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,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yes yes, I know, I am guilty of not updating this for the longest time.

Excuse is that I have been too busy with baby preparations + sheer inertia. Time is zooming by scarily fast - I am already 34 weeks pregnant and only 3 weeks away from full term! But have yet to finish setting up the baby room or buy all the essentials (no cot, no bathtub, no carseat, no stroller).....completely out of character for an extreme J personality type. Guess this puts paid to my original plan of going on a last trip to Malacca before getting "grounded". Pity, I was really looking forward to staying at the Majestic Malacca.
The good news is that Baby E is growing well and weighed 1.8 kg at the 33 week mark, while I only have a minimal weight gain of 6 kg so far despite eating two breakfasts everyday. I count myself lucky that I am still fairly energetic and agile with no major aches or tiredness to date, and baby bump is very compact! Perhaps these are the benefits from regular exercise and being fit :)
Since my part-time cleaner started work this week, this should free up a little bit of time for me to blog. Posts on Hokkaido Sushi and Shang Palace coming up hopefully by the weekend (unless I get derailed by baby preps).