Monday, March 19, 2018

Ginza Lion - Japanese Beer Hall offers Tonkichi Tonkatsu and Rive Gauche Desserts

The original Ginza Lion in Ginza, Tokyo that was established in 1899 was originally named “Yebisu Beer Hall”. It was meant to be the sales division of Sapporo beer, but it became so popular that it was later renamed Ginza Lion. 

Ginza Lion offers value-for-money Daily Lunch sets from 11.30am - 2pm. You can look forward to items such as Grilled Salmon [$16], Roast Chicken [$12] and Bolognese [$16].

Sapporo Premium Beer and Sapporo Premium Black Beer are served from tap, in Mug [$10], Boot [$18], Mass [$23], Jug [$32] or Tower [$80]. 

I am not very fond of beers becuase I don’t like the bitterness of beers, but since I am in a beer hall, I thought I should at least give the beer a try so I got myself a mug of Sapporo Premium Beer [$5.99 during Daily Lunch, otherwise $10]. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is not bitter at all. This is due to Ginza Lion’s “in one action” way of pouring the beer, in a fast and steady stream. The bitterness of the beer is sealed by the natural foam that forms , making it smooth and crisp with a dry finish. 

Black Angus Roast Beef 150g [$18] is well cooked with a beautiful pink centre. You can’t choose the doneness for this beef, it is served at medium doneness. Accompanied by mashed potato, salad, freshly-grounded wasabi and radish, the steak is tender and juicy. If you find 150g of beef too much, you can always get the Black Angus Roast Beef Salad  [$12] instead. 

Tonkichi is a Japanese restaurant that has been serving tonkatsu and other detectable Japanese cuisine in Singapore for over 20 years. You can now get to savor Tonkichi’s awesome food at the comfort of Ginza Lion. Chicken Katsu Set [$18] is one of the bestsellers where tender chicken is breaded and fried till golden brown. Served with chopped cabbage salad, premium Japanese rice and miso soup, the chicken katsu offers a satisfying crunch in every bite. Top-up  $2 to have curry sauce with your rice - Chicken Katsu Curry Set [$18]. 

If chicken is too ordinary for you, consider getting the Rosu Katsu Set [$19] where a piece of premium pork loin is breaded and fried till golden brown. The well-marbled pork loin is extemely juicy and tender and the crunchy breaded exterior adds to the satisfaction. Top-up $2 for Rosu Katsu Curry Set [$21] for curry with your rice. 

Combining the sweet crab meat with tangy tomato sauce is what makes the Soft Shell Crab & Crab Meat [$16] spaghetti dish so special. The slightly sweet and sour sauce goes perfectly with the deep fried soft shell crab that seats on top of the pasta. 

Ginza Lion collaborates with Rive Gauche (which means "left bank of Seine River" in French, to give your meal the sweet ending it deserves. Guanaja [$7] is Rive Gauche's signature cake and it happens to be my favorite cake too. Layers of chocolate sponge cake lies on top of crispy biscuit base and topped with bitter-sweet chocolate mousse. It is rich and decadent without being too sweet.

Besides Sapporo Premium Beer and Sapporo Premium Black Beer, Ginza Lion offers 30 brands of beer ranging from lager and ale to beer cocktails. Ginza Lion transforms into a pub in the evenings, with offers such as “Beer ‘O’ Clock” and Happy Hour to help you save money while you unwind after a long day at work.

Ginza Lion 
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall Tower 4 #01-649/650
Telephone: 68366053
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 11.30am - 10pm; Saturday - Sunday 12pm - 10pm 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mad For Garlic - Italian Restaurant That Came From Korea

The moment you hear the name Mad for Garlic, you know it's a garlic-themed restaurant. What you don't know is that this is an Italian that originated from Korea (reminds me of  Bel Mondo, an Italian restaurant that originated from Osaka, Japan).

Mad for Garlic's first restaurant was in Apgujeong-dong, an affluent entertainment and residential district in southern Seoul. With its garlic-specialised Italian menu and a good selection of wines to compliment the dishes, Mad for Garlic soon became one of Korea's most popular restaurant chains. There are currently 36 Mad for Garlic outlets in Korea, 2 in Jakarta and 1 in Singapore.

In 2013, Mad for Garlic was voted by Korea Times and Korea Herald as the Best Performing Italian Restaurant in Korea.

Mad for Garlic's menu comprises mainly of Italian dishes, but it is not hard to spot the Korean influences in dishes such as Oriental Beef Pasta and Herb Pork Sizzling Rice. 

We were recommended Dracula Killer [$13.50] by the staff who told us that this is a popular starter among patrons. Roasted whole garlic are cooked with anchovies and olive oil, served with shredded Grana Padano and 6 pieces of sliced baguette. The process of roasting has taken away the sharpness from the garlic, the olive oil blends well with garlic oil to serve as the perfect dip for the sliced baguette. 

If it’s your first time here, you can’t go wrong with Garlic Snowing Pizza [$23.50] which is also happens to be their bestselling pizza. When the staff shreds the white parmesan cheese on the pizza at your table, it really does look like it’s snowing. I personally feel that this is more like a dessert pizza, for the combination of sweet white sauce, fried garlic, shrimp and pineapple creates a sweetness that is rather unforgettable. 

6-Clove Garlic Gongonzola Penne [$23] is one of the new additions to the menu alongside Garlicpeno Pasta [$19] and Oriental Beef Pasta [$22]. The sauce reminds me of the classic carbonara sauce but the bland taste could use a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. Served with sautéed mushroom and roasted whole garlic, this is one for the cream-lovers. 

Garlic Sizzling Rice [$22.50] is the bestseller in the rice section and it’s not difficult to see why. The combination of fried rice, pickled garlic, bacon and flying fish roe gives the dish a sweet-saltiness that is perfectly balanced. 

I have always had a thing for panna cotta, so when I saw Panna Cotta with Garlic & Berry [$11] on the menu, I knew I had to try it and I end up pretty disappointed. The panna cotta is not as creamy and dense as the one I had at Bel Mondo recently and the berry sauce does nothing to elevate the overall taste of the dish. 

Mad for Garlic
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City #02-300/301, Singapore 083983
Telephone: 62391930
Opening Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11.30am - 10pm; Friday - Saturday 11.30am - 11pm

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory was founded in Japan in 2011. Combining high quality milk and cheese with carefully selected ingredients from all over the world, Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory wants to create sweets that will make you "hoppe ga ochiru" - make your cheeks drop.

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory's flagship store in Singapore is located at Basement 1 of Raffles City Shopping Centre, selling cookies, cheesecake and ice-cream.

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory sells 3 types of cookies: Porcini and Gouda Cookie [$14 for 10 pieces, $26 for 20 pieces], Honey and Gorgonzola Cookie [$14 for 10 pieces, $26 for 20 pieces] and Salt and Camebert Cookie [$12.80 for 10 pieces, $264 for 20 pieces]. Those who want to try everything can get the Assorted Cookies [$38 for 30 pieces, $49 for 40 pieces]. 

Saying that Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory's Cow Cow Ice is "creme de la creme", which means "the best of a particular kind" in French, is not an exaggeration. Made with authentic jersey milk, cream cheese and gouda cheese from Hokkaido, Cow Cow Ice offers 3 flavors: Cow Cow Milk, Cow Cow Cheese and Cow Cow Twist [$4.50 for Cup, $5.50 for Vintage Cheesecone]. 

Even the cones used by Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory is different from the run-of-the-mill cones used elsewhere. The Vintage Cheesecone are made in-house everyday using aged cheddar cheese, limited at 50 a day. 

Cow Cow Milk [$4 for Cup, $5 for Vintage Cheesecone] is your Japanese soft-serve ice-cream, made more special by using Hokkaido milk. Soft and creamy, it is truly the “creme de la creme” of soft-serve ice-cream. 

I have never thought cheese can work with milk until I tried Cow Cow Cheese [$4.50 for Cup, $5.50 for Vintage Cheesecone]. You can definitely taste the pungent fragrance of the cheese but it is not overpowering, you can still taste the rich sweetness of the ice-cream. 

For those who want to try both Cow Cow Milk and Cow Cow Cheese but don’t want to buy two separate ice-creams can get the Cow Cow Twist [$4.50 for Cup, $5.50 for Vintage Cheesecone]. The creamy cheese ice-cream and rich vanilla ice-cream comes together really well. 

For the ultimate Cow Cow experience, try the Cow Cow Sundae [$8.50]. You can choose any of the three ice-cream flavors, served together with a piece of Milk Cheesecake and Salt and Camembert Cookie. The cookie and cheesecake adds another dimension of creaminess and richness, making this the ultimate ice-cream experience. 

Besides cookies, you can also buy Milk Cheesecake [$29.50] and Strawberry Swiss Roll [$24]. The cheesecake is made up of two layers, the top layer is soft creamy cheese while the lower layer is denser and more pungent that is almost cake-like. The contrast in texture from the two layers is what makes this cheesecake different from the rest. Get the chilled version if you intend to have it within the next half an hour, or get the frozen version if you are not intending to eat it soon. 

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory is my favorite place for a after-lunch or after-dinner dessert after a great meal at restaurants such as Tempura TENTEN and WHEAT.

Which of the three ice-cream flavors is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below! 

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory
Address: 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Center #B1-73, Singapore 179103 
Telephone: 92488476
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 9.30pm 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Tsuruhashi Fugetsu - Famous Osaka Okonomiyaki Restaurant is Here in Singapore!

Okonomiyaki is a combination of two Japanese words, “okonomi” which means “how you like” or “what you like” and “yaki” which means “grill”. Okonomiyaki is a speciality of the Kansai region, there are numerous okonomiyaki restaurants in Osaka where okonomiyaki is said to have originated. 

The batter (which is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam, water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage) is cooked with other ingredients such as green onions, meat, octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, konjac or cheese. 

Tsuruhashi Fugetsu is one of the most popular okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka with more than 80 outlets spread across Japan, Korea, Taiwan and America and it has finally opened its first outlet in Singapore, as a part of the Eat at Seven enclave in Suntec City. 

Besides having the okonomiyaki the normal way, you can also opt to layer fresh egg noodles on top of your okonomiyaki, Tsuruhashi Fugetsu calls it “modanyaki”. 

Whet your appetite with one of the small bite dishes as you wait for your main meal. There are a number of choices from  Gyusuji-Teppanyaki [$10.80++] and Chizu-Tonpei-Yaki [$11.80++] to Kaisen-Yaki Moriawase [$23.80++] and Nira-Tama [$7.80++]. The one I have here is Tonpei-Yaki [$9.80++] which is Osaka-style pork omelette. The pork slices are cooked before being enveloped in the egg omelette, which gives the omelette a nice bite. 

As a cheese lover, I was really looking forward to trying the Cheetama-Buta-Tama [$14.80++ for okonomiyaki, $16.80++ for modanyaki] but I was rather disappointed. The okonomiyaki sauce has overpowered the creaminess of the cheese which is supposed to be the highlight of this dish. All I can taste is the sweetness of the cabbage, the egg and pork and the overwhelming sweetness of the okonomiyaki sauce. 

Fugetsuyaki (Mix) [$20++ for okonomiyaki, $22++ for modanyaki] is the restaurant’s signature dish and it is also their most popular dish. Everything is prepared fresh upon order, so you will have to wait 20 minutes. The sweetness of the cabbage is accentuated by the pork, squid, prawn and beef pieces and the fresh egg noodles add a healthy dose of carbohydrates to ensure a filling and satisfying meal. 

For those who want to revisit the authentic taste of Osaka okonomiyaki and those who want to try how an authentic Osaka okonomiyaki tastes like, Tsuruhashi Fugetsu is the place to be. 

Tsuruhashi Fugetsu 
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall #03-316, Singapore 038983
Telephone: 65600290
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am - 3pm (Last Order 2pm); 5.30pm - 10.30pm (Last Order 9.30pm)