6 February 2017

Soi 51 Mookata

Personally, a Mookata buffet usually conjures up images of menacing gas cylinders and splattering hot oil. I would classify it under "higher risk" food adventure, and unless the benefits are justified, I would not go near a Mookata anytime. Legend has it that Soi 51 Mookata has great value-for-money all-you-can-eat delicious Mookata buffet at $20 nett only! And $18 nett during promotion periods. That certainly outweighs the risk of me being burnt by a Mookata. 

The variety of food offered at Soi 51 Mookata is amazing. Besides the usual marinated pork, chicken and beef, I was surprised with the seafood offerings which include prawns, mussels, scallops, squid, bamboo clams, flower crabs. And they also have a huge selection of pork balls, Thai fish cakes, mushrooms etc. 

Taste-wise, we love almost everything. The barbecued marinated meats were excellent. They were tender and juicy. The prawns and scallops were succulent as well. Again, to re-emphasise the price point of $20 nett, it's really worth the money and there's not much to complain about the food standards.

Soi 51 Mookata has several outlets and I think most of them are located in coffee shops. Take your pick of "prime real estate" in the coffee shop and enjoy the open-air ventilation. Service is adequate and efficient. Though one should not be expecting restaurant type of ambience and service level.  We left with our souls satisfied, stomachs overworked. 

16 January 2017

Kam's Roast

吊起来卖 or "hang up to sell" in English
Due to stricter employment laws imposed by the ministry of manpower in recent years, Hong Kong Kam's Roast Goose's Michelin winning goose did not get its work permit in Singapore.

Oh I think I got the wrong ministry. I meant the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) didn't issue work permit to the goose due to potential bird flu scares.

Without the star performer, the Singapore franchise of Kam's Roast Goose, which opened at Pacific Plaza in Orchard featured other foreign talents such as the Malaysian roast duck, and Toro Char Siew (barbecued pork).

The Toro Char Siew was highly recommended by the media. It was supposedly based on a secret marinade that is developed by the Kam family and you might have to marry their offspring if you really want to know the recipe. Wow, the sweet sticky sauce that coated the charred caramelised bits didn't disappoint! However, it was let down by the char siew which had lean meat that was too tough for my liking, and had too little fatty portions. For the value, it is overpriced at $22.80 and I doubt I will order it again.

Toro Char Siew ($22.80!)
We got a roast meat combo noodle (with 2 meats which we chose roast duck obviously and roast pork). The roast duck was quipped by my friend as 有前途 (got hope). Indeed the first bite into the crispy skin and juicy tender meat gave us hope that this is the one. But reality soon hits us that it just tasted like a good plate of roast duck and nothing extraordinary.

Roast duck and pork combo noodle ($11.80)
Roast pork & Roast duck

The noodles were supposed to be flown in from Hong Kong daily. But we did not find it very different or unique.

Service was attentive even though food took quite some time to arrive. Which is puzzling because I thought not much cooking was required.

So Kam's Roast didn't turn out to be a life changing experience after all. The food was not bad but there wasn't much economic value. A bit of 吊起来卖 or as they say in English, "hang up to sell". I guess I won't be back anytime.

26 December 2016

LeTao Singapore | Best cheesecake of the year

We interrupt your daily business to bring you an important message. We think we have found the best cheesecake of the year.

Yes. From LeTao. And I don't know why it is not repeated like a broken record in my social media feed. The only articles I came across mentioning LeTao were the Straits Times and Daniel Food Diary.  After seeing Daniel's Instagram video which included someone breaking down into touched moments of "Omg it's very nice..", I was left with no choice but to check out LeTao.

For the uninitiated, LeTao is a super famous cheesecake from the land of desserts a.k.a. Hokkaido. Finally, LeTao has found home in Singapore, in the form of a takeaway counter store in Ion Orchard, located at B1 level near the Moleskine store if you know where is it. 

The best thing is there are no queues. Initially I was trying to see if there was some hidden queue.. You know, like Bake Cheese Tart's queue at B4 level which had me grinning like a lottery winner when I first saw there was no queue at its store... only till I was informed that the queue begins a few hundred meters away so that traffic is unblocked for other shops. 

But nope, no confusing queue system for LeTao. No never-ending queue. I repeat, no queue at all. #NeverUnderestimateSocialMedia

Petit Chocolat Strawberry ($12 per 50 grams)
Before we get to the best cheesecake of the year, the very helpful salesgirl gave us some samples of their chocolates and biscuits to try. The petit chocolat strawberry is a whole freeze-dried strawberry encapsulated by sweet white chocolate and dusted with a layer of strawberry powder. It's neither overly sweet nor sour, and makes a perfect TV or reading snack for the freeze-dried strawberry lover.

Otaru Rue Ironai Fromage ($10/box of 9 pcs; $19/box of 18 pcs)
I noticed many people were buying the Otaru Rue Ironai Fromage, or cheese cookies in English. I can see why. In between the crispy biscuits was a smooth creamy layer of cheese, which is the same mascarpone cheese used in the famous cheesecake. The affordable price-point makes it a popular add-on item too.

Double fromage ($28)

Now, for the pièce de résistance, the double fromage. The beauty comes in two layers: a froth-like creamy no-bake cheesecake that's not overly rich, and a rich solid baked cheesecake. 

The joy is when I eat them in one mouthful together. That's when the light airy layer melts into the solid layer, resulting in a sensational out-of-the-world taste and texture.

The cheese used in the no-bake cheesecake is Italian mascarpone. And I tell you, the Italians make really good cheese. Mascarpone cheese is a buttery-rich double-cream to triple-cream cow's milk cheese. Instead of using rennet which is an enzyme from ruminant animals to coagulate the cheese, citric or tartaric acid is used instead. Hence, the taste is softer and more delicate than other cheeses, making it a perfect combination with the rich cream cheese used in the baked portion.

Mascarpone Creme Brulee ($25)
We wanted to get their chocolate double cheesecake but it was sold out. But it's ok, I found love in the creme brulee cake. It uses the same Mascarpone cheese, Hokkaido milk and Madagascar vanilla. There is no caramelized top but the joy is not affected as I tucked into the creamy, egg-fragrant smooth creamy custard. The crust is a thin layer of flaky pastry akin to mille-feuille. Very good!

Take note that the double fromage costs $28 for a 12cm cake. That's equivalent to 4 slices. Which is about $7 for a slice.. not that expensive if you can slice it. LeTao Singapore does not sell in slices as it is the brand directive from Japan HQ. They can only sell pre-packed cakes with no direct contact with the food. But they provide disposable forks and knives so you can share with a friend and cut the cake on the spot. But I personally think it will be unwise to share.. kekeke..

There is no "we" in food.
Ok quickly go and eat LeTao before you make your new year resolutions on dieting, clean-eating,  blah blah blah..

Address: Ion Orchard B1-K7, 2 Orchard Turn Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 8799 3551

18 December 2016

Tsuta Ramen | Too special a ramen

We live in the golden age of ramen, especially in Singapore where ramen shops sprout faster than you can say "oisshi". As I've always confessed openly, my favourite type of men is ramen. So when Tsuta Ramen, the first Michelin starred ramen in the World, has set up its first ever outpost in Singapore, I was left with no choice but to join the unwinding queue to find out more.

I queued on a Saturday morning. It was also Kam's Roast opening day in the same building Pacific Plaza. Kam's Roast is brought in by Hersing Culinary, also the same company that brought in Tsuta Ramen and 1-Michelin star Tim Ho Wan. Seems like Hersing is trying to build a Michelin empire in Pacific Plaza.

I posted a live update on the situation on Instagram that day.

For the record, I didn't eat Kam after Tsuta because #TooFull.

Managed to get in after an hour plus of queuing (thank god for my Kindle which made the wait more value-adding).

I ordered the unusual shoyu ramen ($22.80 / 4 pieces of char siew / 1 ajitama egg), which is Tsuta's award winning ramen. The truffle oil and clam-based dashi stock was a weird combination for me. Hmmm let's just say I can't appreciate the exotic broth which was umami with a hint of truffle pungency. It wasn't inedible but personally, I don't think pungent and umami goes well together. The redeeming factor was the amazing seasoned runny egg which was sweet and savory, as well as the lean yet flavourful pork collar. I wasn't expecting myself to like the pork slices as they aren't the usual melt-in-mouth and fatty char siew.. but they turned out to be the most favourite ingredient of the day. The thin noodles were al dente and springy, just the way I like them.

Ramenologists would know that there is no such thing as a perfect ramen, given the huge variety of ramen types in this world (see Lucky Peach's A Guide To The Regional Ramen of Japan). Just like men, ramen comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Each person has their own preference. For me, I still prefer my thick milky pork-based broth, the typical ramen next door. Till then, doubt I will be going back to Tsuta anytime soon.

Address: 9 Scotts Road, #01-01, Pacific Plaza, 228210
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