a place to go. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7/10
Value: 6.5/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10

The Orange Lantern
Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine
73 Killiney Road
Singapore 239528

Tel: 6732 8032
Op Hours: Daily 11.00 – 22.00

Other Branch:
1 Maritime Square
#01-98 Harbour Front Centre
Tel: 6274 1968
Op Hours: Daily 11.00 – 22.00

I am … - Cakes & Mocktails

Chendol Cake & Rainbow Cake

I am … is a café / bistro that just recently open near the popular Arab Street. Located off Haji Lane, facing the Golden Landmark Hotel. The founders' idea of I am are based on their love of Europe, especially Amsterdam. Thus they decided to import the atmosphere to Singapore with the concept of Halal European Influence Cafe.

We actually found this place by accident while we were looking for a place to catch up with our group of friends on a Friday night. Apparently most of the café around the area either close by 11pm or the one that open late normally serve Nargile (Turkish water pipe) which we find a turn off especially as we don't smoke.

So what attracted us to I am is that they open late, they served cakes and we also realised that they serve a extensive list of mocktails other than the regular coffee and tea based drinks. The mocktails are good for us as Little Devil and I are both on alcohol free diet temporary.

For cakes, we had Rainbow cake and Chendol Cake ($8.90 each). Rainbow cake is one of the latest trend where the cake has seven different colour / layer with cream in between. Each slice of the cake looks attractive due to the bright colour in it. The Chendol cake is an interesting concept because it incorporated the local flavour into a cake. Both cakes scored in terms of the attractiveness and color, however we find both of the cake were slightly dry. The chendol on the chendol cake has also hardened, however the taste and flavour are still good. In fairness we had the cake around 11pm and the cakes must been there from opening this morning.

Rainbow Cake

Chendol Cake

Virgin Mojito

For the mocktails we had, Virgin Mojito, Twisted Sister and Ignite Sunset ($6.90 each). The virgin mojito has a clear and refreshing look to it. The combo of mint, tangy lime and syrup on ice really deliver the freshness. The twisted sister and ignite sunset has pomegranate in the mocktails giving the effect of sunset in the glass. Both mocktails deliver a more fruity freshness in the drinks.

Twisted Sister

Ignite Sunset

Service staff is very friendly and efficient. The décor of this place is actually quite simple with a lay back and relaxing atmosphere. The square tables can be easily group together when you are in a big group of separated when you are in the smaller one.

Overall, we find “I am …” is a good place for you to catch up with your friends any time during the day. The mocktails are excellent while the cakes can be improve. Although this place is still young, it has the ingredients to be a successful café. Cheers !!!

Food: 6.5/10 ; Drinks: 8.5/10
Value: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Ambiance: 7/10

I am …
674 North Bridge Road
(off Haji Lane)
Singapore 188804

Tel: 6295 5509
Op Hours:
Mon – Thu: 11am - 11pm
Fri – Sat: 11am - 1am
Sun: 11am - 11pm*

Tuesday 15 October 2013

A for Arbite – Small Bites and Unusual Belgium Beer [CLOSED]

Jar of Duck

A for Arbite is the second restaurant / bistro opened by Chef Marc Wee and his team. A for Arbite featured a Western-Asian fusion menu which will be rotated every quarter to introduce new ingredients and showcase the creativity of the team in Arbite.

Located in Aliwal Arts Centre in Aliwal Street, this bistro provide a very casual atmosphere dining environment. Diners will have a choice of communal table for group dining or couple table for intimate setting with the special someone.

For the dinner menu, A for Arbite introduce a new concept. Each dish is designed in a small bites (or entrée) size portions. Diners are encourage try different variety of dishes in the menu paired with their unusual Belgian Craft Beers, on the tap or by the bottles. On the menu, every dish has a suggested pairing of beer, cocktails or tea. However like any other food pairing, everyone taste buds is different, so feel free to decide on your own. Based on my judgement, 4 to 5 small bites is equivalent in size to a 3-course meal.

As Chubby Botak Koala is abstaining from alcohol due to medical reasons, he brought his friend M as the beer tester. From 10 small bites that we tried, our top picks are:

Jar of Duck (duck rillettes, black truffle, foie gras, smoked duck breast, roasted grapes and crackers) – $19.50. The most of expensive dish on the menu, however the most yummyy dish in the menu. Explosion of flavour in your mouth, purely on taste base on the wonderful ingredients especially the truffle and foie gras. The most amazing thing is when you add the grape into the bite, it just turn to something different and sweet. Two thumbs up !!!

Jar of Duck

Jar of Duck (assembled) 

Tri Pepper Spaghettini (Green, pink, and black pepper pasta with swimmer crab meat, chilli, spring onion and tempura battered soft shell crab) - $10.50. A tasty, springy and chewy pasta. The pepper is very subtle. If you want me compare, the texture is similar to Kolo Mee noodle. The batter on the crab is thin and light, so it is crunchy and juicy. Watch out for the shuddered chilli that gave the kick in the dish. Delicious!!

Tri Pepper Spaghettini 
Beef Onglet Tataki (Beef Onglet or Hanger Steak, shoyu, sesame oil, onion soil and shiso) - $6. Using the not so popular cut of the beef, it is grilled to rare. The beef is tender, well seasoned but light. The mushroom flavour is quite strong, however combines well with the beef.

Beef Onglet Tataki

Lobster Thermidor (Maine lobster, crabmeat, mushrooms, cream, mustard, brandy and parmesan cheese) - $12. The closest thing that you can get to a soup here. It is robust, think, creamy and you can feel the dash of brandy. A couple of crispy bread to give a contrasting texture to the dish.

Lobster Thermidor

During the tasting, M had Palm ($12 / glass) at the start and Steenbrugge Triple ($14/glass). Palm is a light version of a beer and easy to drink. Good with something light tasting small bites. Steenbrugge Triple has a stronger flavour, it has a dark gold colour and tasted similar to stout. Goes well with more meaty small bites or those with strong flavour.


Moving on to the sweet stuff, Cookies and Cream Cheese Cake is our pick. To put it nicely, it is a de-constructed or blended version of the cake. The cream cheese mascapone and milk espuma mix is quite light, it is the opposite of the normally condensed cheese cake. The dark chocolate on it create a contrasting flavour to the mix. Seriously, you can finish up the desserts without feeling guilty.

Cookies and Cream Cheese Cake

Another dessert that I need to mention specially is the Ginseng Panna Cotta (cooked cream pudding, ginseng, wolf berries, chrysanthemum sorbet) - $7. This is either you love it or you hate it desserts. For me, it fall under the weird categories. I just can't get used to the ginseng with Panna Cotta flavour. However, I applaud their creativity.

Ginseng Panna Cotta

The beer of choice for the desserts are Lindemans Pecheresse (Peach) Beer. It is sweet and light. When we first heard of the name Lindemans, we thought it was brewed by the renowned Lindemans winery in Australia. After doing a little research, apparently this come from a Belgium brewery named Lindemans. Wow, this really surprised me. The beer itself is suitable for desserts, as it is light at 2.5% alcohol and fresh and sweet. Totally compatible for desserts or someone that like a sweet beer.

Lindemans Pecheresse (Peach) Beer

The service here is good. The service staff are attentive and knowledgeable, and don't hesitate to ask them if you are not sure what beer you want to order.

Overall, we personally like the new dining concept by A for Arbite. The modern presentation of the food is just refreshing and we definitely enjoy the different variety of small bites they served. The price is very attractive, as it is really a value for money. We'll definitely be back for more. Cheers!!

Thank you to Chef Marc Wee and A for Arbite team for the invitation to this food tasting.

Food & Drink: 8.5/10
Value: N/A
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 7.5/10

A for Arbite
28 Aliwal Street
#01-01 Aliwal Arts Centre
Singapore 199918

Tel: 8321 2252
Op Hours:
Tue – Fri: 11.30 – 14.30, 18.00 – 23.00
Sat: 11.00 – 23.00
Sun: 09.00 – 21.00
Closed on Monday

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In case you are curious on what other small bites we tasted:

Braised Smoked Pork Bell (Thirty six hours braised streaky bacon, kimchi and leaf bun) - $7. A for Arbite take on the popular hokkien dish of Kong Ba Pao. The pork belly is not as tender as I imagine after 36 hours of braising, however it is tasty. The kimchi helps overcome the fattiness of the pork belly. For those who like the original version of Kong Ba Pao like myself, you miss the gravy in this dish.

Braised Smoked Pork Bell 

Salad Nicoise (Tuna loin tataki, shaved egg, potato confit, tomato and olive agar, and Cabernet Sauvignon dressing) - $6. Unlike the regular Salad Nicoise which can be very rustic, the presentation is beautiful and you can see a lot of effort was put in to create this dish. The taste is fresh, but slightly different.

Salad Nicoise
Green Tea Spaghettini (homemade Green tea pasta , smoked duck breast, wasabi tabiko and lapsang souchong broth) - $7. The homemade green tea pasta is thick and springy, more soba like. The smoke duck give a different texture to accompany the subtle broth.

Green Tea Spaghettini

Squid Ink Risotto (Prawn, Squid, mussels, crabmeat, chilli, aborio rice and deep fried halibut) - $16.50. The risotto is al dente and full of flavour. The prawns are fresh and the halibut also has a thin and light batter. A good choice for carbo if you are not filled at the end of the meal.

Green Tea Spaghettini

French Toast with G.M. Mascarpone (Brioche, coffee, brandy, gula melaka, mascarpone cream cheese and chocolate). Lightly coated wonderful brioche, topped with chocolate, almond flakes and strawberry. The mascarpone is just creamy with complex texture. The brioche is just absorb everything on it, but it just seems a bit heavy to for desserts.

French Toast with G.M. Mascarpone 

*** Cheers & Bottoms Up Mate!!! ***

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