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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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Striking the right balance? Smile Apr 21, 2014   
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Categories : Australian / New Zealand | French | Fusion | Bars/Lounges | Brunch

Please visit http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/04/sg-symmetry-striking-right-balance.html for full review.

In concurrence with the philosophy of Symmetry that "If everybody learns to share, the world will have enough", we were excited about our planned trip to the cafe. Tucked away in a serene spot within Jalan Kubor (close to Bugis), the cafe turns into a restaurant bar in the evening. Inspired by the Australian casual dining culture and French cuisine, Symmetry places great emphasis on sharing and prides itself for using modern food preparation techniques on fresh produces.

 
Flat white | S$5.50/++ , Long Black | S$4.50/++

 
We felt that the latte art on the flat white was something that could be improved but in terms of flavours, it had a relatively good balance between the acidity of the coffee beans and the foamed milk though the after-taste had a strong creamy and milky finish.
The long black coffee on the other hand carried a sharp acidity which puckered my mouth. I am in general, very particular about my brew and on this particular occasion, it did not quite go my preferred way.
Symmetry eggs benedict | S$22/++

 
Served with diced portobello mushrooms and bacon, the classic English muffins played host to the soft-boiled eggs cooked at low temperature. The technique used was largely similar to the eggs ben tried at The Missing Pan though this rendition had melted aged cheddar to top off the dish. Due to the preparation technique, the eggs were wobbly soft, tasting almost like your soft-boiled eggs.

 
We enjoyed the crispness of the freshly toasted muffin and the beautiful caramelised onions that introduced a hint of sweetness to complement the savoury bacon. The freshness of the ingredients was guaranteed when the viscous bright orange egg yolk started flowing out upon the first slice of the knife.
We would however have preferred a more generous portion of the classic Hollandaise sauce as that was an element sorely lacking in the dish to define a classic eggs benedict.
Symmetry eggs sur le plat | S$24/++

 

 
Recommended by the serving lady as one of Symmetry's signature dishes, we unveiled the toast to reveal a mixture of pork sausages, smoked paprika, cherry tomato coulis, creamed baby spinach and eggs topped with cheddar cheese.
Expect some rich flavours in that thin tomato purée which had been infused with the savouriness of the pork sausages. Paired with the creamed baby spinach, it went well with the crisp toast and portion of greens to cleanse one's palate.

 
Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, expect a queue on the weekends. At the entrance of the cafe was a tablet which offered an automated queue system. After inputting the number of dining guests and your contact details, expect a SMS to come instantaneously to confirm your booking. As soon as your table is available and ready, you will receive an updated text from the system.
While we were impressed by the automated service, we felt that the service lacked personal touches and it was no more different from the next cafe. With its philosophy built around the beautiful idea of sharing, we felt that the message was not delivered across to the diners. Among the three of us, we decided to share two mains but somehow the tonality of the lady made us felt as if we under-ordered, albeit an awkward manner.

 
Overall, I appreciated the philosophy in writing largely, especially the line that goes "This is a place where you can walk in every single time knowing it's going to be good and then leave feeling happier...and loved". The actual cafe dining experience however failed to nail that perspective for me and while the food was decent, it was not particularly impressionable. Compared to the other cafes out there, prices of the mains at Symmetry command a premium which makes it even less palatable.
Nonetheless, taste is a very subjective matter and it would be some time yet for us to return anytime soon.
 
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 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Warm bowl of goodness! Smile Apr 21, 2014   
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Categories : Coffeeshop | Bak Kut Teh

For full review, please visit http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/04/sg-bengs-old-school-bak-kut-teh-bowl-of.html

Stoked by the name of this humble Bak Kut Teh stall, we simply had to get down to understand a little more about their food and philosophy of running the business. The founder, more affectionately known as Beng by its faithful customers, has more than three decades of experience in preparing this classic local dish. This coincides soundly with the name of the stall since Beng's Chinese name is 明 and similarly his son too!
Starting out initially in one of the famous Bak Kut Teh shops at Rangoon Road, 旧式 in the name simply refers to old matters which spelt perfect sense given the history. Interestingly, if you read aloud the Chinese name of the stall, it actually sounded like 明明就是肉骨茶, 那...明明就是啊!
If you are a fan of the traditional Singapore Bak Kut Teh, read on!

Prime ribs bak kut teh | S$7/-

 
Taking absolute pride in serving nothing short of fresh pork daily, Beng prepares his food in the early hours of the morning before starting service at 7.30am. Do not be surprised if you taste a more peppery broth on a rainy day because Beng took the extra conscientious effort to adjust the heat level of the broth in accordance to the weather! That being said, given a visit on a sunny day, expect a more composed offering which packed all the rich flavours of the pork bones while consistently reminded of its peppery after-taste.
With various types of offerings, we had the prime ribs which are highly regarded in the space of Bak Kut Teh since typically each pig only has about 12 to 14 prime ribs to offer. The prime ribs had obviously seen laborious hours of cook-time as it was moist and fall-off-the-bone tender.
Braised pig trotters | S$4.50/-

 
Like the Bak Kut Teh that was served, the pig trotters were similarly freshly cooked daily. In fact, this commands longer cooking time as it involves braising. What we particularly enjoyed about both pork dishes was the simple indulgence that it did not have that unpleasant porky smell.

 
Tasting the braised pig trotters for the first time gave me a very warm and homely feeling as this was one of my mum's signature dishes too. We loved the gravy that was beautifully spiced yet not overpowered by the base dark soy sauce. More importantly, the moist and soft skin complemented a layer of fats and tender flesh, making an entry into our must-try list!

 
To complement the meal, have a dish of preserved vegetables (S$2/-) or a bowl of youtiao (S$1/-). A simple dish done right, the preserved vegetables is usually the neglected hero on the table but I felt that it deserved credit for careful attention had been paid to the dish in getting the salinity right. The level of fermentation was spot-on and it achieved the desired balance in flavours without being overly overwhelming on one's palate.

 
Located within Hup Choon Eating House, it is one of those humble looking coffee shops that are easily overlooked if you travel down Upper Bukit Timah Road. While Beng only serves from 7.30 am to about 3 pm (usually they are usually sold out by about 1.30 - 2 pm), this area is more commonly known for their tze char at Ga-Hock Seafood next door. In terms of ambience, there is nothing spectacular to shout about but do expect a friendly and homely service by the owners. While this is not the more commercialised Bak Kut Teh names around in Singapore, they are good at what they do and offer their customers nothing but the best.

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

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Categories : Japanese | Restaurant

For full review, please visit http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/04/sg-sumire-yakitori-house-affordable.html

Yakitori basically means skewered and grilled food. In a way, the easy way is to relate it as the Japanese version of Southeast Asian's famous satay! This restaurant has a user-friendly iPad ordering system whereby you simply insert all your orders into the machine and it would be sent directly to the counter or kitchen. With rising labour costs and challenging operating business conditions, this certainly brought another facet to automation in the F&B scene. Could this potentially lead to a lack in personal or humane touch in customer service?
This reminds me of Ronin cafe, which has no menu and it is crucial for the owner to find a way to balance the service and efficiency at an eatery.
Chicken Meatball for Ladies (Teriyaki Sauce & Mayo)

 
Chicken Meatball for Ladies (Teriyaki Sauce, Mayo & Cheese)

 
Interestingly, there's meatball for men and ladies which basically means that men get bigger portion and ladies smaller. I'm a super fan of mayo and cheese, so the dressing was definitely a hit for me. The meatballs were soft and tender, cooked to perfection and nicely coated with teriyaki sauce, melted cheese and mayo. However, the meat had a slightly unpleasant stale taste which was covered underneath the sauce even though the coating was so strong.

Bakudan Korokke

 

 
One of their signatures was this homemade potato croquette which won me over at first sight. It was a very irresistible combination of soft-boiled egg hiding in a crispy croquette with creamy potato salad. Please bear with the photo above as I was looking for the egg yolk to dissect, the soft-boiled egg was guaranteed cook to the right level although the photo didn't really show the flowy egg yolk. Surely a recommended dish for egg and potato food lovers!

Tamagoyaki with Mentai Cheese

 
This Japanese omelette looked very tempting with the mentai cheese oozing out but the texture of the egg roll was quite disappointing as it tasted soggy. I would have preferred a firmer hold and was expecting a stronger punch of flavours from the mentai cheese. According to Michelin 3-star chef, Jiro Ono, mastering the creation of tamagoyaki could take up to a decade and this version surely needs improvement.
Hotate Mentai Mayo

 
Hotate Garlic Mayo

 
Hotate means scallop in English, the dish above was simply to bake the half-shelled scallop together with the fish roe/garlic in mayonnaise on top resulting in the brown hue shown. You could taste that the scallop wasn't very fresh but for the kind of price you're paying it's reasonable. Personally, I would have preferred it better if there was a more generous fish roe serving to cover the whole scallop.
Cheese Oage

 
The cheese bean curd skewer was crispy and airy, sprinkled it with bonito flakes, spring onion and drizzled with soy sauce. This savoury dish had given a different mouthfeel and interesting taste.

Asparagus Bacon

 
Enokitake Bacon

 
The mushroom and asparagus wrapped in the bacon were juicy and generously packed to fit in the bacons. The sweet sauce slowly absorbed by the meat during cooking had also brought the savoury dishes to the next level.

Tomato Bacon

 
I loved the fact that the cherry tomato wrapped in the bacon was so sweet, crunchy and succulent that the juice burst into your mouth once you bite which complemented well with the caramelised salty bacon. Simple and delicious!
Chicken Shoulder

 
The chicken shoulder skewer was so tender and grilled to perfection. Do note that they also serve almost all parts of a chicken including heart, liver, soft bone, inner breast, thigh, tail and skin which would certainly attract foodies with distinctive indulgence preferences.
Chicken with green pepper

 
Personally, I find the yakitori tare sauce tasty and the chef also controlled the grilling time well but it seemed that the ingredients were not marinated sufficiently as the yakitoris were unable to give a wow factor.

 
The bill came to about S$25/pax for 3 persons, this place certainly served reasonably priced and above average yakitori and food. Service wise, the iPad ordering system fortunately did not lead the service down while the service crew were very friendly and attentive who consistently had smiles on their faces. I will perhaps revisit this comfortable and welcoming restaurant when I suddenly have craving for their potato croquette or yakitori!

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

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Satisfying dim sum fare Smile Apr 21, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Hotel | Dim Sum | Seafood

For full review, please visit us at http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/04/sg-wah-lok-cantonese-restaurant.html

Wah Lok at Carlton Hotel is a familiar name for most food connoisseurs given its sterling track record and list of accolades to its name. Consistently ranked by Singapore Tatler Magazine within the list of "Singapore's Best Restaurants" and Wine & Dine for "Singapore's Top Restaurants", can it continue to impress its fine diners after all these years?
While most restaurants offer their dim sum in portions of three, Wah Lok was able to prepare four portions for each of the dim sum dishes. Personally, I felt that was nice gesture especially if you are playing host to business associates or simply a lunch gathering with a few friends.
Baked barbecued pork polo bun (polo char siew bao) | S$6++/4pcs

 
On hindsight, this was one of my favourite dim sum dishes at Wah Lok. If you are a fan of baked char siew buns and polo buns, be sure to give this a shot. The crust of the polo bun was a beautiful crisp layer which complemented the overlying soft and fluffy bun. A subtle hint of sweetness stood out from the fragrant diced char siew, leaving us to crave for the next bite.

Baked barbecued pork pastry (char siew sou) | S$8++/4pcs

 
The true test to a dim sum chef lies in perfecting the classic dishes such as this or more commonly known as char siew sou. Beautifully baked with a coat of golden brown, the flaky pastry crumbled upon the first bite and the aroma of the char siew took centerstage almost immediately. Surely a must-try in my personal opinion.

Steamed prawn dumpling (har gao) | S$6.80/4pcs

 
We enjoyed the juiciness and burst of freshness wrapped within the thin layer of dumpling skin. What I also liked was that subtle hint of natural sweetness that lingered. This was one of those classics done right that would instantly bring a smile to your face.

Steamed pork dumpling (siew mai) | S$6++/4pcs

 
All that needs to be done with the siew mai is to pop it into your mouth and enjoy the succulence of the pork dumpling coming through in a palatable manner. Like the har gao, there was a hint of natural sweetness from the fresh minced pork and reminiscing the flavours while writing was enough to make me salivate once more!
Carrot cake (stir-fried style) | S$8/++

 

When the dish was served, it was not quite what I had in mind but the large chunks of finely-grated radish made it one a palatable dish. Stir-fried and tossed with crunchy bean sprouts and fried shallots, we enjoyed the complementing layers of texture when tasted together with the soft and moist radish.
Barbecued combination of char siew and roast duck (siew mei) | S$22/++

 
Quite frankly, this was one of the few lacklustre dishes on the table. While the barbecued and honey-glazed char siew was prepared in a truly Cantonese fashion, I felt that it was too lean for me and as such failed to shine. The roast duck on the other hand tasted pedestrian as I would have preferred the skin to have a nice crisp while the meat to remain tender and moist. On this occasion, I felt that the duck breast was slightly too stiff for my liking.
Baked mini egg tarts | S$6++/4pcs

 
Always on the hunt for the best egg tart in Singapore, I felt that this certainly made it to our "must-try" list as the flaky pastry was almost melt-in-your-mouth while the fragrant egg custard sitting in the middle carried a desired level of sweetness to please.
Steamed custard bun | S$6.40/4pcs

 

Leaving the best to the last, the steamed custard bun is almost a dessert itself with a rich and creamy filling. Like most of the other dishes, the sweetness that cut across my palate was comforting with its mildness. While I enjoyed the fluff of the bun, the layer was too thick for my liking.
Despite the focus on dim sum, we also had a plate of greens, stir-fried kailan with garlic (S$16/++) which was cooked perfectly, allowing the kailan to retain succulence and crunch. Ending off on a sweet note, we had the herbal jelly (S$9/++) and cream of pomelo & mango (SS6/++) to share and both desserts hit the right notes to a sumptuous dim sum lunch.

We enjoyed the ambience at Wah Lok as it reminded me fondly of a few classic Chinese restaurants such as Fook Lam Moon or Luk Yu Tea House in Hong Kong. Hearing the service crew converse in Cantonese always gave that extra homely feeling and with the quality classic dim sum dishes served, it is a place which makes customers return.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Japanese | Restaurant | Sushi/Sashimi

Please visit http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/04/sg-standing-sushi-bar-great-weekday.html for full review.

People always say that once you've come out to the working society, you would start missing the life of being a student. Maybe it's the competitive Singapore education system or the nature of the Masters degree that's so demanding that actually make me miss working. Well, at least you can experience the sense of satisfaction which seemingly studying cannot offer.
My classmates and I intended to have an early dinner before our night class and while we originally planned to head down to the Standing Sushi Bar located at Singapore Art Museum (8QSAM), it only opens at 6pm every evening. As a result, we visited the branch at Marina Bay Link Mall instead.
We learnt about the prevailing promotion [$3 salmon sashimi, $2 sake, $5 beer, wine, hot sake and umeshu] on Monday and Thursday only at 8QSAM Standing Sushi Bar. Unfortunately, the branch at Marina Bay Link Mall has a separate promotion targeted at the office crowd there. We ended up with the weeknight deal [izakaya happy hour $5 salmon sashimi, $10 martinis, $5 Asahi beer, $5 large glasses of sake ,and a selection of $5 bar bites].

Salmon Aburi Roll

 
Previously, there was a hype surrounding Koh Grill's Shiok Maki or Sushi Bar's Salmon Aburi Roll. In terms of the proportion between the rice and ingredients, the salmon and cucumber pieces wrapped inside the rice was done to a nicety. We found the coating layer of salmon sashimi was slightly too thin, resulting in the torching process cooking the entire salmon altogether. In terms of taste, while the homemade sauce served here was refreshing, Koh Grill's unique creamy cheesy sauce was our preferred choice. Nonetheless, the balance of this dish was executed well and surely worth a try!

 
We ordered 3 bar bites in the list including salmon sashimi, yakitori and potato aburi.

Salmon Sashimi - 5 Slices

 
I'm not really a fan of sashimi, but the salmon sashimi was thick and fresh which we felt was value for money at S$5/-. For the purpose of comparison, if you're only targeting their salmon sashimi, I suppose visiting the branch at Queen Street would fare better economical sense since similarly, five slices there would cost just S$3/-.

Yakitori - 3 skewers

 
After trying the yakitori at Sumire Yakitori House, we felt that this dish could do with some improvement. The meat lacked sufficient marinating time and the grill did not achieve the desired golden brown tan. Also, we found the yakitori sauce to be too watery which made it unable to coat the meat and failed to deliver a punch in flavours.

Potato Aburi

 
I was really looking forward to this dish as I love potato salad and the dish in the menu photo surely looked more appetising and palatable than what was served as it depicted an extravagant amount of sauce. Unfortunately, the dish served was nowhere close to the picture as there was no overlying sauce and the seaweed wrapping tasted chewy rather than crisp. Though the potato salad on top of the three seaweed wrapped sushi was generous and flavoursome.

Scallop Maki

 
The scallop was fresh and the seaweed remained crisp wrapping the right amount of vinegared rice, overall the dish was carried out perfectly.

Unagi Roll

 
We found quite a distinct inconsistency in terms of the distribution of the ingredients within the roll and the unagi tasted average.

 
Quite frankly, the sushi served at Standing Sushi Bar were mostly pedestrian, nothing much to rave about nor criticise. The service was passable as we struggled to fetch the attention of the service crew on several occasions considering the restaurant was not even full house. Nonetheless, it is a great place to fetch some decent, value for money Japanese food and alcohol, and enjoy a good chat with your friends or colleagues after work.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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