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bhotk
This is bhotk . I work in City Hall. I also love Chinese Soup, Steaks and Grills, Zi Char.
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Categories : Italian

My friends and I were looking for a place for our quarterly get together. One of them suggested dining in at Trattoria Gallo D’oro (The Golden Rooster) which is an Italian restaurant located at Central Mall. Frankly, it is my first time to this mall and I got confused between this mall and the one at Clarke Quay. Do note that it is two different malls, this Central Mall is located at 7 Magazie Road. This place is definitely less popular among the public, gauging from the crowd there. The restaurant is at level 1, and level 1 is more of like the open street type, somewhat like level 1 of Bugis Junction. The restaurant is helmed by Master Chef Carlo Marengoni who specialises in northern Italian home-styled cuisine.

We had made reservations prior to coming and we are seated immediately. The decor of the restaurant is very simple and very cozy. I felt as though I was at a friend's place instead of a restaurant and I immediately felt very relaxed here. The chef is a very friendly man as he mingled with us a little and he took the trouble make some recommendations to us as we are all quite new to Italian food.
Burratina di bufala con pomodorini

Burratina di bufala con pomodorini

 
The chef's philosophy is "Have food, must share" which is why the dishes here are generally prepared for sharing and placed in the middle of the table. We ordered a total of 7 dishes. First up was the appetizer, the Burratina di bufala con pomodorini $18++, or more simply, buffalo burratina cheese. The cheese looks more like large whites enveloping large yolks, and the exterior of the cheese is actually quite hard. However, once you cut it, it is actually quite soft and the cheese is actually rather sticky. I was expecting it to be very heavy in taste, but surprisingly, the cheese is actually quite light tasting and does not have a very strong cheesy taste. I love spreading it with the bread that they serve. Speaking about the bread, it is very unique as well, with what tastes like vinegar green chilli within the bread. I also love the soft, slightly saltish and chewy texture of the bread.
Sardine fritte

Sardine fritte

 
The next dish we had was the Sardine fritte $25++. Although it was stated that it is a main, it felt more like an appetizer instead. When we say sardines, we normally think of those canned Ayam brand sardines. Once you had the sardines here, you will never look at sardines the same away again. The sardines here are flown in from Italy, and it is then deep fried until crisp and served with onions and lemon. Even though it is deep fried, it is not greasy at all and it is really crisp to the bite. I felt as though I was eating fried crackers because of its savoury taste. The onions and lemon also add some zesty tang to the sardines. This is one main that I will definitely recommend.
Casonsei alla Bergamasca

Casonsei alla Bergamasca

 
We ordered one of the pasta dishes as well, the Casonsei alla Bergamasca $20++ or stuffed veal ravioli, is served with crispy bacon. The ravoli is basically pasta wrapped around the veal filling. I would say it resembles the wantons, only that the filling is different. One good thing about the ravioli is that since it per piece, we can simply scoop one ravioli up easily with our fork and savour it. The filling inside the ravioli, the veal (beef), is tender, juicy and very tasty. The crispy bacon condiment further lifts up the taste of the dish as the bacon bits are very savoury and provide a burst of flavour when biting into it. Although it was a pasta dish, it did not feel too heavy on the carbohydrates because of the veal filling inside.
Involtini di manzo ripieni

Involtini di manzo ripieni

 
We also had to order their Involtini di manzo ripieni $28++ which is the rolled beef with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Although the beef is very tender, I did not actually taste any of the cheese within the beef, so that is quite a disappointment. I was expecting the cheese to be gooey like eating a pizza but it wasn't the case. In addition, the beef taste is rather strong, and even though I ate only two pieces or “roll”, it made me sick of the taste quickly and I did not reach out for a third serving. However, I must commend the rich tomato sauce which is very tasty.
Branzino intero al forno

Branzino intero al forno

 
The next main that was served to us was the Branzino intero al forno $29++, which is oven baked whole Sea Bass. The sea bass was flavoured with leeks and Italian herbs and it is quite light tasting so it is actually quite suitable since most of the dishes that we had was rather strong tasting. The fish does not come with any sauce or dressing, but even so, the meat is still tender and flavourful as it is naturally seasoned by the herbs. I really enjoyed this dish a lot. However, I think it would be better if the chefs could cut it up (not sure if there is such a service if we request) for us since it can get quite messy if each diner takes his own share.
Pollo al forno rustic

Pollo al forno rustic

 
Last of the mains is the Pollo al forno rustic $26++, or simply roasted chicken with potatoes, olives and shallots. Different parts of the chicken is used so depending on which part that you got, the meat will be different. The portion of the chicken which I got happens to be the chicken thigh which is very tender and juicy to the bite. The taste of the chicken meat is also great as it is well seasoned and tossed with the herbs with a nice olive oil fragrance to the chicken. The cubed potatoes are slightly hard on the outside and soft on the inside. I believe they may have lightly fried the potatoes to achieve the slightly hard exterior of the potatoes.
Torta della Nonna con gelato

Torta della Nonna con gelato

 
Finally, we are served dessert, which is the Torta della Nonna con gelato, $10++ or Grandmother’s custard cake with vanilla gelato. The cake is sweet and crusty at the ends and soft in the middle. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, so I found it to be too sweet, but for people with sweet tooths, this would definitely be alright for them. I particularly enjoyed the vanilla gelato. It is so smooth and not too sweet nor overly heavy.

Overall, I found this place to be quite cozy and relaxed with its warm and soft lightings. The Italian food here is homely and as authentic as it can get. It is a great place for friends and families who want Italian food since the mall is away from the main crowd. In addition, the concept of sharing the food is a further draw for friends/families to bond over food. We are definitely coming back here in future for our get togethers. Service is also great as the chef was very friendly, recommending the food and checking with us on how we felt about the food. The service staff also topped up our water frequently and were prompt to replace our cutley after a few dishes were served.

Tips:
- Do make a reservation as the restaurant is quite small and there is limited seating capacity
- Do take note that it is closed on Sundays, so do not make plans for it if you are planning to come on a Sunday
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Sardine fritte,Casonsei alla Bergamasca,Branzino intero al forno
 
Spending per head: Approximately $25

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Hawker Centre | Juices

Alexandra Village has many good eats which always leaves me spoilt for choices because there are too many good food to savour. Besides the famous claypot laksa, another name synonymous with Alexandra Food Village is Mr Avocado.

Avocado Juice

Avocado Juice

 
I was never a fan of avocado but I was convinced to try it one time and ever since then, I am a convert. The avocado juice here is thick, rich and creamy, it is like slurping heaven in a cup. There is a very nice fragrance to the drink and it is very smooth to the taste as well. No matter how full I am, I will always insist on getting a cup and finishing the entire cup by myself. The best thing is that one cup costs only $2.50 which is really affordable as avocado is a premium fruit. Other places that are charging up to $3.50 a cup taste nowhere as good as this. I will definitely recommend you to try out this cup of goodness for yourself and see the difference.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 5

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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Chinese | Restaurant | Dim Sum | Seafood

The Cathay Restaurant, located at level 2 of The Cathay, serves authentic Cantonese cuisines. The Cathay Restaurant has quite a rich and interesting history. It originally used to serve European cuisines and it was only a few years later when it started to serve Chinese food, specifically Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisines. During the pre-independence years from 1951 to 1964, it was one of the finest Chinese restaurants in Singapore before it closed in 1964. Presently, it focuses on providing customers with its traditional Cantonese dishes, with one of its specialty being the Cathay Crispy Roasted Chicken which is a feature in most of its set menus.

My dining companion and I were here for lunch on Wednesday. It was surprisingly packed even though it was 1pm when we reached the restaurant. We had to wait quite a bit for our seats and the service staff was very apologetic about it when we mentioned casually that we are quite rushed for time, even though it wasn't something she could control. She even offered to take our orders first so that we could be served with our food once seated which we appreciate a lot. In addition, once we are seated, she immediately asked if we needed any beverages and throughout the meal, the wait staff are very attentive in attending to our extra orders and topping up of tea.

 
Once into the restaurant, we find that the ambience is quite unlike the normal Chinese restaurants. The furnishings are modern with cushioned seats and it helps that the restaurant has glass windows which allowed natural light in, making the restaurant seem very spacious, airy and comfortable. The restaurant also has a retro vibe to it from the drawings of singers on the walls.

Before I get into the dishes, I will just like to highlight the pickles that we are served as it is very special. Normally I would expect a saucer of salted peanuts but imagine my surprise when I saw this. I don't know the name for it, but it is a mixture of spicy and savoury. The shredded ingredients like duck meat, cucumber, salted vegetables and black fungus are tossed with a special sauce which makes them very tasty and appetising. It definitely helps in awakening my tastebuds for the upcoming dishes.
Steamed Xiao Long Bao

Steamed Xiao Long Bao

 
We ordered all from the dim sum menu since we are quite rushed for time and we thought dim sum would be a better choice over the main chinese dishes. The first dish to arrive was the Steamed Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao ($3.90++ for 3pcs). The xiao long bao was quite large in size and it was steaming hot when it arrived at our table. However, it was lacklustre. The xiao long bao skin was far too thick, especially at the top where the folds of the skin meet. It seemed to be rather inconsistent as well. As I had two of the xiao long baos, one of the xiao long bao that I had had very little soup while the other had a lot of soup. This dish is a disappointment.
Baked Mini Egg Tart

Baked Mini Egg Tart

 
The next dish was the Baked Mini Egg Tart ($3.90++ for 3pcs). The egg tart was not warm when I ate it, but that did not affect the pastry tart shell as it was still flaky and cripsy when I bite into it. It is not greasy either. the egg custard was also superb, wobbly sweet and smooth, and the proportion of egg custard to the pastry shell was just right as well. I had to resist the urge to order another plate. The mini size makes it very suitable for children as well.
Steamed Prawn Dumpling

Steamed Prawn Dumpling

 
We also had the Steamed Prawn Dumpling ($5.60++ for 4pcs). I was actually quite surprised that the steamed prawn dumpling costs so much more than its other dim sum items, so I was eagerly anticipating this dish. Indeed, it did not disappoint. The translucent thin skin envelops tightly around the crunchy and fresh prawn and it is very firm when I picked one of the prawn dumpling up with the chopsticks. Although the prawn dumplings are a little tiny in size, the taste packs a bomb. The prawn filling is savoury and juicy and the skin has just the right texture to it without being overly chewy.
Steamed Yolk Cream Bun

Steamed Yolk Cream Bun

 
We could not miss out on ordering the Steamed Yolk Cream Bun ($4.20++ for 3pcs) or better known as Liu Sha Bao. Depending on personal preference, this may be or may not be to your liking. The consistency of the yolk custard filling here is in between flowy and paste-like, it does not gush out when you pry the bun open, but it will flow out if you tip it upside down. Personally I like this version as well because it means that all the lovely savoury sweetyolk custard filling ends up in my stomach instead of the plate. If there is one thing that is not so perfect, it would be the bun itself. I find the bun to be rather hard instead of soft so that is quite a pity.
Steamed Mushroom Dumpling

Steamed Mushroom Dumpling

 
They had a new item on the menu which we tried, the Steamed Mushroom Dumpling ($3.90++ for 3pcs). This is surprisingly good. I must say I am not a fan of mushrooms and I find myself savouring every bite of this dumpling which speaks volume about its taste. I think 2-3 types of mushrooms are diced and cooked and thickened to form the filling. The dumpling skin is green in colour and it is definitely more chewy than the skin used for the prawn dumpling. That said, the chewiness went quite well with the mushroom filling as it was moist and hence there is a contrast of textures. Mushroom lovers will definitely love this!
Steamed Scallop Dumpling

Steamed Scallop Dumpling

 
The last dim sum item that we had was the Steamed Scallop Dumpling ($4.80++ for 3pcs). The bits of scallop sits on top of plump and fresh prawns enclosed by a wrapper. It is quite exquisitely done as there is also some fish roe and coriander placed on top of the scallop. Just on the visual, it had scored a lot fo points. While the taste was great, it would have been better if the scallop was more generous. I felt that the scallop got overpowered by the prawn such that if I had not known this was scallop dumpling, I would have mistakened it as another prawn dumpling.
Desserts

Desserts

 
To end off our meal, we ordered desserts, the Chinese Herbal Jelly ($5.80++) and Yam Ice cream with Pumpkin puree ($4.80++). The herbal jelly was rather authentic as it had a strong medicinal taste to it. There is honey provided so we are able to control the amount that we want added to the jelly. To fully reap the benefits, I had very minimal honey added. The yam ice cream with pumpkin puree was a dessert which we had not seen before. The yam ice cream is topped with almond flakes which gives it some crunch. The pumpkin puree was the highlight as the restaurant had infused some lemongrass to the puree which gives another dimension to the taste. I was originally afraid that the dessert will be too heavy since yam and pumpkin are starchy vegetables but because of the lemongrass, it did not feel too cloying. The unusual pairing of lemongrass, pumpkin and yam came together surprisingly well and it was a very nicely executed dessert.

Overall, I had a very favourable experience dining in The Cathay Restaurant as the service was attentive and prompt and the food is generally above average. I can't wait to be back to try their signature dishes from the ala carte menu.

Tips:
- There is a 20% discount on all dim sum items from Mondays to Fridays [11.30am – 3pm] which is a very good deal
- Do make a reservation as the restaurant can get quite packed during lunch hours
- For dim sums, the must trys are the Steamed Prawn Dumpling, Baked Mini Egg Tarts and the Steamed Mushroom Dumpling
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Steamed Prawn Dumpling,Baked Mini Egg Tarts,Steamed Mushroom Dumpling
 
Spending per head: Approximately $25

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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Delicious braised meat Smile Sep 28, 2013   
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Categories : Hawker Centre

At times when I do not know what to eat, I will have porridge. Porridge used to be my staple food when I was little so it brings back a lot of memories whenever I eat it. I got two dishes to go with my porridge, braised peanuts and braised meat. The porridge here is rather soupy and it is not the thick type of porridge where the rice had been blended until a smooth paste. Grains of rice can still be seen here. The braised peanuts are quite normal and the taste is like what you can find in other stalls. I love the braised meat. The meat is very tender and the bits of fats are just nice to add flavour to the meat. The meat goes especially well with the porridge. I poured a lot of the gravy over the rice, making it very savoury. Do order the braised meat if you are there.

 

 
 
Spending per head: Approximately $3

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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Hei ice cream Smile Sep 26, 2013   
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Categories : Café | Desserts and Cakes | Ice Cream and Gelato

This is a relatively new outlet in Jurong Point, I think it is opened less than a year ago. My wife and I chanced upon it while walking back to Jurong Point 2 from Jurong Point 1, and we decided to try their chocolate ice cream, the hei ice cream. A single scoop of hei ice cream is $3.80. The chocolate is really very chocolate. Chocolate lovers will be a fan of this because the chocolate is really rich and it is not too sweet. For the price of $3.80, it is very reasonable as I believe very little other ingredients are added, the bulk is chocolate. My wife and I shared a cup and I will advise you to share if you are a normal fan of chocolate because having the whole cup will be much too much for a person as the intensity of chocolate is very strong.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 5

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