Dinner @ Hyde & Co.

February 10, 2017 in European (cafe)

It was a Muslim colleague’s birthday, and we decided to celebrate by having dinner at Hyde & Co. together. Am totally blessed to find friends among my colleagues. =) Reservation was not necessary for weekday evenings, but we still went ahead to make one because we were a big group of 7.

Parking was limited to the parking lots in front of the shop houses. But we managed to find one without much difficulty, probably because it was a weekday evening.

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

1) Truffle fries, $15 (above) – Premium truffle infusion with parmesan.

2) Flash fried calamari, $12 (above) – Served with homemade kaffir like aioli.


3) Popcorn chicken, $10 (above) – Chipotle maple drizzle with buttered popcorn. We certainly didn’t expect a very literal take on the dish name. Popcorns with chicken? Now, that’s a really weird combination that didn’t work at all.

4) Truffle crawfish mac & cheese, $22 (above) – Chef Nazz’s truffle mac & cheese with Norwegian crawfish and roasted nushrooms.

5) Miso salmon, $23 (above) – Norwegian salmon marinated in miso, hericot vert served with crushed potato.

6) Curried tempura cod fish & chips, $25 (above) – Cod fillet, Belgian fries, wasabi slaw served with homemade tartar. Batter was weird, and texture of fish was too flaky. This didn’t work for us.

7) Half roasted chicken, $21 (above) – Cajun rubbed half chicken with laksa cream sauce, served with homemade truffle silken mash and roasted vegetables.


8) Ondeh ondeh roasties, $10 (above) – Brioche toast, grated pandan coconut, gula melaka drizzle, vanilla ice cream.

9) Gingerbread Christmas waffle, $15 (above) – Caramelised apples, poached raisins, vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel drizzle on a cinnamon waffle.

10) Butterscotch popcorn waffle, $15 (above) – Homemade butterscotch sauce, popcorn, bananas, vanilla bean ice cream.

11) Latte, $5.50 (above)

12) Mocha, $6 (above)

13) Into the woods, $7.50 (above) – Iced berries hibiscus tea.

Based on the raves of Hyde & Co. when they newly joined the cafe scene, I honestly expected more from them. So it was disappointing that I left the cafe unimpressed. Would I recommend? No. Not even when one is in the area since there are many other cafes in the vicinity. But for our Muslim counterparts where choices could be limited since not many cafes are Halal-certified, one just need to order the right dishes.

HYDE & CO.
785 North Bridge Road, Singapore
6635 5785, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon : 12:00 – 18:00
Ambience: 6
Wed – Fri : 12:00 – 22:00
Value: 6
Sat : 11:00 – 22:00
Service: 6
Sun : 11:00 – 18:00
* Closed on Tues
  

Dinner @ Cicheti

July 29, 2016 in Italian

It’s relatively easy to find Cicheti; Just follow the directions given on Google map. o_O Haha. It’s a 15 to 18 minutes walk from Bugis MRT station. However, I didn’t follow Google map’s direction to the T and chose to walk through Kampong Glam. Of which, I was happy I did that. It was a picturesque sight to see the setting sun’s rays casting a golden hue on Sultan Mosque and watching our Muslim counterparts moving around quietly within the compound, getting ready for their prayers.

The real tricky part was verifying the unit. I kid you not. There was neither a signboard (with the restaurant’s name) nor unit number. The only way to guess if one was at the right unit was to look at the menu that’s hung beside the main door. o_O Luckily for me, a staff was standing at the entrance and greeted me with “Hi, can I help you? We’re Cicheti.”

My girlfriends who came in a little later than me weren’t as lucky. They had to compare the online menu against what was hung on the wall.

And upon entering, the working counter where the chef work on his pizza dough, etc came into full sight. However, we were led to second storey. So no live action (of chef at work) for us. Although I am sure they would have accommodated if we knew and made our preference for seats at ground level. But for reservation, I was lazy and chose to email them instead. So yah… If not they may have asked for our preference had I called in. Oops.

But in my opinion, the second storey was more conducive for catching up. It was brighter. Good for my ‘camera eats first’ too. Haha.

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

1) Soft shell crab, $15 (above) – With tomato chutney. This was nicely done. Capsicum was included too. But it isn’t a dish I would normally order in a Italian restaurant. But 1 of my girlfriends love her soft shell crab tempura.


2) Burratina, $29 (above) – With toasted pistachio, onion marmalade, pesto and beretta ham. The cheese was so good! The filling within, which resembled really soft marshmallow, oozed slightly when I sliced through the mozzarella pouch with my knife. But my girlfriend who loves her soft shell crab wasn’t impressed cause she isn’t a cheese lover. So I guess it’s subjective? But I really enjoyed this. Although it’s a first to be given bread to enjoy burratina with.

3) Bismark pizza, $25 (above) – Fior de latte, ham, mushrooms, soft runny egg, parmesan. Pizzas are categorised as ‘red’ and ‘white’. I wanted to try Pollo under the ‘white’, but yet another girlfriend was sold when she read ‘soft runny egg’. And so, we went with Bismark. And I liked this, but without the egg. Oh, the irony. The pizza base at where the egg was placed was probably too thin cause it couldn’t hold (the wet egg) and fell apart when we took our respective slices. Chef may have gotten a little too excited and stretched the dough a little bigger than he should cause the staff told us the pizza was 10 inch, but it certainly looked bigger when the pizza was on our table. But one could taste the smoky flavour from baking the pizza in a wood-fired oven. So yes, thumbs up for the pizza. Just go with another flavour.

4) Seafood stew, $29 (above) – Grey prawns, clams, squid, scallops. What the menu didn’t mention was that fish was also included.

5) Tagliatelle, $28 (above) – Squid ink, crab meat. I guess it comes with having tried many squid ink pasta (at various places) that my girlfriends and I realised an authentic squid ink pasta is one which incorporate the squid ink into the noodle dough than using it as the sauce. Or at least, that’s our preference. The former works better for dates too. No unsightly black-tainted teeth. Haha. And we certainly enjoyed the handmade tagliatelle. The texture was great.

6) Parpadelle, $26 (above) – Braised lamb sugo, porcine, soffritto. Again, we enjoyed the handmade pasta. The texture was kept consistent; Good.

7) Panna cotta, $12.50 (above) – Rhubarb granita.

8) Crack pie, $12.50 (above) – Cocoa crumble, vanilla gelato. This was really good. Pie was served slightly warm, which texture was almost similar to pound cake. Maybe a little denser? But so nice! And I liked that gelato was served, not ice cream. Gelato is the healthier option.

After our mains were served, we realised our pizza, pasta and (even) stew were all red; Tomato base. So after a while, it did get a little boring even though the ingredients used for each dish were different. So one may want to be careful and have a good mix of ‘white base’ and ‘red base’ dishes. If I could re-select the choice of our pasta, I probably would have selected one with delicate sauce so that the texture of the pasta can take the front stage instead.

Would I recommend Cicheti? Yes, for their handmade pasta. It was an enjoyable dining experience. The ambience of the restaurant was very chilled. Absolutely ideal to order a pizza and grab a bottle of beer to go with it.

They had additional specials (that’s not on the menu) like pan-seared octopus which I would normally order. But we didn’t cause one among us don’t take octopus. And it was a pity the meatball was made with beef. I don’t take beef. =(

We did notice our dishes took a little while to come, but that’s because they were full house that night. That said, when our dishes came, they came together. Ie, when they served our mains, they served all our mains at the same time.

In addition, when our appetizer of cheese was served, we noticed there were only 4 slices of bread. So we asked if we could have 1 more since there were 5 of us. However, we were surprised when the staff came back with a plate worth. Although we didn’t think too much into it too. We assumed the chef was being generous. So we weren’t exactly pleased when we called for the bill to see we were charged $3 for the extra bread on the receipt. The staff should have informed us that they couldn’t accede to our request and that additional bread was chargeable. Cause had we known, we would have just shared our existing 4 slices. Though frankly, we ladies also made the mistake of assuming it was free just because most restaurants give complimentary bread. Oh well.

CICHETI
52 Kandahar Street, Singapore
6292 5012, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
* Closed on Sun
Service: 7

Dinner @ Man Fu Yuan

May 20, 2016 in Chinese

$180 per head for steamboat? Say “whattttt!”

But! That did not deter me from steamboat-ing at Man Fu Yuan. Just ‘eat grass’ for more days weeks lor. (^^lll) Haha.

Man Fu Yuan has been on my list of eateries-to-check-out for the longest time ever. I admit. The exorbitant price was a factor that kept me from visiting sooner. But it was also that which got me really curious. I mean, to pay $180 for ingredients that’s boiled in broth? o_O

Reservation was made for a weekday dinner as soon as I managed to convince a friend to be as crazy as me to try the steamboat. Ha. And the thing about InterContinental Hotel is that all incoming calls were settled by the tele-department. Instead of re-directing my call to the restaurant, the tele-operator took down all information to my reservation before getting the restaurant to call me for confirmation. To which, the restaurant called me within 2 hours.

During the tele-conversation with the restaurant staff, he basically repeated the details of my reservation. And I highlighted to him of our dietary restriction which was no beef. The staff then went on to mention there were 2 beef dishes; beef slices and beef balls. And over the phone, we confirmed to change the beef balls to scallops. As for the beef slices, the staff mentioned we could be given more pork slices or have it replaced with something else. I expressed my interest to have the beef slices changed to something that’s not already on the menu.

Man Fu Yuan is very accessible. It’s linked from Bugis MRT station via Bugis Junction. And upon arrival, the staff at the restaurant reception easily identified my reservation. He went “steamboat?” as soon as I mentioned my name. Hmm…

We were then led to a room where we would be having our steamboat in. Ahhh… Private room. Personal butler. Premium ingredients. Total privacy. Absolute VIP treatment.

And from the menu, we started our dinner with:-

  

1) Drunken kampong chicken soup base (above) – Upon seated, the waiting staff who was appointed to assist us with our steamboat for the night began with stir frying the seasoned chicken in the pot, before going on to flambé the dish. And of course, having watched many episodes of my favourite Korean show ‘Please Take Care of My Refrigerator’, I know the purpose of flambéing is to enhance the taste. With dramatic presentation being a bonus. Ha. And with that, she continued to make the broth. We were given a bowl to taste the original flavour of the broth before the other ingredients went in. Soup was rich and fragrant. Yum.

2) Drunken kampong chicken (above) – The chicken was put aside for us to eat. I liked that the chicken breast wasn’t dry. A sign that we were in good hands; Our food was neither undercooked nor overcooked. Knowing my friend is a small eater, I had to remind him to leave sufficient stomach space for what’s to come cause he kept reaching out for more chicken. Ha.

  

3) Live whole star garoupa fillet (above) – It goes without saying that the fish was fresh and plump. Yes, plump. If it’s ever an appropriate word used to describe fish. =p And this dish prompted us to ask about the portion. Ie, what happens if it’s a bigger group that’s dining. To which the waiting staff said a bigger fish will be served. So small group, small fish. Big group, big fish. Ohhh…

4) Live local lobster (above) – We were allowed to have it either raw (like sashimi) or cooked. To which, we requested to have it in both ways. And after trying both, I preferred it cooked as it had a better crunch and was more flavorful as it had absorbed the essence of the rich broth. But both goes.


5) Tiger king prawn, fresh deshelled crab claw, fresh scallop (above) – As we don’t take beef, the beef balls were replaced with scallops. And the food could be best described with ‘simply fresh!’

  

  

6) Crab meat & crab roe dumpling, prawn dumpling with bird’s nest (above) – My friend and I didn’t like the crab meat dumpling. It was bland. And for a person like me who can’t even stand the sight of bird’s nest, I stomached the prawn dumpling with bird’s nest pretty well. It helped that I only realised it was bird’s nest after I finished the dumpling. And to those who are familiar with the texture of bird’s nest… It’s like vermicelli, but softer, that’s being wrapped around the fresh and crunchy prawn when we ate the prawn dumpling.


7) Spiky sea cucumber, handmade pork ball with dried sole, abalone coated with minced scallops (above) – Yes, we had an entire (baby) abalone each!

8) Fresh prawn dumpling, dace fish ball, handmade pork ball with dried sole (above) – The meat ball was so good! I really liked it. It was firm, yet bouncy. But I didn’t like the fish ball which texture was too mushy. The prawn dumpling was good too. The dumpling skin was taut from being packed tightly with ingredients.


9) Pork collar (above) – The original steamboat menu had beef slices on it. As no one confirmed what the beef slices were replaced with, I think we were given more pork collar. However, the pork was slightly overcooked as it was rubbery. I think the thickness of the pork slices contributed to its chewiness, which was still acceptable to me. But my friend was more critical as we were paying a premium price for dinner. And no, he didn’t finish his portion of meat.

  
  
  

10) Porridge with deep-fried beancurd (above) – And for this, the head and tail of the garoupa which we had earlier was boiled in the remaining broth. As we were too full, we politely declined the fish head and tail when we were asked if we wanted these. And a tasty porridge was made with the addition of rice, deep fried beancurd, spring onion and egg. In fact, the broth became a little too rich as it was slightly salty. I finished my (one) bowl of porridge nonetheless. And I absolutely enjoyed the deep-fried beancurd. But don’t attempt eating it before it’s boiled in the broth. It’s meant to be boiled. We didn’t know and my friend attempted eating one before it went into the broth. It was hard and tasteless. Haha.

11) Sour plum drink (above) – Served as a palette cleanser.

12) Mango pudding with coconut ice cream (above) – Though our menu did not show any dessert, the waiting staff asked if we wanted some. And since there’s always space for dessert, we agreed. This was pretty average with some mango chunks and sago.

It was an experience to steamboat without having to cook. Which can be a good thing cause more than often when one steamboat, one would find oneself busy cooking. With this, the time used to ensuring there’s a constant supply of cooked food can be used to catch up with friends, etc. Although having someone to do the cooking meant taking away the fun of steamboat-ing.

It was also a little restrictive to have a stranger in the room cause my friend and I couldn’t talk freely. Even when we knew we wouldn’t be seeing the waiting staff again. So it was nice when our waiting staff would step out of the room in between cooking the dishes to give us our privacy.

So is Man Fu Yuan steamboat for everyone? Definitely not. But if one decides to come… For the VIP treatment and quality of food served? It certainly justified the $180 spent.

MAN FU YUAN
80 Middle Road, Intercontinental Hotel, Singapore
6825 1008, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 11:45 – 15:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8