Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shin Kushiya @ Vivocity

This was eaten before I went on maternity leave...

I was very hungry!

This is the set that I ordered... pretty good value for SGD 20 I think.

Here is a close up... I was supposed to have a grilled prawn, but I wasn't keen so I substituted for the quail's egg. I've substituted for chicken balls before too. I think they are quite flexible about this, which is quite nice.

The flavoured salt that they provided... plum salt and curry salt. Not really necessary since the skewers were tasty enough.

The Foie Gras skewers with sliced apple... Oishi! Quite decadent really, and pretty big portions.. Not cheap though. I think it is about 9 dollars per skewer.

The beef skewers were tasty too. Loved it.

The salmon belly always tastes good..

This one, was recommended by a friend and it was not bad indeed. Pork wrapped with shiso leaf and seaweed.

I was so stuffed by the end of the meal... and my wallet was much emptier...

Cupcakes from Little House of Dreams

It was a lovely and beautiful wedding, very intimate with only close friends and family.

The wedding favours were from home-baker Little house of Dreams. They were very good cupcakes, moist and not too sweet.

These were the pre-wedding dinner cupcakes, also by Little House of Dreams. I didn't take any, but I hear they were very good too.

Cutie was very very pleased to be at the wedding. He loves such happy occasions... He told me, in his sleepy voice that night before nodding off to bed, that he "enjoyed the wedding very very much..."

He also was very excited about the yam seng session... He was looking forward to it all evening! He was so good at the yam seng cheer, that he got invited up to the stage and even got to hold the mike and lead the rest of the yam seng party.

Yes, he was thrilled! DH and Cutie are competing to see who has the loudest yam seng voice... I think Cutie won!

Mommy, Cutie and Baby Sweetie. 39 weeks now. Counting down.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Din Tai Fung, Royal Coppenhagen Tea Lounge, Roland Restaurant

After my checkup with the gynae, I walked over to Paragon Shopping Centre for a bit of lunch.


I originally wanted to have shimbashi soba (I am still in a Jap food phase)... but there was a queue and Mei Mei was hungry... so I went to Din Tai Fung. There was a queue too, but the lady said it was only a 5 minute wait and I could place my order first so that the food would arrive shortly after I sat down.

OK, so I did. and yes, the food arrived quickly.

Appetiser of shredded vegetables (SGD2.50). It was an interesting medley of things - seaweed, beancurd, beanspriots, crunchy and savoury. It was doused in lots of sesame oil, making it fragrant but a bit overwhelming. I would have liked to taste the other flavours too, like vinegar, chilli.

Chilli Crab dumplings (SGD5.80, or SGD4.80 with Citibank). I thought this sounded interesting so I ordered it to try.

It was filled with shredded crab meat, with a little soup that was not at all spicy.

Their signature xiao long baos - They were nice, thin skin but resilient enough to be picked up with chopsticks without disintegrating. But not enough soup. I remember now why I am not that impressed by the xiao long baos here. I like my xiao long baos very soupy and these do not have much soup. Only maybe 1 teaspoon.

I felt dissatisfied with the xiao long baos I ordered, as they weren't as good as I expected. So although I was rather full by then, I ordered another dan dan mian (SGD6.50). It was one of the cheaper noodle options on the menu, as it is served plain, with a savoury peanut sauce. DH likes dan dan mian now. He ordered it both times we went to Crystal Jade Shanghai Palace at Terminal 3 Airport.

I found the noodles very nice, good bouncy texture, and fragrant with peanutty flavour. The crispy crushed peanuts were a nice touch. This is a good one.


I have never been to Denmark, but I would love to go someday.

This place is hidden inside Takashimaya, so I have never been there.

I was tired and wanted to rest my feet a bit, so I popped in here to get a drink. No more armchairs available so I had a normal table and chair instead.

Their guarantee of good food and drinks, on beautiful Danish tableware.

Chey, but my hot chocolate came in a normal boring old porcelain mug! The teas and coffees came in fine china, with beautiful prints leh. SGD5.5o. It arrives with a good head of foam, and is very sweet, by my standards, so don't add any sugar until you have had a sip.


This is one of DH's and my favourite restaurants because it's air-conditioned, big and spacious, the food is good and reasonably priced.

We ordered the usual stuff - home-made spinach beancurd, and crab bee hoon soup. You can find my past pictures and reviews here and here.

We also ordered a new item, recommended by their waiter: live scallops in a garlic black bean sauce (SGD16). They were sweet and nice, and were a little spicy.

Only grouse was that they did not arrive at our table piping hot. But otherwise we liked it very much.

Cutie likes the crab bee hoon here. It's the thick laksa bee hoon, which is very slurpy and nice with the hot crab broth.

What's that on your hand, daddy? A callus?

Yes, they both enjoyed their dinner, and you can tell!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Robataya Inakaya @ Orchard Parade Hotel

One food reviewer mentioned that Robataya Inakaya is one of the hippest Japanese restaurants to hit our local dining scene - I am not sure if it is truly one of the hippest, but I assure you that it is definitely one of the most unique.

It is quite an experience dining here, as there is very personalised service - there are no tables, only counter seats and the chef will serve you directly. It is very lively and noisy, and they tend to sing and clap even as they grill your food. At around 8 pm, the chefs will all perform this clapping singing cheer, and all guests are encouraged to clap along.

I am told that this restaurant is affiliated with Akashi, and with the original Robataya Inakaya in Tokyo.

But well, one thing about this place, that really irks me, is that there were no prices stated. The menu was a basic one for drinks and other cooked things like fried rice (SGD11) or cha soba (SGD10). But for the grilled items, they were all displayed in front of us, without any prices. When I asked the waitress, she said all these were Japanese ingredients, and that the prices changed everyday so she cannot tell me for sure how much the food costs, but she can give a rough estimate, and that the kinki fish was about SGD60. Err. Even if the prices changed every day, how hard is it to write a new price on a piece of paper and stick it on the wall?

DH jokingly said, well, if you have to ask the price, it means you can't afford to eat here lah... So never mind just order whatever we want...

So we sat down, and decided to just order what we liked, without thinking too much about the cost.
Our chef was young and energetic. See the large wooden paddles behind him? they are used to serve us our food and drinks. He would balance the food on the paddle and then lean across the grill and offer us our food.

He seems pleased that we are taking his photo.
All the produce and ingredients are airflown from Japan. Everything. Meats, vegetables, fish.

We ordered a grilled kinki fish and here it is. The chef is seasoning it lightly with salt. It takes a long time to grill I think. It only arrived at the end of our meal.

Complimentary starter? Err, no it costs SGD6. I can't remember what was in the glass. But the thing on the leaf is marinated eggplant.

We ordered some japanese mushrooms, which were grilled in this aluminium foil packet.
SGD12 for this. They are not enoki mushrooms, they are another kind, and tasted rather woody to me.

These are live baby crabs (SGD12) ... they were crawling in this glass bowl on the counter, so we had to try some.
They are slightly salty and very crispy. They go very well with beer.
One chomp, and half's gone.
This is the grilled chicken skewer (SGD6). Quite tender and nice.

Grilled scallop (SGD24) with mirin and butter I think. It was quite large. DH and I shared this one.
This is the beef skewer. It was very tender and very very marbled. We could see the beautiful marbling even before it was grilled. Well, we liked it so much we ordered a 2nd portion (without knowing how much it cost). Guess how much each skewer cost? Guess! SGD40!!! We almost fell out of our chair when the bill came. What on earth was omi gyu, that cost a whopping SGD160 for 4 skewers? It wasn't even a very large skewer of beef was it? A wagyu set dinner, with appetiser, sides and dessert, would not have cost SGD160....

Turns out that omi gyu is one of the top 3 types of beef in Japan, up there with Kobe beef. These omi cows are also fed beer and massaged daily and also listen to classical music. Err, ok.

But I do think this was a ripoff.

The tontoro pork (SGD24). The waitress said it was pork belly, but it wasn't. it was clearly pork cheek, as we could tell from the chewy texture... The bill we received later, confirmed that it was pork cheek. I liked this very much.

Our grilled kinki fish SGD75, was oily and juicy and had a fresh sea taste.

Complimentary dessert? No, it costs SGD6.

Why would they serve us stuff which we didn't order and charge us for it? In the end, we paid SGD24 for stuff we didn't order.

The total bill, inclusive of 2 Asahi beers and 1 cha soba came up to an exorbitant amount. I shudder to think of the sum we spent, but I think I shouldn't write it down, since my mom sometimes comes to this blog and she would be appalled to find out how much we spent on food here.

I think it's not worth it at all, because I could have had premium sashimi meal for 2 at that price. Grilled stuff isn't hard to do, it's just salt on a hot grill. I also think that the restaurant's practice of not giving customers the price before they order is plain unethical. Especially when the food aint cheap. I mentioned this place to my Japanese friends, who also think this place is a rip off.

We got home and realised that Cutie was waiting up for us... He is such a darling.

Shunjuu @ Robertson Quay

I am craving kushiyaki (grilled skewers)... ever since I stumbled on Ice's food blog (Skinnier than the Original), which focusses quite a fair bit on Japanese food... which I love.

So, when my dear friend Mr L suggested lunch, I asked to try Shunjuu Izakaya, which serves kushiyaki. He initially suggested Nicolas, which he says serves a very nice and reasonable set lunch... but it was in any event booked for a private function that day.

Mr L had cold sake... usually cold sake is served in a glass nestled in a bed of ice... but this one, they poured the sake into the glass... and then let it overflow into the wooden box... they explained that it was an auspicious thing to do... and then they wished us overflowing and abundant happiness. Hmmm.. maybe it is just a gimmick? I have never seen this done anywhere else.

The foie gras... It was a little overdone, especially the pieces at the end, as you can see. The last piece is definitely shrivelled up.

The karubi beef. Chewy and nice.

We liked it so much, we ordered it twice.

This is the ox tongue... not chewy enough... I think it should be more thinly sliced?

pork and gizzard. both nice.
enoki mushroom wrapped in beef and pork belly.

chicken skin and quail's egg. the chicken skin was very crispy, the way i like it.

salmon belly. nice.
grilled mentaiko. Salty. Mr L didn't care much for it i think, cos he only had 1 slice. I didnt think it was nice cos it was rather dry.

PL, who recommended this place, had asked me to try the century egg tofu starter, but I forgot to order it... when we had our 2nd round of skewers, I remembered her suggestion, so I ordered 1 portion.

It is indeed very interesting and nice. Refreshing. I think I tried a similar version at Akashi, but I find that I like this better. The tofu here is more firm and more tasty.
The waitress recommended these - pork with shiso leaf and asparagus wrapped in pork. The shiso leaf pork was fragrant. I liked it.
We also ordered mushroom stuffed with marinated minced chicken - nice, I liked this one as it was juicy and tasty. We also ordered another ox tongue cos Mr L had no recollection of eating it. Here is it again. Yep, it didn;t taste like the ox tongue that we are used to. No chewy texture.

This is another beef skewer. I think it's ribeye.
Our tally.

We ended our meal with sesame ice cream which was very nice.

I am glad I came by to try this out, because I had heard a lot about it and had always wanted to come by. Robertson Quay is really a nice place to chill out, and it had a nice view of the river and everything. However, I think i much prefer the food in Kazu.

Thanks for lunch Mr L!