Bird Bird – Very strong character in its interior decor, but skeptical of the lunch we had

Bird Bird

18 Ann Siang Road near Telok Ayer MRT

IMG_6981Ghetto styled, yet still retaining its hipsterish look, this is definitely one of the eateries that has scored perfect in its intended interior decor. Very strong in its character, Bird Bird has definitely caught my eyes to pay a visit to, especially when pictures of their luscious luncheon burgers and modern edgy popsicles are splashed all over the net. Seated at the counter seats with a widely spaced crowd, K and I liked the fact that we had our personal space, especially so in today’s increasingly claustrophobic cafes / eateries, but the luncheon there, we left feeling slightly bewildered and skeptical of.

IMG_6983Sides – Sweet potato fries + Unicorn Jizz. Well the menu here, as could be seen already, doesn’t make any sense so we had to clarify what unicorn jizz is before getting it. Truffle-infused mayo slathered generously on top of the partially crispy, partially soggy sweet potato fries, at $2 more for the mayo I reckon the normal sweet potato fries could have been ordered instead. $8.

IMG_6986Tuffled Chickenator. A plump juicy chicken patty that definitely would resonate easily with your childhood, as it tastes almost exactly like the Chicken Mcnuggets that you get from MacDonalds. The disappointment came when we saw the buns burnt to a carcinogenic carbon. Affecting the taste of the entire burger greatly, K has to scrap out the charred portions. $11.

IMG_6988IMG_6989Duckinator – Grilled duck patty, green papaya, som tum sauce. I was looking forward to an exciting flavour from this rendition when I saw its description and would have imagined the sour, spicy yet lightly sweet song tum sauce to cut through the heavy patty beautifully, giving it a refreshing, zesty touch. Instead, the song tum sauce was critically missing from this supposedly exciting burger, giving it that flat monotonous taste. $14.

IMG_6994IMG_6990The desserts saved the lunch a little though as we got the modern, creative popsicles – Strawberry cheesecake and the Matcha ice cream. $8 each. Very thick, creamy they are which definitely do not come cheap. I think I could have bought a box of 4 magnum with this price in the UK.

IMG_6995This super thick, intense matcha popsicle was so strong that I could literally taste the chlorophyll in it, if you have bitten through a matcha leaf, that’s the sensation you would get.

IMG_6996And the cheesecake one was so thick and creamy, cut through sharply by the sour berries.

Indeed, the popsicles fared better than the mains we reckon. Striving for a strong and heavy tasting menu, we felt that Bird Bird has quite a bit of catch up to do, especially the savouries. It was a pity though as the idea was there; the description of the flavours apparently have been thoughtfully paired but the lacklustre execution unfortunately killed it.

Verdict: An above average restaurant. 3.0/5.

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East Bureau 東局 – Great Fusion with just minor confusions

East Bureau 東局

Marina Square near Esplanade MRT

IMG_9001A fusion place that has gotten the elements right for the savouries and not confusing at all with surprises abound, East Bureau 東局 has indubitably managed to gel the different Asian and Western culinary techniques together without feeling overly deliberate. Just some slight misses which would be elaborated on at the end while service was evidently amicable as the service crew always puts on a smile when dealing with their customers.

IMG_8990Starting off with the Seafood Tomyum Goong on ice, this was a refreshingly sour and lightly spiced appetiser that perfectly whetted the appetite. The fresh seafood on the plate has to be eaten together with the sharp tasting slush as that would definitely awaken your palates. $13.

IMG_8991Sheung Wan cat ear pasta with chicken. The first favourite of this dish was the springy cat ear pasta used, that was cooked to the perfect al dente texture and chewing on it is just a pleasure. Next, the myriad amount of condiments used, such as the soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, vinegar scallion oil and sesame oil gave the pasta a huge Cantonese twist that was heavily flavoured up further with pork lard, siu york and fried garlic. We loved the entire combination. $16.

IMG_8994Thai Basil Minced Pork. Now, this plump dumpling has some Thai influences in it as the pork stuffing has been marinated differently from the usual. And instead of the tangy vinegar, this was served with the sweet chilli at the side. Substantial amount of stuffing, lightly pan fried skin together with sweet chilli sauce – the taste was well pronounced. $12.

IMG_9000Homemade Glutinous rice with Lap Cheong and Shitake Mushroom. Permeated uniformly with the Lap Cheong fragrance, this bowl was lip smacking good and the heavily loaded fried shallots have definitely helped in lifting its taste.

IMG_8993Lychee Martini infused Sweet and Sour Pork. Widely sold everywhere, gou rou yok is not as easily perfected as it is usually cloyingly sweet but the ones at East Bureau is delicious with a higher portion of lean meat and an adequately light lychee sweetness as an aftertaste. $13.

IMG_8996The grilled 500g lobster is a new item on promotion at $19.90 and it was a miss. Taste was O.K. but the consistency of the lobster was too mushy and lacks the springiness required.

IMG_9002IMG_9005IMG_9004Now this dessert, Menage A Trois, is a dish that we all struggled to finish and understand. Looking all the same, these French puffs were made more local by piping them with three different flavours, yam paste (Orh Ni), Salted Egg Yolk and Black sesame Soy milk. The Orh Ni was the most or perhaps the only acceptable filling as traditionally, this is served as a paste. But in the process of converting them into pastes or cream fillings, the essence of sesame was lost – It was commendably bitty with grinded sesame in it but lacks the fragrance needed, we reckon the original Cantonese Sesame paste would fare much better. The Liu sha may sound exciting again but it was overly salty with a lack of buttery fragrance that we are familiar with, we say again its filling should stick back to the original Liu sha recipe. $19.

Having said all that, East Bureau is still a successful fusion bistro as all its savouries, at least of what we tasted that dinner, are on point with all the different elements forming a great harmony. The Puff dessert and the lobster appetiser though, would require some fine-tuning we felt.

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.8/5

 

Rochor Thai – As local as as it can get

Rochor Thai

Near Novena MRT

Moved to its new location for just barely 3 months, Rochor Thai has morphed into a swankier restaurant with a more modern finish, that is perfect for both the working crowd or a hearty family meal. Having gone local for its menu, it somehow has attracted an international crowd. From expatriates to locals, I reckon the main testimony should be the huge crowd of Thai executives they serve during the week and even people from the Thai Embassy who happened to dine around the same time as us that day. With the hope of wanting to understand the Thai’s palates better, we concentrated on the more local dishes available as recommended by the down-to-earth chef Joel. Note: The portions served are slightly smaller than the original.

DSC_1302Pad Thai Rochor Thai – Without the addition of oyster, tomato sauces to flavour up the rice noodles (which fortunately or not suits my palates perfectly), this tasty plate of evenly tossed Pad Thai was nicely sweetened up with a dash of palm sugar. $14.

DSC_1307Grilled Iberico Pork Collar – Grilled to the perfect tender consistency throughout with a light caramelised overcoat, these already delicious slices of pork collar were flavoured up even further with the subtly sweet-sour Issan style dip made from tamarind. $19.

DSC_1313DSC_1311Orange Curry Fish Broth – Without the use of coconut milk at all, this bowl of curry is expectedly more popular among the Thai expatriates but surprisingly struck a chord with us. Together with all the condiments and refreshing orange zest, I reckon this unique curry has depth, and actually makes a perfect soup with its adequate tartness and mild spiciness. Freshly fried Barramundi fillet added with slices of acacia-leaved eggs that adds a tinge of bitterness to it, the huge amount of elements here has seamlessly come together to form the impressive dish. $19.

DSC_1304Cabbage with fish sauce – This may look pale but the crunchy cabbage was made so delectable with the electrifying sauce. $12.

DSC_1315Drunkard’s Prawns – Deriving its name from folklore, this isn’t in any way affiliated to the familiar ones we have in Cantonese cuisine and definitely has no alcohol content in it. Lightly fried to yield the crisp and fragrance, the prawns were then made even more umami with the intense chilli sauce, which could have been more thoroughly enjoyed with a lower spice level. $18.

DSC_1316DSC_1317Iced Salak – A salty, sour dessert made with marinated Snake Skin fruit that has an acquired taste. $3.
Red Rubies – These water chestnut cubes were made really addictive with an impeccable chewy coat of thin tapioca starch while the coconut milk has been adequately salted to enhance its flavour. $6.

Staying true to his belief, in the hope of of elevating local Thai dishes to greater heights, Rochor Thai is definitely one of the better Thai restaurants here.

Thank you Joel for the lovely invite!

Cha Thai – So good without getting your lips burnt!

Cha Thai

Near Telok Ayer Station

IMG_8792

Baked Tiger Prawns Glass Noodle Claypot

IMG_8796Befitting the versatile Cha Thai restautant greatly, this spectacular Baked Tiger Prawns Glass Noodle Claypot could easily sum up the quality of Thai food served over here – simply on point! Despite being its signature, one would, like myself, skip this on the menu, firstly due to its whopping $159 tag and secondly the injustice that the picture in the menu could have done to this dish, as the tiger prawns shown on the menu were utterly disproportionate to the actual gigantic size served! Literally, the head itself is already longer than my index finger (my palm isn’t petite by the way); this is by far, the largest prawns that I’ve ever encountered.

So I say, drop the usual crab vermicelli and go for this exclusive one if you have a soft spot for lobsters as the succulent, springy meat of these large tiger prawns, perfumed throughout with the aromatic spices and ginger would blow you off with its freshness while the umami coming through strongly from the bouncy vermicelli underneath would see you going for umpteenth servings. So flavoursome and with such high quality, this pot is definitely worthy of the $159 tag. Please note that only 3 prawns will be served, good to share among 4 and as these unconventionally huge tiger prawns are rare, it is advisable to place your orders first before visiting the restaurant in order to avoid disappointment.

IMG_8762Saute Pork with Basil Leaf – One of the huge favourite dishes that night! My love for Char Siu has given me a soft spot towards any beautifully grilled pork that comes together with a perfect light caramelisation. And with these two fundamentals done right over here, the tenderer pork cheeks utilised were made even more umami-tasting and lip-smacking with a stir fry. $18.

IMG_8779IMG_8788The Crispy Prawn Cake appetiser could have turned into a filling main on its own already with so much crunchy prawn stuffing encased within each huge patty. Perfectly fried on its outside to an impeccable crisp, we reckon that this is a must-order dish. $15.

IMG_8765Signature Tiger Prawn Panang Curry – A highly recommended bowl as it differs greatly from the usual ones in most restaurants.  So thick, creamy and made homogeneous with no sign of splitting at all, this largely savoury Panang Curry with the mildest spiciness is made unique by complementing it with the lightly sweet lychee toppings. Loving the extremely low level of spiciness in it, it forms the perfect slather for your rice! $28.

IMG_8782Nam Prik Khai pu – Raw it may seem, the star lies in the creative dip that has been prepared from the heavy tasting crab roe, while at the same time, cleverly cut through by hints of acidity as well, rendering a flavoursome yet still refreshing dip for the greens! As you may have noticed, we have tasted quite a number of heavier tasting dishes and this came perfectly to add a refreshing element to the meal. $12.90. 

IMG_8776Saute Kai Lan with Roasted Pork – The crackling crisp in those chunky pork pieces was the highlight of this dish, with its taste further accentuated by the crunchy Kai Lan stir fried in Oyster Sauce. $18.

IMG_8781Baked Pineapple rice – Overflowing with the curry spiced baked rice, this was a pretty delicious bowl of traditional pineapple rice. $18.

IMG_8773Thai Train Fried Rice – This plate of train fried rice perhaps has a deeper meaning to the Thais who usually have it on their long train journeys to the other regions of Thailand, just like the beautiful bento sets the Japanese are accustomed to. Though meant to taste more ordinary, the taste of this plate of fried rice has been lifted by the perfectly roasted pork pieces. $18.

IMG_8764Tom Yum Soup – Such clear soup usually fills me with trepidation as its deceivingly clearness usually bodes a swollen lips thereafter, worsened further by the acidity of the soup. But you could request for the bird eye’s chillis to be served separately. $28.

IMG_8767IMG_8770Cha Thai Toast – The moment this was served, I was overwhelmed by the fragrance emanating from these huge golden cubes. Pillowy and fluffy on the inside yet toasted to a perfect crisp on the outside with a fragrant butter overcoat, these cubes tasted best when soaked in the creamy, highly concentrated thai tea sauce. Special mention to the dip as its unique thickness hardly allows a droplet to drop; richness checked. $8.

IMG_8786If you have noticed, I have avoided Thai restaurants recently as the tastier ones are usually ridiculously spicy which may not help in the digestion for some. Cha Thai, however, serves Thai cuisine from the central region, that is culturally much less spicier than the other regions and thankfully, suits my palates perfectly. And I say with its high quality and hearty portions served over here, the slightly higher price tags are all justified.

Thank you Leah for the lovely invitation!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant.

 

 

Long Chim – When I thought I might have found the best Thai restaurant

Long Chim

Marina Bay Sands near Bayfront MRT

DSC_0305Ever since the regretful closure of Kha Thai restaurant (which I have visited three times and is in my opinion, one of the best Thai places to go to), I have always been on a constant search for a similar substitute. And it was only when the news of the opening of Long Chim at MBS by Chef David Thomsom (Head chef of Nahm who was awarded 1 Michelin star during his stint in London) was announced, that got me hopeful as the head chef of Kha previously did his apprenticeship over there.

DSC_0307Gaudy as it looked from the outside, the interior decor was chic with not one but two open kitchens for you to watch at.

DSC_0312Highly hopeful I was, there were actually quite a substantial amount of misses. Chiang Mai Chicken Larp with cabbage chilli and mint – Wrapped nicely in the greens, the chef knows what he’s doing by arranging a huge contrast between the refreshing mint leaves and savoury, more heavy-tasting chicken shreds which was however ashamedly too salty. $10.

DSC_0314The aromatic beef was spiced up perfectly with cumin, coriander and tumeric,  which managed to lift the fragrant, charred and smoky taste of the tender beef pieces. Then again, while the first bite felt really pleasurable, full of umami satisfaction, the following mouthfuls reminded me of a dreadful shoyu overdose. $10.

DSC_0317And we moved on to the mains which tasted more optimistic as the lamb rib curry was beautifully grilled to a tender consistency without the familiar gamey taste. This dry curry dish thankfully had all the right balances; its saltiness, charred fragrance, consistency and spiciness were all spot on. $25. Continue reading