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chefquak
This is chefquak . French, Japanese, Teochew are my favorite cuisines..
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Categories : Hawker Centre | Chinese Soup

I met an old schoolmate for early lunch at old airport road hawker centre 11.30am today 2.12.2014. We decided on hougang jing jia mutton soup stall.

there was no queue. we got 2 bowls 牛杂 mixed rib, tripe, tendon (S$6 each).
it might be that my expectation was a bit high. i was expecting like chai chuan you 柴船头 @ bukit merah view standard. or at least the standard of yu ji@whampoa market or the other stall #01-75 at whampoa market.

but this hougang mutton soup was quite a let down actually. something was not quite right about the taste. soup was not as flavourful. i felt the meat was overcooked & too soft not the texture i like for mutton ribs and not as tasty, and chilli was simply too dilute.

for me, this was not comparable at all with the other 3 stalls. my favourite is chai chuan you 柴船头 @ bukit merah view but i like the 2 whampoa stalls too.

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2014/12/02/guided-food-tour-of-old-airport-road-hawker-centre-on-2dec2014/

 

 

 
 
Table Wait Time: 2 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Dec 02, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $6(Lunch)

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

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Average Ala Carte Buffet OK Nov 30, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Teochew | Seafood

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2014/11/30/ri-friends-monthly-dinner-ban-heng-harbourfront-centre-on-24nov2014/
we had our november dinner @ ban heng harbourfront centre on 24.11.2014.

i had not been to this ban heng outlet before. the last time G20 had a 23pax dinner at ban heng at orchard central, food was quite average.

this outlet has 2 ala carte buffet menu – one pried at S$28.80++ here, and the other at S$21.80++. from what i can see the main difference is for the S$28.80 menu you get to pick 1 order of abalones, crabs, froglegs, live prawns, scallops. we took the S$28.80++ menu.

#1 roast duck was passable. but c/w the beautiful roast duck at both canton paradise star vista & canton paradise J-cube or with the noodles restaurant at centrepoint, this would be a poor & distant cousin.

#2 drunken chicken was average, competent.

liked the vegetables, #3 garlic spinach & #4 sambal kang kong.

#5 deep-fried soon hock was a standard dish. it was done well.

#6 beef with bitter gourd black bean sauce was also done well. this was as good as any good zi char, say kok sen at keong saik street or hong kong street chun kee at commonwealth crescent or ah orh at bukit merah.

#7 steamed prawns was good like any good seafood restaurant.

surprisingly the #8 sharks fin soup though gluey like any served at weddings in yesteryears, had very tasty stock. this was much better than ban heng orchard central.

#9 frog legs with ginger & spring onions was also a competent dish. .

#10 roast pork. all my friends liked this a lot. we had a second order. meat looked great, was tender & tasty & skin was crisp. i would say presentation & taste-wise still a tad below what i had recently at tunglok central.

#11 fried prawns with celery – passable, nothing interesting.

#12 char siew looked & tasted great. of the 2 dishes, my friends liked the roast pork better.

#13 abalones with mushrooms & spinach. this was quite good dish also. the braising sauce though was nothing like the really good brown sauce served in good cantonese restaurants say ah yat abalones forum restaurant for abalone dishes (also goose web & spiky sea cucumber dishes) or at chao yue xuan.

#14 deep-fried tilapia in thai sauce was an interesting dish. it had less meat so some friends preferred the soon hock dish to this.

#15 scallops in yam nest. scallops were average & overall this dish was poor, below par, not even comparable with a good yam basket say at ah orh w/o expensive scallops.

#16 chai poh minced pork with steamed bean curd, i think this was really poor.

#17 sweet & sour soup. this was a pretty good soup.

#18 pepper crab was quite the usual seafood restaurant standard, for sure better than spices cafe. self service dessert were quite standard. aloe vera with jelly was quite refreshing & pulut hitam the usual.

overall, food here was better than ban heng orchard central but not as good aspeach gardens miramar. for S$28.80++ pax it was 2/3 the price of spices cafe w/o the lobster. i guess quite an ok deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  aloe vera & jelly,beef with bitter gourd black bean sauce,roast pork,deep-fried tilapia in thai sauce,char siew,deep-fried soon hock,garlic spinach,sweet & sour soup,abalones with mushrooms & spinach
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 22, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $34

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

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Mediocre S$15.90 Set Lunch  OK Sep 27, 2014   
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Categories : Middle Eastern/Mediterranean | Malay | Restaurant | BBQ

ee my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2014/09/27/mediocre-s15-90-set-lunch-amirahs-grill-on-26sep2014/
a friend organised a 6pax lunch at amirah’s grill at bussorah street on 26.9.2014.
parking was horrendous at 1pm on a friday. i parked at sultan plaza. anyway it was just a short walk.
the recent reviews (2014) on tripadvisor of this place were quite bad. the reviews on openrice & hungrygowhere were equally bad but more dated (2013).
i checked the website & they had this S$15.90 lunch set so i called & confirmed the lunch sets were still available & that it was 2-course + drink. you need to ask for the set lunch menu though. we were not given until we asked specifically.
for the drinks, 2 friends had coffee, 2 including me had the hibiscus drink. it tasted like a rose syrup with nice mint, sweet but not overly, it was quite ok for me. 2 other friends probably had tea. i couldn’t quite recall.
the soup of the day was a chicken soup. it was better than a canned soup – i guess very few served canned soup these days. basically a minestrone with chicken stock, mediocre but a pretty ok soup actually.
there was a choice of mains. i picked chicken kebab with rice. chicken was tender & had grilled flavours but otherwise not much taste. the sauce added nothing the the taste. the vegetables – cauliflowers, carrots etc were just boiled vege. rice? not much taste.
the lamb kofta with rice seemed quite ok too. basically a minced lamb kebab? they were often served in indian buffets, not really my kind of dish, but perhaps if done well with herbs, it could still be better than the chicken?
a friend who is vegetarian took a vege wrap with fries.
at S$15.90 which came to about S$18+, i guessed nothing much to complain about, and food was actually a bit more than passable.
the 6 of us were the solitary patrons. f&b is really a struggle in singapore with so much competition. if i were to use the criteria we recently talked much about – worthwhile cholesterol & worthwhile calories, then this lunch didn’t really fall into the category. so far the indian food, the best i had was the S$19++ weekday lunch buffet at yantra at tanglin mall, though it is a bit more expensive. but i guess many restaurants in serangoon would serve cheaper & tastier food than amirah’s grill. i don’t know much about middle-eastern restaurants so cannot really make comparisons. i did have a most memorable middle eastern lunch at honey & co london with my son during my recent trip.
we had great fun. i really enjoyed these lunches & dinners with old RI friends. ambience was fine. we had the whole place to ourselves & we stayed & chatted for quite long after makan.

 

 

 

 

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  hibiscus drink
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Sep 26, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $18(Lunch)

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

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Good Ambience, Food So-So OK Sep 11, 2014   
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Categories : Italian | Bars/Lounges | Pasta

I had a 2pax dinner at sopra cucina on 10.9.2014.
sopra cucina & bar had great ambience. the inside was like a large private drawing room with chesterfield deep-buttoned leather seats. it had a charming facade & there was an open patio bar area & live music. 
the bread basket was poor (or like a pizzeria or fast-food serving) & not really consistent with the furnishings & ambience of the restaurant.
we ordered the octopus salad. it was not chef’s recommendations but apparently quite popular with customers. it was quite a large helping. the steamed octopus were ok not tough, like the ones at vicoletti at stresa, but not the standard of the grilled octopus at alle darsene at bellagio. still it was pretty good for an antipasti. 
sopra cucina served sardinia (second largest island in the mediterranean after sicily & before cyprus) cuisine. we ordered the pregola frutti di mare. the prawns were fresh. the scallops & squid were so-so. the tomato flavours were ok but felt more like an average sauce than that from nice fresh tomatoes. the pregolas looked like “barley risotto” but pasta in texture. i would rather have a spaghetti or linguine or fettucine anytime. it’s a personal preference i guess. somehow the dish did not give me the same satisfaction & enjoyment of a good pasta.

See full review at: http://chefquak.com/2014/09/11/so-so-dinner-sopra-cucina-on-10sep2014/

 

 

 

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  octopus salad – S$18,suckling pig – S$48
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Sep 10, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $28(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong

I was truly disappointed with the S$59.80+ ala carte buffet at restaurant home on 25.6.2014. It probably had to do with wrong expectations, as the award winning chef tan yong hua has so many accolades, not least the first Singaporean chef to win against iron Chef Thailand. also the price of S$59.80+pax would be quite ok if the dishes were good & not just mediocre.

 

#1 The mini buddha-jump-over-the-wall(bjotw) had a light decent soup base (not intense & maybe that was intended), a good flower mushroom, a quite small abalone which was ok & lots of chicken plus a cheap fish maw (not 花胶). i supposed average ingredients were quite ok if the soup was really tasty. it was not a bad soup. 1 of us commented any lie tong (例汤) soup of the day by tunglok or imperial treasure would beat this, so there was nothing much to say.

 

#2 The bite/texture & flavour of the 8-head abalone & also the flower mushroom were quite good. the spinach was just average, and perhaps it was more the method of preparation, but any brown sauce braised chinese abalones (ah yat, tunglok, xin restaurant etc) would be a better overall taste experience than this (not a better abalone). I guess this dish would be above average to good whereas the mini bjotw was just average.

 

#3 The salmon & maguro (tuna) sashimi were ok, the lobster was buried in mayo. a wasabi or salted egg prawn would be better. The dish was ok but nondescript.

 

#4 The prawns were big & fresh & quite tasty. I guess it was about as good as a herbal prawn could be. it was not a dish i was much fancied though, unlike the wow factor with the golden prawns at mikuni.

#5 The deep-fried red garoupa was competent, good even. but as 1 diner commented, it was no better than ah yat though the garoupa tasted better than soon hock. i also thought it was not much better than peach garden miramar, not counting ban heng’s deep-fried soon hock which was very average.

 

#6 The roast duck was to me about the best dish for the evening (& it was not among the chef selected dishes above limited to 1 serving). skin was crispy, meat was tender, moist not overcooked & very flavourful.

 

#7 The crabmeat broccoli was another better dish, look good, tasted great, more like the standards of tunglok or imperial treasure.


#8 The Sichuan spicy fish fillet (I forgot to take a photo) was okay edible not good but as 水煮鱼 it was a disaster! even the NUS canteen foodgle hub S$6 水煮鱼 was better than this.

 

#9 The Sichuan spicy beef with rice crackers was worse than the fish! beef was bad by any standard, the sinewy quite tasteless like rubber type. even the artificial tenderised beef at coffeeshop zi char stalls were better! not sure the thai type rice crackers qualified as 锅巴. if it were any zi char stall, i guess one could argue that’s just a choice of words.

 

#10 The osmanthus jelly was pretty good, i guess no so far off timhowan which was better, but it’s just jelly.

#11 The rosella jelly was ok for a jelly but really a poor dessert c/w any of tunglok, xin, imperial treasure, I guess better than having red beans & green beans at ah yat.

#12 3 of us ordered the almond jelly (no photos). this was good restaurant standard.

I had earlier booked en japanese dining @ alocasia to try their S$56++pax queen crab wagyu ala carte buffet, but had canceled that to try this new restaurant. it was a manifestly wrong decision to take restaurant home's ala carte buffet. it was not any near as good as peach garden miramar’s (S$30.80++pax 3 paying 1 free) which was 1/2 the price. this 4pax dinner cost S$264nett. my recent fabulous 4pax dinner at mikuni which cost only S$195nett. There was totally no comparison at all regards the food! :-)

1 Facebook friend who dined there recently commented that the ala carte orders – lychee wood smoked peking duck, claypot steamed fish, tofu egg, braised pork knuckles vermicelli in oba leaf – were pretty good. i guess a sound opinion & i am not totally ruling trying ala carte here if there are takers among my friends, but the ala carte buffet is totally out for me! & i think really the organisation is still not in groove to put up this level of cuisine for a S$59.80 ala carte buffet.

 

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  8-bed abalone with flower mushroom & spinach,crabmeat brocoli,roast duck,herbal prawns,deep-fried red garoupa
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jun 25, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $66

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 1

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