Review at Cocoro Japanese Pottery and Cafe

December 29, 2009 6 comments

Mr. K found this quaint little place when he was out on a comic hunt at the anime shop which is above this restaurant. He was indeed raving on this place was value for money. Curious to find out, he brought Miss LN and me for dinner a few days ago.

On stepping this place, I felt at peace. The atmosphere was very very tranquil. Think of beautiful pottery lined in shelves and beautiful decor provided the feel of a retreat. The pottery lined on these shelves are actually for sale, so if something catches your fancy, then it can be yours.

Cocoro Salmon Sashimi

The salmon sashimi is slightly different from what I’m used to (with a great effect). The Atlantic salmon slices have been slightly torched to amplify the melt in your mouth quality which I oh so loved in raw fish. Its dual texture ( firmness on the outside and softness in the inside ) complimented with the dash of mayonise on the side. Needless to say, this is one heck of a sashimi I simply wouldn’t forget for a long time.

Shishamo

This curious dish had an accquired taste – the slight bitterness can overwhelm your tastebuds. Thank goodness there is lemon juice and the rock salt to balance the bitter aftertaste. I find this dish delightfully crunchy. Could this be the perfect companion for beer drinking?

Grilled Onigiri

Mr. K enjoyed the tart centre of the grilled onigiri which turned out to be Japanese plum paste. The rice balls were bathed in a rich teriyaki sauce which contrasted with the sharp centre.

Grilled Ponzu Salmon

Miss LN had the grilled ponzu salmon, which was just as yummy as the entree counterpart. The citrusy ponzu sauce did a fantastic job of making the salmon main really yummy to eat.

Wafu Chicken

The crispy chicken is really yummy – it combined the cirtus characteristics of ponzu marinate and the savoury factor of radish sauce to give that extra oommph. It was also noted the chicken pieces were also very juicy which always brings a smile to my face. I can tell how much Mr. K really enjoyed his main.

Agadashi Tofu

The combination of soy, wasabi and mirin proved to be a very lethal combination – I was instantly “high” from devouring the gravy. The tofu was pan fried in such a way it was wonderful. There was a crispy exterior and the interior was just so soft! Cocoro is definitely one of the very few places that doesn’t screw up this surprisingly simple dish. I just loved how this dish was presented and tasted.

Green Tea Parfait

Unlike its doppelganger I have tried in Singapore, the green tea parfait had all its elements together. The slightly bittersweet green tea ice cream, the saccharine red bean paste, the creamy vanilla icecream and the punchy slices of peach contributed their own parts to form an interesting desert. It’s still a fairly rich dessert which took me a while to finish it up. In the end I had to give up and Mr. K took over.

Cocoru Japanese Pottery and Cafe is definitely one place I would love to come back for the atmosphere and the wonderful agadashi tofu. It was sad their specialty, Melt in the Mouth Beef & Tofu Stew was sold out on that day. I would probably try it when I’m there again.

Cocoro Japanese Pottery and Cafe

117 Smith Street
Fitzroy
Melbourne 3065
03 9419 5216
Website

Cocoro Japanese Pottery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Jalan Kayu

December 21, 2009 3 comments


Mention the phrase “Jalan Kayu” to any Singaporean and this place springs into their minds. This is the birthplace of the famous roti prata (or roti chanai if you are from the other side of the Causeway) and other delicious Indian food. This slightly run down area is currently being developed to be a “food paradise” of some sorts. So if you are ready to brave the humidity, then race down here for the ultimate experience!

Roti Prata with chicken curry dipping sauce

Roti Prata dipped in either chicken curry or fish curry is just so yummy. The crispyness of the freshly done bread with the kick from the chicken curry proved to be irresistable. It is noted that dipping the cripsy bread in fish curry had a sour note whereas the effect provided by the chicken curry had an overall sweeter taste.

Roti John

Roti John (John’s bread) was a dish that was really comforting to me in secondary school. The humourous reference in its name showed how this dish was somewhat catered for the taste prefered by the Causacians during the time when Singapore was under British rule. I used to enjoy the rich buttery taste of this dish while eating this humble dish. Naturally, I had high expectations for this dish. However, the dish was rather dry and insipid. The sweet dipping sauce was of little help, providing a sickening saccharine flavour to the poor bread.

Indian Rojak

Rojak means mixture in Malay which aptly describes this dish, a plethora of taufoo (beancurd), cucumber, onions, fish cake and shrimp balls. It had a fairly interesting peanut sauce for you to dip the various items. I loved the fish cake in this dish, it’s so yummy. The sauce was very good, its rich peanut flavour added another interesting dimension to this dish.

Bandung

And to top it all up, this refreshing concoction of condensed milk and rosewater was the perfect way to finish a wonderful Indian meal.

Otak otak (Spicy fish paste wrapped in banana leaves)

After the meal was done, my dining company bought some otak otak at Gim Tin Heong just a few doors down. Ah, the smoky taste of freshly grilled otak otak is fiery good.

Jalan Kayu does have great potential for becoming a food paradise. I would be definitely here for the roti prata for sure!

Thasevi Food

237/239 Jalan Kayu
Singapore 799463
+65 6481 1537

Gim Tin Heong

243 Jalan Kayu
Singapore 799463
+65 6482 1673

Review at Proud Mary

December 14, 2009 7 comments

I admit I’m very slow in trying out this place for the coffee. Lots of bloggers have already raved about its wonderful coffee and the coffee gadgetry over there. Unfortunately for my dining company(K, LN and LL), I was the only one who really drinks caffeine on a daily basis. The rest were just curious about food and what made them fall in love with this place was…

the really awesome Rubik’s cube salt and pepper set on every table at Proud Mary. Needless to say, that corner of the table was covered with salt and pepper flakes. :P

Balsamic Mushrooms

The combination of goat’s cheese, wilted spinach and basil pesto left K scraping the plate with delight. He loved the basil pesto so much that he was pretty much coating the poor spinach leaves with a thick layer. I thought it was a rather sharp tart dish balanced with earthy elements from the mushrooms.

Thai styled roast duck salad

The Thai styled roast duck salad proved to be too spicy for LN as she didn’t like how fiery the sauce was. I thought it had a rich tart flavour which lemongrass played a big part. The tender slices of roast duck was a plus point in this dish – it wasn’t too strong and went well with the flavourful sauce.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb

This dish proved to be a disappointment as the slices of lamb proved to be tough.The hommus and the tzatziki did very little to save the dish .

oumi

Scrambled Mary

Consisting of scrambled eggs, chorizo, red pepper salsa and grilled haloumi, the Scrambled Mary was my perfect brunch option. The saltiness of the grilled haloumi went well with the fluffiness of the scrambled eggs.

The Syphon

What would make a visit to the coffee mecca is to try one of the various coffee options at Proud Mary. Being very curious about the syphon, I tried the Kenya blend brewed in this manner. Drinking this made me feel as if I was drinking tea – it had a very clean feel to it. Its earthy notes was a really nice finish to a wonderful time with friends.

In short, I would love to come back to Proud Mary for its coffee offerings. I bet its caffinated addicts will agree with me. The food is of a very good standard which makes it a very nice brunch option for a very very lazy Sunday.

Proud Mary

172 Oxford Street
Collingwood
Melbourne
03 9417 5930

Proud Mary on Urbanspoon

Chicken licking good!

December 7, 2009 4 comments


I have to admit this national dish has seen more incarinations than any other Singaporean dish you can think of. Most of the locals just love the roast chicken rice, nothing ( I do mean nothing ) will compare to the original version of steamed chicken with that awesome oily rice with a divine kickarse garlic chilli sauce.

This place is one of the places I used to come down for its signature dish when I was growing up. Despite the notorious nature of getting to Serangoon Gardens, Pow Sing Restaurant is still my holy grail in getting a good dose of chicken goodness. The restaurant also serves up Peranakan cuisine, which is an intriguing fusion of Malay and Chinese influences.

Salad with flour rolls (Deep fried doughsticks with fish paste stuffing)

This is something I really yearn back here in Melbourne as I stare at this photo. It’s definitely a kid’s favourite with its crunchy exterior and the wonderful fish paste stuffing. Eat this while it’s hot and with lots of mayonise, I swear that anyone can fall in love by eating this. I must add this is one of the very few dishes where I will tolerate mayonnise dipping.

Black pepper venison

Venison may prove to be a little too gamey for someone unknown to this peculiar tze char favourite. But this place brings out the beauty of this dish so wonderfully. The meat was surprising tender and the black pepper marinate made its presence felt within the tongues of our dining company. Never underestimate the need of having more rice with this dish!

Nyonya Cabbage rolls

This dish is fairly curious – minced pork stuffed with cabbage leaves and then steamed in a mild curry sauce. Perhaps I was very much used to having my meat in raw cabbage leaves! The mild curry sauce didn’t do much to the overall flavour of the dish. I felt it should be fiery hot as most Peranakan dishes are really spicy.

Hainanese Chicken (rice)

Pow Sing’s signature dish never failed to disappoint. The succulent flesh was just simply divine. You can really tell the freshness of the chicken as there was very little seasoning involved in the steaming of the chook. Put this on a bed of rice enriched with the juice of the juicy chook and drown it in lots of garlic chilli and kecap manis, and I promise you will be in heaven.

After all these years, Pow Sing still packs a punch and delivers the goods. I’m glad this place hasn’t gone away like many good eating places in Singapore. This will continue to be my yardstick for chicken rice.

Pow Sing Restaurant

65 Serangoon Garden Way
Singapore 555 691

+65 6286 4813

Website

Review at New Orleans Cafe (Sydney)

November 30, 2009 3 comments

While visiting Mr. CF in Sydney, he brought me to Crow’s Nest, which I believe it’s a nice chill out area for Sydneysiders to hang out. We had dinner in New Orleans Cafe which specializes in Creole food. With live music in the background, it seemed like a nice place to hang out after work.

Mezze plate

We had the Mezze plate which consisted of chorizo sausages, grilled sourdough bread, fetta, olives and sun dried tomatoes served with a range of sauces. I loved the chorizo sausages,; they were really juicy and yummy. The combination of cripsy grilled sourdough bread and tzatziki sauce was pretty addictive as well.

Baby back ribs with chips

Being a big fan of barberqued ribs, Mr. CF convinced me to give this a go. The quality of tenderness of the ribs was somewhat inconsistent. The flesh of some slabs of ribs didn’t really fall off the bone that easily. Apart from the issue of having to yank some of the flesh off, the sauce was pretty good. I found myself dipping the awesome chips in the barberque sauce. :P

I wished I have tried the other options on the menu (po’boy looks so interesting), I was slightly disappointed with the tenderness of the ribs. The service was pretty good as the wait staff were accomodating with the luggage I had with me while we had dinner there. I would pop there the next time I go to Sydney to just chill out.

New Orleans Cafe

8 Willoughby Rd
Crows Nest NSW 2065
02 9436 2596

New Orleans Cafe on Urbanspoon

Taste of Singapore : Oishii!

November 19, 2009 6 comments

If there is one cuisine that Singaporeans have really embraced into their awesome food culture, it would be Japanese. From kaiten sushi shops to ramen stalls, the range of Japanese food available is just astounding. Of course you say that when one cuisine is represented in another country, it has to be “bastardized” to suit the local taste. It was not the case when I was on the lookout for good Japanese food in Singapore.

Yaki Char Siew (Fried Pork Belly)

The main hubs for good Japanese food are Liang Court and the Central which are along the one of the best hang out places, Clarke Quay.  My best friend Miss JL brought to me to this quaint little Japanese ramen place, Marutama Ra-men at the Central for lunch one day.  With its melt in your mouth qualities, the Yaki Char Siew was a clear winner. Who can just resist the marbled fat amidst the meat? Drizzle with some lemon juice and I can guarantee any meat loving foodie would be in heaven.

Maratama Ramen

Like any other noodle soup dishes, the secret in getting a heartwarming bowl of ramen lies in the soup. This Maratama Ramen didn’t disappoint in what I was looking for. Its delicate eggy soup went well with the ramen. I feel that the spring onions, slice of pork and noodles were just secondary players to the star feature of the dish – the soup. They were just there to accentuate the  pleasure of having this dish.

One new Japanese food concept I have first seen in Singapore is the “DIY” tempura. This tempura bar (Tenya Tempura bar) is found at Raffles City food court. You get to choose a wide selection of seafood and vegetable for tempura deep frying or grilling for the health nuts. Naturally, I gravitated towards the non-crustaecean options, having a few slices of pumpkin, sweet potatoes and unagi. (yes, unagi can be cooked in tempura batter!)

Clockwise from the top (prawn tempura set, my veggie & unagi tempura set and okayodon)

What makes this tempura bar special is that you can order a huge rice bowl filled with tempura crumbs to go along with your tempura set! It’s just a shame that I forgot to take a photo of the tempura crumb rice though. Overall the tempura is just light and crispy, it’s just having an all time Japanese favourite with a refreshing twist.

Matcha warabi mochi Parfait

Japanese desserts are another food trend I noticed in Singapore. One such place offering such saccharine options is Azabu Sabo at the Central along Clarke Quay. Miss JL and I were lured into this place because there was an offer of 2 desserts for the price of 1 during off peak hours. This offer only applied to a limited range of desserts.

The Matcha warabi mochi Parfait was such an eye candy when it was being served to us.  It was intensely sweet and after the first few bites, I felt I couldn’t go on further. The only snag about this dessert is that the mochi wasn’t as chewy as I thought it would be.

Matcha Bavarois a la mode

The Matcha Bavarois a la mode had this very intriguing green tea pudding which wasn’t overly sweet, which was a big bonus for me. However, being paired with the same ingredients that could be found in the Match warabi mochi Parfait was a letdown. JL and I certainly didn’t seeing the mochi in both desserts. This dish was also trying to achieve many elements which didn’t come together while I was eating it. For instance,  the bittersweet green tea pudding clashed horribly with the mochi.

Ootoya has a cult following back in Japan and it’s not hard to see why. It offers teishoku (rice based) sets which are just so yummy. This place in Orchard Cental along Orchard road doesn’t accept bookings so head down early to get your booking number. I waited for 45 minutes to get a table of 5 for dinner on Saturday for a high school gathering with Miss SG, Miss AL and others, (which goes on to show how popular this place is). The sheer number of Japanese going to this place for a meal goes on to show how good the food is! The green tea served here is to die for! It has a deep roasted flavour which hits your nostrils with such delight.

Mini fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce

Miss SG went for this entree, the mini fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce. We loved the sweet and soup sauce for this entree as it accentuates the wonderful flavour that the mini chicken pieces delivers. The sauce isn’t the standard sauce that used for the sweet and sour meat based dishes. The balance of the two flavours is just right. Another delight was the cruchy lotus root pieces, which provide a crunchy factor for this entree.

Rice with charcoal chicken and egg set

Miss AL and I ordered the rice with charcoal chicken and egg set. This strangely looked like a Oyakodon set when it was presented to me. The chicken proved otherwise. Its smoky bite proved how good charcoal chicken can be. The egg sauce was equally good, complimenting the goodness of the charcoal chicken. I loved how the texture of the semi runny egg sauce just makes the set a lot more enjoyable to eat. Remember to sprinkle the seaweed flakes for added savouryness!

Steamed rice with Mutsu bay scallops and simmered tofu and chicken Torotoro set

Miss SG ordered the steamed rice with Mutsu bay scallops and simmered tofu and chicken Torotoro set (what a mouthful). The slightly thickened chicken soup was really awesome; it had the right amount of ooomph to it. People describe this as unami but I feel it should called as heaven. (haha.)  Needless to say, the chicken soup was the first thing to be devoured among the girls at the dinner table. Another star of the set was the Mutsu bay scallops. Risking my guts to eat it, I was rewarded with its rich taste which packed in a punch.  It was certainly very fresh and soon I was forgetting my initial trepidation about eating such crustaecean lovlies.

On the visit to Singapore, I have been exposed to new heights of dizzy “unaminess” brought forth from these Japanese places I have visited. From the signature ramen at Marutama Ra-men to the mini deep fried chicken pieces with sweet and sour sauce at Ootoya, I’m left wanting for more when I left for Melbourne. These places are certainly earmarked for another visit!

Marutama Ra-men
The Central #03-90
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Singapore 059817

+65 6534 8090

Tenya Tempura bar
252 North Bridge Road
The Food Place, Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103

Azabu Sabo
The Central #01-56
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Singapore 059817

+65 6534 7178

Ootoya Japanese Restaurant
#08-12 Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road

+65 6884 8901

Review at Ishiya Stone Grill Restaurant

November 17, 2009 3 comments

This place is what I call a place to relax. The soft lighting and the plush furnishings created a screen of serenity away from the busy activities in the city. Miss LW chose this place to celebrate of getting a new job. Why was this place was chosen, You may say. Being a scampi aficionado, Miss LW is always on the hunt of the rare crustacean in Melbourne. So on hearing that there are supplies of her fave sushi at this place, it naturally became the place to celebrate the night away.

Scampi and Hamachi sushi

To start the celebrations, we had our favourite sushi. Miss LW was practically in heaven in scoffing the scampi.

Tempura

The tempura had the usual suspects, naturally we split up into two portions. No prizes on who gets the veggies and the prawns here. I always liked the taste of deep fried sweet potato. Too bad, there was no japanese pumpkin in sight amidst the heap.

Porterhouse Stonegrill Set

Ishiya has an interesting food concept – DIY stone grilled food. Stone grills are heated up to 400 degrees and thus allowing food to be cooked rather quickly. The set is served with a side of salmon sashimi & sushi, as well as five dipping sauces (teriyaki, garlic butter miso , sesame & tofu, wasabi mayonnaise and ponzu). It was rather amusing to see the poor tofu piece making spluttering noises like an old car. Out of all the sauces  that went with the set, I loved the ponzu. Its tart citrus taste goes well with my porterhouse beef. The beef was of very good quality – you can simply taste the sheer richness!

Black Sesame Shake & Lychee Sour Mocktails

The mocktails we ordered were Black Sesame Shake (for me) & Lychee Sour (for Miss LW). The black sesame shake had a very creamy nutty flavour which I oh so loved. Apart from being Miss LW’s favourite colour, the lychee sour was very refreshing which was very much in line with the meal we had for the evening.

In short, it is a place where I would love to come again. The ambiance of this place was very calming which was what’s needed for a wonderful celebration with Miss LW. The food and the mocktails were very delightful although for a hefty price tag for a DIY food concept.

Ishiya Stone Grill Restaurant

152 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
03 9650 9510

Website

Ishiya on Urbanspoon

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