A couple of us dropped by Fat Cow for lunch one weekday afternoon after hearing so much about their signature wagyu donburi.
Located at a corner of Camden Medical Centre, Fatcow took quite a bit of finding as there didn't seem to be any clear signs as to where exactly the place was from the carpark. But we finally found the place and were led into a "private" room for the 8 of us; "private" because it was really just part of the main bar area with a paper thin partition that afforded some visual privacy (no respite from the noise though).
Salad, Miso Soup & Chawanmushi - A side of fresh salad, miso soup and chawanmushi came as a side to our set lunch. I personally liked the chawanmushi; smooth and light without coming across as too eggy and served with a slice of scallop, mushroom and prawn.
The Fat Cow Donburi - And the sole reason why we were here; the namesake Fat Cow Donburi. I ordered my wagyu medium rare but it seemed a touch undercooked even though the flavours were good; salty with a robust beefiness but a little lacking in the juiciness. The wobbly onsen egg imbued the dish with a creamy texture. A good dish but lacked the wow factor in my humble opinion.
Ice Cream - A tiny scoop of smooth and creamy caramel ice cream (probably the size of 2 quail eggs) capped off our meal. Inadequate but appreciated nonetheless.
The 8 of us racked up a bill of ~$480 and though good, doesn't quite justify the quality and quantity of food honestly. We left the restaurant feeling a little unsatisfied to be honest. Service overall was decent but tea refills need to be more forthcoming, especially at $5 /pax. Will I be back? I highly doubt so, unless someone is picking up the check.
The 3 of us were having lunch at Long Chim (which translates to come and taste), a relatively upscale Thai restaurant at Marina Bay Sands owned by renowned Australian Celebrity Chef David Thompson, who is also behind the award winning Thai restaurant, Nahm, in Bangkok.
Located on the 2nd floor of MBS, Long Chim boasts a modern and trendy interior with Asian twists, scenes of Bangkok and a view of Marina Bay from certain tables. But the view is a double edged sword because you get plenty of natural light (great!) and some of the heat as well (not so great).
As this was our first visit, we decided to go with the set lunch.
Cured Pork Fritters - Deep fried breaded cubes filled with sourish cured pork and an uneven distribution of chilli; best eaten with the peanuts to help neutralise the sourness. No great shakes and not my cup of tea.
Miang Prawn - One of my dining companions had the Miang prawn, which was an assortment of ingredients (dried prawns, shallots, peanuts etc) wrapped in a betel leaf. Sweet, spicy and sour all at once - akin to a zesty rojak paste. Can't say this was well received.
Fried Rice with Roast Duck - This was my main course and though this dish came across as lightly salty and savoury, it lacked any discernable wok hei. I couldn't quite make out the taste of the duck slices as well, which was a pity. Overall a rather forgettable dish of fried rice.
Sweet Mango Sticky Rice - One of the quintessential Thai desserts, the humble mango sticky rice. Mildly sweet mango slices atop rather watery rice (too much creamy coconut milk!) and sprinkled with fried mung bean to inject some crunch. Decent dessert but portion sizes are minute; I finished the whole thing in 2 spoonfuls.
Lunch for the 3 of us cost ~ $94, which isn't expensive (ala carte and dinner prices are quite a bit higher though) given the prices at Marina Bay Sands in general but quality is average at best. Overhyped and rather underwhelming in my humble opinion. Service is decent though.
We were in the vicinity of Tanjong Pagar one weekend and decided to pop by Drury Lane (one of the numerous hipster cafes that have been sprouting up like mushrooms in the past few years). Getting a table took a while and it seemed filled with youngsters in their teens to mid twenties.
Seating is rather limited on the ground floor where the ordering counter and kitchen is. The second level offers more seats but comes across as cramp with tables small and packed rather tightly together. One major gripe I have is the lack of air-conditioning. We had a table at one of the corners and believe me, it was warm and a little stuffy. To be fair, fans were placed at certain locations but it only benefited those who were seated directly in front. Water is self service from one of the counters located near the stairwell.
Half Sized Cheese Toasties - To start we had the mozzarella and turkey bacon cheese toasties (half sized). Nicely grilled on the outside but sadly, the gooey cheese and turkey bacon didn't quite feature in the taste department. Nowhere close to Toastface Grillah's but decent for the price ($4).
Monterey Chicken with Avocado and Sriracha Butter - The chicken came across as nicely grilled but a touch too salty whilst the whole grain bread was just dry. I liked the gooey cheese but not much of a fan of Sriracha. Average overall.
Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Eggs Benedict with Grilled Prawns - This was a rather interesting - Runny egg yolk atop a lightly sweet but mildly dry mantou and drenched with a rather diluted salted egg yolk custard that could use a little more robustness/richness. Packed with three decent sized, crunchy and relatively sweet prawns to justify the comparatively expensive (as opposed to other items on the menu) $17 price tag. Pretty decent dish.
Drury Lane serves up relatively inexpensive food in general (prices are nett) but quality hovers around the average mark. In short, just another run off the mill (but reasonably priced) cafe. No idea about the coffee though!
Osia was recently awarded 1 Michelin star in the inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore 2016 amidst a rather controversial revelation that the guide itself was sponsored by private companies; one such sponsor being Resorts World Sentosa, which eventually ended up with 4 Michelin starred restaurants.
Located along Festive Walk close to Tung Lok Heen and Joël Robuchon Restaurant (which incidentally has 3 Michelin stars), Osia sports a modern interior coupled with earthen colours and abundant natural light made for a cozy dining atmosphere. No strict dress codes either ;) Window seats offer offer a view of Festive Walk but can get a little warm due to the sunlight.
Stone Hearth Flat Bread - There is no complimentary bread served so if you need that extra filler or carbohydrate, your only choice is the $11 a pop selection of bread. There are a couple of flavours to choose from and you can select up to 2 different flavours for your flat bread. I would highly recommend you order the bread as it was consistently good (based on our few visits thus far); soft and fragrant with an irresistible chewiness. Personal favourite - Garlic Butter and Garlic Butter ;)
Air Dried Coppa Ham - Rather pedestrian in my humble opinion even though the mesclun salad was fresh and the ham injected a strong saltiness.
Foie Gras - This required a supplement of $12 and was worth the top up in my humble opinion. The foie gras wasn't overly gamy, nicely seared with a lightly crisp exterior and topped with caramalised banana cubes to ease through any greasiness. Served with banana espuma laced with vanilla beans. I like bananas so I might just be biased here.
Duck Leg - Osia's Duck Leg is one of the best Duck Confit I've had in quite a while. Cooked to a pinkish hue yet moist, tender and flavourful (not too gamy or salty) - complete with a mildly crisp skin. Served on a bed of smooth potato mousse (not as good as Joël Robuchon's though). The wife is a huge fan.
Beef Hanging Tender - Although done to medium, the hanging tender (economical cut) came across as a little too tough and rubbery for my liking. I liked the flavours though; mildly beefy and sweet, topped with earthy and savoury duxelles.
Valrhona Hot Chocolate Soup - The generous semi viscous chocolate lava came across as relatively rich but not cloyingly sweet. Paired with a scoop of rather interesting black pepper ice cream; sweet and cold with a strong peppery kick at the end. Not quite my cup of tea though.
Lunch for 2 cost $133, which isn't exactly cheap given the portion sizes and varying quality of food. But still, set lunches are a great way of sampling what restaurants have to offer (the other, more limited option is Restaurant Week). Service was good on all the occasions we were there. As to whether Osia deserves that 1 Michelin star, my personal opinion is unfortunately a no.
We were having lunch at Char's "new" location after several moves from Geylang to Guillemard Road to the current (and hopefully) permanent location @ Jalan Besar.
Located just a few doors down from my favourite, now defunct burger spot, Suprette, Char's interior sports an industrial vibe with exposed halogen bulbs and cement screed floors and walls, Char's premises is reminiscent more of a pub or one of those hipster cafes/coffee houses that are sprouting up rapidly across Singapore. Decor aside, we had to wait for a few minutes to catch the attention of a seemingly clueless wait staff to confirm our reservation. Questions about the menu were also met with a blank stare.
Dou Miao Dry Scallops - The obligatory vegetable dish and a pretty decent one at that. The crunchy dou miao was partially immersed in a not overly thick but flavourful gravy with generous amounts of dried scallop shreds. Simple but delicious and best eaten with rice.
Butter Chicken - Thin strips of tender chicken cooked with curry leaves, evaporated milk and topped with fried garlic and sliced almonds; I liked the creaminess and sweetness of the whole dish. And the curry leaves gave it a nice curry tinge and aroma. Kinda reminded me a little of the Butter Pork Ribs dish from Two Chefs sans the "milk powder" dusting.
Quarter Roast Duck - The quarter duck was probably more suited for 2 pax than 4 but nonetheless, I liked the crisp skin and tender meat that didn't come across as too gamey. Very competent dish and one of the better ones I've had so far.
Double Roast - We chose Char's famous BBQ and roasted pork for our 双拼. The BBQ pork had quite a distinct porkiness that seemed to cut through the sweetness of the mildly sticky sauce, probably due to the high fat to meat ratio. The slightly leaner slices tasted better in my humble opinion (I had the same conclusion after having lunch at Char again recently).
The roast pork was a little inconsistent with the second row of pork sporting a crisper skin than the first row. But both rows bosted tender meat with a finishing tinge of spice (not too sure what spice though). Pretty good overall but not quite a fan of the above mentioned spice.
Yong Chow Fried Rice - First looks, the fried rice looked a little anemic and unappetising at best. However it turned out decent with a mild wok hei and reasonable servings of pork, egg, shrimps, mushrooms and greens. It would have been better if the rice had an even distribution of egg.
At just over the century mark for a 4 pax lunch, it is honestly quite reasonable, given the quality of food. Of course quantity can always be improved but I think priority on the fix list has to be the service. On my return visit, the staff couldn't decide if the place was fully booked and made us wait at the door for ~10 minutes while she went off to chat with her colleague. When pressed, she offered us a smaller table but didn't offer us additional chairs.
The food might be good but if service is going to continue this way, I'll gladly take my money elsewhere!
See all my pictures >a href ="http://www.timelessfacade.com/2016/08/char-competent-food-below-average.html">here.