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Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

Standing Sushi Bar

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Though named as “Standing Sushi Bar“, the full service outlet at the Singapore Art Museum comes fully equipped with seats and tables as well as an extensive menu of bento sets, sashimi, tempura, appetizers and sushi.

All Salmon All The Time

All Salmon All The Time

Our main aim was to try Standing Sushi Bar’s specialty rolls, in particular those of aburi salmon! We chose the “All Salmon All The Time” ($16) which consists of raw salmon, cucumber, avocado, topped off with seared salmon and tobiko. This would be a favourite with salmon lovers due to the presence of both raw and seared salmon, which presents dual textures. The raw salmon would still retain that bit of raw chewiness and bite; while that seared salmon, with its connective tissues and flesh slightly broken down and tenderized by the searing, was more tender, exuding a slight charred taste. The cucumber provided that extra refreshing crunch, with the mushy texture of the avocados forming the backdrop. Indeed, each mouth presents a plethora of textures.

Taste wise however, it was slightly lacking, compared to Koh Sushi. We speculated that it might be due to a lack of sauce to bind the entire sushi together. Koh Sushi’s aburi salmon maki was tastier in flavour. Standing Sushi Bar’s version was less punchy and seemingly lacking in flavours.

Standing Sushi Bar
#01-03, Singapore Art Museum
8 Queen Street

Written by foodphd

September 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Japanese

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Dolce Toyko by Ministry of Food

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Macha Sundae

Macha Sundae

This Macha Sundae ($9) from Dolce Tokyo is the typical “it looks nicer than it tastes” kind of desserts. It is a colourful and ingredient-plentiful dessert, consisting of green tea gelato and vanilla soft serve with macha sauce, strawberries, canned peaches, marshmallows, cornflakes, chocolate brownie chunks, kanten jelly, panna cotta and an oreo cookie.

Indeed, it was a celebration of many ingredients, colour and texture. Sadly, the taste fell short in many ways. The gelato and soft serve were mediocre, nothing too great. The marshmallows are too hard and stale. The chocolate brownie chunks were just bland and dry chocolate sponge. The kanten jelly was tasteless and awful. The panna cotta was an overwhelmingly milky pudding.

Macha Sundae – it looks better than it tastes.

Dolce Tokyo
#03-23, 313 Somerset
313 Orchard Road

Written by foodphd

August 25, 2013 at 8:51 am

Koh Grill & Sushi Bar

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The craze around Koh Grill & Sushi Bar is just unbelievable! Food reviews and instagram photos are just flooding the social media platform. We toyed with the idea of visiting Koh Grill & Sushi Bar past 9pm on a weekday night. But to our alarm, we were welcomed by a long snaking queue, across the width of Food Republic at Wisma Atria.

Our 2nd try saw us visiting the popular Japanese outlet past 2pm on a weekday. The queue was short, with less than 5 people. However, the waiting time for the food was horrendously long. Close to 45 minutes – which had deterred a couple so much that they left after waiting for 15 minutes.

We persevered as we were adamant about trying the “all-so-popular, which got everyone raving about” maki. And hence, after 45 minutes, we were served with:

SHIOK!!! Maki

SHIOK!!! Maki

Not the best plating nor prettiest maki we have tried. Rather than looking “SHIOK!!!”, we felt that it looked like an utter mess. In terms of taste, this maki was definitely not suitable for dipping in wasabi + soy sauce, due to the presence of the mayonnaise. To some extent, the mayonnaise was the binding glue for the entire sushi. The lightly roasted salmon was almost non-existent as we could barely detect any taste from it. Thankfully, the charcoal grilled eel did exude a subtle charred grill taste and fragrance. Bulk of the flavours actually came from the mayonnaise and the fish roe. To be honest, the maki wasn’t all that bad. But to define it as “SHIOK!!!” and with a waiting time of 45 minutes (upon order), we stopped short at giving it a full thumbs up.

Koh Grill & Sushi Bar
#04-21, Food Republic, Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
435 Orchard Road

Written by foodphd

August 14, 2013 at 11:06 am

Posted in Japanese

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Maccha House

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Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Walking past Maccha House and we were immediately attracted to the picture of the Tiramisu on the menu. Even up till we were served with the actual Tiramisu, we had harboured great hopes – despite the slightly non-uniformed topping of green tea powder.

However, we were sorely disappointed by the Tiramisu! A first bite and we were dismayed to realize it wasn’t cream cheese, but just normal cream! Within the Tiramisu were 2 thin, barely detectable layers of sponge. But the majority of the cake was just cream. Thick cream. And that made us feel that we weren’t eating Tiramisu at all, but just a typical Japanese cream cake! What a major disappointment!

Maccha House
#B1-40, Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road

Written by foodphd

August 6, 2013 at 6:17 am

Posted in Desserts, Japanese

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Dozo Restaurant

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Dozo Restaurant has always been famous for its affordable degustation menu which offers courses of French, Japanese and European heritage.

Complimentary starter drinks

Complimentary starter drinks

Dozo’s 6-course lunch degustation meal started with a complimentary starter drink , meant to cleanse and awaken our taste buds. The drink was very icy and refreshing, a slight tinge of sourness just sufficient to tickle our taste buds.

Chef's Selection of Assorted Platter

Chef’s Selection of Assorted Platter

The Chef’s Selection of Assorted Platter consisted of 3 starters – foie gras on bread, scallop and smoked salmon. The foie gras was rich, fatty and easily disintegrated in our mouths. The bread was a good vehicle to soak up the savoury sauce. The scallop had a nice charred crust to it. It wasn’t over-cooked, still retaining a tender inner core. The smoked salmon, with its subtle characteristic saltiness, marked a good finish to the trio of starters.

Steam Fresh Bamboo Clam

Steam Fresh Bamboo Clam

Foie Gras Chawanmushi topped with Soil Garden

Foie Gras Chawanmushi topped with Soil Garden

Gratinated Escargots baked with Yuzu Butter

Gratinated Escargots baked with Yuzu Butter

The Steam Fresh Bamboo Clams were very fresh, with a bouncy bite to it. It came with a sauce reminiscent of the soya sauce based gravy in Chinese cuisine.

The Foie Gras Chawanmushi topped with Soil Garden was heavier and saltier compared to the typical chawanmushi, probably due to the addition of foie gras. The foie gras taste wasn’t outstanding, it came out more as a subtle savouriness in the background of the chawanmushi.

The Gratinated Escargots baked with Yuzu Butter was cheesy and buttery – perfect for the cheese lovers. The escargots were well-cooked, retaining the juiciness and bouncy texture.

Infusion of Cepes Mushroom with Truffle

Infusion of Cepes Mushroom

Bacon infused Pumpkin Veloute

Bacon infused Pumpkin Veloute

The Infusion of Cepes Mushroom with Truffle wasn’t as thick and viscous as we had hoped. In terms of taste, the earthly fragrance and taste of mushrooms stood out strongly and wasn’t all too milky. The little piece of black truffle was a little bland though.

One thing bad about the Bacon infused Pumpkin Veloute was that it turned cold too quickly due to the larger exposed surface area. Otherwise, the pumpkin veloute was rich and thick, packed of pumpkin goodness. Not overly milky nor salty, just a very straightfoward and rustic pumpkin soup.

Seafood Platter in Saffron Sauce

Seafood Platter in Saffron Sauce

Duck Confit with Orange Grain Mustard Sauce

Duck Confit with Orange Grain Mustard Sauce

Chef's Selection of Sushi Platter on Wasabi Mayo

Chef’s Selection of Sushi Platter on Wasabi Mayo

Seafood Platter in Saffron Sauce – every seafood lover’s favourite! The saffron gravy was packed with seafood flavours and it was just an absolute joy slurping every drop. The seafood platter consisted of mussels, clams, squid, scallop and baby lobster. The clams were a little fishy and seemingly not as fresh compared to the rest of the seafood. The baby lobster had a more chewy texture like crayfish and less of lobsters.

The Duck Confit with Orange Grain Mustard Sauce was very tender and the duck meat easily fell off the bone. The duck was a star on its own, with its succulent and juicy texture.

Chef’s Selection of Sushi Platter on Wasabi Mayo was probably the biggest disappointment of the meal. There wasn’t any wow factor in the sushi. Neither the vinaigrette rice nor toppings stood out. There wasn’t any outstanding and commendable flavours or textures and could easily pass of as a mediocre sushi dish from any Japanese restaurants.

Dozo's Freshly Baked Warm Chocolate Cake served with Ice Cream

Dozo’s Freshly Baked Warm Chocolate Cake served with Ice Cream

Milk Jelly with Black Sesame Ice Cream and Red Bean

Milk Jelly with Black Sesame Ice Cream and Red Bean

Japanese-style Red Bean Puff with Vanilla Ice Cream

Japanese-style Red Bean Puff with Vanilla Ice Cream

Dozo’s Freshly Baked Warm Chocolate Cake served with Ice Cream was definitely the best dessert to go for! It was a warm chocolate cake with little to fault, with the only downside being its petite size which left us craving for more. The chocolate casing wasn’t overly thick nor starchy – just light enough for us to break open to unveil the molten goodness.

Milk Jelly with Black Sesame Ice Cream and Red Bean – The milk jelly was like a replica of almond jelly. It was smooth, light and refreshing, without being overly milky. It was a good complement to the strong tasting black sesame ice cream.

The Japanese-style Red Bean Puff with Vanilla Ice Cream would probably not be too popular with those who dislike deep fried items. The red bean puff was deep fried and hence slightly oily. Biting into the puff revealed a semi-solid red bean filling. The red bean filling wasn’t as viscous as we had expected and was more towards being too fluid-like.

Dozo Restaurant
#02-02/03, Valley Point
491 River Valley Point

Written by foodphd

August 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Sakae Sushi

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Sakae Sushi

Sakae Sushi

Sakae Sushi has got to be one of Singapore’s longest standing Japanese sushi franchises. Our strongest memory of Sakae Sushi was its high tea sushi buffet where we devoured plates and plates (excluding the red ones) of sushi and other Japanese finger food from the conveyor belt. But the influx of other popular sushi chains like Itacho and Sushi Express has caused a reduction in market share for Sakae Sushi. Thus, explaining the need for a launch of the new menu!

And the biggest beneficiary for such healthy competition?

Us! The food lovers!

Ika Okura

Ika Okura

Asari Miso

Asari Miso

Honey Sakura Ebi

Honey Sakura Ebi

For those who love the characteristic stickiness and gooeyness of lady’s fingers, along with the slimy strands of sap, do give the Ika Okura a try. The Ika Okura was a rather unique and refreshing appetizer of sliced lady’s fingers with small chunks of squid. However, the presence of the squid seemed to be overshadowed by the sliminess of the lady’s fingers. Taste wise, it was very light and not too strongly flavoured. It was more of a healthy cold dish to cleanse your taste buds.

On the other hand, the other 2 appetizers were much stronger in flavour. The Asari Miso, or seasoned clams, reminded us of Chuka Hotate. The taste was largely similar to Chuka Hotate. Only that the scallop was replaced by clams. The Honey Sakura Ebi was also somewhat similar to the local favourite hae bee hiam, aka spicy dried shrimp sambal, just that the former was less spicy and slightly sweeter. Both appetizers were pretty addictive – small little packets of strong flavours.

Kohada

Kohada

Katsuo

Katsuo

Nama Kaki

Nama Kaki

The Kohada (Gizzard Shad) was something we had not tried before. We had initially though that the silver leather-lookalike skin would be tough and rubbery, but it turned out otherwise. The skin was indiscernible. There was slight similarity to the taste of the mackerel (saba), with a slightly outlandish fishy taste.

The Katsuo (Skipjack Tuna) was very different from the typical tuna sashimi. It had a strong smoky fragrance and taste, almost being able to pass off as some kind of smoked meat.

The Nama Kaki (Oyster) was very fresh – that’s the least one can ask for. The minced garlic atop, coupled with Tabasco sauce, added the extra kick to the already outlandish oyster sashimi.

Mentai Kamo Sushi

Mentai Kamo Sushi

Aburi Nama Hotate Sushi

Katsuo Aburi Sushi

Katsuo Aburi Sushi

Incorporating duck into sushi seems to be rather popular in many sushi outlets in the recent years – a sign of the growing influence of the French style into Japanese cuisine. And if done well, this would definitely be a hit amongst customers. Sakae Sushi’s Mentai Kamo Sushi was probably one of the more popular dishes of the meal. The smoked duck was tender, without being overly rubbery. The subtle smoky fragrance and taste lingered in the background, with the grilled creamy codfish roe exuding a strong savouriness. We particularly enjoyed the Mentai Kamo Sushi.

The Aburi Nama Hotate Sushi was also another winner! The scallops were fresh, large and juicy. The scallops were lightly seared, giving it a half-cooked, half-raw texture. The touch of the salmon roe gave that last sea saltiness kick.

The Katsuo Aburi Sushi was similar to the Katsuo sashimi – where we could also detect that subtle smokiness from the skipjack tuna. The tuna slices however, were thinner in the sushi version. Coupled with the presence of the vinaigrette rice, the fishy taste of the skipjack tuna was slightly toned down.

Ooba Tempura

Ooba Tempura

The presentation of the Ooba Tempura seemed a little too Chinese restaurant-like, didn’t quite look like a Japanese dish. The tempura consisted of a lightly battered white fish wrapped in ooba leaf. When we bit into it, we felt that the fish seemed to have been minced and then wrapped within the ooba leaf, in contrast to our initial expectations of a fish fillet. The batter was crispy, and not overly oily. On a whole, it was a decent tempura.

Seafood Kimchi Ramena

Seafood Kimchi Ramena

Chicken Kimchi Ramena

Chicken Kimchi Ramena

The Seafood Kimchi Ramen fell short of the strong spicy tanginess of Kimchi in the soup base. We could detect the subtle taste of kimchi, but we were looking for something with more punch and kick. The noodles were decently done. But the biggest shortcoming of the ramen was the eggs. We had expected a Ramen runny yolk egg, not an almost fully cooked egg.

Mango and Pear Pudding

Mango and Pear Pudding

A refreshing dessert to finish off the meal was the Mango and Pear Pudding. Both puddings were very strong in their respective flavors and would be suitable for those with really sweet tooth.

Note: This is an invited food review.

Sakae Sushi
#02-207, Marina Square
6 Raffles Boulevard

Written by foodphd

June 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Hoshino Coffee 星乃珈琲店

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Hoshino Coffee

Hoshino Coffee

Hoshino Coffee has opened at the new extension of Plaza Singapura for quite some time, but the long queue has also been a huge deterrence factor. And finally, when we had a chance to try Hoshino Coffee, to our utmost horror and disappointment, we realized that the signature “Fuwa-Fuwa” Hoshino Souffle contained beef!! And to make things worse, the “Hoshino” Pot Baked Curry Rice and the Omu Rice also contained beef! Such a bummer for the non-beef eaters! Furthermore, there was no mention/indication on the menu or order slip that these items contained beef. It was only after when we wanted to make our orders, did the waitress inform us! And that left us scrambling to decide on the alternatives.

BIG minus points for Hoshino Coffee. 5 of their top savoury main courses contained beef, leaving us with the pasta choices – which were not all that appealing.

BAD impression for non-beef eaters. If the menu had some sort of explicit indication that those food items contained beef, we wouldn’t even waste the time queuing.

Matcha Souffle

Matcha Souffle

Not much of a choice we had. But to try their desserts. The Matcha Souffle ($9.80) with Match Softee (+$1) took slightly more than 20 minutes to arrive. Well, the souffle was decent, though the centre seemed slightly underwhelming in terms of volume. The centre of the souffle was a moist, gooey, matcha-rich mess. The outer parts of the souffle were drier and fluffier. The Matcha taste was evident – which was the most basic requirements. Perhaps for $9.80, the price was a little steep as the sheer volume of the souffle wasn’t that much. The Matcha Softee was a good compliment to the warm souffle; it was cold, creamy and rich.

Hoshino Coffee
#03-84, Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road

Written by foodphd

May 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm