Category Archives: I Was Here

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.

Anjappar Authentic Chenttinaad Restuarant

biryani
Anjappar Authentic Chenttinaad Restuarant
102 Syed Alwi Road
Tel: 6392 5545
76-78, Racecourse Road
Tel: 6296 5545
Website: http://www.anjappar.com.sg/

Bf and I visited the branch at Syed Alwi Road on 26 January 2009 for dinner.  They’re quite easy to find – directly opposite Mustafah Shopping Centre, along a row of shophouses.

Service was a bit slow; maybe because the place was crowded. We ordered 1 Mutton Biriyani (S$8.50), 1 paper dosa (S$3.00) and 2 cups of “masala” tea (S$2 each).

Bad choice of restaurant man! Bf’s mutton biriyani was tasteless and the mutton smell so strong that even he didn’t like it. My paper dosa was normal but I could get a cheaper one from Komala’s, with more sauce.  The tea was light with hardly masala taste.  The interesting part is that you get to mix the milk and the tea yourself (usually they serve it pre-mix).

Anyway, am not too sure if it was the tea or the dosa I had here but I had a wee bit of stomach upset the next day. Bf had no problem but we certainly won’t come back here again as the food was not tasty at all.  There’s no service charge but they charge GST on the total bill.

Yan Chuan Roaster (S) Pte Ltd

Yan Chuan Roaster
Yan Chuan Roaster (S) Pte Ltd
Tel: 6747 2623 / 6745 6396
Blk 507 Jurong West St 52 #01-164
Tel: 6565 0330

If you want to eat cheap and good duck, be sure to visit this place.  Nowhere else I think you can get a whole roasted duck for S$16!

The thing is this is a wholesaler, which means you can’t order duck rice to go and no half ducks for sale please. 

I also love their “char siew” (roasted pork) and “xiu yok” (roasted 3-layer fat pork). Not sure how much they charge (as I always get my dad to buy). But being a huge “char siew” fan, this one gets my thumbs up everytime I eat.

I will try to get you pictures of the duck & char siew before we hungrily attack them next time. 🙂

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. 

Vienna International Seafood & Teppanyaki Restaurant

Vienna International Seafood & Teppanyaki Restaurant
101 Thomson Road #B1-01
United Square
Singapore 307591   
Tel: (65) 6254 6686
Website: http://www.viennabuffet.com/welcome.asp
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 3.00pm (lunch) & 5.30pm to 10.00pm (dinner)
 

We had lunch here on 28 February 2009 (Saturday), thanks to a friend of bf’s who brought us here.

The name of the restaurant is quite deceiving as Vienna is the capital of Austria, and one would expect it to serve Austrian food.  But the rest of its name says “Teppanyaki Restaurant”.  Quite confusing, I must say.

But man! The buffet spread is a sight for sore eyes! Even at lunch, they serve sashimi, sushi, cold dishes such as oysters, scabis, crayfish, smoked salmon, pepper crab, oyster vegetables, clams, etc. For desserts, you can choose ice cream, cakes (American Cheese Cake, Blackforest Cake, Mango Passion, Tiramisu, Fudge, etc.), yang sheng jelly, etc.  Inclusive in the price are free flow of drinks (you can choose either soft drinks or juices – not fresh fruit juice but the cordial kind) and each diner gets a bowl of “Buddha jumps over the wall” soup (I put this in inverted commas as it’s not the real thing but quite tasty).

Now I know why the place was packed on the Saturday afternoon and we were lucky to get a place even though we had no reservations. I must say that the price you pay for is quite good value for money.  Don’t expect high-end quality.  Freshness of the sashimi is also acceptable.

Check the website for the menu details.  If I paste them all here, it’ll make this entry too lengthy.  This will be one place that I will be visiting again soon!

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.

Hua Kee Hougang Wan Ton Mee

Wan Tho Noodles
Wan Tho Noodles
Hua Kee Hougang Wan Ton Mee
Old Airport Road Emporium & Food Centre
Blk 51 Old Airport Road #01-113B

Opening Hours: 12 noon to 12 midnight; closed on Mondays

 

 

There were a few things that caught my eye and prompted to try the noodles here.  First, I saw the char siew the guy was cutting – it looked red and a bit burnt on the outside.  My ideal char siew!

Second, there was a queue at this stall.  If there is a queue at a food stall in Singapore, the food must be good, right? And lastly, there were the numerous accolades pinned at the stall.  Must be really good, right?

Well, it’s half right.  The portion is really very good value for money.  See the picture above? That’s a S$3 portion!  The char siew didn’t disappoint me – it was really tasty.

But I didn’t like the noodles – it was too dry; not enough chilli sauce and other sauce to blend it in.  So that made the noodles kinda stick together.  The wanton was so so – not memorable.

Overall, if you’re looking for quantity, then go ahead and eat it.  Be prepared for a queue – I was in it for about 15 minutes during off-peak hours.  If you’re going for quality, you’re better off eating the Kok Kee Wanton Noodle at Lavender Hawker Centre..

The Roti Prata House

The Roti Prata House
246M Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 574370
Tel: 6459 5260
Opening Hours: 24 hours a day

My family and I were in the vicinity, and we spotted The Roti Prata House.  The signage said “Recommended by The New Paper” and we were thinking it must be not bad. So we went in and ordered 4 crispy roti pratas and 1 nasi goreng with ikan bilis and mutton keema.  We also ordered 3 drinks – 1 teh alia (tea with milk and ginger), 1 teh chino and 1 ginger tea.  I’m not sure how much each item costs individually but we paid S$10.30 on the whole. 

To my horror, the roti pratas came out exactly not what I expected!  I wanted roti pratas that are crispy, somewhat expecting them to be like the Jalan Kayu version (that was mum’s expectation too).  When the poor guy was serving the roti pratas to us, mom kept commenting, “I prefer the Jalan Kayu ones.”  I could understand as the ones that were served to us were brown literally.  Crispy pratas, true, but they never mentioned that they deep fried the pratas to make them crispy!  Imagine when you bite into the pratas, a wee bit of oil oozed out.  I think they used cold pratas and deep fry coz not only was it a bit oily, it came out as chewy too.  I was hungry so I had to finish the pratas but it was definitely a horrific experience. 

Dad enjoyed his fried rice with ikan bilis and mutton keema.  Actually, it wasn’t mutton keema per se.  They just fry the minced mutton together with the rice and gave him ikan bilis toppings.  Not bad really except that they put a lot of pepper in the fried rice, probably to mask the mutton taste. 

Drinks are totally out of this world – in the sense that they are all too sweet.  Mum’s ginger tea came out like the teh alia – she was expecting plain tea with ginger.  More a miscommunication I think.  And she said it was too sweet – she doesn’t take sweet stuff, so it really depends on your taste.  No complaints from Dad so I guess the drink is okay for him.  My teh chino was half milk tea and additional milk on the bottom half.  Overall, it was too sweet for me even though I had a sweet tooth.  It’s better to ask them not to make the drinks too sweet and then later on, if you want to sweeten the drink, you can always add more sugar (which is easily available on every table). 

I finally found the New Paper article on the web (http://www.singaporefood.com.sg/rotiprata/) but just keep in mind that the crispy roti prata is not what you see on the web.    ST Foodies Club also recommended the pratas here (http://www.stomp.com.sg/stfoodiesclub/lifeeats/Hawkers_RotiPrata/index.html). 

Sadly, I won’t recommend the crispy pratas here.  You can definitely find better quality pratas elsewhere.

La Strada

 Pollo Novello Arostito Risotto Dell Giorno
La Strada (part of Les Amis Group)
1 Scotts Road #02-10
Shaw Centre
Tel: 6737 2622 (for reservations) / 6737 2555 (for pizza take-away orders)
Opening Hrs:      Lunch: 12.00pm to 2.30pm (last order); Dinner: 6.30pm to 9.30pm (last order); Closed on certain public holidays; please call to check.
Website: http://www.lesamis.com.sg/webtop/index2.html

 Bf and I went to La Strada on 1 Apr 2008 (Tue) for dinner.  Kind of last minute decision – and I was dressed in shorts & t-shirt.  Too casual I must admit!  Bf kept assuring me that it’s alright – but I didn’t feel good.  Fortunately the staff let us dined there. As usual, after pondering for a long while, we finally settled on the drinks order – a glass of Michele Chiarlo (Italy) “Nivole” Moscato d’Asti 2007 (S$19++) for me and a shot of Hennessy VSOP (S$16++) for bf.  I love dessert wines – so this glass of wine was perfect for me, smooth-bodied and sweet. Then we ordered the Caprese (S$22++), Risotto Dell Giorno (S$30++) and Pollo Novello Arostito (S$35++). 

We were given a few cheese bread-sticks and a small plate of olive oil to start our meal with.   We were then given a piece of warm bread on the side.  No butter was given – Italians dip their bread in olive oil.  Nothing to shout about as these are pretty ordinary stuff. 

The Caprese is made up of buffalo mozzarella with confit Scillian cherry tomatoes, basil agar agar and char grilled ciabatta bread).  We love this starter dish a lot, so very often than not, bf would order this especially when we dine in an Italian restaurant.  Basically, there is not much difference in the Caprese served in any other Italian restaurant as the basic ingredients are the same and you don’t need to cook this dish – just cut and serve.    Again, nothing to shout about.  BUT instead of cherry tomatoes, we were served the normal tomatoes and instead of basil agar agar, we were given basil leaves.  Still, these are minor slights that did not affect the overall good taste of this starter.  The buffalo mozzarella was not overwhelmingly cheesy and was soft to the palette.   

Next, we were served the Pollo Novello Arostito (oven roasted French baby chicken with savoy cabbage, pancetta parcel, filled with shallot and roasting jus).  I love this dish very much – the chicken was roasted just nice with a little crisp on the outside and tenderness on the inside.  This was the highlight of my meal there.  Unfortunately, I did not see/taste the pancetta parcel and if there was shallot, you could hardly taste it in the chicken.  There was definitely no roasting jus on my plate.  It was more like diluted oyster sauce on my cabbage and plate.  Still, the chicken was the star and it tasted great! 

The Risotto Dell Giorno (risotto of the day was done with 3 types of mushrooms – can’t remember which ones they are but one of them is Portobello mushroom).  Risotto is a traditional Italian dish made with rice.   I didn’t quite like this dish – it was served with a brown sauce and it didn’t look appetising.  When I tasted it, it was a bit saltish.  Couldn’t figure out what the sauce was but it just didn’t do for me.  I prefer my risotto rich and creamy. 😛 

Overall, food is a hit or miss.  It’s either you like it or you don’t.  Service is excellent though.  We told the serving staff we were sharing the food and they very kindly separated the portions of each dish for us, so that we were served individually.  This was done without us having to ask for it! They remembered the guests who dined there before – it was bf’s 3rd visit and my 1st and the staff remembered him!  Yes, I would still return to this place again and the Pollo Novello Arostito will be one of my favourite dishes – a huge plus point.   Service is attentive without being intrusive – which is another plus point. And staff who takes initiative gets another plus point.

Astons at Prince Georges Park (NUS)

Astons
27 Prince George’s Park Blk 8 Level 1
(Foodgle Food Court)
Tel: 6776 2832
Opening Hours: 11am to 9.30pm
Website: http://astonsspecialties.blogspot.com/           

 After hearing all the fantastic reviews about Astons, I was elated when I found out that Astons had a branch in the west!  So arming myself with an empty stomach, I skipped and hopped to Prince George’s Park on 26 Mar 2008 for lunch. 

I didn’t have a hard time looking for this place as I am quite familiar with the venue (if you want to visit there, I would advise taking the free internal shuttle bus from NUS – either Service A1 or A2.  The bus will drop you off in front of the PGP residences.  Just go down the flight of stairs and keep right.  You will see Red Dot Café.  Besides this café, there’s another short flight of steps.  At the end of the steps to your right, you will see a glass door.  Go inside and you’ll end up in the Foodgle Food Court.  Keep walking along the rows of stalls – Astons is somewhere in the middle.) 

Looking at the menu was a difficult thing coz there were so many food I wanted to try.  I did balked at the high prices especially for the beef steak (almost S$10!) so I finally settled on char-grilled chicken.  I didn’t know that the meal came with 2 sides and the person taking my order wasn’t that helpful either.  He simply asked: “What sides do you want?” and waited while I pondered.  He should have offered suggestions as to what sides they have instead of waiting.  This poor service left me a bit peeved!  Anyway, I ordered the side of fries & coleslaw and he gave me a receipt and told me my queue number was XXX.   This is an excellent idea as I can go search for a seat and get my order only when it is ready; sort of like waiting for the doctor. 

My 2nd disappointment came when I saw my order.  I did order char-grilled chicken but what was served to me looked like an ordinary chicken chop with some sort of brown sauce on top of it.  And to think that I paid S$5.30 for that when I could easily get a similar meal at half the price elsewhere in NUS. 

This char-grilled chicken didn’t have the tell-tale signs of being char-grilled at all.  By this, I meant you should be able to see the criss-cross black marks on the chicken that says it had been char-grilled.  The one I had looked like simply grilled.  This is a great difference to me as the taste of char-grilled and grilled chicken is simply opposite side of the poles.   

The only saving grace of this dish was the generous amount of coleslaw and the great tasting fries.  The fries were fried to the crisp and they probably put some red chilli powder on it.  These are the skinny fries (not the chunky ones).  Think of Long John Silver’s fries but the skinnier version of it.  It’s not too spicy at all; the chilli powder gave it the reddish look and just a touch of spiciness on your tongue.  

Perhaps I will come again to try the beef steak or maybe I should somehow make a trip to Astons @ East Coast.  But never again will I try the char-grilled chicken at PGP.  Save your $$ for elsewhere. They have 3 other outlets mostly in the East.  Check their website for more details.