Category Archives: Soup

Penang Place

Penang Place 
Penang Place
6 International Business Park #01-05
Atrium Building (off Boon Lay Way)
Singapore 609918
Tel: 6899 9446
Website: http://www.penangplace.com/index.htm
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 2.00pm (lunch) and 6.30pm to 9.00pm (dinner); Closed on Sundays
 

Went to this place for lunch one fine working day and first impression simply didn’t gel with the quality of food here.

First impression was hmm… ordinary. Got the feeling that it’s a Peranakan Jack’s Place. Went round the buffet table and ok, not too bad a spread for a weekday lunch.

Being at a Penang makan place, of course I had to try the char kway teow, the Penang laksa and the chendol.  These are after all the “die die must try” dishes when you are at Penang.

And oh boy, I must say that the char kway teow here is the most authentic Penang char kway teow that I’ve eaten in Singapore. It’s truly like having the same dish at Penang. Not oily, not spicy and don’t have too much of the black sauce that you find in normal char kway teow in Singapore. One helping is never enough of this good stuff.

The Penang laksa here is good but not as tasty as the ones that they serve at Chilli Padi.  It doesn’t have the oomph that I was looking for – a bit bland and not enough of the prawn paste (heh koh).

Chendol chendol chendol – I always love the chendol that they serve in Malaysia because of the pandan jellies.  The ones that they serve in Singapore are the dark green ones and has the plastic-like look that I never liked.  The ones that they serve at Penang Place here are the same ones that they serve in Malaysia – light green and has that tinge of pandan taste.  You basically have to make your own chendol (like all buffets).  The red beans that they served here are the big ones (small kidney like), but since I am not a red beans person, I typically skipped that stuff.  I had literally 2 full bowls of the chendol – just like the ones that they serve in Penang.

Don’t try the otah at this place – it simply does not taste nice.  They attempt to make it like the Thai otah by steaming their otahs but the coconut simply overwhelms the otah.

I managed to squeeze 1 seasame chicken – I couldn’t taste much of the seasame but the chicken drumstick is crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.

Since I am a small eater and I think I did very well by eating quite a fair bit, I wasn’t able to stuff any more of their food in.  But am happy coz I had a taste of Penang here at home. Now I don’t have to fly to Penang any more to fulfill my char kway teow/chendol cravings. Overall, great but there are hits and misses.  Just simply enjoy those that you love.  🙂

If you are not a buffet fan, they also have ala-carte dishes available, so you can always order from the menu.

Prices are reasonable –  S$19.80++ for weekday lunch and S$21.80++ for weekday dinner.  Add another S$2 if you are dining on Saturdays, Public Holidays eve nights and on Public Holidays.

Nakhon Kitchen

Nakhon Kitchen
Blk 212 Hougang Street 21, #01-341
Tel: 62868785
Opening Hours: 10am to 11pm, daily
 

Saw the review in The New Paper on 18 March 2009 (http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/guide/story/0,4136,196163,00.html).

Am “beo-ing” this place, so will put up my own review when I finally get there.

Zambuca, Italian Restaurant & Bar

zambuca2
Zambuca, Italian Restaurant & Bar
Level 3, Pan Pacific Hotel
7 Raffles Boulevard
Tel: (65) 6337 8086
Website: http://www.michelangelos.com.sg/Main/Default.aspx?ContentId=34
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm (Weekdays – lunch)
                                  6.30pm to 10.30pm (Daily – Dinner)

Sweet sweet bf brought me here for  my birthday dinner celebration last year.  First impression was wow! this is a classy place and we were so underdressed.

Nevertheless, we were shown a nice table by the window.  Given it was a Saturday night, the crowd was not hopping at this place.  But this was great for us as we prefer to have a quiet dinner than one with all the noise.

The waiter came and gave us the menus and it was hard to decide what food to eat.  But eventually, we ordered:-

  • 2 glasses of Umberto Bortol (S$16 each)
  • 1 Zambuca salad (S$14)
  • 1 Gnocchi (S$28)
  • 1 Lamb Rack (S$42)
  • 1 Tiramisu (S$12)
  • 1 glass of Lemoncello (S$12)

Food was of excellent quality – I find the lamb very pricey as it was 2 small pieces of lamb chops.  But for someone who doesn’t eat lamb coz of the “lamb-y” smell, this lamb rack is excellent! Portions are sufficient for small eaters.  As in all classy dining places, don’t expect huge portions.  You get quality, and not quantity here. 🙂

Being a great tiramisu fan, this tiramisu is fantastic! Out of this world! Worth every cent! If I have to beg the chef for the recipe, I would have. But too bad, I don’t cook. 😛

The glass of lemoncello is not found on the menu but if you are a fan of Italian food (like bf is), you can simply order it to have after your meal.  Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner digestivo.  It is made from lemon rinds (traditionally from the Sorrento lemon, though most lemons will produce satisfactory limoncello), alcohol, water and sugar.  It is bright yellow in color, sweet and lemony.  This one tastes a wee bit lemony sourish.

Overall, a fantastic dining experience. We spent a total of S$164.78 (including taxes & charges) for 2 pax; very pricey but worth every single cent. 

Mont Calzone

Mont Calzone
38 Pekin Street #01-01
Far East Square
Tel: (65) 6557 2304
Website: http://www.montcalzone.com.sg/
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 3.30pm and from 5.30pm to 10.30pm (Mondays to Fridays); 5.30pm to 10.30pm (Saturdays); closed on Sundays
 

Bf discovered this place as we were wandering around Far East Square, wondering what to have for dinner.

What caught his eye was the thin crust pizza that they had on a huge billboard outside the restaurant.  He, being an Italian foodie, wanted to try it.

On our first visit (we’ve been there two other times since), the waiter recommended the parma ham pizza (which has tomato sauce, mozzarella, parma ham topped with rucola salad and shredded parmesan).  I must say that the saltishness of the ham goes excellently well with the rucola salad and the thin crust pizza.  The crust is biscuit like and you can hear the crunch when you bite into the pizza.  Just be sure to catch the chef on a good day – he burnt the crust once.  The pizza is generously topped with the rucola salad.  At the cost of S$14.90 for an 8″ pizza (S$17.90 for 12″), it is suitable for 2 persons with small appetites to share.  Otherwise, just order a whole pizza for yourself.  I must declare that this pizza is the best value-for-money in Singapore.  Surprisingly, this is not a chef-recommended dish.

We also tried the Risotto.  Although the menu says their risotto is prepared with tomato sauce and seafood, we asked the waiter to inform the chef to prepare it with cream sauce and parmesan cheese instead.  But they served us the one with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese instead. 😦  Bf says that the tomato sauce is too heavy and masked the taste of the parmesan cheese.

We also tried the Aglio Olio but we had the chef do it in the classic style (i.e. with no shrimps but with dressing of olive oil, garlic and chilli).  I have to give this a thumbs down – the pasta turned out to be too dry and not spicy (even though we asked for spicy).  At S$12.90 a plate, portion is good for 1 person only (with small appetite).

Overall, I give the parma ham pizza 10 thumbs up for value and quality (if the chef didn’t burn my crust) but a so-so rating for the rest of the food.  But bf and I will continue visiting this place (because of the parma ham pizza) and we’ll continue to taste the other food items that they have on the menu.  I have my eye on their tiramisu already – just hope that they don’t disappoint.

Pagi Sore

Kangkong Belachan Tahu Telor Ayam Bali  Cumi Bali

Pagi Sore
Far East Square Outlet:
No 88-90 Telok Ayer Street
Far East Square
(Opp PWC Building)
Singapore 048470
Tel:  6225 6002
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (Closed on Public Holiday)
                         11.00 am – 3.00 pm   6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
 
Jurong Superbowl Outlet:
No 1 Yuan Ching Road #01-02

Jurong Superbowl
Singapore 618640
Tel:  6266 3200
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (Closed on Public Holiday)
                         11.00 am – 3.00 pm   6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
 

My parents and I visited their Far East Square outlet on Mother’s Day (11 May 2008).  Whenever we eat at an Indonesian restaurant, we never fail to order the tahu telor and the avocado dessert.  These to us are the representation of local Indonesian food.

We wanted to order the Petai Pedas but sadly they didn’t have it available.  So we ended up ordering the Kangkong Belachan (S$8.80), Tahu Telor (S$8.80), Ayam Bali (S$5.80 per piece; we ordered 2 pieces), Cumi Bali (S$13.50), 2 alpukat (S$4.20 each) and 1 chendol and of course, who can forget the rice!.

The food came pretty fast considering it was a lunch-time crowd and on top of that, Mother’s Day!  We barely had to wait for more than 15 minutes before the vegetables start arriving.

The level of spiciness in the food is indicated in their menu – 0 spoon means no chilli at all, 1 spoon means not that spicy, 2 spoons mean spicier, etc.

The first to arrive was the Kangkong Belachan.  This dish wasn’t too spicy (they only had 1 spoon) which is great coz you’ll have some people who can’t take spicy food.  Quite an ordinary dish.  I mean you really can’t go wrong with this dish unless you used really lousy belachan to fry the vegetables.

Next came the tahu telor (deep fried bean curd with egg).  Again another fail-safe dish.  The tahu (bean curd) is soft on the inside and a little bit crunchy on the outside (because of the egg).  Not spicy at all.  They poured a special sweet sauce over the tahu telor but you don’t really find it overwhelmingly sweet.  Wish they could make it a wee bit spicier so you can have the kick!

After a short while, the chicken and the squid arrived.  Both were cooked in the same style – bbq with a kind of sauce spread on top of the meat.  I find the chicken nice but it was a tad too sweet.  Too much of the sweet sauce!  Not so crunchy despite being bbq.  Tasted more fried rather than bbq.

I love the squid!  It was done just nice; you know if you overcooked the squid, it becomes too tough but this was perfect!  A bit on the sweet side but not as sweet as the chicken.  Pagi Sore also stuffed the tentacles inside the squid before bbq.  I don’t know if this made the squid a wee bit juicier but it was good.

The rice…. I love the rice too! Each portion was served wrapped in a banana leaf so that you get the nice fragrance when you unwrap the rice.  Somehow, you can never stop at just one portion.  Even small eater like me had 1.5! 😛  They charge you S$1.50 for unlimited servings of rice for each person, so if you are a huge rice eater, it’s really worth it.

The belachan… they charge you S$0.30 for each small plate of belachan so don’t be too happy and order as much belachan as you like, thinking it’s free.  The belachan is nice BUT not spicy at all!  You do get the taste of belachan but somehow, I would have much preferred it to be spicier.  No kick if it’s not spicy! However, if you love the belachan here, you can always buy it by the bottle – 230g for S$7 and 380g for S$10.

We had the alpukat (avocado dessert) which is nice but always too sweet!  Very thick and I wish they would go easy on the gula melaka (brown sugar) which makes the avocado too sweet.  Dad enjoyed his chendol – no bad comments so I guess it must be nice for him.  He has a sweet tooth so if you don’t, ask them to go easy on the sugar.

I must say that I am pretty impressed with the service here – very friendly!  Mom was even given a stalk of rose after the meal and as a Mother’s Day special, we were each given a bowl of dessert on the house.  It was a cold dessert – white fungus, wolfberry and 1 more item I can’t describe (we call it lian zhi but I can’t find the English word for it).  Nice but I liked better the one I tried before at Crystal Jade Shanghai Restaurant.

Overall, excellent service and good value for money.  We paid something like S$70 for the meal and we felt so stuffed thereafter.  Most importantly, my parents love the quality of the food.  A definitely will go again restaurant!

Jones The Grocer

Pork Sausages Tapas Stilton Blue Cheese Tapas Portobello Mushrooms Tiramisu Cake Rogers Beer
Jones The Grocer
Blk 9 #01–12 Dempsey Road
Tel: 6476 1512
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 6pm, Mondays and 9.30am to 11pm, Tuesdays to Sundays
Website: http://www.jonesthegrocer.com/store/singapore
 

We first visited Jones the Grocer a few months back but as it was after our dinner, we had a walk about the store just to see the range of products that they had.

We loved what we saw, so bf and I went to Jones the Grocer on 16 Apr 2008 to have dinner.  Now, my 1st gripe of the evening started.  Not so much their fault I guess since they do not know if I’m a grocery shopper or diner.  But the waiters at the front door could at least be friendlier.  I had to approach them to ask for a table for 2 and they just told me that it was free-seating.  It being a Wednesday evening, there wasn’t much of a crowd, so we managed to get a nice table to ourselves.

Then my 2nd gripe began.  The menu was not as extensive as we expected it to be.  Given its wide range of pastas, sauces, herbs and all, we expected the menu to be wow! Instead, they had about only 8 main dishes on the menu, out of which 2 were pastas. And mind you, Jones the Grocer does not handle special requests.  For example, we wanted aglio olio (something which we thought would have been easily done since they had all the raw ingredients there) but the answer was “sorry, we can’t do that for you.  There are only 2 pasta dishes on the menu.”  Then I didn’t want peas on my pork sausages and the answer was again “sorry ma’am, we can’t separate the peas.”  Geez!

In the end, we finally settled on our order and we had pork sauages with mashed potato, peas and onions in caramelized gravy (S$21.50), tapas stilton blue cheese & tea soaked figs (S$9.50), tapas baked mushrooms with rocket salad (S$7.00), tiramisu (S$8.50), 1 glass of Pegasus Finale (S$12.00) and 1 bottle of Little Creatures Rogers beer (S$10.00).

Don’t ever order the pork sausages unless you like boiled pork sauages which has a strong taste of pig liver and an unnatural sourish taste (something like spoilt food) in it.  It would have probably tasted better if it’s sliced and then char-grilled with stronger sauce to mask the liver taste.  Definitely a please do not ever try!

The tapas stilton blue cheese & tea soaked figs was a much better choice.  It was my first time tasting blue cheese and I must say I enjoyed it immensely.  The cheese was saltish and you can actually taste a hint of a flavour that’s something like yeast.  Very smooth and creamy and the cheese taste isn’t that overpowering.  BUT the cheese didn’t go too well with the biscuits we were served (can’t remember which type of biscuits it was).  Could have done better with crispbread instead.  It was also my first time tasting tea soaked figs – you can’t taste the tea in the figs but what you get are soft figs.  Still, this dish is definitely much better than the pork sauages.

The tapas baked portebello mushrooms with rocket salad was another disappointment.  I don’t think the mushrooms were baked but boiled.  They even boiled the rocket salad which really spoilt the taste.  Am not too sure what type of cheese they put on top of the mushrooms but it was certainly bland and did nothing much to enhance the flavour of this dish.  The only thing I loved about this dish was that you could smell the portebello mushrooms as the dish was being served. 

The tiramisu was again another disappointment.  We were served tiramisu cake not the tiramisu dessert.  Too much cream and too little rum in this cake made it a huge disappointment.  I was so looking forward to having a good tiramisu dessert.

The glass of Pegasus Bay Finale was a delight for me.  I love dessert wines and this one didn’t disappoint me.  This wine came from New Zealand and it has a golden hue with hints of dried apricots, peaches, honey, scorched almonds and an aroma of beeswax.  Overall, a sweet and rich wine.

The bottle of Little Creatures: Rogers beer is a smooth drinking amber ale with an interesting mix of malts.  An Australian beer with a very strong taste of something like saffron.  Very different from the local beers that we’re used.

Service is not attentive at all; we were given a single glass of plain water when we first sat down.  No refill of the water glass at all even though the crowd was very sparse.  True, we did call the waitress a few times to place different orders but not once, did she top up our water glass.  Used cutleries were cleared pretty fast but as we had ordered more dishes, no replacement of the earlier cutleries were given and we had to take them from the seats beside us.

Overall, bad experience at Jones the Grocer.  I don’t think I’ll attempt another trip back to eat here, and if you must, I would recommend having a go at the tapas (although it’s a hit or miss) or having the cheese platter (S$19.50).  Choose from a list of Australian or New Zealand wines with a sprinkle of French wine.  I think we’ll be better off buying the premium raw ingredients from here and then troop off home to cook.

Ristorante da Valentino

Valentino Valtulina costine di agnello stufate agli aromi
Ristorante da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka (near Rifle Range Road)
Singapore 588908
Tel: 6462 0555
Opening Hours: Noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 11pm from Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays
Website: http://www.valentino.sg/index.html

The story: Ten years ago, Valentino Valtulina, who prefers to be known simply as Valentino, was working in a restaurant in Italy when his boss told him that an Italian restaurant in Singapore was looking for a chef and asked him if he was interested. Then 23, he jumped at the chance.

In Singapore, he worked in restaurants such as Cafe Cafe and Casa Roma and also as an executive chef at Cantina. Two years ago, he opened his own restaurant with his wife Patricia.

Valtulina, who applied for permanent residency in 2005, says that he likes Singapore as it is a vibrant and bustling city.

He says the people here like to eat and enjoy fine dining, so he was comfortable with going ahead with his 45-seater restaurant in Bukit Timah.

The food: Try the signature dishes which include costine di agnello stufate agli aromi ($33.90), stewed lamb ribs in light tomato sauce and aromatic herbs.

The dessert, torta chantilly ($8.80 per slice), which has strips of custard and cream-topped sponge cake sandwiched with chocolate and vanilla cream, is Valtulina’s favourite. It is baked by his sister, Perla, who opened the nearby Pasticceria Da Valentino, a pastry shop, in August last year. 

The restaurant also has pastries and pizzas besides pasta dishes.  Check their website for the full menu.

Note:

This review and pictures were extracted from ST Foodies Club