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mycc
This is mycc living in Central. I work in Central. I like to hang out in Chinatown, Raffles Place, Orchard. Japanese, Singaporean, Multi-Cuisine are my favorite cuisines. I also love Hawker Centre, Bakery and Roasted Meat, Desserts and Cakes, Dim Sum.
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Dismal attempt at Thai cuisine Cry Oct 21, 2014   
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Categories : Thai

For original review, please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/05/sg-nara-thai-dismal-attempt-at-thai.html

Post-hype period of Nara Thai, we were quite surprised to find ourselves getting comfy seats right upon reaching. It was only about 60% occupied when we reached at about 8.30pm.
While we've heard good reviews, we decided not to set our expectations high especially with an average visit to their BKK flagship store.
To prevent customers like me asking for recommendations all the time, they've placed all their chef's recommended dishes onto the first page and this caught our eye for a refreshing appetiser.

Pomelo Salad (S$13.90)

 

This was an explosion of sour, savoury and sweetness combined. We didn't quite like the combination of fried onions coating the pomelo. The cashew nuts helped add a dimension of texture to it, though all these, tasted better while separated.

Thai Herbs Fried Rice ($10.90)

 
While captivated by its unique colour making it photogenic, its taste was a huge letdown. Lacking the herbs infusion, it seemed like just coloured steam plain rice we were having.

Green Curry Chicken ($13.90)

 

Finally a decent one, this was flavourful enough with tender soft chicken cubes. I would have personally preferred it to be less milky, though it's a good one for those who's unable to take very spicy food.

Pad Thai with Soft Shell Crab ($15.90)

 
A classic for any thai meal, this was quite a disappointing one. Lacking the spice and flavours, and with the noodles too wet, we ended up asking for chilli flakes and mixing it in ourselves to adjust to the right taste.
Overall taste was quite a disappointment, making us crave for Ah Loy Thai instead for some cheaper and better alternative. Service was lacking as well, with several blind spots with its enclosed seating area, and while they'd forgotten our order of Tom Yum Soup, we'd decided to give it a miss given our dining experience.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Green Curry Chicken ($13.90)
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Spending per head: Approximately $30(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Japanese | Ramen

For full review, please visit http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/09/sg-chabuton-ramen-michelin-stars-that.html

While we are on the relentless search for the best ramen in Singapore, it is an undisputed statement that we think that among those tried thus far, we unanimously conclude that Sanpoutei offers one of the best offerings (if not the best) in town. Will the arrival of the award-winning Chabuton ramen claim the title trophy of the best ramen in Singapore?

 
Deemed the 'King of Ramen', Chabuton is the brainchild of Yasuji Morizumi, who started his career as a French chef in the 80s, drawing inspiration from the French and Italian fine dining restaurants in Japan. With a goal to consistently surprise and entertain his guests, he wanted to impart such elements into Japanese culinary which he felt was lacking at that point in time. Having established a successful career in French cuisine, Chef Yasuji wanted to explore the depth and complexities of ramen, reinventing the once fast-food dish into a speciality.
Having opened a restaurant, 'MIST' in Hong Kong, which won two Michelin stars in 2011 and 2012, it was the first ever Michelin star won by any ramen restaurant worldwide. Chef Yasuji went on to expand his restaurants outside Japan to Thailand and LA.

Junior Tonkotsu Ramen | S$8.30/++

 
What I really appreciated was that the ramens come in two different portions with the larger serving at S$11.90/++. Reputedly Chabuton's signature dish, the Tonkotsu Ramen has a rich and slightly creamy broth, resulting from hours of simmering pork bones. While the roasted white sesame seeds enhanced the flavours of the broth, it was too salty for our liking. With just one slice of the char siew resting atop the noodles, it would seem more value for money to go for the larger portion where you get three slices. The char siew was good with a nice marbling but there was nothing too spectacular to make us go wow.

Interestingly, there were containers of condiments at each table, of which, one contained deep-fried sliced shallots, a very Chinese touch to the ramen but one which added fragrance and crunch to the dish. Not the most traditional rendition when it comes to ramen but surely a positive twist.

Junior Shio Ramen with Kara Kara topping | S$8.30/++ with S$1 add-on

 
The kara kara topping which is the spicy minced pork was recommended as one of the house's favourites by the service crew. If you are a fan of ma-la (麻辣) dishes, then you would find this largely reminiscent of its flavours. Mildly spicy, this would suit the heat tolerance level for most people but personally, I found the taste to be out-of-sync with the rich savoury broth.

Junior Shoyu Ramen | S$8.30/++

 
With the best Shoyu Ramen tried in Singapore at Sanpoutei, we were excited to see if this could be the next contender. When this was served, we were surprised with the addition of bean sprouts which is not quite your conventional bowl of ramen. The soy-based broth was way too salty for our palate and lacked depth, resulting in a flat salty soup just to go with the noodles.

While the ramen was cooked al dente (diners are given the option to customise how they want their ramen), there was a subtle hint of that undesired starchy after-taste and smell (typical in those yellow noodles) which dragged the dish completely.

 
We also added the egg and pork belly slices at an additional S$3 as we were advised by the service staff that this would translate to greater savings for us!

Soft-boiled egg

 

When it comes to the eggs, there is nothing more important than consistency. As we ordered two sets of add-ons, we were able to draw comparison. While the first egg was cooked the way it should be, with that oozing yolk, the second egg was over-cooked which had a solidified yolk.

Kakuni, Square-simmered braised pork belly | S$6/++ for 2 slices (ala carte)

 

Although we had the kakuni as part of the add-on to our ramen, diners could choose to enjoy the dish as ala carte, which comes in two slices. What we loved was the clearly defined layers of lean and fatty meat in the beautiful pork belly cut. The flavours were well infused and while similar to our Chinese version of Dongpo pork, the Japanese version is lighter in sauce as it is typically simmered in dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake. Simmered at a consistent low temperature, the collagen breaks down into gelatin, allowing the meat to remain moist. The leaner portions were however not tender enough to be cut through easily with a fork or spoon and tearing the square slice apart would strand the meat. A good version but not quite the best in our humble opinions.

Gyoza | S$5/++

 
We thought that all the sides were value for money and while the quality was not exceptional, it was decent. For this price, there were a total of eight gyozas and it was executed perfectly with the sides pan-fried to a lovely golden brown crispness which complemented the soft dumpling wrap. Do not expect the filling to be packed full though.

Ika Karaage | S$5/++

 
One could hardly go wrong with deep-fried dishes and this was no surprise. The sliced octopus came in sizeable portions, each coated with a thin layer of crisp batter. Resisting that golden-brown tan was futile as I popped two pieces in my mouth even before the shot was taken!

What we liked was that while the outer surface had a nice layer of crispiness, the octopus was cooked just nice, remaining tender and lightly elastic.

Tori Karaage | S$5/++

 

We did not realise until the dishes were served that our sides were not all that healthy, either pan-fried or deep-fried! The chunks of chicken had a nice layer of batter that was crisp and we really enjoyed the juiciness on the inside.

Overall, I thought that the customer service was good as the service crew was attentive and provided good advice in helping diners to get the best value from their food. When they noticed that our ramen were low on broth, they even volunteered to top up bowls with more soup. That extra effort taken surely left us with a positive impression.

 
Lightly decorated, it was appropriate for the casual-dining ramen ambience so expect some buzz and noise though we were fortunate enough to get a corner seat ensuring some quiet moments. With an abundance of ramen places in town, it might be sometime yet that we return to Chabuton given the rather disappointing ramens, not to mention there was a queue to beat.

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

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Hardly a pal in service Cry May 15, 2014   
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Categories : Thai

Please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/02/sg-cafe-pal-at-bugis-hardly-pal-in.html for full review.

Along the area of Bugis, this inconspicuous restaurant might be easily overlooked. Drawing attention for its bottled milk tea/bubble tea, this was our second visit as the first was a mere takeaway order of their beverages.

Thai iced tea | S$3/-, Moo Moo Island | S$4.80/-

 
What we realised was that there was a rather large price discrepancy for the drinks between the dine-in and takeaway menu. The bottled white-coloured drink shown above is the Moo Moo Island, which comprise green tea, young coconut and milk. We found that while the serving size was generous for the takeaway price (note the price difference as we compare against the dine-in prices later on in this review), it lacked green tea taste and was predominantly a coconut-based drink. What we particularly liked about this were the slices of young coconut flesh within the drink. The sweetness was also appropriate and suited our liking, without being overly saccharine.

 
Stepping in to the restaurant, there was an awkward moment of silence as the staffs looked at us. One of the ladies then walked over to us and ushered us to a table at the back of the restaurant.

 

 
There was a distinctly strong fragrance of curry as we walked to our table and we realised that the staffs were preparing curry over the portable electric stove and toasting fish strips. However, it does not quite offer an open concept kitchen as the ordered dishes were brought in from the back of the restaurant before some plating work was carried out at the counter before being served.

Lime juice and iced lemongrass drink
Lime juice and iced lemongrass drink

Lime juice and iced lemongrass drink

 
We ordered two set dinners whereby we had the option to choose one main (either rice or noodle dish) and one beverage. With a limited choice of lime juice, lemongrass, coffee and tea, we went for the former two. The lime juice and lemongrass drink on the ala carte menu would have cost S$4.80/+ each. While the lime juice tasted refreshing, the lemongrass was slightly too strong for my liking.

Thai iced tea | S$5.80/+
Thai iced tea

Thai iced tea

 
At a S$2.80 premium or essentially double the takeaway price, expect to be rewarded with a choice of two toppings, of which we went for the aloe vera and pearls. While there were large chunks of fresh aloe vera, the pearls were a large disappointment as it tasted limp and squishy though this could be largely subjective as the texture could be favoured by some. The saving grace was the richness of the Thai milk tea which was sweet but not overly done so it was still pleasing on my palate.
This was not available as part of the set menu even if we wanted to top-up and had to order it ala carte. Separately, it was stated on the menu that at just S$1 extra, you could have the toasted fish strips to go along as a complementing snack. We checked with the lady taking our orders and she reaffirmed and we decided to give it a shot.
Toasted fish strips | S$5/+

 
While this was one of the most enjoyable starters with the crispness and slight savouriness to tease one's palate, it was poor communication between the staffs and us that led to some dismay. The bill came out to be S$5 instead of the stipulated S$1. When I tried to verify the discrepancy, I was told that I did not make it clear to the lady taking the order that I wanted the S$1 add on. Not at any point was the gentleman apologetic but rather, the tonality made me felt as if it was my fault for not making my orders clear. As a result, I was given the ala carte portion which had a more generous serving.
Quite frankly, the ala carte portion was worth the five dollars. However, if pointing to the menu and articulating clearly that I wanted the add on was not obvious, I rest my case. I decided that the food is innocent and decided to deliver our fair verdict score.

Pad Thai noodle set (includes one drink) | S$12/+

 

Pad Thai is almost my comfort food when it comes to Thai cuisine and is the staple dish that I always order. A simple stir-fry dish that had the right level of sweetness for me balanced by the acidity of the lime. The beansprouts also added a nice texture but while the tiger prawns were large and juicy, it had a stale after-taste which dragged on the palate. Possibly, fresher prawns could be used and arguably the portion size of the dish was rather meagre.

Pineapple fried rice set (includes one drink) | S$15/+

 
The pineapple fried rice with eggs and pineapples tasted rather pedestrian but it had quite a fair amount of peeled prawns within the rice. The two wedge of pineapple slices were completely bland and dry. On hindsight, I have no idea why or how such fruits could be served to diners, considering the dish is pineapple fried rice. While the pork floss saved the dish, I honestly cannot see how this dish justified the S$12 price tag when available as ala carte.

Phad See-Eu Fried Rice (ala carte) | S$12/+

 
With a choice of pork or beef to go along with this fried rice with dark sauce, we went for the former. While the diced mushrooms and sunny side-up were good complementing ingredients to the stir-fry, it was a touch too savoury for my palate. For those with a higher tolerance to salinity, this might appeal.

 
I struggled to distinguish the lure of the restaurant for the plain interior decorations and accessories such as table lamp seemed to convey a more cafe impression to customers. With its core offering of Thai cuisine and milk teas, I suppose it seems to fit into the category of restaurants more.

 
Overall, I felt that the service was rather cold and lacked a more personal touch such as providing recommendations, etc. The prices stated are inclusive of 7% GST but it excludes the 10% service charge. For us, a dining experience is more than just food but rather a combination of customer service, ambience and the company. With any of these elements out of alignment, the meal cannot be a satisfactory one and in this case, I am pretty sure Cafe Pal disappointed us largely.

For the pedestrian quality in food which comes at a premium and the poor dine-in experience, it would be highly unlikely that we would drop by again.

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

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Categories : Café | Desserts and Cakes

Seeing all the photos on Instagram and the great reviews so far, we decided to give it a shot while around the area. It was surprisingly crowded for a Tuesday night, that there were only 2-3 tables left.

 
Hurrying to the counter, it was like a marketplace, having to vie for your desired pie before the last piece gets snapped up. Without any labels, we were pretty impressed that the staff took the effort to describe every single flavour to us, and did his personal recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 
Grasshopper ($7.5/-)

Peppermint with flourless chocolate cake, this seemed like a popular one probably due to how photogenic it is. I was expecting a refreshing burst of peppermint flavour to balance out the usually heavier tasting chocolate, but this was an utter letdown. The peppermint was too faint and it tasted like melted toothpaste, with just a hint of mint, overpowered by the cream. The chocolate was too mild too, and the typically good combination just didn’t go well in this rendition.

 
Coconut Lime Vodka ($8/-)

This was one that got my attention given my soft spot for fruity and citrus flavours. The pie crust was a signal for red flag though, with a gap between the filling and crust, seeming as though it was gonna fall apart.

Unlike the texture of the usual lime/lemon tarts, this was slightly stickier, somewhat like a pudding style, with cubes of vodka jelly in between. I liked how the vodka was strong enough and the lime added that refreshing touch, though a crumbly tart base would have gone better with this combination. Unfortunately, we couldn't taste the coconut in the cream on top where it's supposed to.

 
Morello Cherry Pie ($8/-)

I was attracted by the dark sugar coated lattice layer on top. Sour that we cringed at the first mouthful, it was then balanced by the sweet layer on top. I would have preferred it to be served fresh, so that the top and crust areas could remain hard and crisp as this lacked the texture. The fillings were disappointing too, filled with what seemed like jam, we would have preferred it to contain more juicy cherries!

 

 
This place might have been attractive with its theme and decor but we certainly wouldn't speak the same of its pies. Left disappointed, we didn’t like how the pies weren’t served fresh from the oven and were refrigerated that it left the crust and pie bases soggy. The fillings weren’t fantastic either, and definitely wasn’t worth the price. One redeeming factor was perhaps their service, where they were very helpful making recommendations and even offered to help us 'chope' our piece of pie till we were ready to dabao it.

 

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

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Categories : Café | Desserts and Cakes | Halal

Having heard so much of the latest cafe opening in the Bukit Merah area, we finally decided to go down and try it for ourselves! A pretty cosy space that's comfortable for about 20 pax, the ambience was welcoming and a relaxed one, perfect for the weekend.

Craving for some mains before trying their desserts that they're better known for, we settled for the Eggs Benedict yet again.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict ($16)
Overcooked poached eggs

Overcooked poached eggs

 

 
It was a little too small as compared to other cafes that we've tried, yet charging similar prices. Taste-wise, it'd completely been a miss for us, with the hollandaise sauce tasting bitter without any buttery taste to it, while the eggs were just extremely over-cooked! It's probably the first time that I've had any eggs ben without any of the yolk flowing.

I didn't like how the eggs were cold as well, and with every mouthful, you could taste cold water with the egg white. The smoked salmon portion wasn't generous enough either to have the taste of it coming through, and the piece of bread below was soggy. The only redeeming factor was perhaps the well-toasted bread on top that was just crisp and warm still.

I was pretty psyched up about the butterscotch soufflé as that seemed like one of their signatures. Understanding the slightly longer waiting time for soufflés typically due to the baking time, we placed an order together with our mains, wanting to try it before ordering other desserts on the menu.

Much to our disappointment, this caused the greatest dissatisfaction of our dining experience. Whilst we were one of the few customers around at the start, we'd waited for about 30 minutes before seeing the dish served to another table who arrived after us. Asked for the dish to be checked, we were told of a waiting time of 5 minutes. After another >5 mins, we'd asked for the dish again, only to be told that the waiting time was yet another 5mins and while we've told them that we've waited for more than 15mins, we were rudely ignored by their staff.

The last straw hit when we'd waited for yet another 5mins and seeing several other dishes coming out, with no signs of the kitchen expediting our order despite asking several times. Only then, we'd decided to ask to cancel the order. Just then, the dish was ready by the kitchen and the service staff attending to us told the kitchen immediately to keep it back, without asking if we were still interested to have it.

With the severe lack in sincerity in serving customers and retaining customers, it's certainly not a place that takes pride in providing customers an enjoyable dining experience. With the far below average eggs ben I've had and the (lack of) service experienced, it's certainly one to spoil our weekend cafe hop.

As for the food, in all fairness, they're more known for their desserts rather than mains, so if you're keen to visit, you might wish to go there for some sweet tooth craving instead of brunch. Not to forget, for my Muslim friends, this cafe doesn't serve pork and they replace bacon with turkey bacon. Though it's not halal-certified yet, they've got quite a fair bit of Muslim customers so it's pretty safe.
 
Spending per head: Approximately $16(Lunch)

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

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