It was a Saturday afternoon and we wanted some lunch. Pepper Steakhouse seemed to offer a rather decent lunch proposal on a weekend so we settled for it.
Located at a corner of Great World City, Pepper Steakhouse sported a sombre interior with dark leather bound seats and wooden tables. The place was empty when we walked in but started filling up when the clock struck noon.
Soup of The Day - A tad runny but at least the mushroom taste was still apparent. The accompanying slice of toast was bland and the grill marks were apparently just for show.
Pork Loin - The pork loin honestly looked gorgeous but the old adage holds true; Appearances can be deceiving. Spotting a weirdly soft texture (I had expected something tougher with more bite), the pork was topped with a layer of mushroom and melted cheese. All were bland and could do with a little more salt or flavour.
Sirloin - Done medium as per my request, the sirloin was a tad too salty for my liking and a tad soft as well. Having said that, the sweetness of the meat was sufficiently evident and all in all, a pretty decent piece of steak.
Tiramisu - The tiramisu's sponge to mascarpone ratio was largely skewed in favour of the mascarpone and a teetotaler's version at that. The coffee taste was apparent but the mascarpone wasn't rich enough. Still a decent eat.
Sticky Date Pudding - Not many places serve sticky date pudding so I usually make it a point to order one if I spot it on the menu. Topped with chocolate sauce, Pepper's rendition of this classic English dessert was palatable at best; The pudding wasn't spongy enough while coming across as a little too dry and dense and lacking the oomph factor. Maybe a scoop of ice cream would have done it good.
Weekend lunch was relatively cheap for the quantity and variety of food, at about $22/head. However quality of food hovered around the average mark though service was acceptable. I don't suppose I will be back again but I guess it might be a cheaper alternative amongst the higher end options at Great World City.
We were enamoured by the cute sheep figurine parked at the entrance of the shop and drawn by the prospect of having pancakes for brunch on a late Sunday morning.
Located along the narrow and sometimes congested East Coast Road, just diagonally opposite I12 Katong, Batter Fluffy Flaps or BFF for short, boasts a cute, sheep centric interior and menu. Great if you are into cutesy stuff.
The both of us had the BFF special, which included 2 drinks, 2 pancakes dishes (savoury or sweet) and 1 side to share. For drinks we ordered the Cookies & Cream ice blended and the Pure Caramel Coffee Blended; Both decent but a tad watered down. And I guess you can't really go wrong with drinks?
Honey Baked Chicken Wings - I'm sorry to say this but the wings suffered 50% burns on the outside but remained relatively unscathed on the inside. Read. Relatively raw with blood still seeping through. Very badly executed and we gave up after the 2nd wing.
Fish Flaps - This was essentially deep fried fish fillet served with tartar sauce, coleslaw and 2 flapjacks. The fish fillets had way too much flour and very little fish but was still palatable though you would probably need a lot of tartar sauce to down that much flour. Coleslaw was a tad too creamy, rich and sourish for my liking. On a slightly more positive note, the pancakes were quite fluffy (though smallish) and well cooked, but the accompanying "maple syrup" tasted like the hotcake syrup that MacDonalds uses. That's definitely not maple syrup for sure.
Banana Bonanza - 2 pieces of pancakes topped with sliced bananas, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and walnuts. Average tasting though the pancakes were quite fluffy. The bananas could have been grilled to achieve a certain degree of caramelisation whilst the ice cream was evidently from the tub as I could find ice chips in it. The sole saving grace was the relatively generous serving of walnuts.
The BFF special cost the both of us $42.80, which was honestly a rip off for the quality of food. Please heed my advise on this place; Look past the cute facade and name and give this place a miss.
We were craving for something different on a lazy Sunday morning and made the trek far east to Changi Village for brunch at Chock Full Of Beans or CFOB for short.
As the name suggests, CFOB specializes in coffee; a drink which I seldom partake in and have absolutely zero knowledge on save for the fleeting knowledge that it exists. Tucked away in a corner shophouse along Changi Village Road, the place is packed on a late Sunday morning and you can choose to wait in line for a table or leave your contact number (the preferred option).
Omelette With 3 Fillings - We chose salmon, cheese and mushrooms for the fillings and the omelette came served with 2 thick slices of homemade toast and a toss of greens. Ingredients were a little sparse and the egg wasn't creamy enough but at such a price point ($12), I really can't complain.
Eggs Benedict - The Eggs Benedict sported a generous serving of ham but minimally runny yolks on a slice of hard toast and topped with a rather liquid hollandaise sauce. Average.
Buttermilk Waffles With Caramelized Bananas - Burnt at the bottom and a tad too stodgy, the buttermilk waffles were rather bland and came with whipped cream instead of the usual maple syrup. Topped with sweet bananas that could do with a little more grilling for extra caramelization. Average.
Iced Hazelnut Latte - As mentioned earlier, I know nothing about coffee but I did like the hazelnut latte, which was pretty soothing with a hazelnut tinge. But the main draw is definitely the cute 3D art, which is never quite the same even on the same day (ie. blue ribbon vs red ribbon). And at $6.50 a pop, it was worth the money and the wait, considering the effort and skills required.
Brunch set the both of us back by almost 40 bucks, which was relatively reasonable considering the quantity of food (quality was average) and of course the beautiful latte art. I understand that GST has since been incorporated so prices would have gone up a little but I'll probably be back just for the coffee and maybe to try the desserts.
Was itching to try out somewhere new for dim sum instead of the usual favourites thus settled for Jin Shan Restaurant (金山楼) at Marina Bay Sands one late Saturday morning.
Located within the confines of the hotel (not the shopping mall), Jin Shan sat on an elevated platform on the ground floor. Natural sunlight peered through the huge glass panels that lined the side, making for a comfortable and cheery atmosphere. Unfortunately this also meant that some tables were subjected to more sunlight than others.
Abalone Pork Dumpling - We started off with the abalone siew mai, which was a joke, seriously. The siew mai itself was decent without encapsulating too much fatty meat but the abalone had a very raw taste that spoilt the whole dish. Gross.
Jin Shan Signature Rice Rolls - The signature cheong fun was actually a combination of scallop, BBQ pork and deep fried beancurd skin rice rolls. The fillings were decent but the rice rolls were too thick for my liking and lacked the silkiness of good cheong fun.
Steamed Asparagus with Prawns Dumpling - Prawns and crunchy asparagus deftly wrapped in translucent dumpling skin and topped with a smidgen of roe; Decent but nothing too surprising.
Fresh Shrimp Dumpling - Crunchy prawns and acceptably thin dumpling skin. No burst of flavour though.
Steamed Custard Buns - Rich custard oozed out when we broke into the buns but sadly, the custard was just sweet without the saltiness and rough texture of egg yolk which would have made this dish great.
Deep Fried Prawn with Mango - This dish was a little interesting although not exactly in a good way. The prawns and mango bits were wrapped in dumpling skin, deep fried till crisp and topped with sesame seeds. I could make out the taste of the prawns and sesame seeds but sadly, the mango was non existent.
Fried Carrot Cake - A tad crisp on the outside without coming across as too mushy on the inside. Average tasting at best.
BBQ Combination - I think a good yardstick of any dim sum place is its roasted/BBQ meats (烧腊) and as pretty as our BBQ combination (roasted pork & soya sauce chicken) looked, it didn't quite match up. For starters, even though the roasted pork's skin was crisp, it wasn't evenly roasted (as evident from the different hues of brown on the skin) and a tad overly salty. The soya sauce chicken fared slightly better with tender meat and a spot of sweetness.
Lean Meat Century Egg Congee - The lean meat century egg congee was a tad too watery and bland for my liking. Ditto the scallop congee (forgot to take a picture), which was watery and extremely bland. Forgettable.
Bird's Nest Egg Tart - Flaky but sans the buttery goodness that I would normally associate with tarts. The custard was mildly sweet whilst the strands of birds nest offered a nice gelatin texture to the mix. Decent but no great shakes.
BBQ Pork Puff - One of my favourite dim sum dishes, Jin Shan's rendition of the BBQ pork puff was average at best and nowhere near my personal favourite at Yan Ting. The pastry was too thick and as with the egg tarts, lacked the buttery, oven baked goodness that I personally like. And I could only make out the taste of the pork floss atop as the char siew filling was rather bland.
With a 10% discount, the 4 of us chalked up a bill of about $180, which is quite a bit higher than what I usually pay at Wah Lok. Food quality was average at best and service was definitely below that of a restaurant in a 5 star hotel. Read. Grouchy at times and unhelpful to say the least. The only thing going for the restaurant is its bright, cheery ambience. Will I go back? Definitely not!
The kind folks at District 10 extended an invitation to try out a couple of their signature dishes and since I was in town, I appreciatively made my way down to their outlet @ UE Square one weekday evening.
District 10 is both a bar and a restaurant and offers both indoor and al fresco seating at a rather prominent corner of UE Square. I personally like the wooden interior and high ceilings but the vibe is actually more of a pub than a restaurant. Good for a casual dinner but probably not so much for a romantic date.
Complimentary Bread - This used to be one of the best complimentary bread in my dictionary (back in 2007 when I first tried Bonta). Unfortunately the bread now is but a shadow of its former self. The bread was burnt which gave it a slightly bitter taste whilst the feta cheese within came across as a tad sour. How the quality has deteriorated!
Green Asparagus, Fried Egg Sunny Side Up, Sage Butter - I honestly didn't know what to make of this dish. Asparagus, sunny side up and cheese? $18 ? Seriously?
Pan-fried Goose Liver, Wild Berries Sauce & Balsamic Syrup - The foie gras lacked a well seared crust and wasn't as smooth or quivery as I had expected to be. But at least the wild berry sauce did help to cut down a little on the nausea.
Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, Mustard Dressing, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms - This was a waste of wagyu beef in my humble opinion as it didn't elevate this dish past the average mark. Normal beef would have done the trick. And I personally dislike mustard.
Homemade Angel Hair Pasta with Lobster, Peperoncino, Basil & Fresh Tomatoes - I was looking forward to this but unfortunately it didn't quite pan out. The angel hair pasta was way too soft and stodgy from all the gravy that it was plain unappetising. Even the crunchy lobster pieces failed to lift this dish out of the mess. ps: the presentation needs working on as well.
Homemade Foie Gras Ravioli, Light Parmesan Sauce & Scamorza Cheese - This was probably the best dish of the evening in my humble opinion. The ravioli did come across as a tad too thick but the taste of the foie gras was noticeable and not overwhelmed by the light parmesan sauce. Just watch out for the wooziness.
Crispy Goose Leg Confit, Roasted Garlic, Soft Potato Mousse - Mildly crisp skin but overly salty and dry. Pretty much sums up the goose confit.
Signature Black Angus Beef Striploin, Fried Eggs & Black Truffle - I appreciated the black truffle but I fail to comprehend the sunny side up. Nonetheless, the beef was done to a nice medium rare but came across as rather bland and a tad tough. Average dish overall.
Roasted Atlantic Cod Medallion, Spanish Smoked Paprika & Herbs Oil - The cod was decently executed without much fanfare - tender flesh with a hint of sweetness. Lacked the oomph to elevate it past the average mark.
Cinnamon Apple Fritters with Icing Sugar - And finally, desserts. I found the cinnamon apple fritters a pretty interesting concept except that there was way too much cinnamon powder sprinkled over the fritters that it was unnerving (for me at least). I was expecting a sweet finish but it ended up slightly sourish because of the apple. Can't say I'm a fan.
Traditional Italian Tiramisu - My absolute favourite Italian dessert. Unfortunately District 10's rendition didn't quite excite. The mascarpone to sponge ratio was a little lopsided in favour of the former whilst the latter came across as a tad dry. Acceptably average.