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Monday, February 25, 2013

Ochre Italian Restaurant

On my third forage in as many month, we went to Ochre Italian Restaurant at the Orchard Central. It was the occasion of the Princess' birthday.

Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about going there. The review on the web all pointed to poor service. There was also some sort of dress code for dining indoor and I wasn't sure the Princess will want to deviate from her usual wardrobe of shorts and sandals. But in the end, encouraged by the thought of a 50% discount on the meal thanks to some UOB vouchers, we decided to go anyway.

Now my dining at Italian restaurant has mainly been confined to pasta and pizza since I don't know nuts about the Italian language and don't understand half of what are written in the menu. I am always reminded of a scene in the Mr Bean's movie when he pointed at the menu and ended up with some weird food. That was a French restaurant but its all the same to me anyway.

Anyway, our fears were unfounded. The service was excellent and the waitress even helped us to take a group photo. The waiter was kind enough to help us to order, food were served promptly in the correct order and the water was replenished regularly.

For the record, we had the Burrata which was highly recommended by everybody on the web. This is some sort of cheese coated salad with tomato over the Parma ham. I must admit this is really shiok especially the ham.

Then we had another appetizer (they called it antipasti) which was recommended by the waiter, a plate of all sort of mixed items comprising of parma ham, caviar on the octopus, mushroom, smoked salmon, honey melon and some "grass". I must said the smoked salmon and the ham were excellent.

For the main, we played safe hoping not to over order and had a pizza to share while the Kid had the Hereford Beef and the Princess had the set meal.

The set meal came with a soup and a desert and cost $55.00, Can't remember what exactly it is but it wasn't too bad. Veal, mushroom and some cheese base.

M had a pasta called the Cappelini Scallop which was pasta cooked aglio style topped with scallop. I loves pasta and this was good. Just the right amount of spiciness and generous serving of scallops.

To round off the meal, I ordered another desert of Hot Chocolate cake which was just heavenly.

The Princess' dessert looks prettier though. Some fruit thingy.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal. We didn't over-order this time round, there was a well balanced selection of food unlike our experience at Salta where it was all meat. Will I go again? Unfortunately, stingy me won't pay too much for a meal and unless there is really some great promotion or another round of voucher from UOB or another credit card company, I don't think I will go again.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Salta Argentine Parrilla

The year end is a time for feasting, not only because of the festive season but because there is a birthday every month at home from December till March. The feasting started at Wooloomooloo last month for the kid 21st birthday.

Then in January we went to another new place, Salta, a Argentine restaurant. The place claim to fame is that they serve beef from cattle reared in open pastures in Argentina. And of course the giantgantic charcoal fired grill called a Parrilla. Thus the second name of the place. 

I not an linguist and I don't speak the language of Argentinians (what exactly do they speak anyway? Spanish?) so we couldn't read the menu and relied on the waiter to recommend what was good.

The meal started off with free bread, probably one of the best free bread I ever tasted

According to what I read on the web, one of the must have is this curry puff like thingy which is called  Empanadas, a pastry filled with vegetables and meat. We had the beef and capsicum and those people on the web were right. It was simply delicious with the pastry being baked to just the right flakiness.

Then we came to the main course. The tv monitor kept running the beautiful scenery of the Argentina country and the cows and they were so beautiful and calm and I almost felt so guilty about eating them. It was almost enough to make me swear off beef!

Anyway, we ordered the following:

I can't remember which is which for the first 2 meat but the last one was the Parrilla or the mixed grill. It was for sharing for 2 but I think it could easily filled 3 persons. There was sausage, chicken, pork, beef and lamb. I shared this with M but we couldn't finish it. Luckily the Kid is still a big eater and finished everything else. Me think the meat is grilled a little bit too long and was rather chewy or is that how it was supposed to be?

Overall, the food here wasn't as expensive as Wooloomooloo but the service was equally good. The place filled up fast and quite a few groups without reservation were turned away while we were there. Still the entire meal cost slightly over $200.00 but thanks to a UOB discount voucher, we paid only 50% of the total bill!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dirty Eat Dirty Big

Ordinarily I don't like to diss food stall that are no good. But this one I really cannot tahan.

A few years ago, a colleague tapau fried rice for me. It was one of the best I tasted. I was suitably impressed with the taste and went to buy for myself one fine day. But what I saw made me swear off the stall forever. To this day I have not bought the fried rice or noodle from this stall but I left it at that and didn't do anything. Then the other day, I was queuing up for noodles at a new stall which was next to them and while waiting, I could not help but look at the stall (the fried rice stall).

Now this fried rice stall is a 1 man show. Just an old man but his fried rice and noodles are good enough to attract a steady stream of customer. The problem with this stall and in particular him is that he is atrociously unhygienic!  He does not wear those disposable gloves. He handles his ingredients  such as prawn, porks and other stuff with his bare hands. When he receives an order, he will scoop up say a bowl of white rice and pour them onto a plate before pouring them into the wok. If there are any rice stuck to the plate, he will use his hand to push them into the wok. Next, he turns around and pick up the ingredients with his bare hands before throwing them into the wok. Because his hand is now a bit wet from the fresh ingredients, he wipe them on his apron if he is wearing one or on his trouser if not. The rice is fried pretty fast and he hands them over to the customer and collects the cash with his bare hands again.  If there are no customer, he wipes the table top with a table cloth. When another customer comes along, he repeat the whole cooking process. Note that I did not mention that he wash his hand in any of the above instances. The only times he goes to the basin is to rinse his wok when he has to cook a different dish. Even then, where does he wipe his hands dry? On his apron or trouser of course! Maybe that why the food he cooks is so nice!

The best thing about his stall? It got a A rating from NEA! For those who don't mind the "non washing of hand", why not give this stall a try? It's really pretty good. Like they say, dirty eat, dirty big.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

6.9m? Don't Worry Be Happy!

I wasn't going to talk about this but since the whole world (yes whole world) and not just Singapore is talking about it, I think I need to put in my 2 cents worth too. Just to be "in" with the crowd, you know.

Anyway, Singaporean and even foreign born converted Singaporean are crying father crying mother over the projected population target of 6.9m by 2030. Everybody is super worried and pissed off about this humongous increase in population. "Where we going to stay?" They cried.  "Are we going to have to employ people pusher at our train stations to get the people into the trains?" Another group screamed. "And how are we going to get jobs?" 

Me? I think our people have too little faith in our gahmen. You think they stupid is it? Our gahmen you know is the highest paid gahmen in the world.  Therefore must be smart otherwise they won't pay themselves so much. They have the greatest foresight - like how confident they were of keeping Punggol East in the latest By-Election. Of course we cannot blame them if they make a little "mis-calculation" here and there. Like telling people to "Stop at Two" and now telling us we don't have enough people to fill jobs. They are human after all and human are not perfect.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ikoi Japanese Restaurant

The 3rd Japanese buffet restaurant. This one is a bit more famous than the other 2 earlier one. Reservation have to be made weeks in advance. Unfortunately, didn't think that the food was up to its reputation and price. 

The menu was less exhaustive than Shin Mindori but was pricer. Service was so so and some of the items we asked for took forever to come. Some never did.

Anyway, here are some pics of the food that we had:

Curry rice which was one of those dish that took a long long time to come
Single serving ramen.
This teapot contains a special soup which was not on the menu but served complimentary
The single serving size of the sashimi

Overall, was kinda disappointed with the food. Maybe it was because I was sick that day and didn't appreciate the food but somehow I felt that it was not so worth it and not deserving of the long reservation time. Far better to walk in to Shin Minori or the many others out there.