Saturday, August 13, 2011


Well then. This is about ramen. Delicious noodly ramen. I have always been a noodle kid, long as I can remember. My mom tells me I was a difficult child to deal with regard to noodles, especially when I was in London. See my parents were there on a business trip and they couldn't just leave little wee me back in Singapore, being 1 1/2 or so, so they brought me along. Turns out all I wanted to eat was noodles. Noodles for breakfast. Noodles for lunch. Noodles for dinner. One day mom tried something different.

'Would you like an egg today? How about an egg instead.'

'Yes ok. Egg.'

She produced an egg. Lord knows from where.

'Here's your egg!'

'No egg! Noodles!'

Exasperating? I can only imagine.

Onto the ramen. 313 was horribly busy and my dad and I were in no mood to queue up for anything. Frankly I was actually looking forward to Marche but the line was just monstrous. So I'm like alright there's a ramen place downstairs I haven't tried yet, how about that one. Now the only thing I know about ramenplay is that it's a breadtalk related place and that the prices are pretty cheap for ramen. So, open mind, open tastebuds!

I went for the tonkatsu ramen, 5 slices of cha shu and an iced green tea. Dad wasn't feeling particularly hungry so just an ice tea for him too.

Here is my ramen! It came with my 5 slices of roast pork, half an egg, some shreds of.. um.. you know I never figured out what those black chewy strands are. I think it's a fungus. A tasty, tasty fungus. And a sheet of nori. If you notice, there is no nori in the photo. That's because I ate it. And went oh shit I haven't taken the photo. So it is a nori-less ramen.

The noodles were nice and kinda springy, though at times they felt like they were losing their al dente and going over to the al mushy side. The pork slices were painfully, painfully thin. And they weren't particularly fantastic either. The fat was tasty but not melt in the mouth omg I can't stop eating it good. Also the egg, despite the menu saying it would be deliciously soft and runny... no. It was softish, yes, but the yolk definitely wasn't going anywhere and the base of it had already begun to develop a solid form. Bad egg, bad.

Then the broth. Supposedly boiled for what, 12 hours? All the good places say it's boiled for 12 hours. This tasted so thin and so lacking in character, I wondered if they even got to half of the number of hours they claimed. I have to admit it was tasty, but it was too thin for me to consider a real tonkatsu ramen broth. I like the good thick stuff, that'll kill you in the end but is oh so tasty with oil floating in delicate pools on the surface of the soup. Ah that's the good stuff.

Oh ramenplay, what do I do with you. You feel like the student's ramen. A cheaper alternative to the better ramen out there in the world. And frankly, costing $13.80, I'd rather throw in a couple more bucks for something better. But if you're a poor student, the $9.80 gets you the tonkatsu ramen with 2 slices of pork and frankly if I were still a student, that's probably all I could afford too.

Maybe if you wanna take your girl/boyfriend out for a date and eat ramen, this is it, I don't know but frankly if you're big enough to be earning real money, you should be graduating out of eating the ramen here. Also note, I've only spoken about the ramen, the appetizers and other foods could be tons better for all I know, I certainly didn't try any.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Canteen

Today, I was unwittingly yanked away from the home to run some errand with my mom. I usually prefer staying at home but I usually give in when I hear 'We're going to look at some food.' Terrible? Extremely. I remember I used to be bribed with ice cream. Now I'm bribed with good food.

Mom wanted to get mooncakes to give to the relatives so we ended up at The Marriot hotel. We parked at Shaw centre though and since it was lunch time, we decided to find something to eat. I've been the The Canteen before and though it wasn't a fantastic experience, I was willing to give it another shot. The Canteen is one of the many restaurants under the Les Amis group and is by far the most affordable. I have to admit that I have not eaten at the pricier establishments and am very curious to try the French bistro, Bistro du Vin. I also have to admit that I am not altogether keen on trying the restaurant Les Amis myself. I tend to be a little reserved when it comes to experimental food.

Sour cherry tart, at the counter.

Pear tart, also at the counter.

We ordered calamari to start off and it was nicely done, tender and not overly chewy. It came with a slice of lemon and some tartar sauce, along with what I originally thought was a chilli dip but turned out to be a sort of lightly spiced tomato salsa. I am very fond of calamari. A little bit of cracked pepper might have made this even better. And perhaps if I had not loaded it with lemon juice, it would not have become soggy so quickly. And um if it looks lacking, that's because I had eaten about half of it before I remembered to take a photo. -_-

Mom ordered the Cesar salad and it comes with croutons, a hard boiled egg and bacon bits. I think it was real bacon, tasted real enough to me and real bacon is always a plus for me in Cesar salad. It was light and refreshing but the eggs were pretty much overcooked; lots of grey stuff on the yolk from all the sulphur rising out of it.

This here is my spaghetti bolognese. Truthfully, I was quite disappointed by it. The noodles were not al dente and they had a certain 'thickness' and 'heaviness' to the bite. Al dente is light and springy and with bite. This was... a lot of mouth work. I found myself more interested in the sauce and was picking on the bits of carrots and little bits of minced meat. In the end I didn't even finish the pasta.

I actually feel quite sad about this place. It's supposed to be a Les Amis restaurant and while it doesn't charge Les Amis prices, I didn't expect the quality to be so far lacking. Notice that I haven't been particularly impressed by any of the dishes I've sampled; the salad is ok, the calamari is ok, the bolognese is... just.. no. It's so normal it's crazy normal. Which in a way, makes me happy that it's not expensive. I'd have thrown a fit if I paid twice the price and got food of this quality.

Did you know that for a while there were frozen Les Amis meals and there were DELICIOUS. I was particularly fond of the beef bourguignon and the bolognese; I mean that sauce REALLY KICKED ASS and I'd have to fight to get the last bits of it into my pasta because everyone else wanted some. Sadly they stopped producing these frozen packages of loveliness, lord knows why and I am now stuck with the usual supermarket brands of pasta sauce. BOO LES AMIS, BOO. BRING BACK THE FROZEN MEALS. THEY MAKE ME HAPPY.

I only bring this up because I would have been infinitely happy and pleased with my meal if they actually used their frozen food bolognese sauce on my pasta instead of what I was served today. And isn't that terrible? Preferring a frozen product over a freshly cooked one?

The only thing I really have to give this place is the pricing, food starts from $6 and onwards and my pasta was only $10. I'm not even sure if I'm comfortable recommending this place but if you want cheapish food from a Les Amis restaurant, this is it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Who do my parents look for when they want a new culinary experience? Me. I have an unfortunate and unusual habit of perusing restaurant menus on the internet. Yes you heard me right, I spend time looking at menus online. Menus in Singapore, menus overseas, and don't get me started on menus in Disneyland; I follow Disney food blogs for god's sake. Why unfortunate? Browsing menus makes me hungry at the most inopportune moments. Like at 2am at night.

So anyway my dad wants to try this new place called Roadhouse located at dempsey hill. Dempsey hill is an old army barracks area, now converted to a somewhat posh place to wine and dine. My dad hates queues and doesn't like being out more than he has to so we got the restaurant just as it was opening. It's a small place and oh crap I really should learn to take photos of the restaurant as well, gonna need to make a mental note on that. We were served very promptly being the only customers there.

I've been craving ribs real bad for a while now so I jumped at the BBQ kurobuta baby back ribs with onion rings even though the menu was also featuring a mac and cheese bolognese. I found myself torn between the ribs and the slow braised tomato stewed ox tongue so my mom got that so I could try some. Dad and sister ordered burgers, dad's had guacamole and jalapenos and my sister's had bacon, shrooms and sweet onions. I apologize for the lack of burger photos.

Huzzah. That one there on top is a half rack of ribs for $26. A ripoff? Indeed! But were they tasty? Very much so! Tender and juicy and smokey and lick your fingers delicious. But they feel sad for that price for that is not much rib at all! Also the onion rings, while crisp and crunchy and not too oily, did not carry as much flavour as I thought they would. I eventually ignored them and left them to soften in a corner.

Now this friends, is an ox tongue stew, slow braised with root veggies and squash and other tasty things. This by far was the most TENDER ox tongue I've ever tried and I would know; I a huge eater of ox tongue. I often partake of ox tongue stew while in the philippines and while I've always enjoyed it there, it's never been this tender. The tomato flavour is a little overpowering but if taken as a whole, it complements the dish well. The veggies are delicious and lo, they still retain they're textures! I hate it when I eat veggies that have no texture, it's like eating an unpleasant mush. No, these veggies had character! And so I ate them! Even the carrots, which I normally don't like, were quickly speared and devoured. I would definitely order this again.

The burgers were a pleasant surprise. All the burgers are made of wagyu beef and what tasty beef it was. There are times when one eats a burger and finds that the meat is genuinely tasty on it's own. This is one of those times. Juicy and dripping with juices, this is one mean burger not to be messed with. It's big and gloppy and will fall apart if not tamed early on with a good stabbing of the fork. The fries however, I found them a tad bit too salty. I'd avoid those.

Dessert! Sister and I wanted one of everything. A glare from the parents dropped that number to just one out of everything. So what's a s'mores crazy dragon gonna do? Go for the s'mores ice cream cake of course.

Isn't that a thing of beauty. A joy to behold. A graham pie crust loaded with vanilla toffee ice cream and drizzled with lightly toasted marshmallows. Ah. It was so so very good. My first bite was all wtf is this tasty thing and why is it so tasty I must have more omnom. In fact I was so overwhelmed by it that I didn't know that it was vanilla toffee ice cream anymore, just that it was smoky burnt butteriness and that I had to have more of it. My parents didn't quite share the same joy so me and my sister happily fought over it down to the last crumb.

I have few gripes with this place. Service was quick and prompt, water was refilled without asking, ample napkins and wet towels were provided for messy eaters, meaning me. I was surprised by the crowd that slowly trickled in though, huge families with lots of small children, very quick to fill the place up.

Now I summarize with prices.

I ordered :

BBQ Kurobuta Baby Back Ribs
with crispy cajun onion rings
& Roadhouse special BBQ sauce
half rack: $26, whole rack: $48

Sister ordered :

Bacon Marinated Burger
200g Josper-grilled wagyu patty, homemade bun,
melted gorgonzola, streaky bacon, caramelized
onions, aioli & sautéed mushrooms $26

Mom ordered :

Tomato Braised Ox Tongue
with summer vegetables and potatoes $24

Dad ordered :

Hot Mama
200g Josper-grilled wagyu patty, homemade bun,
melted cheddar, jalapeno, sour cream, guacamole
& tomato salsa $26

I recommend this place for chilling out and good food, though I advise booking a table when possible or going real early. That place is small and fills up fast.

Pique Nique

Hey guys, it's been a long while since my last food entry. Lots of stuff has happened since, started school and finished it, job hunting, that sort of thing. And woah sweet jesus, the layout is different. I'm going to have a design a new banner!

So just the other day I visited this little restaurant that just opened over at Taka, taking over the mcdonalds that used to be there. KFC is still there, unfortunately. It's a dainty little place with a lovely cake display and they boast an all day breakfast menu. Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I'm a breakfast freak and will eat it at any time of day. Especially midnight.

They also serve hamburgers, a variety of mac and cheese, sandwiches and a delightful assortment of pastries like cupcakes and mini whoopie pies. I decided to go with breakfast and had a farmer's omelet which contained bacon, ham, diced taters, onions, cheese and mushrooms. Came with a choice of either a homemade english muffin or white toast. My sister ordered the same thing while my mom got a burger creatively called The Shinjuku Incident. It's basically a teriyaki burger topped with a fried egg and a side of fries. We also ordered a chicken pasta soup. I was hoping it would be something close to a new york deli chicken noodle soup, something I've been desperate to find in this country.

Sadly, my omnom nature got the better of me and I devoured my omelet as soon as it was set down on the table, completely forgetting to take a photo of it. Interestingly, I got the one which came with the homemade english muffin but I thought it was an interpretation of white toast so I got down to eating it, only for the omelet with the white toast to show up shortly after. My sister and I traded breads. The omelets had a healthy amount of fillings and was a satisfying meal. Mom's burger was ok, a fairly tasty burger which held well together and the sauce wasn't too overpowering.

Then my soup came. I took a photo this time.

It came in a little saucepan with two teensy toasties on top. It was closer to a chicken stew than a chicken soup and was thick with carrots and onions and bits of mushroom. The chicken chunks were substantial and with the pasta, this could actually be a meal on its own. Tasty, homely, but not the soup I was looking for.

We were too full to try dessert. Another time!

Now the gripes.

It's a new place, I get it. The server who was with us was new, I get it. But still, some awareness and service people! Don't hide out of sight, it's hard to flag you down! And when my mom requested for warm water, she didn't get it till the second round of asking. Also this was an odd one, but when we asked for refills, we got fresh glasses instead. What happened to the water jug? We may never know.

This one's not a true gripe but I wanted to try the mac and cheese but they were all out of it that day. I woulda liked some bolognese mac and cheese!

So overall, a decent place, prices ranging from $8 to low $20. It is a good place for friends to hang out and have long talks over lunch and then linger over tea and cupcakes.