"Gourmandism is an act of judgement, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality." – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Archive for November, 2011

Charcoal Thai

Situated in Kovan area, this Thai eatery is opened by my friend’s boyfriend. We finally had the opportunity to meet up for dinner today!

It was a clean place and the air-con was comfortable. The interior gave a cosy feeling. Here’s what we ordered:

The crackers tasted spicy! I was expecting some really normal-tasting crackers but these proved me otherwise!

The tom yum came in a mini ceramic furnace. It was POWERFUL! It was spicy enough yet not chocking to the throat (at least for me). The ingredients (fresh mushrooms, prawns, squids, fish) were generous. However, just to note, the fish in the soup is dory fish. So for non-dory lovers, you would have wasted big chunks of dory slices. I know of many people who cannot take the taste of dory. I’m a fish lover, so dory’s ok for me!

The minced pork with century egg was too full of the taste of basil leaves. I don’t really like basil leaves. Hence, I only took a piece of the century egg. The egg was tasteless compared to the traditional century egg porridge. So if you do not like the century egg taste, don’t be afraid to try this.

The fish was well-sliced and its presentation was good. The meat wasn’t overcooked and I loved the meat texture. The slices of fish made it easy to eat too.

The green curry chicken wasn’t the type of curry I was expecting. Probably I was too accustomed to the taste of the ready-cook pack by Dancing Chef. This green curry chicken was again too full of basil leaves’ flavour which I don’t fancy.

The toufu was average. Though toufu tasted plain and the same everywhere, the restaurant could have spent some time creating a special dip sauce to go with it. The peanut dip wasn’t that good to leave an impression in me.

Clams! Oh clams! Vongole! My favorite! The clams were considerably fat and juicy but lack a “wow” factor. I am always looking out for that “sea” aroma in shellfish – the kind of taste that makes you feel like you’re just by the sea eating freshly-harvested clams.

The stir-fried vegetables were good. I like the wok-hei it had and the various vegetables were evenly cooked – crunchy ones remaining crunchy and the soft ones juicy.

The Thai milk tea was refreshing and cools the throat after having much heaty food. The tea was aromatic.

Thank you boss for the red ruby dessert! It wasn’t reflected in the bill!  It was very nice and the red rubies were very crunchy and full of coconut flavour. However the red rubies were all stuck together and doesn’t give a good visual appeal or the ease to eat.

Bought home chicken wings and tom yum soup for my mum. She said the tom yum soup was good. However the chicken wings lacked of flavour. Probably it wasn’t well marinated as she said the wings were tasteless – not salty and neither were they spicy. She also commented the wings were small, but I thought they were normal in size? She probably expected more after drinking the aromatic tom yum soup.

The restaurant had a good flow of customers on a Friday night. So you may want to make reservations. The restaurant also serves steamboat and bbq (grill). Hence, if there are customers having bbq, you will walk out “fumed”. The boss may have to look into their fume hoods and ventilation.

Plain rice – $0.80
Towel – $0.30

There is no GST or service charge.

Restaurant: Charcoal Thai
Address: 7 Simon Road Singapore 545894
Tel: 6288 6260
Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 2 pm; 530pm – 10pm
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Email: charcoalthai@gmail.com 


Figos Grail

It was pure coincidence that my boss and I were here today for our work review session that I found out that my friend’s friend opened this restaurant with Mediacorp celebrity, Zhou Chong Qing (周崇庆, or otherwise more well-known for his Aunty Lucy “so embarrassing” character).

A well-thought designed counter and all interior decorations gave a cosy feel.

The interior is very cosy and clean. They are just newly opened for 4 months, so please do bear with them for any glitches. They are probably under-staff and hence we waited for quite long for our orders.

set lunch menu

Soup of The Day - Pumpkin Soup

The Pumpkin soup tasted healthy and it was smooth. The portion was just nice before the main course.

chicken chop

aglio olio with prawns

I had the aglio olio and I quite like it! The pasta was al dente and the prawns were succulent. Have I mentioned before that the quality of a western food  restaurant is to try how tasty their aglio olio is? I love it! It could have been better if they serve chilli flakes or Tabasco.

cream puffs

The cream puffs were a surprise as he brought out and place them on our table. They were bite size topped with a piece of fresh blueberry. The cream inside was chilled and it wasn’t too sweet! It was very very good!

Set lunch – $15.90+
The cream puffs were complimentary by my friend’s friend.
Full menu: http://www.figosgrail.com/menu/food/

I’ll definitely be going back to taste more of their food!

Restaurant: Figos Grail
Address: 308 Tanjong Katong Road Singapore 437091
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm
Tel/Fax: 6344 4807
Website: http://www.figosgrail.com

Dian Xiao Er

A hearty meal for the family!! There are many set meals available for the family. Otherwise you may also a la carte. We tried all three types of duck – Ten Wonders, Wild Ginseng and Angelica Herbs.  We found the Ten Wonders and Angelica Herbs tastier. Groupon was having a deal on $20 for a duck and we frequented the restaurant during this few months. The restaurant is cosy but the waiters and waitresses can be quite passive.

Some of the prices:

One duck – $40
Soup of the day – $16.50
Hotplate Tofu – $10.80
Poached Spinach – $10.80
Kangkong Beancure (M) – $12
Sweet Celery $10.30
Cereal Prawn – $18
Additional duck heads – $1 each
Plain Rice – $0.90
Towel – $0.30

You may request for the gravy for the duck to be served separate with the duck. Do take note that if you like duck head and neck, you have to tell them you want them. Otherwise, they won’t give it to you when you order one whole duck.

Prices exclude 10% service charge and 7% GST. Pay with UOB credit card to get a rebate voucher!

Long queue expected. Do be there early or make reservations.

Restaurant: Dian Xiao Er
Address: 10 Tampines Central 1, #04-07/08, Tampines 1, Singapore 529536
Te: 6783 6068
Website: http://www.dianxiaoer.net/

Kukup Trip

Came back from a 2D1N Kukup trip today! It was pretty fun and I must say that it was above my expectations. Mum was telling me the place is dirty and food isn’t nice. However, the $85 I paid for was worth very cent!

The mini van came to pick the 9 of us up at our designated location and we left Singapore customs at about 4pm. Customs was smooth on a Friday afternoon. It took slightly more than an hour to reach Kukup. Mr Lim (our host) was already waiting for us there! We got down the mini van and he walked us up to an air-conditioned restaurant for our seafood dinner. It was already getting dark at 6pm and tide was low. We could smell the sea and the buildings are just by the sea. Mr Lim helped us take our wine and beer to his resort to chill while we settle for our dinner.

It was okay only. Not very impressed with the tastes. The prawns were a little small, and the crab wasn’t the meaty Sri-Lanka crabs. The tofu dish and fish were good. Perhaps expectations were a little too high for this meal as I’ve heard people telling me how good and fresh Kukup seafood is.

Day 1 Dinner

After we finished our food, Mr Lim came to pick us to his resort. It is actually one of his houses and turned it into a homestay experience. Actually there are many such homestay in the same area. [contacts of home stay are at the end of this post] Mr Lim led us in on his bicycle. All the residents there either cycled or rode on motorcycles.

The sky was dark and we were walking on narrow walkways that did not have any barricades. One could easily fall into the mud during low-tide and into the waters during high-tide. In case you are wondering, the houses are build on concrete poles on the seabed. So when the tide is high, the water is just below the house and when it’s low-tide, you could see all the mud and everything underneath the house.

It was a confusing way to walk in and hence we didn’t venture out after we reached the house. I was totally impressed with the cleanliness of the house and the facilities! It provides everything a house has and was air-conditioned. It was so comfortable and cosy, you would be quickly feeling at-home.

Through the big porch into the gate, it was a big living room. The two mahjong tables and tiles caught my attention when I stepped in. There were 3 doors to the bedrooms along the hallway. The first two bedrooms had 3 to 4 double decker beds and the third bedroom had only 1 double decker bed with a space to lay mattresses on the floor. The guys took the first room (for security reasons) and the ladies the second room. We left the third room empty. Then it led to the dining area. Adjacent to the dining area was one seating-toilet, one squating-toilet, a bathroom and two external basins. There was a back door that led to the kitchen and a balcony.

Mr Lim then showed us how to turn on the TV, karaoke set and briefed us on some safety issues. He left us and said he would be back at 830pm for BBQ. Before we could really settle down, another man walked in. This man was selling firecrackers! He had 2 pieces of chart displaying the pictures of the various types of firecrackers he had. We bought a box of crackers (60 sticks), one 25-shot fireworks and 3 Kong Ming lantern. It cost us a total of RM$100.

We settled down and played Monopoly Deal and before we knew it, Mr Lim had already starting BBQ-ing and called us to the balcony area for another round of feasting! This time, the food was really good. But I was already full from dinner and there was a lot of leftovers. Mr Lim cooked the chicken wings really tender and the Muar otak, sambal sotong, sambal stingray and prawns were really delicious. The prawns were huge! I really enjoyed the prawns. We poured out the soft drinks prepared by Mr Lim in the fridge and put in the ice. Everything was already prepared and we felt so pampered. After the soft drinks, red and white wine came. (We bought it in JB after the customs.)

Mr Lim kept away the food we couldn’t finish and said we can use the heat from the BBQ pit to heat them up if we wanted to eat later in the night. Eventually all the food was finished up by the guys at midnight. After BBQ, we had a lot of fun with our firecrackers at the balcony. Mr Lim even had bricks prepared for the firecrackers! Then it was shower and KTV time! We slept at about 3am.

Next day, we woke up at 830am. Mr Lim had already prepared breakfast for us! There was milo, kopi-O, nasi lemak, kueh-kueh and dough fritters. We took breakfast, washed up and then it was time to visit the fish farm. He guided us on this bicycle again to the jetty. This time, he detoured to the jetty, walking along the inner part of the Kukup Laut to show us the people and temples. We took a boat out to the fish farm that took less than 10 minutes.

At the fish farm, we walked along the shaky wooden planks. There was a guy telling us the fish farm is worth a few million ringgit. Then he scooped up a baby shark, a horseshoe crab, puffer fish and a archer fish mini “show”. We stayed there for about an hour before taking the boat back. We went back to the house to pack our stuff and checked-out. Mr Lim’s wife was already in the house doing the cleaning up and there will be another group arriving at 2pm. He mentioned that the place is usually full over the weekends.

We then headed to the restaurant beside the jetty (non-air-conditioned). This time, I thought the food was much much better! The prawns were bigger. However, there was so many houseflies, we were busy fanning them away.

Day 2 Lunch

After lunch, Mr Lim got the mini van to pick us up for our departure. We thanked him whole-heartedly and left the place feeling refreshed and happy! Mr Lim’s service left a good impression on us! Highly recommended to relax and spend time with family or friends.

Homestay contacts:

The first row was our host – Mr Lim Eng Seng.

The rest are other home stay contacts I took while walking.

Limoncello Pizza & Grill

CP and Von treated us to this restaurant for their birthday celebration. We walked all the way from Clarke Quay to Robertson Quay. It was such a long walk! Luckily the weather was cooling and it was lovely to walk along Clarke Quay in the evening. We walked till almost the end of Robertso Quay and finally reached the restaurant. There was an al fresco dining area. We were lucky to get a table inside as I was sweating from all the walking.

The interior was cosy and we were served iced water promptly. There was free bread but it was hard and tasteless. I thought the olive oil and balsamic vinegar could add some taste but it was equally tasteless. We ordered and our food came quickly. The wood oven baked thin crust pizza were one of the first dishes to be served.

These were what we ordered:

Fillet Barramundi $28
Pineapple Pizza $24.50
Wurstel Gorgonzola $25
Polanta $24
Scialatielli Amalfi $21.50
Chardonnay Chile $48

The pineapple pizza had thin slices of ham spreaded on top of the thin crust pizza. They were juicy and not too dry. The Wurstel Gorgonzola was too normal. Besides the well-made crust, the tomato paste spread and the sausages tasted too average. The fillet barramundi was seasoned with pepper lightly and baked. It was a good choice if you’re going healthy. The Polanta which was supposed to be corn cake was disappointing as it wasn’t of much corn taste. It was a really small piece and it was nothing special. The Scialatielli Amalfi was probably the best dish. The mussels were fresh and the seafood tomato pasta were delicious. Our white wine went well with everything.

Prices exclude 7% GST and 10% service charges.

Restaurant: Limoncello Pizza & Grill
Address: 95 Robertson Quay, Rivergate, #10-19/20, Singapore 238256
Tel: 6634 5117 (Reservations advised)
Fax: 6782 8885
Opening Hours: Mon: 6-10:30pm
Tue-Thu: 12-2:30pm, 6-10:30pm
Fri-Sat: 12-2:30pm, 6-11pm
Sun: 12-3pm, 5:30-10:30pm
Website: http://chope.com.sg/restaurant/limoncello/