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Paradise Classic – Very impressive chain, at least for this branch!

Paradise Classic

Suntec City near Promenade MRT

img_0154Rarely do I blog about chains, but this Paradise one, did impress us by a substantial margin, that beckons a review on the blog. Firstly, the price point over here at Paradise Classic is very reasonable, with hearty servings mostly priced under $15 but most importantly, a reason that makes the foodie gives the thumbs up is that this did not translate into greasy cooking just so that the excessive oil can lift the flavour of the dishes (though not exactly in a desirable manner always). And that spread above for both of us, it only costs us $36 each!

img_0146What a vibrant red dish! The fragrance of this dish, tomato scrambled egg, was etched in my memory ever since I tried the rendition prepared by the Hong Kong friend in London few years ago. Beautifully done scrambled with a lightly creamy consistency, they are coated with a sweet sour tomato-ish body that greatly lifted its fragrance. Really enjoyed this a lot! $8.80.

img_0148It wasn’t an expensive soup of the day, but at $6.80, this was really a steal as the flavourful broth was made tasty with a generous amount of ingredients in it; pork, fish maw, cabbage; and it actually tasted a little like a small bowl of the typical CNY steamboat!

img_0150And as we waited with much anticipation for the espresso chicken, this became the most favourite dish of the day. Fried first before coating each chunk with the coffee sauce, that crispy skin tasted so awesome that today became a cheat day for me. This is beautifully glazed with a light layer of caramel while that sharp bitterness of the espresso came through strongly. Delish! $13.80.

img_0151Prepared with a large amount of dried shrimp, chilli and spices, the gan xiang fish collar was heavy tasting, packed with lots of wok hei but unfortunately a tad greasy. Still as yummy in its own right though! $16.80.

img_0147And we ended with this refined plate of seafood fried rice as every rice grain has been coated heavenly with an eggy seafoody fragrance which both of us love. More importantly, there wasn’t a layer of visible grease after the entire plate was emptied. $13.80.

A small lunch over here at Paradise Classic, but a big statement it has already made with just a few dishes – that this is definitely a worthy restaurant to visit for a hearty Cantonese meal.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.

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On Yasai – Buffet but quality is there

On Yasai

Chijmes near Cityhall MRT

img_0121There is always this motivation to write for a restaurant when there is something really outstanding (not necessarily something good) about her. On Yasai, its remarkable bit is that the quality isn’t compromised at all despite it being a buffet restaurant. With three different options to choose from starting from $33.90, we got the 2nd tier at $39.90 that serves 5 different kinds of meat – pork, beef and chicken, together with a healthy variety of seafood! Take note that the cheapest one has got the seafood section omitted, which I couldn’t bear to forgo! 6 soup bases to choose from, we got the truffle mushroom and Hokkaido miso. Ingredients were on point as they felt reasonably refined while the broths undeniably flavourful. And that’s what you essentially need for a good hotpot – fresh, succulent ingredients, and a delicious pot to dip your stuff in, not forgetting a strong air conditioning on top of you for a cooler experience which unfortunately, was slightly lacking in On Yasai when it gets packed. The temperature was bearable however.

img_0124My favourite platter actually, with those fresh prawns made sweeter by the broth and not feeling sinful at all as we gobbled down two rounds of fish. The sliced squids were commendable with its slightly chewy consistency that doesn’t get cast into stone even when they were forgotten in the pot.

img_0125img_0132Thinly sliced pieces of pork, that allows a quick dip in the pot!

img_0126And I just had to have two rounds of the vegetable and mushroom platters as the leek, carrot, vegetables and mushrooms served were really fresh and luscious looking, which further ameliorated the flavours of the broth.

img_0133Balls are one of my favourite items in a hotpot setting. Out of the chicken and cheese ball and lobster balls, the lobster was the clear winner for me with its bouncier consistency and more generous fillings. The cheese I could have imagined it melted and tasting like the ones I had in Hong Kong but somehow was a little lacklustre as it didn’t feel as cheesy and was a little salty.

img_0127img_0136And a beautiful healthy pot after every single bit has been dumped in and it’s ready for the first round of eating!

img_0137And everyone gets a choice of an ice cream flavour which were not to be taken lightly and the flavours were intense surprisingly. The sesame was the favourite as over 90% is made of black sesame (OK, that might be exaggerated but we know what that means to its flavour) while still having its creaminess retained!

img_0131This could be classified as the first CNY meal I guess, with so much to eat and dishes abound! Huat ah!

 

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Gudetama Singapore – Decent food with a higher tag

Gudetama Singapore

Suntec City near Esplanade or City Hall MRT

img_0773I can’t stop myself from joining the 1.5h queue for a dinner at Gudetama Singapore; I wonder why as it strictly isn’t the cutest anime character to me (snorlax, totoro or pompompurin are the favourite still), maybe due to its slimmer figure. But the fact that the entire cafe is just so vibrant and cute, there is this inexplicable allure exuberating from it. You could see a very well thought through system running in the cafe already as gudetama gimmicky props are laid even along the queue for her customers to have fun snapping away while waiting in the otherwise tiring line; menus are given out as you are approaching the end and before being seated, your orders would have been promptly taken. Quick, courteous yet systematic service, that is indeed efficient.

img_0770A general take on the food, they were decently good, and for some might be well over expectation as we usually push our expectations to the lowest of the lowest when it comes to themed cafes like these. For example, this “Are you Busy?” Burger has two fat juicy beef patties underneath that perfectly runny sunny side up, while the fluffy brioche buns are beautifully buttered. But to an objective foodie like myself, taste wise, they were on point while you still get your instagramable gimmicks on your pan. I so wanted to nick that egg and pan home! But at $27.50, we know it is slightly overpriced for a reason.

img_0775img_0765Rib-“I” don’t care – The steak over here caught me by surprise when the service crew asked the doneness we prefer as that is usually done in more upmarket restaurants, not so much for a cafe I reckon. Medium rare we got, slightly pinkish and still tender in the middle topped with that gudetama mash and thick creamy peppered mushrooms. Definitely robust flavours in this pan! $28.50.

img_0767The Mash-Cha was however quite a let down at its price as the matcha flavour was flat, and couldn’t wake the tastebuds up. $11.90.

img_0766img_0771What we thought was very innovative was this TA-MA-GO dessert that is made in the form of a sushi. Matcha cream by the side, what lies underneath the yellow sponge are actually cheese cakes coated with rice crackers. Extra points for this as it shows that the owners are not just out to leverage on the Gudetama wave with haphazard dishes as the dishes have all been thoughtfully curated. $17.90.

img_0768It was undeniably fun and cute but the cost at $100.99 for these 4 items, hmmm…, I am not too sure if the craze will die down like pompompurin cafe.

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

 

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Birds of a Feather – Sichuan made addictive

Birds of a Feather

Near Telok Ayer Station

img_0141Never a fan of Sichuan cuisine, and always as much as I could, avoid that relentless numbing and spicy mala sauce. Birds of a Feather is however, an amazing restaurant that is able to identify that addictive essence of Sichuan cuisine by simply separating the numb and the spice, and use it deftly in its food with some Western touches to it. We were, especially myself, awed at how good the mala sauce could actually be as it essentially embolden the flavours, giving a kick to her diners. Nice interior definitely with loads of luscious greens hanging around (that seems to be the current concept that most restaurants are working towards to), it was a slight pity we didn’t get to sit just below the ‘tree’ as the place was fully booked out, from 8pm onwards though.

img_0143img_0145Having had some intel already before we got to the restaurant, we kinda know what we wanted and got this Spicy Oriental Bolognaise that is a powerful combination of perfect consistency and robust flavours. Al dente angel hair over there that is beautifully coated with a light mala infused sauce, and because the proportion was just right, that subtle numbness only kicks in like an aftertaste. That was indeed a brilliant choreography. $22.

img_0147The Bruschetta though was a slight letdown as the braised beef shank promised was almost non existent. It was just a pretty good slab of savoury bread. Skip this we reckon and perhaps go for that infamous chilli chicken. $9.

img_0149Very innocuous looking bowl of chazuke as that pot of pickled mustard broth was so spicy but only kicks in at the back of the throat no matter how careful you try to drink it. It is clever though that no numbing elements were added here as that would have muted the exciting flavours greatly, the huge reason why I am so averse to Sichuan food. That soup, though was really spicy, was actually moreish with its piquant, refreshing flavour and that dollop of mentaigo added a little more complexity to the already delicious grilled barramundi. Great Chazuke here with a huge spicy twist to it. $28.

img_0150Could I call it the Burger of the night if I may. No foie gras (not a fan), no huge meaty juicy patty but a very creative Mapo Tofu burger! This fusion burger is gonna make a scene again with the dense bao bun used while the tofu patty is made highly dense too with cheese mixed into it. It has a consistency resembling my favourite paneer actually, and the entire burger flavour is lifted greatly with the mildly numbing mapo pork ragout. That light numbness is actually quite addictive. $22.

img_0151If you are local, it is really not hard to identify this Poached Pear with cheng teng as it is flavoured up with longans, white fungus and orange peel that are the common ingredients we get in a bowl of that local delicacy. What sets this apart from it is not just that poached pear but also the creamy body added to it by that citrus caramel ice cream. At the end of it, we reckon we want more of that soup! $12.

img_0152And the chocolate cake popsicle isn’t an ice cream if you are wondering over the heavy condensation over it. Sweet, creamy, caramel flavours all in one plate and cut through beautifully by that sour passionfruit scramble. We loved this too.

Apparently not the normal Sichuan restaurant, Birds of a Feather cleverly makes use of its essence to create much bolder flavours that we could really appreciate.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.2/5.

 

 

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Meta – when Korean goes fine

Meta

9 Keong Saik Road near Outram MRT

img_0048Meta, one of the highly acclaimed restaurants in sg recently, has always been on the list for quite a while already. The delay – was its anorexic portions that I have foreseen would not be able to satiate my appetite as I crave for a hearty weekend weekly. Admittedly, portions were small while the price tag of the menu isn’t one you would spend your average night out on, I was secretly hoping for a free flow of kimchi toast or bread throughout the night to fill the stomach with delicious carbs. BUT, that really isn’t the point, as the head chef of this fusion restaurant, who mainly focuses on Korean elements, has successfully assimilated in Japanese and French cooking techniques, making the tastes and details of every course evidently so well thought through, beating the haphazard combination that one would usually associate a fusion restaurant to.img_0051Seated comfortably at the high counter seats, we started the 5 course menu ($98) with some refreshing amuse bouche; made with crackers, octopus bits and ikura.

img_0053The fun, didn’t end there expectedly as the second amuse bouche was this plate of heavier tasting beef tartare with bulgogi dressing and a small celebratory kaya toast with truffle butter topped with finely grated parmesan cheese. We loved both, especially that intense kaya toast.

img_0054And here comes the first course, which sets our expectations so high up as this plate of raw hokkaido scallop was amazingly balanced by the acidity from the yuzu, refreshing sweetness from the apple slices and saltiness from the pink tosaka nori. Light flavours over here yet so sharp and distinct that set to perk the palates up!

img_0057Interestingly this Guksu actually reminded me of nissin noodles but in the positive way as that al dante cappelini has been doused with the comforting seaweed flavour, made more decadent with the spanner crab. There was a strong burst of seafood flavour over here, yet the delicate balance in its taste was handled with much finesse.

img_0072We got the seafood Korean pancake as an extra side which comes topped with pickled radish and salty sea asparagus. This was on point. $25.

img_0074Jasmine smoked quail with tea with Portobello, leek and radish – Tender as you could have imagined, that unassuming quail jus seemed to be the star to me as it was so rightly intense, lightly sweet and savoury that managed to bind all the elements here beautifully.

img_0077And we moved on the the red meat with this slow cooked beef cheeks topped with eggplant, celeriac and watercress bits. Tenderised to an unimaginable consistency, this was beautifully paired with the fluffy baked potato intercalated with thin slices of carrots. How fine could this dining be!

img_0078And the senior got the rack of lamb for her red which was precisely cooked to a tender pink hue, while the naturally sweet side condiments such as the carrot and parsnip complemented the entire dish to give that beautiful sweet ending. A perfect combination of elements over here again!

img_0080An oversized pearl for dessert?! That was what I thought to myself from the instagrammed photos, but inside this highly enamoured pearl gelatin, was a huge ball of white chocolate and poach pear bits in it; all to be taken with that black pepper ice cream for its flavour to be lifted greatly. Such piquant flavours for a dessert, I reckon is bold yet tremendously on point.

img_0067And that’s us having a great night out at this beautiful restaurant!

As you could see, every dish has indeed been perfected as each worthy course has been thought through thoroughly while the pairing of the several elements on the plate, were all faultless. It was like the times when we get into an atas restaurant, let your hair down, without worrying about the worthiness of the food after that first course is served. But yes, I crossed over to the coffee shop there after to have my $1.80 fan choi!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.6/5.