Thursday, June 22, 2017

House of Gimbap

House of Gimbap is a Singapore-based Korean restaurant at Millenia Walk that specializes in authentic Korean gimbap and Korea wellness teas. 

There are altogether 9 gimbaps to choose from, from the classic Beef Bulgogi Gimbap to Wasabi Tuna Gimbap and Cream Cheese & Walnut Gimbap for the adventurous. There is Egg Roll & Vegetable Gimbap and Tofu Skin & Vegetable Gimbap for vegetarians and health-conscious, while spicy-lovers will enjoy Spicy Pork Gimbap, Dry Anchovy & Nut Gimbap and Spicy Fishcake Gimbap. The gimbaps come in 10 pieces, but you can opt for half gimbaps. The gimbaps are freshly-made upon order and they are great for a simple and fuss-free lunch or dinner.

Pork Belly Bibimbap is a nutritious and delicious meal of fragrant Korea rice topped with grilled pork belly,  organic quinoa, lightly marinated watercress and fried kimchi. The different flavors blend in so perfectly together, and it tastes even better when drizzled with soy chilli bibim sauce and sesame oil. 

Dry Anchovy Bibimbap is a specialty dish expecially created for Singaporeans with strong Southeast-Asian influence. Fragrant Korean rice is topped with lightly-fried anchovies, fluffy scrambled egg, seaweed flakes, chilli padi and lettuce. The chilli padi is really quite spicy and it gives the dish a fiery kick. Best enjoyed with soy chilli bibim sauce and sesame oil. 

You can make your own bibimbap by adding on the ingredients of your choice to the Bibimbap Base ($11.50). Choose between Soy Chilli Bibim Sauce and Sour Chilli Bibim Sauce. 

Doenjangmari Noodle is a very simple dish. When I say "simple", I mean REALLY simple with just a few strands of flat noodles in doenjang (soybean paste) broth, garnished with a few pieces of Korean green pumpkin, shiitake mushrooms and Japanese leek. It is not filling and perfect for those times when you don't really have much of an appetite. Spicy Bibim Noodle is the only other noodle dish on the menu, but this is the dry version and it's spicy. 

There is a variety of options when it comes to drinks: Bosung Organic Green Tea (Hot/Cold), Buckwheat Tea Hot/Cold), Burdock TeaHot/Cold), Doraji TeaHot/Cold), Esel Tea Hot/Cold) and Yuzu Tea Hot/Cold). I decided to try Yuzu Tea (Hot) and I really like the fragrance of this sweet and sour drink. Yuzu is rich in Vitamin C and Calcium, so this drink is not only delicious but healthy too. 

House of Gimbap
Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk #01-103
Telephone: 68370765
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 11am - 8pm; Saturday 12pm - 8pm, Closed on Sundays

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lao Huo Tang - Traditional Chinese Herbal Soup

Shen Xi "Lao Huo Tang" was first established in 2008 at Chinatown's Lao Ba Sha and this humble soup restaurant has since become a multi-chain enterprise with more than 60 outlets in food courts island-wide. 

Shen Xi "Lao Huo Tang" has been featured in newspapers such as Xin Ming Daily and Lian He Zao Bao and the restaurant has received many awards and accolades such as Lian He Zao Bao's "Most Loved Hawker Stall 2010", "2012 Top Ten Favorite Restaurants" and Pacific Brands Award's "Singapore's Finest 2012".

Shen Xi "Lao Huo Tang" is a soup restaurant, so the signature dishes are the Cantonese-style soups that the restaurant is known for. Mummy's ABC Soup, also known as "Luo Song Tang", is a soup that is commonly found in Singapore. Pork ribs are cooked with carrots, corn, onions and celery, making this a nutritiousg soup loaded with Vitamins A, B and C. I like that spare ribs are used instead of pork ribs, I love eating the cartilages and the meat is tender and soft. The soup has apparently been boiled for many hours, evidenced by the melt-in-the mouth carrots. 

Thinly-sliced bittergourd are coated in an egg omelette to create Fried Egg with Bittergourd. The bittergourd provides just the right amount of bitterness to the dish. 

The Sweet & Sour Sliced Fish is a little too sweet for my liking, but the fish slices are fresh. 

If you are looking for a good soup restaurant in the Jurong East area, I highly recommend Lao Huo Tang for quality Chinese dishes and healthy delicious soups. 

Shen Xi "Lao Huo Tang"
Address: 50 Jurong Gateway Drive, JEM #03-23

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dallas Restaurant & Bar

Following the success of the first Dallas Restaurant & Bar at Boat Quay, Dallas Restaurant & Bar has opened another outlet in the Sky Garden which is located on the third floor of Suntec City Mall. 

Dallas Restaurant & Bar is a contemporary restaurant that offers a great selection of hearty meals, bar bites with modern flair, a good selection of wines and a variety of beers and liqours to satisfy your thirst. 

Located at the Suntec Ciy Sky Garden between Tower One and Tower 5, the glass-house designed restaurant offers a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding city. 

Upon entering the restaurant, you will be greeted with an impresssive island bar with gleaming black marble top, ceiling-to-floor marble display and leather high-chairs. 

The restaurant can accommodate 250-300 people and an experienced events team that will make any private dining, family celebration or cooperate Lunch a breeze. 

Salt and Pepper Calamari is the signature appetizer for a good reason. The Crispy Calamari Fritter I recently had at Alt. Pizza is nice, but this brings the humble calamari to a whole new level. The squid inside is amazingly soft and tender without the chewiness found in most calamari, marinated and coated in a crispy yet thin coating. There is a slight sweetness to it, probably from the salt and pepper that is sprinkled on. I will gladly come back to Dallas Restaurant & Bar for this alone. 

Dallas Restaurant & Bar offers set meals with menu that changes every month. For the month of June, we have set meals priced at $28++ for a two-course meal and $36++ for a three-course meal. With set meals like this, dining at Dalls Restaurat & Bar becomes affordable. 

As the name implies, this Apple, Cranberry and Walnut Salad is a salad of apple slices, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and bits of feta cheese on a bed of fresh and green crispy lettuce. A healthy way to start a great meal. 

Roast Tomato and Basil Soup is a thick soup made of blended tomatoes with basil. It is really quite sour, which makes it a great appetizer. Perhaps a scoop of cream might help? 

Sweet Potato Cakes with Mint Chutney is a little over-spiced that I can't really taste the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. 

Although there are 4 other mains to choose from: Pan Fried Snapper, Crisp Salt and Pepper Calamari Salad, Traditional Greek Moussaka and Chicken Schnitzel Burger, everyone at the table unanimously ordered Prime Rib Steak. The beef has been slow-cooked for 15 hours in the oven and chargilled before being served with a choice of Black Pepper/Texas Smokey BBQ/Wild Mushroom, Dallas fries and either salad or seasonal vegetables, best served medium-rare. The slow-cooking has evenly cooked the beef so there will not be any bloody mess with a beautiful pink center when served at medium-rare. I personally feel that the Wild Mushroom sauce is too bland and it does little in enhancing the already perfect beef, and the seasonal vegetable which happened to be sautéed mushrooms, are fresh and juicy but could use a little more seasoning. The 250g portion is a little too big for our Asian stomachs, just doggy-bag the rest of the steak for a wonderful beef sandwich for breakfast the next morning. 

When I ordered Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse, I was expecting a soft light chococolate dessert and not this cup of melted chcocolate which is too rich, especially after that huge serving of Prime Rib Steak. 

Homemade Apple Pie is a little sourish, which is nicely balanced out by the scoop of creamy vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce that accompanies it. 

Dallas Restaurant & Bar (Suntec City Mall) 
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Sky Garden #03-302/303
Telephone: 63334068
Opening Hours: Monday - Wednesday 11.30am - 12am; Thursday - Friday 11.30am - 1am; Saturday 12pm - 12am; Sunday 12pm - 11pm

Dallas Restaurant & Bar (Boat Quay)
Address: 31 Boat Quay 
Telephone: 65322131
Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 11.30am - 12am; Friday 11.30am - 2am; Saturday 12pm - 12am; Sunday 12pm - 11pm

Dallas Cafe & Bar (Marina Bay Sands) - Opening Soon 
Address: 2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands #01-85
Telephone: 66887153
Opening Hours: Sunday - Tuesday 8am - 12am; Wednesday - Saturday 8am - 2am 


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Alt. Pizza

Ever since Alt. Pizza has opened its flagship outlet at Suntec City Mall, I have heard some really great reviews from colleagues about this place and I have been meaning to try this pizza joint that not only features their Signature Pizzas but also has the option to make "Design-It-Yourself" pizzas.

Alt. Pizza's Crispy Calamari Fritter is wonderfully crispy on the outside yet the squid rings inside are tender, with a special frangrance from the herbs used in the frying. Have them with the accompanying chipotle lime aioli sauce for the ultimate enjoyment. 

Alt. Wings is the signature starter here and it does not disappoint with its spiciness. Dip these delicious babies into the accompanying blue cheese dipping sauce for an altogether different enjoyment. 

Truffle Shuffle is one of the restaurant's signature pizza and this is one pizza that everyone will enjoy. Roasted mushrooms and onions together with fennel sausage are spread over white sauce on a thin pizza base, generously topped with parmesan, mozzarella and truffle oil before being popped into the metal oven where the pizza is cooked till the crust is brown and crispy. It is oily, crispy and fragrant, and the truffle oil really makes one hell of a difference. 

Since we already have a white sauce pizza, we decided to get one with tomato sauce. As the name implies, Dangerous Diego can be a little dangerous not because it is too spicy, but because it can be dangerously addictive. Vine-ripened tomato sauce is topped with chorizo, manchego, roasted onions and peppers and sweet paprika, and drizzled with roasted garlic chili oil before being cooked in the metal oven. The homemade tomato sauce is not as acidic as the canned ones and the ingredients come together beautifully to create a pizza that is aromatic and delicious with just the right amount of spiciness. 

Alt. Pizza is currently offering a Lunch Special where you can create your own "Design-It-Yourself" pizzas with over 30 toppings. Starting at $8, you can choose your base sauce, cheese and toppings. This one here is Roasted Garlic Pesto + Aged Cheddar + Wagyu Shortrib Meatballs. If you need some inspiration for your own DIY pizza, this is a good combination if you are a cheese-lover. The aged cheddar works really well with the wagyu shortrib meatballs. 

The prices are just a little on the high side, but the quality ingredients justifies the higher cost. If you are the not adventurous type, just stick with the Signature Pizzas. 

In the excitement and delicious of the pizzas, I totally forgot about their craft beers. If you have had a chance to try out their craft beers, do let me know if they are really as good as they claim to be. 

Alt. Pizza also offers delivery 11.15am - 10pm with good package deals such as Fab 4 (any 4 Signture Pizzas), Two Plus Two (2 Signature Pizzas + 2 starters/salads/pastas) and Alt-Rageous Feast (5 Signature Pizzas + 3 starters/salads/pastas). 

Alt. Pizza (Suntec City Mall)
Address: 6 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Tower 4 #01-602
Telephone: 68369027
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 10pm

Alt. Pizza (Katong)
Address: 117 East Coast Road
Telephone: 62477360
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 10pm

Alt. Pizza (Robertson Quay)
Address: 60 Robertson Quay #01-05
Telephone: 67330940
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 10pm

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Malayan Council - Western Fusion Dishes and Gorgeous Desserts

The Malayan Council is a fairly new halal eatery that started operations in December 2015. Situated directly opposite the majestic Masjid Abdul Gafoor, The Malayan Council serves up Western dishes infused with the richness and spices of the Malayan cuisine. 

The Malayan Council occupies both the ground shop and the shop on the third floor. The ground shop has both indoor and alfresco sitting, with a maximum sitting capacity of about 10-14 people. There are more seats on the third floor which is more spacious with a cosy sofa corner at the back.

This is my first time visiting a halal restaurant during the fasting month, and I had the privilege of having my girlfriend, Mariem, who is a Muslim, to explain some of the rules of the fasting month to me. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast everyday from dawn to sunset and the day's fast is broken with dates because dates are rich in minerals and energy.

Cheesy Kupang is one of the restaurant's most popular and recommended starters. Huge mussels are sprinkled with herbs and baked in the oven, served with mozzarella cheese and lemon butter sauce. The mussels are fresh but I can barely taste the mozzarella cheese.

Salted Egg Softshell Crab and Mudcrab Linguine sounds divine and it is unsurprisingly one of the most popular pasta dishes at The Malayan Council. The linguine pasta is a little under-cooked, but the salted egg sauce saves the dish with its signature grainy texture and fragrance. The shredded mudcrab  itself is pretty tasteless but it's good when eaten together with the pasta. The two halved deep-fried soft-shell crab adds a touch of luxury to the dish.

I was a little worried when I saw "Chili Padi" but the staff assured me that it is not overly spicy and Smoked Duck Chili Padi turned out to be quite alright. This is a dry pasta without much sauce but the slightly-undercooked pasta is coated with arugula and lemak chili padi sauce which tastes very similar to curry. The smoked duck are marinated in unagi sauce and they are really very well done. This is a good choice if you want something with a little kick but not too spicy.

According to Mariem, the difference between the "real" ondeh-ondeh cake lies in the gula melaka. The "real" ondeh-ondeh cake uses gula melaka bits while the "fake" ondeh-ondeh cake uses gula melaka syrup. The Classic Ondeh-Ondeh Cake served at The Malayan Council is apparently the "real" version because I can definitely taste the crunch of the gula melaka between the layers of moist pandan cake and coconut chantilly cream. Served with coconut drizzle, this traditional cake will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Besides the Ondeh-Ondeh Cake, the Durian Pengat Cake is another one of the hottest-selling dessert at The Malayan Council and I see it on almost every table. It is not as sweet as the Ondeh-Ondeh Cake, but the moist vanilla cake layered with Mao Shan Wang durian (a variety of durian that is known for its superior meat) is absolutely the best cake I have ever eaten. Topped with durian pengat and glazed with gula melaka syrup, it is not as heavy as I imagined it to be and I finished the whole slice by myself, relishing every bite of this amazing cake.

Besides the usual Coffee, Infusion Tea and Fizzy Old Style Soda, The Malayan Council also offers something a little different - Fresh Fruit Coolers. We've got Lychee Mint Cooler and Mango Mint Cooler here. These babies are sweet and cooling, perfect for Singapore's humid weather.

I like how The Malayan Council has managed to effortlessly infuse Malayan cooking and spices into classic Western dishes and give these dishes a new lease of life. The desserts are to-die-for and prices are affordable. This place can get pretty packed especially during the Ramadan month so it's advisable to make a reservation to avoid disappointment. 

The Malayan Council
Address: 22 Dunlop Street
Telephone: 90024414
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am - 11pm