An Introduction

An Introduction
The Simplest Aphrodisiac

Flavours of the Month

Flavours of the Month
Rocks Urban Grill & Bar

Overseas Trips

Overseas Trips
The Reason to Travel

The A List

The A List
Featuring the Best

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck

22 October 2010

I may not have had much duck confits and roasted duck in my eating rampage (so chronicled in this blog) around Singapore, but I've developed a strong liking for both and would be delighted to have more recommendations on where I could satiate a craving when it comes up again. Well done duck (as compared to chicken, which when done well is still, you know... chicken) can be sublime I tell you. One meat, two cuisines, but the same type of gastronomic heaven. I'm getting all hungry again already ;)

It was not too long ago when a fellow foodie suggested we have dinner at Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck. Tucked at a quiet corner of Paragon Shopping Centre along Orchard Road, this restaurant is often packed on evenings; table reservations are recommended. If you're doing a walk-in, as we did, be prepared that the waitresses may ask if you're fine with an hour's worth of dinner before the table is given up to the customer who had made an earlier reservation. But the food arrives fast so you have ample time to enjoy it.

So is it worth your time? Well I'm happy to report that yes, it is. Tasteful and immacautely done, the roasted Peking Duck was really quite divine, if not even R-rated as some others have put it. Even for my amateruish tastebuds for duck, I am sure many of you out there would appreciate the very tender duck meat and its accompanying light and crisp skin. It was served with the popiah wrap that you can fold the meat in, or, for a sweet treat (and something new to me as well), dip the meat in a saucer of sugar - delicious.

The waitresses recommended that we let half of the duck be cooked in Fried Rice, and we thought okay, why not. When it came in a huge plate before us, our eyes widened in amazement. I wouldn't be lying if I said my pants felt tighter just looking at that plate of carbo. It was quite nice actually, with that "wok-hei" touch and hint of white pepper. But that one plate could do for four, no make that six people. Between the two of us, there wasn't much that we could do. The friend took one bowl and was done; I had three.

We didn't stop there of course. We ordered the Cod in Ma La Soup as well, which helped to whet the appetite with its strong infusion of herbs and spices. Sour and spicy, this went quite well with the fried rice. Personally, it's not really my type of soup; then again, I've never been the biggest fan of soups. So don't quote me on any reviews on ma la soups, I really have little idea on how they should be done or how they should best taste. Sour and spicy, that's as far as it goes for me.

The Stewed Beef in Brown Sauce was even better. Stewed to tender perfection, you could feel each beef slice almost melting in your mouth.

In the end, the only "problem" we had was having to finish a whole duck between the two of us, which we couldn't. It's one of the things that Imperial Treasure sticks fervently to, to serve a whole duck and no less, which I believe has something to do with retaining the freshness of the duck.

All-in-all, a good duck-filled dinner that's definitely worthy of praise. And, if you're still wondering where I'm headed for my November holiday (isn't it very obvious already?)... It's Beijing! :)

Excellent. But you have to wonder if the attentive service was only because they wanted to make sure that you could leave within the hour.

$68 for the Peking Duck
$10 extra for Fried Rice
$20 for the Cod Fish in Ma La Soup
$15 for each serving of Stewed Beef in Brown Sauce
$1.50 for each pot of Chinese tea

* Prices subject to the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.
** AMEX Cardmembers get 10% off.

Orchard Paragon, #05-42/45.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Cugini Trattoria Pizzeria

20 October 2010

After watching Julia Roberts stuff her face with pizza in Naples in the movie "Eat, Pray, Love", an enormous craving for a close-to-authentic (I'm in Singapore, I have to be realistic) pizza gripped me like a wild animal. Naturally, I found it cause to pamper myself, even more so when it was one of those weekends where I didn't have much work to be preoccupied with and had quite a bit of time to spare. I was looking for some place relatively quiet so that I could pour through my travel guides (where to? find out next post!), but at the same time needed the assurance that the food would be good - for all that I chose a familiar favourite - Cugini.

The pizza was wonderful. I was so surprised that this was baked with an electric oven that I had to ask the waitresses twice if this was really true. It sure tasted like it was fresh out of a wood-fired oven, with the pizza charred à la Italiano on its sides and a rustic-like aroma seducing senses. More amazing gastronomic memories of Italy came flooding back...

I had wanted to do a Julia and get the plain and simple Margherita pizza, as I did as well in Naples, but my love for the seafood pizza got the better of me. Squids, prawns and fish slices adorned the Mareggiata Pizza dutifully, but I thought it was delicious even on its own with the lovely melted cheese.

If this is the first time that you've heard of Cugini, well, here's something else that would charm you for sure - the Seafood Pasta. A signature and a crowd favourite, it's amazing that this remains off the menu. Read the full review here.

Craving well-satsfied. Now, it's time to build up a recent love for something... Asian. Stay tuned, that's coming up next!



87 Club Street.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Garibaldi Italian Restaurant

18 October 2010

I love Italy, with all its charm, history, ladies, and of course, food. I have every belief that I will return to Italy again in future, and with every hope that it would last much longer than the two weeks I had there earlier this year. Till then, I can only try to recreate those memories by dining in Italian restaurants that serve the most authentic of Italian food here in Singapore, which to be honest is a much harder task than you would expect. With scarcely any genuine hole-in-the-wall trattorias around, it's left to those restaurants on the posh and high side for that ephemeral but divine trip down memory lane. Other than Cugini (with a new post coming up next!), Al Forno and to some extent, Borgata, one other place that is up there on my list would have to be Garibaldi.

Of course, some things aren't typical of Italian tradition, but to have warmly toasted bread is definitely something I would readily welcome. Soft in the middle with a crisp top, these bread slices awoke the carbohydrate lover in me and got me tempted to have more than thirds. It did not help when the Italian waiter, pleasantly surprised to hear me utter "Grazie" on my first serving, kept returning with a wide smile... and a tray of fresh breads. But to hear him reply with "Prego", ahhh, it's those memories of lovely Italy that I'm helplessly chasing.

Spaghetti with Seasonal Seafood & Fresh Tomatoes

The Spaghetti was good, really good. While the noodles itself did not reach the "homemade" benchmark set by Cugini, nevertheless the sauce itself - thick and flavourful - was quite amazing indeed. Seafood ingredients were fresh and firm to the bite.

Linguine with Crab Meat and Vodka Sauce

Ms Vanilla's Crabmeat Linguine pasta seemed to be as good as well, given how the sauce wrapped itself around the pasta so magically with each pull of the fork. What it lacked in ingredients, I hoped it made up for it in taste.

Tiramisu with Homemade Lady-Finger Biscuits and Licorice Scented Mascarpone Cream

No Italian dinner would be complete without one of their famed desserts or a cup of cappucino, or both even if you have space. Garibaldi's desserts may not have been the most impressive, but at least the supple taste of Tiramisu in my mouth is enough to satisfy me. The partner felt it would have been better moist (I remember adding that I may have developed an un-Italian love for BLIC's tiramisu ice-cream) while I felt the coffee flavour overpowered the chocolate a bit more than I would have liked.

Torta Di Mele
Roberto’s Mother Apple Pie with Vanilla Gelato

Choosing between the chocolate and hazelnut parfait ("Semifreddo") and the Torta Di Mele was a difficult undertaking for both of us, but the partner decided on having one instead of my greedy idea of doing the whole nine yards and ordering both. The vanilla gelato, which probably sealed the decision, came out to be more ice-cream than gelato, but at least it had loving vanilla beans all around (and on the vanilla sauce on the side too) which did it for us. Nothing spectacular on the apple pie, no real caramelised apples inside that would have gotten me on a sugar high, but I suppose it still played its part in ending the meal on a sweet note.


$30 for the Spaghetti
$30 for the Linguine
$16 for the Tiramisu
$16 for the Torta Di Mele
$9 for each bottle of still water

* Prices subject to the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.
** Citibank Credit Cardmembers get 10% off.

36 Purvis Street #01-02.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Pan Pacific Singapore

15 October 2010

Hotel stays in Singapore don't come by cheap, but at least with Pan Pacific Singapore you have the assurance that the room would be extremely comfy and nothing short of luxurious even for the most basic of deluxe rooms. Other than the frustrating problems with the unstable Internet connection (both cabled and wireless), I'm glad to say it was a very pleasant stay indeed.

Beef Burger

We all know my penchant for burgers, and how much of it I'm eating both locally and overseas. To be honest, I had initially intended to order some dishes from Hai Tien Lo, Pan Pac's famed Chinese restaurant, but being pressed for time I settled for the simple and the easy - the quintessential beef burger.

The beef burger was quite good. While it was admittedly dry on some parts, I appreciated the full-bodied beefiness of the patty and the way it was pounded. Fries were delicious too by the way - all hot and crisp. Now if only they added a fried egg and maybe even some sauce - barbecue or black pepper - that would have been quite amazing I'm sure.


Pan Pacific Singapore (In-room dining)

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Seafood Paradise

13 October 2010

An evening retreat saw the directorate make its way to the Singapore Flyer, where many of us experienced our maiden flight on-board the giant observation wheel. With our "VIP Signature Cocktail Flight" passes, we were given "full VIP treatment" (which really means a short wait at the lounge and an escorted walk to the capsule) as well as a "unique cocktail" (very much a mocktail, to the dismay of many colleagues) to savour during our short, thirty-minute ride.

I can't say I found the ride particularly exciting, but maybe it's just because I'm too familiar with the sights of Singapore. I suppose it was the view of the gentle sunset upon the city's skyscrapers that made the ride somewhat worthwhile, a pretty and even calming scene indeed that no camera can really capture in its entirety.

Dinner at Seafood Paradise was nothing impressive really, but at least I had the good company of my colleagues to thank for. I think many of the dishes here have been somewhat diluted in their flavours to cater to the tourists, which made quite a few of us feel that there was "something missing" in them. If I had to make a quick comparison, a quick thought from the tip of my fingers, I would say a place like Mellben serves up way better dishes than Seafood Paradise. I must add that I like the tea here though, nicely flavoured and aromatic Rose Tea to accompany the meal. Call me conventional, but it's always tea for me for such Chinese-themed dinners rather than wines or beers.

Steamed Scottish Bamboo Clam
With Golden Mushroom and Minced Garlic

The bamboo clams were an interesting sight to behold, but truth be told, they tasted more like scallops to me. Very strong hint of garlic, but it clears up your airwaves and gets your appetite going.

Braised Whole Baby Shark's Fin Broth
With Crab Roe and Dried Scallop

This soup appears to promise much more than it can deliver - on taste it was terribly ordinary and some even described it as tasteless or flat. Wasteful use of the endangered species then.

Steamed Live Seabass "Medan" Style

The seabass was fresh and tasted sweet on its own. The "Medan" style sauce was a mix of sweet, sour and spicy, but I personally didn't like it that much. I would prefer a simple deep-fried fish actually, but that's just me.

Boiled Live Ocean Prawns

Prawns, like the fish, were fresh. Only problem is that this dish turned out to be as monotonous as the shark's fin soup.

Renowned Crispy Roast Chicken

The roast chicken was not too bad actually, and I remember the skin to be as crisp as it would be for roast ducks. The meat wasn't too dry, so that's good too.

Imperial Spare Ribs with Mocha Sauce

Or otherwise better known as "coffee pork ribs". No idea how these tasted, but the colleagues were rolling off various other places that serve good coffee ribs so I gather these didn't quite make the mark.

There were also some E-fu noodles and simple desserts (the all typical almond jelly with longan) to round off this "Corporate Value Set Menu", but these were at best predictable and ordinary.

Chilli Crabs

A staple at every seafood dinner surely. Both of our tables had two large servings of chilli crabs (with accompanying deep-fried mantou buns) to make sure our dinner was complete. I can't say the chilli crabs were fantastic; in fact it was the most "touristic" (for the lack of a better word or description) of the dishes we had for the night, in large part because it wasn't as spicy as many of us would have liked it to be. Gravy could have been a bit smoother and less clumpy too.

Good. Language barrier though.

$398++ for the corporate set menu
$100++ for each large serving of chilli crabs

Singapore Flyer, #01-01.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

Tang's Island Cafe

11 October 2010

Tang's Island Cafe has been around for quite a while now and it's one of the few casual places in Orchard that I would go to if I'm looking to have some local fare in a peaceful and cosy restaurant setting. The menu has a fair bit of variety that I believe could do for a simple meal, or a brief respite from all those hours of shopping. Do check out their delectable-looking cakes on display too, they seem quite affordable and I'm sure they would go quite well with some coffee, tea or coolers. Sweet treats.

I liked the Crayfish Laksa, quite a lot too actually. I don't normally hold high expectations for laksa served in a restaurant but this was an exception. The piping hot gravy was thick and spicy, and as it warms you up inside chomp on the all-quintessential tau pok (deep-fried tofu) and fish cakes. The café did not scrimp on the crayfish too, a good thing because there was fresh, succulent meat on both halves. Satisfied much, I really wouldn't mind having this again next time.

Or, just maybe, I should have a go at the Black Pepper Crab Tang Hoon instead, which looked really appetising too. This was stir-fried rice vermicelli, cooked with a strong hint of black pepper and served with a crunchy soft-shell crab on the side. Quite a healthy portion too if I may add. Come to think of it, I'm sure it would have been good to pair it with the laksa gravy, just so it would stay a little moist and have a bit more flavour to it as well. Hmm, I'm getting all hungry just thinking about it.

With such satisfying main courses you would expect anything on the dessert menu to be equally good, if not more. I'm afraid we can't say so for the Thai Red Ruby though, because the ice was not finely shaven enough and the coconut milk was a wee bit little. Somehow it looked quite clumpy when it first arrived, and a pity this wasn't a case of judging a book by its cover. If I may suggest, the café may like to try adding a scoop of coconut ice-cream, I'm sure that will be quite well-received!

Very good.

$16 for the crayfish laksa
$14 for the black pepper crab tang hoon
$6 for the thai red ruby
$4 for a glass of ice cappuccino

* Prices subject to the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.
** AMEX Cardmembers get 15% off.

Tangs Orchard, Level 4.

Pictures taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

Nando's Chickenland

08 October 2010

Move over Barcelos, the real deal from South Africa has arrived and by the looks of it, is here to stay. Admittedly I was quite reluctant to pay a visit to Nando's in Singapore because I've tried it in Kuala Lumpur for almost half the price. It's only natural that you would feel somewhat cheated having to fork out more for essentially the same thing.

Peri-fect Platter

A meal for four with the family; how apt that the tagline for this platter was "families that eat together, stay together". The Peri Chips were not too bad given the spicy flavour, but it's not actually cooked with spices but really just sprinkle-on chilli powder. The Spiced Rice, moist with a curry-like flavour, was unique and could be eaten on its own. Grilled Vegetables were alright while the Mediterranean Rice was the most plain and boring of the lot.

For the uninitiated, Nando's specialises in flame-grilled Portuguese-style "peri-peri" (Swahili for the African Bird’s Eye chilli) chicken, so don't you step in here and order some boring salad! The chicken was tender on most parts and it's commendable that the herbs and spices were sufficiently infused throughout. If it's not spicy enough, there's always extremely peri-peri (spicy) sauces on the table to test your limits.

Very good.

$43.60++ for the peri-fect platter.

* Click here for the full menu.

Tanglin Mall, #01-14/15.

Additional Comment
The staff told me that all their meats are Halal-certified, but there isn't full certification for the whole restaurant because they serve alcohol.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS.

Chili's Grill & Bar

06 October 2010

If I had to choose between Nando's and Chili's in Tanglin I'd take Chili's any day for its good variety and serving portions. There's also an indescribable homely feel and atmosphere to this restaurant (expat territory notwithstanding), with all the booth seats, dim lights, television sets and bar area nicely tucked in this cosy corner of Tanglin Mall. Food here is all American, which means it's a lot of hearty meats, burgers and fries. Sounds a lot like my type of food heaven surely.

Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers

For a change I had decided not to indulge in my usual order of a burger, but the Crispy Honey-Chipotle Chicken Crispers turned out really good indeed so there weren't any regrets at all. Crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, sweet and spicy all over, this was one sinful dish that I really liked.

Cajun Pasta with Grilled Chicken

The Cajun Pasta was quite the opposite to the delightful crispers if you ask me. It was sufficiently dull and overly cheesy (literally), with the Cajun flavours sorely overwhelmed by the alfredo sauce.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Chili's proud and popular dessert, the Molten Chocolate Cake was a sizable warm and thick chocolate cake with smooth hot fudge filling. If that doesn't sound enticing enough, how about drizzles of caramel sauce and a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream as well? You would need sufficient space in the tummy for this by the way, so order with care!

Very good. Friendly and cheery staff.

$65 in total (incl. taxes) for all three items.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS and Apple iPhone 4.

Bangkok Gem @ Food Republic

04 October 2010

We all know my professed love for phad thai (amongst other loves like girls and burgers) so I'm always on the search for some good fried Thai noodles. Bangkok Gem at Somerset 313's Food Republic serves up a fairly good Phad Thai, complete with the fine crunch of chopped peanuts and spicy zest of chilli flakes. The Pandan Chicken wasn't as worth the money though, when all you get for two bucks is a single small portion of wrapped chicken. Do let me know where else in Singapore would you go for some delicious phad thai! :)

$6 for the phad thai,
$2 for a side order of pandan chicken.

Food Republic, 313 @ Somerset, 5th Floor.

Picture taken with the Apple iPhone 4.


03 October 2010

Just as seemingly fusion as the name of this restaurant goes, Yureka is a fairly new restaurant that prides itself by having a variety (I hesitate to use the word "fusion") of cuisines - Japanese, Chinese, Malay and even Western - all under one roof. I learnt about Yureka from an 8 Days magazine and thought I should give this Halal-certified establishment a shot.

There's Teppanyaki on offer as well, but you should only choose to sit by the hot pan if you don't mind going out later smelling of... cooked food haha. It was fine with me since I was going to drive back home anyway (away from rolled eyes or curious stares from public transport commuters I suppose) and it was nice to get personal attention from the chef. You can still order teppanyaki items if you're seated at the normal tables, so not to worry, but you might just miss some nifty bartender-like moves by the chefs.

Garlic Fried Rice

This is a must-have with any Teppanyaki meal. Instead of boring steamed rice, have the Garlic Fried Rice for more flavour, and to whet your appetite of course. I liked the fried rice here, simple with crunchy little bits of garlic.

Black Pepper Beef

I ordered the "Twin Teppanyaki Set" which lets you choose from a range of items - chicken, cuttlefish, beef, salmon, prawn and scallops - and not surprisingly I made sure one of those items I had was moo moo beef. The Black Pepper Beef was delicious, in large part because of the sauce, but it would have been much better if it was done medium or medium-rare since it was a tad too chewy. If I'm back here again I would ask for slices instead of cubes, that might help haha.

Teriyaki Chicken

The Teriyaki Chicken was better than the beef actually, since the sweet teriyaki sauce was complemented very well by crisp garlic chips. We ordered the typical teppanyaki bean-sprouts too which weren't too bad as well.

Grilled Sambal Stingray

The Sambal Stingray was quite a let-down. The fish was overdone while the type of sambal used didn't seem to quite fit. I suppose it was too spicy without having that bit of sweetness that usually characterises the all familiar sambal stingray.

Excellent. Staff were eager to please, and were very helpful with orders too.

$39.90++ for the twin teppanyaki set
- choice of chicken or cuttlefish
- choice of prawns, scallops, salmon or beef
- choice of grilled sambal stingray or sweet and sour fish fillet
- teppanyaki vegetables
- steamed rice and miso soup
- soft drinks or green tea

* Additional charges to change steamed rice to garlic fried rice.

5 Thong Soon Avenue.

Additional Comment
Certified Halal.

Pictures taken with the Canon Ixus 80 IS and Apple iPhone 4.

Burger Bench & Bar II

01 October 2010

It took a while for me to convince myself that a cone of Gourmet Dark Chocolate Soft Ice-Cream from Burger Bench & Bar would be worth my three bucks, but in retrospect I wonder why I tried so hard. Maybe it was just curiosity getting the better of me. The ice-cream here was sweet, milky and chocolatey no doubt about it, but it was nowhere close to "dark". The portion was pretty small too for the price you pay. Simple advice: stick to their burgers.

Cathay Orchard Cineleisure, #01-02.

Picture taken with the Apple iPhone 4.

2009 ·*the simplest aphrodisiac by TNB | Official Singapore Food Blog.