Friday, June 18, 2010

Food Diary: Last two weeks in the little red dot (Singapore)

Hawker food included: hokkien char mee (black), hokkien hae mee (white), pontian wonton noodles, Portuguese egg tarts
Restaurants visited: Tippling Club, Mellben Seafood, TWG, Tanjong Beach Club

Photo loaded entry!  Click to read full post.

May 21, 2010
Tippling Club (Dempsey Hill)
NOMSrades: Petrina, Edgar, Adrian

Enter into Tippling Club.

Normally photos of the food are not allowed, but as I started putting my camera away when the first course came, the good lookin' Aussie Chef Ryan made an exception and welcomed me to take photos.

Now he's going to see what a waste it was because I completely forget all the unusual ingredients in his highly intricate dishes (also why this Tippling Club entry is now in the Food Diary section instead of its own review for now).  I'm hoping the photos will speak for themselves, but it's unlikely that they do the courses any justice.  Let's just say I was impressed... Try it out for yourselves!

I've heard a lot of mixed things about Tippling Club.  It's truly a love or hate kind of matter.  Where some find Tippling to be cold and uninviting, I instead admire the balanced progressive industrial look surrounded by tropical trees.  This place is different, even by my weird New York standards.

We ordered the 5-course menu, along with a cocktail pairing.  Unfortunately, the master mixologist and co-owner of Tippling, Matthew Bax was not in that night.

Carbonated frozen grapes and a funky spin on a kopi cocktail.  Love the presentation on the cocktail.

Edgar's drink: More on funky cocktail presentations.  The "Apple Pie."  Caution: Filling is Cold.

The acorn flavor was prominent in this jamon... and then an unusual way to serve vichyssoise.  We were to tip the end into our mouth to pour the vichyssoise whilst toppling the caviar in at the same time.  Easier than it sounds.  Tastier than it looks.

Traditional and delicious calamari in a less traditional serving.  Yup, you drink the sauce out of that straw.  If you may have noticed by now, Chef Ryan tends to use quite a bit of modern and molecular techniques, as well as unusual plating.  Despite that, he still focuses on the flavor and makes sure his dishes are still delicious and filling--unlike other molecular gastronomy restaurants.  He uses the science to enhance his food, not the other way around.

What's he pouring in there, you ask?  Blue Fin Tuna Spinal Fluid.  Yes, spinal fluid.  And yes, that is going on my weird eats list.  Go ahead and wonder what on earth spinal fluid tastes like.  It was a lovely balance to the blue fin tuna dish.

 This spinal fluid isn't rare only because its from Blue Fin Tuna.  It's a precious substance with a very precious and immediate expiry date.  It needs to be served within 24-48 hours after freshly obtaining it or else it'll be inedible.  Seeing how blue fin tuna is imported into most countries, it often doesn't make this delicate deadline.  Chef Ryan has his connections however (don't expect to find this in any other restaurant around Singapore), and we are here to reap the benefits.

What does it taste like?  Tuna.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The fluid is as you might expect, a bit slimy, slightly viscous and clear in color.  It reminds me of an SKII facial product to the touch.  heh.

Curry foam, exotic mushrooms, the beginnings of a chewy bubblegum ice-cream (he was still experimenting), freeze dried tangerines, apple paint.. For anyone who has been counting, you might have noticed that we've already gone way beyond 5 courses--Chef Ryan was generous.  I haven't even posted them all nor begun to talk about the drinks.  I think those details will be saved for my next visit to Tippling Club.

Verdict: Excellent.  Every dish was a surprise and remained delicious.  I find quality of taste much more important than food science experiments and Chef Ryan Clift manages to combine them both with grace.  Chef Ryan is still young as well, I can't wait to see his later developments in Singapore.  Let's just hope I can afford it.

May 22, 2010
Geylang off Lorong 31- KL Hokkien Mee I forget the stall name... forgive me.


Completely chanced upon this spot when I was looking for a different stall in Geylang.  I absolutely adore hokkien char mee (Kuala Lumpur black sauce version as opposed to hokkien hae mee, the Singaporean version).  Gimme the fried lard bits!

It still wasn't as tasty as the hokkien mee I've had in Kuala Lumpur, but it did the trick for that night.  I've been having trouble finding good KL hokkien mee in Singapore.  Does anyone have any other recommendations?

May 25, 2010
Tanjong Beach Club
After dinner
NOMSrades: Varian Lim, Keith Tan, Jason Wong, Adrian Mah, and everyone else!

The restaurant section wasn't open yet during the Media Preview Party, but it's worth a mention here on Gastronommy.  Cool place and exactly what it sounds like: a beach club.  Awesome blonde bartenders and a chic but chill setting.  I look forward to giving the restaurant a try.  Can't wait to bring my dog too!

Thursday, June 1, 2010
Pontian Wanton Noodle (Ghim Moh Hawker Centre)
Late lunch 3:00pm 

Arriving past lunch hours on a weekday makes for a sad Ghim Moh Hawker Centre.  Everything I would have wanted to eat was closed!  I settled for wonton mee.

Definitely not what I expected.  I love the soupless (dry) wonton mee they have all over Singapore, but this stall was a bit different.  The noodles were springy, which I liked.. but the wontons were tiny!  Looks can be deceiving, most of that wonton is just the wrapper.  The charsiu was dry and the vegetables were miserable.  The sauce in particular was a bit unusual for me.  It tasted fine... but in the same way IndoMie Migoreng (instant noodles) tastes fine to me.  The dish wasn't appalling, but it was still lucky I happened to be famished that afternoon.

Next stall over, I got an "ABC" juice.  If I recall correctly, it was a combination of beetroot, carrots and apples.  And it was delicious.  I love beets, carrots and apples individually.  Combined, it was extremely tasty--healthy too!

TWG Tea Company at ION Orchard
Tea time 6:00 pm 
NOMSrade: Adrian

ambience: One can almost forget that they're in a mall, and instead in a quaint European cafe!  Complete with a snooty air.
English Earl Grey tea: excellent quality.  Tea list is extensive.
Tea creme brulee: too thick and creamy.
caramel macaron: much left to be desired.  I wonder where they get or make their macarons?  It's a shame their desserts don't match up to their teas.  

June 2, 2010
Swee Guan Hokkien Mee (Geylang off Lorong 29)

Saw a recommendation for this stall in G Magazine.  I was pretty disappointed with the end result.  I got literally 1/3 of an entire egg's eggshell in my mouth by the end of several spoonfuls, and more disappointingly, it was thick and heavy, but had no real flavor to it.  It was like eating flavorless starchy noodles.  I much prefer a particular stall in the East and the spot inside Food Republic (Wisma).  More on that on an upcoming Singapore Eats list.

The cook and staff on the other hand, were positively nice.

Rochor Beancurd House

Completely chanced upon this place on Upper Thomson Road.  It was busy at 11pm on a weeknight and it was the first time I had seen portuguese egg tarts in Singapore.
Complete with other Cantonese goodies!

Tofu-fa.  Too bad I was too full for even that.

Brought home a box of portuguese egg tarts for everyone at home.  Personally, couldn't manage to eat it until the next day, but it was still pretty darn good.

June 8, 2010
Mellben Seafood (Ang Mo Kio)
NOMSrades: Laetitia, Adrian 

Delicious as usual.  Brought Laetitia over for her first try of Crab Beehoon.  See here for a previous post and video about Mellben Seafood.  More on this on my upcoming Singapore Eats list.


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