Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Disappointing Meal at Botafumiero in Barcelona

Pulpo

A bunch of the bars and restaurants that I wanted to go tonight were closed on Sundays, including some in the Vila de Gràcia neighborhood. We needed food though, and thus fell back on Botafumiero, especially since I absolutely loved it last time. I'm baffled then as to why tonight's meal here was so disappointing, like the rather boring pulpo above, as well as some scampi that could've used just another minute or two on the grill. Well, if we come as a group again next time then we should try ordering those gigantic shellfish platters that we saw a lot of other tables ordering.

Restaurante-Bar ARTEspañol in Barcelona, Spain

Chipirones a la Plancha

This place seemed to cater to tourists given not only the multiple language versions of its menu at the front door, but also its location right next to Casa Milà (271 Carrer de Provença, +34-932-153-237). Still, we needed food quickly before getting back to our meeting, and this was the closest place. Fortunately, things like that squid above were tasty, as was a pretty tomatito manchego sitting in the glass case. I didn't care much for the rest of the things, but at least it got food into an empty stomach.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Restaurant Santa Anna in Barcelona, Spain

Fideuà

I have no idea how authentic this place is; pizza and pasta were on the menu, making me worry that it was catering to tourists. But the local team picked this place for a team dinner (8 Calle Santa Anna, +34-933-186336), and I happily kept scraping the bottom of my fideuà pan above to get to the crispy soccarat. Note to self: keep in mind that in Spain, langostinos are not langoustines, but rather just prawns. Langoustines, on the other hand, are referred to as langosta...or is it scampi?

My First Calçotada in Barcelona, Spain

Calçots

Did you ever see that Bourdain episode where he went into the Catalan countryside and drank wine from these long spouts while eating grilled onions dipped in an orange Romesco sauce? Ever since I saw that episode, I've been salivating over that. And fortunately, I found a tour that took us out to Alella just north of Barcelona for some wine tasting before heading to Restaurante Can Roca in Tiana for those calçots above.

It was everything I imagined it to be, with the wonderful aroma of grilled onions pervading the air once we stepped out of the van. It was messy too, using our hands to slip the charred skin off before dipping the warm insides in that delicious sauce, not to mention some pa amb tomàquet as well as botifarra sausages, among others. The porron wine spout was fun too; surprisingly I did OK on the second time without much spillage onto my shirt. Yay!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Yu Tang Clan: Specialist in King Mackerel

Fish Soup

It's hard to miss this brightly-lit fish soup place with its gigantic touchscreen kiosks and catchy name (1 Shenton Way #01-11, 6509-9560). So I came here for breakfast this morning. They have a variety of different flavors, but I got the original one, whose fish was fresh and the flavors were clean. But it also wasn't garnished as nicely as Hock Heng on Zion Road.

Well, maybe the flavored versions would do better, and I don't mind trying them one day, despite all of the flies swarming around the place. I do need to keep in mind though that eating this stuff for breakfast is just going to turn me into a nasty sweaty mess by the time I get into the office (eew!). In that sense, maybe breakfast here is not such a good idea on a weekday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yakiniku Jan Jan at Cuppage Terrace, Singapore

Yaki Yasai Mori

A new yakiniku place has opened at Cuppage Terrace (43 Cuppage Road, 6908-9968), with this one allegedly being a more affordable one where cuts of meat are brought out on utilitarian metal trays and where the salt is mere table salt. But I still paid an arm and a leg at this place, and that was while ordering the cheapest grade of meat too! Well, it tasted fine in the end but I also left the place hungry (I nearly wanted to go to Ohsho across the street to get some chahan afterwards). I suspect that I could've spent the same amount of money at Aburiya and yet would've been a lot happier.

Nagoya's Menya Sakura in Singapore

Aburasoba

This shop from Nagoya has opened in Singapore (69A Boat Quay, 8357-5080), although interestingly they seem to have more outlets in Indonesia than they do in Japan. And it didn't look too encouraging at first, especially given the spotty service and disappointingly frail and over-garlicked gyoza. But then the ramen came out, and it was much better than I was expecting. Actually, it was that little bowl of soup on the side that did it. It was crisp yet full of character, and with the tastiness of that oil pervading it. That soup alone is what's going to bring me back.

Next time though I need to remember three things: (1) first of all, get the soup version (and not the tonkotsu either). I'm assuming that the first item on the menu is the same broth that I had on the side. (2) get the free extra noodle portion. I was going to order it today but the staff was so distracted with trying to upsell me on other things that I forgot about it and ended up leaving the place hungry. (3) try to come when I don't have to interact with any humans afterwards. There's a garlic press sitting in that condiment tray and I'd love to know what the bowl tastes like with some of the raw stuff added in.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Soon Huat Dining House at Chinatown Point, Singapore

Fried Tow Kee

I was rushing back to the office, so I randomly stopped at this place, which has taken over Laiyulai's old spot (133 New Bridge Road #02-28, 6677-6286). Not only did that fried tofu skin above look interesting, but they were also advertising a white bee hoon. And both dishes turned out alright, with the latter having a dark bit of smokiness to it all. They're a bit heavy handed on the garlic though so I probably won't come here again on a weekday if I still have meetings in the afternoon.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Makai Poke at Tanjong Pagar Centre, Singapore

Poke

It's a new week, which means that there's yet another new poke shop in Singapore (7 Wallich Street #B1-08). At this rate, I'm gonna start taking bets on when Cold Storage starts to offer poke bowls as well.

I wasn't too big on this one though. Why not? For one, there was very limited configurability. You could pick a base and a poke, but the toppings were preset. You could pay more for some more of the same toppings...or maybe the chia seeds above. But that was it. And that pre-configured set of pineapple and lime just reminded me of Aloha Poke (not in a good way).

To make it worse, the portions were pretty stingy. And the fact that the rice was still warm really bothered me. I'll stick to Loloku and Alaka'i.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kuan Kuan Spicy Hotpot & Nourishing Soup, Singapore

Shui Zhu Yu

A friend from Sichuan recommended this place to us on the basis that it was pretty authentic (32 Liang Seah Street, 6338-4148). And yeah, I was happy with what we got; that shui zhu yu above wasn't overly seasoned. Now, it wasn't anything that I'll flip out over either, but I certainly won't complain if it's suggested that we come back here again. Perhaps more interesting was the fact that Liang Seah Street is now filled with so many mainland Chinese places that it's reminiscent of Smith Street back when Hometown was still around.

ROOST at the Centrepoint on Orchard Road

Chicken Rice

This place (176 Orchard Road #B1-17, 6909-0411) looked like a rotisserie chicken place at first glance. Instead, it turned out to be a chicken rice shop, and not a bad one at that either. The chicken was juicy, boneless, and delicately seasoned. The rice was plump, and the sauces were rather unique too, with an extra tangy chili sauce and an earthy ginger sauce (thanks to onions, if I tasted it correctly). I liked the white bee hoon here too, as it wasn't all watery and came together nicely, especially with a side of chicken on the side too. I'll come back.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Chashu Miso Soup from Ah Hoe Mee Pok

Chashu Miso Soup

The Japanese mee pok stall from Clementi has opened an outlet at the Ace Eating House in Tanjong Pagar (243 Cantonment Road). This time I grabbed the chashu bowl in miso soup form. It was surprisingly generous with a variety of pork belly, sliced pork, meatballs, abalone, and cuts of crispy fat, all with a slight touch of smokiness. The broth was velvety and helped round out the dish. It's too bad then that the noodles were too soft, perhaps because they were buried under all of that meat, thus keeping me from eating them until the end.