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chefquak
This is chefquak . French, Japanese, Teochew are my favorite cuisines..
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Categories : Japanese | Ramen | Kids-Friendly

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2014/07/21/quality-great-value-alacarte-buffet-zen-on-21jul2014/

bought 2xS$33.80 groupons & went with sis to zen at ue square for ala carte lunch buffet on 21.7.2014.

normal lunch buffet is priced at S$42++pax. i had also taken their lunch sets starting from S$16++pax (but some years back) & they are pretty good. quality of food & cooking had always been good here.
for the ala carte buffet, the main event was the wagyu shabu shabu. there was also pork & whole array of jap dishes. only set back is the lack of good sashimi other than salmon for the buffet. you could order them as additional ala carte orders & they were at good discounted prices too e.g. what looked liked a very good 10 piece sushi set was going for like S$18. i wouldn’t order that while i was having a alacarte buffet lunch though.
the salmon sashimi was good, probably about chikuwatei & momoya standard. anyway these days many places served good salmon sashimi. the aburi salmon sushi & maguro sushi were both good but the rice was so huge you could not order more w/o leaving the rice. anyway i set aside the rice for later dishes like the kimchi but a & ebi ika basil dish. 
both the broiled oysters & the breaded oysters were good. we did not order additional as could not finish so much food!
also ordered 2 pieces ebi tempura (forgot to take pictures). good too. flour a bit much. we did not add orders.
unlike the sister restaurant en japanese dining bar, they did not serve beef carpaccio, but the wafu steak was really very good, very tender & sweet.
the 2 thai & korean dishes showed the quality of cooking here. kimchi but a was just ok but with lots of pork & belly pork. the basil prawns & squid was very good, the standerd of a good thai restaurant. i kept my rice for these dishes. for the main event wagyu shabu shabu, the beef was excellent. perhaps azmaya was better. hard to tell, but this was very good anyway. 
it came in 1/2 & full portion (200g). we had the full portion for 2pax but could not add more. we also ordered 1/2 portion belly pork. it was just 6 slices & it was very good. we just could not add more.
decided to take 1/2 portion of unagi chahan to share. it was still very large portion & we took about 70%. it was very flavourful with unagi pieces but no better than a good fried rice at imperial treasure or crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.
also shared a tofu cheese cake & a creme brûlée. both were good. creme brûlée a bit sweeter & we did not finish it.
the normal weekday lunch buffet price is S$42++pax & dinner S$52++pax. still ok i guess if you take a lot of beef. the S$33.80nett groupon deal was of course superb value.

just to add that the service was overall good. not always the most attentive, but very polite friendly when they served you. ice water was free unlike other places (tajimaya does not serve tap water & charges S$5.90 for 1 litre bottled water), so the S$33.80 groupon was all we paid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  broiled oysters,zen japanese cuisine restaurant,aburi salmon sushi,breaded oysters,wagyu beef shabu shabu,belly pork for shabu sahu,salmon sashimi,wafu steak
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jul 21, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $34(Dinner)

Dining Offers: groupon


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

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Best Value Chirashi-Don Smile Jun 09, 2014   
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Categories : Japanese

This truly the best value chirashi-don in Singapore. I had take this ginza kuroson chirashi-don quite a few times previously, but had not been there lately. having lunch with my sis today & decided to go kuroson on 6.6.2014. 

At S$20++, the chirashi-don alone was good value. the set came with free flow iced green tea, mesclun salad (& this had a lot of arugula & not a cheap salad), miso soup & a pickle. The chirashi-don itself was quite perfect as always. there were like 9 pieces of sashimi over the don. i counted 2 tai (or perhaps 1 tai, 1 hirame – the 2 white fish), 1 maguro, 1 shake (salmon), 1 katsuo (seared bonito), chopped aji (horse mackerel), 1 tako, 1 mirugai (geoduck) & 1 amaebi (sweet prawns), & piles of ikura, & some pickled ginger, sliced zucchini & chopped eggs. the rice itself was well vinegared & very tasty. this 1 of the worthwhile cargo I actually finished.

This would be much better quality & better value c/w the chirashi-don at tonkichi orchard central & the bara chirachi-don set at sun with moon. Lunch was very satisfying after quite long while. will come back soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 


see my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2014/06/06/best-value-chirashi-don-lunch-ginza-kuroson-on-6jun2014/
 
Recommended Dish(es):  chirashi-don
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jun 06, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $24(Lunch)

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

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Categories : French | European | Restaurant

I wanted to buy my wife a nice new year eve dinner, and saw the quite attractive menu in au jardin’s website, so decided to make a reservation for 2pax dinner on 31.12.2013.

we had couple of degustation dinners at au jardin many years back (my wife said 10 years ago). they were like 8-course priced at S$200pax & was really good. i had considered trying the S$150pax table d’hote (ie prix fixe)menu, but never did. subsequently, the regular menu did not look attractive as it is today 4-course at S$150pax, so i did not do dinner at au jardin but only lunches (especially the recent maybank 1 for 1 promotion set lunch).

my wife & I generally have the practice not to dine out during public holidays, festive periods, mothers’ day etc as those occasions were very commercilaised & one often ended up paying through the nose (like 50% – 100% more) & getting poor food & poor service. anyhow for this new year eve dinner, au jardin served a 7-course+amuse bouche dinner at $198pax which was no difference in price from 10 years ago & far better menu than the regular S$150pax course menu, so the arrangement suits us fine.

i just wonder why they don’t do such menu regularly, especially when their business had not been good, and they are closing down by 31.3.2014 as a result of huge rental increase (& to me perhaps poor strategy & marketing). sign!

i do not rate au jardin degustation as better than the creative & excellent degustation at Jaan which cost only S$119pax after 50% feed at raffles discount, however one need a change of menu & environment, and most degus restaurants like iggy’s, gunthers etc are far more expensive. others like keystone & saint pierre are a little cheaper but not as fine, and private affairs had closed down.

wife ordered a red. it was expensive, 1/2 bottle for S$85++, but it was a grand cru classe & was really nice though i took maybe 30ml.

the 7-course dinner (+amuse bouche) came with 4 appetisers, 1 palate cleanser, 1 main, 1 dessert; as well as coffee & petit fours.

we had a warm bread basket. both the baguette & a raisin bread were good. the amuse bouche was a foie gras terrine with tobiko (flying fish roe) & jelly. this wasn’t exceptional & but still a great start to the evening dinner. smile

1st course was blue fin tuna ceviche with tobiko. it was nothing inventive, but very sweet & tasty.

the 2nd course, cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin, was heavenly, par excellence. chopstickchopstickchopstickit way surpassed gordon grill’s (no comparison really as gordon grill’s was for a S$48pax lunch) & according to my wife likewise c/w gunther’s.

the 3rd course was a braised iberico pork cheek, with joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffle. chopsticksous vide low temperature poached egg is a regular feature in fine dining & i really loved the texture enhancement it gave to the dish, the proscuito was excellent, pork cheek so-so & i had already written about the excellent winter truffle here. smile

the 4th course was a lightly breaded dover sole served with razor clam & clam emulsion. the dover sole was ok, tender, i guess considered good in a good restaurant, but really average dish by comparison to other courses. the razor clam was great. chopstick

next we had the palate cleanser – a watermelon confit with sorbet & lime jelly. it was good.

the grilled wagyu striploin MBS5 rare was excellent. chopstickchopstickchopstickthis was much better than what i did at home. it was done rare & yet totally charred (for maillard reaction that gave flavour to the beef) & served with carrot & root vegetables and a tiny piece of black garlic. superb! smile

for dessert, we had pistachio cake with raspberry sorbet. the cake was bland but when taken together with the slightly sour sorbet, it was good. smile

my cappuccino was great. the petit fours though was miserable (same as they served for set lunches). mini macarons were too sweet, chocolate was ok.

overall we had an excellent evening of food, wine & conversation. Jaan’s degustation gave far better value.nevertheless i enjoyed this dinner very much & would come back but regrettably they do not serve this in their regular menu. i may consider trying ala carte or their course menu. not sure for now!

And before signing off, happy new year 2014 to all my friends, readers & everyone!
grilled wagyu marbling score 5 rare

grilled wagyu marbling score 5 rare

 
happy new year everyone!

happy new year everyone!

 
iberico pork cheek, joselito proscuito, wgg confit, winter truffle

iberico pork cheek, joselito proscuito, wgg confit, winter truffle

 
cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin

 
smile

see my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2014/01/01/fabulous-new-year-eve-dinner-degustation-au-jardin-on-31dec2013/
 
Date of Visit: Dec 31, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $283(Dinner)

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

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Birthday Dinner to Remember! Smile Oct 25, 2013   
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Categories : Seafood

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2013/10/25/fun-birthday-dinner-tung-lok-signature-central-on-22oct2013/

a good friend organised an early birthday dinner for me at tunglok signature @ central which is next to his office on 22.10.2013. we had 4pax for the evening including my wife & a mutual friend. my friend’s god-sister pre-ordered a ala carte menu which turned out to be very good indeed!

we had the usual roast pork as a starter. the look wasn’t that great. taste-wise it was good as usual, especially with the mustard.

we had a very good lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day) with chicken stock & some roots, again a very competent & enjoyable dish as usual for tunglok restaurants.

the wasabi prawns with light mayo topped with some mangoes were excellent, better than what we had recently at peach garden.

the best dish for the evening was the thick sea cucumbers. this was served in a very nice brown braising sauce which was served commonly with abalones or goose webs. the taste was exquisite, & i liked the jinbai (津白) as well.

next up was the star garoupa fillet with broccoli & lily bulbs. the wok hae was super – another excellently executed dish. & i liked especially the deep-fried tofu with shimeji mushrooms, very flavourful.

my friend also arranged for a very nice chocolate truffle birthday cake from swiss bake,and the restaurant made a great presentation with the longevity buns (which came as mini 流沙寿桃) on a plate with calligraphy of meaningful verses by their manager.

it was a very enjoyable dinner with the company, food & conversation. i didn’t ask how much the dinner cost. i estimate the 6 dishes + dessert (excluding the cake to cost S$250. there was a 25% palate discount for 4pax ala carte, so probably about S$220nett.
deep-fried tofu with shimeji mushrooms

deep-fried tofu with shimeji mushrooms

 
birthday cake & 流沙寿桃 presentation

birthday cake & 流沙寿桃 presentation

 
fried garoupa fillet with broccoli

fried garoupa fillet with broccoli

 
lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day)

lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day)

 
roast pork

roast pork

 
wasabi prawns

wasabi prawns

 
sea cucumber with jinbai (津白)

sea cucumber with jinbai (津白)

 
birthday cake & 流沙寿桃

birthday cake & 流沙寿桃

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  sea cucumber with jinbai (津白),lie tong 例汤 (soup of the day)
 
Date of Visit: Oct 22, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $55(Dinner)

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

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Marvellous Thai Smile Jul 05, 2013   
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Categories : Thai | Restaurant | Seafood

My wife bought some Creative Eatery vouchers. Our favourite in the group is Patara Fine Cuisine @ Tanglin Mall. They serve one of the best tomyam talay (seafood) and olive rice.

When Patara was part of palate benefits with 1 person dining free, we went there often. For Thai food though, it is harder to order for 2pax to get the 50% discount, so we sometimes went in 3pax & had 33% discounts. The vouchers we used this time were purchased at 50% of the voucher value so it’s a better deal even.

tom yam talay S$23 for 1 pot serving 2-3pax

tom yam talay S$23 for 1 pot serving 2-3pax

 
We loved the tom yam talay here. An earthen pot serving 2-3pax costing S$23 came with 2 plump scallops, 2 large prawns and many pieces of sliced squid, and the flavour was wonderful.

Thai betel nut skewers – S$18

Thai betel nut skewers – S$18

 
My wife liked the betel nut skewers, like a Thai satay. It’s not my favourite but it was a nice dish nonetheless.

olive rice – S$19

olive rice – S$19

 
My other favourite dish here was olive rice, another superb flavourful dish, one of the few carbohydrate dishes I would clean the plate. The other place I would do that at Imperial Treasure with its fried rice.

Thai stuffed chicken wings

Thai stuffed chicken wings

 
Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings was also not my favourite. However this one here was one of the best I had, the chicken was very crispy but NOT dry & the minced chicken stuffing was tasty.

curry NZ sirloin

curry NZ sirloin

 
The best dish par excellence we had this time had to be the curry NZ sirloin (above & top photos). The beef itself was great, tender & done slightly medium rare, and the curry added such a wonderful combination of flavours.

We also had their delightful durian sticky rice dessert. the one here was a touch of class. It came in 2 aperitif glasses, 1 containing the durian sticky rice with coconut milk, the other with a coconut ice cream (regrettably I forgot to take a photo). They were heavenly taken together. It cost S$15 & we shared among the 3 of us.

The lunch of 5 dishes + 1 dessert cost S$150, so it’s S$75 using the vouchers. I do find Patara a bit steep in terms of normal pricing (but I guess no more so than Thanying etc), but with the discounts it was a great deal!

For the full review and more photos, visit http://chefquak.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/marvellous-thai-patara-fine-cuisine-on-19jun2013/.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  tom yam talay,olive rice,curry NZ sirloin
 
Date of Visit: Jun 19, 2013 

Spending per head: Approximately $25(Lunch)

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

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