Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Boiler Seafood Bar and Beer

There are a few places in Singapore that serves seafood in a bag where diners are expected to dig in with their hands, whether or not the contents are poured onto tables covered with paper or plastic that will be thrown away after every meal. No placemats, crockeries and cutleries. The concept from Louisiana was started in 2012 by The Cajun Kings (it has since closed), followed by Crab in Da Bag in 2013 and Dancing Crab in 2014. Another who jumped on the bandwagon in the same year as the latter, was The Boiler Seafood Bar and Beer, located off MacPherson Road in an ulu industrial estate. Not where you will expect. As it continues to give a free Boston lobster to every birthday baby who orders a Boiler's Bombdiggity Bag, my dining companions and I decided to try it. This promotion must be selected when making reservations through its website or Facebook, or HungryGoWhere's website or mobile app.

Was surprised the place was almost packed for dinner on a weekday. We chose Garlic Butter over The Works, Peppa Butter and Sauce of the Month (Laksa) for Boiler's Bombdiggity Bag  crab, prawns, mussels, clams, sausages, corn and buns. Since The Works is its signature, we had the Mild version for the lobster and were glad we did not opt for Medium or Ragin' Hot. The crab was mildly sweet and prawns were mostly fresh. Could neither rave about the lobster and mussels nor fault the clams and buns. Both sauces were very oily and the garlic taste stuck with me 'til the next day. While we were given plastic bibs and Ziploc bags to keep our clothes and mobile phones respectively clean, gloves were not provided and we had a hard time washing the grease off our hands. Lemon would have been useful. Of the three Louisiana-style seafood places that I have tried, this was more value-for-money while Crab in Da Bag stood out for taste and Dancing Crab for freshness.

The Boiler Seafood Bar and Beer
18 Howard Rd #01-06, Novelty Bizcentre

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Tamashii Robatayaki

Have wanted to try Tamashii Robatayaki, located on the 2nd floor of a row of shophouses along North Canal Road, for a while and finally made a reservation for lunch on a weekday. It was my dining companion's first time trying robatayaki or Japanese grill served on Samoji, a long wooden oar that Japanese fishermen used to serve their catch centuries ago. Seated at the counter where fresh ingredients separated us from the chefs, we could watch our orders being prepared. Lunch sets come with rice, refreshing salad and pickles, succulent salmon sashimi, mix mushroom in butter sauce that I could not fault and homely Ton Jiro  Japanese soup made with pork and vegetables, and flavoured with miso. There was nothing to rave about its Tsukune Steak (grilled minced chicken with onsen egg) and Sake Teriyaki or grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce. The highlight of our meal was the Maccha and Goma ice-cream, that is, green tea and black sesame flavours.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Coffee Academics

The Coffee Academics opened a 2nd branch in Singapore after Scotts Square, beside Tiong Bahru Bakery at the basement of Raffles City Shopping Centre. A dining companion chose this highly-rated coffee specialty store from Hong Kong only because of its lunch sets, consisting a pasta or pizza (choose from 3 options) and coffee/tea. As the Academics Breakfast was priced almost twice that of the lunch set, we settled for the obvious. Three of us shared the Fungi Pizza, Shrimps Arrabiata and Academics Cinnamon Churros. We could neither rave about the thin crust tomato-based pizza with succulent shiitake mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, nor fault the al dente spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce and small frozen shrimps. The four churros, served with a scoop of lovely TCA blend gelato and too-watery chocolate dipping sauce, cost more than a lunch set and was not worth the amount we paid for it. Both the Long Black and Cappuccino did not disappoint  smooth, medium-bodied and not too acidic.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Big Mama Korean Restaurant

Do you know any authentic Korean restaurant in Singapore that is not located within the Korean enclave in Tangong Pagar? Heard rave reviews of one in Tiong Bahru and have visited the simply-furnished place with wall stickers and posters, many times since it opened in 2012. Located along Kim Tian Road with Coq & Balls and Lee Tai Fu, Big Mama Korean Restaurant serves homestyle dishes with no MSG. There is another branch at Biopolis near Buona Vista MRT station  Big Mama BBQ & Beer, which I have not tried as it is a BBQ restaurant. So who is Big Mama? Owner Namgung Ji Young, an ex-tutor who used to cook for Korean students in Singapore. Reservations (6.30pm or 8pm for dinner) are recommended as the place is usually packed. For last minute craving, your best bet is to go earlier as most people tend to eat dinner around 8pm. It is opened from 5.30pm for dinner. The specialties here are Dakgalbi and Suyuk, both not commonly found elsewhere.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Tim Ho Wan – Has the Standard Dropped?

3 years have passed since Tim Ho Wan 1st landed on our shores. Now, the Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant has expanded its presence to 8 locations across the island – 112 Katong, Aperia Mall (Lavender), Atrium@Orchard (Plaza Singapura), CityLink Mall, ERA Centre (Toa Payoh), Pacific Plaza, Tai Seng and Westgate. Last weekend, I visited its newest branch at Pacific Plaza and ordered my favourites. The Steamed Egg Cake was as airy-light, soft and fluffy as the 1st time I tried it though the caramelised taste was more muted than the ones in Hong Kong. Skin of the Steamed Prawn Dumplings was not as springy and translucent-thin as I remembered, and a tad mushy but did not stick to the paper on the bamboo steamer basket. I preferred the succulent and well-marinated prawns in Singapore to Hong Kong's. While Spring Roll with Egg White seemed oilier, the skin was still crackling-crispy thin and went well with the egg white, prawns and chopped carrots. By the way, breakfast sets are also available at CityLink Mall's takeaway counter.