Monday, February 24, 2014

Dinner at So Pho @NEX

With many eateries ceasing operations from Dec last year, new dining concept restaurants started appearing in place of the old ones. The first Vietnamese restaurant at Nex opens its doors early this year selling popular eats from Saigon. I love the modern and brightly lit interiors of this new restaurant.

Simple table settings with order chit for patrons to write down their orders and hand them over to the waiting staffs.

The menu has a selection of about 60 food and drink items with clear indications of the popular items with a red star, as well as chef's recommendation items. Dishes are rather reasonably priced with most main courses costing approx $9.80++, Viet style baguettes (Banh Mi) are sold at $5.90++ each. There is also one vegetarian option in almost every food category.

For drink, I picked the Salty King $4.50++, a plum flavored soda with a ball of salty plum in it. It was sweet and salty and fizzy...not bad at all. Do note that they charge $0.30++ for ice water here (refillable).

My main course Grilled Lemongrass Chicken noodle w/ Spring rolls $9.80++, served in a huge peach shaped bowl...portion was pretty generous. The lemongrass chicken was done just right with nice flavoring and juicy tender meat. The spring rolls were good too with yummy filling marinated with Viet spices. The dish also comes with generous portion of fresh lettuce and a bunch of pickled shredded carrot/radish...these provided a good balance to the rich tasting grilled meat. I like it!

I also ordered a Sesame Rice Crackers w/ basil leaves Chicken $10.80++ as appetizer, and boy the cracker was huge! The crispy cracker loaded with black sesame seeds was very fragrant even eaten on its own. The minced chicken dip with crunchy peanuts was utterly yummy, I was blown away by its wok hei aroma usually present in well cooked chinese dishes...thumbs up for this dish! 

I ordered takeaways on other occasions and the food didn't disappoint as well...

Grilled Chicken Banh Mi w/ chicken pate $5.90++. The baguette was soft, not crispy, served with generous portion of tender grilled chicken meat, pickled carrot/radish, fresh lettuce and topped with mayonnaise. I enjoyed munching on this very much.

Vietnamese Seafood fried rice $9.80++, it tastes similar to our local sambal fried rice, mildly spicy with fresh squid and prawn meat, quite nice.

Mixed Appetizers (consists of prawn cakes, summer rolls & spring rolls) $10.80++, I liked everything accept for the rice paper summer rolls which has overpowering basil leave taste with tasteless vermicelli and blanched prawn...very weird.

I'm pretty pleased with this new find at Nex and will be back to try more dishes!

So Pho
Serangoon NEX, #B1-15, S556083
Tel: 6636 8195

Opening Hours 
Daily 11:00am – 10:00pm

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lunch at Putien & Food Fair @ Tampines Mall

My friend's food photo posts on FB has awakened my craving for the Braised Intestines from Putien. I have not been to Putien for quite a while, time to check out what's new there!

Very shiok chili 

Instead of the usual peanuts, they served a mini selection of crispy seaweed and crackers together with the roasted peanuts. This was yummy and costs $2.50 which is kinda pricey for the tiny portion.

Something special at the TM outlet, economical set meals (only available at TM). At $13.90++ each, the set consists of a main course, a soup or side dish and a set of 3 mini appetizers. Customers can top up $1.50++ for a drink (soursop or bayberry juice), pretty good deal I would say.

Grandma's Bayberry Tea 杨梅茶 (warm/cold) $1.50++, this was very sourish and sweet at the same time, I like it...reminds me of the preserved bayberries I used to eat as a kid.

I ordered Set B $13.90++ which has a bowl of Lor Mee, a slice of Deep fried ikan tenggiri (mackerel fish) and a 3x appetizers set.

This is the first time I'm eating the Putien Lor Mee, its nicer than it looks. The pale colored broth is not the starchy gooey kind, but it was loaded with flavors from the quality ingredients such as pork belly, prawns, clams, dried scallops, mushroom, veggies etc. The noodle has a nice and smooth texture...very yummy.

The Deep Fried Ikan Tenggiri was done homecooked style, simple comfort food.

The 3 Mini Appetizers consists of Vinegar seaweed, Spicy jellyfish and Braised mushroom. 3 contrasting flavors, all delicious in their own unique way.

Last but not least, the dish that I've came here for, Braised Pig Intestines 九转粉肠 $13.80++. Made by hand daily by meticulously folding multiple thin layers of intestines neatly together, then braised in homemade sauce till fully infused with flavor. I love the bouncy and chewy texture...thumbs up!

After a satisfying lunch, I checked out the Food Fair that is happening at the TM atrium on level 1. Many local delights and some regional food stuffs on sale. I bought some traditional chinese kuehs and Jap snacks home. All of them were yummilicious.

Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central 5 #B1-01/27/K19, S529510
Tel: 6781 2162

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun: 1130 - 2130

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dinner at Ambush, Plaza Singapura

My second visit to this casual european eatery. On my first visit I tried their German sausages and pork knuckle. This time round, I'm trying their pasta dish and the highly popular Belgian mussels pot.

For drinks, I ordered a mocktail Green Apple Mojito $5.50++. This is basically fruit flavored syrup and soda, nothing special.

Mussels & Clams mixed pot w/ white wine sauce $18++, mussels and clams are air flown twice weekly to ensure freshness. Choice of 3 cooking style (Aglio Olio, Thai Basil & White wine), the white wine sauce contains bacon bits, onion, garlic & parsley. The broth was rather light and flavorful, I can taste the natural sweetness of the plump and juicy mussels and clams...very delish.

The Garlic bread (focaccia bread) that comes with the mussels pot (choice of bread, fries or mash potato) was soft, fluffy and garlicky...pretty good but I gotta save my stomach for the pasta main course. Tip, dip the bread in the mussel sauce, its yummy.

Pan seared Norwegian salmon pasta w/ Thai basil sauce $13.20++ (choice of spaghetti, linguine, penne or fusilli). The Thai basil sauce is a tomato based sauce with a tang, I suspect tom yum/lemongrass was added in the sauce. Basil leaves were used sparingly so that it will not overpower the taste of the sauce...very palatable indeed. The salmon was cooked just right, tender and juicy...fantastic pairing of protein and carbo!

Ambush impresses me yet again with its high quality food at reasonable prices. Coupled with decent service from staffs, I would gladly return again for more tastes of Europe.

Ambush @Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road #04-64/66 (The Atrium), S238839  
Tel: 6338 9368

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun: 1100 - 2230

Late lunch at Kinsa Sushi, AMK Jubilee Sq

Hubby bought a booklet of discount coupons from this door to door sales guy for Kinsa Sushi while visiting his friend at AMK. He paid $30 for 4 FOC items and a slew of 50% discount and 1 for 1 coupons. We utilized about a third of them for this visit.

Kinsa Sushi is located at AMK central Jubilee Sq, a 5-10mins walk from the MRT. It is a pretty modern looking Japanese establishment. There is a fresh sushi counter where chefs will make sushi on the spot for ala carte orders, some good stuffs can be seen on display at the counter.

Other non counter seating areas and table settings.

The 4 FOC items we had were Salmon roe chawanmushi, Grilled sanma fish 秋刀魚, Crispy soft shell crab and Salmon sashimi. Food quality was decent, ingredients were very fresh but the serving portion was rather smallish though.

Some of the half priced items we had were Assorted Aburi sushi which was excellently executed, and Teriyaki grill salmon which was very well cooked as well. I guess their strength is their fresh sashimi and sushi items.

We only ordered one 1 for 1 item, Kimchi nabe hotpot. Initially we were worried that we might over-order but the 2x hotpots came out to be very small serving so we didn't end up with unfinished food. The kimchi broth was flavorful but with very little ingredients in it. I wouldn't recommend ordering this dish.

Service level here is good, food and ambiance is decent too. I would recommend ordering the premium items rather than regular items to avoid disappointment.

Kinsa Sushi
Jubilee Square, 61 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #02-03/03A, S569814
Tel: 6452 1798

Opening Hours:
Mon.-Sun. 11:30-22:00