Wednesday, December 15

Curve Restaurant

A farewell lunchtime gathering at Darwin Waterfront.

Location: Darwin Waterfront, ground floor of Medina Hotel (see map)

Website: official website

Price: lunchtime specials (12-2pm) at $12.50 with drinks, regular mains menu $20-30. Menu available on the official website, but it doesn't include the lunch menu. Note all items below are from the special lunchtime menu, except the steak sandwhich (last item).


Chicken caesar salad: I didn't personally order this but it looked yummy with all the ingredients a caesar salad should have in a decent sized bowl. If I come back to eat there, I'd try the salad!


Beer battered barramundi (ie fish n' chips): I ordered this also as part of the lunch specials. The fish was good quality, but terribly small. I usually peel off the batter but the batter was thin so that was unnecessary. Chips were hot and crispy mmm. Salad complimented the dish well, a variety of leaves and not too much dressing (just the way I like it). Throughout the meal I couldn't help think how this was so much better than the last fish and chips from NUS (Singapore)!


Tandoori chicken wrap: two wraps of tandoori chicken, yoghurt (and mint?) dressing with lettuce. My friends seemed to enjoy it, I tasted the chicken and it was flavoursome. The serving size could be bigger.


Curve beef, cheese and bacon burger: I thought the burger looked like a McDonalds cheeseburger. Didn't seem like it had much veggies or gourmet ingredients. Beef tasted fine, but it was small.



Steak sandwhich: not included in the lunch menu, and it was $17.50. Steak in foccacia with rocket and onion. Can't comment much because this wasn't my dish, but the piece of steak I tried was juicy and tasty.

Other: busy but not crowded, bright and modern, good place for a quiet gathering.

Rating: 4.5/5 for lunchtime menu - reasonable price, nice environment, food portions are a bit small but overall it's a good deal since drinks are included. From what friends tell me - 2/5 if you're going for dinner. I wouldn't actually eat dinner there because there are better places for $30+. Plus I don't trust restaurants that are part of hotels, I'm sure they incur a premium price.

Curve Cafe on Urbanspoon

Update - 1

Today I was taking food pictures again and am inspired to update my food blog after half a year of inactivity. I've added some tags/labels for your convenience and finished off uploading 2 more reviews for Singapore. Since I'm back in Australia I'll start writing about my dining experiences here starting off in Darwin where I'll be for the next 2 month!

Thursday, July 15

Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant

I was invited for lunch one fine day, to an exotic Spanish restaurant...

Location: Level 1 of Vivocity (see precise location)

Website: official website, reviews and colourful pictures.

Price: $10.80 for soup, $43 for paella, $10.80 for poached pear dessert. Check the website for full menu.

Food:


Crema de Mariscos (creamy seafood soup) - as seen above, was a delicious soup served with toasted garlic bread. Generous with ingredients - mussels, prawns, squid, fish. Was a good generous serving too, I think I would have been full eating this alone. Mmm quality AND quantity!


Paella Valenciana (Spanish rice) - Good presentation, served in a wok (or a Spanish version of one). I liked it, it was like fried rice with saffron and a lot of ingredients - this one had mostly seafood ingredients plus chicken and capsicium. I remember this being slightly salty though. You can read more about paellas here, I've never tasted or heard of this dish before.


Peras al Vino Tinto (poached pear in red wine) - my first thought was, why is this served in a tacky looking blue plate? I'm not a fan of the taste of alcohol but the pear went reasonablly well with the ice cream. Serving was too small though!

Other: lovely environment both indoors and outdoor facing the waterfront. The restaurant had huge capacity to seat a large number of people, we had an early lunch so there were very few customers.

Rating: really depends what you're after. 4.5/5 for a classy place to relax, have a light meal. 3.5/5 if you're just in it for the food, because apart from the highly impressive soup, many items on the menu were way too expensive.

Yang Gui Fei Xi'an Restaurant (羊贵妃西安美食)

I went here awhile ago with some Chinese friends, including one from Xian.

Location: 18 Smith Street Singapore (food street in Chinatown)

Website: pictures and more pictures

Price: average but unsure about specific items because we split bill and our friend had a membership card. To give a rough idea - altogether ~$15 per person including drinks

Food:


羊肉泡馍 (Mutton soup with bread) - a classic Xi'an dish. A delicious lamb soup with bits of broken bread. I haven't had it since I was 5 so I'm not sure how this matches up to the ones in China but it was tasty, although quite salty and had a thick layer of oil. But I think it was worth the calories/cholesterol haha.



Satay sticks - the picture shows potato and green chilli satays, I think we also had chicken and lamb. Great flavouring, nice and hot, meat was tender. Only thing was that this was really salty, and probably high in MSG.

Cold chilli noodles - I found these noodles a tad bland but my friend loved this dish and said it was his favourite out of everything we had that night. 



酸梅汁 (plum drink) - lovely cold mildly sweet and sour drink on a hot day. The drink was particularly memorable because it went really well with the food!

Other: good to see that there are restaurants in Singapore that sell authentic Chinese food!

Rating: 4/5 delicious and unique range of dishes. But quite salty so be prepared to drink lots of water for the rest of the evening!

Thursday, July 8

Ramen Play

Dinner after a good old KTV session :)



Location: Somerset 313, basement 3 (Somerset MRT)

Website: official website, more tantalising pictures

Price: $14.80 for sanpou ramen, ~$12 for tonkatsu ramen, ~$7 for sides (eg tempura), ~$6.50 for dessert

Food:


Firstly, something about ramen: the first time I ate ramen was on my school trip to Japan, and it was delicious! Maybe that's why I'm often disappointed and rarely manage to find a good replicate of ramen - not in Singapore, not in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Shanghai and definitely not Darwin.


Sanpou ramen: sanpou, also 三宝 or three treasure ramen was the signature dish for the store. The soup was tasty tonkotsu base (was it too salty? I don't remember now), the pork pieces were very tender and tasty (with the layers of fat mmm). My favourite "treasure" in it was the boiled egg, it was cooked just right, not exactly hard boiled, but neither was it runny like soft boiled egg hmm.

Tonkatsu ramen: my friend ate this (see image above, the bowl in the background). I've never had good light, crispy, friable (haha maybe not the best choice of words) tonkatsu batter since the first time I ate in Japan. Tonkatsu that is exactly the same as schnitzel always disappoints me. The sanpou ramen is nicer :)



Tempura vegetables: see above, I don't know, tempura always tastes the same to me!



Green tea dessert: green tea dessert with canned fruits, jelly-like strands and red bean paste. Interesting mix of ingredients, looked and tasted nice but the bowl was very tiny!

Other: the store has an interesting name, decorations are bright and new, food is nice but I think there are other stores with similar tastes and cheaper.

Rating: 5/5 for the egg!! 3.8/5 overall

Wednesday, July 7

Giant Kkochi and Rice Cakes (Korean)

We planned to go ice skating but never made it. But discovered a yummy snack :)



Location: beside Kallang Ice World (Leisure Park Kallang, Stadium MRT)

Website: (none available, but can check location from http://www.leisurepark.com.sg)

Price: $2.90 for kkochi rice cakes, $3.50 for giant kkochi

Food:

Kkochi rice cakes: the first time I had korean rice cakes was at the international students lunchtime market at Melbourne uni, and I haven't eaten it until now. The rice cakes (Chinese: 年糕, nian gao) are grilled on a skewer and subsequently coated with a choice of sauces. I had Korean spicy sauce at this store, the sauce was just right in spicyness and I love the chewy texture of the grilled rice cakes!

Giant kkochi: advertised as the "Korean king size chicken", it's a skewer of chicken coated with deep fried batter and served with the same range of sauces as the rice cakes. Kind of like a satay (an Australian, not Singaporean sized one!) The batter was crunchy and the meat is tender mmm.

Other: a filling and yummy snack! But needless to say, unhealthy haha.

Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, May 29

Chinatown and Kreta Ayer food centre

Non Chinese Chinatown food haha!

Location: Chinatown (Kreta Ayer) food centre (near Outram Park MRT)

Website: more about the food centre (go to the part about Chinatown complex food centre)

Price: ~$1.50 each for popiah (薄饼), $1 for 4 chwee kueh (水粿), $5 for bah ku teh (肉骨茶)

Food:




Popiah: I never heard of this before coming to Singapore. My host family said the Vietnamese spring rolls reminds them of popiah. I guess the shape is similar but the taste is not! The skin is crispy and a bit transparent like a crepe - the filling is a sweetish sauce, with crunchy peanuts, bits of egg, and lots of preserved vegetable. Like durian, this was another Singaporean food that I disliked when I first tasted it, but the taste is growing on me.




Chwee kueh: I was surprised when stores with the label "水粿" (which means fruit in Chinese) sold these white rice cakes with diced (oily) preserved vegetable filling and chilli. There seems to be an interesting history behind the name and origin of this dish. Anyway, I personally can't tell the difference between chwee kueh from one store to another. Some stores are said to have better texture in their rice cake but I like the smooth, soft and melting texture of them all (perhaps it would take me another few years in Singapore to notice the subtle differences).

P.S. this is cheating because the picture was taken when I ate chwee kueh at Changi village a few months back. But it's ok because to me all chwee kueh looks the same, except the one at the market was served on a sheet of brown paper vs a plate.

Bah ku teh: had bah ku teh the last time I came to Kreta Ayer food centre. I wrote about it recently in my other blog. The one I had here was peppery and white (Singaporean version vs the herbal Malaysian one). Tasted good, but it was pricey and too much meat makes you feel a bit sick after awhile...

Other: not too fond of this kind of food markets because it's large and you walk around many times before deciding on anything to eat! Environment is dark even in broad daylight and a bit ugly?

Rating: 2.5/5 (food is ok but I don't like the place much)




Later my friend and I had dessert at Chinatown food street (hawker centre)

Location: Smith Street (near Chinatown MRT) - see here for more precise directions

Website: see what the place looks like

Price: ~$3 for the bowl of glutinous rice balls

Food: We had the glutinous rice balls (see above) in peanut soup. My friend especially likes the peanut soup, I thought it was surprisingly nice too. We had one of each flavour which (if I remember correctly) were green tea, yam, lotus paste, red bean and sesame. The yam was my favourite :)

Other: the food and environment here looks nice (but crowded). But hey, isn't it weird that the middle of food street in Chinatown is Singaporean hawker food rather than any "real" Chinese food!

Rating: 4.5/5 yum!

Wednesday, May 26

Lau Pa Sat and Wendy's

A large hawker centre in the middle of the CBD!



Location: 18 Raffles Quay, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (near Raffles Place MRT)

Website: official website

Price: approximately $12 for 10 sticks of satay, $1.70 for chendol, $4.50 for 生煎, $3 for laksa

Food:



Satay: The whole area outside the pavillion sells satays! I'm guessing the taste is quite similar for all of them. Hot and fresh, you can smell the smoke everywhere too haha. We ordered chicken (yellow), beef and mutton (darker ones). Mutton was my favourite. My friend said that the plate lacked rice cubes though...

Just a side note, satay in Singapore is quite different from the ones we have in the markets in Darwin (where the meat comes in large chunks, I think here they call these kebabs) and different from the Chinese 羊肉串 (yang rou chuan) which are more salty, spicy, with cumin powder taste and no dipping sauce. I prefer the Chinese kind!




Chendol: this is one of the foods I disliked when I first tasted it in Singapore. Now I like all of it from the red bean (red/purple), to the grass jelly (black) to the green thing.

生煎 (pan fried mini buns): I had this last time I went to Lau pa sat. It was yuck, nothing like a good Shanghainese one. The buns were deep fried instead of pan fried and neither the dough or the filling tasted good!

Laksa: My friend had this last time when we at there. From what I remember it tasted good and was a large portion with enough "ingredients" inside!


Wendy's: my other friends ordered Wendy's next to Lau pa sat

3/4 Pound burger: horrendous burger with three slices of meat patty and three slices of cheese. Don't eat it, it'll make you sick!! (see image on right, taken from Wendy's website)

Baked potato (sides): good serving size, and tasted ok. But homemade/fresh baked potato has much better texture.


Other: Lau pa sat is a pretty hawker place, nice architecture and nice lights outside! Oh there is alot of "touting" (never heard this term before coming to Singapore). People are pushy and try to sell things to you, which I find annoying.

Rating: 3.5/5 because I like the building and it's accessible, food is good or bad depends what you order and price is average.

Saturday, May 22

The Cheese Prata Shop

Supper after dance, supper for NUS students!

Location: 18 Clementi Road

Website: see more pictures or read more reviews

Price: ~$2 for prata, $1 for drinks, $8 for murtabak

Food: I went there twice and I tried:




- Tissue prata (shown above): tissue prata is this cone-shaped crispy sweet prata. Quite yum :)
- Normal prata: just normal? I don't know what else to say haha.
- Egg prata: like the normal one but with egg in the middle, was kind of cold...
- Murtabak: had a cheesy chicken one, tasted good and was hot!




Drinks:
- Teh tarik (next to tissue prata): lots of bubbles, looks kinda cool but taste the same as a normal one.
- Bandung dinosaur (in the blue cup above): bundang is this nasty pink looking, perfume tasting rose syrup drink. The first time I had it I couldn't take more after the first few sips, but since then I found the taste to be more acceptable. Anyway, the bundang dinosaur is just the drink with a scoop of milo - weird combination but quite tasty.

Other: Apparently it's open 24h. Price could be better and more of the food could be served hot (even if they're not freshly made). But otherwise an enjoyable supper spot near NUS~

Rating: 4/5

Munchie Monkey

A farewell lunch from my colleagues :)



Location: NUS Yusof Ishak House (YIH)

Website: See more info and other reviews

Price: $5.70 for main dish (holiday price), $5 for dessert

Food:




Lasagna: tasted ok, the ricotta cheese in the middle gave it a funny texture and the tomato based sauce was watery. The topping was just a layer of cheese without the usual cream/cheese sauce. At least the portion was filling.




Pizza: tried this one (pepperoni? I don't remember), margherita and the 3 meats one. The pizza was freshy and hot, cheesy and of good size (compared to the tiny one I had at Pastamania). But the topping was similarly scarce with all the pizzas. And the base is hard like a biscuit than pizza crust.




Fish n chips: I didn't personally eat the fish but the chips was hot and fresh. I don't like the look of the crumbed fish, and it looked small. The one in Megabites Cafe (NUS science) had something like 4 slices of fish and looked more appetitising!




Brownie: very sweet just as a brownie usually is. Was nice and warm, and the walnuts were great too. Sauce and ice cream complimented the dessert well. This was my personal favourite from the whole meal :)



Apple crumble/pie: taste ok but pastry was not crunchy, plus the filling was a little strange - perhaps a little bland and not enough apple taste? Ice cream was nice though.

Other: The pasta looked quite appetising and of good quantity (but I didn't get to try it). The cafe is unique with comfortable lounges and cute soft toys, and good lighting near the window seats. Ah finding cheap and good western food in Singapore is a challenge!

Rating: 3.5/5 (average food, good price compared to outside cafes, nice environment)

Malay store at NUS science canteen

One of my favourites on campus!


Oops I've been to this store so many times and still don't know its name.

Location: NUS science canteen (the frontier)

Website: NUS website

Price: $3-4

Food:
- Fried wing set: 2x chicken wings, 1x tofu (shown in picture)

- Ayam penyet: 1x chicken leg/thigh, this is the standard dish  at the store

- Lemon chicken: also chicken leg but in a curry sauce... I didn't taste any lemon flavour at all.

- Steamed chicken: sounds healthy but it's white steamed chicken in a brown/black sauce. Tasty but a tad salty.

- Other: there is also fried prawns, fried dory fish, meatball soup... (never tried these)




Other: Rice is good, always hot. Added veg is good, but it seems to be only available at lunchtime. The fried chicken dishes come with this incredibly hot chilli sauce: see the two different sauces in the picture - it's the one on the left). This store has the most tasty food I've had on campus, but also terribly unhealthy.

Rating: 4.5/5 (for taste, but maybe 3/5 if you consider health haha)

The Daily Scoop

A hidden but bustling place for dessert!



Location: Clementi Arcade

Website: http://thedailyscoop.com.sg/

Price: $3 for single, $5+ for double

Food: We had the double scoop, durian and green tea. Durian was smooth and flavoursome, but not overpowering. (But I've only started to acquire a taste for durian in my recent months in Singapore anyway...) Green tea was ok, with bits of red bean - but not particularly memorable compared to the durian!

Other: The store was small and quite crowded on a Friday night!

Rating: 4/5


New blog!

Food glorious fooood! I've had this idea in mind for some time. I go to so many places and eat at so many places, and take so many photos. It's a waste not to share it.

I like a variety of cuisines. I don't tend to eat at fancy restaurants. Finding cheap eats is exciting. Taste is important and I don't like fake/not authentic foods (eg. Australian "Chinese" takeaway food, or Asian "steak"). But I'm not particularly picky, dining environment doesn't need to be classy, and service doesn't need to be meticulous (but rude service ruins a good meal).

My memory isn't great, but I can remember food and tastes well. So I will slowly be writing about the foods I've eaten in Singapore, Darwin, Melbourne... and perhaps the places I've visited too.