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Saturday, 7 March 2020

The Mad Sailors Adventure!!!

The Mad Sailors Adventures!

Cravings for freshly made British grub while having your shopping spree in Haji lane? Just head down to The Mad Sailor located right along Haji lane! They are part of The Black Hole Group which also owns other cafes like the Working Title Burger Bars and many others, they are all halal certified too! The Mad Sailors features many British classics such as the classic fish & chips, Sheperd's Pie, Bangers & Mash, etc. but also have dishes with a local twist to it to cater to our Singaporean tastebuds.
The small eatery consists of 2 floors, nicely decorated to mimic the British ambiance. Priced reasonably, their menu features a lot of British classics and I'm impressed that it included some items that are rare to find in Singapore such as Poutine fries and butterbeer. The menu also has dishes like Sambal fish & chips, and Laska pesto pasta.
My friends and I ordered 2 servings of Classic Fish & Chips with Cod as our fish of choice, Pesto Cream Fish,  and Chick & Chips. Ordering was easy as it was done on our phones with just a scan of a QR code. However, the food came after some time as I assumed it was freshly prepared to order.
When the food came, I was quite impressed with the presentation as the plating was prepared with effort and care. The food looks freshly made too and my mouth was watering as I was taking all these pictures.
The Fish & Chips were well battered and the tartar on the side complements the taste of cod really well! The hand-cut chips were also really fresh and nicely salted. These fries are my favourite as they still have their skin on! Do you know that the bulk of the nutrients in a potato are mostly found on their skin?
The Chick & Chips were served really generously as the amount of chicken is bounteous. My only downside to the Chick & Chips were that it was a tad on the dryer side but the tomato-based sauce on the side helps with that issue. This is also served with the hand-cut chips.
Lastly is the Pesto Cream Fish. This dish is made of Pan-seared pacific dory on a bed of fluffy mashed potato with a vegetable medley in pesto cream sauce. This is a healthier option on the menu as it beats the calorie counts of the other fried food on the menu such as the dishes listed above.
But let's be real, who could resist the crisp crunchy battered fish pictured below???

The Mad Sailors
Address: 24 Haji Lane, Singapore 189217
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs (12pm-10pm) Fri (12pm-11pm) Sat (10am-11pm) Sun (10am-10pm)
Phone: +65 8768 0465

Saturday, 30 November 2019

The Kettle Gourmet Popcorn

The Kettle Gourmet Popcorn

Forget about the usual boring old sweet or salty tubs of popcorn. Popcorn enthusiasts and/or people who just like finding the unorthodox (me) should try the popcorn made by The Kettle Gourmet! This homegrown start-up began as an accidental kitchen experiment in 2017 but grew to a local popcorn selling powerhouse.
Honestly did not know about them till I chanced upon their booth in this year's Artbox event held at The Grounds @ Kranji. Their booth features a wide variety of flavours they have to offer including their classic salted caramel, cookies & cream and Teh Tarik flavours; they also carry 3 savoury flavours including chicken rice, chilli crab & nasi lemak. After sampling a few flavours, I preferred the savoury flavours as they were slightly more unique and to my surprise, tasted like the actual savoury dish. Thereafter sampling I bought all the savoury flavours as they were selling 3 packs of 30 grams for 10 dollars.
Although sampled most of the flavours, I still could not pick a favourite flavour as all of them tasted really good, especially the savoury flavours. The best part is that they do not taste artificially flavoured like most local food flavoured snacks. The popcorn is also well coated with the flavour and not too overly powered so you won't get that 'jelak' feeling but also not too faint that you just taste the plain old popcorn.
The popcorn featured below is the chicken rice flavoured popcorn! Right after opening the pack, I was well-greeted by whiffs of chicken rice. Comments by my parents were mixed as my mum said that you could guess what flavour was it just by the smell but my dad said he would not know its chicken rice if I had not told him the flavour beforehand. But taste-wise was well received on both ends!

The Kettle Gourmet

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters (AUSTRALIA EDITION)

Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters (AUSTRALIA EDITION)

Now, traveling to Melbourne, Australia. The city is known for its coffee as Melbourne has some of the most accomplished baristas & roasteries Australia has to offer! After some research, I've decided to bring my family to Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters as their reviews are mostly positives and they are located not too far away from where my family is accommodating.
Just north of Queen Victoria Market, Seven Seeds is located in the university district thus being a very popular spot for students to get their caffeine boost. We went there while it was brunch time and although we had to wait a few minutes for our seat, I was quietly observing the industrial-chic decor & other merchandises that they have to offer. After about ten minutes we were escorted to our table & were given the menu. I immediately knew what I wanted to order as it was the first time I saw Ham & Peas on the menu!
We ordered Peas & Ham, Chicken Cubano sandwich, Wagyu beef burger and the Eggs & Waffles Benedict for food and an affogato, a cappuccino and a latte for drinks.

Overall, the food presented was well prepared especially the Peas & Ham and also the Eggs & Waffles Benedict! The peas were well cooked & flavourful while the ham was succulent and not too dry while the eggs on the waffles were perfectly done & oozing out when cut! The Chicken Cubano sandwich was a tad on the dry side and the Wagyu beef burger did not have anything that stood out much but were also of decent quality! Of course, the coffee was great as it is a common expectation to have good coffee in Melbourne.

Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters
Address: 114 Berkeley St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat (7am - 5pm) Sun (8am - 5pm)
Phone: +61 3 9347 8664

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Bun Bo Nam Bo Adventure!!! (VIETNAM EDITION)

Bun Bo Nam Bo Adventure!

I must say I'm not a huge fan of the Vietnamese cuisine as the Vietnamese food in Singapore is either too expensive or it is just not good. That all changed when I started eating the local food in Hanoi, Vietnam. The food here in Hanoi is both affordable & super tasty; everything I ate from the Banh Mi to the chicken skewer was so good that  I must admit that I spent most of my money on the food itself while in Hanoi.
Bun Bo Nam Bo was one of my dinner places that my friends & I went to. This place was recommended by my friend's friends & it had really good reviews so why not we give it a shot.
The name of the shop is very interesting as it is actually describing itself as Bun means noodles. Bo means beef & Nam Bo means from the sphere of the south. Thus Bun Bo Nam Bo is essentially noodles and beef made in a southern Vietnamese style.
The menu has only two main dishes which are beef noodles salad (60k VND or $3.50 SGD) but it is more of a beef noodles soup instead & the stewed sweet herbal chicken soup (60k VND or $3.50 SGD). They have three side dishes which are the sour meatball (6k VND or $0.35 SGD), pork roll (6k VND or $0.35 SGD) & dumpling cake (5k VND or $0.29 SGD). My friends and I all took the beef noodles salad as that is the restaurant's speciality but we also ordered some sour meatballs & pork rolls to try.
When the noodles came, the smell of the broth is so aromatic that you know it's gonna be good. The broth is made of fish sauce, sugar, lemon and chilli and has deliciously light sweet and sour undertones. The sauce is topped with marinated beef, vegetables, noodles and crushed nuts. There were so many levels of flavours & the best thing is that they all complimented each other so well and still manage to make the beef shines through. This is truly one of the best Vietnamese food I've ever had in my entire life.
However, I wasn't that big of a fan when it comes to the side dishes. The sour meatballs were rolled pork laced with vinegar and it honestly tasted like spoilt luncheon meat to me. The fact that I dislike vinegar doesn't help but hey, for $0.35 SGD I would say is worth a try right?

Bún Bò Nam Bộ Bách Phương
Address: 67 Hàng Điếu, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7.30am to 10.30pm daily

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Fu-Men Japanese Udon & Donburi restaurant Adventure!!!

Fu-Men Japanese Udon & Donburi restaurant Adventure!

Fu-Men is an Udon restaurant that serves Hakata-style Udon from Fukuoka, they are mildly thicker than regular udon noodles. They are located a short walk away from Lau Pa Sat, in the basement of Hong Leong Building.
Good news for all Muslims readers as they are officially Halal-certified! They also serve up half-portions too & this would be good news for small eaters or those who want to watch their diets!

Their menu features traditional udon items such as Ebi & beef but also have other unorthodox udon dishes like smoked duck & even a laksa version!

Needless to say, I had to order the white laksa udon while my friends ordered duck udon, chicken udon tempura Ebi udon & Gobo (Japanese tempura burdock udon). We also ordered additional side dishes items like chicken karaage & beancurd skin sushi.

Overall, I felt the noodles were well-cooked & the laksa broth accompanied the noodles well. I liked that there were tiny shrimps inside but I would be more impressed if the eggs were cooked like those Japanese styled eggs with the runny yolk. I think that would better suit the theme of the udon while still retaining the "laksa" factor.
Another thing is that the chicken karaage was very flavourful and tasty! They were well seasoned and fried to perfection! My friends and I could not resist and ordered another portion as we could not stop at just one.

They also have a small condiments section at the order collection counter which has an array of sauces and garnishes like chilli flakes, nori (seaweed), spring onions and chilli paste!

Overall, I think that Fu-men is a great place to have halal Japanese food and that the option to have half portion is great for small eaters but there isn't much to be surprised by as these are still your typical Japanese styled udon.

Fu-Men Japanese Udon
Address: 16 Raffles Quay, #B1-17/18 Hong Leong Building Singapore 048581
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 2:30pm (Sat), Closed Sun
Phone: +65 6224 1134

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Artichoke Adventure!!!

Artichoke Adventure!
How many of you guys watched Masterchef and always wanted to try a dish from there, well you actually can! With Bjorn Shen (Masterchef Singapore Celebrity Chef Judge) at the helm of Artichoke, getting fun middle-eastern inspired fusion food can never be more interesting! Artichoke is an extension of Bjorn’s slapstick personality; inspired by his favourite movie, You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Authentic middle-eastern flavours combined with Bjorn's ingenious creativity, you'll certainly get an interesting unorthodox middle-eastern theme culinary experience!

Bjorn is chef­owner of Artichoke, and author of the Artichoke cookbook. Notorious for his rebellious personality and outlandish style of cooking, Bjorn has earned significant industry recognition over the years. Outside of starting food brands Artichoke, Bird Bird and Neh Neh Pop, Bjorn wrote a monthly column titled ‘Bjorn Says’ for Time Out magazine, lectured at the Culinary Institute of America, and actively consults on menus for restaurant openings. Industry accolades that he has accumulated over the years include ‘Chef of the Year 2013’ ­ SC Global, ‘Rising Chef of The Year 2015’ finalist World Gourmet Summit, ‘Best Local Chef 2016’ ­ SG Readers’ Choice Awards, and ‘WGS Best 20 Chefs 2016’ ­ World Gourmet Summit. Bjorn is also frequently on television, having most recently featured as a judge on MasterChef Singapore on Mediacorp’s Channel 5, and also on programmes such as MasterChef Asia and Secret Eats, and in lead roles on Eat List Star Season 2 and The Ultimate Brocation.

I was invited to be part of the media testing group to try some of Artichoke's signature dishes and to also experience Bjorn's infectious energy & charisma! We had a plethora of dishes ranging from an appetizer that is not even on the menu yet, to their best sellers, their pizzas & their full range of sweet dessert treats!!! 

Fresh Home-made Lemonade
The appetizer we had was a very special one as it was not even on the actual menu and we were the first few people to taste this incredible appetizer. It was called "Devils on horseback" and it was made from dried apricot, labneh, mint & almond that was wrap with wagyu ham. I personally want it to be in the menu permanently as it was really unlike any other food item I have tasted before & the sweet & salty flavours together with the slightly crunchy texture blended very well with each other. 

As Artichoke gathers it's inspiration from the middle-east, most of its dishes have a twist of it here and there and the "Mezze platter" which features a few of this week's best vegetable dishes and they are "Burnt miso hummus" (chickpeas blended with miso, torched, topped with dried blackcurrant and walnuts) "Babaganoush" (smoked eggplant, pomegranate teriyaki sauce, pomegranate and sesame seeds), "Samphire" (sea asparagus, labneh, shallots), "Falafel" (breadcrumb crusted quinoa balls), "Jerusalem salad" (crumbled falafel, tofu tahini, mango amba) & traditional Turkish toast. 

Mezze platter on the bottom left
Next in the line-up is the salad, but it ain't no ordinary salad, it's a fried cauliflower salad! It is made from fried cauliflower, 5-min egg, miso hummus, labneh, Israeli salad, tahini, skhug and mango amba served with a side of toast. So is probably not the best choice for you health-nuts but it is certainly one of the tastiest salad I have ever tried as we all know anything fried taste good automatically. 

Up next, we have the "Shakshouka"- two eggs simmered in tomato sauce, green harissa, and halloumi cheese, Turkish toast; available with a roasted lamb variant instead of halloumi. This dish originated from Tunisia but it is a very popular dish served throughout the Middle East.

Now it's time for the pizzas! We got to taste two types of pizza which are the "Green Machine" pizza (burrata, pistachio pesto, abalone mushrooms, fresh herbs) & the "Cheeseburger Lahmacun" pizza (smashed beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, sesame seeds). I was surprised at which pizza I preferred as I liked the Green Machine pizza more than the Cheeseburger, this is because I am one who would pick meat over vegetables any day. The pizzas here are not the best I have eaten but I am impressed with the flavours of the green machine as it tasted very fresh with the pleasant aroma of the pistachio pesto coming out. The Cheeseburger Lahmacun was very average with just the toppings tasting of beef patties & pickles but it was interesting how a pizza can taste so much like a burger!

"Green Machine" pizza

"Cheeseburger Lahmacun" pizza
Last but certainly not least is the Artichoke Fried Chicken (za’atar honey, spiced crinkle chips, pickles, garlic toum). Now, this is hands down one of the best fried chicken I have ever tasted. Imagine perfectly fried chicken drizzled with aromatic za'atar honey set upon a heavenly bed of crushed garlic sauce. The sweetness of the honey blends well with the spices used and when dipped together with the garlic toum, you'll get an experience like no other. Depths of flavours & textures will make you go for another bite and soon enough you'll need another plate!

Now for the desserts, we got to try their full range of desserts they have to offer which are soft served ice-cream made with burnt honey & sea salt, Date pudding (smoked milk custard, cashew caramel, coffee jelly, sea salt) & Malabi Split (coconut vanilla pudding, strawberry ice, pink peppercorn). All three desserts have a very unique and interesting taste profile but my personal favourite would be the Date pudding as I felt the flavours blended well with each other and the texture was the most palatable. The ice-cream was both sweet and a little bitter because of the caramelised honey but was too sweet to my liking. The Malabi split would be a favourite if you are a big fan of coconut & strawberry. As those are the two main flavours, the Malabi split gives out a tropical vibe. The pink peppercorns enhance the taste by providing a hint of sweetness & pepperiness to the Malabi split. The date pudding has a great balance between sweet, salty & bitter and the texture is really good too as the custard is nice and fluffy, the cashew caramel is crunchy and chewy, making this my favourite dessert.

Clockwise from top: Soft served ice-cream, Date pudding & Malabi Split
Once again, thanks to the kind folks at Artichoke & Bjorn Shen for having me over to taste their food & experiencing the warm and friendly culture of Artichoke! As quoted by Bjorn himself while chatting about keeping relevant in the F&B industry "You cannot follow the trend, you must set the trend, You create demand."

Address: 161 Middle Road, Singapore 188978
Opening hours: Tuesdays- Sundays (Happy hour 1600- 1900) (Dinner 1800- 2230) (Weekends Brunch 1130- 1530)
Phone: +65 6336 6949
Facebook: www.facebook.come/artichokesg
Instagram: @artichoke_sg