Friday, August 31, 2007

Osaka Gastronomy Part 2

Most of the time, when we are having dinner, one of us would be trying to feed / entertain Cutie. For this meal, Cutie already had his dinner (in the hotel), so he joined us at the table, and was very well-behaved. The nice people at the restaurant gave Cutie a crab hat, which looked very nice on him, wouldn't you agree?

Cutie spent his time flirting with the baby girl at hte next table... I think she was quite taken with him really...

So, with Cutie well occupied, we managed to take photos of this meal, which we all (with the exception of one) thoroughly enjoyed.

This restaurant in Dotonburi, Osaka was a crab speciality restaurant. We ordered the crab kaiseki set, so every dish had crab in it. And oh boy was it delicious.

This beautiful crab platter had different parts of the crab, with different dips. This was an interesting dish because it paired cooked and raw crab with different complementary things like mentaiko (spicy codfish roe).

This was king crab sashimi, served in its shell and with a little wasabi. It was very nice and unbelievably sweet.

This cold crab was also delicious. I think it's already cooked. And it was so so sweet. Eaten with a squeeze of lemon, it was fantastic.

This was cooked crab, served hot and a slice of lemon. The chawanmushi, was cooked with crab, and it was delicious. It was sweet and tasty and wobbly. One of the best chawanmushi I've eaten. Crab just adds extra sweetness to the chawanmushi.
This is baked cheese with crab. It was served piping hot, and it was... delicious. The cheese was a little crusty on the outside and was smooth and savoury on the inside, with additional surprising chunks of crab.

This crab tempura was next. It was a nice portion, not too heavy.

crab sushi next. All fresh crab.

This was delicious. It came in a nicely sized pot -steamed rice with crab. We lifted the wooden cover and ooh, the heady aroma of crab was heavenly.

Crab miso soup to clear the palate.

And dessert was very lovely. Vanilla ice cream with macha poured over it. Sort of like a japanese affogato (affogato is an italian dessert, where expresso coffee is poured over vanilla ice cream). It was good macha with a bitter edge, so it was a lovely dessert that was not too sweet.

delicious and memorable. Thanks for the recommendation, AA!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Kinara @ East Coast Road

Some competition heating up here in East Coast Road.

Just 2 doors away from Chat Masala, is Kinara. The decor is more traditional, with wooden carvings, metal cups, and even a big wooden swing outside.

Let's see how this place measures up, foodwise.

DH ordered a leg of lamb (SGD36 for half portion). It was expensive I think for so little meat. It was tender, but too salty.

This was mushroom methi (SGD12). Also too salty.

The naans were fantastic though. Freshly baked, and served piping hot. They were chewy and delicious. SGD2 each or SGD 6 for a basket of 4 different types of naan.

Hai Tien Lo, Pan Pacific Hotel

Pardon the poor pictures, the lighting was bad in such a posh restaurant.

We were here celebrating DM's birthday so DH chose a lavish set fitting the occasion.

Just a few highlights:

This was braised home-made tofu with bird's nest. It was delicious. Although a waste to use the bird's nest this way. It was, as you would imagine, rather tasteless by itself and absorbed the flavours of the braising stock. White fungus would have done the same job.

This is lobster in a very rich crab roe gravy. It was delicious, but by this time we were really stuffed.

We also had foie gras and lamb etc.


Cutie really enjoyed himself... He loved having Por Por's birthday cake in front of him... He wanted to blow the candle... and kept giggling when we said... wait, wait for Por Por to blow...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Akashi @ Tanglin Shopping Centre

This was seriously the best meal that I have had in a long long while - in terms of food quality and in terms of company. Thanks very much Mr C!

I didn't want to be rude, so I refrained from taking photos initially... and then really regretted not commemorating this fantastic meal with a gushing blog post.

Here's the menu:

1. amuse bouche: braised swordfish with miso paste

2. grilled shellfish with mentaiko paste (in shell)

3. sashimi - otoro, salmon, hamachi and surf clam

4. grilled pufferfish strips with tobikko mayo

5. shellfish in a huge shell done 2 ways - sashimi and grilled

6. grilled beef short ribs

7. fried whole fish

8. otoro sushi

and so I couldn't stand it any longer and had to take some photos... pardon my rudeness guys.

The most indulgent chawanmushi I have ever had in my life. Chawanmushi with sharks' fin. oooh, delicious. Slippery wobbly chawanmushi paired with combs of sharks' fin.

Then we had clam miso soup, with rice in it. Sort of like teochew seafood porridge. It was very sweet because of all the yummy clam juices.

Platter of Japanese fruits - which were very sweet. I find Japanese fruits somehow a lot sweeter. Wonder how they do it.Thanks TL for introducing this drink to me. Shoju (plum wine) with soda water. Very refreshing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Last month, DH and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. It has been an eventful 3 years, and we did have much to celebrate and give thanks for.

DH, he was so sweet! He custom-made a diamond tennis bracelet and diamond dangly earrings for me. *touched*

On the day itself, we both took the day off work and booked a room at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

We watched a movie (Harry Potter), and then we went for afternoon drinks at the Suntec City Guildhouse.

It was fun! We had 3 martinis each. The bar snacks they provided were so good, spicy and crispy bits of large ikan bilis. Be careful you don't bite into a large chili instead.

The red one is cranberry and the other is a lychee martini. SGD19 for 3.

We shared chicken wings (SGD6.90), not bad but rather ordinary.

And we also had these escargot in herb butter (SGD10), which were quite good for the price we paid.

On the whole we had lots of fun. We also went for foot massages, picked up Cutie from Por Por's house, crashed out at Pan Pac.

Then had a lovely lunch at Pan Pac's Italian restaurant -Zambuca.

My main of squid ink risotto with lobster and other seafood (scallops, I think) (SGD39) was a feast for the eyes and palate. The risotto was al dente and had the right amount of bite, and the seafood was fresh and succulent.

DH's perch wrapped in foil was so easy to do, I really don't think it should have cost SGD39. It was good, tender and sweet.

It was a lovely celebration, I had a really good time.

Tokyo Gastronomy

In Tokyo, we had several very good meals, especially our kaiseki dinner set on our last night at Keio Plaza Hotel. Our lunch the next day, at another Japanese restaurant in the same hotel, was also excellent. However, as we were taking turns to look after Cutie, we didn't have a chance to take any photos.

Ramen, about SGD 10. On our first night, we met up with DH's cousin and his lovely girlfriend. They brought us to Kabukicho for ramen. This place is a favourite with Bryan-san and Mariko-san as the soup stock is super thick, almost like a gravy. The egg was of course fantastic (in fact all the eggs we had in Japan were like this, soft boiled, with a core of perfect yolk).

We met another lovely couple, Sean's colleague and his Japanese wife, for lunch. It was a late lunch because they kindly brought us to the JR station to change our passes.

This place was at the 6th floor of Isetan, where all the restaurants were, and it's called Rosan.

We ordered 2 of this sushi platter, costing about SGD 80 each (JPY63,000). It was the premium sushi platter, and while it was good, we have had better the last time we were in Japan.

We then walked downstairs to the food hall in B1 of Isetan. How cute! they had these watermelons in such adorable shapes! I understand that they grow these things in sturdy paper boxes or something...

Osaka Opportunities Part 1

well my friends, Japan in summer is HOT. Not just sticky, uncomfortable hot (that's Singapore). Japan was unbearably, unbelievably, devastatingly, swelteringly hot.

In fact, on some days, it hit 43 degrees celsius and set a new record-breaking high in Osaka for the first time in 73 years. People died of heatstroke whilst I was there.

So here are some tips to keep cool despite the burning heat, from the Cool Cutie himself:

(1) Drink lots of water

Look! Cutie likes his new bottle!

It's really easy to dehydrate and get heatstroke cos the hot weather makes you feel like not eating anything.

Buy an nice bottle in a cheery colour and remember to keep drinking from it (by the way, we lost the bottle, left it in the hotel in Tokyo, sigh).

(2) Stay in the shade, dress cool

Cutie and his new Japanese girlfriend

Best to avoid the sun in the afternoons, and to just wait it out in the shade.

Dress cool, like Cutie here. Light, cotton singlet and shorts are best for this heat.

It would be great if you can find a nice Japanese girl to keep you company as you wait... :) which of course Cutie had no problem doing (he takes after his charming ol' dad, this boy!).

(3) Eat lots of ice cream

Taking a bite of ice cream...

Japanese ice cream is great, really creamy and smooth. I think it's cos they take really good care of their cows. Here, their Kobe cows drink beer and listen to classical music, you know. So I bet even their ordinary cows lead much better lives than cows elsewhere.

Tasting... contemplating...

DH loved their macha (green tea) ice cream. It was smooth and creamy and had a fragrance not found in green tea ice cream here. They use premium Japanese green tea here, whereas elsewhere, the green tea is sourced from other countries like Vietnam or China. The macha had a slight bitter edge that is found in good green tea.

Verdict: He likes it!!

Here, Cutie is eating peach and vanilla ice cream (white peach is in season right now!) made from fresh peach. It was very refreshing, and the peach flavour was sweet and light (a bit like Yami yoghurt... if you can imagine... but much much better).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Marche @ level 3 Vivocity

It is a nice place for a quick lunch, especially since it is just opposite the gym.
However I do think its food is overpriced. The tomato soup, although tangy and tasty, cost SGD3.90, which I really do not think is justified.
This is a savoury crepe (SGD7.90 to SGD8.50). If you try this, I would suggest you go for the ham and cheese, or the ham and mushrooms. I tried both and found them pretty good. However, I once tried the smoked salmon and spinach one, and found it too fishy and therefore unfresh. It isn't that well-patronised compared to the other food outlets in Vivocity, given that it is tucked in a more obscure corner of the 3rd floor. I would thus say that the turnover of its food may not be as quick as it ought to be.

Lunch from Seah Imm Hawker Centre

This very very refreshing drink is ice-blended soursop. It is sweet and cool and is a delicious treat on a sweltering day. It costs only SGD2, and is really worth the money. You can drink it all up through the straw and not have to fiddle with seeds.

I used to like the duck stall. But strangely, this time, it didn't appeal to me. Somehow, it didn't taste fresh and the duck gizzard and liver distinctly smelt odd. For SGD3.50, I wouldn't complain, but I don't think I am returning.

Aston's @ East Coast Road

This place has been pretty well reviewed by floggers (food bloggers). It also always has a perpetual queue of diners waiting outside every single time I walk or drive by.

So I practically forced DH to come with me to Aston's one night. Although it was 9 pm there was STILL a QUEUE.

Fine, we wait. And then I realise, hey, there were empty seats in the place! and then I further realise, actually, the queue is for the diners to place their orders at the counter, and then we are quickly ushered indoors to take a seat. So, actually, the queuing time is only 10 minutes or so! Hmmm, but it gives other people the (false?) impression that this place is so packed that there is a long line of people who are prepared to wait for their dinner. Very clever gimmick.

The food, is very reasonably priced. You can get a meal for about 7-8 dollars, and your pasta even comes with free soup.

The steak was very much like Ponderosa's. Not surprising, considering that the chef did come from the now defunct Ponderosa's.

The steak was quite a big portion for SGD12.90. It was decently juicy, with a nice side of crispy onion rings. Avoid the watered down salty sauce on the side at all costs. At the end of the day, I'd rate this meal only a 6 upon 10.

It wasn't spectacular and honestly I don't see what the hype is about. Maybe we didn't order the right thing?

sliced fish ban mian @ Food Junction Harbourfront Centre

After a grueling gym session (no it wasn't that grueling really, it just sounds better when I say that, rather than admit that I went to the gym because I got a free pass for 1 week and didn't want to waste it), I wanted to have a healthy meal.
So sliced fish ban mian sounded very healthy to me. Interestingly it came in a steamboat pot, with a burning white piece of wax placed in the centre to keep this thing hot. Not bad. It wasn't too salty, and it was not too MSG-laden (I didn't have a terrible thirst after, but I figure all food court stalls add a little bit of MSG to their food). It was really quite tasty and comforting, all for SGD4.50.


Indeed, I published my last post more than 1 month ago.

That is terrible, and I believe, I have lost whatever little readership I used to have, including DH, not that he was a very avid supporter in any case. (thanks Mom and Sissy for your unwavering support though!).

So, I do hope to update soon, especially since I really had quite a number of delicious meals in recent times.

However, work beckons, and I am afraid my blogging will have to take a backseat.


As a gesture of my contriteness, I will forego my previously very closely guarded privacy and show you a picture of my Cutie in a restaurant while we were waiting to eat.