It was a public holiday lunch at East Ocean Teochew Restaurant with the family; A much vaunted restaurant where we usually purchase our supply of deep fried fish skin from (only available during Chinese New Year). And after so many years, we finally got down to trying their dim sum.
Situated on the fifth floor of the upclass Ngee Ann City at Orchard Road, East Ocean had a large crowd of people milling outside, waiting for a table. Thankfully we had reservations but even then, we had to get in line to approach the wait staff for our table. The place was rather noisy which definitely isn't great for conversation.
Crispy Roasted Pork Belly - Sporting a crackling crisp skin and a good fat to meat ratio, the roasted pork belly did seem a little wobbly and lacked finesse. But still pretty good in my humble opinion.
Steamed Har Gao - Crunchy prawns enveloped in relatively thin, translucent skin. Pretty decent as well.
Steamed BBQ Pork Rice Rolls - The cheong fun was average; Relatively thin skin but lacked silkiness. Chunks of BBQ pork evident.
Steamed Siew Mai - Topped with a smattering of roe and a green pea, the siew mai didn't overwhelm with its porkiness, probably due to the low fatty meat ratio.
Pan Fried Carrot Cake - The pan fried carrot cake was awfully soft and mushy; Almost gross. No wonders it didn't have many takers.
Steamed Carrot Cake - Now the steamed rendition came out slightly better. Soft sans the silkiness with the topping of dried shrimp, dried sausages, onion etc failing to boost the inherently bland flavours. Palatable but not great.
Mini Steamed Glutinous Rice - Great consistency in the rice but sorely lacking in flavour. Need I say more?
Deep Fried Beancurd Skin - The beancurd skin wasn't crisp enough and the prawn paste lacked flavour. Starting to see the trend?
Deep Fried Silver Fish With Salt - This dish was a serious joke. The layer of flour amassed around a single silver fish was so dense that all I could taste was flour. I certainly didn't order deep fried flour!
Century Egg Congee - Starchy yet flavourful, the porridge had bits of meat and a rather generous serving of century egg. Pretty nice considering how terrible the previous few items were.
Steamed Custard Bun - This was probably one of the best dishes that afternoon; Runny custard that wasn't cloyingly sweet with a hint of egg yolk sediment. Only gripe I had was that the salty contrast wasn't evident enough.
Baked BBQ Pork Bun - Think polo bun (菠萝包) with BBQ pork. Crusty, semi sweet top with bits of BBQ pork filling. Pretty decent but would have appreciated more pork and a little more viscosity in the filling.
Steamed Custard Layered Cake - I've never had this at a dim sum restaurant before and honestly, I found it rather insipid. Dry layers of cake sandwiching dried, overly sweet custard that just made me give up after my third mouthful.
Baked BBQ Pork Pie - Though the BBQ pork filling was chunky, it could have done with a little more gooeyness (as with the BBQ pork bun) whilst a little more butter would have helped the pastry.
Mini Egg Tart - The egg tarts showcased a flaky pastry with a smooth and semi sweet custard center. A pity the pastry just wasn't buttery enough. Still a decent eat nonetheless.
5 of us racked up a bill of about $142, which isn't too expensive given the quantity of food we had. Compare that however, to the quality of food that Wah Lok offers at a similar price point and the result is clear; East Ocean just doesn't measure up. There are more misses than hits and I'll probably just stop by for my yearly fish skin purchases, nothing more.
I had an off day so popped by for an early lunch at Three Buns @ Potato Head Folk, apparently the latest and greatest F&B joint, fresh off the beaches of Bali.
Housed in the iconic, former Tong Ah Building (東亞) along Keong Saik Road, Three Buns @ Potato Head Folk offers takeaway and alfresco dining on the ground floor, table service on the second and a cocktail bar on the third. The kitchen is also located on the ground floor so you can pretty much have a good view of the workings if you choose to sit along the passageway.
Dining alone, I didn't quite fancy any table service and wanted a look at the kitchen hence I made myself comfortable on one of the tiny wooden bar chairs along the passageway. On hindsight, that probably wasn't a great decision as passers-by kept bumping into me due to the rather narrow path. And lets not forget about the afternoon humidity and heat.
Naughty Fries - Naughty fries. How catchy. Instead of the usual rectangular shaped strips of fries, these came in wide, thinly shaved pieces and topped with the likes of Parmesan, spiced Bearnaise, shallots, parsley, chopped spring onions and a smattering of mildly spicy hot beef chilli. Apart from the rather interesting Asian twist to an otherwise Western dish, it was essentially Carl's Junior's chilli beef fries with a little more finesse; Fresher tasting with a slightly spicier kick. $9 gets you a sharing portion for 2pax.
Baby Huey - A thick and juicy but mildly overcooked 150g beef patty topped with melted cheese, lettuce, spiced mayo, pickles and 'Notorious T.O.M Sauce' (whatever that means). Served up between two soft and fluffy buns (like the one's from Triple O's), this was one pretty good burger. I personally liked the mild tanginess of the of the whole burger and the crunchiness provided by the pickles. An abundance of sauce made for a very messy burger but it was all good. I'm definitely trying out the double patty burger on my next visit!
A rather sweaty but filling lunch cost me about $37, which seriously isn't cheap by any standards for a burger, fries and an iced coffee (which incidentally tastes like the $1 ones at a local coffeeshop. But don't quote me on that as I know nuts about coffee). No service charge was levied because it was pretty much self serve but I assume a 10% service charge would be tagged on if you were to sit on the second floor. The burger alone is worth a revisit though!
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.