Lunch @ Kogane Yama

August 13, 2017 in Japanese

Was craving for deep fried food, and thus suggested to my friend to have tempura on rice (tendon) for lunch. Keke. And after doing a search on internet, we decided on heading to Bugis.

And it seemed that the selling point of Kogane Yama was their customizatiom; One could choose the type of tempura (mixed, prawn, chicken or vegetable) to the base (rice, udon, soba) and spicy level of sauce.

It was unfortunate that there was no counter seats. Only table seats were offered in the long unit. I would have preferred to see some cooking in action.

And from the menu, my friend and I ordered:-

1) Set meal (+ $2) comprised of:-

(A) Mixed bowl, $15.80 (above) – My friend decided to paired her tempura with udon.

(B) Chawanmushi, miso soup (above) – And by topping up $2, one’s meal would be upgraded into a set meal which included a steamed egg (chawanmushi) and soup. And it made sense to get the set if one is interested to get the steamed egg since it cost $2 on the a-la carte menu. The miso soup cost $1.50 if ordered separately.

2) Mixed bowl, $15.80 (above) – I stuck to the original which was tempura on rice. And for $15.80, it was a generous portion of overflowing ingredients. To the extent I thought the rice amount was too little. But of course, I realised at the end of our lunch that I was given the normal serving of 1 bowl of rice. And tempura included 2 prawns, 1 chicken, 2 long beans, 1 shiitake mushroom, 1 golden mushroom, 1 sweet potato, 1 carrot, 1 green capsicum, 1 seaweed, 1 shiso leaf and a spoonful of flying fish roe. It was also only because I was dining with my friend that halfway through my lunch, I realised they missed out my shiso leaf tempura.

I didn’t enjoy the tempura. While I finished my food, it was only because I was hungry and needed to fill up my stomach.

Yes, the batter was crispy. But that’s because it was really thick. And greasy too. My friend couldn’t finish hers and requested to pack the remaining tempura, which the staff put the leftover into a plastic bag lined with paper. And barely 30 minutes later, we noticed the paper was soaked through! With oil of course.

Do I recommend Kogane Yama? Sorry, please give this a miss at all cost.

200 Victoria Street, Bugis Junction, #02-50, Singapore
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Sun – Thur : 11:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 11:00 – 23:00
Value: 7
Service: 6

Dinner @ Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar

June 4, 2017 in Japanese

As fellow blogger MyFoodSirens very aptly put, there’s no going back to ‘normal’ sushi after dining at artisanal sushi restaurants. But, but… I can’t fly to Japan just because my craving for sushi kick in. And thus, the search for good sushi restaurant (in Singapore) re-commenced. And being one who prefer to explore new eateries, I was determined to sniff out hidden gems. Keke.

And that’s when I got to learn about Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar. Led by a female head chef too? That got me pretty excited. With that, I contacted Kappou on their Facebook page to make reservation for my next meet up with my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend). And one should make reservation at least 2 weeks in advanced. Because Kappou is a small restaurant that could only sit up to 8 people, our first preferred date was not available.

Located in Fortune Centre, it’s a 15 to 18 minutes walk from Bugis MRT station. However, I was slightly shocked to see the entrance door ajar due to their portable air conditioner’s exhaust pipe upon arrival. Hmm…

With no physical menu, the staff started us off by explaining they only offered omakase at Kappou. Between $68, $98 and $128, my IGGF and I decided to go with $128. And with that, we started our $128 omakase dinner with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Fried dumpling skin and pâté made with kinki fish liver, cream cheese, wasabi and miso.

2) Dish #2 (above) – Homemade tofu with shrimp (ebi), served in dashi with yuzu skin.

3) Dish #3 (above) – Mascarpone cheese with fruits.

4) Dish #4 (above) – Abalone. Really tender and good. But it was a very, very small slice. And we were told the abalone was steamed for 4 hours with sake, carrot and kelp before it’s further soaked in the same pot of water previously used to boil clams.

5) Dish #5 (above) – Sashimi. Unfortunately, head chef Aeron Choo mentioned a Japanese (fish) name which was a first for us. Yes, even to my IGGF. Head chef Aeron further shared its English name is big scale flatfish.

6) Dish #6 (above) – Sushi assortment of lean tuna (akami), medium fatty tuna (chutoro), slightly torched snapper (tai), a fish from the family of yellowtail (although my IGGF and I thought it was mackerel), and abalone liver. For the lean tuna, we were told by head chef Aeron that it’s very soft as it’s from topmost part of the dark cut slab triangle; Chiai or 血合い. Odd, I thought meat nearer to bloodline was more muscular and thus tougher. But my real gripe was that the lean tuna was sliced too thinly. When I picked the sushi up my fingers, the tuna tore into 2 pieces. In fact, I was very disappointed with the sushi leg of our course. I couldn’t even say the sushi served at Kappou is size XS. The amount of sushi rice (shari) used was way too little. It was a very bad ratio of rice to topping (neta). Wanting to taste the rice better especially when we were told 3 blends of rice were used, My IGGF and I requested for more sushi rice. Unfortunately, we were a little too late; Head chef Aeron was already preparing our last sushi which was abalone liver wrapped around a ball of sushi rice.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Rice, sea urchin and salmon roe. A very small portion too.

8) Dish #8 – And when head chef Aeron passed us our rice bowls (bara chirashi don), she mentioned it was prepared with additional rice. I guess it’s from our previous request for more rice in our sushi. And for the toppings, 2 types of fish (1 cooked and the other raw), bonito flakes, fried shrimp, salted fish roe, seaweed, pickled radish and sesame seeds were used. It was a pretty good combination.

9) Dish #9 (above) – Oden.

10) Dish #10 (above) – Dessert was matcha cake, creme brulee styled sponge cake served with red bean and sea-salt ice cream, and dehydrated sweet potato.

11) Dish #11, Complimentary (above) – My IGGF and I were still hungry after finishing the full course of our dinner. The fact that my IGGF was not full was worrying because she’s a small eater. And because head chef Aeron came up to us (and other diners) at different times to say “If you are still hungry, you must let me know okay? I cannot let you go home hungry”, my IGGF and I waited to be asked the golden question of “Are you still hungry?” after we finished our dessert. We sure did wait long as head chef Aeron and her one and only staff were busy. And we were served a bowl of ‘porridge risotto’ as termed by head chef Aeron. Meant to be a cold dish, we were told this was pressure-cooked for 3 days in fish broth before it’s cooked again as al dente.

Would I recommend Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar? A firm no.

Don’t be deceived by my pictures as they don’t truly show how ridiculously small the portions at Kappou were. Irregardless of the price, no course meal should leave the diners hungry. Something is certainly wrong when I overheard every diners saying they were still hungry. Honestly, I can’t imagine how more hungry my IGGF and I would be if our rice bowls (dish #8) were not upsized.

And even though head chef Aeron mentioned we shouldn’t be shy in letting her know that we were still hungry, the set up of the restaurant doesn’t exactly encourage interaction. In a way, I felt like we were begging for our food. So no, I definitely won’t recommend Kappou.

190 Middle Road, Fortune Centre, #02-10A, Singapore
9819 2058, Facebook
Overall: 5.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 5
Service: 6
* Closed on Sun

Dim sum @ Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant 瑞春点心餐厅

April 14, 2017 in Chinese

Every Thursday, my colleagues and I would attend HIIT classes where the fitness instructor would come to our office and train torture us. Keke. And although we were left with almost no strength in our legs, we still got to fill our empty and very hungry stomachs. Haha!

It’s hard to believe but I haven’t been to Swee Choon yet. And since it came under my radar recently, I suggested to put back the calories (that we burnt from exercising) by eating dinner at Swee Choon. And because everyone was too tired to think, they agreed. Yeah!

But dinner didn’t happen as smoothly as we thought. It was difficult to find a parking lot! My colleague drove many rounds before deciding we should just park far and walk back to Swee Choon. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long for our table after taking a queue ticket. Having reached at a non-peak time of 9pm, the queue moved fast as dining-in customers were leaving. And knowing that Swee Choon has tables arranged in the back alley too, I was glad to be allocated a table within the unit. You know, proper lighting for me to take photographs of the food under. Keke.

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

1) 蝦餃, $2.40 (above) – Har kow.

2) 燒賣, $2 (above) – Siew mai.

3) 上海小籠包, $4.50 (above) – Steamed xiao long bao.

4) 四川红油抄手, $4.50 (above) – Sichuan chilli oil wanton.

5) 奶黄流沙包, $4.20 (above) – Steamed salted egg yolk custard bun.

6) 鳳爪, $3 (above) – Chicken claw.

7) 羅卜糕, $2.40 (above) – Carrot cake.

8) 芋角, $2.20 (above) – Yam fritter.

9) 瑞春招牌面綫粿, $2.40 (above) – Swee Choon mee-suah kueh.

10) 香蕉炸蝦筒, $3 (above) – Prawn & banana fritter.

11) 鲜虾腐皮卷, $3 (above) – Beancurd prawn roll.

12) 猪腸粉, $2.20 (above) – Plain chee cheong fun.

13) 鮮蝦肠粉, $3.80 (above) – Rice roll with prawn.

14) 葡式蛋撻, $3 (above) – Portuguese egg tart.

15) 千層餅, $4.50 (above) – Layer pancake with egg & pork floss.

16) 黄金豆腐 (豬肉鬆), $4 (above) – Fried golden tofu with pork floss.

17) 肉松茄子, $4.50 (above) – Crispy egg plant with pork floss.

18) 糯米鷄, $2.50 (above) – Law mai kai.

19) 香蕉高丽豆沙, $4 (above) – Egg white puff with red bean & banana.

20) 豆沙鍋餅, $4.80 (above) – Red bean paste pancake.

For dishes like egg white puff (item 19) and pancake (item 20), one could indicate on the ordering slip if these were to be served with the savoury dishes or to be served later. Ie, 先上 or 后上.

Did we enjoy ourselves? Certainly. I always say the company is as important as the food. And my verdict on the food? I would say the dim sum at Swee Choon was good old comfort food. Not the best, but good enough for the price we were paying and satisfying enough to fill our empty stomachs with. Keke. My favourites were chili oil wanton (item 4), salted yolk custard bun (item 5), mee-suah kueh (item 9), layer pancaked with egg & floss (item 15) and egg white puff (item 19).

191 Jalan Besar, Singapore
6225 7788, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon, Wed – Sat : 11:00 – 14:30
Ambience: 5
Sun : 10:00 – 15:00
Value: 6
Mon, Wed – Sun : 18:00 – 06:00
Service: 6
* Closed on Tues