Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Seasons Greetings! A Pictorial


Santa granted mommy her wish....partially :-)


Happy in his own little elephant chair

Ethan_Singapore Babe

I am a 100% Singapore Babe!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Megumi Japanese Restaurant

My friend L who used to live in the Siglap area, pointed out Megumi to me one evening when we were trekking to Udders for ice-cream, and said "it's very good". And so Megumi came to mind when E asked where I wanted to eat, since our jaunts are now confined (for the moment) to places within a 15 min drive of my parents' place, since I don't fancy spending the same amount of time travelling as I do eating.

Megumi_gurukin sashimi

We started off with this whole fish sashimi (SGD35) of what the waiter said was "gurukin" but I could have remembered wrongly. The sashimi was fresh and sweet, and complemented well by the slightly sourish dipping sauce. After we had finished with the fish, the bones were taken away and deep-fried with batter to make a crunchily good snack.

Megumi_salmon ikura don

For my main, I chose the salmon ikura don, which was the special of the day (SGD18) since I was hankering for some briny salmon roe :-) This came with thickly-sliced portions of salmon which were decently fresh although the sushi rice could have been better seasoned. E went for one of their bento sets (SGD25) which was fairly good, we liked that the sushi came with good sized portions of fish overhanging the rice (and not the other way round).


Megumi is a homely place, filled with Siglap locals, serving up a wide range of offerings. While the quality is not quite comparable to top-notch Japanese restaurants like Tatsuya and Aoki, it's good enough for me to go back again.

Megumi Japanese Restaurant
77 Upper East Coast Road #01-03 (another branch at Sunset Way)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Drink Milk


Ethan, time for you to return to drinking your milk properly and not wail halfway through...

Sunday, December 19, 2010



Just the day before Ethan was born, I decided to go gallivanting at Tampines One Mall, and chanced upon their weekday promotion for the month: one-for-one offers on desserts on Tuesdays (there are other offers on other days). And Frolick was one of the participating dessert shops! So I wasted no time in ordering two froyos to try, one for me, and one for Ethan.

Verdict? Taste is not quite as tangy as that of Yoguru's, and the frozen yogurt melted so fast that I had to wolf down both cups a lot more quickly than I would have liked. Other than the salacious naughty monikers (sizes come in "cups", slogans like "spankingly good" are plastered all over) , for me at least, this wouldn't merit a special trip.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ethan's Smiling

First Smile

We think this is Ethan's first smile....it's kind of hard to figure out since he has an expectant / curious look on his face when he's not fretting or crying or drowsy. The little boy weighs close to 5 kg now, a 2 kg weight gain since he left the hospital 6 weeks ago. I feel such a sense of satisfaction to see him growing and developing!

Etna Italian Restaurant

Etna_Beef Fiorentina

For our first date night in the 6 weeks since Ethan was born, we checked out Etna, a cosy little place in East Coast Road very near my parents' place where we had deposited Ethan for a couple of hours. Etna serves up Italian food with a focus on the Sicilian region and is very popular with the local residents.

The pizzas and pastas all looked good, especially the "white" pizzas which looked to be refreshingly different from the usual tomato-based pizzas, but as E had tried the pizzas and pastas before, we went for the Bistecca alla Fiorentina ($60 for two, 600 gm) instead. This hearty T-bone steak was juicy although not that flavourful, but one can't expect that much at such an affordable price. To be honest, I also have not been in the mood to savour food nowadays as my meals are now wolfed down in 5 minutes! Ah, the joys of motherhood. Now back to catch up on some sleep before the next feeding session!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Month On


What a month this has been. Completely exhausting, draining and tough, especially in the first three weeks, since I didn't have any confinement lady or maid, and was virtually caring for him single-handedly around the clock while recuperating from the nine months of pregnancy and the labour process! I am proud to say that I survived thus far and things are improving.

The first photo was taken just after Ethan's symbolic first month haircut. He sure looks very apprehensive since he had no idea what was happening to him!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello World!


Baby Ethan decided to make his grand entrance into the world last Wednesday! We have been really busy since then just catching up with his feeding and diapering! More updates to come in due course if and when we manage to get him into a routine...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shinji by Kanesaka

I fear that words are not quite enough to do justice to the mini-epiphany I had at Shinji by Kanesaka.

It was sheer magic and poetry.

Shinji Restaurant 1

sushi counter carved from the trunk of a 220 year old Japanese cypress or hinoki tree

Shinji by Kanesaka, which opened in late July, is the first overseas outpost of master chef Shinji Kanesaka, who runs a two Michelin-star restaurant in Tokyo. The austere and spare dining room, with the sushi counter as the centrepiece, set the mood for the next two hours of epicurean bliss.

Shinji Restaurant 2

the master at work slicing otoro
At lunch, 3 sets ($75 for 9 pieces, $125 for 12 pieces, $180 for 15 pieces) and omakase ($250) are available. We opted for the $125 Tsuki lunch and placed ourselves in the capable hands of master chef Koichiro Oshino.

Shinji_1 yellowtail
Sushi 1: Japanese Yellowtail

Shinji_2 Squid
Sushi 2: Ika (squid), with a sprinkle of salt

Shinji_3 Chutoro
Sushi 3: Chutoro (medium fatty tuna belly)

Shinji_4 Otoro
Sushi 4: Otoro (fatty tuna belly)

Shinji_5 Mackerel
Sushi 5: Mackerel

Shinji_6 Marinated Maguro
Sushi 6: Tuna marinated in soya sauce

Shinji_7 Ikura
Sushi 7: Ikura (salmon roe)

Shinji_8 Aji
Sushi 8: Aji (horse mackerel)

Shinji_9 Uni
Sushi 9: Uni (sea urchin)

Shinji_10 Ebi
Sushi 10: Cooked ebi (prawn)

Shinji_11 Clam
Sushi 11: Boiled Clam

Shinji_12 Anago
Sushi 12: Grilled anago (sea eel)
Every single piece of sushi was an amazing work of art. Served at the perfect temperature (rice slightly warm, raw fish slightly chilled), moulded to the perfect balance of seafood and rice to bring out the full flavour of the seafood.
From the top-grade unctous buttery otoro and creamy briny-sweet uni, to the marinated maguro and the tender ika, every thing was just so delicious - stunningly fresh and sweet - that try as I could, I couldn't pinpoint my favourites.

Shinji_13 Maki

Assorted maki and tamago (not shown)
Even the maki was superb, with a wonderfully fragrant toasted nori sheet. The only jarring note came from the miso soup, which was not as tasty or complex as I had been expecting.

Shinji_14 Matcha Dessert

Matcha mousse with Azuki beans

Beautifully rounded off with a matcha mousse which somehow managed to be light and yet with a deep rich green tea fragrance at the same time.
When can I go back?

Shinji by Kanesaka
Raffles Hotel #02-20

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ippudo Ramen, Mandarin Gallery

Ippudo Ramen 2

One must always seize opportunities and since I was in the vicinity of Mandarin Gallery to run some errands, my (achy and swollen) legs automatically propelled me towards Ippudo for dinner #1, never mind that (i) it was merely 4.30 pm in the afternoon and that (ii) I had an appointment for dinner #2 at 8 pm. Happily there was ZERO queue and the restaurant was almost empty - great! Settled down quickly and ordered the signature item of Shiromaru Motoaji: "the original tonkotsu" soup noodles with slices of simmered pork loin chashu, cabbage, kikurage, spring onion, served with Hakata-style ramen.

The broth was flavourful - milky and robust without being too salty - and the thin Hakata-style noodles were thankfully not overcooked, remaining al-dente and slightly hard / crunchy. There was only one slice of chashu but what was lacking in quantity was made up for in terms of quality for this fairly melted in the mouth and had just the right mix of fat and lean meat. Yummy!

However, the flavoured egg (tamago) was extremely disappointing - it was not flavourful, had an overcooked yolk that wasn't even the slightest bit runny, and sin of sins, was actually COLD.

Overall a good bowl of ramen but I wouldn't bother making a special trip for this or if there's a long queue. Still prefer the thicker bouncier Hokkaido-style noodles served at Miharu, and the broth at Santouka and Menya Shinchan pack more oomph too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Customised Cupcakes

Thank You and Goodbye Cupcakes

Finally I had an excuse to order these cuppies from Cupcake Momma as farewell treats for my dear colleagues. I like that her cupcakes are moist, have a nice crumb, are not too sweet, and are sized just right to eat in one mouthful (or two).

These are customised Thank you and Goodbye cupcakes in chocolate and vanilla flavours, decorated in green and orange colours. Cupcakes are just such happy smiley sweet treats!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Beautiful Gift

Emma Bouquet 2

From my so-wonderful colleagues, who asked Ying to make this stunning creation as a farewell gift for me. Take it from me, the real thing is much more absolutely gorgeous! Just look at those sparkly tourmaline teardrops in different glowing shades of pink, red, orange, brown, and green.... and the soft lustre of the Keishi pearls, formed into large flower petals.

Emma Bouquet 1

Accompanied by quirky elegant mismatched earrings in the same floral and vine motif, which are simply gorgeous worn standalone.

Emma Bouquet Earrings

I just love this special and thoughtful gift! Thanks again to my wonderful colleagues!

photos reproduced with kind permission from Ying (www.floralbox.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh

Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh

I had not been to Ng Ah Sio for more than 5 years and I was surprised to see that they had undergone a face-lift and were sporting a more "corporatised" image (waitstaff sporting trendy uniforms, shiny new signboard, new tables and chairs akin to a mid-range restaurant), apparently because they are now run by the Jumbo Group. Pity, as I preferred the rather ramshackle laidback feel of the old place but that could be mere nostalgia speaking.

Overall, Ng Ah Sio's Bak Kut Teh wasn't too bad but it wasn't great either. The soup was more salty (probably from a much heavier application of soya sauce) and very peppery compared to Ya Hua's version, which I prefer for its light and yet sufficiently meaty taste. The pork ribs were also rather dry and tough. Will come back....if I'm in the vicinity and craving for BKT.

Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House, 208 Rangoon Road

Monday, October 11, 2010

Matsu, Gallery Hotel

I had been wanting to try Shibaken's Japanese-French fusion cuisine for a few years but somehow the procrastinator in me kept on, well, procastinating. By the time I got around to making serious plans to dine at the restaurant, it had been renamed as Matsu, with a new head chef Motomatsu Takashin (who was formerly sous chef to Shibaken's original chef).

Since I was not too hungry, I decided on the 3-course Olive set lunch (SGD28) although the Bamboo (SGD 48) and Pine sets (SGD 58) looked terribly tempting for a future occasion.

Matsu_california salad

Starter: California Salad

Avocado, cucumber, shredded crabsticks (surimi), and mixed salad greens tossed with a light mayonnaise sauce - this was light and refreshing, a precursor of the dominant taste theme for Matsu.

Matsu_japanese mountain vegetable pasta

Main Course: Japanese Leafy Mountain Vegetable Pasta

Frankly, I wasn't expecting much since this seemed like such a simple and basic dish, and anyone with a mere modicum of skill can manage to cook al dente pasta properly. But with my first mouthful, I was pleasantly suprised by how very well executed this was, with clean, pure flavours that simply leapt from the plate. My guess is that the vegetables and the pasta were cooked in konbu / bonito stock because of the sheer umami-ness of the taste. According to Connie the manager, chef Motomatsu also added in a small touch of sesame oil.


Dessert: Custard Pudding with Ice Cream

Again, nothing to fault here. A wobbly smooth panna cotta pudding paired with cute little dollops of matcha ice cream, strawberries and blueberries.

All in, this was a delightful first meal at Matsu that left a good impression on me - something slightly unique and different but not too avant-garde or experimental - polished cooking that allows the natural flavours of the food to shine through. I've gotta persuade E to bring me there to check out their kaiseki offerings!

#02-2A, The Gallery Hotel (http://matsu-gallery.blogspot.com/)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lunch at Barracks Cafe: A Pictorial

S was back in town last week so we caught up over lunch at Barracks Cafe (and also later over a superbly sinful crab beehoon / gong gong / frog legs / live fish dinner at Sin Huat). Barracks' new concept set lunch is now priced at SGD28 and comes with a much more restricted choice of mains / desserts, and doesn't include starters.


Mint berry mocktail

This made for a pretty picture and was very refreshing although it was quite a pain trying to dig out all the berry bits with a puny straw.

Mushroom risotto with veal stock

Lovely, warm and fragrant, especially the veal reduction spooned over the top. I'll take a savoury and salty dish over a sweet one every time.


Lemon Cake
Having patronised Barracks so many times, I shouldn't be surprised that the desserts are always bigger than the mains. A towering whopper of a lemon cake, with soft fluffy sponge layers encased by sweetish tart lemon custard. Good but so huge that I left half of it on my plate.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Good Meal at Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel

This meal at Shangri-La's Chinese restaurant Shang Palace to celebrate my mother's birthday definitely delivered. We ordered the SGD48 Peony Blossoms lunch set with 6 courses, which was very affordable and value-for-money especially after taking into account Shangri-La's current 39% special discount.

Shang Palace cold dish combination

First course: Trio cold dish combination (from left to right: prawn with salted egg, drunken chicken, silken beancurd with century egg), served in delightfully small tasting portions. My favourite was the beancurd with century egg paste - so fragrant, and without any hint of that faintly-noxious ammonia tinge which can sometimes permeate century eggs.

Shang Palace_Sharks Fin

Second course: Braised sharks fin with crab meat. Wow, this came with so many generous chunks of sharks fin and crab meat, that I was in some disbelief as they kept on appearing in every spoonful that I took! The only teensy complaint that I had was that the base stock could have been slightly more robust.

Shang Palace_wok fried scallops and coral clam

Third course: Wok-fried scallops and coral clam with chives and preserved vegetable. The wok-fried label was not used in vain - this dish had a wonderful "wok hei" aroma. My father liked this so much that he crunched up the lettuce (which had some leftover sauce on it) after devouring the scaloops and clam.

Shang Palace Pork Belly With Golden Pumpkin 1

Fourth course: Pork Belly with Golden Pumpkin. This came piping hot in a little pot and the stewed pork belly was tender, but otherwise rather unremarkable. The interesting twist for this dish was that instead of the usual deep-fried round bread buns (or man tous), we were presented with a vase of "breadsticks" which turned out to be man tou. I suppose the shape was to make it easier for us to mop up the sauce without getting it on our fingers too.

Shang Palace Pork Belly with Golden Pumpkin 2

Shang Palace_Noodle with XO Chilli Sauce
Fifth course: Stewed seafood noodle with XO chilli sauce. A humble dish that tasted so good (so much so that my mum, who was stuffed at that point and had to be persuaded to eat at least one strand since it was her birthday and you're supposed to eat noodles on your birthday, ended up finishing the entire plate). She blamed it on the addictively moreish, salty-spicy XO sauce and the bouncy, fragrantly-eggy noodles.

Shang Palace_dessert

Sixth course: Trio of Desserts (from left to right: white lotus and salted yolk mooncake, pomelo and mango sago, and mochi). Nothing particularly good or bad about this.

All in all, a good lunch made even better by the happy and celebratory mood of everyone. Worth another (or a few more) repeat visits, even without the discount!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hokkaido Sushi, M Hotel

Hokkaido Sushi_Sushi

Assorted sushi from my set
Rather sadly and disappointingly, this meal was a shadow of what I had expected it to be. Apparently, Hokkaido Sushi was voted best Japanese restaurant in Singapore just a couple of years back, and being opened by Chef Thomas of the now-defunct Kaisen (Raffles Hotel) and Tomo (at which I had good meals some years back), naturally I would have expected something better.

Hokkaido Sushi_Char Siew Ramen

Char Siew Ramen from my set
Perhaps we ordered the wrong stuff, and we were in the hands of a junior cook (Chef Thomas is not around during the lunch sitting). I had the Sushi and Char Siew Ramen set (SGD25.80) while E had the Sushi Gozen set (SGD35.60). Leaving aside the matter of my rather overcooked ramen since this is not a ramen specialty restaurant afterall, the sushi was a letdown. While the fish was fresh (if the choices were not exciting - case in point - that cooked prawn with mayo!!), the sushi rice was underseasoned and so loosely packed that it fell to bits when I attempted to pick a piece up. What a far cry from Tatsuya's perfect sushi....

Hokkaido Sushi_Sushi Gozen

Part of E's Sushi Gozen Set

Oh well, the silver lining in this is that E said that this just means that we will have to compensate for this disappointment by having a blow-out meal at Shinji by Kanesaka soon!

Hokkaido Sushi, M Hotel, Level 9, www.hokkaidosushi.net