Invited Review: COAST at 1twentysix

Posted in # Dinner, # Western on August 5, 2010 by thisisyummy

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1 Twenty Six is located near East Coast Park, allowing it to position itself as an excellent quiet hang-out. It is relatively far away from the main hustle and bustle near McDonalds and thus is quiet enough to make you feel isolated from city life.

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The bar and drinking area is separated from the main dining area and diners are afforded a comfortable and serene environment to dine in. However the music selection should be improved. I understand patrons at the bar might enjoy a little fast-paced hip hop or the latest R&B, but perhaps diners might prefer something more subtle and gentle.

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Service staffs were excellent and we were greeted very warmly. They patiently explained their menu and even invited their in-house “mixologist” to recommend his own cocktail concoctions.

Dragon’s Breath

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spiced rum, dragon fruit, hazelnut. First impression was that of melted ice cream (which the mixologist correctly described) but it started to seem similar to Bailey’s Irish Cream after a while. Rum becomes slightly strong as the drink starts to warm up – best taken when cold.

The Narcissist

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a vodka inspired fruity mix with rosemary infusion. The rosemary flavor dominates most of the drink with just a hint of the vodka as an aftertaste. It’s a refreshing drink that the ladies will be sure to enjoy.

Bread

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the bread offered was slightly dry and hard. The olive oil and vinegar dip could have a sharper vinegar taste. It comes across as slightly underwhelming.

Nibble PlatterCrispy Soft Shell Crab with chili mayo

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We decided on their Communal Dinning set at S$70++ per pax. We had the Nibble Platter to start off the meal.

Excellent. The soft shell crab is not too crispy like in some Japanese restaurants and goes very well with both dips. The chili mayo may disappoint those looking for a full-flavored dip. There’s barely a hint of mayonnaise with a sharp after-touch of the chili.

Nibble Platter – Homemade Cod Brandade with grilled bruschetta

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The taste of cod is very light but it is present in every bite. The bruschetta was very well made, the flavor of the garlic and grilled bread complements the cod. However, I felt that the cod was a little too mushy for my liking.

Nibble Platter – Potato skins with sour cream and ocean trout caviar

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the caviar definitely provided an interesting contrast of texture between itself and the potato skins. The tiny bursts make this dish very enjoyable. The sour cream was not overly heavy or overpowering, allowing you to enjoy the taste of the potato and caviar.

Nibble Platter – Radish, Anchoiade and Crudites

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Some greens to start off your meal with. Unlike your usual salad, the nibble platter offers a different variety of vegetables and is well complemented by the dips. I’d prefer to stick to my usual salads though.

Fish Pie with Snapper, ocean trout, prawn, leek, dill

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The chef might want to consider using a more presentable cloth to line the bowl as what they used seemed like kitchen towels and it didn’t leave too good an impression.  However the pie itself was good. Though I could not really make out what was in the pie, the chunks of snapper was not too bad. The fish pie didn’t come across as too creamy or gelard for me. However, it might be too salty for some, and perhaps others may dislike the sharp tangy taste of the pie but I enjoyed it.

Seared King Scallop with smoked sea urchin risotto

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Risotto has just the right texture, just chewy enough. Sea urchin flavor is well worked into every grain of rice ensuring that every bite gives you the taste of the ocean. Those who find eating actual “uni” too overwhelming will like this risotto. It gives you just enough hint of the sea urchin to whet your appetite. Scallops are really juicy and well seared and very fresh. Adult asparagus was used but the taste didn’t dominate the palate.

Complements

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Herbed Leaf Salad, French Fries with Sea Salt, Brocolini with garlic and ginger (from left)

The herbed leaf salad was average but I thought the balsamic vinegar was not too bad. The brocolini didn’t fare as well here and lacked the oomph factor. I have to rave about the french fries! They are one of the best fries I ever had. I guess the truffle oil makes a whole lot of difference! It really enhances the flavor of the potato and the edges of the fries were crisp, but the insides were still soft and moist and full of substance. Excellent. I will go back just for the fries.

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Dessert: Grande Assiette – selection of petite sized desserts to share

Pannacotta

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Excellent texture. Smooth. Not overly milky as even as someone who doesn’t really enjoy dairy products, I liked this dessert.

Lime Soufflé

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very VERY sour first bite, but it sort of grows on you after awhile. Though interesting, I’d rather have my usual rich chocolate souffle.

Devil’s flourless chocolate, marscapone and raspberry ripple cake

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Very sharp raspberry taste that hits you immediately, which overpowers the flavour of the chocolate in the dessert. After trying a few desserts, we somehow felt that It seems this place has something for shocking you on your first bite.

Coffee Crème Brulee

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taste of coffee totally overwhelms you. You might as well have been drinking an espresso. Coffee lovers take note!

Meringue

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I haven’t had alot of meringue so far, but I felt COAST’s rendition of their meringue is a stark contrast to the meringue I had elsewhere. In general, it was a tad too sweet for my liking and the meringue could be better if the texture was a little lighter.

As with most restaurants, the food at COAST has hits and misses but me and my dining partner enjoyed the dinner thoroughly, especially where the ambience scores the most points in. You may want to consider COAST at 1twentysix for that special occasion.

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Thank you Chiew Yen for the invite.

902 East Coast Parkway, #01-26
Playground @ Big Splash
Singapore 449874
Tel : 6348-2126
Fax: 6348-9126
www.1-twentysix.com

Blic Ice Cream Cafe

Posted in # Dessert, + Tampines, - Ice cream on April 6, 2010 by thisisyummy

It’s time for some comfort food.

I’ll be on a two week hiatus before bringing good food to you. I shall leave you now to be hungry for ice cream.

I pinched myself for not joining the food bloggers after our March outing at Halia for an invited session to try the ice cream by a new ice cream parlour, Blic. They were all full of praises and I told myself I have to try it for myself!

Blic is just a stone’s throw away from Temasek Polytechnic. The carpark was quite full and it took us some time to find a lot. It was all worth it I tell you.

We were greeted by the friendly owners of Blic. I love the pleasing interior of the ice cream cafe. The cafe was filled with fragrant durian aroma and we all looked at each other in agreement.

Mao Shan Wang Durian Ice Cream ($5.20)
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Yucks, I used to hate durian. You heard me right. But being adventurous food lover, I stop at nothing to impress my picky tastebuds and satisfy my fat belly. After trying out Four Season’s Durian Pancakes, I kinda took a liking to durian thereafter. Once in awhile, I do crave for some good durian, though I still stay away from the fruit itself.

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Blic’s Mao Shan Wang was fantastic. So good that we bought one pint to take home. Blic didn’t compromise on quality. It’s like the real deal, yums. The flavour was strong enough and gave that extra oomph.

We were undecided about the other flavours and were offered to try a few of Blic’s bestseller. It was a difficult choice. I wish I could have them all.

We settled for Blackie ($3.20), cookies & cream I suppose?

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Cookies & cream is the safest choice for ice cream and Blic scores on this flavour as well.

& there I was, craving for some smackin’ hot brownie ($3) as well.

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Even though ice cream is Blic’s specialty, their brownie was not a let down either. A pity there wasn’t vanilla ice cream to go with the piping hot brownie served. Blic offers the Mexican Vanilla though, and according to Ben, the Mexican Vanilla is another type of vanilla beans that look exactly like the usual ones, but with a stronger and spicy flavour. Mexican Vanilla? Next time perhaps!

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I know nuts about ice cream making, but I know that Blic makes really good ice cream. =) I love how smooth Blic’s ice cream are. I’m not sure for you, but I could feel Ben & Larry’s (owners of Blic) passion in their ice cream. It’s no wonder Blic is doing so well even though they have just entered the industry. It’s a very close competitor to my current favourite ice cream parlor, Udders. Can’t pass the verdict yet because I haven’t tried Blic’s alcoholic flavours and Udder’s durian flavour.

Blic, I’ll be back right after my exams!

Ice cream is my comfort food, what’s yours?

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Blk 802 Tampines Ave 4 #01-23
Singapore, 520802
Phone: 67860860
Mon – Thurs: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Il Lido

Posted in # Dessert, # Italian, + Sentosa, - Beef, - Fish, - Pasta on April 2, 2010 by thisisyummy

Restaurant week is an excuse for me to splurge on food. Il Lido is the second participating restaurant I dined at during Restaurant Week. If I were to go to Il Lido on a normal day for their ala carte menu, the bill would be a good hundred bucks per person. Just look at the seafood pasta on their ala carte menu, so tempting.

Complimentary bread
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Crispy, but certainly not the best. Definitely could do better. The generous portion of bread was not fragrant enough and the spices were a tad too mild.

Candy Floss $12 (Not in restaurant week menu)
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After much ‘hard-selling’, we decided to order some drinks, on top of a $10 still water. We felt so cheated. Anyway, my mum and sis ordered a mocktail each as recommended by the waiter. It was too sweet and syrupy, if there is such a word. When the waiter came around to check, we had already finished half the cup. Nevertheless, he fixed the two mocktails. I guess he just added lemon and some water.

Gianduia $14 (Not in restaurant week menu)

I forgot to take a photo of this. It’s chocolate martini served in glass, as recommended by the waiter, again. One of the worst martini ever. No detectable chocolate flavour and it was too sweet.

Scallops with chanterelle mushrooms, sweet garlic cream and crispy prosciutto
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Scallops, they were huge. A pity they were not springy enough.

Porcini mushroom & truffle cream soup
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We all enjoyed this soup the best. It was thick and creamy, nice. Il Lido redeemed itself only with this soup, sadly.

Angel hair pasta with spicy baby prawns
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Look at the baby prawns! Er, shrimps I think were what they meant. My sister regretted her choice of mains almost immediately when it was served. The angel hair pasta was a letdown. It was not al dente and the sauce, oh what sauce? We were 3 hungry and unsatisfied diners, apparently the staffs at Il Lido were oblivious to us.

Atlantic cod with cantarelle mushroom, baby leeks and prosecco wine sauce
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The atlantic cod was alright, though it didn’t blow me away.

Slow cooked wagyu beef cheek with celeriac and crunchy vegetables
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I preferred my choice of mains that afternoon. The beef cheek was tender and fatty, though the sauce could had been better.

Molten lava chocolate cake in hazelnut crust with vanilla ice cream
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After a terribly disappointing lunch, we thought maybe the molten lava chocolate cake could impress us a little. However, the dessert wasn’t served hot and the melted chocolate was quite cold when we ate it almost immediately after it was served. I prefer the varlhona chocolate in Greenwood Fish Market’s warm chocolate fondant. The vanilla ice cream was average as well.

As one of Singapore Business Review Top 50 Restaurants in 2009, not only did Il Lido fail to impress, the food and service was far from acceptable. After our tables were cleared for like 20 minutes, our coffee/tea was still not served yet. Feeling annoyed with the entire lunch affair already, we asked for the bill. When we feedbacked to the waiter who passed us the bill, he just said sorry and stood there, expecting my mum to sign the bill. Then, he paused, and asked if we wanted to be served our coffee/tea now. Of course we told him off saying it’s unnecessary already and he obligingly collected the bill then. For an upmarket restaurant like Il Lido, especially, even if we were too annoyed to have our coffee/table, it’s basic courtesy to suggest something to make it up for the mistake rather than regarding it as though nothing happened. Even though this is but a minor issue, this speaks a lot about Il Lido’s service.

Now, for the verdict. I’m half-hearted about Il Lido. After a terrible dining experience there, I was doubtful about all the praises that I heard and read about. Yet, I feel like giving Il Lido a second chance to prove itself. Maybe, maybe not?

I wonder if Restaurant Week and the menu participating restaurants are an accurate indication of their true standards. It will not be fair to all the other restaurants as I have only tried two participating restaurants this Restaurant Week.

Did you dine at any restaurants this Restaurant Week? What’s your take?

27 Bukit Manis Road
#02-00 Sentosa Golf Club
Tel: +65 6866 1977

Absinthe

Posted in # Dessert, # Dinner, # French, + Chinatown, - Fish on March 31, 2010 by thisisyummy

I’ve long heard about Absinthe but never had the chance to check it out. Thankfully for Glenn, who made a reservation at Absinthe for Restaurant Week, I had the opportunity to try the food there. Absinthe was one of the many restaurants who were fully booked for Restaurant Week and having heard of the positive reviews of the food, I went with high expectations. The dinner menu is at $55++. 

 

(credits: www.diningcity.com)

I’d like to commend the service at Absinthe as I really felt at home that evening. The waiter patiently introduced to us some of the beverages and was friendly in serving us throughout the dinner. Service is one factor that I regard highly as no matter how good the food can be, if the service is disappointing, then I guess that’s my last time there. With such a lovely start to the dinner, I was even more excited for what is to come next! 

Tartare of Hokkaido Scallops with Wakame and Citrus Dressing 


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Interesting starter to begin the meal. I love how the orginal seafood flavour tasted. After a long hiatus from spoiling my tastebuds from all the delicious food, this dish definitely teased those tastebuds and they shout “More! More!”. Yes, so that was how much I was anticipating for an awesome dinner. 

Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly, Star Aniseed Jus and Fennel Salad 
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Call me fussy and hard to please, but I like to enjoy my meal slowly without being rushed to gobble up my food to prevent the plates from crowding the table. Absinthe scores here as the food was served as appropriate intervals. I remember on some ocassions when I dined at some restaurants, they try to stagger the food served to customers but the food comes out cold. At Absinthe, you can expect to be served food fresh from the kitchen! 

The pork was crispy on the outside and as you sink your teeth into it, the fats simply melt in your mouth. It was well accompanied by the rocket leaves and pear-spices chutney. There, I was just telling my dining partner how the dish reminded me of the foie gras at Sage, crispy on the outside and how the fats melt in your mouth. So sinful but definitely worth the calories. 

French Duck Breast, Sauteed Potatoes, Rocket and Mushroom 
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My dining partner had the french duck breast and I tried a piece of it. It’s the first time I tasted raw duck and I didn’t really like it. The texture was like beef done medium, but it had this tinge of smell which I’m not too familiar with. Well, at least I tried it before. For duck lovers out there, you may love this main course though! 

Grilled Pink Snapper, Salad of Baby Spinach and Spelt, Lobster Scented Hollandaise 
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I ordered the fish and boy, it was really good! I usually eat chicken rice without the skin, and fish without the skin. Partially because it’s fattening, also because I don’t really like the soft and oily texture of the skin. Give me fried crispy skin anytime. I like how Absinthe’s grilled pink snapper was soft and juicy. Also, the skin was crispy the way I like it! Thumbs up! 

So good that I have to post another picture!
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Verbena and Blueberries Crème Brulee with Raspberry Sorbet 
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It’s time for dessert! I’ve not had desserts for a long time. Creme brulee? It got me excited again. I was expecting vanilla beans and smooth textured creme brulee. Sadly, the dessert fell short of what I expected. The caramel layer was too thick and stucked to my teeth. Was there vanilla beans? The restaurant lighting was too dim but I certainly didn’t taste any. The texture was a tad too watery. Still, I enjoyed the ice-cream. =) Although there were hits and misses, I had a pleasant dining experience at Absinthe on the whole. The humble attitude of the waiters at Absinthe made me feel welcomed and comfortable. Chef Francois took some time to show us around Absinthe, Oso and the private dining rooms. I wouldn’t mind going back to Absinthe next time, perhaps to try out their degustation menu or the ala carte menu. 

To read a similar review on Absinthe of my dining partner, visit  http://www.hungryepicurean.com

 48 Bukit Pasoh Road
<Singapore
Phone: +65 62 229 068

K ki ケーキ

Posted in # Dessert, + Chinatown, - Cake on March 28, 2010 by thisisyummy

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Tucked at a small corner of Ann Siang Hill is the little dröm stall. While checking out the cute artsy fartsy cameras and products by budding designers, have a piece of cake at K Ki! What a perfect way to enjoy a peaceful afternoon, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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Kenneth and his wife, Delphine, were very hospitable. They were sharing how they would cycle to K Ki early in the morning to start baking and cycle home in the evening after a day’s work. How nice, doing something out of passion rather than the constant pursuit of financial stability. Maybe someday, I might be able to leave everything behind and pursue what I really like!
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Antoinette $8.00
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This is my favourite! A perfect yet unique combination of white chocolate cake with mango filling. I’m craving for this as I’m typing this entry!

Mona $8.00

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Mona is good too. The cream is well textured and the layers together packs a punch. I like my cakes with different textured layers, not those that’s just plain sponge cake with lots of cream.

Strawberry Tart $6.50

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K Ki’s strawberry tart fares decently. If only it had my favourite custard. Yums. K Ki’s cakes are original and even the most common strawberry tart available everywhere is done differently at K Ki!

Kinabaru $8.00

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The lovely couple at K Ki really takes pride their creations that even the name of some cakes are original and actually have a story behind it! Once again, K Ki scores at the perfect layering combination here. Coconut mousse, passionfruit creme and lychee mousse. Kinabaru is a really light flavoured cake with the different layers going well with one another and yet not too overpowering. I like this cake second best, very close behind Antoinette. =)

Cafe Dumo $7.50

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The cute name reminds me of the popular Domo-kun. If you realised, K Ki’s cakes are mostly light flavoured and Cafe Dumo is probably one of the few richer cakes that K Ki offers. This is no ordinary cake, worth the try if you do head down to K Ki at Ann Siang Hill.

Mont Blanc $8.50

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I had my first Mont Blanc at K Ki. Having heard raved reviews about Mont Blanc, I was keen to find out how it tasted. It was really good! Though I haven’t been around to try other Mont Blanc cakes, I’m quite certain Kenneth did a great job there. This is another cake I’m going back to K Ki for!

I’ll definitely return to K Ki, real soon!
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K ki ケーキ
7 Ann Siang Hill
#01-00
Tel: +65 6225 6650

Choupinette

Posted in # Breakfast, # Western, + Bukit Timah, - Eggs on February 9, 2010 by thisisyummy

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Choupinette, tucked in a corner beside Coronation Plaza, was well accessible and from how much I’ve heard of it, it looked simple from the exterior and the interior was hustling with the Sunday breakfast crowd, all ready to lap up a delectable brunch. Alrighty then, as it has received much acclaim and praise of their professionally-done eggs, let’s get straight to it!

Egg Royal $21
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Well, the first thing that certainly struck was a look at the menu, and as the eyes scanned across for the price. We gasped. $21. It had to be good. And certainly it was. I mean, what can go wrong with Salmon, my personal favourite, and of course firm poached eggs with a nape of hollandaise sauce. Just like the one at Riders’ Cafe, we had initial inertia of spoiling the perfectly nested egg by kniving into it, releasing the runny yolk all over the toasted English muffin. Here, I was wondering if I should have ordered the proper Egg’s Benedict instead, with the warm ham probably making the texture even better and the Breakfast experience even better. Here, at least for me, it didn’t all go too well with the Salmon, although I will be the last to reject a fresh slice of salmon on anything. Overall, it was fantastic, and the warm sauce coated its lovely components. Wonderful, though the price is a pinch we were staring around when we finished like.. “was that over already?” so quick. So do savour it when you get to! It’s served with Orange Juice, Florida Natural I think, as well as breakfast tea.

Millefeuille Framboise $7
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Following up on our craving, I went to look at the wide range of desserts to be chosen from. There is really a luxury of choice there. I decided to go with the pretty Millefeuille Framboise, basically raspberry with a thick pastry crust with what seemed to me like custard and cream cheese within. It was sweet and a pleasant experience eating, although it was defying the law of physics how a pastry crust can be even harder than the compelling metallic material of the fork. We made a mess, but oh, that’s how we all like our food, don’t we? It was an excellent dessert to cap off a good dining experience with Choupinette, although it did leave a hue of charred leather in my wallet. Hah.
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Choupinette, near Coronation Plaza
607 Bukit Timah Road #01-01
Tel: 6466 0613

Tetsu: NUS Photography Sharing Session

Posted in # Japanese, + Orchard, - Sashimi on February 6, 2010 by thisisyummy

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Sometime back, Brad organised a photography sharing session for his club. I didn’t realise until I was there and saw that everyone else was from the club! Anyway, the session was enjoyable and I did pick up a skill or two about food photography. The really mini ‘degustation’ was good but not enough for a glutton like me! There wasn’t a menu and some items were off the menu according to the conversation with Yu Ling.

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First up was a plate of delectables. I particularly liked the tofu as it was silky and soft, leaving an eggy after taste. Yes, I’m a sucker for anything eggs. Then, there’s a small bite-sized beef on the spoon and salmon in the shooter glass.

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I don’t really appreciate sashimi though I do have ocassional cravings to get my sashimi fix. I avoided the Tuna sashimi since the very first time I tried it. It had an overpowering fishy smell and the texture was mushy. Yucks. But, Tetsu’s Tuna sashimi was really good I felt and for that, I’m gonna go back for more! The salmon was not too bad. I’m not sure if such prawns are supposed to taste gluey and soft but the one at Tetsu and my previous experiences do taste like that. If so, then sorry it’s not really my cup of tea.

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This is probably the japanese version of ngor hiang or fish cake, possibly. Not too bad. Plus the mushroom! I skipped the green chili though.

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Carbo loaded just to fill your stomach. I didn’t finish it.

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Time for desserts! I think it’s sorbet. Nice, I like.

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Sourish and refreshing. Can I have another cup please?
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163 Tanglin Road
#03-18 Tanglin Mall
Tel: +65 6836 3112