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Categories : Japanese | Buffet | Sukiyaki/Shabu Shabu

Opened in December 2012 and operated by Creative Restaurants Holdings, which also manages several other Japanese restaurant brands across Singapore, Shabu Sai is their shabu-shabu and sukiyaki buffet hot pot concept. Designed to appeal to the masses, dining at Shabu Sai is passable, but nothing to shout about. There is good variety, but not as much as elsewhere, and even the general taste of food here is less tasty than elsewhere.
Tray Of Meat

Tray Of Meat

 
Ambience at Shabu Sai is open, spacious, and brightly lit, with ample seating areas, and modern, functional furniture. Suitable even for large groups, the hot pot cooking smell does tend to stick to your clothing, even though the ventilation is adequate enough that it doesn't feel stuffy or uncomfortable. The place is also noisy and feels slightly messy, especially with the crowds during peak periods.

Service at Shabu Sai is passable. Staff engagement is minimal, beyond seating diners, you won't be interacting much with them. The entire buffet is self-service, although I note that staff regularly come around to clear away empty / dirty tables frequently, which is good. They're also prompt in serving meat orders to your table, and will quickly assist with changing gas canisters if needed. However, it's difficult to attract their attention.

Food at Shabu Sai is Japanese shabu-shabu or sukiyaki hot pot buffet style, where you choose 2 soup bases. Pick your vegetables and sides from a selection of around 30 items, then place your meat orders with staff. Everything is free-flow here. You can even change soup bases throughout your meal with some creativity! Prices are designed to attract the masses, budget about SGD $32 per person for a meal here. I find taste to be passable at best.
Selection Of Items

Selection Of Items

 
As a Japanese concept buffet dining, the soup bases naturally are Japanese inspired, with several other Southeast Asian flavours of soup bases as well. The variety of soup bases is the main highlight of dining here, as everything else is just passable. My personal favourites would be the Soup Base Sukiyaki and Soup Base Yuzu Collagen, in that order.
Soup Base Variety

Soup Base Variety

 
Full Shabu Sai review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/shabu-sai.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 13, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $32(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Hotel | Seafood

Located within The Ritz-Carlton Singapore, the Summer Pavilion restaurant is the hotel's in-house, Chinese fine dining offering. Having completed a major makeover in November 2015, the Summer Pavilion restaurant lives up to the reowned standard of The Ritz-Carlton hotel brand, with impeccable service, a refined ambience, and well-executed, Chinese Cantonese fine dining food.
Summer Pavilion Main Dining Hall

Summer Pavilion Main Dining Hall

 
Ambience at Summer Pavilion restaurant is thoughtful, refined, and sophisticated. No expense was spared, with top interior and fashion designers contributing elements, from the carefully selected plush furnishings, the warm timber wooden panels, the sparkling white lacquer, and the cruated art pieces, all reflecting a zen purity in design. The main dining hall, which seats up to 119 people, are reminiscent of a tranquil, modern Chinese garden, with floral motifs by Robert Louey Design and dining spaces laid out for privacy. Staff are dressed sharply in tuxedos designed by Mineo San of Art Marginal, while soothing Chinese flute and piano music by Morton Wilson of Schtung Music play in the background. The 6 private dining rooms of varying sizes offer an exclusive experience, while the Garden Suite is perfect for hosting private events.
Summer Pavilion Private Dining Room

Summer Pavilion Private Dining Room

 
Service at Summer Pavilion restaurant befits The Ritz-Carlton brand, being professional, efficient, and attentive. Staff are unobstrusive and polite, quietly going about their duties in the background, though they are also quick to step forward and assist when requested. Pleasant and memorable, you almost don't notice staff clearing away empty / dirty dishes or changing plates, and they also helpfully portion out food in equal amounts. Each dish is introduced, displaying their familiarity with the menu and ingredients. Staff are also good hosts, warmly greeting guests, and rendering assistance to elderly customers or parents with young children. While they can converse in English, I find most staff here more comfortable speaking in Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese.
Dried Wheat Decor

Dried Wheat Decor

 
Food at Summer Pavilion restaurant consists mainly of fine Chinese Cantonese cuisine. Executive Chef Cheung Siu Kong turns out exquisite, beautifully plated dishes, well executed with fresh ingredients, and simple, comforting flavours. Despite the modern setting, I find the food here to be straight forward and clean, with 1 or 2 ingredients being highlighted in each dish. Tasty and familiar, almost like a warm hug. Portions are designed to be mostly communal in nature, and dining in groups of 4 or more is recommended. Prices naturally reflect the fine dining status of Summer Pavilion restaurant, budget about SGD $100 ++ per person for a full meal here. While not wallet-friendly, it's good value for money for the high quality. Not for common everyday dining, but suitable for special occasions!
Stir-Fried Yam Cubes With Sesame Seed

Stir-Fried Yam Cubes With Sesame Seed

 
The Pan-Fried King Scallop (SGD $16 Set) is part of a 2-part appetizer set. A new item on the menu, the scallop is sweet, meaty, and moist, with a hint of smoky aroma. Fresh and clean, I find dipping this in the premium soy sauce makes it so much tastier! Served over a bed of greens, which are more for decoration than for eating.
Pan-Fried King Scallop

Pan-Fried King Scallop

 
The Double-Boiled Fish Bone Soup, Fish Maw, Wolfberries (SGD $38 / Portion) is chef's signature dish, and the best item, hands-down, we ate here. The thick, almost creamy, sweet savoury broth / soup is made by double boiling Chilean seabass fish bones, till all the flavour and collagen has been extracted. Garnished with wolfberries, and a large, generous slab of Chilean seabass fish maw, which is tender, and has completely absorbed the flavour of the soup / broth. Excellent flavour, completely comforting and satisfiying dish. Highly recommended!
Double-Boiled Fish Bone Soup, Fish Maw, Wolfberries

Double-Boiled Fish Bone Soup, Fish Maw, Wolfberries

 
The Poached Lobster Rice (SGD $20 / Portion) was surprising and creative, yet with familiar, comforting flavours, a testament to the chef's skill. Presented in a bowl, with soft crustacean flavoured rice, garnished with crisp fried rice, fresh sweet lobster tail meat, and crunchy spring onions, a thin yet flavourful hearty crustacean broth / soup is then poured over. The result is a bowl resembling modern porridge in texture, savoury and soft, but with delightful crisp and sweet contrasts. I would come back just to order a bowl of this! Highly recommended!
Poached Lobster Rice

Poached Lobster Rice

 
Full Summer Pavilion review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/summer-pavilion.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 10, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $100(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Singaporean Chinese

Beginning as a small curry rice stall in the Telok Blangah area in February 2014, the founders of Truly Test Kitchen, ex-forex traders Joel Chia and Deniece Tan, along with Joel's brother Joshua Chia, have since relocated to a much larger space within the Tai Sing area in November 2015. Now located in a rather out-of-the-way location in Jun Jie Industrial Building, on the 7th floor, Truly Test Kitchen now offers a much wider variety of food options, while still retaining their extremely affordable prices.
Truly Test Kitchen Seating

Truly Test Kitchen Seating

 
Ambience at Truly Test Kitchen resembles that of a coffee shop, a large open space, brightly lit by natural lighting and flourescent lights, with functional plastic and wooden furniture scattered about. While the fans here are powerful, diners will still be subjected to the heat of the day, but at least the area is completely sheltered from rain. Of the 5 food stalls at Truly Test Kitchen, only the curry rice stall actually displays an attractive range of food, the rest don't have any pictures or food displayed, but at least the menus are large and legible.

Service at Truly Test Kitchen is partial self-service, with ordering and payment done over the counter. Collection of orders is only done for items which can be served immediately, for all other items, staff will serve these to your table. As with any coffee shop, there is minimal engagement with the staff, unless you happen to be speaking to the passionate founders of Truly Test Kitchen, who can regale you with their history, how each dish is put together, and why it's presented as such. There usually is a short waiting time for dishes, during peak periods, be prepared to wait up to 15 minutes.

Food at Truly Test Kitchen is varied, mostly consisting of classic Singapore Chinese and Western dishes, spread across the 5 stalls. Taste of dishes ranges from below average, to above average. What stands out is the large, filling, carbohydrate packed portions, created to be filling one-dish meals for the many labourers in the area. Prices are cheap, wallet-friendly deals, for less than SGD $4, you can get a complete meal, with drinks costing SGD $1 - $2 more. Incredible value for money to dine here!

The signature dish which made Truly Test Kitchen famous is their Curry Rice With Hainanese Pork Chop & Cabbage (SGD $3). The curry is specially made, very different from other Chinese curries elsewhere, being thick and savoury, with a nice layer of spicy heat and a little sweetness. The cabbage is fresh, soft but not limp. The pork chop is decent in taste, a thin, breaded, piece of meat, that holds up well despite the curry gravy. I would have preferred a thick slice though.
Curry Rice With Hainanese Pork Chop & Cabbage

Curry Rice With Hainanese Pork Chop & Cabbage

 
The Stir-Fried Egg & Tomato (SGD $2) is tasty, juicy and floral from the tomatoes, though I would have liked the egg to be softer instead. The best thing we tried from the Chinese economy rice stall was the Stewed Daikon Radish (SGD $2), tender slow braised chunks of radish in a savoury sweet, robust gravy, incredibly delicious! Highly recommended!
Stir-Fried Egg & Tomato

Stir-Fried Egg & Tomato

 
Stewed Daikon Radish

Stewed Daikon Radish

 
The signature dish of the Western stall, the Chicken N Waffles (SGD $4.50) features a large, crisp outside moist inside, piece of deep fried chicken cutlet, that is straight forward and tasty on its own. Served sitting on a rather underwhelming waffle, which was crisp but dry, a side of decent potato fries, and sweet maple syrup on the side. Still among the better dishes we had here.
Chicken N Waffles

Chicken N Waffles

 
Full Truly Test Kitchen review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/truly-test-kitchen-tasting.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 05, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $5(Lunch)

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

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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Restaurant | Dim Sum

From humble beginnings in Singapore in 1991, the Crystal Jade Group has now grown internationally, operating over 120 outlets across 21 cities in 10 countries, with 8 different dining concepts. The Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is inspired by the cuisine of the Jiangnan region, offering handcrafted snacks, Chinese Zi Char, and other North China delicacies.

Ambience at Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is oriental, clean, with understated colours, and touches of rustic decor. Calming colours of turquoise, beige, and wood adorn the place, with modern, comfortable furniture spaced neatly within the brightly lit dining area. The place can get rather noisy and bustling during peak periods. While the queue system is clear and easy to use, I wish there were waiting chairs around for guests.

Service at Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is good. Staff are quick to attend to diners, be it taking orders, clearing empty / dirty tables or plates, greeting diners upon entry / exit, or refilling cups of tea. Very efficient, professional, proactive, and fast! I also note that staff work together well in serving tables, with a staff bringing the table's order, and another staff helping to present and arrange the orders on the table. However, I wish more of them could converse in English.

Food at Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is focused on North China cuisine, Chinese Zi Char, la mian noodles, and a selection of Chinese small bites. Taste is above average, delicious on its own in general, but not as tasty as similar versions elsewhere. Portions are large and filling, but I feel prices are slightly more expensive compared to elsewhere, as a single main dish will set you back about SGD $13 or so. Budget about SGD $27 per person for a meal here.

Loved the Deep-Fried White Bait In Wuxi Style (SGD $7.80), with the large white bait fish having been fried till crisp and crunchy! Coated in a sweet sour sauce, each bite is addictive, making you want more!
Deep-Fried White Bait In Wuxi Style

Deep-Fried White Bait In Wuxi Style

 
The Pork Dumpling With Hot Chili Vinaigrette (SGD $6.80) are tasty because of the sour, sharp, tart, spicy sauce / gravy it's served in. I like that the dumplings have fresh tasting pork meat, a medium thick skin that doesn't break easily, and a small amount of meat juice within.
Pork Dumpling With Hot Chili Vinaigrette

Pork Dumpling With Hot Chili Vinaigrette

 
Of the 4 dumplings in the Steamed Assorted Flavours Xiao Long Bao (Salted Egg Yolk, Chili Crab, Ginseng, Vegetable) (SGD $10.80), my personal favourite is the chili crab, with its sweet, spicy flavour. My next choice would be the salted egg, with good savoury salty taste, and a crumbly grainy texture to the filling. The vegetable version is also pretty good, straight forward, fresh, and tasty. My least favourite would be the ginseng, whose herbal, sour taste I find odd.
Steamed Assorted Flavours Xiao Long Bao Salted Egg Yolk, Chili Crab, Ginseng, Vegetable

Steamed Assorted Flavours Xiao Long Bao Salted Egg Yolk, Chili Crab, Ginseng, Vegetable

 
Full Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/crystal-jade-group-jiangnan.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 07, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $27(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Italian | Taiwanese | Vegetarian | Salads | Noodles

Part of the Wowprime Group from Taiwan, Sufood is a meat-free, vegetarian restaurant offering wholesome, Italian inspired dishes prepared according to the Chinese 5 colour vegetable philosophy (Yellow-Sunny, White-Comfy, Purple-Tasty, Green-Pure, Red-Lively). Opening in May 2014, the innovative concept of Sufood was among the first of its kind in Singapore, quickly attracting competitors into its niche market.
Sufood Facade

Sufood Facade

 
Ambience at Sufood is modern refined, with curvy, wavy lines reflecting a serene atmosphere of calm. Quiet alcoves, lined with functional tables and plush booths, have been carved out, with splashes of red intersecting the space. While great for privacy, the layout also makes attracting the attention of staff very difficult. The 5 colour philosophy is also reflected in the design, straight lighted bars of yellow, white, purple, red, and green, adorn the place.

Service at Sufood is very good. Staff are attentive and efficient, speaking quietly and professionally with diners. They even check for dietary requirements, before making recommendations on what to order! I note they clear empty / dirty tables and plates very quickly. Orders are fulfilled fast, usually within 10 minutes. Staff also regularly check on your dining experience, and ask for feedback on the meal. During payment, I was overcharged by accident, a mistake which staff quickly rectified and apologied for.

Food at Sufood is vegetarian, a healthy, wholesome, completely meat-free dining experience. Each dish uses fresh ingredients, prepared according to the 5 colour philosophy, plated to resemble Western Italian presentation, and is tasty and healthy. Ordering the set meal is possibly the most value for money, instead of the individual ala-carte items. Prices are slightly high for the quality and quantity of food, budget about SGD $32 per person for a meal here. Personally, I feel other similar places execute this concept better.

Loved the Mushroom Salad (SGD $6), with its mix of button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli, dressed in a savoury sour vinegar and garlic sauce. The vegetables are fresh, clean tasting, juicy, and earthy... comforting and satisfiying! Highly recommended!
Mushroom Salad

Mushroom Salad

 
Loved the filling Lucky Clover Pizza (SGD $15), shaped like a 6-leaf clover, designed to bring luck! A crunchy pizza dough base is topped with broccoli, lion's mane mushrooms, bell peppers / capsicums, and scallions, making for a crunchy, chewy, sweet, savoury, earthy treat! They even provide a plastic glove if you choose to eat it with your hands. Highly recommended!
Lucky Clover Pizza

Lucky Clover Pizza

 
Full Sufood review: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2016/03/sufood.html

 
Table Wait Time: 1 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 05, 2016 

Spending per head: Approximately $32(Lunch)

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

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