Dim sum @ Si Chuan Dou Hua (Kitchener Road)

October 3, 2016 in Chinese

I was arranging a catch up with my exex-colleagues (Haha. Yes, I am going into such details. Exex. =p) and I felt dim sum was more appropriate for us as compared to brunch at cafe. I was right cause my exex-colleagues unanimously went with dim sum when I gave them the options. Keke.

With that, we decided on Si Chuan Dou Hua. I’ve always wanted to go for their nostalgic dim sum (since 2 years back), and it was pure coincidence that my exex-colleagues and I were meeting up when Si Chuan Dou Hua was having their nostalgic dim sum. Such luck. =)

And when I called to make reservation, the staff surprised us with the good news of an ongoing promotion; We would only need to pay $25 instead of $38 per person! That said, Si Chuan Dou Hua needs at least 4 people for their dim sum buffet.

With 2 seatings for the buffet, we went with 11.30am to 1pm over 1.30pm to 3pm.

Si Chuan Dou Hua is located within PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road which was a 10 to 12 minutes walk from Farrer Park MRT station. And I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the hotel to be so dated. Especially when I compared it to PARKROYAL on Pickering which I was at just a few months ago.

And from the ‘nostalgic dim sum buffet feast’ menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), we ordered:-

1) Marinated cucumber with dried chilli (above) – Don’t belittle the dried chilli. This was really spicy!

2) “Siaw mai” with diced abalone (above)

3) Prawn dumpling with coriander (above)


4) Steamed vegetable dumpling with black truffle (above) – This was pretty good! We went for seconds even though we had many more on the menu which we didn’t get to try.

5) “Hakka” dumpling with turnip (above) – This was pretty interesting. I liked the skin which was chewy and stretchy like our Japanese rice cake (mochi).


6) Crispy sesame glutinous rice ball (above)


7) Crispy glutinous minced meat with shrimp dimpling (above) – I liked this!


8) Deep-fried peanut cake in “teochew” style (above) – A must order. And yes, one can (perhaps) see the trend that I like chewy ‘skin’. Keke.

9) Baked egg tart (above)


10) Pan-fried wild mushroom dumpling (above) – This was worth ordering too.


11) Pan-fried duck meat bun with goose liver sauce (above) – A must order. This was really good.


  

12) Signature pork belly roll with yam (above) – These were mini in size, so my exec-colleagues and I went for seconds cause it was too small to satisfy us properly. Keke. A must try.

13) “Char siew” bun with preserved vegetable (above)


14) Steamed beancurd skin roll topped with minced fish (above)

15) Steamed spare rib with diced pumpkin and yam (above)

16) Minced meat dumpling with sour and spicy stock (above)

17) Stir-fried sliced fish with celeery in si chuan spicy sauce (above)


18) Fragrant yam cake with waxed meat (above)

19) Crispy roasted pork (above)

20) Teow chew stewed duck (above)

21) Soya chicken (above) – This was disappointing.

22) Stir-fried carrot cake (above) – A must order. I liked that the carrot cake was also served in big chunks.

23) Braised pig shank and quail egg in vinegar and ginger (above)

24) Poached seasonal vegetable with dried scallop (above)

25) Double-boiled cartilage soup (above)

26) Minced meat porridge with cuttlefish (above)

27) Chilled almond jelly with red bean, chilled osmanthus jelly with honey, yam pudding (above)

28) Glutinous rice cake, baked honey comb cake (above)

29) Cream of fresh mango with pomelo (above)

30) Double-boiled pear and white fungus with osmanthus (above)

31) Homemade bean curd with wolfberry (above) – Of all the items offered for the desserts, this was my favourite!

Will I recommend Si Chuan Dou Hua for their nostalgic dim sum buffet? A definite yes. It was very value for money, with so many dishes offered. But make sure one should be punctual. Rather… I should better say, “just start without the latecomers.” For real.

I was late. I only managed to reach at 11.50am. My bad. And my exex-colleagues chose to wait for me. But with the last order (for earlier seating) at 12.30pm, the 40 minutes was not enough for us to attempt trying everything on the menu. In fact, we didn’t even have enough time to finish our food when we crazily placed our 3 rounds of orders between 12.20pm to 12.45pm.

Yes! Special mention to the manager who was taking care of our table. At 12.20pm, she noticed we had only ordered 1 round. The other tables were already at their fourth round. She came up to us and asked for our additional orders. She even extended our last order from 12.30pm to 12.45pm. If it wasn’t for her, my exex-colleagues and I probably wouldn’t have noticed how time was passing us by so quickly as we were too engrossed in our catch up and missed out on so much Si Chuan Dou Hua had to offer for their dim sum buffet.

And yes, we got to sit till 1.30pm (the latest time possible) before having to give up our table for the next seating.

SI CHUAN DOU HUA @ KITCHENER ROAD
181 Kitchener Road, PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road, Level 2, Singapore
6428 3170, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 14:30 – 18:00 (Hi tea)
Value: 8
Mon – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Service: 8

Dinner @ Sushi Jin

December 11, 2014 in Japanese

Having learnt that Les Amis Group has a new (and recent) addition to its chain of restaurants, I was excited to check out Sushi Jin. And having learnt from their Facebook that Sushi Jin aims to offer a premium dining experience sans the hefty price tag, it just gave me a stronger reason to visit!

We tried to make reservation just the day before (of our intended visit) but was told they were fully booked. Thus, to avoid another disappointment, reservation for a Tueaday night was made 1 week in advance. Kiasu-ism at its best!

Sushi Jin is located in Owen Link, the 24 hours retail arcade between Farrer Park Medical Centre (has a red apple at its entrance) and One Farrer Hotel & Spa (with a green apple at its entrance).

Despite having opened recently (less than a month), the restaurant was busy when my friend and I arrived at 7pm. Most of whom we observed to be regulars as they were well-acquainted with chef Raymond Tan.

We were led to corner seats of the sushi counter. Although we were seated in front of a chopping board, only 1 (chopping board) was used throughout the entire night as chef Raymond Tan was the only chef in the house. So yes, we were not treated to any actions despite taking counter seats.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), we ordered:-

1) Jin premium omakase, $150 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above) – Tai carpaccio (sliced sea bream with black truffle, seasoned kelp & chives). Having learnt that my friend would be ‘stealing’ bites from my omakase set, the manager took the initiative and got the chef to spilt this dish for us. A very considerate move. So yes, pictured only shows half of one portion. And this was good. While it was sliced a tad too thinly, it was sufficient for a satisfying bite cause it was long enough to be rolled up. Also available on the a-la carte menu at $32.

(B) Assorted sashimi (above) – So while these were fresh, I was a little surprised to see no blue fin tuna for our premium omakase set.

(C) Cooked dish #1 (above) – Salmon dumplings topped with mentaiko sauce. Something different and was not too bad. Almost like an open-faced salmon tempura.




(D) Assorted sushi (above) – And we were given golden eye snapper (kinmedai/alfonsino), torched swordfish, torched blue fin tuna with chopped tuna and foie gras topped with sea urchin (uni). These were not too bad, although it’s a personal preference that I prefer non-aburi styled sushi.

(E) Cooked dish #2 (above) – Rice bowl (chirashi) of chopped (marinated) tuna and salmon roe. We were told to mix the ingrdients up but it was not easy to cause the rice grains stuck fast to one another.


(F) Soup (above) – Containing shredded crab meat and a slice of sea bream (tai), we were told this was a seasonal item offered for premium omakase. And I enjoyed this.


(G) Dessert (above) – Tempura shiratama (deep fried glutinous balls).

2) Ootoro sushi, $32 (above) – Bluefin tuna belly.


3) Botan ebi sushi, $26 (above) – Spot prawn. The heads were deep fried for our continued eating pleasure.


4) Truffle seafood chawanmushi, $15 (above) – Prawn, crab meat & scallop steamed egg with truffle. I liked that the chawanmushi was served in a big cup. And this was good. Silky steamed egg with lots of ingredients, served along with the aroma of truffle. Nice.


5) Gindara no yuba tempura, $18 (above) – Bean curd roll cod fish tempura. Big chunks of fresh, juicy cod fish wrapped together with mushrooms. This was good.

6) Taraba no uni yaki, $88 (above) – Grilled Alaskan king crab with sea urchin sauce. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this. The sauce did not compliment the crab meat. Instead of enhancing, the sauce worked against it by clashing with the natural sweetness of the crab.

7) Inaniwa udon, $8 (above) – Thin udon with dashi broth. This was normal, although my friend felt it was a little salty.

With Sushi Jin’s declared aim to offer a 6-stars experience at 4-stars price, I came with very high expectation. However, the dishes offered for their premium omakase was not near that of 6-stars. For my premium omakase set, the only blue fin tuna served was in the form of aburi sushi. I was expecting akami to be offered in the assorted sashimi at the very least.

So if one take away the expectation, Sushi Jin offers a very reasonable omakase.

What I would say of Sushi Jin is that instead of 6-stars food, we were treated to 6-stars service. We left the restaurant being very impressed with the service! While fumbling with my phone, I accidentally knocked over my chopsticks. Before I could even turn my head to acknowledge the drop, the manager had already directed the staff to get me a new pair of chopsticks. Very observant, very fast, very professional level of service provided.

But do be cautious when taking sushi counter seats. The corridor / space behind he chairs was pretty narrow. It posed a little difficulty for me to walk in and out as I lugged my laptop bag and bulky handbag.

SUSHI JIN
1 Farrer Park Station Road, One Farrer Hotel & Spa, #01-11/12, Singapore
6443 3378, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8

Dinner @ Wan He Lou

October 26, 2014 in Chinese

Continuing on with my hairy crab adventure, my friend and I were off to Wan He Lou. Actually, my friend just wanted Chinese cuisine. And the only few Chinese restaurants that I can remember offhand are those which I’ve shortlisted to try their hairy crab. Haha. =p

And with that, we arrived on a Tuesday evening to a packed restaurant. We noticed most were dining in big groups. And we were lucky to be seated promptly as there happened to be an empty table meant for pairs.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Green dragon vegetable with dried shrimps, $9.90 (small) (above) – With 7 options to choose our vegetables to be done, we went with ‘sambal belacan’. Other ways include ‘sauteed with chopped garlic’, ‘anchovies’, ‘oyster sauce’, ‘preserved beancurd’, ‘spicy bean paste’ and ‘black bean’. This was not too bad. Vegetable was crunchy and refreshing, although it was a little spicy for me. I really can’t take spicy food.

2) Signature chicken, $11.90 (small) (above) – This was not bad. The meat was scarped such that it’s a ball at the end which made eating very satisfying. Imagine being able to take one big mouthful of meat easily. And this actually reminded me of coffee pork ribs. The chicken drumlets were fried such that its exterior was crispy before coating them with the sauce. Very nice.

3) Half shell scallop in garlic sauce, $16 (4 pieces) (above)


4) Hairy crab, $26.90 (above) – There’s a promotion of ‘buy 3 get 1 free’, but we decided to share 1 instead. When we were placing our order, we were given an option of male or female, which we went for the former. And upon served, the staff asked if we needed help which we said yes. And with that, the staff dissected the crab very skillfully for us. Amount of roe was not too bad for its price tag. However, the staff forget to give us our cup of ginger tea till we reminded them.


5) Signature lobster porridge, $39.90 (above) – Lobster porridge being their signature dish, we just had to order this. It’s stated on the menu that this costs from $29.90. And upon placing our order, the staff updated us that it would cost us $39.90 for a portion that’s good for 2. And this certainly did not disappoint. Staff assisted to remove the lobster from the bowl before we helped ourselves to the porridge. And the soup was so good. Rich and flavourful.

I certainly recommend Wan He Lou. With their dishes being very affordable, Wan He Lou makes an ideal venue for big group outings. Service was okie although we had a little difficulty initially in trying to get their attention to place our orders. Parking was not an issue aswe parked at Jalan Besar Plaza, with its car park entrance being just opposite Wan He Lou too. Very convenient with affordable parking charge too. We paid only $1.50 for parking (It’s per entry for Monday to Saturday, after 6pm).

And for those interested in their hairy crabs, Wan He Lou is offering them till end of November 14.

WAN HE LOU
65 Maude Road, Singapore
6294 8057, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 17:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7