Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fu Lin Men Dou Lao

When it comes to steamboat, i am extremely picky. For some, it may be a yearly affair, but for me it's more like whenever i feel like it. Steamboat restaurants are aplenty in Singapore, the buffets ones are more quantity than quality, and then you also have those like Hai Di Lao which are extremely overpriced and not worth the hype and money.

Fu Lin Men Dou Lao is an individual bespoke steamboat concept that promise quality with each scoop from your very own individual pot. This also means you don't need to worry if you have friends who are allergic to seafood, or for those who cannot eat a certain type of meat due to religious reasons.

Offering 5 kinds of soup, each soup flavour come with different pricing and represents a different element. The recommended one would be the Fu Lin Men’s Signature Golden Imperial Broth that represents the gold element. The soup is brewed for over 12 hours with fresh red carrot puree, chicken bone marrows, pork shin and thigh with skin and dry-aged cured ham - the broth gives off a slight herbal aroma and has a nice thick hearty consistency that just gets better when more ingredients are being tossed in. If you prefer a lighter alternative, there is a mushroom broth that is 100% vegetarian, as well as a tomato broth if you prefer some tangy goodness.

The quality dishes that they offer include Wild Bamboo Pith with Fresh Prawn Paste which gives off a nice crunchy texture filled generously with fresh prawn paste, as well as the Freshly Cultured Sea Prawns with Marbled Beef - best of both worlds from the land and sea.

What came as a surprise however, was the Family Bliss Freshly Handcrafted Dou Lao Meat Balls that can in different variations. Each ball had a good bite to it, and one even had chocolate inside, revealing a slight sweet bitter center. If you like your meat, be sure to try the Beer Marinated Marbled Beef, which allows you to soak the beautifully marbled beef slices in beer before dipping them into the soup.

Fu Lin Men Dou Lao is a place that's worth going at least once. Their prices are not exactly the cheapest around, but you are definitely getting quality that is worth what you are paying for. Did we also mention that free flow dessert bar and the wide selection of sauces at the sauce bar at minimal charges? We are definitely going back for more. Psst, they also have a selection of fine wine, and many many private rooms so you get to cheers and make as much noise and merry as you want without being judged.

Fu Lin Men Dou Lao
16 North Canal Road
Singapore 048828
+65 6532 7777

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore

Hotel Jen Tanglin should be familiar to some; it is Traders’ Hotel rebranded and revamped into a hippy, boutique hotel that exudes fun and a certain class at every corner. Starting at the lobby is a wall where colourful bikes hang as part of its interior design, to rooms with wood interiors and a mural by the bed, to present a homely feel to any travellers. There is even a wall near its bistro, J65, reserved for a mural by a renowned artist.

The design is stylish but never over-the-top. With simple designs playing with cool color tones and a bit of brass finishings from the furnitures, we found the room extremely cosy, equipped with the basic necessities like a mini-bar, toiletries and even a quirky looking alarm clock!

Hotel Jen Tanglin has not forgotten its roots as Traders’ Hotel, which is to provide convenience to businessmen as homage to the name. All Hotel Jen rooms come with many power-points at different corners of the room for the convenience to charge your various devices.

Hotel Jen Tanglin comes in the basic facilities of gym and swimming pool on its fourth floor. The pool retained its form from Traders’ Hotel – it is a humble pool that is wide and family-friendly, as opposed to the narrow strips of water in newer hotels.

One of Hotel Jen Tanglin’s plus point would be the easy access to Tanglin Mall, where one can get to eateries and go for grocery shopping. Walking further down Cuscaden Road will bring you to the bustling streets of Orchard. Staying at Hotel Jen Tanglin made me realize how nice it is to stay a slight distance from town, to enjoy a comfortable, quaint moment with myself.

Brunch buffet is served at J65 - the latest bistro of the hotel. The name is a nod to Singapore’s country code, and it offers a diverse range of food. Parts of Traders’ history still stays; Ah Hoi’s Kitchen is still part of the hotel if one is looking for their comfort food! For the travellers who needs a quick bite, there are takeaway options during breakfast, and even Jen's Kitchen On-The-Go if you need your coffee fix. The barista there makes a pretty mean cuppa, which definitely doesn't disappoint!

If you are staying in the club room, the club privilege is aplenty, with all day long snacks for you, which also includes a mini buffet spread which you can have over a glass of wine, or two. The 24 hours accessible club lounge also stocks up for supper, with cup noodles and fruits, alongside their full fridge of drinks.

Hotel Jen Tanglin brings a homely feel to travellers, evident in its interior design, location to its service crews. It remains a good choice (aesthetic and practicality-wise) for travellers and people looking for a rejuvenating staycation, away from noises and bustles.

Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore 
1A Cuscaden Road 
Singapore 249716 
+65 6738 2222 

This was an invited media session.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ginza Yoshihiro

New kid on the block at Marina Mandarin Singapore is Ginza Yoshihiro, which took over the previous Japanese restaurant. Unlike the traditional Japanese restaurants, a sake bar greets you at the entrance of the restaurant - a place where you can chill over sake (and perhaps sushi) after work. With a selection of sake, i reckon you'll be spoilt for choice if you opt to be at the bar.

The restaurant specialises in oden, which appeared twice during the Kikyou Omakase (Lunch Set). The first was served with a tomato, while the latter with slices of pork belly. To be honest, the clear broth was conventional, nothing much to shout about, and neither were the ingredients that accompanied. I was expecting a juicy ripe tomato or tender slices of pork belly - but both tasted typically normal. 

The sashimi platter however, was exceptionally sterling - with fresh cuts of quality sashimi sliced to the right thickness and plated beautifully. However, only one sushi from the assortment of sushi served stood out - the uni. While the sushi was good, it was nothing to rave about and tasted just like 'ordinary quality sushi' - something you would get at any other mid-tier Japanese restaurant. 

For dessert, we were served cuts of strawberries on a bed of ice, topped with shavings of 'edible gold' - something my 8 year old niece would have been able to plate in less than 5 minutes. Again, not something i was expecting from them, and definitely didn't feel like it was 'value for money' for the price of the Omakase Set. 

While Ginza Yoshihiro doesn't stand anywhere close to the 'do not recommend' mark, i feel that the dishes they serve, with lots of hits and misses, does not exactly justify the prices on their menu. Or to put in straight to the point, i'll pick to have quality dim sum at Peach Blossoms (which is just one level up), or pig out at Aquamarine's buffet spread (which is just next door) over having mediocre Japanese food, any day.

Ginza Yoshihiro
6 Raffles Boulevard
Marina Mandarin Singapore
Singapore 039594
+65 6734 8842

This was an invited media tasting.