Lunch at ReStore, Singapore

For sunday lunch we actually wanted to go to Lime House, a place serving Caribbean food. However, when we go there they were closed, even though they’re meant to be open according to their website. Since they were closed we decided to walk around to find another place to eat, but being sunday a lot of places were closed. That is until we stumbled upon this little Cafe called ReStore. My friend had read about it before and suggested that we go in and check it out. With not many alternatives we thought why not. This cafe is a little vintage place with a lot of vintage chairs hanging on the side of the wall. Basically all the decorations/chairs, etc. are for sale, which I found kind of funny. The menu is very small with only 3 sandwich options, 2 salad options and 5 waffle options. We decided to share 2 sandwiches and a salad and then have a waffle as a dessert.

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We had the Greek Salad, which was Spinach with Feta, Tomatoes, Olives and Cucumber tossed in Olive Oil. It’s slightly pathetic I found. First of all the olives were missing, there were 3 very thin slices of cucumber, 4 minuscule cubes of cheese and maybe 1/10 of a tomato. For the price $6.80 (if I’m not wrong), I expected something more. Next up was the Hummus Sandwich, I personally don’t like Hummus so I only ate some of the salad. But this also didn’t look too impressive. Our third dish was the Roasted Eggplant Sandwich. There were slices of roasted eggplant, zucchini, caramelised onions and melted cheddar cheese on lightly toasted bread. This was actually quite tasty, I especially loved the onions. Still looking at the prices, I felt that it wasn’t really worth it.

P1000534As a dessert we decided to share the Banana, Chocolate, Almond Waffle ($9.80) and added a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (+$2) and some Berries (+$2). Although I found the price quite steep, I must admit that it tasted pretty good. I loved the combination of warm soft waffles with the ice cream and the fresh fruit. Although to make it a little more special they could’ve maybe added caramelised bananas and had some homemade chocolate sauce, rather than just sliced bananas and Hershey’s chocolate sauce. This is probably the only thing I’d recommend you to try. Although you must be willing to fork out quite a lot of money, which I’m not sure if it’s really that worth it. To end our meal I also got an Iced Black Caffe Cinnamon. It tasted quite good, but I expected a bit more cinnamon taste, since the lady who runs the place had told me that they infuse cinnamon in the brew, which had prompted me to order t in the first place. But I found the taste of cinnamon to be nearly undetectable. The atmosphere in the cafe is pretty nice, and it’s a good way of spending a lazy sunday afternoon.

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Restaurant: ReStore Living
Address: 124 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088533
Website: http://restoreliving.blogspot.sg/

Dinner at Keng Eng Kee Seafood, Singapore

Since I’ve been back in Singapore we haven’t gone for a family dinner yet (this means full family – grandma, aunt/uncle, cousins, etc.). Being half Singaporean and never having had Chilli Crab before, it was time for me to finally try it. My cousin had eaten at this Zi Char – Chinese Coffee shop that serves wallet-friendly homestyle Chinese food – before and so he suggested we try it. We ordered a lot of food, too much I’d say, but it all was very good. We ordered the Mingzhu Roll, which is a specialty from this place. It’s fried Tau Pok stuffed with egg yolk, prawn, ham, mushroom and parsley and served with some form of mayo. The picture I took was blurry, so it isn’t shown here, but to be honest I found the dish kind of strange and wouldn’t really recommend it. One of our family favourites, Sweet and Sour Pork was a must. The pork here is nice and crunchy and I really enjoyed how there were more vegetables than usual.

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For vegetables we had the Sambal Kang Kong and the Kailan with Garlic. The Kang Kong was good, but I think the amount of sambal was a bit too much, which made it a bit to oily. The Kailan on the other hand was really good and was finished within minutes. We ordered another portion of this, but found that the second portion wasn’t as tasty as the one before. My brother remarked that it might be lacking garlic.

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It was then time for the highlights of the evening. Chilli Crab and Salted Egg Yolk Crab. The latter is a signature dish of this Zi Char, and I don’t think you can find it on any other menu. Being my first Chilli Crab experience I was ready to dig in, I must say I really liked it. But once I tasted the Salted Egg Yolk Crab, I actually might have to say that I prefer this one to the former. It had a slightly sweeter taste and I found that the Chilli Crab might have had a little too much egg white. Knowing that the sauce usually contains peanut, my cousin had specifically asked for a non-peanut version, since my brother is allergic. But once I tasted the sauce I immediately tasted the peanut. Slightly worrying that they claimed that it didn’t have any peanut. And since we didn’t want to risk it, my brother couldn’t get to try it. Such a shame.

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Of course we needed to have the buns to go with the crab to dip in the sauce. Usually you’d get the fried Mantou to go with them, but here at Keng Eng Kee they are the steamed ones. This disappointed the majority of the family, but I didn’t mind so much since they were so light, soft and fluffy. Still a great vessel to scoop all the sauce. Another dish we always order is the Claypot Tofu. The egg tofu here was nice and silky smooth and the sauce was really tasty. I really enjoyed how the sauce wasn’t starchy thick for a change.

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Another dish we ordered, for which I don’t have a picture, is the claypot pig liver. I also wouldn’t know anything to say about it since I didn’t try it, because I don’t like liver. Some of the last dishes to come were a whole steamed Soon Hock – Fish – and Fried Mee Sua – a type of Noodles. The fish was very fresh and silky smooth, a good choice. The noodles on the other hand was disappointing. When it first arrived my grandma was the first to taste and she said it was too salty, so it was sent back. When we received the replacement it seemed like they left off all form of seasoning, since it had no taste whatsoever. Very disappointing.

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Overall I really enjoyed the dinner, it was especially nice to see the whole family together again. Although my one cousin and my dad are missing, since they’re abroad. When they’re back, we’ll definitely need to have a complete family dinner.

Restaurant: Keng Eng Kee Seafood
Address: 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Singapore 150124
Website: www.kek.com.sg

Lunch at Pu Dong Kitchen, Singapore

Being our standard go-to place, Pudong Kitchen for Shanghainese food was definitely on our list to eat at once summer started. This time my best friend is back and after getting our haircuts (the hairdresser is in the same building as the restaurant, so this is kind of our ritual) we went downstairs to grab some lunch. My best friend’s parents joined us for lunch and they had ordered and gotten seats whilst we were cutting our hair. Shortly after we arrived the food started coming. First came some vegetable dishes; Dry Fried Green Beans with Garlic and some stir fried Chinese Cabbage with Sticky Rice cakes and mushrooms. I’m not sure what the exact name of the latter dish is, but it was quite tasty.

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Then came the dumplings. There were some vegetable dumplings with vegetables in soup and our must-have Xiao Long Bao – Soup Dumplings. The soup dumplings were delicious as always, and for the first time I managed to eat them without accidentally breaking them when picking it up and spilling all the soup. It always amazes me how they get those beautiful folds in the dumplings. Dipped in the accompanying vinegar and garlic, I was one happy girl.

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We also got some nice noodles that had Tofu and Pork and a nice sauce. I’m not sure what the exact name of the dish is though, but it tastes good. And of course we got the Lion’s Head – Pork Meatballs with Cabbage in a delicious gravy.

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After having finished all this food there was still one dish to come. This was the one dish that we’d been waiting for. It’s the restaurants own personal spin on the Soup Dumplings. It’s basically a bigger version of the Soup Dumplings that is pan fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds. There’s no real name for it, and if I’m not wrong it even says Fried Giant Soup Dumplings on the menu. My best friend and I just refer to it as the awesome giant dumplings. They were the last to come as there was a 20 minute wait for it. And when ours came out we noticed how every table around us was also served a plate, guess it really is one of the favourites.

P1000453These dumplings are delicious and we’d ordered 2 portions of dumplings. Sadly enough the dumplings on the one plate hardly had any soup and were rather dry. The ones on the other plate were flowing with soup. Too bad that I’d only had the ones from the dry plate, still tasty though. The food was good as usual, although always after eating here I feel like my pores are clogged with oil, considering the amount of oil in Shanghainese food. I was also extremely thirsty as they’d used a lot of salt.

Restaurant: Pu Dong Kitchen
Address: #B1-02, Balmoral Plaza, 271 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore

Dinner at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine, Singapore

My friend from university was in town and since he’d been saying how he really enjoyed Peking Duck, I thought it’d be a great opportunity for us to have some. Since he was staying in Marina Bay Sands we settled on Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine, which is in the MBS mall. As it was only the four of us, I didn’t dare to order much other than the duck and a side of vegetables. The duck was presented to us at the table, after which the chef started to carve the skin. The crispiest slices were first presented to us along with some sugar and the duck sauce.

P1000426The second part of eating the duck were the duck pancakes, slices of duck wrapped in flour crepes with cucumber, spring onion and the duck sauce – hoisin sauce I believe. This is always my favourite part of the duck, the delicious pancakes. When I’m with my family we’re usually fighting over who gets how many. The pancakes tasted good, although I was quite surprised that the pancakes weren’t served to us with the sauce. We had to use the leftover sauce from the skin and somehow with our chopsticks smear some over the pancake. Quite a messy business to be honest.

P1000428Being scared to over order I only ordered a side of stir-fried Hong Kong Kailan with garlic. It tasted nice, but it was just like the Kailan I can get at any other place. For the duck meat I had asked them to present it to us San Choy Bao style, where the meat is stir fried with some other ingredients and where you wrap it in lettuce. When the meat came it looked like a lot, but once we proceeded to scoop it, it turned out that there was a copious amount of crispy glass noodles, which really don’t add much to the dish.

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After we had finished the food, my friend’s mum and grandmother were still waiting for more dishes. I thought that maybe they were still hungry, but that wasn’t the case. They just didn’t expect the duck to be so little since we had ordered a whole duck and they were slightly confused about where all the duck went since they couldn’t believe that that could be the whole duck. I understood the way they felt since I’d had this discussion numerous times before. I do wonder if they actually give us all the meat? And if not, what do they do with the remainder? Well since our meal wasn’t that much we decided to order some desserts. Lucky for us Imperial Treasure serves ‘dim sum desserts’ during dinner.

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So what we ordered were: Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Balls (Tangyuen) coated in crushed Peanuts, Egg Tarts, Steamed Custard Buns (Liu Sha Bao), and Steamed Egg Yolk Cake. As expected the Steamed Custard Buns were the favourite of the night. The custard that oozed out had the right amount of sweetness and paired with soft fluffy white bun, this was just perfection. The Egg Tarts and the Glutinous Rice Balls were pretty good too. The Egg Yolk Cake was my least favourite, as I found the taste of egg yolk to be overpowering. Overall dinner was good, although the service was terrible. We were ignored most of the night and the waiter that was assigned to us was quite rude at times. I think that in the future I’d rather head to another restaurant for duck, since the duck wasn’t any better than other restaurants anyways.

Restaurant: Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine, Marina Bay Sands
Address: #02-04 Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., Singapore 018972 (Right above the Casino)
Website: http://www.imperialtreasure.com/en/restaurants/detail/marina-bay-sands/imperial-treasure-fine-chinese-cuisine

 

 

Dinner at Chopsuey, Singapore

Chopsuey Cafe is a restaurant under the P.S. group. It’s menu consists of somewhat Americanized Chinese cuisine. The word originates from Chinese Cantonese and means odds and ends. It’s basically the anglicised form of a Chinese dish and is frequently found in the U.S.. In Holland we also have a version which is Tjaptjoi, it’s basically a vegetable stir-fry. Although I’m usually very against the bastardisation – as I call it – of Asian food, the menu seemed very interesting and my friend’s mum mentioned how she had tried it and said it was pretty good. I trusted her opinion as she’s Asian and also usually prefers traditional Asian food. We started the evening off with some Asian inspired cocktails. I went for the Chopsuey Mai Thai – chili-infused white rum, 9-spiced rum, pineapple, mandarin and lemongrass served in a whole coconut. When it came it looked pretty impressive. The pretty flower and little umbrella took me right to the beach. My friend decided to have Lily’s Lychee Martini – vodka, lychee liquer, lime juice & lychees. Sadly enough I don’t have a picture of it.

IMG_3929In true Asian style we decided to order a variety of dishes to share. That way we could try more things. The first dish to come was the Summer Rice Paper Roll Salad. A different take on the traditional Vietnamese rice roll, it was a nice fresh vegetarian dish. The vegetables were nice and crunchy and we felt extremely healthy eating this. The delicious sauce that came with it, perfectly complemented the dish.

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The dishes we ordered were mainly based on recommendations by the staff there. One popular dish are the Crispy Duck POW! Pockets. The buns were filled with shredded duck confit & pulled roasted duck and served with a warmed sweet bean sauce. This dish was pretty impressive and very tasty. I have total understanding as to why it’s so popular. The slice of duck meat was nice and tender and the crispy duck on top was very good.
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Having eaten here before, my friend’s mum had had this ‘great crab dish’ as she described it. She wasn’t to sure what the exact dish was anymore, but she knew it had crab. Scanning the menu, she deduced that it must have been the Fresh Crab Omelette. To be honest crab omelette doesn’t sound too appealing or special, but when it came I was pleasantly surprised. Inside the omelette there were large chunks of fresh succulent crab meat. They certainly weren’t stingy with the amount of crab that was in there and together with the wonderful broth that went with it, it was a nice light dish. IMG_3935

Another main that we ordered were the Numbing Pork Ribs. These are slow braised pork ribs, wok-fried with their house chili sauce, coated with crushed Szechuan peppercorns and topped with Green Mango salad. Usually not such a meat eater, I wouldn’t have ordered this myself. But I definitely would have regretted it had I not tried it. These are the best ribs I’ve ever eaten, the meat was so tender and just fell off the bone. The coating of crushed Szechuan peppercorns added a nice texture and the house chili sauce was also pretty good. I’m just so impressed by how tender the meat was. Can’t get over it. I was disappointed by their ‘green mango salad’ though, as I couldn’t really detect any green mango in there. Luckily the ribs made up for this. Definitely the star of the show.  IMG_3938

We decided to try the Sticky Crunchy Baby Squid, as it was said to be pretty good. It was definitely crunchy and sticky, and although it was good, it was slightly disappointing how the crispiness of the squid kind of made the fact that it was squid undetectable. To be honest, it probably could have been anything.
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We also tried the Steamed ‘Lasagna’ of Snapper & Tofu. We weren’t sure what to expect, but were slightly disappointed when it arrived. It didn’t resemble a lasagna in any way whatsoever. It actually just looked like this cold tofu dish that we often order. The ‘lasagna’ was topped with black bean paste, which was a little too salty for my taste. Also, the snapper was slightly overcooked and I found that there was far too much tofu compared to fish. Overall it tasted alright, however it’s not something I would order again and it definitely is not deserving of the ‘lasagna’ tag. IMG_3941

The P.S. group is famous for its desserts and people usually just head over to have their cakes and other desserts. In the same space as Chopsuey there was P.S.’s other venture, P.S. Cafe Petit, which was serving ice cream. Their ice cream flavours seemed pretty interesting and we decided to get some as part of our dessert. My friend went for the Apple Crumble, whilst I went for the Tiramisu. The Tiramisu ice cream, really was Tiramisu. Filled with giant chunks of actual Tiramisu, I was extremely satisfied.
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For desserts we decided to order the Banana Pudding, which was a steamed golden banana pudding with fresh coconut & palm sugar, served with vanilla bean ice cream and – what I believe – was a vanilla creme anglaise. I was slightly hesitant to order this, because I love banana, but I was afraid the coconut would be too prominent in the dish. Sadly enough, my angst came true, as I found that there was too much shredded coconut in there. It would’ve tasted so much better being more banana-ey. IMG_3947

 

The other dessert we ordered was the Upside Down Toffee Banana & Walnut Cake also served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The chewy caramelised walnut top and the nice moist banana cake, made this a far better choice than the pudding. Walnuts always pair well with bananas and lucky for the monkey in me, this cake had a very nice banana taste. I attacked this dessert and definitely would have it again the next time I visit Chopsuey. IMG_3948Overall the food was pretty good and it was nice to eat some anglicised Asian food that didn’t taste horrible. It is possible to have nice fusion food, it’s just that other places still need to figure this out properly. I think the Asian restaurants in Holland could learn a lesson or two from them. Happy to see my best friend again after half a year and with a full tummy, I headed home to dive into bed as I had to get up early the next morning for work.

Restaurant: Chopsuey Cafe at Martin Road (there’s another one at Dempsey Hill)
Address: No.38 Martin Road, 239072, Singapore
Website: http://www.pscafe.com/chopsuey-cafe-at-martin-road/

 

 

Thai Fest at the Thai Embassy, Singapore

On our way home from groceries we heard a lot of loud music coming from the Thai Embassy. Being curious we immediately went to check it out, turns out that the yearly Thai Festival was being held and the embassy grounds were filled with vendors selling various Thai products as well as Thai restaurants which were catering a lot of food. The food looked extremely good, so we decided to come back for dinner. At the entrance of the embassy these Thai girls were carving beautiful flowers into fruits, it looked incredible and it was so pretty. Can’t imagine how much skill and patience this requires.

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The first dish we decided to try was the Seafood Tom Yum Soup. For SGD$5 this was well worth it, considering the amount of seafood they gave us. The squid wasn’t chewy at all and the prawns were big and succulent. The broth was extremely hot and I felt my eyes tearing up. This didn’t stop me from enjoying it though, as it was extremely tasty. The soup was well balanced and the spicy nor the sour overpowered the dish as a whole. I also enjoyed the use of the fresh herbs and had really missed these flavours back in Rotterdam.
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One of my favourite Thai dishes and must-have for every Thai meal, is the green mango salad. There were several vendors that had this, but we settled for one which seemed very good. It was the last portion that they had and I felt that it was SGD$4 well spent. The sauce was nicely balanced and the mix of carrots, green mango, shallots and peanuts was very good. It was a nice light and refreshing salad and after it was finished I was craving for more.
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One of Thailand’s national dishes, Pad Thai is culinary staple in Thai cuisine. Most people order at least one portion of this when eating Thai food. It’s a stir-fry rice noodle dish that is commonly found street side in Thailand. There are many variations of this dish with different add-ins, but this particular Pad Thai had shrimp and chicken. Of course there was also the usual eggs and firm tofu. I loved the vast amount of bean sprouts and chives that were added and the crunch of the peanuts. Squeezing the lime over the noodles just perfected everything. This is probably the best Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten. We actually only bought one box, but decided to have another portion since it was so good. We also bought another two portions to take home and eat the day after. It was THAT good. So worth the SGD$4.

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Whilst eating we met this other lady who was eating Thai fish cakes, looking quite good, my mum went off to buy some too. Always keen to try a variety of things we decided to get a prawn cake as well. Both were equally good, although we did feel that it was slightly overpriced.

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One of my favourite desserts and an ABSOLUTE must-have after any Thai meal, is the Mango with Sticky Rice. I’m crazy about this and whenever I see it, I just need to have some. At SGD$6, it was slightly pricy, but it’s so worth it. The soft sticky rice with the creamy coconut sauce paired with the slightly sour, sweet mango is heaven. I could easily eat this every day.
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On our way out we passed by this lady making fresh banana fritters. Although already extremely full, it looked to good to pass up on and we decided to get some. Sadly enough there are no pictures of it, as I finished them all. At SGD$2 for 5 pieces, I thought it was extremely worth it. It’s a shame that this festival only takes place once a year, hopefully I can catch the next one next year!

Dinner at Hua Ting, Singapore

Sorry for not having posted anything for the last month. With my mum visiting and exams, I’ve been extremely busy. Now that I’m on summer break and back in Singapore, I have time to post more regularly. And I’ll make sure to post the reviews of the restaurants I visited in Holland, when my mum was there. So please check regularly for updates! But first, my mum’s birthday dinner on my first night back in Singapore. I arrived in the evening on my mum’s birthday and to celebrate we decided to head to Hua Ting as it’s extremely close to our house and my mum has the dining card, which gives us a discount.

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My mum had been talking about this fish dish that she was recommended several times, but hadn’t got the chance to try because my dad and brother always want to order the same dishes. Now that they’re both in Holland and it’s the two of us, we decided to try it. It’s sea perch with egg white. When it came on the table, we were quite surprised. It was no way near what we expected. Especially the amount of egg white was quite astonishing. Although when we started eating it, we realised why it was so highly recommended. It really tasted great and the egg white had this amazing smooth texture. Really wonder how they’re able to achieve this. My mum also really wanted to try a soup that was one of the chef’s recommendations, the soup was quite underwhelming though and didn’t look very appetising, so I didn’t post the picture.

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Being vegetable lovers we definitely needed to order a vegetable dish. We asked the waiter what they had and he said they had a green asparagus stir-fry. His description sounded pretty good, so we decided to give it a try. The dish wasn’t only green asparagus though. In fact it’s actually considered a lily bud dish. It was lily buds, green asparagus, carrots and black fungus. The black fungus kind of set me aback, however I was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted really good. The lily buds were also nice and tender, it was nice to try something new.

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The noodles at Hua Ting are pretty good and they have really nice fresh seafood. Usually we order the Seafood Hor Fun, but as my dad doesn’t like Hor Fun they have started to order Yee Mee instead. I haven’t had the chance to try the Yee Mee yet, so my mum ordered the Seafood Yee Mee. The seafood that we got were 2 prawns, 2 scallops and 4 slices of fish. The seafood was really nice and fresh, however I did feel that they could’ve been a little more generous as it had more mushrooms than seafood.

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For dessert I actually wanted to eat their Black Glutinous Rice with Vanilla Ice Cream in Young Coconut, but because my mum was already quite full and wanted something chilled and refreshing we decided to order the Mango, Pomelo, Sago dessert with Herbal Jelly. When it arrived I was slightly put off by the herbal jelly as I don’t like the taste, but after removing it the rest of the dessert tasted pretty good though. It was nice and refreshing and it wasn’t too sweet, the mango was still slightly sour. Also, whilst we were having dinner I saw a lot of these golf ball sized pastries passing by. Being my curious self I asked the waiter what it was. He told us that they were these Yam Pastries and feeling like a glutton we ordered those as well. It turned out to be somewhat like a mooncake, and tasted pretty good. I was just thinking about how my brother would have really enjoyed this, as he loves yam. After finishing these Chinese ‘Petit Fours’, we were really full and headed home. Not before taking a picture together though! Happy Birthday Mummy! P1000388

Restaurant: Hua Ting
Address: Level 2, Orchard Hotel, 442 Orchard Rd, Singapore
Website: http://www.millenniumhotels.com.sg/orchardhotelsingapore/dining/hua-ting-restaurant.html

Dinner at Parkheuvel**, Rotterdam

As my mum’s birthday present my dad said that we could have dinner at the Two-Michelin Star restaurant Parkheuvel. Parkheuvel is run by Chef Erik van Loo, who took over the establishment in 2006. The food is French with a modern presentation and tastes as good as it looks. It actually wasn’t the plan for us to go have dinner here, as initially we had signed for an asparagus cooking workshop with Chef van Loo, sadly enough, due to lack of participants this was canceled. So as somewhat of a compensation of missing out on that we thought we’d just go test out their food instead. Before I start my review of the food I’d like to specially thank Ms. Evita Wouters – Marketing & Sales Manager at Parkheuvel – for her help in organising this lovely dinner and trying to push through with the workshop.

Now to the food, my mum and I were to enjoy the lovely 8-course degustation menu this evening and having done some research beforehand I’d asked if two of the chef’s signature dishes could be included in this. As usual I asked for no meat, although I did make an exception for the one signature dish as it included chicken. Also I’d asked for no chocolate in the dessert – as usual. All these requests were no problem and then it was on to the food. We started of the evening with some lovely amuses/snacks. Sadly enough I can’t recall exactly what each was. I remember that we had this Cheese Cracker, the little ball was fried and filled with Orange, the cone was a Black and White Sesame Kletskop filled with Crab, and there was something with Curry Mayonnaise. It was a good start and look at how exquisite they look. The presentation is amazing, I was thoroughly impressed.

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After the little snacks we were served the actual amuse. It was a very fresh preparation of the famed Dutch Queen Asparagus. The little ball was filled with an Asparagus gel that just oozed out as you cut into it. It was great.

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Now onto our 8-courses. The first course Scallops – Hand-dived Scallops Black & White, Creme Fraiche, Perle Imperiale Caviar and other black and white. This dish was slightly sour as it was a Scallop Ceviche. The Scallops were raw and wonderfully fresh. The creaminess of the Creme Fraiche paired well with the tangy raw Scallops and the saltiness of the Caviar added a nice touch.

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The second course was North Sea Crab – Sweet and Sour marinated Organic Dutch Superior Queen Asparagus served with North Sea Crab, Buckwheat Blini’s and Perle Imperiale Caviar. Another dish with Caviar, we were getting a lot of Caviar. The Crab was wrapped in the thinly shaved Asparagus like a little package. I was amazed at how thin they were able to get the Asparagus as well as how they managed to wrap it up so neatly. This dish was really nice, although it might have been able to do with a sauce. I tried to scrape the green puree and use it as a sauce – think it was just there for presentation though.

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The third course was Lobster – Lukewarm ‘Oosterschelde’ Lobster with Young Lettuce, Emulsion of Creme Fraiche, Passionfruit and Red Grapefruit. The Lobster was perfectly cooked and the Emulsion of Creme Fraiche was really good. They were so kind to leave the sauce on the table and my mum and I used this to our advantage, finishing all the sauce. Personally, I found the grapefruit a bit bitter and somewhat overpowering, however the other elements of the dish were great. Maybe using a different fruit would have been more appropriate. There was also some Pomelo, which I found matched better. I probably would’ve preferred only Pomelo and no Grapefruit.

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Next was our first Signature dish of the night. It’s the Asparagus Special – Organic Superior Queen Asparagus ‘Special’ with Scallops, fluffy Hollandaise and a reduced Coulis of Oosterschelde Lobster. This was one of the best dishes of the night. I had read about this dish online and people mentioned how they waited an entire year to be able to have this dish again, as it’s only on the menu during the Asparagus season. Lucky us, I’d say. This dish is the chef’s take on a local Dutch snackbar dish called ‘Frikandel Speciaal’. If my local snackbar would be selling this, I think I’d be heading there every day to get one of these beauties. I was so glad that I’d asked for this and am getting hungry thinking about it.

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After the wonderful Asparagus, we were served the chef’s second signature dish. Bresse Chicken / Langoustine – Black Bresse Chicken Raviolo with panfried Langoustines on a bed of Mushrooms. There was another amazing sauce to accompany this. But I’d like to focus on the Raviolo, which was hands-down the BEST Raviolo I’ve ever eaten. The pasta dough was so thin and smooth and the filling was amazing. Every single component on this dish worked. I think I understand now why this dish has been the chef’s signature for the past 22 years! It’s amazing! I’d recommend everyone to try this if they get the chance, I honestly think that this is the dish to have when you go to Parkheuvel.

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Before our main course we were served another fish dish. Turbot – North Sea Turbot poached ‘a blanc’ with Morels, a Morel Cream Sauce and some vegetables. I belief there was a puree beneath the fish as well as some Peas and Sea Lavander. Not a hundred percent sure though. This was another wonderful dish. The fish was wonderfully fresh and flaky and the accompanying sauce was great. They really must have an amazing Saucier.

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Our main was John Dory – John Dory spiked with Laurel Leaf, Braised in the oven with a Fennel-Octopus Ratatouille and a Laurel Liquorice Gravy. Another great dish. I loved the nice contrasting texture between the Octopus and the Fish and the Ratatouille was very tasty. I did hold back with the sauce this time, as I found it quite strong. My mum, unaware how strong it was and expecting it to be like the previous sauces, added additional sauce and thus she found the dish a bit too salty. Such a shame. I really enjoyed this dish, but the sauce did set me back a little.

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Before we were served dessert we were served the freshly baked Madeleines. The server came to our table with a basket in which they were lying freshly baked. There were three in his basket and initially he gave us one each, but having read a previous comment online I knew that these were baked fresh for each table, so I coyly asked if we could have the last one too. I wasn’t going to let that warm fluffy pillow escape that fast. The Madeleines were wonderful and I was glad that I was able to have two instead of one. P1000106

Time for dessert. Not wanting any chocolate as usual I’d requested for the Strawberry dessert having seen it on their menu and it being the season of these little ‘zomerkoninkjes’ aka ‘summer kings.’ On a side note, Holland has some of the best strawberries, make sure to get the small ones though! They have the most taste. So here it is, Strawberry – various preparations of Strawberry, marinated Tartare, Mousse, Strawberry Crisps and an Ice Cream of Vietnamese Long Pepper. The little dome that you see on top of the Mousse, is a Truffle filled with Strawberry Coulis. It was amazing. The Ice Cream is on a slice of White Chocolate with some crunchy Biscuit Crumble. This dessert just worked for me. I don’t know how else to put it. I was also pleasantly surprised by the taste of the Ice Cream, because I wasn’t to sure what to expect. Sometimes these fancy Ice Creams just don’t work, especially ones made on the basis of herbs, spices and other usually savoury components. Luckily this was just delicious and I enjoyed it to its fullest. P1000107

As we were waiting for my standard coffee order, my mum and I took some photos in order to commemorate our lovely dinner here. Doesn’t she look wonderful, the ‘Lady in Red.’

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As you can see in the last picture the coffee had arrived together with the accompanying Friandises, which I always look out for. I think the Friandises are a good indication of the quality of a restaurant. It is after all the chef’s last mark on a meal and I always look forward to seeing what they have to offer. In this case a Turkish Delight, a Banana/Advocaat Merengue Tart, Nougat, a ‘Bokkepoot’ and a another sweet that I can’t really remember what it was. I believe it was some sort of fudge crusted in Hazelnuts, but neither my mum nor I could really pinpoint it. After finishing the Friandises we were also served some of the restaurants famous Valhrona Chocolate. These Truffles were amazing. I had Passionfruit, Coffee, Walnut Honey, Praline and Mandarin Napoleon. They were all great and I wish I could’ve taken a box of them home with me. My sweet tooth once again overpowered my resistance and I had asked if I could have seconds of the Tart, Nougat and Bokkepoot. They were just too good, and I knew that this would be my only chance. Luckily the staff at Parkheuvel are very friendly and they were so generous to give me some more.

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Sadly enough this marked the end of our amazing dinner. I’m really grateful that my mum was so sweet to share her birthday present with me and take me along for this wonderful experience. Another big thank you to everyone at Parkheuvel for making this such a great night for both my mum and I and we really enjoyed ourselves. I think it’s self-explanatory why they have two Michelin stars and I wish them luck in striving for their Third – they’re closing during the summer for renovations in order to be able to qualify for this. Hopefully I will get to chance savour their food again some time, but for now I’d definitely recommend this.

Restaurant: Parkheuvel
Address: Heuvellaan 21, 3016GL Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Website: http://parkheuvel.nl/

 

Dinner at Zeezout (Revisited), Rotterdam

My mum is in town to visit me and as I’d mentioned before we’d be heading to Zeezout again – see my previous post Dinner at Zeezout. This time it was her turn to try out the lovely fresh fish that the restaurant prepares. We were lucky and it was beautiful weather so the long walk to the restaurant was quite pleasant. It was one of the first warm summer days and look I was even able to wear a short-sleeved dress! P1000070Our meal started off with the same warm ‘zuurdesem’ bread with the Fish Mayonnaise and Mackerel Tartare. It was just as delicious as I’d previously remembered. This time, however, I managed to save the mayo to spread it on another bread roll, it’s just too good to waste. Our amuse was presented in a pizza box, it was a pizza their way. It was some raw Mackerel – if I remember correctly – on a puff pastry with a Basil ice cream on top and some freshly grated Parmesan. It was a nice start and especially the Basil ice cream was very refreshing.

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After the amuse we got our first course. I had asked if they had any more of the amazing King Crab Tartare that my dad and I enjoyed before, but sadly enough that dish wasn’t available. Instead we got Eel Mousse wrapped in Radish, Wakamame Salad, Curry Mayonnaise and Tempura Soft Shell Crab. It was also really nice, especially the Tempura was very good. The Crab was coated in a light batter and fried until crisp. P1000057

Our second course was Tuna Pastrami on Pea Puree with Burrata Mozarella and Aceto Balsamico. I had asked for no meat, so I got a bigger portion of Tuna, whilst my mum had a little cylinder of liver on her dish. Didn’t miss the liver though, and I was more than happy to be able to enjoy more fish. The Tuna was cured for numerous days in order to make it pastrami, and it was quite interesting to see how it actually resembled meat. It was tasty, however, the reason why I tend to avoid meat and always order fish and seafood is because I like its delicate texture and fresh taste. To be honest I could’ve just gone to the local supermarket and bought some roast beef, if I wanted to eat that. P1000062

Next was Sea Bream of the grill. This was served on a bed of ‘Hollandse Uitjes’ – Dutch Onions – Pickles, Capers and a Piccalilli Foam. It was basically the restaurant’s more fancy take on the traditional Dutch Herring. This was very nice, I always enjoy sourness and the pungent kick from the onions was great. The fish was also very fresh and the flesh was very nice and flaky. Along with this dish we were served an Onion Tarte Tatin, which added a really nice touch to the overall dish.

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Now came the main course. Catfish – Tijgerwolf, I was told – on Spinach with various preparations of Beet. Along with it came Mashed Potatoes with Beet Puree – Croutons and Beurre Blanc for me – and – Jus, Crispy Bacon and Popcorn for my mum. Both were really good. Although I felt that my Mash with the Beurre Blanc didn’t have strong enough flavours and I had to add additional salt to bring it up to taste. The fish was really good, however I felt that it was basically the same dish as I’d had before, except for the fish being different and the variation of vegetables being different – I had carrots the last time.

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Then, it was time for dessert. Remembering me as the one who complained that the dessert wasn’t big enough the restaurant thought it’d be funny to present us with a ginormous dessert. They plated both our desserts on a plate that was as large as the table! The dessert was Strawberry Cheesecake, which was actually the same dessert as last time and just like last time minus the Chocolate Cake. This time though the Chocolate Cake wasn’t meant to be a component of this particular dessert anymore. However, my previous experience meant that I was aware of this and naughtily requested if we could have an additional dessert. This was no problem and my mum and I were swiftly presented with a small slice of the exquisite Lemon Brulee Tart. It was amazing, just like the last time. I found it quite amusing how they presented our Strawberry Cheesecake and thought that the presentation was lovely.

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I ordered the obligatory coffee afterwards and once again got to enjoy the lovely surprise, which was the Creme Brulee. Although my mum didn’t order any coffee or tea, they were so kind to also bring her a Creme Brulee. She thoroughly enjoyed her experience at the restaurant and was really glad that she got to try it too! The service at Zeezout was great just like the last time and hopefully I get to come back again some time, although I think it’ll be a longer wait than the last time.

Restaurant: Zeezout
Address: Westerkade 11, 3061CL, Rotterdam
Website: http://restaurantzeezout.nl/

 

Dinner at Vis aan de Maas, Rotterdam

Albert Heijn – the local supermarket – and Iens – a restaurant review site – are having a joint promotion, in which you get a sticker for every 10 Euros you spend. Once you have collected 10 stickers you can enjoy a second 3-course menu at one of the participating restaurants for free. There’s quite a large variety of restaurants to choose from and they’re split by price category. It’s a great deal and to celebrate the end of midterms Anouk and I decided to go try out one of these restaurants. With our sticker card in hand and braving the terrible cold rainy weather we headed to Vis aan de Maas. This restaurant is literally at the Maas, and it’s quite inconvenient to get there by public transport. We didn’t realise this beforehand though and were just looking forward to enjoying some nice fish.

We arrived and after drying up a bit we were handed the menu – the menu for the promotion is a separate one, so we didn’t need to spend that much time deciding what to eat. For every course we had two choices and we were given the option to add a course for an additional 9 Euros per dish. At first we didn’t think we’d want to add another course, but the description made it far too tempting. It was a trio of Tuna. After placing our order we were first given a little amuse bouche. It was a salmon tartare with some salad. It was a nice little refreshing start to our meal. For starters Anouk and I both ordered the shrimp prepared three ways. The first preparation was that of the Dutch way – cocktail shrimp with cocktail sauce. The second was a fried preparation with a crunchy crust and dressed with a soy sauce dressing and the third was a tempura shrimp with terriyaki sauce. All three preparations were very tasty, although I did find the crust on the fried shrimp a little too salty. Luckily we had some bread with garlic aioli to cut through the salt.

 

For our additional course we were given the trio of tuna. Tuna sashimi with a soy sauce dressing, tuna tartare and grilled tuna with a wasabi mayo. The fish was extremely fresh and I especially enjoyed the tuna sashimi. I had been wanting to eat some nice raw fish for quite some time now. The grilled tuna was also perfectly cooked to rare, remaining nice and pink inside. We were going to be eating a lot of tuna this night, since next up was our main course, which was also tuna. It was a tuna steak in Chermoulata accompanied by some spring vegetables and truffle risotto – the original dish had rucola salad and potato salad, but we’d asked to have the potato salad replaced (very kind of them to do so). The tuna steak was supposedly with Chermoulata, however we couldn’t really detect any of that. We also had to send back both our first dishes as the tuna was overcooked – medium, instead of the rare we’d asked for. On the second try, the tuna was cooked perfectly, however we still felt the need to season it ourselves. I felt that the amount of vegetables they gave us was quite sad, just a few beans and one slice of zucchini. Also the truffle risotto was very dry and I believe overcooked. After the great courses before, this was somewhat of a disappointment.

 

For dessert I got a lemon crema catalana with red berries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was a very tasty dessert, but the portion was huge and I could nearly not finish it. Also I think the custard might have curdled a bit, since it had some lumps. Still tasty though.

Overall it was a nice dinner and I especially enjoyed it catching up with Anouk after quite a busy period. I think Vis aan de Maas has some great food, but a bit more attention to detail might go a long way. And of course here’s a shot of us, all happy.

 

Restaurant: Vis aan de Maas
Address: Schiemond 40, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Website: http://www.visaandemaas.nl/