Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar – A very humbling story behind this amazing Japanese Bar

Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar

Fortune Centre near Bugis MRT

IMG_1766We didn’t have any expectations at all when H and I decided to give Kappou -that is helmed by a female chef, a visit; as regrettably, we have it imbued in us that the best Japanese restaurants are usually helmed by males. Utterly wrong but pleasantly so as we walked through the $68 menu just to be surprised by the finesse displayed by each dish and the witty balancing and pairing of flavours that the chef was able to come up with. What really took us by surprise, is the arduous journey that she has taken at the young age of 14 when most would still be pretty ignorant about the world as they live comfortably in their sheltered homes, not adding on that she is a post-90 lady. I would say its the passion for food and her thirst for survival that made her the fine chef she is today, as evidenced by the beautifully aged sushi that she presents, and the atrociously impressive knifing skills that she displays. Such tenacity is only possible from a humble lady who counts her blessings everyday throughout that 9 difficult years.

Knowing that this is a small restaurant, yet still desires to make the best edomae sushi, I was very curious at the sources the fishes were from. Admittedly, she couldn’t out compete the big boys like Shinji, Sushi Ichi or the like, and thus could only turn to smaller prefectures that might have rarer treasures  waiting to be uncovered.

Sushi served, and the beautifully aged fish there just melts in your mouth as the protein has already broken down to its sweet amino acid. Though that is something expected from an upmarket restaurant, executing it perfectly shouldn’t be taken for granted. And what also stood out for us was the clever pairing of condiments – sea salt, soy sauce, different kinds of vinegar so that it doesn’t mask your palate from tasting the seafood, and interestingly 3 different types of rice were used for a more wholesome consistency. Such details, may not even be found in most sushi restaurants!

IMG_1761The cutesy chirashi over here that is packed with umami, we loved it!

IMG_1767Ending the savouries off is this comforting bowl of delicious oden. And we kept shouting in exclamation at that lovely egg, as it easily could be the epitome of a beautifully flavoured Ajitsuke tamago.

IMG_1772Pumpkin ice cream to round the meal off.

IMG_1770Most of our foodie friends lamented that it’s difficult to get a reservation here as seats are limited but we were lucky enough to get one the day before. Looking empty over here as H, being the kiasu self, decided we should have it at 6pm – who would book dinner at 6?! Then again, it is only when the restaurant is quiet that we could understand the very humbling story behind Kappou. We hope and know she would succeed and yes, the food here is good!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 4.4/5.

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The Disgruntled Brasserie – walked out happy instead.

The Disgruntled Brasserie

Near Tanjong pagar MRT

img_1326Heard much about The Disgruntled Chef, both positive and negative reviews and have little interest to visit it as it is in the faraway Dempsey and also because most of the negativity came from the anorexic portions that they serve; I am a big eater. Then came The Disgruntled Brasserie right smacked in city centre which I think deserves a shout out as the mains over here felt cheerful, hearty and well thought through. Modern, sleek decoration, that comes across as professional and not in any way opulent, together with that strong air conditioning in the background, it is indeed a comfortable restaurant to be in for an intimate gathering or even if you just want to have some quiet me time. I guess the widely spaced tables also made the whole restaurant quieter as you do not need to holler at the top of your voice to make yourself heard. The moment the menu was explained, you know that service is enthusiastic and the crew does have a good knowledge on what they sell.

img_1330We started off with the cheese souffle, flavoured with caramelised onions and Chardonnay fondue. Looking like a very special and exciting invention, what actually made this starter so strong is the eggy, fluffy core that doesn’t have an overdose of cheese in it. The balance is there. $16.

img_1329Truffle fries with fried egg and parmigiano reggiano cheese. Predictable strong truffle fragrant emanating from the fries, however felt a little dry and therefore the Dutch duo is summoned – both the ketchup and mayonnaise that made it an extra comforting snack. $18.

img_1332img_1334I guess by the time we got to the mains, we realised we made a mistake in pairing our starters and mains as they are all heavier tasting with a stronger cream / cheese base. Having said that, they still taste delicious individually; refined yet most importantly not morsel-like in their portions. This carbonara taglierini was made special with the sauce that somehow has a bit of sourness in it to cut through the thick creamy base. Unique flavour indeed and exquisitely executed. $24.

img_1337Well the heart throb was the seafood bouillabaise and I was glad we moved away from the ‘cheese’ theme. Super thick broth filled with that distinct crustacean umami, the broth just tasted decadent. This is the kind of food that I will never fail to order when I am at any Italian restaurant. The meticulous thoughts could clearly be seen in almost all their dishes, especially when the toasties by the side came lightly buttered. Impressive. $38.

We love the place, I like the ambiance, the food was moreish and yes I would like to try more of the menu in future!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.9/5.

 

Morsels – Morsel like definitely but lacking in flavour

Morsels

25 Dempsey Road

img_1308Cosy, homey open kitchen Morsels has and I was half hearted coming here for dinner as somehow the pictures from reviews didn’t grab my attention. Still made it here after all as the foodie H wanted to try it badly. I guess I am starting to love my bigger portions more and if they were to shrink, the taste better be sharp, piquant and complex yet not clashing.

Looks intriguing but the flatter taste didn’t justify the trip or worth, especially so when they are priced at a premium tag (the plates for the savouries were not warm either). We rushed through dinner, done in 30min, and decided to go for a good pork chop rice at the never disappointing ding tai feng.

 

 

Xiao Ya Tou – Funky yet delicious!

Xiao Ya Tou

Duxton Hill near Tanjong Pagar MRT

img_1264Let me start off by saying, this cafe-bar isn’t cheap, especially so if you were to get there intriguing cocktails. And given the higher price point, yet cluttered interior as the tables are really spaced closely to one another, one may find it not so worthy after all. What Xiao Ya Tou could offer though, as its name has suggested, is a retro, hipster experience that would whisk you back to the 60s with its nostalgic furniture and background music that seemed to be played out from a cassette. Just by peering through that old window frame that you could find only at the older flats or landed properties, you would notice that quaint little kitchen that is more open than most modern ones as it doesn’t have a higher table top or chic glass facade.

img_1265And as we look around, you would realise that almost everywhere is worth a picture as the owner boasts that huge collection of retro stuff that he has or has bought in, yet not forgetting to add a little bit of modern elements to make it awkwardly attractive. Service was fun, bubbly though it is evident that they are short staffed; the waitress has tried her best I say and that any unintended tardiness should be forgiven.

img_1269Seated at the table initially, I requested to move to the counter table that gives you a much bigger private space, actually the entire area as most preferred the tables. 2 cocktails for the brunch and that thick delicious milo dinosaur was my favourite as it had alcohol. Being the more refreshing option, I loved the suntory highball initially but the dilution factor was a little large as the ice melts. $15 for each glass.

img_1270Crispy Otak Otak roll – Otak paste hidden within those crispy rolls that are given a delicious nutty body by the sauce! $12.

img_1272Unagi Benedict – one of the highlights you can find in every review, the poached egg underneath was perfectly runny and that hollandaise sauce was given a Japanese slant that managed to amalgamate the teriyaki unagi with the buttery brioche. $23.

img_1274Xiao Ya Tou breakfast with Kimchi scrambled eggs and chicken cheese sausage. $23.

img_1275The spread.

img_1277And all the sweets for you when you get the bill.

This should be another place to look out for for dinner I reckon!

Verdict: A good cafe bar. 3.8/5.

Nanjing Impressions – Pretty deep impressions made

Nanjing Impressions

Plaza Singapura at Dhoby Ghaut

img_0164Very Chinese looking, especially so with those lanterns hanging there that actually form the entire menu, Nanjing Impressions does feel like an old quaint restaurant by a random Chinese river. Ambiance worked and the food did leave a pretty good impression on us. Always going for the more familiar and fragrant Cantonese style (or at least it is in my opinion); that has also formed the benchmark when it comes to oriental cuisine even though I know that there’s many different types of cooking all across massive China. And I say, this is a Chinese restaurant that I actually appreciate. The fragrance is there and the food doesn’t feel coarse (an attribute I always associate with Chinese food) which made everything more palatable, but just slightly heavy handed on the grease there.

img_0169Sesame scented beancurd Julienne. $11.80.img_0172Jinling noodles in light soy sauce broth. $6.80.

img_0168Jinling roast duck – $32. That crispy skin was on point and the sauce it was drenched in was marvellous.

img_0176Palace Chicken with pickled chilli. $13.80. Prepared in a very beautiful bowl indeed and that crispy chicken skin together with the tender meat underneath was flavoured up greatly by the light spicy kick.img_0177Shrimp Roe Custard with scallions. This was however a little mediocre for us. $10.80.img_0173Loving those Celestial Roast duck dumplings over there as they were huge, packed solidly with duck meat fillings soaked in an intense duck broth. $6.80.img_0179The savoury for the night!img_0181Osmanthus steamed sponge. Very chewy, dense, solid, perfumed with that Osmanthus fragrance throughout; this has become the favourite dessert dish over there. $4.80.img_0182Red Bean glutinous rice balls in Sweet Wine. $4.80. Wine in my dessert? Bring it on and yes indeed you could taste that alcohol in it!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.8/5.