Dinner @ Circa 1912

August 26, 2018 in Asian, Chinese by thywhaleliciousfay

With the sudden influx of pictures circulating on instagram in April and May 2018, it certainly piqued my interest about Circa 1912. Did a search on Google and learnt that Circa 1912 was inspired by the food David Yip grew up with; Cantonese food from restaurants such as Southern Sky, Cathay, Spring Court and other leading restaurants of the time where dishes were elaborate, and cooked with premium ingredients and traditional cooking techniques.

Why 1912? Because it’s the year when Cantonese cuisine peaked. An era when blenders were non-existent and chefs were graded for their knife and sauce making skills.

And I visited Circa 1912 twice. Once with my family for weekend lunch (with dim sum) and shortly again with my instagram foodie friends for weekday dinner. It’s also this meal that led to the start of my friendship with @abbey_thebolobao, @thetravellingcow and @free.the.umami. Blessed much.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3), we ordered:-

1) Roast “golden coin chicken”, $5 per piece (above) – Made with candied lard, chicken liver and pork, this was really good. But as it can be too sinful for some, one may request to have the portion halved (as pictured) and share it instead of taking the full portion.

2) Deep-fried fish roll with preserved meat, $38 (8 pieces) (above)

3) Deep-fried superior stock and pig’s brain, $28 (8 pieces) (above) – It was slightly daunting at the prospect of eating pig’s brain, but this was done nicely. Its texture reminded me of milt (fish sperm sac/shirako), but denser.


4) Deep-fried crab ravioli, $5 per piece (above) – Like a huge wanton, it was enjoyable to bite through the crisp skin and into the juicy meat filling within. But I didn’t finish the skin because it was slightly pretty oily.

5) Wok-fried goat milk with chicken and seafood, $38 (above) – Order this because I was intrigued. But hmm… It was like eating egg-white omelette?


6) Traditional sweet & sour iberico pork, $38 – Upon ordering, the staff highlighted the meat would be fattier because iberico pork was used. But we really enjoyed this dish. Good ratio of fats and meat (for most of the pieces), crisp and interestingly glazed with a more-sour-than-sweet sweet & sour sauce where its sourness was achieved with hawthorn. But of course, I couldn’t make sense of the addition of strawberry into the dish.

7) Quick-fried wheat-shaped squid, $28 (above) – This was ordered because we read beforehand that the squid was sliced to resemble wind-blown shafts of wheat.

8) Trio of roast meats, $30 (above) – When my family and I placed order for the trio which usually comprised of crispy iberico charsiew, plum-flavoured roast silverhill duck and nam yue (red fermented bean curd) roast pork belly, we were unfortunately told the duck was sold out. Sob. So it was replaced with braised chicken smoked in Chinese tea. And the roast pork belly was a standout. A must try.


9) Plum-flavoured roast silverhill duck, $68 (whole) – This was ordered during the meal with my instagram foodie friends. And this was so, so good. Instead of using salt to marinate the inside, duck was roasted with plums stuffed inside. A must order.


10) Garoupa, $9/100g (above) – Fish could be cooked steamed, fried or braised. However, we didn’t like the sauce which the fried fish was drenched in. Once I put a piece into my mouth, a strong whiff of sourness hit the back of my throat. I kid you not. Which was a pity cause the garoupa was fried beautifully. And the dish came up to $108.

11) Sunflower chicken, $200 (above) – Not on the menu, we ordered this in advanced when we made reservation for dinner. And yes, I certainly didn’t know the poached sunflower-fed chicken was going to be so expensive. Taste wise, it reminded me of… Kampong chicken? I am sorry. I’m probably not educated enough to properly appreciate this.

12) Plain chicken-essence congee, $3 per bowl (above) – If one’s serious about one’s congee, this would be a ‘must order’. Silky, creamy and smooth. Infused with the essence of chicken (ie, chicken broth), the mixture of glutinous rice, old and new jasmine rice was cooked at high heat for two hours. And if one ordered the sunflower chicken like us, the congee would be complimentary (as verified on our receipt).

13) Braised crab meat with winter melon, $28 (above)

14) Hong Kong kai-lan, $18 (above)

15) Braised spinach in Chinese ham broth, $18 (above)


16) Pan-fried mee hoon with seafood, $18 (above)


17) Baked red bean puff pastry, $6.80 (above)

18) Aged tangerine peel red bean soup, $10 (above)


19) Tangerine bean curd with orange broth, $8 (above) – We were puzzled to how we should enjoy theis dish till we flip the tangerine over to see the almond bean curd filled within.

  

20) Almond tea with egg white, $6 (above) – My favourite of the four desserts we ordered.

Would I recommend Circa 1912? Well… Pardon my ignorance and lack of appreciation for this style of cuisine (early 20th-century Lingnan cuisine), but I honestly don’t see myself returning to Circa 1912. As in… True, I enjoyed dishes like the duck, roast pork belly, and sweet and sour pork. But there’re other Chinese restaurants which execute these dishes equally well too.

So unless one knows how to truly appreciate dishes cooked with traditional cooking techniques or wishes to try nostalgic dishes which David has brought back from the past (like the deep-fried superior stick and pig’s brain), I won’t actively recommend Circa 1912.

And yes, if one is curious about the dim sum at Circa 1912 which my family also had during our weekend lunch, click here for the dim sum menu and here for pictures of the dim sum we tried.

CIRCA 1912
1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #03-07/11, Singapore
6836 3070/9242 9046
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 17:30 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7 

Dinner @ Peng’s Restaurant & Catering

April 27, 2018 in Chinese by thywhaleliciousfay

After our last enjoyable zi char session, my colleagues and I were off to another. This time, one of my colleagues recommended his favorite hunt; Peng’s Restaurant. A Teochew restaurant set in the neighbourhood of Hougang.

Making reservation for dinner on Wednesday meant we went straight from work. Reaching slightly after 8pm, we were able to find a parking lot easily. Though one should note the restaurant occupied a unit in the row of shophouses that’s nestled within a private housing estate. So yes, if one is taking the public transport, it would be a 15 minutes walk from Hougang MRT station.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7), my colleagues and I ordered:-


1) Peng’s cold dish $38 (small) (topmost) – Normally, I wouldn’t order the cold dish since it more of a wedding banquet dish to me. But the colleague who recommended Peng’s Restaurant strongly recommended this. And on the plate, we had jellyfish, baby octopus, prawn, ngo hiang and century egg. And I loved this dish for the ngo hiang!

2) Liver roll, $10 (small) (above) – My colleague again said this is a must order because it’s their signature, and so we did. Served together with the cold dish (item 1), I got to say this was impressive! I thought it was going to be just a (puny) roll of purely liver, but apparently it wasn’t.

3) Spinach (sauted), $15 (above)


4) Oyster omelette, $12 (small) (above) – Loved how fluffy the omelette was.

5) Chai-poh kway teow (pan fry), $15 (small) (above) – I would definitely recommend one to order this! My first in having this, and its texture is unlike any that I had before.

6) Teochew braised sliced duck, $12 (small) (above)


7) Traditional braised pork with steamed buns, $15 (small) (above)


8) Pomfret, season price (above) – And Teochews are famous for knowing their fishes, and of course for cooking them. So it be a crime if we didn’t order any fish dish. And for choice of cooking, we naturally went with steamed! So good.

9) Sweet yam with pumpkin & gingko nuts, $5 (single serving) (above)

Despite the restaurant’s (slight) inaccessibility (mainly cause they are located in Hougang and I don’t really venture into that area of Singapore. lol), I honestly enjoyed the dinner at Peng’s Restaurant. Actually I am sure my colleagues did too. So yes, I would definitely recommend Peng’s Restaurant! Great Teochew dishes at affordable prices. Would definitely head back (one day soon) to try the other dishes on their extensive menu.

PENG’S RESTAURANT & CATERING SERVICES
30 Lorong 1 Realty Park, Singapore
6289 6975, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Wed, Fri – Sun: 11:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Wed, Fri – Sun: 17:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Thur

Dinner @ San Laksa Steamboat

November 15, 2017 in Asian, Chinese by thywhaleliciousfay

It was one of those nights when my friend and I met up but I had no suggestion as to where to eat. And that’s when my friend suddenly remembered San Laksa Steamboat. Located on the 1st floor of a standalone building which we would always drive past enroute to Vivocity.

Despite arriving at 8pm, we were able to get a table easily without making any reservation. Instead, it was finding parking lot that was the real challenge. One has to pray (real) hard to be the sole lucky diner to park within the building compound. Yes, there’s space for 1 car only. Or pray harder to be able to park in front of the gate of the church that’s just beside. At one’s risk, of course.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), my friend and I ordered:-

  

1) Soup (above) – We went with laksa broth and chicken broth. And for the former, we were also given a small saucer of laksa leaves to put into our broth.

2) Kang kong, $2.80 (above)

3) Mixed mushroom platter, $8 (above)

4) Lettuce, $3.80 (above)

5) Cheese tofu, $4.20 (above, left)

6) Tau pok, $2 (above, right)

7) Luncheon meat, $4.50 (above)

8) Seaweed chicken, $3.50 (above)

9) Sotong balls, $3.50 (above, left)

10) Pork balls, $3 (above, right)

11) Hand made minced meatballs, $6 (above) – And for this, the staff would assist to shape the minced meat into balls.

12) Mixed ball, $6 (above)

13) Prawn, $10 (above)

14) Chicken breast, $6 (above)

15) Pork collar, $6 (above)

16) Fresh toman fillet, $10 (above)

17) Udon noodles, $1 (above)

My friend and I enjoyed the laksa broth. I would definitely recommend the place if one has seriously craving for laksa. However, we were unfortunately seated beside a big group which had a lady laughing in a really high-pitch voice. That was really annoying. The staff were understanding and helped to shift us to another table when we requested so.

SAN LAKSA STEAMBOAT
404 Telok Blangah Road, Singapore
6275 7069, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 14:30
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 16:30 – 23:00
Value: 6
Service: 6