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Thomaschan
This is Thomaschan living in West Coast. I am a StudentI like to hang out in Orchard, Yishun, Clementi. Japanese, Singaporean, Cantonese/Hong Kong are my favorite cuisines. I also love Restaurant, Café and Dim Sum, Steaks and Grills, Sushi/Sashimi.
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Thomaschan  Level 3
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Showing 31 to 35 of 98 Reviews in Singapore
Dim Sum Haven Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Dim Sum

Ranked as one of the world's 'Top Ten Best Restaurants' by The New York Times, Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung is the one place to head for authentic Taiwanese xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings). Its roots dated back to Taiwan 40 years ago, when Bingyi Yang stopped selling oil and switched to making xiao long baos for a living. Businesses grew quickly with customers boasting about its exceptional quality and taste. Today, Din Tai Fung has became a widely acclaimed, international brand, offering customers distinctive culinary and service culture.

It was the 60th birthday of girlfriend's father and I thought, what's better than to celebrate over a table of signature dim-sum. As expected, getting a table on Friday evenings is pretty difficult and they do not bother with reservations under 8 persons. However, orders could be placed beforehand to minimise waiting, so food arrived even before we warmed our seats.

 
Xiao Long Baos, or affectionally known as XLB (S$6.80 for 6pc) are obviously a must-order. Thin melt-in-your-mouth dumpling skin with exquisite foldings, encapsulating the tantalising and juicy pork fillings was a sufficient reason to order second servings. Recently, they introduced the steamed chilli crab version (S$9 for 6pc) which is 40% larger than the original and consists of succulent crabmeat in spicy broth. For myself, I still prefer the former. Both are eaten best with vinegar and ginger.

Steamed Chilli Crab and Pork Buns (S$4.30 for 3pc) are clever twists to the original steamed buns, but lacks the "oomph", perhaps it was a tad too dry.

 
Shrimp Siew Mai (S$9.80 for 6pc) was slightly different from the normal steamed dumplings, their version was wrapped with dumpling skins in the shape of an auspicious money-bag, completed with a full juicy full shrimp on the surface. Amazing, yes, however, the high pricing is a minus point.

 
If there is one dish in Din Tai Fung that I had to label "under-rated", it would be their Goma Bun (S$3.60 for 3pc). Thick, flavourful black sesame wrapped within soft, fluffy bun was just purely amazing, or maybe because I was biased as a huge goma lover, but nonetheless, their rendition was genious.

 
Similar to their siew mai rendition, Shrimp Dumplings (S$7.30 for 6pc) consists of succulent shrimps mixed with juicy minced pork, wrapped with dumpling skins. Good, maybe, but definitely not awesome.

 
Besides dim sum dishes, Din Tai Fung serves a wide variety of enticing Asian delights like braised beef noodles, yang zhou fried rice and steamed chicken soup. This post is making myself hungry already, which reminds me to get lunch and search for more good dim-sum places. Recommendation guys?
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20

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 4  |  
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Great Food, Greater Price tags Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Australian / New Zealand | Café

Lauching its first outlet in 1996, Jones the Grocer not only set the benchmark for premium Australia gourmet food, the iconic store also hosted Sydney's first and largest walk-in cheese room, serving a wide array of breakfast and brunch items, as well as atas gourmet food and desserts. Unlike other cafe or restaurants, Jones the Grocer serves breakfast daily (8.30am -12pm) with additional brunch hours (12pm - 3pm) on weekends. I am a brunch person, but getting to Orchard before 3pm seems like a tall order for either myself and my partner, as we both love to sleep-in late on weekends. Hence, dinner, it shall be.

The outlet that we patronised for our third year anniversary was nestled at the high floors of ION Orchard. As expected of a gourmet food store, Jones the Grocer has a lovely, elegant ambience with lighted candles and lovely wood furnitures, completed by a cold shelf of assorted drinks, such as fruit juice and wine, and dozens of cheese varieties.

 
Just be warned that their food ain't cheap at all, even with the exclusion of service and general taxes. A portion of Fish of the Day came with a hefty price tag at S$35 (not implying that I am a cheapo or equivalent). Nevertheless, it was with high hopes and expectations, when I walked into this restaurant that in my opinion - primarily serves tai tais or affluent businessmen. Shifting the focus back to the barramundi, with crushed potatoes and sauce antiboise (and adaptation of the French sauce), the presentation scored high, however the pan-fried fish was a tad moistless and overcooked, while the potato was very nicely done - soft, flavourful and the portion was just nice.

For myself, I had the Linguini (S$28) with forest mushroom, grana padano (a popular cheese variation in Italy), pangrattato (breadcrumbs) served in a light, creamy carbonara-like sauce. Tantalising and flavourful, their rendition was one of the best I had so far.

 
What is dinner without desserts? Girlfriend was raving about Marmalade Pantry's Sticky Date Pudding, until she tried Jones' version (S$14). Paired up with authentic vanilla bean ice cream and generous amount of luscious, flowing salted caramel sauce, one would never stop just at one bite. This dessert is sexy, alluring, tempting, and probably evil for anyone who is on a diet, but YOLO (you only live once).

 
All in all, rather than matching standards, it seems like they exert high importance on the presentation (and quantity, to a certain extent) and not so much on the quality. Please don't be mistaken that the food is not good, IT'S GOOD, but for the whopping price tag, one would naturally expect higher standards in terms of quality. Therefore, I would choose Wild Honey anytime over Jones the Grocer, unless the desserts call out to me again.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Sticky Date Pudding
 
Spending per head: Approximately $30(Dinner)

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 4  |  
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 5  |  
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 3  |  
Clean
 5  |  
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Rochor Thai Food Tasting Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Thai | Café

Nestled along the bustling streets of Joo Chiat, Rochor Thai delivers authentic cuisine from the Land of Smiles to our local food scene. Helmed by a passionate food enthusiast, Joel, the exciting menu consists of traditional flavours crafted with modern Thai elements, such as their speciality green curry and pad thai talay. Hence, it was indeed a pleasure when Openrice.com invited yours truly to Rochor Thai for another food tasting session recently.

So what's on the food tasting menu?

Before dinner, an amuse-bouche ("mouth-amuser" in French) was served. Unlike appetisers, this single bite-sized creations are usually free and can be served out of the menu, according to the chef's selection alone. Joel's amuse-bouche was brilliantly crafted - cold noodles topped with pork floss, infused with the star flavours of Thai cuisine in a bite-size, namely sour, spicy and bitter.

 
Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad Central Thailand Style ($6.80) was served as an appetiser. It didn't pack much of an "oomph", but it did make a good preparation for the palate.

 
Gaeng Kaew Wan Gai - Chef's Special Green Curry with Chicken Thigh and Thai Eggplant (S - $11.80, L - $18.80) was my favourite dish of the dinner. The unique blend of green curry and coconut milk was made from scratch, and for those who do not take spicy food, this is a great option to go with.

 
Tom Yum Talay/Po Taek – Hot & Spicy Seafood Soup with Thai Herbs/Clear Spicy Sour Soup with Holy Basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves (S - $8.80, L - $15.80) were pretty standardized with the average flavours and ingredients. Just a warning not to be fooled by the clear colour of the latter, as it packs quite a deadly degree of spiciness.

 
Pad Kee Mao Goong - Stir Fried Thai "Drunken" Style Prawns (S - $16.80, L - $24.80) alongside with Gaeng Phet Pla Krapong Daeng - Dry Red Curry with Red Snapper Fillets (S - $16.80, L - $24.80) served as good side dishes for the dinner. Snapper fillets were Girlfriend's favourite, but it just seemed too average for myself. Oh, and the prawns weren't that "drunk" anyway.

 

 
Pla Nin Pao – Salt Baked Whole Tilapia served with Spicy Coriander Sauce ($22.80) was succulent and juicy. Personally, I didn't adore the flavour of the coriander sauce, however the fresh sweetness of the tilapia makes it good enough to eat it on its own.

 
Hoay Lai Pad Prik Pao - Clams Flambe in Chilli Jam and Chef's Stock (S - $14.80, L - $22.80) was the chef's attempt to deviant away from the boring preparation methods of clams. I'd say it was a good enough attempt, as traces of overcooked clams were present.

 
Kor Moo Yang – Seared Pork Collar served with Aromatic Dried Chilli Sauce ($12.80) was excellent. The meat was seared just nicely to lock the juices in, which presents no less than a satisfying dish. Great to eat it without the sauce as well.

 
Pad Thai Talay (S - $7.80, L - $14.80) - Everyone's favourite street food from Thailand. I have never had pad thai before, prior to this, but "impressed" might be just the fitting word to describe Rochor Thai's rendition.

 
Khao Niew Ma Muang - Mango Sticky Rice ($7.80) and Tab Tim Grob - Thai Red Ruby ($4.80) are served right after the meal. The former has an added nutty crunch to its sticky rice, while the latter was an awesome version of the common red ruby. According to them, the red coloring comes from the natural pigmentation of beetroot itself.

 

 
In a nutshell, Rochor Thai serves authentic Thai dishes, infused with both modern and traditional elements, in a much cosy environment. In my opinion, the food whipped out here is much better than those mainstream restaurants.

Once again, I give my thanks to Openrice and Rochor Thai for their hospitality and food tasting session.
 
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 4  |  
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 3  |  
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 4  |  
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 3  |  
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Categories : Japanese | Restaurant

In the quest of searching for authentic kushiyaki, a Japanese classic inclusive of bite-sized delicacies skewered and grilled, I am deeply honoured to be invited to a private food tasting session at Sumire Yakitori House. With 15 outlets in Japan itself, Singapore was chosen to become the first venture outside the country, as it was seen as a growing hub for food (among other things). Their initial concept - a yakitori bar, was originally targeted at men, who enjoyed their wide range of beer and sake while having yakitori. However, the President of Sumire - Mr. Yuzawa Tadanori, thought that good food is best shared. Since then, the bar concept is molded into a restaurant, catering for people from all walks of life.

Their first local outlet is seemingly difficult to find, girlfriend and yours truly had to pace the mall and search the directory whilst trying to locate the restaurant for the first time. Well, it wasn't that difficult to navigate around after knowing it is nestled at the edge of Bugis Junction, just across Bugis+. Upon arriving (anonymously), we were greeted loudly by the chefs and service staff with smiles hanging on everyone's faces, and it was noted that greetings would be given whenever customers enter, leave or when food is being served. On a side note, these people are probably the happiest service staff I have ever came across. Another plus point is awarded to the open kitchen concept where trained professionals prepare your grills, and cosy interiors, which exudes a typical Japanese restaurant "feel" and even evokes a sense of nostalgia, if you have been to Japan.

 
Sumire Yakitori House is one of the growing numbers where iPad menus are utilised, besides the use of traditional paper menu, providing great convenience to both the technologically-savvy and tech-illiterate. Being on our virgin trip to the restaurant, one of the friendly staff kindly assisted us with the menu and introduced us some of their signature dishes. According to prior research and recommendations, Bakudan Korokke (S$6.90) is one of the most recommended dishes. Also known as the "bomb", the homemade potato croquette leaks out a stream of velvety smooth yolk from its crispy exterior of potato and breadcrumbs when opened up (which was similar to molten chocolate cake or custard bun). Being texture and flavour-rich, this dish is indeed a gastronomical explosion.

While waiting for the next serving to arrive, which took less than 5 minutes on a weekday night, we munched on some cabbage, served with Shio-Dare sauce (salt dressing) and sesame seeds to aid in digestion. Highly known for it's rich and natural vitamins, cabbage has excellent age-defying and beautifying properties among other benefits. At Sumire, the first bowl of cabbage is complementary, while subsequent servings are priced at S$1.90 each.

Potato salad (S$3.90) is a recommended appetiser to prepare your palate for what is to come. The clever texture-full combination of assorted vegetables mixed with mashed potato will make you drooling for seconds. I had a hard guess on the shredded decorations around the salad, which I thought was beancurd skin. Mr Shin, the humble managing director of Sumire, kindly enlightened me that it was actually fried wanton skin. I actually felt stupid for a moment.

 
Their signature yakitori is an obvious choice to order off the menu. At Sumire, most skewers are either grilled with Shio (salt) or Tare (teriyaki sauce), serving the best of both worlds. We had the highly recommended Negima (S$2.90) - tender and succulent chicken meat skewered in-between leeks, Nankotsu (S$3.90) - chicken soft bone (also known as cartilage) and meat which proved to be a tad dry and tasteless to my disappointment, Cheese Tsukune (S$4.90) - a great combination of minced chicken infused with teriyaki sauce, mayonnaise and cheese. Interestingly, their tsukune comes in "men" and "female" sizes, the former comes in bigger sizes, whereas the latter presents a smaller bite for the demure.

 
A short interview with Ms Felicia, the HR manager of Sumire, reviewed that they have incoming plans to gradually introduce the variety of yakitori. Diners, like myself, can look forward to grilled seafood and beef skewers in time to come.

Tamago Mentai Cheese (S$7.90) makes to girlfriend's favourite list, and the answer is obvious - soft, runny mentai cheese encased within the classic Japanese omelette, makes for a perfect starter.

 
Mentai Cream Udon (S$8.90) is a huge recommendation by myself. This big bowl consists of chewy udon, thinly sliced cucumbers, seaweed and mentai, in a creamy base. As with all the creamy pastas, less is more, making sharing a wise choice. For desserts, try out their signature Sumire Ice Cream (S$3.90) - vanilla ice cream drizzled with black sugar and dusted with soya bean powder. The picture will say the rest.

 

 
In a nutshell, there was no doubt that Sumire makes quality and authentic Japanese food affordable. Derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the world "smile", Sumire Yakitori House hopes to promote that "smile is priceless" and that their restaurants, which encompasses both food and services would bring smiles to everyone's faces. And you know what? They did it.
 
Other Ratings:
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 4  |  
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 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 5

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Hearty, Authentic Japanese Food Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Japanese | Brunch

The everlasting hunt for food during our long breaks brought us to a homely Japanese restaurant down Casuarina Road at Upper Thomson. Whilst the cosy interior was decorated with traditional wooden furniture, Tamako Meal offers diners a quiet getaway from their bustling lifestyles. Passed down from generations since 1994, the restaurant serves hearty and authentic, yet affordable Hokkaido fare with impeccable hospitality and humble services.

 
Menu items include assorted appetisers, like chawanmushi (S$3.80) and potato salad (S$3.20), and an extensive selection of bento, udon and sushi sets. With reasonably priced delicacies, it is not difficult to understand why someone might want to order more than he could finish. Take for example, an unagi bento set or ten don cost less than S$10, and the quality, less the portion does not lose out to any other Japanese restaurants.

Skip the over-rated Casuarina Curry, opt for Tamako Meal instead. The exceptional quality for low pricing is not to be missed.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Tamako Meal
 
Spending per head: Approximately $10(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
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 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 5

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