Dinner @ SYNC Korean Tapas Bar

January 23, 2015 in Korean

And I have been to SYNC Korean twice, now. The first visit was when my junior texted to meet, but with the conditions of meeting in Serangoon and in 30 minutes. Yah, so short notice right! Haha. So with my craving for Korean cuisine, my junior suggested SYNC Korea Tapas Bar. And SYNC reminds me of NSYNC. Haha.

A second visit was made, but more for me to try more dishes before I could post a proper review. (^^lll)

So yes, prior to my junior suggesting SNYC Korean, I had seen many people posting pictures from this Korean tapas bar. But because it was tapas, I wasn’t that keen in checking them out. I prefer my Korean food to be authentic Korean (like non-fusion) and in hearty portions.


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

1) Topokki, $9.90 (above) – Baked rice cakes in sweet & spicy sauce, smoked sausage, 3-cheese. I love Korean rice cakes. When I watch the Koreans eat these on their programs, especially the freshly made ones, a good rice cake could be seen as stretchy and chewy. Thus, I was interested to see how these fared at SYNC Korea, especially with my favorite ingredient cheese! And the rice cakes fared well. It was chewy with a consistent texture. One would be surprise but I had worse where it’s hard on outside. Cheese was mixed into the sauce to achieve a semi-fluid, semi-solid state. Pretty good, though a little salty due to the massive use of cheese.

2) Haemul pajeon, $9.90 (above) – Pan-fried crispy seafood & scallion pancake with soy dip. It was interesting that the pancake was pan-fried on both sides such that it was crispy on both faces, yet still moist and slightly chewy on the inside. This fared the best out of the 3 appetisers I tried on my 2 visits.

3) Dak-kangjung, $9.90 (above) – Deep-fried sweet & spicy chicken bites, ricotta, chili tempura. This was not nice. The sauce was clumpy which made the batter tasted thicker than it really was. We ended up scraping as much marinate as we could to better enjoy the chicken pieces. Which was a pity cause I managed to have a piece with less marinate, and it tasted better (if) served original.

4) Ssam, $40.90 (2 shares) (above) – Tender pork ribs, lettuce wrap, bun, cucumber pickles, ssam sauce. Ordered this as our main during my second visit. Meat was fork tender such that it came off nicely from the bones as I ‘knife-ed’ along the rib bones. However, my friend commented the meat was bland. That the flavour only came from the sauce. I on the other hand thought it was okie. But even for a fusion dish, I don’t see any Korean influence. This seemed to be a fusion of Western and Chinese instead.

5) Budae jigae, $42.90 (2-3 shares) (above) – Army stew of clams, shrimps, octopus, sausages, enoki, ramen, rice cakes. This was ordered on my first visit with my junior. We arrived on a wet, cold Saturday which meant it was the perfect weather for stew! =) Served in a big and shallow pot, this was good comfort food.

6) Misugaru, $8.90 (above) – Misugaru lava cake, vanilla ice cream, strawberries & lime compote. We ordered this on my first visit for the staff recommended it as their signature dessert. And this was pretty interesting. We were told misugaru was 12 grains. And probably with knowledge, I felt I was eating something healthy although it was sweet. You know… It being grains. =p But I thought the cake was a little dry on the exterior which was also pretty evident from the appearance. But consumed with the misugaru sauce, this was pretty good!

7) Popcorn mak gul li, $9.90 (above) – Mak gul li & infused popcorn caramel milk. Tasted like soy milk, but slightly thicker and creamier. But I was a little sad to see the cup half-filled after the foam died down.

Will I come back? Maybe not. I prefer my Korean to be very Korean food. Authenticness. No fusion for me, please. However, service was commendable. I have a habit of over ordering, and it was actually nice that the manager advised us against ordering too many. Had it not been for him, we probably would have ended up with lots of left over.

12 Maju Avenue, Serangoon Garden Estate, Singapore
6282 0612, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon, Wed, Thur : 11:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sun : 11:00 – 00:00
Value: 7
* Closed on Tues
Service: 7

Dinner @ Tom Yum Kungfu

January 11, 2015 in Thai

It’s odd but I seem to have run out of ideas as to where to head off for meals. Don’t we all have such ‘off days’? Please say yes! =p

As such, with a mental block of not being able to think of somewhere new, I suggested to my friend to head back to Tom Yum Kungfu since I was craving for BBQ. A BBQ which wasn’t Japanese or Korean too.

Similar to my first visit back in August 2014, my friend and I came without reservation. And we were fortunate as we were led to the table within 10 minutes although the place was bustling with people.

And the only way to eat mookata was to order Thai-style steamboat where only sets were available. And comparing to my previous visit, I noticed they have since updated their set menus to give customers better value.

In the old menu, the differences between the $38 and $45 set were a packet of noodle and (slightly) bigger prawns which did not make much of a difference to me. Getting the $38 set with additional Thai Mama noodles at $1.80 would still be cheaper than $45.

But in the revised menu, the differences between the $39.90 and $49.90 were additional toman fish strips, surimi crab stick, roast pork, pork belly cheese rolls and Thai mama noodle.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Steamboat, $39.90 (regular, 2-3 pax) comprised of:

(A) Soup (above) – Instead of the conventional gas pot, traditional charcoal pot was used where a dome-shaped grill with a soup trough was placed over charcoal embers. However, cause the soup trough was pretty shallow, it was a little difficult to scoop the soup with the spoon when the level of soup was low.

(B) Pork, pork belly, scallops, prawns, fish cake, & assorted vegetables basket (above) – When the tray of ingredients was served, not sure why I even thought we could have been served beef but I actually asked the staff if the meat was pork. And I was told that they could change it to chicken if we wanted. I liked it that while the pork was sliced thinly (but not shabu shabu type of thin) for grilling, the meat did not disintegrate easily. Yum! And for anyone curious about the lard, place it at the top of the dome-shaped grill for the oil to drip down as one barbecues.

2) Thai mama noodles, $1.80 (above)

3) Deep fried kang kong, $13 (small) (above) – This was really good. In Japanese (food( language, this would be kang kong tempura! Crunchy and addictive. And it was a pleasant surprise as there were prawn and fish tempura too!

4) Claypot mussel, $14 (above)

Will I recommend Tom Yum Kungfu? Definitely! I liked how cheerful the place was, with red being the domineering colour, together with rainbow lights and posters. Service was superb too. The staff would patiently explain the menu (which was especially useful for first timers) and would automatically top up the soup.

The only con, which would also be the issue most places like this face, was that we left the place smelling pretty bad. And no, one won’t smell any better even if one chose to sit outside, along the pavement. Speaking from experience since I sat indoors and outdoors on my 2 visits! =)

56 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore
6285 0345, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tue – Fri : 11:30 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Fri : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Sat – Sun : 11:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

Brunch @ OTG Coffee

August 29, 2014 in European (cafe)

I will admit, I pay a little more attention to cafes that’s nearer to home. Easier for me to make my way over lah. =p

And OTG Coffee is a small unit located at the end of Blk 211. But despite being a corner unit, they have gotten themselves a good spot as they can be easily identified as one crosses the overhead bridge. Oh yes, they are accessible only by bus or cab. Not within walking distance from any MRT stations. OTG Coffee is also a road away from a coffee shop and POSB ATM machine. So yes, if your company is sick of café food, drag them to OTG Coffee before heading to the coffee shop next door. Ha.

OTG Coffee offers limited dishes like spicy cheese toast and pasta (not on the menu) for savoury. Scone, croissant, waffle and cakes for pastries. But a good range of ice cream flavours. Menu came in the form of a white board (behind the counter) and photographs pasted randomly around the counter.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Chicken penne, $9.20 (above) – Served with an egg and shredded cheese, this dish was a special for the day. We gladly went along with pasta cause we wanted something heavy for lunch. And it’s a heart-warming dish. This is actually a simple dish to execute, but together with the friendliness of the lady who took our order, I could taste the sincerity served together with the dish. I kid not.

2) Waffle groupie, $9.50 (+ $0.80, premium flavour) (above) – The waffle groupie was basically waffle with two scoops of ice cream. We went with ‘Mr Tim Tan’ and ‘milk tea’ for our choices of ice cream. As ‘Mr Tim Tam’ was a premium flavour, we topped up $0.80. And I must say they were very generous with their ice cream. The scoops were so huge! And I recommend trying ‘Mr Tim Tam’! It was really good. Waffle wise, it was done to a nice brown. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with its texture. I prefer waffle to have a crispy exterior, although its interior was porous and chewy.

3) Scone, $4.50 (above) – This was bad. It looked hard on the outside, but when my fork sliced through, the entire scone crumbled. I tried picking it up with my hand, and was pretty shocked to realise how soft the entire scone was. Very egg-coloured, flat (good scone rises n height) and left a slight after taste.

4) Banana cake, $5 (above) – What I first noticed was how the cake batter was not homogeneous. Hmm… But that aside, banana cake was moist and not too sweet. I preferred it without the top frosting.

5) Latte, $4.50 (above)

So yes, OTG Coffee is probably a family business. I am guessing the very friendly lady who took my orders was the Mom, with her teenager children helping out with the cleaning and in-house baking. What really stood out for me was their service. Especially the Mom’s. Very sincere. Very genuine. Always smiling and soft spoken. I felt really at ease while brunching at OTG Coffee. So yes, I really wanted to write a glowing review for them, but unfortunately, there’s still much work to be done on their food.

I had come wanting to try their pancakes too, but was told that they have temporarily stopped their pancakes because the waffles were higher in demand. Hmm…

I say, do drop by if you are staying in Serangoon for their ice creams! They are also a florist under the name of ‘OTG Flowers’. Check out their Facebook for postings of their floral arrangements!

Blk 211, Serangoon Ave 4, #01-02, Singapore
6487 4177, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
* Closed on Mon
Service: 7