Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shi Li Fang Taiwanese Steamboat (食立方)

My friend introduced to me a new Taiwanese steamboat restaurant called Shi Li Fang (食立方). Literally translated into English, it means Eat to the power of 3!  Mmmh....The owner must be an engineer, or a mathematician!  The restaurant is located on the 7th floor in Orchard Central, a new 'in' place for food.

This restaurant is very unique in the steamboat scene, as most of the restaurant space is dedicated to individual hot pot, only less than 10 tables for two persons.  What does it mean?  This means that if you go there with a group of people with very different food requirements, for example, some don't eat beef, some don't eat mutton, some no fish, etc.  In that case, everybody in the group can have a hot pot for his own, and eat to his heart's content.  In addition, if one day you have a sudden craving for steamboat but so sad that you can find nobody to go with you, you can still come here to satisfy your taste buds.

Fish, Chicken & Mushroom Soup Bases ($11.80)

Anyway, we chose three soup bases, fish, chicken and mushroom.  My personal preference is the fish soup.  It was less thick, and not oily as the chicken and mushroom soups.

Cabbage and Fried Crispy Fish Skin ($3.50)

The fish skin tasted lousy as it was, but once you dumped it into the soup, wow, it offered a different and great taste.  It was soft yet chewy, with the soup fully penetrated into the fish skin.  I would say this is one most special dish I found here.

Superior Beef ($18.80)

Ribeye ($13.20)

Their meats were not bad.  I in particular like their superior beef, the one with fat spawning the entire beef, making it look like a piece of marble.  Oishi desu ne!

Scallops (S$10.60)

Prawns ($4.70)

Their seafood was not bad either.  Scollops and the prawns were fresh and had great taste.  I must admit I was disappointed when they brought us the prawn, just three pieces, so pathetic!  However, after I tasted one, I changed my mind.  The prawns for sure were fresh and of good quality.

Song Fishhead ($5.60)

Service-wise, I think you have to bear with them a bit.  As is the case for almost every other restaurant in Singapore, they are under staffed.  Only about 5 wait staff for the whole place, so you just have to be a bit more patient and be more understanding.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Canton Paradize@Compass Point

We visited Canton Paradize at Compass Point on a Saturday for dinner.  We decided to arrive at 5pm, just to avoid the dinner crowd.  For their branch at Jcube, there was quite a queue usually on weekends.

Obviously our choice was right.  We were ushered in briskly and got a 4-person table for the two of us.  Plenty of vacant tables around.  Some of their staff took this less busy period to have their own dinner, before the dinner crowd comes in and to avoid working with an empty stomach.

Meatball Congee ($7.20)

First dish was meatball congee.  The congee was good, probably cooked with a traditional claypot.  The meatball was not that nice though.  Too much seasoning, which overwhelms the meat taste.

Roasted Duck ($13.80)

Xiao Long Bao ($4.60)

We also ordered roasted duck, traditionally a Beijing cuisine; and Xiao Long Bao, traditionally a Shanghai cuisine.

The sour plum sauce that came with the roasted duck complemented the roasted duck well.  The sour sauce also made you have good appetite for more food :)

Cheongfun with Prawn ($5.80)

My most favorite dish for the day was the Cheongfun with prawn.  Well, it is a traditionally Cantonese dish, and I am a Cantonese.  There is a natural bias toward Cantonese food.  The prawn was crispy, the Cheongfun skin was nice, just like those you have back home.

As Canton Paradise is part of the Paradise group, you can choose to become their member.  You pay $30 for the membership and get 30 points, which you can use to pay for your bill.  1 point is equivalent to S$1.00.  In addition, you get a 10% rebate every time you dine at any of the Paradise group of restaurants.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tian Wai Tian Fishhead Steamboat (天外天鱼头炉)

We went there on a Wednesday evening.  The evening air was cool, after an afternoon's downpour in this raining season.  We arrived early so the place was not crowded yet.

Our first dish is fried morning glory (kunkong) with cuttle fish.  The portion for cuttle fish was generous.  The cuttle fish was crunchy, you could hear it snap when you bite it.  And it was simmering in a special chilli sauce, quite appetizing.

Second dish is crispy Tofu.  It was piping hot, and the crust was just the name says, crispy.

Last but not least, the fishhead steamboat.  We chose Song fish, a fresh water fish.  The first look was not that impressive.  My reaction was: The fish was fried!  As a Cantonese, we don't like fried fish!  However, the first bite changed my opinion.  Deep frying the fish somehow helps to retain the juiciness, freshness and tenderness of the fish.

In addition to fish, the steamboat had some other ingredients such as sea weed, cabbage, yam and lots of ginger slices.  The soup was thick and rich in fragrance.  I am not sure whether they add milk as some other places do.  You can also ask them to have more soup.

We left at around 7.45pm.  By then, the place was already full.  Overall, I would say it is a value for money place to enjoy some local delicacy in a typical Singapore coffee shop setting.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hoshino Coffee

We arrived at Hoshino Coffee at Plaza Singapura at 4.45pm on a Saturday.  There was already a short queue forming at the entrance.  One family and 3- 4 couples in front of us.  I was a bit surprised by its popularity.

They have a static display of the food on their menu at the entrance.  All the food looks very appetizing and the display helps the customers to decide what to order while they are waiting so to save time.  Good idea!

I ordered the signature Hoshino Spaghetti ($14.00).  It came with an egg, tomatoes, some leafy vegetables, ham, sausage and egg plant, top generously with fragrant sesame seeds.  And all these are simmered in olive oil.

For dessert, we ordered the double pan-cake ($12.00). It is nice to share this with a friend.  The cake is very fragrant.  The syrup added an extra dimension of the taste to it.

Last but not least, the famous hand drip Hoshino coffee ($5.80).

 The sip was pretty tasteless, and bland.  I was actually a bit disappointed with that.  However, as I took a second sip, and let it linger around my taste buds, a bitter sweet taste came.  It was very different from our normal coffee shop kopi-O or kopi-C.  I think they don't add margarine during the baking process of their coffee beans, that's why the coffee is more distinct.

Overall, it is a nice place for friends to gather and chit-chat over a cup of coffee.  The food is good value for money, considering the location and the settings.  Food portions are reasonable, enough to have a normal guy's stomach satisfied.