Saturday, April 15, 2006

a taste of austria on a good friday.

Wiener Kaffeehaus
148 Neil Road
Tel: 6226 3148

It felt like a Sunday today. Maybe cos it rained a lot and made me feel lazy. Anyways, D & I spent a whole lot of quality time together today, something which we haven't got much time to do recently. Lunch was rather interesting today cos D brought me to a Viennese coffehouse. He read about this place on the Sunday Times last week and had been bugging me since about going there for lunch one day.

Wiener Kaffeehaus actually opened only about 3 weeks ago and is the first Viennese cafe on our island. What's interesting about the place is that they have their very own coffee roaster in the premises, a first for a cafe. Besides the coffee, they serve up an adequate range of Austrian food such as the Wiener Schnitzel, Cordon Bleu and Wiener Saft Gulasch which is what I had.

I wanted to order the Wiener Schnitzel initially but ended up trying the stew cos it was pouring outside and I felt like having something warm and comforting. Was quite happy about my eventual choice. Although a tad oily, the stew was rich and spicy (as in herbs kind of spicy). The beef was tender whilst the bread dumpling was delicious when soaked in the gravy. The bread dumpling was quite interesting actually cos I've never had it. It's this doughy ball that's a little chewy. It doesn't really taste like fluffy bread, you'd probably have to try it to know what I'm talking about.

D ordered a simple Roast Beef sandwich for himself. There's nothing much to shout about cos a sandwich is still a sandwich. The difference though, is that they're pretty generous on the amount of roast beef used. As simple and normal as it is, it was still quite appetising. We also had their speciality, Viennese coffee. Frankly, I'm not much of a coffee drinker so I can't comment if it was good or not. All I know is that the double espresso that we both had had this sour aftertaste. If you are a coffee connoisseur, let me know if sour is good or bad.

Besides the food, I also really liked the atmosphere. I've never been to Vienna so of course, I have no idea how a Viennese coffeehouse should look. However, it being located in a corner of Chinatown and in a converted old shophouse added a quaint charm. I also really loved the cosiness of the place. It was pouring when we left and I guess we would have stayed if not for the crowd coming in.

Having said that, the one bad thing was the service. The food took forever to arrive. D finished his sandwich even before my meal came. What's more, we weren't the only table that experienced this. The waiter was really 'blur' and kept making excuses that the kitchen was in a messy state today. He even agreed with the table next to us that the soup wasn't nice cos of the disorganised kitchen! Good thing the atmosphere was good and the people were nice, otherwise I think a lot of people would have been unhappy. I guess it being a 3 week old cafe, we can't really blame them for the occassional hiccups. All it needs now is a little fine tuning and it'd put its potential to good use.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

i am not a carnivore.

Black Angus Steakhouse
Orchard Parade Hotel
1 Tanglin Road #01-08
Telephone No : (65) 67341181

Frankly I have no idea what's up with my family. I've eaten at 3 different steakhouses in the past month. That's more times than I've ever eaten in like a year! I mean, the family enjoys having the occassional prime rib or sirloin yes, but never this zealous on looking for good meat. I guess it's cos we were just so unhappy at our last steak outing, we just had to make it up to ourselves. And make up, we did. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! There is really nothing much that I can complain about cos everything from the service to the food was fairly commendable.

I think the last time I went to Black Angus was roughly around 6 years ago with D. Honestly, I couldn't remember anything about the food. All I could recollect was that I was very uncomfortable throughout the dinner cos I wasn't used to the high booth seats and had to keep my back very straight while eating. Nothing has changed from 6 years although the seats are now so comfy that my mum was slouching in one corner and feeling very "at home" the whole time.

Food wise, I give it around 3 and a half stars. My order of the half pound prime rib was a nice medium rare, not overcooked (although my mum said that it looked like meat she bought fresh from the market). The garlic mash on the side was delicious and smooth and my side order of Caesar's salad was generous. We had the potato skins too. I much prefer Tony Roma's potato skins though cos the one at Black Angus has too much potato on it. Moreover, the bacon bits were missing. I have to give kudos to my sis cos she ordered the three quarter pound cut (works out to about 340 grams), had potato skins , 2 to 3 cups of iced tea and still walked out telling me that she's not stuffed. How she stays slim like she is, I have no idea.

The service throughout the evening was excellent. We were actually located at one corner of the restaurant but the service staff checked on us regularly to make sure everything was ok. They even chatted with us which made the friendly atmosphere cosier than it already was. Well actually my sis and her three quarter pound prime rib was the conversational piece of the night.

They're revamping their menus when the stock for US beef arrives at the end of April. US beef would definitely be better. By then, we'd be able to order a one pound cut for my sis. I'm also going to bring her for the 1kg challenge at Hog's Breath someday. Now you know who's the carnivore. Definitely not me.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

casual fare; japanese style.

Gyoza no Ohsho Singapore
5 Koek Road, #01-10
Cuppage Plaza
Tel: 6735 7068
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat, 11.30am - 2am; Sun & Pub. Hols, 12pm - 12am

I've been talking so much about this place to my colleagues and family ever since I went to Ohsho with D. So after much discussions in the office, I finally managed to gather a couple of my colleagues to have dinner there. I have to say that I did have a rather nice time although our conversations still revolved mostly around work. It was just nice to have an enjoyable meal and chit-chat rather than rushing to search for tables in the food court and slurping our noodles quickly before getting back to work everyday.

Ohsho serves up simple foods like ramen & gyozas. In fact, their most popular dish on the menu is the Tamago Ramen. It's popularity is understandable. The noodles are cooked to the right texture, the pork stock is thick, smooth and tasty, and the egg is cooked so nicely that the yolk is still a tad uncooked when it's served.

Besides the very yum ramen, another of my favourite dishes at Ohsho is the MaPo Tofu. I probably can eat it almost everyday cos I'm a big big fan of tofu dishes. It's meat gravy is really delicious. I always add a bit of the chilli just to give it that extra kick. Best part is that it goes super well with the Pork Fried Rice (Chahan). Mesh everything together and you won't keep track of the amount of carbos you're taking in.

This is really authentic Japanese fare served at its casual best. Best part is, it won't burn in your pocket whilst satisfying your tastebuds. Patience is advised though cos you might have to end up waiting for a table due to limited space but it's worth it. You really don't want to give this a miss.

P/S: By the way, you should have read a short excerpt about Ohsho on the papers last Sunday. If you missed that, you might want to have a read here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

backing out for good.

Outback Steakhouse
9 Raffles Boulevard
#01-99 to #01-101, #01-114 to#01-120
Time2 @ Millenia Walk
Tel: 6837 3242

My stomach was in a lousy mood yesterday. If you were reading my previous post, you would have guessed by now that I didn't enjoy my dinner at all. Well basically the family wanted to have steak. Although you could say that we were courting our own "death" by ending up at Outback, we weren't really willing to pay for Morton's on a casual Sunday evening. My mum would never agree to going to Morton's anyway unless my bro is back.

Dinner was basically just unpleasant from the beginning to the end. For starters, I was having a tummy ache (it wasn't the restaurant's fault). Then we made our orders and couldn't understand the waiter. When we asked him to repeat our choice of sides, he repeated them in the exact same way, same speed and all so I couldn't be bothered and just ordered whatever I could make out from what he was saying. Then the food came. The batter for the Bloomin' Onion was super salty and it was uncooked in some parts. Then, the buffalo wings that arrived after were pathetically small. So by then, everyone at the table was having the pissed off look already esp. my Dad. He was shaking his head and all that so that made things worse. Then the mains came, they were all more cooked than our usual liking, the beef was dry. My sister was visibly upset cos she's always quite particular about her meats; she likes them very bloody you see.

I would have written a comments card except for the fact that we couldn't find any. We tried telling the staff our comments on how unbearably salty the onions were but they went off and never came back!! I heard Outback's supposed to be ok in the US. Oh well, I guess we now know that that was my first and last visit to Outback, in S'pore at least.

P/S: So we all decided that we're going to Hog's Breath again. It serves quite decent Prime Ribs. Supposed to do a write up on that but haven't really got down to it. At least that was a happier moment that's worth sharing.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

my weekend thus far...

Started the weekend on Friday by trying my hand at one of my favourite dishes, Eggplant Parmegiana. Wasn't really that difficult to make but I would say a little time consuming cos you have to get the eggplant salted then leave it to stand plus fry and then bake... Luckily my mum and sis weren't THAT hungry so they could afford to wait. I'm not going to share the recipe as yet cos it didn't really turn out the way I exactly wanted it to. It was a little too salty and I guess my sauce wasn't right so I'll post again when it comes out good. Anyhow, my mum and sis managed to finish the whole thing, well almost. So I have to thank them for being so supportive..hahaa... It's not that small by the way if you see the below.

Before my Eggplant Parmegiana, D cooked some aglio olio with prosciutto, semi-dried tomatoes and olives. Not too bad I think just that we both agreed that we preferred coppa ham. Maybe the last time I had coppa with pasta, it was cut thicker. Somehow, prosciutto tastes better on pizzas like the one I had at Valentino's the last time. I loved the semi-dried tomatoes quite a lot though. It's juicier and more sour than the sun-dried ones.

Wanted to bring my relatives to the Margaret Drive chicken rice stall on Sat afternoon but then it was closed. Ended having some crappy food that is not even worth a mention. Dinner was nicely spent catching up with 2 close friends who D & I haven't met in over a month. The zhi char store at AMK was too crowded so ending up at another place at M's suggestion. The AMK place is really crazy. It serves good crabs yes, but the wait was just too long.

Then Sat came and gone. Went for nice porridge again this morning at Tiong Bahru, my all-time favourite. So here I am, waiting for my Dad to take us out to dinner. I'm hoping that it'd be good. At least it'd make my stomach happier cos it's hurting like mad now.