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

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.

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 @ The Refinery

January 4, 2015 in Japanese

Having first read about The Refinery from Honeycombers, my girlfriends and I came for dinner recently on a weekday evening.

And as I made my way to the restaurant by following the directions on Google map from my mobile, I did wonder if I was given the correct directions. The sky had turned a little dark (it was 7.15pm) and the area was quiet with automobile and mechanic shops closing for the day.

However, as I neared my destination, I spotted a unit which was brightly lit. Phew.

So while we have many hipster cafes, this would be my first in entering a hipster yakitori joint. Taken from their website, The Refinery is a part casual dining restaurant (level 1), part mixology bar (level 2) and part designer workspace (level 3).

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

1) Signature quail eggs, $4 (above) – 1 minute “onsen” style, rich ramen broth. Priced at $1 for each egg, one would think egg must be hard (like hard boiled egg) to hold its shape. But no, these eggs simply burst in our mouths.

2) Salmon carpaccio, $12 (above) – Salmon carpaccio, radish, bonito, yuzu sesame dressing, lime zest. The salmon were sliced a little too thick to be called carpaccio, but this dish was good. I especially liked the (nutty) dressing.

3) Shiitake, $4 (above) – Clarified butter, roasted garlic (optional).

4) Aubergine, $6 (above) – Japanese baby eggplant, madeira & saikyo white miso. My girlfriends were not too keen on having eggplant, but this was ordered upon the staff’s strong recommendation. The pieces of eggplant were grilled such that it was slightly crunchy on the outside (not just the skin, but flesh too) and soft on the inside. But I did not like the thick layer of topping which was a little too overwhelming.

5) Shishamo, $8 (above) – Tobiko mayo, grilled lemon.

6) Chicken heart, $6 (above) – Tare glaze, spring onion.

7) “Chicken high”, $6 (above) – Tare glaze, chives. Another item which was recommended by the staff. These pieces of beautifully marinated thigh meat were really tender and tasty! A must order.

8) Mid-joint wing, $6 (above) – Bone-out chicken wing, tare glaze, spring onion. Maybe it was my bad (grasp of) English but when I read their menu description of ‘bone out’, I though it meant the bone would be taken out. Ha. But no, the bones were left in. With the same marinate as the chicken thighs, these were good. Tender and juicy.

9) Tiger prawn, $18 (above) – Salted egg custard, curry leaves, grilled lemon. Under the premiums range, while the sauce of egg custard was interesting and tasty, it was the prawn which failed the dish. Prawn could have been firmer and crunchier.

10) Skirt steak, Complimentary (above) – Clarified butter, smoked sea salt, pear marinade. While placing our orders, the staff strongly recommended this but we decided not to order as 2 of 3 (of us) don’t take beef. So we were surprised when the staff (actually we suspect he should be one of the owners or at least a high ranking person) suddenly presented us (or rather to my girlfriend who takes beef) with a complimentary stick. A very nice gesture. And my girlfriend said it was indeed very good.

11) Salted egg onion rings, $8 (above) – Paper thin onion rings, salted egg yolk custard sauce. This was absolutely tasty! I especially liked the salted egg yolk sauce which was salty and addictive. But of course, with its presentation of (being) served in a bag, we ran out of sauce for the onions rings which were at the bottom. A must order.

12) Chicken karaage, $8 (above) – In-house marinated chicken cubes, deep fried. A must order!

13) Rice bowl, $6 (above) – Seasoned Japanese white rice, pulled char siew, pickled shiitake, pickled ginger (optional). We ordered this as we were afraid the sticks were not enough to fill us up. Portion was small, which some may say it’s good as it allows customers to try more. So while the pulled pork was not too bad, this dish was pretty average on the overall.

14) Tonkotsu ramen, $6 (above) – Traditional rich broth, onsen egg, pulled char siew. An equally same portion and with the same pulled pork as the ‘rice bowl’. I would say it’s a matter of preference to have the pulled pork with rice or noodle.

15) Single scoop gelato with crumble, $4 (above) – We ordered 2 scoops. Matcha and black sesame flavours.

I would say The Refinery is the place to head for yakitori if one wishes to dine in a hipster environment. Okie, I am not sure if I am using the word ‘hipster’ correctly. But compared to the traditional Japanese yakitori joints, The Refinery’s menu was definitely shorter but the place was bright and lively.

My girlfriends and I noticed the mix of crowd at The Refinery was very interesting with people in office attire (clearly having come after work) and arty farty ones (with quirky spectacles and hats). We were busy eating with our mouths and with our eyes. People watching. Keke.

Platters were also available on the menu, but we decided to order a-la carte as we wanted to try more items on the menu. So yes, if one wants non-traditional yakitori in a different setting, The Refinery would be the place to head to. Have a meal within the unit before sitting at the black painted barrels, placed just outside the unit which doubled up as a high tables, for drinks. Else, head up to second storey where the bespoke bar is.

It was interesting to see the staff pull the metal can up and down whenever someone at second storey called for the bill!

115 King George’s Avenue, Singapore
9111 1210, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Thur : 18:00 – 00:00
Ambience: 8
Fri – Sat : 18:00 – 01:00
Value: 7
Sun : 18:00 – 00:00
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon