Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Miam Miam

They claim to serve a perfectly engineered meal. One of the newest food and beverage addition to Bugis Junction is Miam Miam, a French-Japanese fine casual cafe. As technical as it sounds, the kitchen at Miam Miam is indeed a very technical one. With very precise cooking time for most of their food and up-to-date kitchen appliances, Miam Miam also boasts to use only the highest quality ingredients.

Riz Au Curry features rice baked with a Japanese curry sauce topped with sausages and a sunny side-up. Interestingly, the whole thing came together even though i was initially quite skeptical. However, the portion seemed a little too small for the pricing.

A unique dish you probably wouldn't be able to find elsewhere is the Souffle De Nuage - home-style fresh tomato sauteed rice topped with fluffy clouds of egg and cheese. The texture of the egg was extremely fluffy and the baking technique retained the moisture within. 

We also had a go at two of their pasta dishes. The Miam Miam Spaghetti has frankfurters, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon and topped with a sunny side-up. It has very light flavors (somewhat similar to aglio olio) and the bacon also gave it a good level of saltiness. The Lobster Bisque Pasta on the other hand, was mediocre and fell a bit below par. The single piece of prawn (yes, not lobster) served over quite a generous amount of pasta made the whole plate feel as if it was just carbs, carbs and more carbs.

For dessert, we tried the Apple and Granola Pancake and the Matcha Pancake. Both were equally good when served hot but tasted a tad starchy and chewy after we left it to sit for about 10 minutes. Matcha lovers have the option of substituting the coffee jelly with red bean.

To sum it up, i'm not quite sure if Miam Miam does their food or dessert better. While i have some doubts about some of their dishes, Miam Miam's structured style of cooking is bound to draw crowds who enjoy comfortable food.

Miam Miam
200 Victoria Street
Bugis Junction, #02-14
Singapore 188021
+65 68370301

This was an invited media tasting.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hakata Ikkousha

One of Japan's most popular ramen chain has set shores on our island. Hakata Ikkousha, who has since been part of Ramen Champion, has opened their new stand-alone store at Tanjong Pajar. The 36 seater restaurant is small and squeezy, just like it is in Japan. But that isn't stopping Singaporeans from forming queues outside.

This ramen restaurant's concept is slightly different from most standard operations. You can choose additional toppings ranging from the basic chashu, flavored eggs, to more unique black fungus or bamboo shoots at reasonable prices for your bowl of ramen. Moreover, your noodle texture and other condiments can be adjusted as well. Talk about a customized bowl of ramen!

The Shio Tonkotsu has a very light soup with bamboo shoots in it. Nothing special about this ramen, it was a comfortable bowl but lacked depth.

The Tonkotsu Ramen on the other hand, had a more flavorful soup (as i am a bigger fan for thicker soup base) and the chashu here was slightly tastier.

I love the Black Tonkotsu. A new addition of ramen exclusively here (not available at Ramen Champion), the soup was divine. The black sesame and garlic makes a good combination. However, due to personal preference, some may find the soup lacking in saltiness. The restaurant provides ramen sauce for one to adjust the soup's saltiness to their liking.

For spicy lovers, God Fire is a perfect choice - there are 4 levels of spiciness to choose from. Even at Level 1, my partner and i were struggling with the soup. A good choice for the daredevils to challenge themselves.

To conclude, i find that the ramen at Hakata Ikkousha lacked consistency - each bowl of ramen noodles had a different texture, even though we opted for normal for all the bowls. I suspect this to be a fault with this new restaurant, as they are still adjusting to market preferences. With fairly reasonable portion and friendly prices, i reckon that Hakata Ikkousha will be the next "it" place to hang out for ramen lovers.

Hakata Ikkousha
Block 7, Tanjong Pajar Plaza, #01-104
Singapore 081007
+65 6538 1880

This was an invited media tasting.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The King Louis : Festive Dining

Nearing the end of yet another annum comes christmas, the time of a year where families get together for a wonderful feast. What is better than a dining experience fit for royalties? A hassle-free dinner from The King Louis.

Serving takeaways platters for this festive season, this concept boasts so much convenience in a celebratory mood. Neatly packed, a takeaway platter consists of a box of The Castle BBQ Wings and Banana Bacon Bites, a box of Turkey Ham Garden Salad, a choice of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, and the meaty stars of BBQ Baby Back Ribs, Roasted Queen Pullet, Roasted Beef and Lamb Steak.

You can also opt for an additional box of grilled potatoes and assorted vegetables at no extra cost. Moreover, there are different sauces ranging from black pepper (my favourite) to mushroom sauce for your dipping pleasure.

Banana Bacon Bites is a unique side from The King Louis. Back in the restaurant it tasted fantastic because the bacon was crispy and banana was piping hot within. A takeaway experience was slightly offbeat as the bacon lost the similar texture.

My favourite of the meats has to be the pork ribs. In generous amounts and prepared in the sweet barbecue sauce, the meat is soft and easy to the mouth. The chicken on the other hand, was slightly disappointing. The meat was a tad too dry and lacked flavors. I suspect many will find it more appealing with the enticing sauces prepared in the platter. The beef and lamb also fell a bit off par, but tasted better when we heated them up.

The King Louis platter box has to be ordered at least 6 hours in advance for sufficient preparation time. Self-collection of the platter at their restaurant is recommended, but if you want it to be sent to your doorstep, a standard delivery charge will be imposed. A recommended consumption grace period is 2 hours - however, the boxes packed are microwavable. Talk about convenience in heating up a meaty and hearty feast for your families this christmas!

The King Louis
1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-07A, Vivocity
Singapore 098585
+65 6276 0862

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gim Tim

For many of the older generation, Gim Tim Restaurant should ring a bell. Being one of the pioneer Chinese restaurants in Singapore, it has served up decades of delicate, homely cuisines over the years. Against the changing markets, Gim Tim has rebranded itself for this new age.

For soup lovers, you will love the Yu Piao Gen. This fish maw soup is loaded with delights - aplenty of fish maw and fresh and real shredded crabmeat. It may be a little starchy and thick for some but it suited our personal likings.

He Zhou with Achar at Gim Tim is fried to crispy perfection. The fillings in the beancurd skin is not skimpy with fresh prawns with bits of crunchy water chestnuts (for those who worry) and you can savor it with the sweet honey sauce provided. The accompanied Achar is great - not too spicy, and has a great nutty flavor and crunch to it.

The Home Made Bean Curd with Melon took us by surprise. Very smooth and soft, the bean curd is fried only crispy on the outside and silky within. It is topped with fresh, shredded crabmeat and crab roe, although i find that the crab roe was a tad too hard and rubbery in texture.

Served along baby corns, mushrooms and snow peas, the Sea Cucumber Duck is one magnificent dish. The sea cucumber is soft and cooked to the optimum and it does not carry any distasteful smell to it. The duck is braised under slow heat for hours till it is so soft that it falls apart upon minimal contact.

Another dish that was to our liking was the Kou Rou Bao. The bun was extremely soft and the pork belly was braised and very flavorful. The only thing i could have wished for was for the pork belly to be a little softer. 

A very special dessert at Gim Tim is the Young Coconut Pudding which resembles beancurd, except that the pudding has a coconut taste to it and is served in a fresh coconut husk. The pudding had a silky soft texture and was topped with fresh fruits which gave it extra texture and acidity. This dessert is something i wonuld't mind having an extra serving of, and something that i will certainly order the next time i am back at Gim Tim.

A place that keeps the tradition going, and still serves up food with such quality and standard, Gim Tim is one of the best chinese restaurants around as far as i am concerned. And if you are intending to bring your folks for dinner, i am pretty sure a meal at Gim Tim will leave them with a smile on their face.

Gim Tim 
Block 157 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, #01-546
Singapore 560157
+65 6458 0467

This was an invited media tasting.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hada Labo : Gifts for Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, again i am getting the most common question from my girl friends around me - what should they buy for their boyfriend (or guy friends) for Christmas, without blowing their budget. And of course, needless to say it has to be something useful (most guys are more practical than girls, after all).

To me, skincare products are one of the most useful presents. There is no surprise for guessing which is one of my favorite skin care brands - Hada Labo. This brand is one that i swear by, with almost half of my daily skin regime consisting of their products. And because guys are getting vainer these days, you might want to consider a few of their products which i personally like that i promise wouldn't blow your budget.

An essential to every guy's daily routine is face wash. The Hada Labo AHA+BHA Oil Control Face Wash gently removes blackheads and dirt to improve dull and rough skin - perfect for someone that has a job scope that requires him to be outdoors. Also, it lathers up to a huge volume with just a minimal usage, which also means a tube will probably last him at least a month or so.

The number one selling product and also my favorite product from Hada Labo is the Hada Labo SHA Acid Hydrating Lotion. Proven to intensely hydrate your skin immediately, this lotion is something i use at least twice a day. Each drop effectively locks-in moisture leaving you with soft, hydrated and smooth skin. The hydrating lotion also comes in the light version which is has a more watery consistency. The Hada Labo SHA Acid Hydrating Light Lotion is best suited for oily and combination skin, or those who prefer a lighter texture.

Specially formulated for sensitive skin, which most guys have, the Hada Labo es Milk is another personal favorite of mine. This mild and fragrance free milk that i use after the Hada Labo SHA Acid Hydrating Lotion has a thicker consistency than the lotion but still leaves your skin pretty smooth and does not have a sticky after feeling.

Lastly, and also the most important part of everyone's skin care regime (in my opinion) is sunblock. The Hada Labo UV Gel with SPF 50+ is estimated to block 98 percent of UVB rays. The gel absorbs extremely quickly into your skin and instantly gives you a hydrated feel. Unlike some sunblocks which may leave your skin dry, the Hada Labo UV Gel leaves your skin feeling refreshed.

The best part of course will be that besides being very affordable, most products are available at drugstores and shopping malls island-wide. This also means last minute shopping won't be a problem - pick them up, get it gift wrapped and you'll have at least one tick off the list of presents you have to buy.

This is a sponsored product review.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pioneer Seafood

Tucked away on the island of Tuas (yes, it is so far away i refer to it as an island) is Pioneer Seafood. A restaurant with a strong heritage, Pioneer Seafood offers an array of signature dishes in their menu that has grown through the years. This includes dishes such as the Steamed Crab White Custard and Prawn Fillet with Macadamia Nuts in Orange Sauce.

We tried the Baby Squid Stuffed with Pioneer XO Sauce. The miniature squids were fresh and it went well with the XO sauce. However, the XO sauce definitely stood out more when accompanied with the squid, which i felt shouldn't have been the case.

A signature at Pioneer Seafood is the Steamed Live Crab with Egg White Custard. Unfortunately, i found the silky smooth egg custard too bland for my liking. Also, the steamed crabs tasted ordinary and there wasn't anything special except the fact that they were pretty fresh.

Finally a dish worth raving out is the Seafood Fried Rice with scallops, prawns and squid. The rice was very aromatic and well cooked. Together with the sweetness of the seafood, each mouthful was bursting with flavors.

Another dish which both my partner and me enjoyed was the Prawn Fillet with Macadamia Nuts in Orange Sauce. The size of the prawn were pretty huge and there was a lot of bite and texture accompanying the sweetness of it. Coated with a tangy orange sauce, fresh orange chunks and crunch from the nuts, this dish is something i recommend to try.

Steamed in their special assam sauce, the Steamed Red Garoupa in Pioneer Nonya Assam Sauce was also another mediocre dish out of all that we tasted. The freshness of the fish was covered by the heavy and slightly spicy sauce and the whole dish emphasized on the sauce instead of the fish.

Overall, i'm not exactly sure if i would come back to Pioneer Seafood given the location. It is pretty far away from where most of us live, and the fact that none of the dishes was especially fantastic (good enough to make me come back), it will probably have to take a lot more for me to head back down again.

Pioneer Seafood
71 Pioneer Road
Tuas Amenity Centre, #02-01
Singapore 639591
+65 6863 3933

This was an invited media tasting.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Common Thread : Havaianas 2014 Collection

After the closing of the popular Havaianas store at Ion Orchard comes the birth of the latest multi-labels street casual fashion retail - Common Thread. As the phrase suggests, the concept of the store stems from the idea of enhancing shoppers' experiences under a single retail outlet.

This store brings in several brands of street casual international fashion labels from the likes of France, Brazil and so forth. They have everything you need - ranging from accessories such as pouches, sunglasses and watches, comfortable clothes, to lifestyle shoes, and most importantly my favorite brand of flip flops, and also the only brand my feet deserves - Havaianas.

Since its launch, the store has put up displays of the upcoming Havaianas 2014 collection. I have to say, the designs are absolutely fun, quirky and also pretty. It is a pity that they do not have them in store just yet, and the earliest they'll arrive will be in December to early 2014.

Girls will definitely love the blings from the Luxe Collection which features colors such as rose gold, silver and gold with swarovski elements added for that extra luxurious look. While people who do not get enough of the camo trend will be delighted with the wonderful camo-printed designs which are bound to make sure you are still "in-trend" despite being decked in casual flops.

And for those (like me) who insist on standing out from the crowd - customize your Havaianas! With a pretty wide selection of studs/charms available at the counter, you can easily customize a unique pair which you probably won't see on someone else. Fun, easy (yes, they stud your flops for you) and one-of-a-kind.

For a store with such a concept, you will not be disappointed and will definitely leave Common Thread with something you like. Which also reminds me that i should set a date to head back down to pick out Christmas gifts before everything gets wiped off the shelves.

Common Thread
2 Orchard Turn
Ion Orchard, B2-18
Singapore 238801
+65 6509 9042

This is a sponsored product review.