Saturday, August 29, 2009

Satay by the Bay

All thanks to my BFF, I found out about this event last weekend, Satay by the Bay.

The email flyer sounded really interesting. Gourmet satays, movie screening, live bands & with proceeds going to charity. So we made a date to head over to the Fullerton area last Sunday.

A mini break @ Jing for a martini & a cuba libre

There weren't many stalls. I searched high & low but couldn't find the stalls selling wagyu beef nor Kurobuta & the only seafood on skewers were prawns. Hmm..

My mother knows my soft spot for otahs & whenever I was home, she would stock on these. I eat them with rice, with bread, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack.

This was our favorite. A platter of prata wrap, onion fritters & samosas which came with a delicious mint sauce.

We had to sample the satays, of course

We later found out that the Indian food that we had enjoyed came from Shalimar Palace, making a mental note to check out the restaurant another time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nijumaru Izakaya

When I googled Izakaya restaurant in Singapore, this was the one that came up on top of the search.

For the uninitiated, izakayas are the Japanese equivalent of the beer pubs that serve food. In Japan, I always make it a point to go to 1 or 2 of them cos I really enjoy the intimate atmosphere but truth be told, I'm a sucker for "drinks" food - snacks or food that go well with alcohol - ikan bilis, mini pizzas....

I made a reservation for Friday evening even though there were several reviews on hungrygowhere about the bad service. Our table was ready when we arrived & the Chinese ladies there were friendly & we had no complaints with the service.

What's an izakaya without skewers. We ordered the usual yakitori, bacon (picture above) & of course chicken gizzards. Sadly they didn't have chicken skin or beef tongue.

X ordered a portion of soba. It must be good cos I didn't even get a chance to try it out - he had finished the whole thing in the blink of an eye.

I order this everytime I see it on the menu - chazuke. A simple dish of green tea poured over rice & topped with seaweed & in this case, mentaiko. They added a little too much spring onions as you can tell in the picture. But this dish always brings back memories of our late night drinking sessions in New York.

The menu is in Japanese (with English translation of the words) so unless you are familiar with the name of the dishes, it might be a little tricky. Just have to ask. So this dish was one of those I randomly selected from the specials of the day - a sort of egg soup with spring onions (no idea what it was called in Japanese).

This was the Nijumaru special bento with sashimi, tempura, grilled fish & braised pork with mustard (top left) which was very good.

What's Japanese food without some sake

Our all time favorite - grilled eggplant with miso paste
The eggplant melts in your mouth

Nijumaru Izakaya
#02-10 Cuppage Plaza
6235 6693

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great Singapore Pass

As they say, nothing in life is free but some things do come at a discount.

I came across this recently and thought I'd share it with you guys.

Association of Singapore attractions has put together the Great Singapore Pass. All you need to do is to download the coupon & present it at a list of attractions to get either 20% discount or $2 off per head off entry fee.

Download & print the coupon here (I printed several copies & kept them in my wallet)

Just to give you an idea, you can get $2 off at Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park, River Cruises, Singapore Flyer. 20% off Wild Wild Wet, Mint Museum (if only I had known about this coupon before), Discovery Centre and many many others.

The offer is valid until end of the year so take advantage of it while it lasts. I fully intend to. In fact I just used it last week for our trip to the Night Safari.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A majestic meal

I haven't been this excited about a restaurant in a long time. I loved it so much I went there twice in a week, couldn't wait to blog about it & already planning my next trip there.

New Majestic hotel probably needs no introduction. The last few times I was back in Singapore, friends have been raving about the restaurant but I never had a chance to check it out. You know how it is, trips were always too short & never enough time to try everything.

It wasn't until a week ago when my best friend organised a get together with an old friend & suggested the New Majestic that I finally get to go there. After that, I was so sure X would like it that I brought him there 3 days after he arrived (& I was right ! ).

You see the potholes in the ceiling. Well that's because the restaurant is directly underneath the swimming pool. If you're lucky, you could catch of a glimpse of someone swimming above or vice verse, swimmers can look at the diners below.

The dining room is not very big - just the way I like it. We ordered the $50 set lunch & here's what we had.

Salad with fruits & roast pork
We both loved it - the dressing was great & the roast pork was a nice mix with the fruits & salad

Shark's fin
Not politically correct but I love shark's fin. Has always & will always be my favorite. But I love it consomme, I'm not a fan of this thick broth even though it was very tasty

Sea perch which I 'd mistakenly thought was cod
Fish really doesn't need to be fussy
Simple is best & they've shown how it should be done

Noodles with baby abalone & slivers of beef
One of my favorites. Love the sauce

Mango pudding with black glutinous rice
Mango pudding was creamy & flavorful but we were missing the rice

Sorbet with cut fruits

The pictures were taken the second time I was there. I prefer my first meal - the $40 set lunch especially given that the additional $10 was for the shark's fin that I wasn't enamoured with. Nevertheless, we both loved the food & we will be going back there again. They have a special set menu in conjunction with the Miele guide - sounds very interesting.

New Majestic Hotel
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Rd
6511 4718

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why I don't go to Starbucks

I used to be a fan of Starbucks - I know my frappucino from my macchiato, I know the Starbucks lingo - I know what it means when somebody says venti decaf 2% vanilla latte.

But I have not stepped into one in more than 3 months. Why ? I'm re-discovering the humble kopi. Once overshadowed by the more glamorous Western chains of coffee shops but not anymore.

They seemed to have made a comeback over the years & the kopi tiam has gone upmarket - Ya Kun, Toast Box, Wang, Mr Teh Tarik. Not only are they in air conditioned comfort, they are also offering ice blended coffees & get this, kopiccino.

I love going there for our mid afternoon snack of soft boiled eggs & kaya toast. Not quite the same gouter that we used to have in France.

Hey kopi tiams have their lingo too. I know what kopi o (coffee black) & kopi kosong (coffee no milk no sugar) means but I only just found out what's kopi siu dai (coffee less sweet).

So why pay $8 when you can get $1 coffee done the traditional way ? In a sock, of course.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Botanic Gardens

Swing me mama
by Dominic Benhura

another mother & child sculpture

Ever since that first time, we've been going to the Botanic Gardens on a regular basis. We don't do much when we are there - in fact we have a routine by now. Before our trip, I have to make sure we get our supplies.

A loaf of bread & vegetables

for feeding the fishes

and the swans

Whatever food we bring never seem to be enough. Have you seen the size of the catfish that are there ?

Another must have is the bubble kit. It's a no-brainer for kids. Don't know about yours but mine can be at it for hours - either blowing or running after the bubbles.

If you look closely enough, you'll see a parrot sticker on her face. It's her way of re-creating the face painting session she had over National Day.

Of course she would be bare footed

That's my mum enjoying a bit of outdoors too

Of course we would pack food for a picnic - that is afterall one of the reasons for hanging out at the Botanic Gardens. A lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon, watching your daughter chase after bubbles, eating sushi as we sip a glass of wine - now you know why we do it so often.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A crabby affair

This is clearly X's favorite.

He was home for less than 24 hours & I was already headed towards our favorite crab restaurant. The famous Eng Seng @ Joo Chiat.

Their black pepper crabs is absolutely the best & we've been making our pilgrimage there for the longest time. They are also notorious for their long queues so you have to get there early to snag a table (try 5pm) or horrors, before they run out of crabs.

My modus operandi - order by phone, grab a cab there, ask the cab to wait, run in, pay & pick up order, run out, jump back into cab, head home, unpack crabs & dig in. Try it - this formula works very well.

We may ta pao food but the table must always be set

The photo definitely didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. The problem being I had to compete with a bunch of crab lovers so you snooze, you lose. I was in a hurry to get started. Their black pepper crabs, in my humble opinion beats everything that I've tried so far. It's not dry but has a yummy sauce that is just sweet enough & peppery enough.
We usually order their chilli crabs too but my complaint is that the sauce lacks a certain kick. I know it's national dish of Singapore, it is not my favorite way of eating crabs.
A definite must order : mee goreng. Yumms. Actually come to think of it, these 3 are the only dishes we ever order. Her first time eating crabs & she is loving it. With a little help from maman, she ate about 3-4 pieces of crab claws. The best way is of course to eat them straight off the wok but we're too lazy to stand in line nor want to eat at 5 so we're happy to do it this way.

Besides how else are you going to enjoy it in air conditioned comfort with your favorite bottles of white wine !

Eng Seng Seafood
247/249 Joo Chiat Place