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ractravels
This is ractravels . Japanese, Korean, Singaporean, Italian are my favorite cuisines. I also love Café, Hawker Centre.
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A Sumptuous Vegetarian Feast Smile Jan 09, 2016   
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Categories : Vegetarian

Located opposite the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum is this Chinese vegetarian restaurant that has been established since 2007. Step into this 3-storey shophouse restaurant and you will be warmly welcomed by its friendly staff and tasteful decor. As Chinese New Year (CNY) is just about a month away, the restaurant will be serving its CNY Set Menus from eve to the 15th day of CNY and I was one of the lucky Openricers to be invited for a food tasting of its $368+ set menu. 

What We Ate:
There are a total of 9 dishes for this set menu and we started with the Sharks' Fin with White Fungus & Wolfberries (发财素鱼翅).

 
The mock sharks' fin was made from Konnyaku Jelly to give a crunchy and QQ texture. With a generous serving of the white fungus, mock ham, beancurd sheets, wolfberries and enoki in the soup, I couldn't really tell that it was a vegetarian dish. Not bad!
Following, the Fruit Salad Vegetarian Chicken (喜气洋洋 - 沙律素鸡) was served。

 
How would one know that this was mock chicken when the dish looked so much like the real thing? tongue This was one of my favourite dishes as the deep fried "chicken" skin which was made with beancurd skin was really crispy. The beancurd skin was stuffed with potato filling, topped with vegan mayonnise and there was a generous serving of mixed fruits salad at the bottom too. love
Next, we also had a taste of the appetising Thai Style Vegetarian Cod Fish (年年有余 - 泰式素鳕鱼)

 
Just like the chicken dish, this dish was as great as it looked and it's one of my favourites too. yummy The Thai tom yam spicy flavour, an in-house specialty sauce on the vegetarian cod fish made from soy-fibre and wheat was tangy. It may be quite spicy for those who can't take spicy food, nonetheless this definitely whets the appetite! 
After 2 strong flavoured dishes, we had something healthier and greener - Vegetarian Abalone Mushroom with Tau Pau & Seasonal Greens (花好月圆 - 鲍鱼冬菇豆包时蔬).

 
The shitake mushrooms and abalone mushrooms were placed in the middle of the dish, accompanied with red wolfberries and green broccoli for a nice colour combination. The braised in-house sauce was not salty and paired well with the mushrooms and broccoli. Thereafter, the Cereal Vegetarian Prawns (嘻嘻哈哈 - 麦片素虾) were served and we all looked in awe as it really looked like real prawns. tongue

 
This dish was a hot favourite amongst many of us. Although the "prawns" were deep-fried, they didn't feel oily. In fact it was very crunchy and tasty. Some even commented that it tasted exactly like the real prawn (I can't comment on that since I can't eat real prawns anyway haha). Regardless this was great!
Next up was the Fragrant Yam Ring (一家甜蜜 - 佛砵飘香). The ring was deep fried till crisp yet didn't feel greasy as we bited into it. There was generous fragrant yam filling topped with assorted vegetable and mushrooms too, so much so that I really feel bloated after eating this.

 
Just like most Chinese sit-down dinners, the second last dish was Braised Yee Fu Noodles (幸福伊面).

 
By this time, it was really hard to eat much carbo. Hence although the noodles were pretty tasty with no salty aftertaste, I could only eat a bit to sample the taste. Some of my fellow Openricers commented it was one of the best Yee Fu Noodles they had tasted.
Finally, after eating so many dishes together, we were presented with the Rainbow Yu Sheng (七彩鱼生) for our first safe Lo-Hei of the year (no fear of raw fish). tongue

 
As with the other vegetarian dishes, Konnyaku Jelly was used to make the vegetarian salmon slices and I applaud the delicate effort of the chef. It looked so real, even with the fish "lines"! Probably because of the jelly texture, the "salmon" was very chewy. Nice alternative for the traditional Yu Sheng especially amidst all the raw fish bacteria scares now.

The last dish, our dessert to end the meal, was a bowl of Fruity Mango Pudding (甜甜蜜蜜 - 芒果布丁) served individually. 

 
Frankly, before the dessert was served, I hadn't pinned high hopes on it for most restaurants would be serving this dessert in a bowl of syrup with chopped mango slices and pudding bits. I had least expected it would come in such a lovely presented serving! The mango pudding texture was very silky smooth and slided down easily into my stomach haha. The cut mangoes were a tad sour but tasted very fresh. A great dessert to end the meal!

Surprise treat from the host:
Our friendly host Zenna offered to let us try the restaurant specialty - Honey Sauce Vegetarian Pork (蜜汁素东坡肉) that has been on the regular menu since the opening of the restaurant.

 
Gosh, the appearance of this dish definitely could be passed off as a meat dish in any Chinese restaurant! The vegetarian pork was coated with a tangy sauce and tastewise, it was as if we were eating real fatty pork. No wonder this dish has been a favourite for many customers and stays strong for the past 9 years.

Eight Treasures has proven that staying meatless does not mean that the meal will be tasteless. I would gladly recommend the restaurant to non-vegetarian friends who are looking for an alternative dining experience and vegetarian friends who are looking for quality vegetarian meals at reasonable prices. smile
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Honey Sauce Vegetarian Pork,Thai Style Vegetarian Cod Fish,Fruit Salad Vegetarian Chicken
 
Date of Visit: Jan 06, 2016 

Celebration:  團年飯 

Dining Offers: 試食活動


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

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Categories : Italian | Restaurant | Brunch

I was lucky to be selected as 1 of the few Openricers last Saturday for a food tasting session at Procacci, the first traditional Italian restaurant opened outside Europe for the Procacci Company that originated from Florence, Italy.
Although Procacci has been opened for almost 5 years in Singapore since September 2010, its Saturday brunch menu has only been launched a few weeks ago in May. 10 dishes are being offered on its brunch menu and we got to try 7 of them, which I will share more in detail below:

1. Uova Strapazatte con Funghi

 
A vegetarian dish with just scrambled eggs, saute mushroom, rustica toast and saute spinach (spinach wasn't available that day so it was replaced with broccoli), this one didn't wow anyone. Although the scrambled eggs were pretty decent, the rustica toast was somewhat tough by the time we started eating. yuk

2. Fritattate al Tartufo
For Truffle Lovers!

For Truffle Lovers!

 
This vegetarian dish won the "Favourite Brunch Item" title by most of the foodies, though it wasn't my personal favourite, as I find the rich truffle cream taste too overpowering for my liking, while truffle fans love it. I did find the egg frittata unique and delicious though, something like a cross between an omelette and a crustless quiche.

3. Pollo Grigliato

 
Finally a meat dish, Pollo Grigliato comes with grilled chicken breast, fried egg, crispy bacon ciabatta toast. I like this yummy because the grilled chicken breast was tender and the bacon really lived up to its name - crispy! like

4. Fumo Salmone king

 
I am a salmon lover so when I knew that a smoked salmon dish would be served I was really excited. Fortunately, this dish didn't disappoint me, in fact I was surprised that the smoke salmon used here was really smooth that it sort of glided down into my stomach easily. love Furthermore it wasn't fishy or overly salty at all. In addition, the ricotta cheese spread on the ciabatta toast was fragrant, a great accompaniment to the toast and smoked salmon. like

5. Salsiccia Italiano

 
With arrabbiata sauce added to the dish of 2 large grilled spicy Italian sausages, fried egg and rustica toast, it set this dish different from the rest with some "omph" factor. A nice attempt but a pity that the sausages were a bit tough to cut and eat. 

6. Procacci Delizia

 
If you thought the above 5 dishes are already large for one to finish, I'm pretty sure you won't be able to finish this huge plate of mortadella, parma ham, taleggio cheese, scrambled eggs with rustica toast by yourself. tongue  It's sort of like a jumbo breakfast set with all the cold cuts, scrambled eggs, premium ham and cheese that you may dream of waking up to on a lazy weekend. However, personally for me, I think this was too heavy to handle alone and I could only appreciate the nicely-done scrambled eggs... LOL 

7. Uovo Benedetto

 
Uovo Benedetto appeared to be something special on the menu as it is supposed to have caviar, in addition to a poached egg with hollandaise sauce, crispy bacon and rustica toast. We were all looking forward to the caviar! However I was disappointed when I couldn't taste any caviar as I tried the dish.  upset I hope I was just unlucky in not managing to get hold of some caviar during the food tasting, and not because the menu was misleading? shocked Without the caviar, I think this dish was just way too normal for the price, there are too many good poached eggs out there these days worthier of the buck...

In addition to the sumptuous food that we tried above, there was also complimentary Prosecco being served. I like this Italian sparkling white wine, sweet and refreshing, tasted similar to champagne. smile

To summarise my review, I feel that the brunch at Procacci is a bit pricey for the quality and taste, although I suspect that much of the price one pays actually goes to the great ambience and view since it is located in a strategic yet quiet location by the Marina Bay. I probably would only visit the restaurant for brunch only for special occasions or celebrations, for a cool view as well as get away from the weekend hustle everywhere else.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Fumo Salmone
 
Date of Visit: May 16, 2015 

Dining Offers: 試食活動


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

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Authentic Italian Fare Smile May 02, 2013   
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Categories : Italian | European | Restaurant | Pasta | Kids-Friendly

I got to know about this restaurant through a radio morning show where listeners will call in to introduce good restaurants or stalls in Singapore that are not well-known yet worth going to. It is located along Sembawang Road near Chong Pang Nasi Lemak.

There was a 1-for-1 pasta promotion here for Mondays. Hence we were surprised that there was only 1 table of 3 ladies in the restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant is opened by a few Italian guys. We saw 2 (1 waiter and 1 chef) who are very handsome so my friend joked that was probably why the restaurant was recommended on air? tongue The restaurant decor is very simple & looks traditional western style. Anyway take a look at what we ordered!

 

 

 
The menu items were almost all written in Italian, so frankly I forgot the actual names of our main courses except the English translation. tongue

I don't have too much to say about the quality of food, except that they were great! smile My Gnocchi was tasty yet not too salty and the sauce was yummy. My friend's crab meat linguine had a lot of crab meat in it, so generous with the expensive stuff! It was simply full of "crabby" taste hehe.

We asked the handsome waiter which dessert would he recommend and he mentioned Tiramisu and Chocolate Lava Cake. Thinking that Chocolate Lava Cake may be too filling, we ordered Tiramisu instead. We aren't die hard fans of tiramisu so couldn't really compare or comment on the quality, but this was not bad in our opinion. There was no strong taste of liquor or coffee (which I like) and the serving was quite big.

There were only 10 customers (including 2 of us) throughout our 3-hour stay in the restaurant. So sad! The food was really quite good and worth visiting, especially from Mon-Wed when they have daily promotion on different items. Must be the "ulu" location that causes it to be neglected... Do pop by and try it out if you are craving for some authentic Italian Fare! smile
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Gnocchi
 
Date of Visit: Mar 04, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $17(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Western Variety | Café | Halal

Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro is a cosy cafe tucked in between a rowdy pub and a Japanese restaurant Rakuzen at Millenia Walk, along the street facing Conrad Hotel. The restaurant is owned & operated by Muslims, & one can see that this cafe is filled with many Muslims. You may be wondering, how did Swedish food actually get associated with Muslims? That's because a Muslim lady married a Swedish guy, and ya, they decided to set up this cafe hehe.

Enough of talking, here's pictures of some of the food we ordered...
Served chilled, $7.90

Served chilled, $7.90

 
Well, I didn't order this. It was my "foodie" friend who was the more adventurous one. 4 of us all tried the "soup" & our consensus was it was more like a diluted bowl of blueberry juice! Weird, not the way we thought soups should be...
Meatballs served w/ homemade creamy sauce, parsley potatoes & lingoberry jam $18.50

Meatballs served w/ homemade creamy sauce, parsley potatoes & lingoberry jam $18.50

 
Ikea was having a 1-day promotion for its meatballs on the day we visited Fika, but I didn't have the luxury to grab the 10 cents offer. So I ordered this Swedish Meatballs to "console" myself haha. The serving was so big that I had trouble finishing the whole plate although the meatballs & potatoes were all yummy. Even the lingoberry jam was a good accompanying sauce to the food. smile

The other main courses my friends ordered were:
1. Cheese, Tomatoes & Cucumber sandwich ($14.90++, chilled) - my friend thought it was very normal & nothing to rave about;
2. Seafood Pasta, aglio style ($24.90++) - the pasta came with quite a fair bit of seafood like mussels, tiger prawns, doryfish & scallop. My friend thought it was a very well-done pasta & she savoured every bit;
3. Tunnbrödsrulle ($18.90++) - this is Swedish thin bread with mashed potatoes, grilled sausage, fried shallots, boston gurka and tomato/chili sauce. To us it's actually a wrap with all the stated ingredients rolled into the wrap. I tried some & I like it too! smile

Five of us were all full from our main courses and decided to just share 1 dessert. The Swedish apple pie we ordered was quite different from the usual ones we eat at other restaurants. The pie itself was soft & not crusty. We all thought it was quite delicious. The homemade vanilla ice-cream was a great topping to the pie.
$8.90

$8.90

 
The food here is not that cheap but overall it was quite a pleasant experience dining here. Anyway we don't really see that many Swedish cafes in Singapore, do we? Let alone Swedish halal cafe hehe. I don't mind going back again if I feel like having some Swedish food. smile
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Swedish Meatballs,Apple Pie
 
Date of Visit: Mar 08, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $25(Dinner)

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

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Disappointing Experience Cry May 01, 2013   
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Categories : Korean | Bars/Lounges | Restaurant | BBQ

After a good morning walk at Fort Canning Park, we found ourselves in Clarke Quay looking for a satisfying lunch venue. I suggested to my friends that we try out Boss BarBQ near the Clarke Quay taxi stand, as I heard about its popularity at night due to its live performances.

There was no customer at all when we entered the restaurant, probably because Clarke Quay is a famous night spot, so it's a ghost town at 1pm in broad daylight? tongue Anyway we were brought in by a Filipino waitress, & the first thing that caught my attention was the restaurant is pretty small with a stage in front & reeks of smoke. sad

The restaurant is famous for its fried chicken & barbecue meat, so we ordered a plate of 9 pieces of Boss Fried Chicken to share. Too bad can't mix spicy and original flavours for the 9-piece plate, only 18-piece plate then you can mix the flavours. -_-"
Boss Fried Chicken $22++

Boss Fried Chicken $22++

 
The 3 accompanying sauces to the Boss Fried Chicken were mustard, chilli and spiced salt. My favourite was the spiced salt! The chicken were very crispy too. Good!

We also ordered a Kimchi Pancake and Army Stew to share.
Kimchi Pancake $28

Kimchi Pancake $28

 
Army Stew $38

Army Stew $38

 
We felt the Kimchi Pancake was a bit overcooked till "chao da" (burnt)... The sides were too crispy, did they deep fry the pancake together with the fried chicken? -_-" That size is also definitely not worth $28++. sad

As for the Army Stew, we were hoping for a redder coloured soup base so was somewhat disappointed. Fortunately it wasn't as bland as I thought but it's not wonderful either. One of my friends who can't take spicy food said she liked it though. But for 2 of us who can take spicy stuff, this somehow lacked some kick.

Our final bill came to about $92 after 15% discount with Citibank credit card (note that the 15% discount doesn't apply to the Boss Fried Chicken , wonder why...). We don't think we will go back again as for the hefty price, we did not even have free side dishes or free flow of Korean tea, and the service was very lousy. Initially there was only our table and shortly after we ordered, another group of 3 came. But even then, it was just 2 tables & the waitress still could forget what we ordered and the way she served us was pretty careless as well. Oh and talking about the Korean tea, we saw from the menu that it is chargeable at $6/cup (or maybe it's per head, since the tea came in a pot for each table?)! The price of side dishes was not indicated on the menu but I confirmed with the waitress that it was chargeable, so we told her to remove. This is quite horrible isn't it? Real Korean restaurants NEVER charge for side dishes & the barley tea! sad

So unless you are feeling filthy rich, in Clarke Quay & just can't eat anything else other than Korean food, then maybe you may go there, but just be mentally prepared for the bill & lack of service... shocked
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Boss Fried Chicken
 
Date of Visit: Jan 05, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $31(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 2  |  
Service
 1  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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