31.10.11

A-Roy Thai, Funan DigitaLife Mall

Now that Adee works in the same building as Jal, he's joined in our monthly lunch meet-ups. Adee was a fellow classmate of ours back in VJC, and like Jal, is now a father of a precocious 5 (or is it 4?) year-old boy. It's still difficult to picture him as a father though (Methinks his wife, also a fellow classmate of ours, has got to be the disciplinarian of the 2 coz he's one of the most playful, rubber-faced guys I know). Next to Jal, he's the funniest and wittiest guy in my class. Even though Jal is away in the USA and thus, unable to join us, Adee and I still met up for lunch anyway.

We took to Adee's suggestion of A-Roy Thai at Funan, just beside his office. This place is perpetually filled during lunch time. It's easy to see why. The eatery serves up value-for-money Thai-Chinese food that's familiar and comforting.

You'd think I'll be sick of Thai food, after having been in Bangkok for a week and indulging non-stop in Thai cuisine. But, noooooo, I love Thai food. I can have it everyday and not get sick of it! YUMS.

The robust Beef Noodle Soup ($6.90) was generously filled with tender beef chunks, and crunchy beansprouts to cut through the heady, full-flavoured broth.


I liked the deceptively clear Tom Yum Seafood ($13.90 for small), spicy to the hilt and loaded with fresh squid rings, sweet huge prawns, fish slices and mushrooms.



A-Roy Thai
109 North Bridge Road
#04-06 Funan DigitaLife Mall
Tel: 6338 3880
Open daily except Saturdays from 11.30am to 2.45pm for lunch, 6pm to 10pm for dinner
Saturdays from 11.30am to 10pm

30.10.11

Chijmes Lei Garden Restaurant

This month's fast shaping up into a whirlwind of meet-ups with friends. We had lunch with Ernie and Thom, who are bunkmates at our Phuket wedding, to catch up. Ernie's on a 3 month leave so he's got loads of time to meet up. And Thom, being the sweetheart that he is, will always make time to meet up. My friendship with both guys go such a long way back I can't even remember how we met! I think I met Ernie through another friend at a party (though I cannot, for the life of me, remember which friend or which party or when), and Thom, I think I also met him through a friend (though I also cannot remember which friend and when). As mentioned earlier, because we've got so little time for meet-ups this month, we've decided to combine our meet-ups so we get to see all of our friends.

We all felt like dim sum, and Lei Garden at Chijmes is the one place we know will always have availability at the last minute without reservations.

We started off with a portion of the Crispy Roasted Pork ($14.80), crackling top skin, tender and tasty meat with a decadent sliver of fat wedged between the layers.



We also ordered the Fiance's favourite, the Steamed Custard Buns with Salted Egg Yolk ($3.80), chocolate-swirled fluffy buns encasing smoothened mashed up salted egg yolk custard.



The Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun ($4.20) is also another favourite, fluffy and moist buns with a filling of sweet sticky barbecued diced pork.


The Steamed Rice Roll with Prawns ($5.20) was Ernie's favourite (he loves anything with prawns). A drizzling of delicate superior soy was all it took to season the chewy rice rolls with fresh crunchy prawns.


The ubiquitous Steamed Pork Dumpling ($4.80) was as usual, juicy, succulent and bouncy.


The Pan-Fried Carrot Cake with Waxed Meat ($4.80) soft and mushy with slightly toasted caramelised crust and interlaced with cubes of Chinese sausage and julienned radish, was also yummy.


It was just too bad the Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawns ($4.80) was laced with too much parsley, I left this to the rest to eat.


The Har Gow ($5.20) was also one of the better versions around, with thin translucent chewy skin, fresh bouncy sweet prawns.


The Beef with Black Pepper Rolls ($8) were also a hit with the boys, juicy peppery beef stuffed in a flaky shortcrust pastry that was baked to perfection.



The Grilled Cod in Japanese Style ($9.80) was fresh, flaky, and soft, with a hint of aromatic coffee.



Chijmes Lei Garden Restaurant
Chijmes #01-24
30 Victoria Street
Tel: 6339 3822
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch and from 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Website: www.leigarden.hk/eng/

29.10.11

Siang Hee Restaurant

We had dinner with Kang and Long, 2 of our best men, for our once-a-month meet-ups. We usually meet up with each of them individually, but this month's been really hectic for us, what with our trip to Bangkok and the appeal papers all being due this month, and so, we had them both for a joint-dinner. We brought Kang and Long to Siang Hee, one of our favourite choices for a cheap and good meal. The plus point about Siang Hee is its centralised location at Zion Road, which is going to be a thing of the past, as the entire estate has been en-bloc-ed. We've been informed that they will be moving to the second floor of the Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre.

As usual, we had an amazing time, munching and chatting slowly through the delicious dinner (we've now made them both fans of Siang Hee), and then over drinks at the nearby Great World City. There's a reason why these guys make up one half of my best men. They've been my lifeline through the years and really, the brothers I never had. I'm truly blessed to have them in my life.

We started off with the Chef Special Beancurd ($8), cubes of silky smooth and soft wobbly beancurd lined on one side with mashed spinach, drenched in a starchy delicate gravy. I liked that shimeiji mushrooms lent a luxurious element.


The Roasted Pork Omelette ($6) was perfectly done, with sweetened caramelized onions and halved prawns chunking up the slightly-burnt-at-the-edges-but-oh-so-yummy fluffy omelette.


The Five-Spice Roasted Chicken was, for a coffee shop cze char production, unbelievably commendable. This was restaurant-standard. Crisp flavoursome skin, moist tender tasty flesh, lightly accented by lime and spiced with the accompanying chilli dip, this was delicious.


The Butter Cream Prawns with Pumpkin ($15), with the jumbo-sized prawns encased in a thick batter and fried to a crunch, and slathered in a golden thick pumpkin mash with peppery elements of curry leaves and cut chilli padi.


The Fried French Beans with Dried Shrimps ($7) was a well-fried balance of soft and crunchy textures, with salty fried shrimps providing the flavour to the sweet vegetables.




Siang Hee Restaurant
Blk 89 Zion Road #01-137
Tel: 9736 4067
Open daily from 11am to 10.30pm
Closed once every 3 weeks on Tuesdays

26.10.11

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant, UE Square

Being on a low-carb, low-fat and high protein diet (the Fiance is trying to get his 6-pack in time for the wedding) means that meal options are generally limited. Italian's a big no-no, so you won't be seeing any Italian food posts for a while. So is Japanese (sushi and maki all contain rice), Indian (curries are only great with plain white rice), oh, pretty much any Asian cuisine because we're so rice-centric. But, Japanese BBQ is perfect for us now because it's really all about meat. We brought a couple of our friends, Ray & Pat, who'd just settled in Singapore after having lived in London for the last decade or so, for dinner at Gyu-Kaku, one of 2 main Japanese BBQ chains here (the other being Aburiya). Apparently, Japanese BBQ isn't quite as well known or received as Korean table BBQ in London. In fact, according to Pat, she'd never heard of Japanese BBQ before! I suppose that in Singapore, we really do get just about any type of cuisine because we're so cosmopolitan!


We started off with our favourite salad, the Horenso Salad ($9.90), a Japanese styled spinach salad topped with crisp garlic slices, bacon dressed in savoury creamy sesame.


The Assorted Bacon & Sausage ($15.90) is also a diner favourite.


The coarse pepper crust cut through the salty elements of the bacon, lending dimension and providing balance.


The assortment of sausages, cheese, chicken and pork, are a must-get for a sausage-lover like me.


Ray & Pat got the Yakionigiri ($6.90) plain rice cakes, to supplement the meat-heavy meal. This was quite good lightly toasted on the grill.



The Chicken, seasoned in Tare ($10.90), a combination of orange juice, soy, sake and ginger, is the best complement, adding a little sweetness, acidity and heat to the juicy chicken chunks.


The succulent, simply flavoured chicken chunks.


I know a lot of people swear by the wagyu cuts, but we're really ok with the already-very-marbled normal cuts of beef here. The Karubi, seasoned simply in Tare ($20.90 for large), turned out tender, fairly fatty and moist.



The Buta Karubi ($14.90 for large) pork belly brushed with spicy miso for a little heat and a little sweetness to cut through all that fat, was decadently indulgent. The Fiance, of course, abstained from the layered-in-fat strips of pork belly.


The Buta ($17.90 for large), pork collar seasoned in Tare, was also very yummy, juicy and tender.


The Hotate in Black Pepper ($10.90), scallops bathed in butter and cracked black pepper and wrapped in foil, was meaty and fresh.


I liked the Gindara Ponzu in Foil ($14.90), an fresh fillet of oily cod seasoned in ponzu and garnished with julienned carrots, shitake mushrooms and onions.


The Assorted Mushroom with Butter in Foil ($9.90) was earthy and wholesome, its juices mingled with the unsalted melted butter. Just be careful not to overcook this or risk getting this dried out.





Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant
81A Clemenceau Ave
UE Square #01-18/19
Tel: 6733 4001
Open daily for lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm;
Sundays to Thursdays for dinner from 6pm to 11.30pm
Fridays and Saturdays for dinner from 6pm to 12midnight
Website: www.gyu-kaku.com.sg

25.10.11

Asian Corner, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand

This was our last meal in Bangkok at the airport before flying off back to Singapore. As we didn't have much time before boarding, we stopped by the first casual Thai eatery we saw and promptly made our orders.

Their set meals are quite value-for-money, with 2 dishes and a drink, so we got the Set B (450 Baht).


The Tom Yum Goong (220 Baht for ala carte) had a humongous freshwater prawn and loads of straw mushrooms. This was spicy but was too saturated with prawn stock. The concentrated broth got cloying after a while.


The Pad Ka Pao Kai (180 Baht), chicken sauteed with basil and cashew nuts, was good, with tender chicken chunks flavoured with chilli and peppery basil, but a little tiny in portion. Then again, this is a set meal after all, and still worth the value.



Asian Corner
Suvarnabhumi Airport 3rd floor
Thailand

23.10.11

Somboon Seafood, Bantadthong, Bangkok, Thailand

We had dinner again at Somboon Seafood. It opens till late, which was great, as we finished late at the gym that night. One thing about Somboon was the speed in which the dishes were churned out. We didn't quite notice it on the first night, but it certainly didn't escape our attention the second night we had dinner there. Barely 2 minutes after our orders were taken, the dishes were all out on our table. No way the dishes were made fresh upon order. They were probably pre-cooked, chilled, then re-heated after orders. Except the lobster, because the Fiance picked it right out of the tank.

Another thing to note is that they don't accept credit cards here, so if you're planning to spend a bomb here, make sure you have enough cash on you.

The Fiance was craving lobster, and opted for the Grilled Lobster with Garlic (5700 Baht). On hindsight, we shouldn't have ordered this. It was obscenely expensive, costing about S$250. Then again, we can't say we got ripped off because they did let us know the price of the dish and got our approval before cooking the lobster. Apart from the extremely painful pricetag of the dish, this was delicious. It was a humongous lobster, meaty and succulent, with lots of aromatic garlic to provide flavour.


The Steamed Seabass with Soy Sauce (360 Baht) wasn't particularly fresh, and the steaming methodology only served to emphasize the fact. Also, the flesh deep in the middle was still cold. We should have stuck to the fried fish instead.


I loved the Roasted Fresh Water Prawns with Glass Noodle in Hot Pot (250 Baht) though. This was the best dish of the night. The clear vermicelli soaked in all the flavours of the ham and garlic and prawn stock so it was rich and tasty. Prawns were huge, meaty and sweet.



Somboon Seafood
Bantadthong
895/6-21 Soi Chula 8
Bantadthong Rd
Wangmai, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330
Tel. 02-216-4203-5
Open daily from 4pm to 11.30pm
Website: www.somboonseafood.com

22.10.11

Thai Peppery, Asian Cuisine, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand

Thai Peppery is another casual Thai eatery at the food basement of Siam Paragon. (Ging Kalpapruek being the other one)  This stall is part of Asian Cuisine, which looks like a food court, but is really just a single restaurant with 3 different asian concepts selling Indian, Chinese and Thai food. We were a little worried because we saw so many Caucasians dining here, but the food turned out to be fairly authentic. 

The Thai Glass Noodle (130 baht) stir-fried with egg, prawns and mixed vegetables was our carb dish of the day (we indulged a little and allowed ourselves a carb dish a day) and well worth the calories. This was choc-a-bloc with vegetables, prawns and eggs, and the clear vermicelli was simmered with enough stock to be tasty and soft, but with a little bite.


The Sliced Charcoal Grilled Pork (180 Baht) served with Thai E-Sarn style northeastern sauce was very very VERY good. An absolute must-try here. It was flavoursome, it was tender, it was juicy and it had that delectable smoky finish.


The Tom Yam Goong (130 Baht) prawns with mushrooms in rich broth, chilli, lemongrass and lime leaf, unfortunately, was the only disappointing dish. It was too mild! Zero heat at all. This would otherwise have been a great dish, the broth had depth of flavour, and they were very generous with the mushrooms and prawns.


We also loved the Thai Deep Fried Chicken (130 Baht), topped with aromatic crispy garlic bits and served with a sweet Thai chilli dip. The fried chicken was awesome, it was incredibly fragrant and delicious, juicy and succulent on the inside while crispy and golden on the outside. I ordered another portion to takeaway.


While the Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables (100 Baht) with oyster sauce was generic and uneventful, this was a well-executed dish. Vegetables were crunchy and fresh, and the oyster sauce wasn't overtly salty.



Thai Peppery
Asian Cuisine
991 Rama 1 Rd
Siam Paragon Food Hall
Ground Floor
Pathum Wan 
Bangkok 10330
Thailand
Tel:
Open

21.10.11

Ging Kalpapruek, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand

Siam Paragon is my favourite shopping malls to eat at whenever I'm in Bangkok. This mall is like our Ngee Ann City, but 3 times the size of our most popular mall. The food basement is choc-a-bloc with a mind-boggling array of food courts, casual eateries, standalone food stalls and fine dining options. One of the 2 casual Thai eateries in Paragon's food basement is Ging Kalpapruek.

Kalpapruek is a chain of contemporary Thai bistros that's usually frequented by the local hi-sos (Thai slang for high society types). They have about 3 branches in Thailand, all located in the more upmarket areas in Bangkok. The pretty and quaint French bistro-styled restaurant oozes a casual but elegant vibe and serves up a wide range of modern Thai cuisine.  Although I've heard rave reviews about the food and service here, I wasn't quite so impressed when I ate here. The staff that day were surprisingly surly and sour-faced, with nary a sign of the Thai hospitality that I've grown accustomed to whenever I'm in Thailand. Food-wise, it was good but not mind-blowingly great. The price-tag of this place wasn't as cheap as if you were to eat at the roadside stalls, but it was reasonable, considering the ambience and portions of the dishes.

While the Tom Yum Kung (185 Baht) Thai spicy prawn soup with lemongrass was rich in depth and flavour, this was lacking in the spice level. It was weird because the local Thais dining in the restaurant were sniffling away at the spice level of their tom yum soups, so obviously, they must have automatically assumed that we couldn't take the heat and presumptuously toned down the heat off our soup.


The Grilled Beef (120 Baht) was tender and juicy with a hint of smokiness from the grill, though not particularly robust in taste.


We would have preferred if the thigh was used, as the breast meat was a little dry in the Fried Chicken with Chilli and Cashew Nut (130 Baht). Still, this was flavoursome and savoury.


The veggies in the Fried Morning Glory with Oyster Sauce (100 Baht) were lightly fried, so it retained its crunchiness.


The facade of the restaurant.


The entrance of the restaurant. They do their own ice-cream too. 




Ging Kalpapruek
991 Rama 1 Rd
Siam Paragon Food Hall
Ground Floor
Pathum Wan 
Bangkok 10330
Thailand
Tel: 301 1893 104
Open daily from 10am to 10pm

18.10.11

Cinnabon, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand

Krispy Kreme has hit the Thai capital. Now, you may wonder why I'm talking about Krispy Kreme when this post is titled "Cinnabon". Well,we chanced upon Krispy Kreme while shopping at Siam Paragon and were ecstatically queuing up for a sugary glazed donut (to share between ourselves so we wouldn't throw off our entire pre-wedding diet-and-exercise regime), but then we googled the calorie count of this sweet treat, and changed our minds.

You know, if not for the wedding, we would have gone all out and stuffed ourselves silly on this trip to Bangkok. But, as with any other couple on the planet, we want to look our best for the wedding, and so, we've embarked on a year-long diet-and-exercise regime to get into shape. No shortcuts or crash diets for us. It's all about consistency and discipline.

Then, we came upon Cinnabon. Okay, we didn't see it as much as we smelt it. And then gravitated towards it. The sweet smell of baked cinnamon and fresh warm pastry really did us in.

Remember when cinnamon buns were all the rage in Singapore? You couldn't walk 100 metres and not hit a cinnamon bun shop, complete with snaking queues and all. But, like all the other million-and-one food fads, cinnamon bun shops left our shores as quickly as they took root. Apart from that one lonely shop in the basement of Great World City, I don't quite see any more cinnamon bun shops in Singapore.

I've always liked cinnamon buns, they're fluffy and incredibly aromatic. It's been a while since i last had a cinnamon bun. We shared a mini-sized, appropriately-named Minibon (49 Baht), and it was delicious. Fresh out of the oven, it was piping hot, fluffy, sweet and totally satisfying. A little tiny treat that went a long way to hitting the sweet spot.


Cinnabon
991 Rama 1 Rd
Siam Paragon Food Hall
Ground Floor
Pathum Wan 
Bangkok 10330
Thailand

Hotel Intercontinental Room Service, Bangkok, Thailand

Holidays needn't be fattening. I know this may be surprising, but I find that I generally get fitter and consequently, lose weight, every time I go on holiday. Work, on the other hand, makes me fat, because after a long hard day racking my brains at my desk in front of the computer, there's just no motivation to exercise after that. Plus, I'm just too tired after work to work up a sweat. But it's different when I'm on holiday. I get to sleep in, and only when I'm truly refreshed, slowly make my way to the gym and work out at my own leisure. 

Of course, it helps when the hotel gym is gorgeous and brilliantly comprehensive to work out in. Perched on the 36th floor of the 5-star hotel and right smack in the middle of the Siam shopping belt, the floor-to-ceiling windows boast a stunning view of the city. You just get inspired to keep running on the treadmill when your voyeuristic tendencies come out to play, looking out at the busy world below. There's also a jazucci, steam room, sauna, rooftop pool and in-house spa to detox and relax. The gym alone makes this hotel, in a city loaded with luxurious hotels, my favourite to stay at, hands down.

The hotel's also impressive because of its immaculate service standards. Staff are polite to a fault, genuinely smiley and always helpful. The centralised location also makes this hotel a winner, it's connected to the BTS (Bangkok's version of our MRT and by far the most efficient way to get around the city cos the jams are horrendous) bridge walkway, so we walk everywhere! The hotel's just next to Gaysorn Plaza (a super high-end shopping mall, think Palais Rennaissance) and Central World, Siam Paragon and MahBoonKrong are just a short walk at 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres away respectively.

While the rooms may look generic and undistinctive, they are spacious, clean, modern and chic. It's a luxurious hotel with all of the trappings but still affordable at about S$200++ a night for a standard room.

Whenever I'm in Thailand, I just spend my days working out, getting massaged (Thai massages are quite ridiculously cheap, an hour-long oil massage costs just 400-500baht, the equivalent of S$17-S$20), taking long bubble baths and stuffing my face silly with amazing Thai cuisine. That really is THE LIFE, isn't it?

As per standard operating procedure, we ordered lots of room service. Hmm, come to think of it, we've never had a holiday where we didn't order room service. I guess that's why 24-hour room service is one pre-requisite of any hotel we stay at. We work out so we get to eat, guilt-free and deserving of treats! Okay okay, so that's our usual "operating procedure", but since the wedding's getting close, we cut down on our carb intake and resisted sweet treats as well. This is probably the holiday where we ate the least.

The Phad Thai Goong (300 Baht) Thai-style rice noodles, stir-fried to a fragrant heap, was loaded generously with prawns and chicken chunks. A carefully crafted egg mesh was layered upon the dish.


To mix it up, we also tried the Guay Tiew Phad Si-ew (290 Baht) stir-fried thick flat noodle sheets with prawns was sweeter and smokier in flavour than the pad thai, and oilier. Still, this was good food, sinful, but good.


The Phad Pak Ruam Mitr (290 Baht) wok-fried garden vegetables with beancurd and mushrooms was crunchy, sweet and yet savoury with the use of garlic and a little oyster sauce.


The Gaeng Kiew Waan (320 Baht), green curry chicken was rich, creamy and spicy, while the chicken was chunky, juicy and fresh.


The Gaeng Massaman Gai Rue Nua (300 Baht) was a nutty, thick but not as creamy, massaman-style chicken curry. The gravy was like a mix of our nonya chicken curry and satay sauce.


The Gai Satay (260 Baht), Thai-styled grilled chicken skewers with home-made peanut sauce is really no different from our local Malay-style satays. While there wasn't a discernible layer of fat between the skewers, the chicken was juicy, moist and tender.


While the Tom Yam Goong (320 Baht) had plentiful fresh and sweet prawns and straw mushrooms, the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf spiced broth was just not spicy enough. My theory is that the Fiance's very very oriental look made them think that we cannot eat spicy food, and so they toned down the spice level of the soup.


We also got a dish from the Chinese portion of the menu, cooked by their in-house Chinese restaurant, Summer Palace. The Stir-Fried Fish Fillet (350 Baht) with ginger, spring onion and capsicum was really a sweet and sour version of flour-battered fried fish chunks. Homestyled taste.


You can order also eggs as late as 11pm at night, the All-Day Breakfast (320 Baht) consists of 2 eggs cooked any style you want, served alongside grilled tomato, hash brown nuggets, and your choice of chicken or pork sausage. Mine was scrambled with chicken sausage. This was just okay, wasn't as fluffy as I'd like and a tad too much cream in the batter.


The Fiance got 2 portions of eggs (which makes it 4 eggs in total, by the way), both cooked his favourite style of sunny-side up, one with chicken sausage.


And the other with pork sausage and extra baked beans for protein.



Hotel Intercontinental Bangkok
973 Phloenchit Road
Patumwan
Bangkok 10330
Thailand
Tel: 66-2-6560444
Website
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