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madamechewy
This is madamechewy .
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Consistent, quality dim sum Smile Jul 16, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Dim Sum | Roasted Meat

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/07/16/taste-paradise-dim-sum/

During lunchtime on weekends, it’s the norm to spot crowds lingering at the entrance of award-winning Taste Paradise. The interior is grand; it simply looks like no expense has been spared to make this place look as opulent as it can be. Occupying the span of an entire wall are life-sized portraits of China’s illustrious Qing emperors.
Generally, Taste Paradise’s dim sum are excellent in quality, with a handful of drool-worthy items what I shall describe in more detail. We had quite a number of dim sum so here goes!
I can’t say no to anything fried!
Crispy Spring Roll with Smoked Duck Meat ($4.80). Amongst the fried dim sum, the spring roll stood out from crowd, thanks to its aromatic savory duck stuffing. Plus, the skin is so crispy you can hear the crunch in your head!
Deep-fried Prawn in Bean curd skin roll ($5.80).
Deep-fried Taro Puffs with Diced Chicken and Prawn ($4.80) was well-fried, not at all oily, and packed with filling.
Deep-fried Prawn Balls with Almond Flakes ($5.80). Loved the combination of springy prawn balls, crunchy almond flakes and burst of flavor from the caviar.
Deep-fried Prawn with Mango Roll ($5.60) was a tad too oily.
Steamed morsels will now take centre-stage.
Ahhh…my one true love- Liu Sha Bao. Pillow-y buns encasing intensely-flavored salted egg yolk custard that oozed endlessly. I always order 2 baskets of Taste Paradise’s Steamed Custard Bun ($5.80).
Steamed Prawn Dumpling “Har Kau” ($5.80) and Steamed Pork Dumpling “Siew Mai” ($5.80) were ok, nothing to shout about. Royal China’s Har Kau scored better compared to Taste Paradise for fresher, juicer and larger prawns.
Steamed Bean curd and Bacon with Black Truffle Sauce ($5.80).
Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun ($4.50). Peel open the light and fluffy bun to reveal chucks of lean pork meat which were not overly sweet.
For something more filling, Steamed Glutinous Rice with Chicken wrapped in Lotus Leaf ($4.60) is your best bet. The glutinous rice was sufficiently steamed and hence soft and lightly sticky.
Baked BBQ Honey Pork Bun ($5.40) is a bit of a misnomer. I believe most would expect smooth brown buns instead of snow-capped ones like these. A better name would be Polo baked BBQ Honey Pork Bun. These addictive buns are a combination of sweet, savory, crispy and crumbly.
Bite-sized Mini Egg Tarts ($4.20) were satisfactory- wobbly egg custard nesting in flaky puff pastry.
Beautifully flavorsome, slightly spicy and ethereally soft is the XO Carrot Cake ($7.80). The dish just the right amount of bean sprouts for contrasting crunch. Taste Paradise’s XO carrot cake is the best I have had so far. A must order!
Steamed Cheong-fun with Dough Fritter ($4.80)
Steamed Cheong-fun served with Deep-fried Eggplant and Minced Pork ($5.80) looks aesthetically alarming. The rice roll’s pink tinge reminded us of red/pink plastic bags from convenience stores. The eggplant and mince pork filling was moist and tasty; personally, I wasn’t too fond of this item

Baked Fillet of Cod with Chef’s Miso Recipe ($16/portion), one of Taste Paradise’s signature dishes, easily won me over. The melt-in-the-mouth cod tasted slightly fatty and saccharine at the same time. I’ve got to hand it to the chef for the splendid miso paste, which was a fine companion to the firm and flaky cod. This dish is part of the main menu and is available during lunch and dinner.

I love dramatic entrances!
Chilled Mango Puree with Sago and Pomelo topped with Coconut Ice cream ($6.80) – a luxe rendition of the popular dessert.

Mention-worthy is the Chilled Avocado Puree topped with Coffee Ice cream ($6.80) – a unique combination, which worked execeptionally well. A must try!

You can count on Taste Paradise for consistent fine quality dim sum. On weekends, dining here is a harried affair as there are 3 seatings (11am, 12.30pm, 2pm) and diners need to vacate their table 15 minutes before the next time slot. Reservations is a must if you do not wish to be turned away.
Taste Paradise used to be my go to place for dim sum, but not anymore because of a recent unpleasant experience. Because diners in the first seating were late, we had to wait for 30 min for our table, despite having a reservation. I don’t mind waiting for 15 mins, but half an hour is ridiculous.
 
Table Wait Time: 30 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jun 21, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $50(Lunch)

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

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Cosistent , good quality dishes Smile Jun 13, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Restaurant | Dim Sum

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/06/13/crystal-jade-jiang-nan/
Crystal Jade Jiang Nan brings you culinary delicacies from the south of China’s Yangtze River. At this polished restaurant, you can savor 4 Jiang Nan styles-Sichuan, Jiangsu, Hunan and Shanghai, all served up with Crystal Jade consistency. The heart-warming food is not fancy schmancy, but they resonate with everyone from young to old. Service standards varies, warm and efficient on weekdays but sometimes splotchy on weekends.
I love dramatic entrances. Hong Kong Ying Yang ($4.80) is gimmicky, but I like it! The fragrant beverage came in a tall flask with dry ice flowing from the centre of the flask.
Sliced Pork with Golden Mushroom, Loofah and Black Fungus Soup in Casserole ($16.80). Healthy, flavorful soup which was not overly salty. We order this every time we visit.
Multi-flavored Dumpling Family ($12.80) is essential assorted pork, chicken and vegetable dumplings. My favorite was the French bean and pork dumpling.
Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple sauce ($13.80) was a tad too sweet; I could hardly detect any sourness.
Sautéed Prawns and Sweet Potato with Salted Egg Yolk ($22). We were impressed with the huge, succulent prawns coated with insanely delicious salted egg yolk. Holding its own are the creamy sidekick sweet potatoes, which added a touch of comforting sweetness to the otherwise salty dish.
Deep-fried Scallops with Spicy Salt ($16.80). Fresh, savory scallops tossed with coco pops. Wished the scallops were plumper though….
Steamed Sliced Sea Bass with Cut Chilli ($14.80). Despite the copious amount of chilli, it’s only slightly spicy. Flavors were captivating, while fresh sea bass was tender and flaky.
Sautéed assorted mushroom with asparagus and bean curd ($12.50)
Deep-fried spinach bean curd with assorted mushrooms ($12.80). It’s hard to go wrong with a classic Chinese combination and silky tofu.
Sautéed French bean with minced pork and olive leaf ($12.80). The seasoning is spot on and I can see this pleasing most palates.
We wrapped up our meal with bite-sized Pumpkin cake and Japanese glutinous rice dumpling desserts ($5.60). The cute pumpkin rice cake has a salted egg yolk infused skin and red bean paste filling. While the skin had a nice chewy texture, it was too thick and I grew tired from all the chewing after awhile. We could not detect any salted egg yolk flavor.
The unassuming Japanese glutinous rice dumpling (mochi) fared much better; it caught us by surprise with its exquisite texture and delicate strawberry and mango fresh cream filling. It’s like eating pillow-y clouds!
 
Date of Visit: Feb 27, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $30(Dinner)

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

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Categories : Bakery | Café | Desserts and Cakes

Everton Park is no longer a boring housing estate. With quite a number of small boutique cafes settling there, its awakening from its drowsy slumber. My FIL has been bringing home bite-sized melt-in-the mouth Roasted Pork encased in buttery, flaky pastries. They were so good we decided to check the cafe out.
This cosy, quaint bakeshop/cafe is a temporary respite from Singapore’s urban rat race. Take your pick from the savoury menu, sweet endings displayed and hot or ice teas from the 1872 Clipper Tea Co. ($3.50-$3.80).
On weekends, laze the afternoon away with a hi-tea set ($19.50 for 2) comprising of sandwich quarters, cranberry scones, cheese tartlets, chocolate mini tartlets, apple crumble tartlets, mini fruit bowl, a cupcake and a pot of tea.
Batterworks’s Mushroom Soup ($3.50) sets itself apart from other mushroom soups I have tried so far. Instead of being velvety smooth, it has a creamy gritty consistency. Substantial and gratifying!
Tomato and Red Pepper Soup ($3.50) was equally excellent. It may be a bit too spicy for some though.
Melted creamy cheese with a nice pull, flavoursome ground pork is what you’ll get in their Shepherd’s Pie ($5.90). Another lunch favourite is the Stout Pie ($6.50), a seriously tasty meat classic made with tender chunks of chicken and stout, and creamy mashed potatoes.
Paparika fries ($3) was not bad.
I’m always in the mood for something sweet and fortunately the standard of desserts were consistent with the earlier dishes. MIL thoroughly enjoyed her Maple Carrot Cake while I ordered a plate of dainty trios. Salted Caramel Cupcake ($2.50) could have been better if it was more moist. Chocolate mini tarts had a buttery crust whileOreo Cheese Tartlet was dense and satisfying (petite pastries 2 for $2.50).
Overall, I like Batterworks honest approach to the food, as well as their authenticity. Uncomplicated yet delicious food great for light (portions are small) but hearty meals.

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/04/29/batterworks/
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Feb 05, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $16(Lunch)

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

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Peaceful Afternoon Tea Smile Jan 13, 2014   
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Categories : European | Fusion | Hotel | Steaks and Grills

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/01/12/halia-afternoon-tea/

Looking for a convenient place to savor a quiet afternoon tea amongst nature? Feeling overwhelmed by the scale and speed of city life? Halia located at the iconic Raffles Hotel is the perfect choice. Nibble on sweet and savory morsels, sip on fragrant Gryphon Tea while enjoying company of friends or a book in this classy establishment.

While I would have loved to visit Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens, my schedule was too packed for me to travel so far. Hence the next appropriate choice was the centrally located branch at Raffles Hotel. Cuisine served here is contemporary European fare with Asian touches, but we didn’t get to sample any as we came just for the afternoon tea service.
Upon entering the restaurant, a large tree right in the middle of a wooden carved table wowed me. Décor screams colonial charm while huge window panes allowed plenty of natural light through. Cheerful vibes, friendly service and good food, what more can I ask for? Afternoon tea here is like a garden party, minus the humidity and heat (air-conditioned), glaring sun on the skin and bugs!

Afternoon tea service is available on weekends and public holidays from 3-5.30pm. It comes as a fixed, non-refillable set, priced at $38 per person per set, which includes a drink. Because K and I weren’t hungry and had dinner appointments in the evening, we ordered one set to share but topped up an additional pot of tea.

Beverage selection is extensive; choose from signature Halia infusion, coffee, black teas, green teas or herbal and fruit infusions. We had Peach Nectar Rooibosh and Turkish Apple. The additional pot of tea was $8 extra.

There were some hits and misses with the food, but they were generally satisfactory. Good mix of sweet and savory treats too, I must add. Some savories had a touch of luxe, notably the Foie Gras mousse, with rosemary, flaky pastry and red onion jam. Sweet offerings were common; I felt that more thought was put into the savories, which incorporated unique ingredients.

Top Tier:
-Irish smoked salmon, blini, crème fraiche, caviar. Loved how the tangy and nutty flavors of the crème frachie toned down the smoked salmon’s fishy taste.
-Grilled Halloumi, smoked avocado, cherry tomato
-Blue cheese, apricot chutney pickled celery, honey walnut
-Foie Gras mousse, rosemary, flaky puff pastry, red onion jam. Absolutely gorgeous buttery and flaky pastry.
-Savory mini muffin was too dry
-Chicken finger sandwich
-Freshly baked scone

Bottom Tier:
-Jam and clotted cream
-Flourless orange cake with chocolate ganache
-Macarons
-Apple rhubarb crumble which was way too sour
-Lemon meringue tart with chocolate
-Lemon sponge cake

We had a pleasant afternoon tea experience, plus the peaceful and quiet ambiance is perfect for long conversations. Hope to check out Halia at Singapore Botanic Gardens soon
 
Recommended Dish(es):  foie gra mousse,Irish smoked salmon blini
 
Spending per head: Approximately $44(Tea)

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

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Home-cookeds goodness Smile Dec 08, 2013   
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Categories : Shanghainese | Kids-Friendly

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2013/12/07/gu-ma-jia/#more-6499

Looking for scrumptious and healthy home cooked food? Gu Ma Jia is the place to visit. Opened in 2009, Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家) has built a reputation for whipping up palatable, hearty dishes which are full of warmth. This casual Chinese restaurant has even won an award at the Singapore Food Festival 2010!

The friendly and bubbly owner is affectionately known as Gu Ma (aunt in Mandarin), as she is the eldest among her siblings. Her family and friends love her cooking and persuaded her to open a restaurant to share her appetizing home-cooked goodness. The family-run restaurant is adamant on serving serve fresh food; they visit the wet-market daily to select seafood and ingredients. Dishes have a special touch thanks to Gu Ma’s personal recipes!

Assam Fish Head ($28) is a must try! This is till date, the freshest fish head curry I tried. Most places tend to cook curry dishes using older fish because the strong spices can mask fishy smell. Gu Ma’s Assam gravy is light on the tongue, which highlights the freshness of the fish. She shared that her fish heads are picked daily to guarantee freshness. The spicy, tangy and sour gravy was addictive, how I wish I could have more!

Gu Ma’s culinary team grinds white pepper from Sawarak to produce their own white pepper sauce. In this White Pepper Crab (seasonal price) dish, Sri Lankan crabs are cooked to perfection. The meat separates from the shell readily, so easy to eat! The sweet crab meat and savory sauce was a match made in heaven.

Salted Egg Yolk Crab (seasonal price) is finger-licking good. Lick the creamy salted egg yolk off the shell and dig into the sweet, firm and juicy meat inside.

We were quite excited when this flaming hotplate was served; rose wine was sprayed onto the aluminum foil and lit up. Ah…so this is the popular Kyoto Pork Ribs ($20), drench in sweet tangy sauce. Gu Ma’s pork ribs are served in aluminum foil to retain the juiciness and natural flavor of the meat. The moist and tender meat is well-marinated; I could even taste the flavor right in the middle of each piece.

Ling Zhi Mushroom Bean Curd ($12/24) was healthy, yet enticing. The home-made tofu blocks had a crispy skin, plus a soft and silky texture.

Treasure Vegetables ($12/$18/$24) consists of 8 different vegetables and ingredients: lotus, black fungus, carrot, celery, vegetarian abalone, lingzhi mushroom, cashew nuts and snap peas. Loved the unique taste and crunchy texture!

Prawns with Superior Sauce ($20/$30/$38) was another delight! Who can resist fresh, succulent prawns in tasty superior sauce?

Kang Kong with Garlic ($9/$14/$18) was done just right; we enjoyed the crunch with each bite.

The final dish in our feast was stirred fried Beef with Bean Sauce Bitter Gourd ($16/$24/$30). Soft and tender beef slices were well-marinated while the bean sauce went well with both the beef and the bitter gourd. Bitter gourd is full of nutritious benefits, rich in vitamins, minerals and folic acid. But because of the taste, it’s not an easy vegetable to like. Gu Ma cooks with younger gourds, which are less bitter, plus the bean sauce masks the bitter flavor

We rounded off the meal with sweet beverages and a wholesome dessert. MIL had Ice Lychee Tea ($3) while I chose warm Home-made Barley ($2) as I was having a sore throat. The barley drinks here is prepared fresh daily. Usually a 30 minute simmer is the standard, but Gu Ma simmers her barley for 2 hours. Longer simmering times gives a more viscous liquid which contains soothing properties and vitamins.

Auntie’s Dessert ($3.50/serving) is packed ingredients with health benefits. Gingko aids memory and concentration, lotus seeds detoxify, white fungus strengths the immune system while wolf berries improve eyesight. I love that the dessert is not too sweet, in line with Gu Ma’s pride of serving healthy food.

By the way, Gu Ma Jia’s second floor has a seating capacity of 70 pax and is equipped with an over-head projector, which is ideal for family celebrations, company networking or team-building events. Gu Ma Jia also provides catering services with a wide variety of dishes at affordable prices.

 
Recommended Dish(es):  Kyoto Pork Ribs,White Pepper Crab,Assam Fish Head
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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