Archive for October, 2010

ToTT Store (Tools of the Trade)

UPDATE: I’ve since been to the ToTT Store. Read all about it here.

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I just read about this huge kitchenware store opening for business in Singapore today. I’m so excited!!! I’ve always felt that we lack a 1-stop-shop where we can get all the kitchenware we want. Sure Pantry Magic does fill the gap somewhat, but as much as I love browsing there, it’s a pretty small store. Ikea has a larger range, but the quality is questionable. I find it highly suspect that a frying pan can cost $5. What materials went into making it, and how long can it last? As we speak, my 2 year old Ikea chair is on the verge of collapsing any day now.

ToTT is owned by Sia Huat, which has a store in Chinatown. Coincidentally, I made my 1st visit to the Chinatown Sia Huat only just last week. It was quite an experience. Because they sell to businesses as well, they also stock industrial sized kitchenware. It was quite funny to be inspecting pots so huge you could stand in them. Most of the stuff at the Chinatown branch is pretty spartan though. I’m hoping that the ToTT store will have all the things that I see so often in Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and Curtis Stone’s cooking shows. I might even spend $150 there and get myself a membership card!

Apart from the store, ToTT also runs cooking classes, a bake it on the spot section where you can buy and bake the cookie dough without even having to go home, and a bistro. It’s going to be great. This weekend they are having a 10% promotion going on, so I’m going to try and make it there.

image Durian Tempura served at their Bistro

 

ToTT Store

896 Dunearn Road 01-01A
Singapore 589472
Store Operating Hours:
Mon -Sun: 10.30am – 9.30pm
Tel: 62197077

http://www.tottstore.com

http://www.tottstore.com/files/Bistro_menu.pdf

Shots Cafe

I have been eating so much lately, my shirt doesn’t even fit me anymore. Last week was the 1st time I wore that shirt and it was fine. Today, I felt as if I was being compressed within a tight capsule. If I continue on this trajectory, I may just pop a button.

But how can I help it when I’m been assaulted by good food? Yesterday I sinned again, at Shots Cafe no less. This Cafe I presume is against sinning since they had Joseph Prince’s book prominently displayed on their counter. Joseph Prince, if you didn’t know, is the famous pastor from New Creation Church. Yet people must sin here everyday when the cafe has so many decadent pastries and baked goods on display!

Shots Cafe - Chocolate Fudge Brownie (2)

This damn decadent and chocolatey chocolate fudge brownie here was the culprit, the catalyst! If you want chocolaty, this is 10 times better than Awfully Chocolate, you can be sure of that. It was as moist can be and the fudge was oozing all over the place. I ate 3 quarters of it and left 1 quarter for my friend, but only because I felt I had to be sociable. And, this only costs $5.50 instead of $7+ for the Awfully Chocolate cake.

Shots Cafe - Chocolate Fudge Brownie (4)

Shots Cafe - Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Mmmmmm chomp chomp chomp….

 

shots.

8 Ang Siang Hill, Singapore 069788

TELEPHONE : +65 6224 8502

EMAIL : info@shots.com.sg

WEBSITE : http://www.shots.com.sg

The Disgruntled Chef

Met up with a good friend of 12 years to go try out The Disgruntled Chef the other day. After all these years, she’s still so passionate about teaching. As she put it, it is indeed a blessing that she has found her true calling, and so early on in life. We had a good time chatting and catching up.

The ambience of the place is quite nice. The lighting is low and soothing, which makes for a very romantic setting suitable for lovers. And that’s in addition to the sharing concept too. There are some booth like seats but those look like they are reserved for parties of 4. I had originally imagined The Disgruntled Chef to be a really casual looking restaurant thanks to the rather casual name, plus the fact that they employ the communal eating concept here. But really, with the wine glasses on all the tables, plus the low lighting, it looks like an upscale restaurant instead.

As for the communal sharing concept, there are 20 Small Plates on the menu, each about $15 – $20. They are small enough such that each person can easily polish off at least 2 plates worth of food. You could also order the Big Plates, which are entree-sized dishes. We decided to go for the Small Plates so that we could sample more dishes.

The Disgruntled Chef - Steak Tartare and soft quail egg

Steak Tartare with soft Quail Egg and fries – $16

I don’t believe I’ve tried Steak Tartare before, or at least not in this quantity. I have to say it was damn delicious. From the minute the beautiful square of raw meat was placed in front of me, I could hear it calling my name. The taste was divine. If only I just didn’t have to share!

I wonder if a lot of people out there have a problem with eating raw meat, because I certainly am not in this category. In fact, the raw look of the meat appeals to me very much…And I don’t think of myself as eating raw meat, I just think of it as eating really tasty meat!

The Disgruntled Chef - Steak Tartare and soft quail egg (4)

The Disgruntled Chef - Steak Tartare and soft quail egg (2)

There’s the quail’s egg which is to be mixed into the steak tartare

Runny quail egg with juicy steak….ohhhhhhhhhh!!!

The Disgruntled Chef - Baked Bone Marrow with Persillade

Baked Bone Marrow with persillade & sour dough toast – $14

This was also very delicious. The bone marrow was soft, fatty and oh so tasty! Once again, I wish I had the whole thing to myself! I had a hard time trying to make sure I didn’t scoop out more than 50% of my allocated portion or I might incur the wrath of my friend, who was also enjoying the dish tremendously. This was served with bread. The greenish thing in the background was the Persillade, which is a mix of parsley and garlic. Imagine bread with lots of garlic, everyone loves garlic bread right? Now top that off with fattening bone marrow. Can things get better than that?

The Disgruntled Chef - Curried Mussels

Curried mussels with sourdough toast – $16

This was also very nice. Don’t expect some really spicy local curry though, this is more like Ang Moh curry. This was a little hard to share. I wish they’d given us bowls so I could slurp down the curry!

The Disgruntled Chef - Chicken Liver Parfait

Chicken Liver Parfait with red onion marmalade & Brioche toast – $14

The Liver Parfait’s in the chicken essence bottle thingy. This one had a texture like pate, but had the strongest pate taste I’ve ever encountered. I loved it very much, but my friend only managed to eat 1/4 of it. They should have given us more than 6 pieces of toast though. Luckily we had a lot of bread from the other dishes so we used those to finish up the parfait.

The Disgruntled Chef - Baked Camembert Fondue

Baked Camembert Fondue with chicory, toast & apple sauce – $18

This was a little bit of a let down, especially after having tried the other dishes. At $18, I thought it was way too pricy for something I could just pop in the oven myself. Also, the Camembert was pretty mild, so the plain bread wasn’t exactly the best delivery vehicle in this case. The apple sauce in the bowl was nice, and lifted the flavours somewhat, but I didn’t order this dish just to taste apple sauce.

The Disgruntled Chef - Baked Camembert Fondue (2) The Disgruntled Chef @ Dempsey Hill

Conclusions: The food is really good. I’ve described them in detail above, so I shan’t elaborate again here.

However, there were a few things that kinda made me wonder if I would return again.

1. Beware what you choose. We only realised that we’d chosen 4 dishes out of 5 that come with bread. Nothing wrong with that, but on hindsight, it felt like it was a big bread feast, with many delicious toppings to choose from.

2. The pricing wasn’t exactly expensive, yet it was neither cheap. Our bill came up to approx $87 after tax, which meant that we spent about $45 each on “appetisers”.

3. The sharing system felt a bit cumbersome at times. Eg, the curried mussels and the oozy cheese, not a very simple thing to share if you don’t want double dipping.

4. The style of the food required a lot of work on our part. It wasn’t a scoop and shovel into your mouth thing. There was a lot of “effort” required to scoop stuff onto the bread, and add the garnishing. Ok it’s not a lot of effort if 1 or 2 dishes are like that, but when all are like that, it’s a little overwhelming.

Still, because the food is so nice and unique, I think I’ll still take the Partner to come try the place out. But, it won’t be some place I come to relax after a hard day’s work.

 

 

 

The Disgruntled Chef

26B DEMPSEY ROAD
SINGAPORE 247693

T: +65 64765305 F: +65 64765306
E:
BOOKINGS@DISGRUNTLEDCHEF.COM

Click this for directions

JooJoo at Joo Chiat

JooJoo Menu

Having previously read quite a number of ridiculously bad reviews on JooJoo, I wanted to see for myself if things could indeed be that bad. I’m no sadist, but sometimes, a bad experience may just boil down to that person’s personal preferences.

Well, I was forewarned about the seemingly cheap but paltry portions, so we were extra careful when placing orders. The Partner chose from the Ala Carte Menu, while I chose Kushiyaki Set B for $15.90.

JooJoo - AppetiserHere’s the complimentary appetiser. I have to say, the presentation of the food really could do with some improvement. So the reader wasn’t exactly wrong when he/she described the cabbage to be “half a brain”. I would expect the cabbage to at least be shredded? But it’s not so much the unprocessed look it had, rather it was how raw the appetiser looked. Maybe this is normal to the Japanese, just like how Kim Chee will never appeal to me even though Koreans love it so.

Ok looks aside, I am proud to say I downed the entire portion of raw vegetables seen here. The miso dip was not bad, and I felt quite healthy for having eaten all these raw vegetables. It’s pretty tasty once you get over the rawness of it all.

Hey, would you prefer to be offered a complimentary dish of vegetables, no matter how ugly they look, or not have them at all?

JooJoo - Rice w Char Siu and Egg

Char Siu Rice with Egg $3.90 – The egg was nice and went well with the rice. Some bits of Char Siu were a little dry, but on the whole, this was okay.

JooJoo - Garlic Fried Rice

Garlic Rice $3.90 – This was tastier than the rice above, and naturally so because of the garlic, but too bad it doesn’t come with egg. JooJoo also has a rice dish in clam broth which sounded good.

JooJoo - Lamb Rack (2)Lamb Rack $8.90 – Very tasty, one of the highlights of the meal, which had me licking my fingers at the end. But it was also just a tad bit dry. Some sauce would have been appreciated.

JooJoo - Kushiyaki Set BKushiyaki Set B : Thigh with Tare, Shitake with Tare, Pork Belly, Pork Belly with Cherry Tomatoes with Miso, Karubi with Miso (from top to bottom) – These items can also be ordered from the Ala Carte Menu. This time round, the pork belly was juicy and flavourful. I really loved the Pork Belly with Cherry Tomatoes. The tomatoes lent a lovely sweetness to the pork. If you have a chance, order the pork belly with the tomatoes, rather than without. The chicken was also not bad, but the Karubi (beef) was a little tough.

The mushrooms were a total let down. They were almost raw. In fact, you could see all the gills intact and untouched on the underside of the mushroom. What’s with JooJoo and raw plants?

The Kushiyaki Set B was supposed to come with Salmon belly, but they had run out of it so they substituted that for pork belly without telling us. Luckily the price was the same or I would think that they were not being honest.

JooJoo - Kushiyaki Set B (2)    JooJoo - Belly w Enoki (2)

Pork Belly with Enoki $4.90 – Ok I don’t know what’s with the plating cuz it just served to highlight the size of the portion…. Anyway, this was tasty and the mushrooms gave it a nice crunch. Then again, meat with fat is usually tasty. If it’s not, it must be one hell of a lousy chef.

Conclusion : – On the whole, I think the food is not bad. There are some hits and there are some misses. You have to be careful what you order here because the dishes sound cheap, yet when you add them up, it’s almost like dining at a full-fledged restaurant. But to me, JooJoo resembles more of a cafe rather than a restaurant. They don’t even have a door at the entrance, which apart from making it look more casual, also let in the noise from the roads. Someone should also consider lowering the volume on the sound system because it’s already noisy enough from the cars.

Oh yes, you can also get a slice of the Awfully Chocolate cake here, as opposed to having to buy the entire cake at their other outlets.  It’s called the Super Stacked Chocolate Cake. It’s $6.50 per 100gms, which means you will be charged about $7.80 since the slice is more than 100gms. And since all slices look the same size, the true cost is probably going to be $7.80 and never $6.50.

We asked the waiter why the slice wasn’t 100gms as most people would simply assume the slice would cost $6.50 since this is a cafe not a market.
His answer? “We cannot accurately measure out 100gm.” You have been warned.

JooJoo (Owned by the same owner of Awfully Chocolate)

131 East Coast Road, #01-01, Singapore 428816

Tel: 6346-7604

Directions to JooJoo

KFC – Kentucky Fried Chicken

KFC Australia

I’ve tried KFC in a number of countries and I’ve always felt that the Singapore KFC restaurants serves the best tasting chicken. For one, I really love the Crispy KFC version, which apparently isn’t available worldwide. New Zealand only brings it out once in a while for promotion purposes. So I was quite surprised to find that Australia also offers Crispy chicken! The taste is also pretty comparable to Singapore’s KFC.

Interestingly, contrary to what we like to believe about KFC, it appears that they use hormone and steroid free fresh chicken! If you read the disclaimer on the KFC box, it sure sounds like KFC Australia uses quality unadulterated chicken. I don’t recall seeing these statements on the KFC Singapore packaging. Does this mean that the KFC chicken you get in Singapore is NOT hormone and steroid free? I think if KFC feels the pressure to provide hormone and steroid free chicken in Australia, we as consumers should start pressurising KFC Singapore to do the same.

Whatever the case, there’s no mention of the chickens being free-range, meaning these chickens are probably crammed into small cages their entire lives. If they’re luckier, they’re crammed into a large barn, which isn’t that much better either if you’ve watched Hugh’ Chicken Run.

But let’s face it, going free-range, hormone free and steroid free surely means increasing prices. The only reason why prices are even this low is because these tactics keep costs low! And this is not just an issue about KFC, in fact most hawker centres and restaurants in Singapore probably use the same type of chicken! But right is right and wrong is wrong. I would be most willing to pay a little more to ensure the health of the chickens as well as mine.

What about you?

KFC Australia (2)

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