Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Ship Restaurant and Bar, Shaw Centre

I like restaurants that have been around for a long time. These old-school places simply ooze oodles of character and nostalgic charm. Food-wise, they must surely be doing something right if they have managed to survive for so many years?

The Ship Restaurant at Shaw Centre is one such place (the others in this category that I like are Shashlik, Tavern and Thien Kee Steamboat). E and I dropped by for a late lunch one Sunday afternoon - at 2 pm, the place was still packed with a good mix of regulars and young families. The restaurant is tucked away at a remote corner on the 4th floor of Shaw Centre and no surprises, decorated with a maritime theme (life vests and fishing nets hanging from the ceiling; maritime maps and charts on the wall; dark wood panelling and cushy red banquette seats). Somewhat tacky but also adorable in a very homely way.

The Ship Pork Loin

This US Pork Loin set lunch was only SGD15.90 and came with two HUGE pieces of pork accompanied with prune sauce. I didn't have any complaints as it was fairly juicy (and I know how difficult it is for pork to remain juicy when it needs to be cooked through!) but a tad overseasoned and salty.

The Ship Ribeye

E attacked his New Zealand ribeye steak (SGD18.90) served with marsala sauce with gusto. This was juicy and flavourful - a real steal at this price. Even the side vegetables were old school: boiled carrots, radish and cauliflower.

We saw many tables of what looked like regular customers having the sliced fish beehoon, so that would be what we will try the next time we pop by. Oh, and the escargots too, which seem to be one of the signature items here as well.

The Ship Restaurant & Bar: 1 Scotts Road, #04-34, Shaw Centre

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ikea's Crayfish Platter

Ikea Crayfish Platter

And just for comparison, I asked E to accompany me to sample Ikea's very much cheaper Crayfish platter (SGD 7) before the month of August ended. This had half the number of crayfish as Fika's but I think I enjoyed myself just as much slurping up the salty juices!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fika - Swedish Cafe and Bistro


A languid Sunday afternoon out with girlfriends at Fika, a swedish cafe and bistro located at Arab Street. The decor was very appealing to me since I like the clean minimalist swedish style (and indeed most of the furniture seemed to have come out of Ikea).

Fika Crayfish Platter

For the month of August, Fika is offering this special crayfish platter (SGD 20.90), in line with the traditional crayfish parties held in the Nordic countries, and being the seafood lover that I am, that's what I had. Other than the obvious crayfish (duh!), there was also smoked salmon, hard boiled egg, hard bread, and salad.

Fika Crayfish closeup

The crayfish were unexpectedly quite a bit smaller than the local ones (maybe the size of a largish prawn?), and not particularly sweet or tasty. But it sure was fun sucking out all the saltish crayfish juice and licking one's fingers clean. Is it my own sadistic tendencies, but somehow food always tastes a lot better when you have to go through some difficulties and struggles to eat it :-))

I am not sure I would return again, since the food was only average and prices rather expensive, but this was nevertheless a good and unexpected outing different from the usual tried and tested places!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baby Dreams

If we could peek inside a baby's dreams, what would we see?

milk and candies
rocking horses and rattles
rainbows and sunshine
and all things nice
A friend sent me these wonderfully mystical and precious dreamscapes by Adele Enersen, whose hobby during her maternity leave is to create fantastical scenes around her sleeping baby Mila. I just love what she has done - what an amazing and inspired idea! Admire more pictures at:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ah Yat Tian Xia

Mention Ah Yat, and abalone and seafood comes to mind. Ah Yat Tian Xia, located at Orchard Central, is positioned as a mass-market, cha chan teng-like (Hong Kong cafe style) alternative to their main restaurant. That's where we ended up for dinner last Saturday evening, treating ourselves to the DBS credit card 1-for-1 promotion on the 7-course set menu at SGD55++.

Ah Yat Lobster Salad

Chilled lobster salad with diced mixed fruit salad. Done in typical Chinese cold salad style a.k.a mayonnaise heaped over cold cooked seafood (usually prawns) and canned fruit cocktail cubes. This is not usually something that I help myself to at Chinese wedding dinners so I left half of it untouched :-)

Ah Yat Sharks Fin

Braised sharksfin soup with crab meat in mini claypot. Really a miniature claypot indeed, but the amount of sharksfin (small whole fins) was decent enough, and the broth was also suitably tasty.

Ah Yat Fish Fillet

Pan-fried fish fillet with special home-made sauce. This got the thumbs-up from the entire table. A simple dish of fish coated in batter and lightly fried, the coating could have been more crispy but the fish was fresh and seasoned just-right, and went very well with the sweet and spicy sauce.

Ah Yat Abalone

Poached fresh abalone in superior soya sauce. I was expecting something a bit bigger but I suppose one can't complain at this price. Two petit fresh abalone sitting pretty in their shells, braised till tender, this was not bad although the sweetness of the meat that one gets from the larger mollusks was missing. We took back the shells as decoration for the fish tank - the iridescent mother-of-pearl lining was just so pretty!

The last three dishes - braised lettuce, e-fu noodles, and red bean paste with sago - the usual de rigeur dishes for Chinese dinners, were very ordinary. Overall, we had a decent and filling dinner, and my parents-in-law were well pleased, though I think there is better value to be had elsewhere! (For instance, Jing.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Stuff for the Kitchen

No sexy gadgets to show off here, but just the usual workhorses of a small home kitchen!

Since the cooking hobs and hood in our kitchen were already more than 10 years old, we decided to do a replacement. The new equipment got installed over the weekend and we were really pleased with how sleek it looks! Can't wait to try it out since the intensity of the flames would be larger than the old one, allowing us to do a really rousing stir-fry with good wok hei (that slightly charred aroma from rapid frying over very high heat)

New Hob

my beloved le creuset cooking ware. boeuf bourguignon is on the dinner menu!

Also had to get a new oven since an internal fuse in our previous one blew for the second time, and we decided that it was not worth the while to get it repaired. We got the exact same model - SHARP 899R - for its three-in-one function: (i) microwave; (ii) convection oven - very important for roasting and baking cakes; and (iii) top and bottom grill - great for making pizzas.

It's good to get the kitchen up and running again!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Barracks Cafe, revisited

A couple of months back (yes, am really late on my postings), I had an enjoyable solitary lunch at Barracks Cafe, since I was in the area to buy a massage voucher from Spa-Esprit for a friend.

Strangely, while Barracks Cafe still offers their extremely value-for-money set lunch deal at $30, it seemed that practically none of their customers went for this or seemed to know about it. Perhaps it is only offered to regular customers who ask?

Barracks starter

I started with the Ahi-Taki Salad - a beautifully tasty combination of flavours and textures - perky arugula greens with seared ahi tuna chunks, port-wine soaked raisins (picked these out), pistachios, avocado, and tomatoes, all tossed with a squeeze of lemon. Totally refreshing and healthful to boot.

Barracks main

My main of Fish and Chips with Truffle Fries arrived piping hot and wafting deliciously tempting fragrances, although the cod did taste a little fishy (in any case, cod is not my favourite fish). I actually ordered this for the truffle fries but somehow they didn't taste as good as I remembered...the scent of the truffle oil was rather muted and the fries were a tad undersalted - perhaps pregnancy playing tricks on my tastebuds? Since I was already rather stuffed from eating up the entire Ahi-Taki salad, I ended up leaving half of this dish untouched!

Barracks dessert

But there's a separate compartment for desserts and the perennial favourite dessert at Barracks Cafe has got to be its strawberry shortcake. Just imagine soft layers of sponge interspersed with chunky and slightly tart strawberry jam, the entire concoction drowning in a pool of rich, luscious vanilla cream. Nuff said.