Monday, November 11, 2013

Dinner at Brewbaker's Kitchen & Bar, Food tasting session with OpenRice

I've been trying my luck with applications for food tasting with OpenRice for past months, this is the first time I got lucky and received my first ever food tasting invitation to sample the newly revamped menu from Brewbaker's Kitchen & Bar (at Anchorvale CC). My friend, Wendy, was another lucky openricer joining me for this food tasting.

Brewbaker's is owned and managed by JPPepperdine group that also has Jack's Place, Hoshigaoka, Eatzi Gourmet etc. under its wings. It was previously serving a western menu and have now overhaul its entire menu to include Japanese and Jap/Western fusion cuisines.

Our Host from OpenRice for this food tasting session is Calvin Leong. He kicked off the session with brief intro of Brewbaker's and the people behind the scene (Head Chef & Restaurant manager) running the show at the restaurant. 

I checked out their new menu while the staffs are getting the food ready for us. Menu items are divided into numerous categories and food pictures are clearly labelled for patrons easy reference. There is definitely a good selection and variety in the new menu to suit most discerning palates.

Our dinner began with a Starter dish, Sashimi Caesar Salad $12.80++. Fresh tuna and salmon cubes and fresh greens tossed with caesar dressing and topped with crispy croutons. The salad dish also comes with a soy & wasabi sauce served on the side for customers to add flavor to the salad according to their liking. 

I'm not a fan of Caesar salad as they contain cheese, however I find this dish alright after mixing it with some soy wasabi sauce. The ingredients used was definitely fresh.

The 2nd dish was an Appetizer, Atsuage Tofu $11.80++. Japanese style homemade tofu deep fried till golden brown and topped with lotsa bonito flakes. This tofu is not the typical silken tofu we are familiar with, but rather it has a denser and harder texture, more like our Chinese Tau kwa. The tofu alone is quite bland and must be eaten with soy sauce and some chili flakes to bring out its flavor.

This was another ok dish, nothing to shout about.

The main courses started appearing from the kitchen. First up, Carbonara Udon $12.60++. This is a fusion dish incorporating Japanese handmade thin-strand udon noodle with a western preparation method. It is topped with bits of crispy bacon and a perfectly cooked sunny side up with runny yolk.

I do not take carbonara but based on everyone's reaction, I knew this was the crowd favorite. Many were singing praises about the springy texture of the handmade udon. Thumbs up.

Next, comes another fusion dish, Kinoko Pizza $12.60++. This traditional Italian dish has been infused with Japanese flavor with generous topping of shitake mushrooms, tonkatsu sauce and shredded bonito flakes.

I had to give this a miss too as I don't eat cheese. My friend feedback that the pizza pastry is too soft, like eating bread with Japanese mushroom topping. She was not very impressed.

The 5th dish was a western dish, N.Z Beef Rib $21.00++. It was a huge slab of grilled beef rib topped with sweet BBQ sauce and served with crispy potato wedges & shredded cabbage.

This is the 3rd dish in a row that I don't eat cos I don't eat beef! I had gotten feedback from my friend again on her take on this dish. Meat was very tender but the sauce was a tad too sweet...not too well executed. I ate a few pieces of the potato wedges, they were good though..crispy exterior with soft mushy center, quite nice.

At this juncture, Calvin had realized that there will be at least 2 more main courses that I don't eat as they are gonna be beef dishes again. He requested the Chef to make something else for me. The Chef rushes off to prepare something for me after checking my food preferences.

The next main course was a Japanese hotpot dish, Beef Shabu Shabu (2 pax) $28.60++. I had a few sips of the broth before everyone started dipping the thinly sliced beef into the hotpot. 

The broth was refreshingly sweet and the assorted veggies used were very fresh as well. Feedback from most people were positive for this dish.

The first item outside of the food tasting menu, Unagi roll (3pcs) $12.80++. Made specially for me by the Chef :D

The generous portioned unagi slices were extremely soft and well marinated...melted in my mouth like butter! The tamago, crabstick & avocado maki beneath pairs well with the yummy unagi. Truly lip smacking goodness!

More sushi items were served on our table, Matsu Sushi Moriawase $31.00++. Assorted fresh sashimi sushi platter to whet our appetites.

My fave item from this lot was the Amaebi (raw sweet shrimp) sushi...sweet and refreshing! Most of the other sushi were not too bad, fish was fresh but sliced a little too thinly though. The octopus was overcooked and chewy, not so nice.

We are now ready to move our butts to the Al fresco dining area to have our Charcoal grill dishes. Two sets of BBQ meats were served. Pork Belly yakiniku set $12.80++ and Ribeye Yakiniku set $32.80++. All meats are already marinated and ready-to-grill.

Ribeye beef

Pork belly

I had the grilled pork belly which was pretty good. The meat were very thinly sliced so caution is advised not to leave them on the grill for too long, else they will become chewy when overcooked. The accompanying veggies were all sweet and juicy, nice.

To end the dinner on a high note, dessert was served, Marble Cheesecake in Chocolate cup $6.50++. This was served with tropical fresh fruits and chocolate sauce.

I didn't eat this again but judging on the speed it was wiped out, I reckon the cheesecake was very yummy. I had a bite of the choco cup handle, it was not bad chocolate. The cup body was frozen stiff and hard to break so we gave up on it after trying for a while. The water melon and honeydew was good though.

We had a blast at the food tasting session. The OpenRice people were very warm and friendly and made the session extremely enjoyable. Here are some candid shots of them in action.

Food paparazzi

Interviewing openricers on their top picks.

Brewbaker's new menu will appeal to most people who loves Japanese and Western fusion food. They have good selection of dishes and variety was rather extensive. Prices are largely in consistence with most Japanese/Western eateries. Food quality are a hits and misses affair but you'll be fine if you know what's good to order. I would recommend this place for those to live nearby or those who drives as it is a little out of the way here. 

** this is an invited tasting session.

Brewbaker's Kitchen & Bar
Anchorvale Community Club, 59 Anchorvale Road #01-06, S544965
Tel: 6886 1811

Opening Hours: 
Mon to Thu: 1100 - 1530, 1730 - 2230
Fri - Sat & eve of PH: 1100 - 0000
Sun & PH: 0730 - 2200

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