Sunday, 15 April 2018

Kam's Roast

Kam's Roast is the overseas outpost of Hong Kong's 1 star Michelin Kam's Roast Goose. The catch here is there's only duck in Singapore, no goose. This is because the supplier to their Hong Kong outlet doesn't meet the regulations to import their goose here. Located at Pacific Plaza, Kam's Roast is part of an increasing chain of Hong Kong and Michelin starred establishments opening along Scotts Road. Some of the other prominent restaurants include Tim Ho Wan, Tsuta and Mui Kee across the road.

After queuing an hour for Mui Kee two weeks ago, I was a bracing myself for another queuing challenge this time. Thankfully there's no queue when I visited the outlet at 6.30pm.

Given that we couldn't try their signature Roast Goose due to AVA restrictions, we settled for the next closest item which is Roast Duck ($19.80, for 1/4 lower body). I specially requested for the bones to be removed and they were very obliging. Eating this roast duck reminds me of my very first visit to Hong Kong's Kam's Roast Goose. I recalled that experience was so positively good that I specially made a second trip back to eat it again before I left. (I have never visited the same restaurant twice on a single holiday trip, before this) The roast duck had very tender meat. The sweetness of the gravy was very distinct and it really made the dish stand out. Judging from the taste, the quality control is not lost despite this being an overseas outlet, which happens very often with many other overseas establishments I've tried.

I really love pork and I would feel the meal isn't complete without pork. We ordered the mix pork combination of Toro Char Siew with Crispy Pork ($27.80). Once again, the meat was extremely tender and a joy to eat. I can finish the entire plate myself (if I wasn't trying to control my diet). I enjoyed the honey coated sweetness that goes really well with the toro char siew. The toro char siew is prepared using a secret recipe of the Kam family. The roast crispy pork is another winner with the right balance of fats and tender meat. The crackling pork skin provides the added oomph and texture that goes well with the meat.

As the friend I brought along for the meal hasn't been overseas before, I'm really glad both dishes gave an accurate representation of the Michelin Starred restaurant in Hong Kong. Would I come back for a second visit? It's a rousing yes. I already foresee bringing my family here for dinner one night. This experience has made me a loyal fan of Kam's Roast. I highly doubt I'll bother to visit other roast meat or duck establishments should I have a craving. Must reserve the calories for the best. I highly recommend Kam's Roast if you have craving for roast meat or duck!

Kam's Roast
Pacific Plaza, 9 Scott's Road #01-04/05/06/07, S228210

Sunday, 8 April 2018

7th Heaven KTV and Cafe - Cafehopping with Karaoke Facilities

I went to 7th Heaven KTV & Cafe in support of my friend who just returned from overseas to helm the running of the business. 

7th Heaven KTV and Cafe is a hidden gem located at Tampines Safra. It is probably my first, if not only encounter with a KTV that offers instagrammable blog-worthy food. Currently, the owner's daughter, Shermain (who is my friend), is running the show. Visitors of this cafe can both sing in the main hall or private rooms and also enjoy hipster food at the cafe. 

As I was there with a couple of friends, we picked a few signature dishes to share. The Lychee Smoked Duck Pizza ($21.90) is really one of a kind. The thin crusted pizza went really well with the cheesy combination of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan richly decorated with duck slices. The chunky lychees inside the pizza gave a fruity twist to the savoury dish that gave the strongly flavoured pizza added sweetness.

As a Pasta lover, I judge pastas with an extremely fussy yardstick. Most pastas in coffee joints and cafes while camera friendly doesn't leave my taste buds sated. Imagine my surprise that this Laksa Pasta ($17.90) at a KTV Cafe can leave me craving for the entire dish after taking a bite. The Laksa Pasta is made of linguine with mussels, prawns and squid cooked with homemade laksa sauce. My favourite yardstick to judge awesome pastas is whether they leave a lingering after taste hours after you finish your meal. This one does and I foresee myself going back for a second plate (without having to share) pretty soon.

We also tried the Pulled Pork Burger ($17.90) which was prepared well and stood out for its zesty sourish sauce. Having said that, I found that the paprika fries stole the limelight from this dish and I couldn't stop eating. They should sell these addictive paprika fries as a standalone small bite.

It's my first time ordering Banana Smoothie ($7.50) in a cafe. This smoothie is part of the enhanced menu introduced by Shermain. The flavour is very rich and it'll be perfect if it's slightly colder. One key highlight of the drinks here are the bamboo straws which are reusable. Shermain is highly passionate about sustainable living and this is one of her little efforts to stay true to her beliefs.

The apple tarte ($5.90) is also part of Shermain's invention. I really liked the French Vanilla ice-cream that comes with it. It is robust in flavour and milkiness. While I find the caramelized apple hitting the right level of sweetness, I like my ideal apple tart to have a more crumbly texture.

As of now 7th Heaven KTV and Cafe is running a series of promos some of which I find attractive like the $15 Set Lunch with an hour free karaoke session. I'm not much of a singing person and honestly, it is the food that appeals to me. The food here is really awesome and it's a pity that the cafe is left largely undiscovered. I'm very impressed that a KTV kitchen can produce food of such quality. You got to try it to know I'm not exaggerating.

7th Heaven KTV and Cafe
1/A Tampines Street 92, Safra Tampines, #03-02, S528882

*this is not a sponsored article. I paid for my food.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Mui Kee Congee - Famous Mongkok Porridge with Permanent Outlet in Singapore

Mui Kee is a popular porridge stall that originated in Mongkok way back in 1979. It is currently managed by its third generation owner Ah Tung. The Les Amis Group brought Mui Kee to Singapore last year and it started out as a pop-up stall in Botanic Gardens. I've been wanting to try them out since but busy schedules denied me of this opportunity. In the month of March, Mui Kee opened their first permanent outlet in Shaw Centre. I took the Good Friday break to bring my mom to try it out.

I knew there was going to be a queue so made it a point to arrive early. Nevertheless, I still underestimated the waiting time. I assumed that those chasing the latest fad would have already eaten their fill of Mui Kee when they were at Botanic Gardens. Turns out, there's a lot more people like me who only managed to make time now.

I believed many in the queue shared my sentiments and some left the queue to eat at Tsuta, Kam's Roast and Tim Ho Wan just opposite the street. Are the developers trying to develop some kind of Hong Kong street? My total queue time was 1 Hour 5 mins.

I discovered that the set menus were unavailable during weekends and public holidays. So my mom and I settled for the Sakura Shrimps Steamed Rice Noodles ($5.50) to kick start our meal. The dish was served with a small dish of soya sauce. The steamed rice noodles tasted great and was easy to finish. My mom who basically needs chilli in her food was pleasantly surprised that the dish won her approval without chilli.

As we referred to the staff for recommendations, the staff tried to sell us everything. I selected the Sliced Parrot Congee ($9.80) as I like using fish congee as a gauge among Cantonese restaurants I eat at. This is when the staff suggested also trying the Sliced Threadfin Congee ($16) because its supposed to be sweeter. 

The congee are very smooth and you can hardly feel the grains. However, I felt that the sweetness of the porridge was lacking. It didn't help that I just ate a coffeeshop porridge at Tampines a couple of days back that truly impressed me. Both bowls were generous with their servings and it's definitely advisable to share. I didn't feel the Sliced Threadfin Congee was distinctively sweeter than the Slice Parrot Fish Congee. To be fair, both are definitely above average in terms of quality and for restaurant dining, it's definitely pocket friendly.

I reserved special mention for the dough fritters ($2) which we ordered to go with our porridge. It's fried excellently. There's not a hint of oiliness and it's very crispy. The entire bowl of dough fritters were a joy to eat on its own and really we kinda forgot we were eating flour. I think you know good dough fritters when you don't feel full despite devouring the whole bowl of fried dough and still can eat another bowl.

Would I return to Mui Kee? It's a very attractive place to dine at because of its wallet friendly pricing. I don't think I'd be willing to queue another hour to try their other porridge selections though. I'd highly recommend Mui Kee if you want a good quality meal at the heart of town but would like to keep your dining cost below a $50 budget for two.

Mui Kee Congee
Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #01-12, S228208

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Maison Kayser - French Bakery in Town

Over the weekend, I strove to get some balance in my work-life and met a friend for breakfast. I've been on a diet lately and am striving to keep my food intake on the healthy side. Starting your day early at some cafe can be rather refreshing. I particularly enjoyed the time where after good food and coffee, I can sit back relax and enjoy a good read. I want to do this more often!

Maison Kayser is a French bakery with a few outlets in Singapore. They are known for their fresh bakes. I went to the Scotts Square outlet partially because it's near the MRT. One of the guys I was supposed to meet doesn't drive. The other reason is my own fatigue of driving when I don't have to. Sitting on the train allows me to read on the go and do other productive stuff.

While I was there for breakfast, I was trying to eat enough so that I don't need to have lunch. I picked the Pasta Salad ($10) which comes with a bun on the side. It's pretty good. I enjoyed the tangy spiciness of the pasta shells, the cheese, greens and cherry tomatoes that made my meal healthier. I'd think it's a good healthy fix for anyone who wishes to grab something on the go too.

Naturally we tried the fresh bakes too. I didn't try the Almond Croissant which my friend ordered ($3.50) but it looks delicious enough. One thing I notice is that the staff won't offer or ask if you wish to warm the bread. So you need to ask. I had a set breakfast ($5.90) while waiting for my friend. Comes with brewed coffee and a fresh baked. My selection choice was Plie Aux Chocolat. It's tastes fantastic and I highly recommend it. The bun was fresh and soft. I enjoyed the mild custard and chocolate stuffed that goes excellently with the pastry. The sweetness was just right too. Enjoyed every bite!

For dessert, I settled for the eclaire with vanilla cream ($5.50). While the vanilla icing was pretty good, I found the dough to be not very fresh with a bit of over-night feeling. The texture was dry and too doughy. Not gonna order this again.

Would I return for a second visit? I'd say it's 50-50. The place is pretty small so you got to be early if you want seats. I went there at 9.30am and there were people already inside. I totally enjoyed my fresh baked and would like to try more of their pastries. I'd say only go there if you love fresh bakes like me and you probably should have it on the go without the coffee.

Maison Kayser
6 Scott's Road, #B1-25 Scotts Square, S228209

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Ice Cream Skool - Affordable Instagrammable Desserts

I'm shocked. I just realised I didn't put up any content for the entire month. Sometimes you need this sort of reality check to know how much work has consumed you. Then there's the Chinese New Year break... and I didn't manage to buy much new year clothes this year or new shoes! The pay check better be worth it haha!!

This post is made up of 2 visits. I actually went back two days in a row because they opened late on the first day and we sort of had our lunch before heading back to try our luck for dessert. I went back the next day for the highly raved about Tom Yum Pasta. In a nutshell, Ice Cream Skool is popular for wallet friendly desserts that caught my eye because of their instagrammable nature. It's said to be popular among school going teenagers (obviously I'm too old to fit in) but interestingly enough, the two days I visited, the cafe was empty.

I'd kick off the post with the Tom Yum Pasta ($10.90) that many food bloggers rubber stamped as tastes good. It certainly lives up to its reputation. I like the tangy spiciness that follows every bite of the tom yum infused noodles. It's so addictively good I devoured the food in minutes. For $10, I consider this a steal.

I ordered the milkshake at the staff's recommendation. Basically I asked, "if I want to take picture what drink should I order?" Yes superficial me. I'm really glad she recommended me the milkshake because I found my favourite drink in Tampines through this experience. The blue drink you see in the photo is a double flavoured milkshake ($4.90) comprising of Mr Smurfie ice cream mixed with Cookies and Cream ice cream. Mr Smurfie is basically cotton candy flavour. As someone with a relatively strong sweet tooth, this is an awesome treat! 

And then... there's the double chocolate waffles I had with dark chocolate ice cream and Mr Smurfie. Together with their afternoon tea set it cost us $13.90. Dark chocolate is a premium flavour apparently. I found the waffles to be crispy and nice but lacking in fragrance. It was leaning more to the dry side which reduced the desire to finish the food. Incidentally, I was very engaged in an intense discussion about fengshui with my friend. Yeah, we didn't finish it.

As a whole, I enjoyed my experience. I loved it that the shop was empty so I could enjoy my food in peace. I hope for their sake, business is good on weekends because I'd still want to come back here occasionally! I'd be willing to give their waffles another shot given that I really enjoyed the milkshake and pasta. So if I'm back why not? This is an awesome place to dine if you want to impress someone and not blow a hole in your pocket. There's no gst or service charge. How awesome! Considering the talk of the town right now is Budget 2018 haha! The only drawback is that the location is rather obscure.

Ice Cream Skool
Blk 445 Tampines Street 42 #01-10, S520445

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

9 Things to Do in London for Tourists

It's midweek and I decided to spend my time more productively. I've slacked off a week from contributing some food ideas due to my busy schedule. I decided to make up for it today with something slightly different from food. Here's some of the key highlights of my last London trip to give ideas to anyone travelling.

1. Go for an Afternoon Tea with your +1 or friends/family

In London, there's 3 kinds of Afternoon Tea you can try. The first is the typical walk-in parlours where you don't need reservations and still can enjoy wonderful cakes. The one shown in the photo is from Peggy Porschen cakes. While there's no reservation required, be prepared to queue. If you enjoy taking pretty food photos like me, this place is highly recommended. 

The second kind of dining experience is very similar to the third. It's basically afternoon teas that require reservations. This is split into two kinds. Quirky afternoon teas or traditional afternoon tea. The one I tried was the B-Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. You get to have your afternoon tea in a London red bus. It's a classic. The tour covers the key attractions of London and the service from the on-board staff is really awesome. This isn't to say that the food is cliche and gimmicky. In fact, Brigit's Bakery has a dine-in outlet in Covent Garden and the menu is the same. The quality of the food is definitely worth the money. I can attest to that. I'd like to try the traditional afternoon tea in London during my next visit. 

2. Wear your Cultural Hat and Visit Museums

Museums sound boring if you aren't particularly into art or history. I share the same sentiments most of the time. However London is known for being a home to many famous artists and also its cultural heritage. There're many museums you can visit and a good number of them are free. Given that I wasn't that into museums, I enjoyed the free to visit cultural venues while passing my day waiting for Vain Pot to end work. Unlike the museums back home, the exhibits here along with the architectural sophistication of the buildings make it worth the trip. It's quite an eye-opener even if you know nothing about appreciating arts or the historical significance of these venues. 

3. Go for Day Tours and Visit Castles

London offers a wide selection of day tours. My personal take is that castles are a must see because there's a living monarchy in the United Kingdom. The photo you see here is the Windsor Castle, the home of the Queen of England. Aside from this castle, there're many more interesting castles to visit with amazing landscape views. If you are into photography, it'll be a pity if you miss visiting a few. It's also these astounding architecture in Europe that is tempting me to invest in a better camera.. okay, I'm lying. It's because I'm going to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United versus Arsenal during my next London visit. 

4. Visit the Biggest and Oldest Toy Store in London

Hamleys in the oldest and biggest toy store in London. It has been around since 1760. Stepping into
Hamleys, it's a eye-opening experience compared with other toy stores I've been. First of all, there's staff playing toys everywhere in the shop. There's also a huge toy variety. The best part is, watching the sales staff giving demonstrations on the flying drones to the snapping balls to boomerangs, you really really want to own one of these toys yourself and be a kid again. Visitors of the stores are invited to try out most of the toys on demo and parents watching their kids have so much fun will also feel an urge to buy some toys. It's really an awesome experience.

As a tourist, experiencing the store on the consumer front is only one aspect. I see Hamleys also as a museum for toys with lots of photo-worthy toy displays. Lego royal family, WWE championship belt to crown jewels... it really brought out the kid in me and I actually bought a toy from the store!

5. Watch a Musical

London has many musicals which has gained global acclaim like Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. It's almost a pity if a visitor of London leaves without catching a musical. The musical I watched during my recent visit was Lion King. It's my first time watching a full-fledged animal character show on stage. I must say, the depiction is really good. The service at the theatre is also praise-worthy. They have ushers directing you to your seats and guiding you through the process if you are late. I've never experienced anything like that back home in Marina Bay Sands. Be warned, the show starts on the dot. Do not dally or you will miss the grand opening.

6. Challenge yourself to book Duck and Waffle at earthly hours

Booking Duck and Waffle, the 24 hours brunch place overlooking London, is an eye opener for me. I tried booking many weeks ahead. I tried different days and couldn't find a day where I can have a proper brunch meal at 11am, lunch time or dinner time. I ended up making a booking at 630am. That means leaving my home at 5 plus in the morning to eat breakfast. 

By the time I left the restaurant, I was treated to sunrise. Duck and Waffle is obviously famed for its duck and waffle dish. They serve brunch food at affordable prices even though I would say the food quality is decent at best. That said, patrons get treated to an astounding view of the London Skyline while enjoying your food. Try not to go in threes though, they don't like to offer window seats to people going in odd numbers.

7. Visit Harry Potter World

I do believe that Harry Potter World is a must visit for both Harry Potter fans and non fans alike (even if you haven't watched the show before). It's just an eye opener to see how such a massive production is filmed. I'm the one who knows nothing about Harry Potter prior to visiting. I enjoyed myself.

This particular set was what caught my eye and piqued my interest to visit initially. Looking at the set, it changed my perspective on how films are made and gave me new insights into cinematology.

The other part I enjoyed most was drinking the butterbeer and eating butterbeer ice-cream. Knowing nothing about Harry Potter, my initial thought was why they would serve beer in a place filled with kids. I even saw kids lining up for the butterbeers. Turns out that the butterbeer isn't real alcohol, It's butterscotch soda with a layer of ice cream on top. Butterbeer ice cream is basically caramel ice cream. I'd say it's an awesome visit despite knowing nothing about Harry Potter before the trip. It'll be best if you go with a fan so that they can give you some context for some of the scenes.

8. Eat Michelin Star Food

I visited Barrafina during my last trip. It is touted as the best Spanish Tapas in London. I don't have other experiences to compare with but I agreed that my experience at Barrafina was good. Before my trip there, a number of friends who have been there before told me to give it a visit. They mentioned that the Michelin Star food there is cheaper than in Singapore. Honestly, it's still pricey. But I think the presence of chefs with renowned reputations are more compared to back home.

9. Eat Fish and Chips

One classic dish if you must find one to associate London with is Fish and Chips. In my opinion, the type of fish that should go with every order is the Haddock.

There were two fish and chips I shortlisted. The first I tried was Golden Chippy's at Greenwich. It was voted the No.1 Fish and Chips on Trip Adviser.

The next one I tried was Poppy's Fish and Chips. It's probably the most highly recommended place online. Visiting Poppy's really seem to validate that point. The restaurant is full. I tried the Haddock for both places and to be honest, they tasted equally good. The sauce selection is wider for Golden Chippy's and they offered to refill my chips for free. On the other hand, I think I enjoyed the chips better at Poppy's. I'd say if you go to London, it's probably one of the must trys. It's indeed different from the Fish and Chips back home in Singapore.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Sumo Bar Happy

This is actually a throwback post from last week. It's out of sheer laziness I took more than a week to write. I'm currently on diet hence the lack of food exploration. I want to look my best for Chinese New Year and my upcoming London trip in end April.

A belated birthday dinner from the brother. Sumo Bar Happy is a restaurant that is founded by the guys who are behind Tanuki Raw. It's a bar-like concept where people chill over bar food and alcohol. During my visit, I noticed the groups consisting of mainly couples, single men and one Japanese family. My brother and I stood out like sore thumbs because every other group consisted of at least one foreigner.

I wasn't too hungry so I settled for light bites. What you see here is the Lobster Taiyaki Sliders ($26). I didn't exactly read the menu and just glanced through instagram before ordering. This led me to mistook the Taiyaki pancakes as a crispy shell which unfortunately wasn't the case. Taste wise, I found the dish to be easy to eat. There's a sweetness to the fluffy pancakes which gave good balance to the sliders. I however still feel that a crispy shell would give the lobster sliders the added oomph. 

On top of the sliders, I also ordered the Spicy Mayo Char Siew HH Sushi ($5) and the Spicy Salmon HH Sushi ($5). It's on promotion if you reach there before 7pm. I would say that both sushi were done well but I'm still a greater fan of cold raw sushi.

The brother had his sights on the Sashimi Mazemen ($22) which is a combination of assorted sashimi and cold noodles. His assessment was that the raw fishes were really delicious with the slices very thick and generous. He also took notice that despite its thickness, the fishes were very easy to eat. The cold noodles and onsen egg that comes with the bowl play the role of the side dish to provide a complete meal experience.

Being at the bar, it'll be a waste not to try some of their sakes and my brother ordered the passion fruit sake ($10) to go with his meal.

I would say that Sumo Bar Happy is a pretty interesting concept which appeals more to foreigners used to bar top dining. I found the experience cramp. The menu selection has a number of unique dishes however there's an over emphasis on beef. As someone who doesn't eat beef, selecting a spread is rather challenging. If beef, alcohol and Japan agrees with you though, you might wish to check this place out.

Sumo Bar Happy
261 Waterloo Street #01-24 Waterloo Centre S180261