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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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Wholesome and healthy dinner Smile Jul 10, 2014   
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Categories : Teochew | Seafood | Kids-Friendly

We’re back at Chui Huay Lim again, this time for dinner. Service has taken a plunge compared to our previous visit. Staff were overwhelmed by the crowd; it was so difficult to catch their attention, such that I had to fetch the menu myself. If this was just an eatery, I wouldn’t have minded at all. But prices at Chui Huay Lim are steep, hence this standard of service is appalling. We made a mental note to avoid this restaurant on weekends.

As mentioned before, Teochew cuisine sets itself apart from most other Chinese cuisines by being light-handed on flavourings, salt and oil. Commonly regarded as being very healthy, cooking methods often involve poaching, steaming and braising, depending much on the freshness and quality of ingredients for taste and flavour. While dishes are competently executed, Chui Huay Lim did not rock my world. Certainly did for my FIL though, who is Teochew and loves the authenticity of cooking here.

Slow braised in earthy aromatic spices, the Teochew Braised Duck ($16/per portion, $28/half, $54/whole) exudes a mouth-watering aroma. Nesting on a bed of silky tofu, the tender meat oozes flavour with every bite. I like to pair this with the Teochew chilli, garlic and vinegar dipping sauce to add a tangy punch.

It’s hard to go wrong with salted egg yolk. Wok fried Salted Egg Yolk Prawns ($20/$30/$40) were conveniently deshelled so one will not have to waste precious time, and dive straight into the dish. Each succulent prawn was generously coated with a thick layer of salted egg yolk paste, with diced capsicums that added a delightful crunch.
The highlight of any Teochew meal is always the Steamed Pomfret (seasonal price). The flavourful broth was light, which accentuated the fish’s freshness. It’s simplicity at its finest.
Plump and juicy scalloped graced our greens. Spinach with Scallops ($24/$36/$48) was a refreshing change from the common broccoli rendition.

The unassuming Si Ji Dou/French Beans ($12/$18/$24) was an unexpected surprise. Stir fried with minced pork and preserved black olives, your taste buds will reveal in the abundance of flavor.
I was excited to see Sugar encrusted Deep Fried Yam Sticks ($10/8 pieces) on the menu. It’s new to me, and as fan of taro, I was eager to try them. It’s essentially smooth and creamy yam, with a thin crisp crust, coated with sugar. The quality of the yam makes or breaks this dessert. If you’re fond of natural, unadulterated flavor of yam, you’ll love these warm sticks of comfort. Do note that the kitchen needs 25 minute prepare this dessert.

Other popular desserts we had were Sweet Yam Paste with Hashima ($7.80), Sweet Yam Paste with Pumpkin and Gingko Nuts ($4.50) and Almond Jelly (3.50), which were all lovely, especially the Orh Nee.

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/07/07/dinner-chui-huay-lim/
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: May 10, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $50(Dinner)

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

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Brings back childhood memories Smile Jun 30, 2014   
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Categories : Hainanese | Restaurant | Chicken Rice

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/06/30/pow-sing-restaurant/
I have always wanted to drop by Pow Sing for a hearty meal, but because it too far from home and parking is a nightmare, I refrained from asking Hubby to take me there. In my teens, my family often had our weekend dinners at this humble Hainanese chicken rice and Nonya cuisine restaurant.
The place looked almost the same as I remembered 11 years ago. But nobody cares much about the décor when the draw is delicious and reasonably priced food. Be warned, this place is not for you if you cannot stand crowd and noisy chatters. Service is efficient, albeit a little abrupt.
Hainanese Chicken ($5/serving) and Fragrant Rice ($1/serving) were fantastic, but not the best I had tried.
If you are craving for something for spicy, give the flavorsome Nonya Otak ($3/pc) a go. The tantalizing otak is thick and very substantial.
I wish we didn’t order the Sweet and Sour Fish ($12/$18/$24).
I have an unabashed love affair for Har Chiong Gai, and Pow Sing’s Crispy Fried Chicken Wing with Prawn Paste ($10/$15/$20) didn’t disappoint. Oh yes, it was C-R-I-S-P-Y, no doubt about that. The tender oily meat pulls out with ease.
Although not the most photogenic, Nonya Tauhu ($8/$12/$16) was another highlight. The delicately crisps exterior encases smooth egg tofu. Definitely a dish that will please most palates.
Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce ($8/$12/$16). Crunchy vegetables done just right, in a savory sauce.
There is no service charge and our total bill came up to $60.75 for 4 pax, which include 3 cups of Lime Juice ($2 each). This works out to be $15 per pax. Value for money, tasty dishes, I’d come here again and again if I could.
Valet service is available on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and PH after 6.30pm.
 
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Apr 17, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $15

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

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Worth a try OK Jun 25, 2014   
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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Chinese | Hotel | Dim Sum | Seafood

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/06/25/royal-china-dim-sum/
To bid my cousin farewell prior to his 2-year study stint in France and Italy, I took him to lunch at the high-raved Royal China located at the prestigious Raffles Hotel. This is a popular restaurant; advance reservations must be made to secure a table.
My first impression on the service was, well, not good. No greeting whatsoever upon entering, not even a nod of acknowledgement.
Surprisingly enough, Royal China originates from London, which may explain the exquisite modern décor. Tiffany blue hues, pristine white dining furniture, tablecloths and china set the tone of sophisticated refinement.
The aunty waitress who took our order was friendly, brownie point for that. However, it was difficult to catch anyone’s attention when we needed our teapot refilled and we wanted to order more items later on.
Bite-sized Baked Egg Tart ($4.80) was very ordinary. Ever since I tried Yan Ting’s egg tart, I have never came across any that can match up to theirs.
Steamed Prawn Dumpling ($5.60). Fresh, flavorsome and crunchy prawns encased in smooth skin. Its simplicity at its finest. Mention-worthy were the size of the pawns, I had to take a few bites to finish a single dumpling.
I never pass the chance to order my favorite Liu Sa Bao/ Salted Egg Yolk Bun($4.80). Although Royal China’s rendition includes fresh mango juice (I dislike mango), it didn’t deter me from getting a basket. Molten, flowy golden liquid check! Pillowy buns check! However, this mixture of sweet and savory custard wasn’t my cup of tea.
Baked BBQ Pork Puff ($4.80) was another hit. Nibble the buttery, flaky pastry to reveal generous filling of lean pork meat. We like that the BBQ sauce was not overly sweet.
Other popular classics we had were Steamed Pork Dumpling with Wolfberry($5.60) and Pan-fried Bean curd roll stuffed with minced prawn ($5.60). Both were average.
I’d stop short of recommending the Wok-fried Cheung fun with homemade XO sauce ($8.80). It didn’t look anything like the photo in the menu which enticed us to order it, and lacked the robust flavor one would expect from XO sauce. Taste Paradise’s rendition is wayyyy better.
Century egg and lean pork congee ($6.80). Don’t you just love congee with chuck of century egg in them?
I love taro and I love scallops, so ordering Deep-fried yam puff with Scallop in Portuguese Sauce ($5.60) was a no brainer. While the morsels were a tad oily, the smooth yam, crispy crust and unique Portuguese sauce made up for it. Wished the scallops were thicker though, but then again, for the price, I consider it a good deal.

Having dined at Taste Paradise and Yan Ting, I wasn’t particular impressed with Royal China’s offerings and service. I mean, they were not bad, but they weren’t spectacular either. Worth a try but I’ll choose Taste Paradise or Yan Ting for my dim sum fix in a heartbeat.
 
Table Wait Time: 5 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Feb 22, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $36(Lunch)

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

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Categories : French | Restaurant | Seafood | Steaks and Grills | Burgers and Sandwiches

From a modest stall in a hawker centre to 2 restaurants, Saveur has certainly come a long way. The folks here pride themselves for bringing quality French cuisine to the masses at wallet-friendly prices.

Upon entering, I was impressed with the warm ambience as I expected monochrome, simple interiors, similar to the relatively unadorned branch at Purvis Street. It was already full house when we arrived at 12 noon. We left our name and contact details and left for some window-shopping. Approximately 10 minutes later, we received a call inform us that our table was ready. Its’ nice of them to provide this service instead of expecting diners to stand around waiting. Saveur does not accept reservations, so come early or be prepare to queue.

The menu is simple, with no French terms to confuse you. Prices are indeed very affordable, but portions are so small, so you will have to order quite a bit before your tummy is satisfied (I had 2 appetizers, a main course and a dessert plus shared a side with 2 friends).
Mushroom Cappuccino ($4.90) arrived in a cute coffee cup and frothy foam atop. Thick and creamy, bursting with earthy flavors, it warmed my digestive system for more to come.
The Instagram-worthy Saveur Pasta ($4.90) fell short of our expectations. Its essentially capellini tossed with chilli oil, fine chopped Konbu and minced pork sauce, glittered with Sakura Ebi. Sadly the pasta was overcooked, and the sakura ebi lacked crunch to give the starter its much-required texture.

W thoroughly enjoyed her pan-seared Foie Gras ($7.90) with creamy lentils and pickled pearl onion. The generous portion pleasantly surprised us.

As we heard good things about the Saveur’s duck, all of us ordered Duck Confit ($12.90). The leg sat on a bed of homemade mashed potatoes; on the side were sautéed shiitake mushrooms, orange segments and orange infused natural jus. The duck leg was well browned and crisp on the outside, while remaining tender inside. I like that the meat was not overly salty and the orange added a zesty kick that brightens the dish.

If you are not a fan of duck, other main course options include Pork belly ($10.90), Chicken roulade ($9.90), Sea bass ($14.90), Lamb shoulder ($16.90) and Beef Bourguignon ($16.90).
Potato Gratin side left a lingering garlicky flavor in the mouth. However, lacked a layer of golden crust characteristic of the culinary technique.

Cookies and Milk ($9.90) dessert arrived looking quite the enigma. Dig deeper and discover a patty of icy cold cookie dough ice cream, cherries kirsh, sparkling candy and peanut butter. Awesome combination of flavors and textures, accompanied with a fun popping sensation in the mouth.

Chocolate and Hazelnut ($8.90) was nothing to shout about. Chocolate mousse with crushed hazelnuts, broken raspberries, roasted rice puffs, chocolate tuile and praline. The mousse was pitifully normal and overwhelmed the hazelnut’s nutty aroma.

Overall, an OK place for a casual meal dates and catch-up with friends. I’s stop short of recommending Saveur for first dates or deep conversations, as the layout of the place is too cramped.

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/06/24/saveur/
 
Table Wait Time: 10 minute(s)


Date of Visit: May 10, 2014 

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

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