Thursday, January 1, 2015

The List 2014 - Restaurants Tried for First Time - Part 1

With two kids and a helper, or minimally, the older kid in tow when we go out for meals, this year was quite a hard year to go around trying out new restaurants. We have to consider the kind of food the kids will take, or when going out with the three adults and two kids, the amount of money we were willing to spend at the restaurant. Nevertheless, my wife and I grabbed every opportunity we had when we are able to steal some time off from the kids to try out new restaurants. These is part one of the list of worthy to be mentioned restaurants that we tried for the first time this year.

1. The Flying Squirrel

Nested in a small alleyway along Amoy Street, you would definitely have missed it if you were just walking along Amoy Street looking for a place to eat, as there are countless restaurants along the main street. The concept of having a small sushi restaurant along a small alleyway with mainly bar counter seating is very common in Japan, and I guess that is what the owners were trying to re-create, albeit with a modern twist to the interior. Restaurant serves Japanese cuisine with a few modern (and creative) European fusion twists (think Foie Gras Aglio Oglio using Ramen instead of Spaghetti). Restaurant was the Winner of Best Japanese Casual Dining at the Epicurean Stars Awards 2014.

How did we find the place: Saw on Facebook that it won the Best Japanese Casual Dining.

Recommended Tries: TFS Charashi, TFS Roll, Uni Shooter, Sashimi (Very fresh and of good quality)

Food Type: Japanese with a slight European Fusion

Address: 92 Amoy Street, #01-02, Tel: 6226 2203,

This is the small alley that the restaurant is in, view was from the main street

Top Middle: Foie Gras Aglio
Middle: Uni Shooter
Middle Right: TFS Charashi
Bottom Left: Salmon Belly Sashimi
Bottom Middle: TFS Roll

2. Char

Saw this new restaurant on and was interested to try out the Char Siew, which was not the traditional roasted type but rather, cooked over 2 days using pork belly. Went over one night after my wife's yoga lessons and was disappointed that the star dishes of Roast Pork and Char Siew was sold out. Had to settled for the double roast combination of Roast Duck and Soya Sauce Chicken, as well as Shredded Duck Noodle Soup and Sambal Balacan Kang Kong. The Roast Duck skin was still surprisingly crispy (since it was quite late at night) and the Sambal Balacan Kong Kong was unique. Went to visit 2 more times later and managed to try out the Char Siew and Roast Pork. The Char Siew was very nicely caramelized and the pork belly simply melts in your mouth - if you have tried the Fei Po Char Siew at Canton Paradise, this is something similar, but way better. The roast pork skin was thin and crispy and the five spice seasoning, with other, I suppose European spices, had been fully immersed into the meat - the Chef, having spent many years working in Cantonese restaurants in UK, have blended in western spices into the Roast Pork marinate, giving it a slight overall unique taste different from the usual roast pork.

How did we find the place: Post on site.

Recommended Tries: Char Siew, Roast Pork, Shredded Duck Noodle Soup, Sambal Balacan (made with secret own receipe) Kang Kong

Food Type: Chinese, Cantonese.

Address: 393 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399790 Tel: 6842 7759,

2nd visit was takeaway of the Char Siew and Roast Pork

Duck Noodle Soup
3rd visit - Triple Roast Combo

3. The Naked Finn

Read about the Hae Mee Tng (Prawn Noodles Soup) which costs $18 per bowl and was made from very choice ingredients like wild caught Blue tail sua lor prawns and Kurobuta pork. Based on their Facebook page, the soup is made using whole prawns (rather than just using the head, shell and tails like most prawn noodles shop do) then left to simmer in pork stock for seven hours, and the noodles come with a side condiments inclusive of Ibérico pork lard in olive oil. Went to try it during lunch as it was pretty near my office, the soup was something really distinct and stands out from other prawn noodles soup, the whole presentation, with the Somen and slice of Kurobuta pork, made it looked more like bowl of Japanese Ramen rather than prawn noodle. Condiments given blends in nicely with the noodles and gave an extra 'omph' to the already tasty soup. Second time I came was with my wife and we ordered a side dish of the wild caught baby Indian squid, which was nicely done with a slightly charred taste.

How did we find the place: Saw it on a newspaper article.

Recommended Tries: Hae Mee Tng with Japanese Somen, Wild caught baby Indian Squid

Food Type: Seafood

Address: 41 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109454.

Ramen Look-alike Hae Mee Tng with generous big prawns and Kurobuta pork

Condiments: Ibérico pork lard, Sambal Chili, Sea Salt, Chili Powder -
something you would normally find with Prawn Noodles
but more atas here.

Side dish of Wild caught baby Indian squid, nicely marinated and the grilled till slightly charred.

4. Diamond Kitchen

I first tried Lala Bee Hoon when my ex boss brought me to one of his favorite haunt for lunch at D'Beer Seafood Restaurant, located at the far side of Earth Singapore at Lim Chu Kang. The sweetness of the Lala immersed in soup, which was then soaked up readily by the bee hoon, was quite extraordinary. However, travelling there (tried once and it took 45 minutes one way) with (easily board) kids is quite an hassle. Along comes Diamond Kitchen, and the dish that caught my eye was the Lala Bee Hoon. I knew I had to try it when I first came across this restaurant on ieatishootipost,sg. The version here has a lesser peppery taste (good for kids, bad for me) compared to the one at D'Beer, but overall the soup taste sweeter, likely due to more lala being used to cook the soup. The other must tries will be the Champagne Pork Rib's as well as the Hand Shredded Chicken Salad (not quite sure if its still available as I do not see it on the online menu now). Would try the other in-house special of their live steam sea bass one of these days and update subsequently.  

How did we find the place: Googled for Lala bee hoon and a review of this came out.

Recommended Tries: Lala Bee Hoon, Champagne Pork Ribs, Hand Shredded Chicken Salad

Food Type: Cantonese Seafood

Address: 5000F Marine Parade Road, Laguna Park Condominum, #01-22/23, Singapore 449289.

Useful Tip: If you are intending to visit on a busy day (Weekends, actual and eve of Public Holidays), do call to place an order for the Lala bee hoon as they tend to get sold out quite fast during these periods.

Top Left - Champagne pork ribs
Bottom Left - Hand shredded chicken salad.
Bottom Right - Lala bee hoon

5. Beauty In The Pot

New dining concept by Paradise Group at newly opened OneKM (at Paya Labar) who have joined the rest of the restaurant groups to open up a steamboat restaurant. The specialty of Beauty In The Pot will be its soup base which consists of the Beauty Collagen Soup made from Shark Cartilage and the Spicy Mala Soup made from Pork Bones. Besides the standard steamboat dishes of beef and pork slices, straw mushrooms, fish and meat balls, the other note worthy steamboat dish will be its fish tofu - which is fish paste minced with tofu and presented in the shape of a fish. The experience for my first visit was somehow marred by poor service - was quite disappointed with the extremely slow service (30 mins for order to come for steamboat) and another 20 mins for bill to be settled, however, my guess of this slow service is likely attributed to it being a new joint with new staff

How did we find the place: Was searching for a place to eat at newly opened OneKM

Recommended Tries: Yuan yang pot (both Beauty Collagen Soup and Mala Soup), Premium Beef and Pork Slices, Fish Tofu.

Food Type: Steamboat

Address: 11 Tanjong Katong Road, #02-21, One KM, Singapore 430013

After being seated, you will be presented with 4 bottles of soup for you to top
up your steamboat soup.

Dual pot - Beauty collagen soup and mala soup

The mala soup has a piece of ginseng inside
Premium US Beef

Fried beancurd skin - dip it in soup for 4 seconds.

Something special not found in other steamboat restaurants- Century egg fish paste

Fish tofu

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