Saturday, February 18, 2012

18 Feb 2012 - Zhou's Kitchen high tea buffet

Wanted to sleep in this rainy day, but got nagged at to go out. For "fresh air".

Went to Zhou's Kitchen at Novena Square2 for their high tea buffet, $16.80++ per person. Had a refillable pot of pu'er tea for $2.40++ too.

Fried crab rolls - crispy, but insides tasted more doughy than crabby. Perhaps crab meat is too delicate to be done this way, reminded him of the "fiery balls of crab" at Joe's Crab Shack during his stay in Dallas in 2011.

Fried dory fish fillet done Thai-style. Many people like tender dory fish, and it was made better with the sweet and slightly spicy sauce.

Prawn salad has always been his favourite. Succulent prawns, sweet melons and nata de coco topped with mayonnaise, just can't go wrong with this.

Pan-fried turnip cake with Chinese sausage. This did not taste overtly oily, he liked that the sausage bits lent contrast to the soft cake. She felt that dried shrimps were not sufficiently used though.

Cold dish of Drunken Chicken in spicy garlic sauce. Notice that this was cut out like ham? No bones.

Century egg porridge for her. He had a few spoonfuls, and thought that the broth tasted a little out. She found nothing wrong though.

Had difficulty removing the shrimp dumpling to his mouth, the skin was just too sticky. Crystal Jade did a better rendition of this.

Braised "phoenix" claws...

Steamed pork dumplings in spicy sauce. Suspected that this was "guo tie" that was steamed instead of being pan-fried.

Pork ribs with black bean paste, with no black beans to be found. Meat was succulent.

These were the weirdest siew mai they had ever tasted. The orange topping of fish roe seem to have all burst, the dumpling was overwhelmed with mushroom flavour, and the overall texture was a bit dry and hard. The first time he did not enjoy siew mai.

Sour and spicy soup to regain some appetite.

Pan-fried dumpling (guo tie), with pork floss and salad dressing. Warm, crispy and tasty. Nice.

Finally, desserts to signal the end of the show. Herbal jelly that she complained about not being bitter enough.

He liked the sweet and cool almond jelly with mixed fruit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

14 Feb 2012 - Valentine's Day specials

Re-visited ChongQing Grilled Fish, still as crowded as ever. Waited for about half an hour before they got seated. So squeezy that you had to remove the table before you could get into the seat, and pull the table in again so that no one's way got blocked.

Red grouper was sold out, so they decided to try grass carp instead. Bad choice, meat was bland, and full of fine bones. Should have opted for the sea bass. Choice of soup, "numbing and spicy" flavour. Spent $53.10 for a huge fish and several slices of kelp.

Went across to Ji De Chi for icey mango dessert to douse the fire. $5 for mango mian mian bing (cottony ice), $4 for mango sago. The mian mian bing tasted weird, very buttery and had a strong doughy taste. Disappointingly different from the refreshing one they had in the past.

Mian Mian Bing, looks as creamy as it tasted, maybe more. Liked the syrup pellets in the foreground though.

Mango sago was more normal...

After that, returned home to some awfully sinful braised pork trotters. The skin (maybe more of fats) was enjoyably gelatinous at the start, but things started to get heavy later.

What a day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

11 Feb 2012 - Dim Sum at Crystal Jade and The Eastern Restaurant

Crystal Jade
Had a pot of Pu'er, one pineapple bun, a bowl of porridge, 2 baskets of siew mai, 1 basket of shrimp dumpling, a serving of braised "phoenix claws" (chicken feet) and another basket of custard buns. ~$40.

Waiting for food...

Siew Mai was puny as compared to the ones he had last week at Straits Cafe. However, judging by the ingredients and texture, these were of higher grade. At least 2 parts of crunchy prawns and small pieces of meat inside, as opposed to being wholly minced meat.

The close up.

Shrimp dumplings, nice, but perhaps the Siew Mai was more worth it.

Pineapple bun with a slice of butter. ~$2. Love how the sweet and brittle crust contrasted, yet complemented, the soft bread beneath.

Bowl of porridge, with toppings such as cuttlefish, peanuts and... can't remember. ~$7.

Golden delights, custard buns. Imagined to be overflowing with the custard of salted egg yolks.

Looked like the flow was well contained, but these were still a delicious way to end the meal.

Walked around and had some damage done to his pockets before they decided to go for another meal. Genki Sushi had quite the queue, looked much too long to wait for sashimi. So they went across to CentrePoint for more dim sum.

At The Eastern Restaurant, had Pu'er again, Yangzhou-style fried rice, 1 serving of braised beef brisket, 2 servings of dumplings in chilli oil and 1 basket of soup dumplings. ~$50

Various menus...

Dumplings in chilli oil, 红油抄手. Chilli oil for some fire and vinegar base for that piquant taste, kept him wanting for more. A little pricey at $6 for 5 though.

Soup dumplings, bursting with soup inside.

Yangzhou-style fried rice. Seemed quite healthy, not too oily or salty. Had him thinking that it was a bit bland. ~$10

Chunks of braised beef brisket in a generous serving (probably for 4persons), $~12. Meat was fork tender and tasty, and the dish also had slices of bamboo shoots and mushrooms, equally delicious.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

07 Feb 2012 - Straits Cafe @ Hotel Rendezvous for Mom's Birthday

This post will be going without pictures. Nobody took any.

Took advantage of the Standard Chartered Bank cardholder birthday promotion, 3 diners for the price of 2. Tried to get 6 people, but the second brother wasn't free. So, they had 5 on that day.

Apparently, the renovation works at Hotel Rendezvous just got completed. The whole place looks brighter and more spacious than before.

Got shown their table, near the window, sofa seats with cushion for some lumbar support. So far so good.

Decided to start off with sashimi, you had to go to the counter and make a request. However, was disappointed to see a whole tray of sliced salmon. Didn't seem well-chilled either. Would have preferred the chef to slice from a slab. In any case, got served up 4 slices of neatly arranged salmon sashimi. The only available sashimi were salmon and octopus. Got some plump looking oysters from the same counter too, freshly shucked.

Next, went for the snow crabs, prawns and snails. Always have a soft spot for crustaceans. The 2 young waitresses seemed a little blur, so he had to go without the clarified butter for the crab. The sweet crabs were good on their own anyway, Mom and Dad also enjoyed it. Prawns were large and crunchy, and the snails were tender. There were no food labels, but those snails had a hard beak for you to pull and get the meat out. Someone help to name them?

On another occasion, when the littlest brother asked for a stirrer for his tea, the waitress brought him a soup spoon. When asked for a dessert spoon for the shot-glass dessert, the spoon she brought was again too large to even reach the dessert. But they were enthusiastic, so it didn't matter too much. Dad eventually went to fetch the correct spoon.

The older bunch started to get tired of the cold food, and went for the pipping hot cooked food instead. The littlest brother and him went for more sashimi and oysters. Maybe the rotated chef was in a bad mood, and the oysters he shucked were all mangled. The same chef served up a messy bundle of salmon, sure gave them a good time unwrapping the slices. Totally no pride in his work. Or he intended but failed at a salmon rose, perhaps?

Everyone enjoyed the durian pengat, something like durian smoothie. Many years ago, you had to retrieve it from the tub. You could get as many ice-cold scoops as you wanted in your bowl. On this day, these were served in shot-glasses. Would have liked it cooler, and found the portion a little too small. Coming from another point of view, it's a healthy initiative. You'll have to eat lesser at one go, and you'll probably be more conscious of the intake of such sinful stuff.

To sum up, the ambience and food were good, but service could be improved. Had a hard time deciding between Kiseki and Straits Cafe, but walked away with some disappointment this time round.