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Chubby Botak Koala
This is Chubby Botak Koala living in Hougang/Kovan. I am a Foodies, work in Ang Mo Kio. I like to hang out in Serangoon, Katong, Tampines. Singaporean, Chinese, Multi-Cuisine are my favorite cuisines. I also love Hawker Centre, Restaurant, Café, Bistro and Roasted Meat, Desserts and Cakes, Dim Sum, Something not too spicy.
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The Home of Iron Chef Conqueror  Smile Mar 04, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong

 
Chef Tan Yong Hua has finally find a place to call HOME. Also known of the Prince of Pumpkin, Chef Tan is the proud Co-Owner & Executive Chef of Restaurant HOME ('HOME'). A celebrity chef in Singapore Media scene, Chef Tan also proudly represented Singapore Chinese Chef Association in 2013 to conquer the Iron Chef Thailand specialised in Chinese Cuisine.

 
HOME is located at Rail Mall Bukit Timah. The decoration is quite minimalist, and the open concept made the restaurant look big. It has a nice balance of traditional big round tables for group of 8 to 12 and square tables for group of 4 or smaller. Due to a huge following of loyal customers of Chef Tan, HOME has 2 sessions for weekend dinner and reservations are required.

Our first visit to HOME was with Little Devil's BFF for dinner. Our Entrée started off from the Barbecue selection, the Crispy Roast Pork and Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin (Char Siew). The roast pork has a light crispy skin, well seasoned and the meat is tender. This is one of our niece favourite dish and she will personally order two plates and for herself. The Char Siew uses a fatter cut of the loin. It is slightly burnt with honey crisp and the meat just melts in your mouth. Slightly sinful but Yummy! I personally like this version of Char Siew, but Little Devil does not.
Crispy Roast Pork

Crispy Roast Pork

 
Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin (Char Siew)

Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork Loin (Char Siew)

 
Barbecue Peking Duck with Lychee Wood came next. It is one of the Signature dish at HOME. Following the traditional presentation of Peking Duck, the prime cut of the breast skin are served first with sugar. HOME version is thin and crispy, without much fat on it. The rest of the duck has a consistent crispy skin and not oily. Although it looks more healthy, the downside of minimum fat is the meat of the duck become dry and slightly though, which is what happen here. The sauce has a nice flavour and well balance sweetness to go with duck and the wrap. If you order the whole duck, the left over can become the second dish either soup, deep fried or a stir fry dish.
Peking Ducks

Peking Ducks

 
Clockwise from Top Left: Prime Cut Breast Skin, The Condiments, The Breast Meat & The Thigh Meat.

Clockwise from Top Left: Prime Cut Breast Skin, The Condiments, The Breast Meat & The Thigh Meat.

 
On some special occasion, they will have roast goose available. We have tried it before and we personally recommend it. Not only roast goose are difficult to find in Singapore, HOME's version got my two thumbs up. It is better than the duck and tasted similar to the one in HongKong.

If you are a fish lover, don't miss the fish baked in claypot with Chef Tan In-house recipe. The lemon grass, galangal and spring onions are stir fried first to create a base aroma for the baked fish. Combine with rice wine and baked it on the claypot topped with ginger and parsley, the result is just delicious. The meat of the fish is just tender while the gravy is just a great companion with a bowl of rice. However, as I were expecting more dishes to come, we refrained ourself from ordering rice just slurp the gravy without the carbo.
Fish baked in Claypot with Chef Tan In-house recipe

Fish baked in Claypot with Chef Tan In-house recipe

 
From the four legged section, we have Pan Fried Wagyu Beef Steak. This dish is served on individual plating version. The beef is cooked to medium rare, well seasoned and melts in your mouth. The coarse sea salt accentuate the flavour of the beef.
Pan Fried Wagyu Beef Steak

Pan Fried Wagyu Beef Steak

 
For the final savoury dish, Stewed Homemade Yellow Noodle with Lobster, served in O Ba Leaf. The yellow noodle has a similar texture to wanton mee. It was firstly seasoned with special soya sauce before topped with the lobster and gravy. The noodle is springy or should I say it is simply very Q, absorbs the flavour of the lobster and gravy well while retaining the texture. LD's favourite dish here.
Stewed Homemade Yellow Noodle with Lobster, served in O Ba Leaf

Stewed Homemade Yellow Noodle with Lobster, served in O Ba Leaf

 
On another occasion, we also tried their Braised Duo Rice Vermicelli with Pork Knuckles served in O Ba Leaf. The pork knuckles are home made, braised daily for five hours. The meat are tender and the gravy are robust. Simply put it just delicious even my picky FIL loves it and Tan Hsueh Yun from the Straits Times give her approval for this dish.
Braised Duo Rice Vermicelli  with Pork Knuckles served in O Ba Leaf

Braised Duo Rice Vermicelli with Pork Knuckles served in O Ba Leaf

 
Service standard can be improve. As they are short handed like many F&B establishment in Singapore, the service staff seems to be overwhelmed and looks disorganised during the peak dinner hours. It is also difficult to get their attention to top up the tea or get a fresh set of plates.

Overall, HOME delivery a very good combination of Chinese Cuisine. The Peking Duck are good but missing the Omph factor. The rest of the dishes are perfectly executed, tasty and delicious. It sure is worth the trip to the West side to visit HOME. Cheers!!!

For the complete Chubby Botak Koala experience, click / copy the link below to your browser:
http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2014/03/restaurant-home-home-of-iron-chef.html

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Crispy Roast Pork,Char Siew,Lobster Noodle,Braised Duo Rice Vermicelli with Pork Knuckles,Fish baked in Claypot with Chef Tan In-house recipe,Peking Duck
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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The Royal Duck Smile Feb 27, 2014   
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Categories : Beijing | Multi-Cuisine

TungLok Xihe Peking Duck

TungLok Xihe Peking Duck

 
TungLok Xihe Peking Duck ('TXPD') is a collaboration between TungLok Group Singapore with XiHe Group from Beijing. The collaboration presents the diner with the traditional Chinese dishes with innovative cooking method and modern plating. Of course not forgetting, Peking Duck as the signature dish of this restaurant.

 
We were looking for a place at the very last minute for gathering with our friend for our regular makan session and since it is Chinese New Year, we decided to make it a Lo-Hei session as well. TXPD got our vote due to its location and the appeal of their Lunar New Year Menu. Little Devil ('LD') and I visited TungLok quite regularly in the past, we just did not notice we have not step into TungLok restaurant for more than 2 years after they closed down Tung Lok East Coast and Humble House.

TXPD is located facing car dealers section, opposite side of the football field. The dominant red colour, Chinese traditional red lantern and the Chinese graphics of Peking Duck on the outer wall, made the restaurant easy to spot. Upon entering TXPD, you welcomed by the Peking Duck and bright red brick duck oven on the left side. You definitely won't miss it.
Peking Duck & The Oven

Peking Duck & The Oven

 
We decided on Lunar New Year Menu 10. $468++ for 10 person. As we have about 16 person including children, we are split into 2 tables of 8. As it was getting late and some of our friends have not arrive, we ask them to serve the Peking Duck first and postpone the Yu Sheng.

As a signature dish of the restaurant, the Peking Duck received the royalty treatment. Once a duck is ready to be serve, someone will sound the GONG!! and you know there is Peking Duck on the way to a table. A chef will carved the duck in front of the table and divided into three plates. The breast skin, or I prefer to say it is the prime cut that normally eaten with sugar; the dark meat (from the thigh) and the breast meat. The condiments such as spring onions, sugar, Peking duck sauce and the wrap/pancake are served on a partition platter with bowl of hot water in the centre to maintain the moisture in the pancake.
Slicing the Peking Duck

Slicing the Peking Duck

 
Peking Duck - Skin Prime Cut, Breast Meat & Thigh Meat

Peking Duck - Skin Prime Cut, Breast Meat & Thigh Meat

 
The Condiments

The Condiments

 
The breast skin is crispy and melts in your mouth. The rest of the duck skin is crispy and the meat are tender. The duck and the wrap/pancake was maintained warm by using the hot water and charcoal pouch (a Japanese technology). By keeping the dish warm, it helped in retaining the moisture in the pancake and preventing it from hardening and the meat of the duck to maintain its juiciness. Kudos to them for coming out with this innovative idea.

We then proceed to the Lo Hei session. The Yu Sheng ingredients are very generous, with a little twist of raisins in the dish. Two plate of salmon for 8 people. The vegetables are fresh and crispy, while the sauce has the right sweetness in it. Huat Ah!!!!
Yu Sheng

Yu Sheng

 
Next come the Double-boiled Soup with Sakura Chicken and Ginseng. Chinese version of Chicken Consommé. A beautiful clear soup, with robust ginseng taste and chicken essence. The Live Prawn with Vermicelli in Black Pepper sauce has a little Thai flair in this dish. Served on the claypot, the black pepper taste quite prominent, covering the sauce of the vermicelli and fresh prawns. It is a pity that the vermicelli tasted a bit dry.
Double-boiled Soup with Sakura Chicken and Ginseng

Double-boiled Soup with Sakura Chicken and Ginseng

 
Live Prawn with Vermicelli in Black Pepper sauce

Live Prawn with Vermicelli in Black Pepper sauce

 
Tan Jia style Crispy Fish is just delicious. The Garoupa fish fried until crispy on the outside but moist and tender on the inside. The robust stock gravy, helps to soften the fish a bit while still deliver on taste. For Braised Spinach Beancurd with Monkey Head Mushrooms, the tofu is soft and smooth and it just melts in your mouth.
Tan Jia style Crispy Fish

Tan Jia style Crispy Fish

 
Braised Spinach Beancurd with Monkey Head Mushrooms

Braised Spinach Beancurd with Monkey Head Mushrooms

 
If you ever wonder what happen to left over meat from the duck, it was shredded and cook with braised Ee-Fu Noodles. The condiments are quite generous and the noodle is springy, full of flavour but not soggy. The Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls in Sesame Paste is quite ordinary as most of us did not finished the desserts.
Ee-Fu Noodles

Ee-Fu Noodles

 
Service here is inconsistent. Our table got a very good service, while our friends table with the kids seems to get less attention. Plates are not clear properly and service is quite poor. When I was finished this review, I just realised that they forgot to give us our Complimentary Nian Gao ha..ha.. For TungLok standard, we find this service issue need to be ironed out. In a typical Chinese Restaurant, they will normally serve Peanuts and Pickles as appetizer. During the CNY period, TXPD served bak kwa. What we don't know apparently they charged $2 per person and we end up with $30 extra bill just for this little plate of Bak Kwa. Lets just say the amount serve is not equivalent to 1/2 kg of bak wah worth. Wow, talking about hidden charges.

The decoration in the restaurant consistent through out. The use of modern red colour are quite prominent. Instead of using all round tablets, TXPD incorporated modern square tables and boot seating as well.

Overall, we are quite pleased with the quality of the food served here. The presentation of the Peking Duck is very distinct and creative. Although it is not the best Peking Duck that I ever ate in Singapore, it can be considered one of the good ones. The rest of the other dishes are good and worth the TungLok standard. Hopefully we have a chance to try out their ala-carte menu in the near future. Cheers!!!

For the complete Chubby Botak Koala experience, click / copy the link below to your browser:
http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2014/02/tunglok-xihe-peking-duck-royal-duck.html

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Peking Duck,Tan Jia style Crispy Fish,Ee-Fu Noodles
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Spotted Pig and Prosciutto OK Feb 19, 2014   
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Categories : Italian | Pasta

Entrance from United Square

Entrance from United Square

 
Extra Virgin Pizza is another F&B concept by under the umbrella of The Lo & Behold Group. This group is responsible for the ever popular establishment such as The White Rabbit, The Black Swan, Overeasy and Loof. Under the guidance of the young entrepreneur Wee Teng Wen and Daniel He, expect this group to deliver a fresh yet elegant dining on Singapore shore.

Little Devil and I actually chanced upon Extra Virgin Pizza while looking for a quick lunch place in United Square. To our benefit, they were offering one for one pizza promotion with UOB Card.

As it is lunch, we only ordered 2 pizzas. Spotted Pig ($26) and Prosciutto & Arugula ($26). Both pizza are based with tomato and mozarella cheese. Each pizza is about personal size, cut to 6 slices each. Spotted pig toppings are spicy pepperoni, pork sausage, applewood smoked ham and pecorino. This generous ingredients resulted in a delicious well baked pizza with a subtle heat / spiciness coming from the pepperoni.
Spotted Pig

Spotted Pig

 
Meanwhile the Prosciotto & Arugula provide a more healthy version to offset the meaty pizza. The prosciutto di parma, baby arugula and parmagiano reggiano provide a good combination. Again the ingredients are generous and fresh.
Prosciutto & Arugula

Prosciutto & Arugula

 
Although the toppings are good, we find that some areas can be improved especially on the dough and the timing in the oven. The dough is not rolled out consistently. The area without the toppings turn out to be to thick and chewy and it tasted like the dough are not evenly cooked. Based on our experience eating in pizzeria using brick ovens, we understand that pizzas cooked brick oven have the rustic burnt feeling. However on that day it was just too much burnt areas and created a bitter taste on the pizza. (Hopefully management can accept our feedback, Hint Hint!!)
Inconsistent and burnt dough

Inconsistent and burnt dough

 
For drink, we ordered Ice Lemon Tea ($5.50), which is homemade (they separated the sugar) and tasted very good.
Homemade Ice Lemon Tea

Homemade Ice Lemon Tea

 
Ambiance in this branch was great. The place is quite spacious there are a lot of natural lighting in the restaurant during the day. Service is very minimum, as we need to order at the counter and make payment first. Not sure what is the reason behind this, as there are sufficient service staff to provide full service.
The Bar and Order Counter

The Bar and Order Counter

 
Pizza Bar & The Brick Oven

Pizza Bar & The Brick Oven

 
For Take Away

For Take Away

 
Overall we find that Extra Virgin Pizza has the ingredients and potential to compete with the higher end pizzeria. At this point of time, the components has not come together yet. With a little bit of tweaking and adjustment they will soon be there. Pricing is slightly on the high side. Luckily we have UOB Card to thank for the promo. Cheers!!

For the complete Chubby Botak Koala dining experience, click / copy the link below to your browser:
http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2014/02/extra-virgin-pizza-spotted-pig-and.html

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Spotted Pig Pizza,Prosciutto & Arugula
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20(Lunch)

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

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Categories : Vietnamese | Restaurant | Noodles

 
Chef Jackie Nguyen is the owner cum head chef of Pho Hanoi in the Serangoon North. Graduated from ITE in Singapore and has spend more than 8 years in here, he decided to introduce North Vietnamese food. According to Chef Jackie, most of the Vietnamese food here is from Ho Chi Minh city (Southern Vietnam) and the rareness of North Vietnamese food leads to Chef Jackie to set up shop.

 
Pho Hanoi Specialities - 1

Pho Hanoi Specialities - 1

 
Pho Hanoi Specialities - 2

Pho Hanoi Specialities - 2

 
Located under HDB at Block 153 Serangoon North Ave 1, the establishment is decorated and furnish simple yet elegant manner. They use white background, white tables and green chairs. For small group of 2 or 4, you can choose to seat inside, while a bigger group can choose the round table outside.

 
We ordered Vietnamese Spring Roll Combination ($6.50) and Fresh Spring Roll ($3.50) for our starters. The fresh spring roll also known as paper roll are fresh with a springy texture wrap. The ingredients, especially the prawns are fresh and goes well with the peanut sauce and fish sauce. The combination spring rolls come with fresh spring roll, fried spring roll and fried beef roll in seaweed. The fried spring roll has a crispy texture with a bit of chewiness. While the fried beef roll has a strong gamey taste from the beef, which need some time to get used to.
Vietnamese Spring Roll Combination

Vietnamese Spring Roll Combination

 
Fresh Spring Roll

Fresh Spring Roll

 
For the mains, Little Devil had Wagyu Beef Noodle Soup($8.90). The soup is clear and robust, however comparing to the Southern Version such as at Nam Nam or Long Phung, it is on the lighter side. You can taste the natural sweetness of the broth, and the Wagyu beef just melts in your mouth. The rice noodle is al dante.
Wagyu Beef Noodle Soup

Wagyu Beef Noodle Soup

 
Wagyu Beef Noodle Soup

Wagyu Beef Noodle Soup

 
For me, I ordered BBQ Beef Noodle ($6.50). The beef is marinated with traditional Vietnamese flavour such as lemon grass. It is tender and succulent infused with capsicum flavour. It is good, but capsicum is not my best friend, so I just have the meat with the springy thin (bee hoon) type of rice noodle with fish sauce.
BBQ Beef Noodle

BBQ Beef Noodle

 
Meanwhile, my MIL ordered Mango Salad with Seafood ($6.50). The mango is slightly raw and provide the crunchiness to the dish. LD says it lacks of sourness, a bit more lime will be better. We discover that the North Vietnam food seems to be more subtle flavour in the dish compare to the South side. A few items that catch our eyes in the menu is the grill seafood. It seems to be their speciality, but we did not have a space in our tummy to try this time around. We took a mental note to come back and try this out.
Mango Salad with Seafood

Mango Salad with Seafood

 
Service is prompt and friendly. Overall, Chef Jackie's Pho Hanoi introduce us to a different taste of Vietnamese food. Although you feel that you have seen the dishes before, but the taste of the good will surprise you, as it is somewhat lighter and allow the ingredients to speak for itself. Pricing is very friendly to the pocket. During this short period, it seems the Pho Hanoi has immerse itself to be part of the food culture in Serangoon North Community. Cheers!!

For the complete Chubby Botak Koala dining experience, click / copy the link below to your browser:
http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2014/02/pho-hanoi-north-vietnamese-food-in.html

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Fresh Spring Roll,Wagyu Beef Noodle Soup,BBQ Beef Noodle
 
Spending per head: Approximately $13(Lunch)

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

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New Place with Same Old Flavour Smile Feb 10, 2014   
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Categories : Seafood | Zi Char

Triple Cook Bee Hoon Crab

Triple Cook Bee Hoon Crab

 
My first encounter with Ming Kee was through an introduction by old family friend Uncle E. At that time, we were missing the taste of Fried Mud Crab with Egg Noodle, Cantonese Restaurant style from our days in Melbourne - (our first food hunting ground). We instantly got 'hooked' on the crab beehoon here, and started to visit Ming Kee frequently until we were just sick of it and stopped going there for a few years. With a sudden craving for crabs beehoon beckons recently, we decided to visit our favourite restaurant.

Before making a reservation, I discovered that there are two establishments with the same signboard of Ming Kee Live Seafood. I investigated further to check if both the restaurants are the same, and turned out that the Ming Kee owner have sold the older and bigger shop space and opt for a smaller establishment. Another food blogger SgFoodonFoot, helps to point me to the right direction and made the right reservation.

 
During the dinner, I have a chat with the restaurant manager, they say that they are trying to get the current owners of the old establishment to remove the signboard. Thus, if you are along Macpherson Road, the one opposite the Caltex petrol station is real Ming Kee. To our surprise, the boss is back in the kitchen and doing the cooking himself. Anyway, enough with the background lesson and lets direct our attention to the food.

We started with the Triple Cook Bee Hoon Crab ($5 per 100 gram), which suppose to be the signature dish of Ming Kee. First slurp of the Bee Hoon, you can taste the solid stock used in cooking this dish. It is flavourful and robust. The crab is fresh and cooked nicely. The fried shallots and mushrooms on top added another texture to the dish. It is better than most restaurant that serve this dish, however seems to fall short of the old Ming Kee standard. There is something missing in the stock, lacking of the 'Omphh' factor. While we only reach the stage in devouring the crabs, the next dish of Home-made Bean Curd ($8) and Guinness Stout Short Ribs ($12) arrived. The homemade bean curd has a tender and smooth texture. The gravy is good and well absorb in the broccoli. Good to go with rice. The short ribs are well seasoned and marinated. It is tender and sweet. The cutting of the meat are inconsistent, if you got the big piece, it can be slightly chewy. Something that they can look into.
Home-made Bean Curd

Home-made Bean Curd

 
Guinness Stout Short Ribs

Guinness Stout Short Ribs

 
For another seafood dish, we had Mexico Pacific Clam with garlic and soy sauce. The clams are fresh, huge, juicy and steam to perfection. The fried garlic and soya sauce provided a slight salty taste that bring out the taste of the clams. The dish of the night!
Mexico Pacific Clam with garlic and soy sauce

Mexico Pacific Clam with garlic and soy sauce

 
To balance the meal, we have Nai Bai with Three Eggs. The vegetables are fresh. The sauce is smooth and creamy with a hint of infused stock. For desserts, the manager gave us Mango Pudding, free of charge. It is smooth with a well balance sweetness. The use of fresh milk instead of evaporated milk, make this dessert provide a good ending to the heavy meal of the night.
Nai Bai with Three Eggs

Nai Bai with Three Eggs

 
Mango Pudding

Mango Pudding

 
This new establishment is smaller than the previous shop. Big table are limited, while to maximise space, they have a 'cafe built-in' style of table and chairs for table for 4 or less. The setting is actually simple and clean. Service is good considering the limited service staff. The manager is friendly and full of smile. Please take note that seating is by reservation only.

Overall, I am glad that Ming Kee has managed maintained their standard of food, serving good quality seafood with a more reasonable price compare to the old establishment. I wish they are able to get back the 'Omph' factor in Triple Cook Crab Bee Hoon. Cheers!!

For the complete Chubby Botak Koala experience, click / copy the link below to your browser:
http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2014/02/ming-kee-live-seafood-new-place-with.html

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Triple Cook Bee Hoon Crab,Guinness Stout Short Ribs,Mexico Pacific Clam with garlic and soy sauce
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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