Posts Tagged ‘crabs’

Hairy Crab season at Li Bai

After having been to so many restaurants in the last few years, I thought I’ve seen it all. Foie gras, Wagyu beef, caviar, sea urchin aka uni, been there done that. But last week’s meal at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant simply blew my mind away.

I’m talking about the steamed hairy crabs I had at Li Bai. Believe it or not, it was actually my first time sampling this delicious delicacy. I’ve had crabs numerous times in my lifetime, so it didn’t occur to me to need to seek out these hairy crabs, which I had assumed all along were just merely crabs with a slightly different flavour.

Li Bai Sheraton - Traditionally Steamed Hairy Crab (2)

Traditionally Steamed Hairy Crab $60 per piece

The flesh of the hairy crab is not that different from the usual crabs we get in Singapore, albeit sweeter in taste. But the piece de la resistance, the crème de la crème if you will (pun intended), is the hairy crab roe. Alas, I do not have a picture of the glistening golden roe, because for once I was too busy savouring its sublimely rich taste to remember to capture a picture of it.

This hairy crab roe is unlike any other crab roe I have ever tasted. It tasted saltier than usual, almost like a salted egg yolk. But unlike the one dimensional salted egg yolk which is mainly just salty, the hairy crab roe brought about a savouriness that made it taste 100 times more magical than a salted egg yolk, or other crab roes for that matter.

I wanted to utter something to my neighbouring diner, but I’d noticed that the private room we were in was enveloped in a hushed silence the minute the crabs were served, with only the clicking of spoons to crab being heard. Forget about etiquette, it was every man and his crab for himself.

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Diamond Kitchen at Laguna Park Condo

*Media Invite*

Now here’s a place that is really old school and out of the ordinary. Have you ever heard of restaurants located within condos? Marine Parade Road may sound familiar to you, especially if you live in the East, but unless you’ve travelled past sitting on the upper deck of a double decker bus, you probably might not know of the existence of a row of shops within the Laguna Park Condominium. A row of trees and hedges pretty much block the shops from view, and they are not allowed to advertise. 

I happen to know of its existence because this was the route I would take on my way to my secondary school eons ago, but even I, who have lived in the East all my life, have never ventured past the fences to check what was there. My hazy memory tells me there used to be some hairdressing salon there once upon a time.

Laguna Park Condominium

Anyway, Diamond Kitchen is one of the new kids on the block, having taken over the premises formerly occupied by some other restaurant. I am told that the owners, young entrepreneurs Josh Chow, 30 and Lambert Chen, 27 wanted to serve up Chinese seafood dishes in a restaurant setting, at cze char prices, hence the off the radar location. I think it’s a really smart move because they do have some what of a captive audience with the people living at Laguna Park, as well as all the other condos nearby but no other restaurants within walking distance.

Diamond Kitchen - Josh Chou, one of the owners of Diamond Kitchen

This is Josh Chou, one of the owners of Diamond Kitchen, who looks younger than his 30 years…. The family is in the gem business, hence the name Diamond Kitchen. In case you were wondering. I have to agree, the name is rather befitting, as it really is a shiny gem of the East. In a way, I’m glad Diamond Kitchen is located in this quiet community, because that’s exactly the type of place i want to go for quiet family dinners. My mother accompanied me for this tasting and we both agreed that would have to bring my father here to check it out.

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Crab In Da Bag makes a Big Splash!

Crab in Da Bag (32)

Have you heard of Crab in da Bag? It’s the latest thing to hit Big Splash! Be careful how you pronounce it, make sure you pronounce Crab with a “b” sound at the back, lest offend those around you! When I first heard that Crab in da Bag was going to open in Big Splash, I was pretty excited. High time for some refreshing concept to grace this prominent spot here at East Coast Park.

I think a lot of people have the same thoughts as me because it was packed to the gills on the day that I visited. Actually, I visited last Friday for dinner. Thank god I managed to snag the second last table at Crab in da Bag because the rest of the tables were either occupied or reserved, and this was 6pm! By 7pm, the place was totally full, with a queue starting to form. And this is hardly one month after they’ve opened!

Crab in Da Bag (30)

This is how the place looks like inside. Photo taken at 6pm, before the place got filled. The interesting thing about Crab in da Bag is that everything is served out of a bag. There are no utensils here (unless you order rice), you eat with your hands and you leave the shells and all on the table! Not to worry, the staff will lay wax paper on the table so things are still freshly clean until you start forming your own mountain of shells.

Crab in Da Bag (29)

Check out the menu here. You can order ala carte stuff like prawns, crabs, lobsters, yabbies etc. Or you can go for the WOW dish, known as the Caboodle Boil. It costs $299 and comes with 4 mini lobsters, 2 Sri Lankan crabs, 500gm King Crab Legs etc. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser. And because it’s served from a bucket, EVERYONE in the restaurant will know you’ve ordered that. Even if they didn’t, I’m sure your table will be distracting everyone else with your “wahhhhhs” when the loot is poured out onto the table.

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The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill One Fullerton

*Media Invitation*

The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill - (16)

Singapore’s latest seafood destination, The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill is conceptualised by the team behind The Big Idea, which manages a stable of trendy concepts such as Kinki, Fat Cow, Marmalade Pantry and Bedrock Bar & Grill, The Pelican is the group’s latest brainchild that showcases their trademark innovation and expertise in food, design, bar and hospitality.

The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill - (3)

The Pelican’s culinary team is led by Dan Segall, a well-known figure in the regional scene who has joined The Big Idea as Group Executive Chef. The American chef has built an illustrious international career since he was 16 and chalked up over 20 years of experience at many respected establishments. The Pelican’s Head Chef, Isaac Tan, who successfully launched Bedrock Bar & Grill, also comes onboard with his rich international working experience and expertise with the wood fire grill and seafood, of which 8 years were spent in Sydney.

The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill - (11)

The menu is inspired by classic East Coast American cuisine. Diners will also be presented with a selection dubbed ‘The Daily Catch’ that is inspired by the ever-changing bounty of the sea. The dishes are meant for sharing and show off some lesser-known cooking techniques that are not often used in a kitchen at home.

The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill - The Pelican Platter ($99 serves 2 to 3) (1)

The Pelican Platter ($99 / serves 2 to 3)

Featuring seasonal raw oysters (we had the Fanny Bay oysters from Canada for this tasting session) US clams, US Dungeness crab, US poached prawns, Steamed whole Maine lobster from Boston with a lobster tomalley that is basically the liver and roe mixed with mustard and herbs stuffed into its shell, Marinated conch salad using US conch shell fish, US swordfish ceviche, With accompaniments of lemon, cocktail sauce and mignonette dressing

The Pelican Platter is definitely a must order if you plan to be at The Pelican. Apart from it being a humongous platter of crowd pleasing items, most of the items are prepared minimally such that you get to taste the fresh seafood in almost it’s purest form.

I think I must be pretty deprived, because I don’t think I’ve ever tasted crabs as good as the US Dungeness Crab! The sweet flesh came off so easily from the shell, which is a far cry from the messy affair I have to endure when eating crabs from Chinese restaurants. I wonder if it’s because it’s a different breed of crab? Another item worthy of attention was the US conch salad. It’s something you don’t find often and definitely a must try. It has the texture of a mix of clam and abalone.

Once again, a must order for seafood lovers who like strong in your face seafood flavours and ingredients that have not been masked behind a ton of sauce.

The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill - The Pelican Platter ($99 serves 2 to 3) (5)

Seasonal raw oysters from The Pelican Platter. These here are the Fanny Bay oysters from Canada.

The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill - Cod’s Tongue Casserole ($26) (2)

Cod’s Tongue Casserole ($26)

This is the muscle from the codfish’s throat area and is a delicacy with a bouncy texture like scallops, it is battered and fried then served with roast garlic and pork scratchings

You won’t be the first if you took a double take at the word throat muscle. Never knew that the throat muscle of a fish would be singled out and cooked into a dish, but I would certainly like to single out this dish as yet another must order at The Pelican. The texture is very similar to squid, so it feels like I’m eating calamari and I’m sure everybody loves calamari!

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Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant

For those of you who love the cuisine at Majestic Restaurant and Jing, you will be glad to know that Chef Yong Bing Ngen has opened yet another restaurant, the Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant at Gardens By the Bay. Located below the Flower Dome, the 110-seater restaurant offers a spacious layout apt for family and group dining. Diners can enjoy the impressive waterfront view of Marina Bay, while huge water tanks holding fish and other seafood greet you at the entrance. Majestic Bay - 冠华咖啡焗肉蟹 Live crabs, Bay’s signature “Kopi” sauce (Market price $56 per kg on 8th Nov 2012) (2)

Apart from Majestic Bay’s signature “Kopi” Crab dish, which I will elaborate on later, other highlights include the quintessential Chilli Crab, Leopard Garoupa, Bird’s Nest, Abalone and Seafood Treasures. Lighter bites featuring dim sum are offered for lunchtime, in part to cater to the walk-in crowd who may not want heavy seafood dishes so early in the day.

Majestic Bay - (8)

Majestic Bay - (3)

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