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 @ Teppei Japanese Restaurant

August 24, 2018 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

I had wanted to try Teppei Japanese Restaurant for the longest time ever. Definitely more than 5 years. But I gave up because it was so difficult to secure a reservation. If my memory didn’t fail me, Teppei released seats quarterly then. And once the phone line was opened, seats were snapped up within minutes. It’s even read that some would queue at the restaurant just to make reservation. I kid you not. But of course, that had since changed. To make reservation now, one would do it on Teppei’s website.

And what could be to allow as many different people to dine at Teppei, one is limited to 1 booking per month. Reservation could only be made 1 month in advanced too. Credit card detail was required where USD50 would be charged per guest in the event of no show or if one cancelled reservation with less than 48 hours notice. Yeah… it’s quite odd that was USD50 rather than S$50.

Between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, we booked ourselves for the second seating. And on the day of dinner, my friends and I arrived at the restaurant by 8.20pm. With only 1 menu, we started our ($80 menu) dinner with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Assortment of appetisers.

2) Dish #2 (above) – Sashimi platter.


3) Dish #3 (above) – Steamed egg (chawanmushi).


4) Dish #4 (above) – Handroll containing minced tuna, salmon roe and tempura flakes. I like the addition of tempura flakes for the crunch although I was sad to see a shorter roll given to ladies. Though true, females generally have smaller appetite compared to males. But still… The staff must had noticed my disappointment because they gave me a second roll. But not without teasing us by giving a rolled-up piece of seaweed first. Errr…

5) Dish #5 (above) – Sea grapes.

6) Dish #6 (above) – Abalone.


7) Dish #7 (above) – Foie gras and onsen egg.


8) Dish #8 (above) – Snapper in blue cheese sauce.

9) Dish #9 (above) – Mantis shrimp.

10) Dish #10 (above) – Fried water crab.


11) Dish #11 (above) – Mackerel, crab meat and baby corn wrapped in (edible) leaf.

12) Dish #12 (above) – Strawberry.

13) Dish #13 (above) – Ice plant.

14A) Dish #14 (above) – Grilled beef.


14B) Dish #14 (above) – And because I don’t take beef, I was given grilled pork instead.

15) Dish #15 (above) – Melon.

16) Dish #16 (above) – Salmon broth with somen.

And halfway through our dinner, the staff went round with a menu where we were to choose our choice of main and ice cream flavour.

17) Dish #17 with options of:-

(A) Uni fried rice (above) – And for my choice of main, I went with sea urchin fried rice. And it was literally sea urchin on fried rice. Quite a bumper because I actually expected rice fried with sea urchin.

(B) Sashimi rice don (above) – And ironically, it’s this dish that has sea urchin mixed with the rice.

(C) Unagi chazuke (above)

18) Dish #18 (above) – Ice cream. With 8 flavours, I chose sakura from the menu.

Prior to dinner, I read Teppei would sometimes serve exotic ingredients (think insect) for the omakase, so I was mentally prepared. But while we didn’t have any for our meal (phew), no one mentioned Teppei would feed us for some of the dishes. Gasp. And we were fed not just once, but twice! The foie gras and the mantis shrimp dishes. Customers at the corner seats had it harder. Because they are not within staff arm’s reach, the staff used a toy claw to hold the spoon in order to feed them. Double gasp.

Teppei tried to come across as a cosy restaurant with a fun, relaxed atmosphere. They certainly delivered cosy since we were sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. But unfortunately, they failed quite badly at being fun. Their attempts of delivering jokes and even pranks were half-hearted. They really should had executed them enthusiastically. So yeah, interaction between staff and customers was just awkward instead.

Would I recommend Teppei? Well… Not really. They used to be famous for their really affordable omakase then. But these days, there’re several places which offer equally affordable omakase.

TEPPEI JAPANESE RESTAURANT
1 Tras Link, Orchid Hotel, #01-18, Singapore
6222 7363, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sat : 11:45 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 5
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on Sun

Brunch @ Kyushu Pancake Singapore

August 15, 2018 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

These days, I only head to cafes when I am craving for pancakes and am too lazy to make them. And because I’ve a recipe which makes pretty smashing-good ones, I am (thus) pickier with the cafes I go for my pancakes. And one cafe which makes me happy is Kyushu Pancake Singapore. Keke.

It’s their use of wholegrain flour mix that first drew me to Kyushu Pancake. And it was a bonus that their flour mix is also free of emulsifier, artificial fragrant and additives or processed starch. Good, healthy… And safe. Keke.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Croque madame pancake, $19 (above) – Pancakes served with honey baked ham, sauteed onions, baked potatoes, sunny side up, bechamel sauce, mustard and garden greens.

2) American big breakfast, $22 (above) – Pancakes served with grilled tomato, sunny side up, sausage, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, hash brown & garden greens.

3) Berry-licious pancake, $16.90 (above) – Pancakes served with strawberries, blueberries & raspberries, topped with vanilla icecream.

4) Matcha montblanc, $18 (above) – Pancakes with matcha montblanc sauce, matcha mousse, fresh cream and topped with vanilla ice cream.


5) Classic french toast, $10.90 (above) – French toast served with white wine honey, fresh cream & vanilla ice cream.

6) Banana chocolate waffle, $16.50 (above) – Waffle served with caramelised banana, fresh cream, vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

7) Dora yaki smoothie, $8 (above)

If one likes the batter to be on the sticky side, then Kyushu Pancake would be one’s answer to healthy and tasty pancakes and waffles. I definitely recommend Kyushu Pancake Singapore. I have already checked out the cafe on a numerous occasions although I try not to visit the same restaurant too often over a short span of time.

KYUSHU PANCAKE SINGAPORE
275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency, #01-08, Singapore
6352 6265, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tue – Sun : 11:00 – 21:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
Service: 6
* Closed on Mon