Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pasarbella, The Grand Stand, Turf City, Singapore

Went for an impromptu Bukit Timah hike with May and Tim yesterday. After the hike, we decided to head to Pasarbella for lunch. The last time I went to Grand Stand, Pasarbella was not opened yet. Pasarbella, was allegedly inspired by Victoria Market whereby it consists of many individual stalls selling food and produce. In other words, a very atas food court, if I may.

May told me that Pasarbella serves the best paella she had ever eaten, and that is quite a claim I have to verify myself. The stall in question calls itself La Patio. Approaching it, you would be greeted by 2 huge paella pans, besides the queue. When we got there, one pan was almost empty and one pan was bubbling away. Turnover of this stall was fast. The paella was good indeed. One thing about paella is that it is very difficult to get the balance of the flavour right. Most of the paella I have tried tend to be overzealous with the seasoning and gravy hence covering the taste of the rice. A bit like claypot chicken rice, if you get what I mean. With the paella, here you still can taste the grainy flavour of the rice and also the taste of the ingredients. The chicken is tender and the fish flaky. Cooked to perfection. However, Tim did gripe that the mussels was not exactly top notch on freshness. The cost S$13.90 a pop and May went for a second helping. Side note is they would put a dollop of chilli sauce which taste suspiciously like chicken rice chilli sauce at the side of the rice box. I would pass on that as I think that is just an attempt trying to localize the paella a bit. 



Pork knuckles, what a good way to end a 150m elevation hike. Sea Salt mainly serves roasted meat and we decided to get a pork knuckle to share. The pork knuckles here are as good as those at Euro Deli, if not better. The crisp is, well, crispy and meet succulent and not overcooked. Besides that, the ligaments and tendons are still intact, which is no mean feat when raosting pork knuckles. S$24 a serving with either roasted roots or rice.

Mum always said we should have veggies with every meal, so I got ourself some boiled vegetables. With 2 eggs. And with 2 sausages from Cicely. Took a while for the food to be made as the eggs and sausages are cooked to order. S$11.90 per serving. The mince meat was boiling away and I think it was for a pasta sauce from the like of it. 

 The good thing about Pasarbella is that after having a meal, one can walk around the stalls selling fresh produce. Prices though are, maybe 20% to 30% higher then outside though there are some items you can rarely get outside like organic parsnips and brussel sprouts

Thursday, April 24, 2014

First Thai, Purvis Street, Singapore

I have heard good things about this place. This is the second time May, Tim and myself made our way here. The first time we came it was a Monday and we did not know it is closed on Mondays. Situated at the corner of a row of pre-war shops on Purvis Street, there are not many tables and space is of quite a premium. Even though the restaurant was not crowded, we decided to take the table at the five-foot walkway for the breeze. We proceded to order the Tom Yum Seafood Soup, Green Curry Chicken, Mixed Vegetables, Pad Thai and Pineapple Fried Rice. Quite standard 

First came the Tom Yum Soup. As the photo show, this restaurant serves the clear broth type though it comes in a hue that I have never seen before. Colour is a bit like Bak Kut Teh. The soup does pack a punch in the heat department (though still bearable by my standards). They are not too stingy with the ingredients however I felt like they had localized the flavour. There seems to be a lack of some sourness. 

The green curry chicken was not good by my reckoning. It was overcooked until the meat absolutely disintegrated. I can't really taste any chicken and the fragrance of curry is absolutely missing.

Pineapple fried rice was not bad. Not to oily and the texture and flavouring is just nice. Contradictory to popular believe, it is not easy to make a good fried rice.

Next up, Pad Thai. One of my pat peeves when it comes to Pad Thai is the amount of oil used. More often than not, cooks tend to be over zealous with the usage of oil when cooking Pad Thai making it a bit jelat. I am glad to say that the Pad Thai here do not suffer the same malice. The dish was nicely balance with the generous amount of coriander and fresh vege. However, again, the dish seems to be lacking a bit of kick generally associated with Thai food. 

The mix vegetables are nothing to write home about. They are, what they are, a plate of vegetables.

It might not be a good thing when the reputation of a restaurant precedes itself, which is definitely the case for this restaurant. The food is not bad but it is nothing as good as some suggests. I will come here again if I am conveniently around the area but definitely will not make a purpose trip for this. Another point to take note is that the cook tend to be quite liberal with the MSG. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Labrador Park, Chermin Board Walk, Singapore

Spider and Spidlings

Photos taken with Olympus OM-D EM-5, Panasonic Lumix Vario G 100 -300mm F4-5.6

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Burger Factory, Oasis Damansara

Gourmet burgers joints seems to be mushrooming all over the Klang Valley lately. We stumbled upon this joint in Oasis Damansara set amongst a very elaborate central fountain courtyard. Pretty impressive for a burger joint. Seating area of the restaurant is spacious and airy with adequate lighting. The menu is conveniently broken down into beef, chicken, seafood and vegan. They do have 2 options of oversized burgers aptly named The Boss and Sumo Feast. This joint does not serve pork. 
The Writing on the Wall
After some deliberation, I ordered the Aloha and my wife went for the Bacon Razor. Did not feel like fries hence we went for ala carte and ordered the Onion Rings for sides. The onion rings came first. The batter was crispy and the texture was just nice, unlike some joints who over fry their rings making the onion soggy. However, if you may, the onion was not too flavourful. You could not tell that you are actually eating onions.

Onion Rings

Next came my Aloha. This burger comes with a piece of grilled chicken breast meat, topped with a slice of pineapple, sunny side up and caramelized onion. First, let's talk about the meat. The meat wasn't too bad. Nicely grilled with a smooth texture and not too tough. The pineapple slice, however, is a disappointment. With the price that I am paying, I would had expected them to make an effort to give me a properly grilled fresh pineapple slice. Yes, they use a slice of canned pineapple in sugar syrup which utterly destroyed the balance of the burger due to its excessive sweetness. For those who had experience with canned pineapple slices, you would know that the syrup somehow makes them very "slippery". This, together with the runny egg yolk, caramelized onions and dressing, make it impossible to eat the burger with the hands. In other words, the construction of the burger is terrible. The fillings threaten to drop out with each bite. It doesn't help that the bun is a bit too fluffy. I gave up halfway and went mediaeval on it with fork and knife.


The Bacon Razor comes in black charcoal bun, beef patty, crispy bacons and ceasar dressing. My wife's comment is that wasn't bad but it's nothing special. It seems though it does not suffer the same "construction" problem as my wife manage to finish the burger holding it with her hands.

Bacon Razor

The total damage in the end was RM56.20. Will I come back again? Probably not. My pet peeve with this place is that with this kind of price point, I would expect better quality ingredients (i.e. fresh pineapples). The buns, which in my opinion, makes or breaks a burger, is too fluffy. And they even stinge on the sauces by using Kimball's. Bring me back to Fat Boy's anytime.  

Total Damage

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cielo Dolce, Paradigm Mall, Kelana Jaya

Gelato, the Italian ice cream claimed to contain 70% less fat compared to normal ice cream. Of course, Gelato shops are dime a dozen nowadays. However, what if I were to tell you that there is a shop that sells Durian gelato? Well, fancy but not really special. After all, durians had been made into various desserts. Ok, how about Nasi Lemak flavoured gelato? No, I am not joking, NASI LEMAK gelato. Got your attention, haven't I. Tucked away in the corner at Basement 2 of Paradigm Mall, Cielo Dolce serves gelato that are 100% home made. The owners are always experimenting on different and sometimes unique flavours all the time. 

Prior to Nasi Lemak, they had served up flavours like Nangka and Cili Padi. However, I think this is the first time they have come up with a savoury flavour. So how does it taste. Well, it taste like nasi lemak, coconuty, fragrant and spicey. Seriously. My speculation is that the gelato itself is made using coconut milk and some pandan flavouring. To make it even more like nasi lemak, there are, I think, frozen bits of otak-otak in it. On to of that, they even sprinkler some nuts and ikan bilis after putting on some toppings of sambal. The owners, in my opinion, deserves a medal for creativity. I can't wait to come back here to see what surprises they have in store next time. Prawn Mee gelato?

Prices here are not exactly cheap. For a small cup, whereby you are allowed to choose 2 flavours, will set you back RM8.80. However, what you are paying for is freshly home made gelato (not those mass produced in factories) not to mention the novelty of eating some rather strangely (in a good way) dessert.  

No, they are not selling nasi lemak

Nasi Lemak, anyone?

The orange bit, I think, it's otak-otak

The more conventional dark chocolate and earl grey

Cardamom + Honey and Milk + Chocolate Chips 

Range of Flavours
Prices or not exactly cheap