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chefquak
This is chefquak . French, Japanese, Teochew are my favorite cuisines..
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Good Dinner Smile Dec 01, 2015   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Zi Char

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2015/12/01/good-dinner-chat-moi-lum-on-26nov2015/
an RI friend organised november G20 dinner at moi lum 梅林 at maxwell road on 26.11.2015. ^^ we had 11pax.
the last one we had here was almost 3 years ago on 16.1.2013.
restaurant has several couplets on the wall, a bit of chinese tradition.
restaurant was less than 1/2 full.
the 8 treasures duck 八宝鸭 is their signature dish.
i saw the leg was quite disproportionate, size like a goose leg. later i realized probably the stuffing caused it to look huge.
must say this dish was really excellent!
duck was tender & so very flavourful. this is for me a fine chinese dish. though it was not served as an individual dish, the preparation must be so fine & skillful & the flavour was exquisite. ^^
the next dish, yam basket, was rather poor though.
the yam has now fragrance 芋香.
this is such a common almost ancient chinese restaurant & now zi char dish. quite surprising.
made me recall what a good yam basket i had at ah orh according to my previous post, though i cannot really remember the taste now.
my friend seems to be ordering all the birds here – duck & chicken.
but this chicken was again excellent, probably their signature also.
it came with sticky rice & other tasty stuffing, forgot to take photo.
chicken was deboned. the server confirmed that. we were wondering how that was done. didn’t have the answer. :-)
this was so different from the usual roast chicken, and also the very processed roast chicken with roast skin & minced meat made into a pancake (some restaurants called it 金龙鸡) which i don’t like.
salted egg prawns were competent, ordinary.actually not that great, in my opinion.hk steamed flower garoupa came with a load of fried garlic.
fish was very good, quite expected of a good chinese restaurant. the garlic gave it some differentiation.
not a wow dish for me, unlike the 8 treasures duck 八宝鸭 & the chicken.
the chives dish i guess was new for us, don’t recall having it previously, but not my favourite at all.
a 3-egg spinach or a good fragrant garlic fried vegetable dish would do better for me.
we had a fruit platter to share.
& some red beans pancake also.
dinner came to S$31pax nett for 7dishes include dessert. quite doable. the duck & chicken were beyond my expectations. fish was very good & the other dishes so-so. so overall i supposed quite good but a bit incomplete, not in terms of food quantity (we all had a wonderful meal) but in knowing what good dishes the restaurant serve.
another way to look at it-having 2 outstanding dishes is better than having mostly above average dishes.
we all had good chats & a wonderful time together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 26, 2015 

Spending per head: Approximately $31

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

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Categories : Singaporean Chinese

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2015/11/27/great-value-alacarte-semi-buffet-beyond-expectations-tim-palace-safra-toa-payoh-on-24nov2015/

went with my sis & b-i-l to tim palace @ SAFRA toa payoh to try out their ala carte semi-buffet on 24.11.2015.
buffet is S$25.80pax. the added attraction is S$5 discounts for SC aka senior citizens! ^^
there’s a S$2pax for water, tea & peanuts (S$2.50pax or more if other drinks). so it was S$22.80pax for 3 of us, S$27nett each.
roast duck was really, really good! very flavourful.
so was the char siu!. i think this one of the best char siu i had. as good as the excellent chargrilled pork neck at imperial treasure nanbei or (better in fact than) any other good char siu places.
had a second helping of roast duck. ^^
nothing much to say about the cold station. prawns was large, plump, fresh & sweet.
scallops & mussels all the frozen type, nothing worth taking.
the scallop tips (front) were quite nice. the prawn & squid salad were ok. sos so la!
the flower crabs were soft, mushy “nua nua”, the frozen type, not worth taking also. all these i took very little just to try.
salmon sashimi was ok. quite sweet. colour didn’t look that great.
i skipped the sushi.
i ordered most of the dishes that they allowed only one order.
small abalone with broccoli was good restaurant standard. no complaints.
sharksfin soup was better than most cheaper sharksfin soup, not very gluey & stock quite tasty.
sea cucumber with yam was decent competent dish.
the scallops & celery in xo sauce was pretty good.
crayfish was poor! meat has no taste. this dish (thumbs down)!
anyway no big deal, so we took it. the char siu pao were good!
i read that the deep-fried flower garoupa not so good, so we ordered the steamed seabass with sambal sauce.
seabass not such a great fish. but this preparation quite ok…so again a competent dish. maybe i will try the garoupa next time. don’t mind coming back again. the honey ribs were ordinary. as good as any zi char stall i suppose. not my favourite.cannot really criticise thsi dish, but the char siu was many times better than this.
surprisingly also the drunken prawns was very good. must be a very good quality shaoxing wine绍兴酒.
the braised lamb pot was competent dish, but no more.
lamb still retain the gamey taste, and not specially flavourful.
i would say it’s a robust dish like a beef stew, so unless the herbs & preparation is special (like say at majestic), it’s not a dish i am particularly fond of.
dessert station the usual fare, with fruits, custard puffs & red bean pan cake etc.i took the sea coconut…quite refreshing.
and a bit of the lotus seed red beans dessert. pretty ok.
the food quality & cooking were pretty ok, not that much different from (i would say better actually) say peach garden miramar’s ala carte buffet, and certainly better than the ala carte buffet at ban heng orchard central.
the outstanding dishes for me here were the roast duck, char siu(tops), drunken prawns, abalone.
the sea cucumber & scallops were pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 26, 2015 

Spending per head: Approximately $27

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

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Good & Value Wine Dinner Smile Nov 25, 2015   
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Categories : Singaporean Western | Restaurant | Pasta | Seafood | Burgers and Sandwiches

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2015/11/25/good-value-wine-dinner-greenwood-fish-bistro-on-19nov2015/
a friend arranged a wine dinner at greenwood fish bistro on 19.11.2015. 8 of us attended. ^^
the same friend arranged fun wine dinners at (1) zaffereno & (2) halia previously
this evening we had a S$69pax 5-course dinner w/o dessert & coffee.
as i don’t drink i look only at the food menu whether i want to pay that just for the food.
the restaurant was kind enough to offer juice etc.
i took the wine. prosecco was good. i liked the white after this best.
reds were quite good too. the restaurant gave me a cranberry drink afterwards too, a great gesture.
first course were some smoked canapes. these were very good!the smoked salmon & mussels were excellent…how to describe? smokey i guess, very flavourful.
the smoked trout (the server said cold smoked) was so-so, not so tasty.the second course cured salmon with avocado also very nice. it was though nothing special.
the 3rd course barramundi was excellent!
not sure if barramundi is farmed in singapore like the smaller local seabass. this one the meat is firmer, not so “hu” like falling apart.
however 2 of my friends complained that the meat was soft. the rest of us were ok…maybe they got the local seabass instead? just kidding.
the 4th course was a duck confit?
it was a huge disaster! meat was tough & not edible!
actually the server said it was sous vide then cooked in oven (maybe the server got it wrong, just don’t sound right!)..
firstly of course duck confit is cooked in duck fat..while the word confit is used loosely to mean slow braise like say pineapple confit or belly pork confit, for duck confit it usually mean strictly duck confit. & i’m not sure you can roast in oven after sous vide.
my own 5hr sous vide crispy skin canard a l’orange
i would think a cold pan method of rendering out the fat & crisping the skin w/o overcooking the meat makes a lot more sense (above photo)…notice the fat had rendered out..
restaurant was great to do a service recovery.
they replaced the dish with a octopus.
it was competent dish, not the best but i guess good enough.
you could say a fish bistro would do an octopus dish better than a duck dish?
but then for the last course they served a really “kick-a**” belly pork.this was one of the best i have taken! ^^
not really smoked but just a hint of a flavourful ham, very tender & delicious.
i have a tea brined belly pork in the fridge now. planning to sous vide then pan-charred the skin. see if i can get anyway close or similar to this excellent piece. :-)
thanks to our friend, we had many fun evenings trying out different wine dinners & spending great time together.
i am not sure how their service is on normal days but for this evening, i think service was really quite exemplary & they really tried their best (from offering non alcoholic drinks to replacing the 4th course – even though they did not have much choice with the duck being such a quite monumental failure).

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 19, 2015 

Spending per head: Approximately $81

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

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The Best Crab Beehoon Soup Smile Nov 20, 2015   
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Categories : Zi Char

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2015/11/20/the-best-crab-beehoon-soup-uncle-leong-jurong-east-on-17nov2015/
bought S$200 groupon voucher & 5 of us went to uncle leong seafood jurong east for crabby dinner on 17.11.2015. ^^
all my friends agreed this the best crab beehoon soup we had for years!
2 of us were there slightly earlier at 6.45pm. the crowd came in later & place was quite well patronised, not sure if it was because of the groupon deals.
we managed to get 2x1kg sri lankan crabs. ^^
at first the lady server said may not have 1kg (only bigger) but she went anyway to check & i went over also, and she got the 2x1kg crabs.
they had display shelves.
we decided on 1 crab beehoon soup. i asked about the dry crab beehoon but seemed that it was not a popular order. we picked the golden sand crab + 1 deep-fried mantou 馒头 (or buns).
crabs were S$63/k. we ordered 4 other dishes – a 3eggs spinach, spicy minced pork tofu (锅仔豆腐), sea cucumber seafood pot and a pumpkin prawns.
the crab beehoon soup was pure heaven!!! ^^
so intense, smooth, sweet, and the crab was firm & “solid” (there was actually a clause on the online menu saying they do not guarantee that the crabs are “solid”).
for me, heaven was a long time coming.
last time i had crab beehoon soup was december 2014 at mama kong. no comparisons really!
& before that, maybe fast backwards 15 years? at melben toa payoh ave 8.
the other dishes we ordered turned out to be good, very good to excellent too.
the spicy minced pork tofu (锅仔豆腐) belonged to the just “good” category. a very competent dish actually, can’t really criticise it, but the spicy chilli not the type i like & not so matching food.
this 3 eggs spinach was quite excellent.
one of the best tasting i had. spinach was crunchy not overcooked & you could taste the 3 eggs distinct flavours quite well.
& this was a really, really good sea cucumber seafood treasure pot.
the sea cucumber, prawns, fish, razor clams, scallops etc were all very fresh & the broth was really delicate, smooth but super tasty, par excellence!
for me, this dish can rank with what top chinese restaurants here can deliver.
the pumpkin prawns was very competent dish. prawns were fresh, same preparations basically deep-fried. only difference with wasabi, salted egg etc was the sauce.
for me, the golden sand crab was very good too. this was their signature dish.
the crab though same 1kg, somehow had smaller claws, still good but overall the crab beehoon soup trumped this.
deep-fried mantou 馒头 (or buns) to dip in the creamy sauce.
dinner came to S$234, so with the groupon voucher discount (S$119.80 for S$200), it was S$154 for 5pax, 6 excellent dishes with 2x1kg crab dishes & a really “right up there” sea cucumber seafood treasure pot. about S$31pax nett.
i must add that the service & attitude (almost entire army of chinese servers) were really good. i gave them a sizable tip when leaving.
we all enjoyed the dinner & company tremendously.
i bought another voucher when i got back.

 

 
crabby dinner

crabby dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 17, 2015 

Spending per head: Approximately $31

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

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Categories : Vietnamese | Burgers and Sandwiches | Chinese Noodles

See my full reviews & photos at = http://chefquak.com/2015/11/18/nice-vietnamese-pho-cold-beehoon-lunch-saigon-baguette-on-17nov2015/
arranged with mei mei to have lunch at saigon baguette at central on 17.11.2015. ^^
i was first at saigon baguette at 12pm, but by 1230pm most tables were taken up.
a small, cosy, pleasant ambience.
they had a lunch set comprising a main, a side & drink at S$14.90. it included mains like the beef combo pho at S$9.90 & the vietnamese grilled pork at S$10.50. the drinks were like S$2.50 & S$3 etc, so the S$14.90 set was pretty ok.
i ordered a vietnamese drip coffee. they said they do inside & served me a black coffee like at coffeeshop. i asked for sugar on the side. coffee was nicely flavoured not sour so i did not add any & took it black.
the pho (& the garnishes) were good. soup was excellent, a very delicate, light, fragrant sweetness. i thought the serving of ingredients were small for S$9.90 dish. overall quite a light, enjoyable dish. we didn't want too much carbs also.we ordered 1 side for each set.the rice rolls were good, and quite nice with the sauce. skin was thin & smooth, prawn was fresh, competent la.deep-fried chicken wings were a bit dry. just the chicken wings alone, my helper does it much better (& sometimes i do also myself). what was interesting was the caramelised garlic. we usually take with thai sweet chilli at home. the caramelised garlic was no better (in fact i still prefer thai sweet chilli dip) but maybe i will try that a t home - chopped garlic & honey? caramelised.
the mildly sweet fish sauce condiments that came with the dry beehoon was very good. but actually also not better than my own la...the spring rolls & the grilled pork which was basically i guess home-made pork balls like the beef balls were good especially with the chilli on the table.but really my own vietnamese chargrilled pork neck cold beehoon + condiments still better la...
food was good, nothing really special.
comparing the pho, i would prefer the S$9.50 combo pho at mrs pho (it had briskets!).
likewise comparing the vietnamese grilled pork dry cold beehoon also, mrs pho's was better!
the S$14.90 lunch was quite good value.
the ala carte prices were ok for the food.
anyway, great lunch with mei mei.

 

 

 

 

 
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Nov 17, 2015 

Spending per head: Approximately $15

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

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