Friday, 20 September 2019

Restaurant Review: Eat 3 Cuts @ 01-49 Bencoolen Street (Rochor/Bencoolen MRT)

07/09/19
Entrance to Eat 3 Cuts
Entrance to the stall



Came here for lunch at around 1300H on a Saturday. It is a very small eatery but thankfully there were empty tables. The lady Chef/Owner, who I later found out to be a young Economics NUS Graduate, Sharon from this post was very friendly and attentive, making small talk from the moment we entered the shop and provided us with the menu. The menu is very simple but yet pretty extensive for a shop specialising in 3 cuts of meat. 
First side of the Eat 3 Cuts menu
These were really oily :(

Second side of the Eat 3 Cuts menu
However, the first thing you will notice is not the selection of items on offer nor the prices, but how oily the menu was. :/

It was quite unfortunate and I got up regularly to make my way to the nearest toilet to wash my hands after handling the menu. Anyways, as stated in other online reviews as well, this stall sells specialty coffee such as Cappucino and Espresso. In addition to these, they do sell Taiwanese specialty coffee as well which upon further enquiry, are drinks that are quite commonplace in Taiwan, including Sicily Coffee (Lemonade + Coffee), Hola! Coffee (Soda + Coffee) and Iced Orange Coffee (Well... orange juice + coffee).
Coffee, Specialty Coffee and Desserts menu

Variety of media interviews that they have done and a promotional poster for their Hola! coffee, Soda mixed with coffee
Promoting their Hola! Coffee on the bottom right


The shop was very vibrant, lit up by yellow lighting and with lots of posters plastered all around the walls, displaying their various promotions, specialty items as well as interviews and other media coverage that they have done/received. 
Interior of Eat 3 Cuts
Interior + Cashier
On the left, there's a large flat-screen TV which shows, on repeat, the process in which the owner, Sharon, prepares the duck. My only wish would be for the video to have had subtitles as the video was on mute.
On your table, a variety of sauces are provided for self-service. 
Sauces on display (From left to right): Seafood sauce, Chili sauce, Sour plum sauce
I enjoyed all their different sauces though as my dining companions mentioned, the meats are delicious eaten on their own. The seafood sauce was essentially the sauce you find in Peking duck while the chili sauce was a flavourful sambal chili.

French beans in special sauce ($3.20)
Picture of French Beans in Special Sauce ($3.20)
1 Person/Appetiser portion

The special sauce here just tasted like Japanese roasted sesame dressing. Its a cold crunchy dish that is meant to be an appetiser, not a side of vegetables for the meat.
Taste: 6/10

Three cuts combination, Medium 4-5 Pax ($35)
Three Cuts Combination Medium ($35): Pipa Duck, Roasted Duck, Soya Sauce Chicken
(Clockwise from top left) Pipa Duck, Roasted Duck, Soya Sauce Chicken

I came here as a group of 3 and we initially wanted to order their small portion which is meant for 2-3 Pax as stated on their menu, adding on their Taiwan Style Street Duck ($45 for whole, forgot how much for half). However, as that was not available we went with the medium portion for their Three Cuts Combination instead.
This... was definitely not a 4-5 pax portion and we easily finished the meats - Think there was too many bones.
1) Pipa duck was very moist, tender and flavourful, lightly salted and very sweet
The skin had a 'shiok' layer of fat that melts in your mouth after savouring the nice crunch from the crispy skin. 
Close-up picture of the skin of the Pipa Duck
Thick skin from the Pipa duck

Close-up picture showing the underside of the Pipa duck skin, generous layer of fat
Nice layer of fat underneath the Pipa duck skin
Only gripe is that it could be a tad crispier as they had asked us whether we wanted the duck to be crispy or not but nevertheless, still my favourite out of the 3 cuts.
Taste: 9/10
2) Roasted duck was not as sweet and more saltish. The skin was not crispy and I don't think it was meant to be but very good flavours as well, don't think it will be fair to compare this to the Pipa duck.
Taste: 7/10
3) Soya sauce chicken was good but could definitely have had stronger flavour in the meat, also not the best I've tried. But that is considering that I've tried Liao Fan Soya Sauce Chicken (1 Michelin Star) and numerous other famous soya sauce chicken stalls. Hence, still a decent cut of meat with the most generous portion of meat given here though that may simply be due to chicken being cheaper than duck.
Taste: 6.5/10

Sicily Coffee ($4.30; Cannot remember the exact price)
Lemonade + Coffee
Lemonade + Coffee

This was surprisingly good as the sour tangy and refreshing flavour of the lemonade totally contrast and gets washed down by the bitter aftertaste of the coffee. Do note that as the lemonade is quite acidic though, you do not want to be drinking this on an empty stomach.Taste: 8/10 (For its unique factor, do give this a shot)

Rice ($0.50)
Rice flavoured with soya sauce and topped with some slices of cucumber
Rice with flavourful soya sauce and some slices of cucumber

The portions of rice given seemed smaller than average but was drizzled with a layer of flavourful savoury soya sauce. Very tasty, and can very well be eaten on its own.... a bad thing as you're here for their meats! :)(We actually wanted their noodles but they were sold out when we were there)
Taste: 8/10
Price: 7/10
Overall: 7.5/10

Currently, this stall is having some deals on Fave so do check it out! Personally, I feel that this stall does live up to the hype when considering their Pipa duck on its own, as it is not something you get to taste everyday and it is definitely very delicious. In terms of price though, while this stall has differentiated itself by being more of a casual restaurant than a hawker stall, as a price-sensitive customer, I would seek out the more affordable hawker stalls around Singapore instead.
That being said, this is still a great place to come with a small group of friends/family if you're looking for a place with air-conditioning (Now if only the place could be bigger with a more comfortable and relaxing ambience...)

While it may simply be due to all the media coverage they have received recently, I felt that the service was very slow when we were there. Being one of the first few customers that have yet to be served, service still took around 20min for the meats to arrive. Perhaps they had outstanding takeaway orders when I was there? Not too sure, but I do hope that service could be made more efficient!

Overall, good food, OK price, OK ambience, OK service (Very friendly but food took quite awhile).
Price: 6/10
Taste: 8/10
Ambience: 5.5/10
Overall: 6.5/10 (Worth trying if in the area)

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Hawker Review: Dan's Crazy Square Eggs @ Timbre+ (One-North)

04/09/19




Menu (CAA 04/09/19)

I visited this stall before their official grand opening on 06/09/19, Friday. As a result, their Today's Special ($5.80) was not available yet. Thankfully though, they had the Moo Stash which was a mixture of ground beef covering the square scotch egg.

Moo Stash Lunch Set + Iced Chocolate ($6.80 + $3)
Square scotch egg, Ground beef, Banana shallots, Worcestershire sauce, Chili panko + 1 side (Salad, Soud, Dan's Fried rice and etc.) with a spicy thousand island dressing (Their sriracha sauce)



To start, the service was very friendly and they took the time to explain to me about the dish and which sauces compliment which dish. I was taking an Insta story throughout and the Chef paused mid-way to allow me to get a better shot.When I was there, I was charged $1.50 for the Iced Chocolate as there was a system error but they were kind enough to let it be.

FOOD:
Tried their fried rice which was sticky and moist. It had a hint of egg mayo but was overall quite bland. They have a variety of sauces to help elevate the rice though:
1) Greek yogurt - Light and refreshing (Meant to be paired with the lamb scotch egg)
2) Kaffir Lime - Tangy and surprisingly sweet with a very thin consistency almost like that of water (My favourite)
3) Sriracha - The one placed on my plate which was mildly spicy
Overall, really like all their condiments.

Moving on to the Scotch Egg, 
The spice from the chili panko hits you immediately followed by the subtle but distinct beef flavour. While it is very interesting, I felt that the flavours could be stronger as without any of the condiments, the scotch egg paired with the fried rice would have been far too bland and flat.
Taste: 5.5/10 > 8.5/10 (With their sauces)

The iced chocolate was essentially fresh milk + dark chocolate syrup > Chocolate milk (Slightly darker than normal... but essentially, chocolate milk).

They serve a bottomless cold brew ($5) as well which is refillable when bought during lunchtime.

I think the stall is very unique and has lots of potential to grow and improve considering how there seems to be no other stalls like it. I definitely wouldn't mind coming back to try some of their other dishes but as regular customers are made not just through their service or unique selling point, I do hope that they will be able to serve more flavourful and impactful dishes soon.

(This post will be updated accordingly if I do visit it again)

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Buffet Review: Korean Fusion BBQ @ Dunlop Street (Jalan Besar/Rochor MRT)

06/09/19

Korean Fusion BBQ (Dunlop Street)

Time limit (For Eatigo Users only I think): 100min
Price: $18.60 (After 50% Eatigo discount and 10% Service Charge)
Pricing CAA 06/09/19

Note: No GST charge at this buffet

A portrait picture of the name of the restaurant, 'Korean Fusion BBQ'
First sign that you will be greeted with at the top of the stairs

A small obscure restaurant located on the second floor of a shophouse along Dunlop Street. First thing I noticed upon entering was how slippery and oily the floor felt. Along the length of the restaurant was the buffet counters.
Layout of the buffet
Layout of the buffet

From the end of the restaurant, furthest away from the cashier but nearest to the roadside
They had quite a wide variety of marinades for the pork belly as well as a variety of different types of meat and meat cuts. 
Buffet food: Non-marinated pork belly, Black pepper pork belly, Korean spicy pork belly, Spicy pork belly, Garlic pork belly, Char siew pork belly
Non-marinated pork belly, Black pepper pork belly, Korean spicy pork belly, Spicy pork belly, Garlic pork belly, Char siew pork belly

Meats on offer: Lychee Pork Belly, Herbal Pork Belly, Curry Pork Belly, Pork Collar, Streaky Bacon, Thin Sliced Pork Belly
Herbal pork belly tasted the most delicious, streaky bacon was well... bacon - Quite hard not to like it 



Buffet food: Bak Kwa Pork, Spicy Bulgogi Pork, Teriyaki Pork, Curry Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Garlic Chicken
Bak Kwa Pork, Spicy Bulgogi Pork, Teriyaki Pork, Curry Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Garlic Chicken
Buffet food: Bulgogi Chicken, Gong Bao Chicken, Black Pepper Fish, Seasonal Prawn, Bamboo Clam, Spicy Fish, Thin Sliced Beef, Black Pepper Beef, Bulgogi Beef
Bulgogi Chicken, Gong Bao Chicken, Black Pepper Fish, Seasonal Prawn, Bamboo Clam, Spicy Fish, Thin Sliced Beef, Black Pepper Beef, Bulgogi Beef

Buffet Food: Chicken Sausage, Crab Stick, Korean Fish Cake, Chikuna, Fish Tofu, Sotong Ball, Pork luncheon meat, Shitake mushroom, Golden needle mushroom, King oyster mushroom, Shimeji mushroom
Chicken Sausage, Crab Stick, Korean Fish Cake, Chikuna, Fish Tofu, Sotong Ball, Pork luncheon meat, Shitake mushroom, Golden needle mushroom, King oyster mushroom, Shimeji mushroom
In addition to the meats were the vegetables and pineapple (Probably canned) and watermelon. 
Pickled radish, Thai green chili, Doenjang (A type of fermented bean paste made entirely of soybean and brine), Green chili, Red onion, Ssamjang (Thick spicy paste used with food wrapped in leaf; Made of Doenjang, Gochujang (A red chili paste that is a savoury, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made from chili powder, glutinous rice, meju powder, (Brick of dried fermented soybeans) Yeotgireum (Barley malt powder), and salt) sesame oil, onion, garlic, green onions, and optionally brown sugar)

Buffet food: Green coral lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, Sliced onion, Sliced capsicum, Sliced potatoes, Sliced pineapple, Sliced tomato, Sliced cucumber
Green coral lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, Sliced onion, Sliced capsicum, Sliced potatoes, Sliced pineapple, Sliced tomato, Sliced cucumber
There was a waffle, ice cream and cooked food station as well. 
Waffle machine
Waffle machine

Cooked food (Clockwise from top right): (Clockwise from top right): Deep-fried meat, Chewy fried pancake, Sausage, Kimchi fried rice
(Clockwise from top right): Deep-fried meat, Chewy fried pancake, Sausage, Kimchi fried rice - Highly recommend to skip this entirely
On top of that, they provide free-flow drinks for an additional $2.50 nett. Otherwise, you're strongly recommended to bring your own water.

I didn't try the ice cream but tried some of the waffle. And if you care about maximising your calories, just skip their waffles. While it looked thick and big, the exterior had a texture of cardboard and it was not moist/fluffy on the inside at all.

The cooked food station had a total of 4 items - Kimchi fried rice, some sort of fried pancake that was far too chewy, sausage and deep-fried meat. I did not try the sausage or the deep-fried meats at all as it didn't look appetising to start with. My advice would be to just stay away from the cooked food as they were cold, unappetising and did not taste good (at least for the fried rice and the pancake that I tried). My friend found the pancake to be alright when he heated it up using the grill though.

What I did like from this buffet would be the Ssamjang paste under the condiments section as it was slightly sweet, complementing the saltish meats. For the same reason, I kept on going back to the pineapples but found it to be sickly sweet after awhile.

While there was a decent variety of meats, I wouldn't come back again, even with the 50% discount as none of the meats were high quality and none of the marinades stood out in particular apart from perhaps, the herbal pork belly.

Throughout my time there, I was sweating profusely and the restaurant did look like it needed a renovation. Nevertheless, I would say that the atmosphere is suitable for large groups of friends (Not more than 12 though as the restaurant is still quite small) wanting to catch up over a meal as it was lively and had a very casual setting with korean music playing over their speakers.
Price: 8/10 (This is after the 50% discount)
Taste: 5.5/10Ambience: 4/10
Overall: 5.5/10 (Would not be over 5 without the 50% discount)

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Restaurant review: YAN @ National Gallery (City Hall) - Dim Sum Lunch with signature Peking duck

27/08/19


Came here for a dim sum lunch with my family at 1330H as the restaurant was offering off-peak vouchers with a discount of 30% through Chope. It is located on the fifth floor of the National Gallery. Leading up to the restaurant, you will pass by a beautiful garden with the Supreme Court in the background, beautiful scenery.

As the restaurant is quite spacious lengthwise, it is quite difficult to miss it and you will be greeted with a minimalistic exterior, decorated only by the restaurant's intricate logo.


The interior of the restaurant is vibrant, draped in red and gold with the sides of the restaurant lined with circular tables and sofas.


Even their chopsticks are well-designed
Their dim sum menu can be found on Chope through this link or you can find their full menu on their website. I took a picture of their Bicentennial menu below, in case it is taken down from their website.
Only available from 01/07/19 to 31/08/19

Some spicy peanuts were served at the start of the meal at $1++ / pax, these were really tasty and a good change to the typical braised peanuts found at most Chinese restaurants. We tried most of their dim sum excluding their dim sum specials but including their Bicentennial National Day Specials. As it was YAN's signature and we're a big fan of Peking Duck (Who isn't?), we had to get it as well ($45 for half). At this point, I should add that the service was really good. After asking if I could film them preparing the Peking duck, they readily shifted their area of work to one with better lighting while waiting for a few seconds at times for me to take pictures though unbeknownst to them, I was taking a video :)
Yàn Peking Roast Duck served with Homemade Crêpe & Traditional Garnishes ($45 for half; 2nd course was served with the duck meat by itself hence no extra charge for the 2nd course)
The meat itself was tender but could have been more moist



The roasted Peking duck (was what you would expect with the meat of the duck being moist and more tender than average. Overall, it was quite tasty. After which, we ended the meal on a sweet note with the traditional Deep-fried Chinese Pancake filled with Red Bean Paste ($14++).

Loaded with sesame seeds, thick subtly sweet red bean filling


Dim Sum

1) Steamed Fresh Prawn Dumplings (4 pcs) ($8++)
'Har Gau'

Inside was too dry but I like the fresh, juicy and plump prawns

2) Steamed Pork and Prawn Dumplings topped with Fish Roe (4 pcs) ($8++)
Surprisingly good; Loaded with meat and mushrooms

3) Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Minced Pork and Premium Stock (4 pcs) ($5.80++)
Very rich umami broth with lots of pork meat



Lots of broth within with a thin slice of carrot beneath it

4) Steamed Longevity Buns with Barbequed Pork (3 pcs) ($6++)


Thick pieces of char siew within a soft bun but would have preferred a thicker char siew glaze and slightly more meat

5) Deep-fried Beancurd Sheets with Shrimps and Chives (3 pcs) ($6.80++)
Not oily

6) Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Buns (3 pcs) ($6++)

Generous amount of filling that was thick, saltish and sweet


Bicentennial Specials

1) Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Bak Kut Teh Stock (4 pcs) ($5.80++)


Bak kut teh broth had lots of flavour but would have preferred it to be more peppery; Huge portion of meat within

2) Deep-fried Mutton Satay Spring Roll (3 pcs) ($6.80++)
Again, not too oily; Like the satay sauce as well which was loaded with peanut flavour and again, was not overly oily

Really flavourful mutton, not too gamey

3) Pan-fried Singapore Chilli Crab Meat Buns (3 pcs) ($9++)
The sesame seeds surrounding the entire bun added another dimension of flavour

Thick chili crab paste with a very strong zesty lime taste

4) Steamed Carrot Cake with Chinese Sausage, Dried Shrimp and Radish ($5.80++)
Sorry, no pictures for this but it is served in a cylindrical bowl and looked something like porridge but with a much thicker consistency.
5) Steamed Hainanese Chicken with Sticky Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf (1 pc) ($4++)
The sauces were really good, particularly the ginger but felt that there was too little Hainanese chicken




Overall, I found their dim sum a hit-and-miss affair. I liked their unique creations such as the Steamed Carrot Cake with Chinese Sausage, Dried Shrimp and Radish ($5.80++), Deep-fried Mutton Satay Spring Roll (3 pcs) ($6.80++). Some of the traditional dim sum fared quite well as well - Steamed Pork and Prawn Dumplings topped with Fish Roe (4 pcs) ($8++) and Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Minced Pork and Premium Stock (4 pcs) ($5.80++).
Their fried dim sum items including the dessert, Deep-fried Chinese Pancake filled with Red Bean Paste ($14++) were thankfully not too oily.

However, other dishes could be improved and were average at best.
Steamed Longevity Buns with Barbequed Pork (3 pcs) ($6++) - Could have had a fluffier and thinner exterior as the bun-to-meat ratio was too much. The bun was felt a bit too dense. There were thick pieces of char siew within the bun as well but would have liked more filling and a thicker glaze.Steamed Fresh Prawn Dumplings (4 pcs) ($8++) - Could have been more moist though the prawn was plump and tasted fresh
Steamed Xiao Long Bao with Bak Kut Teh Stock (4 pcs) ($5.80++) - Had lots of flavour but would have preferred it to be more peppery else I would not have identified this as Bak Kut Teh.

Having tried countless dim sum including renowned restaurants located in Ipoh, I would say that this restaurant serves above average dim sum but definitely not near the top of my list. I would definitely not pay original price for this but may come back again with the discount for the lovely ambience and prompt service.

Price: 5/10 (Without any discount; Passed due to its central location and the ambience)
Taste: 6/10 (Won't say that there will be much I can recommend to others if I come here again)
Ambience: 8.5/10
Overall: 6/10 (Nice place to come for a special occasion or just to try out some of their unique creations but I will probably patronise another Chinese restaurant instead)