Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sumire 笑 Yakitori House @Bugis Junction

We are back to having impromptu dinners again after a rather long break. The venue of choice, Sumire 笑 Yakitori House at Bugis Junction. This restaurant is the Tokyo brand's first oversea venture outside of its 15 outlets in Japan. Sumire is a casual Japanese style beer house serving grilled skewer items as its main specialty.

Upon stepping into the restaurant, you'll be greeted with loud "Irashaimase!" from the entire crew in the restaurant, a usual practice in Japan that is trending in Jap eateries in SG. There is an open concept kitchen where the chefs prepare their customers orders under the scrutiny of the public eye.

We didn't notice this at first but realized later that the kitchen hood that they are using are very good at what it does, the entire restaurant and its patrons didn't reek of BBQ smell at all.

The eatery adopts the new iPad ordering system like many modern restaurants in SG. The friendly staffs will explain the ordering process in detail for all new visitors.

Once seated, a complimentary bowl of Cabbage Shiodare was served. Fresh raw cabbage leaves drizzled with Japanese salt dressing are a good way to cleanse the palates in between rich tasting dishes, as explained by the staffs. The salt dressing was really delish.

Placing orders was a breeze after we got the hang of how the menu lists works. We ended up ordering 17 dishes in total...kinda ambitious for 4pax!

Yuzu Salmon & Avocado salad $3.90++, fresh salmon and avocado cubes served with yuzu ponzu dressing. Nice and refreshing.

Chawanmushi $2.90++, the steamed egg was silky smooth with bits of crabstick underneath, not bad.

Choco Balls $2.90++, braised quail eggs in Jap soy sauce. The tiny eggs were nicely cooked with soft creamy center, but we all find the soy sauce a tad too salty for our liking.

Sashimi Santen Mori $17.90++, 3 kinds of fresh seafood served with a slice of lemon. Its extremely fresh and juicy, we liked.

Tsukune (chicken meatballs) for Ladies $4.90++ per stick, served with Teriyaki-Mayo sauce and Melted Cheese. The Ladies version are made up of 3 bite-sized morsels for easier consumption, whereas Man's version has got two larger balls (sotong ball sized) which have a more satisfying bite for the guys.

The chicken meatball itself tastes pretty much like those sold at takeaway kiosk like ToriQ, quite ordinary but the generous topping of teriyaki sauce and creamy mayo makes up for the lack in taste, overall quite ok.

Grilled Tori Kawa (chicken skin) $2.20++, one of my fave chicken parts, a rare find in SG. This was very well executed, the slightly charred edges was crispy and non charred part was tender and springy, coupled with the savory teriyaki sauce...perfection!

Daikon Tower $7.90++, Sumire's rendition of the popular oden dish is very interesting, with chunky slices of daikon stacked into a tall tower and dashi broth with several slices of chikuwa and some konjac at the base, topped with bonito flakes. The broth was light yet flavorful, and ingredients were yummy too. Definitely recommended.

Bakudan Korokke $7.90++, Sumire's signature dish, a huge croquette ball with a whole soft boiled egg wrapped in the center. Once sliced open, the creamy yolk oozes out from within.

This dish looks special but taste so so, the potato was quite dry and bland, we were not very impressed. I wouldn't order this again.

Goma Tebaage (sesame chicken wings) $7.90++ and Crispy Gyoza w/ Yuzu dip $5.90++. We liked the chicken wings, very tasty and skin has a slight crisp, pretty addictive to eat. The gyoza on the other hand was forgettable.

Yari Ika Teriyaki $8.90++, grilled sotong with teriyaki sauce. For the price tag, we got quite a big serving of grilled squid which was delicious too, great value for money!

Kaki Fry $4.90++, fried breaded oysters. I'm not a huge fan of oysters but this tasted quite alright for me.

Ebi Mentai Mayo $4.90++ per piece. Prawns were fresh, not the best ebi mentai I've eaten but pretty darn good for its price tag. I would order this again.

Hotate Mentai Mayo $3.50++, the scallops were quite tiny and not really fresh. I would skip this on my future visit.

Tamago Oroshi Ponzu $6.90++, this dish was perhaps the only dish that we felt is not worth ordering. The egg was overcooked and didn't taste sweet which we feel is not right.

We managed to wiped out all the 17 dishes we ordered. Food quality was mostly hits rather than misses, with pocket friendly prices to boot. For the amount of dishes we had, we each paid only $38 including ++. Service staffs are friendly, helpful and responsive. We love dining at this cozy eatery and will definitely return again for more value for money Japanese fare. Do make reservations in advance cos many people had already found out about this gem, the restaurant was running a roaring business serving a full house crowd even on a weekday evening!

Sumire 笑 Yakitori House @Bugis Junction
80 Middle Road #01-88/89 Singapore 188966
Tel: 6338 9963

Mon - Thu: 11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Fri - Sat: 11:30 am - 11:30 pm
Sun: 11:30 am - 10:30 pm

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Late Lunch at Charly T's @112 Katong, Media Invite

My friend Wendy got invited again to a food tasting session and I got to tag along to try out Charly T's new Weekend Free Flow Sliders & Beer promo at only $38+ (available on Sat/Sun 12-3pm). We will also be sampling Charly T's Original Recipe 'Best Chicken in the City', the well known signature dish served here.

We arrived at around 1pm on a Saturday afternoon, and was quickly seated and placed order for their featured dishes. The modern bistro-style restaurant has an open concept kitchen showcasing chefs hard at work churning out dishes for the diners.

The family friendly restaurant also has a kids corner to keep them entertained while the adults dine. 

We both ordered fruit juices from their CT's Odyssey juices selection. I had the Green Flash $7+, a concoction of green apple, orange and pineapple juices, delightfully refreshing.

My friend ordered the Red Tang $7+, this red color juice contains strawberry, cranberry and lychee, a sweet and charming drink. 

The food arrived pretty quickly, and the first dish served at our table was their signature 'Best Chicken in the City', a roasted chicken (half) served with two choices of sides (German Potato Salad, Macaroni & Cheese, Butter Garlic Rice and Steamed Fresh Vegetables). The 3 options available for this dish are:

- Quarter chicken with 2 sides at $14.50+
- Half chicken with 2 sides at $24.00+
- Whole chicken with 4 sides at $44.00+

Charly T’s Original Recipe, free-range chickens are marinated for over 13hrs before being slow-cooked rotisserie style to achieve its tender and juicy texture.

We were very impressed with the roast chicken, the meat was succulent and really tender, even the breast meat was moist and not dry and tough like regular roast chicken sold elsewhere. The sauces served with the chicken were pretty yummy too. Definitely recommended!

The half chicken was served with two sides, German Potato Salad and Macaroni & Cheese. The potato was well cooked till soft and topped with smokey bacon bits, making the otherwise bland tasting dish very enjoyable, I liked.

The Mac & Cheese on the other hand was not cheesy enough for us. While we understand that this dish uses a special recipe from the award-winning Chef Rozanne Gold, which is supposed to contain less cheese and includes fresh cauliflower as a healthier alternative, but the cauliflower taste was very faint and the dish tasted quite bland overall. This dish may appeal to those who are health conscious and appreciates lighter tasting wholesome food.

We were served one round of beer and mini burger sliders next. For the new promotion at Charly T's, diners are able to order unlimited bottled Budweiser beer and Mini Beef and Chicken Burgers served with fries ($38+ per pax).

We sampled one set of Beef & Chicken mini burgers first. The beef patty was well executed, juicy and tender and well marinated.

The chicken burger was more interesting, it contains 3 small slices of thin crispy Schnitzel-style Chicken. Schnitzel is German for a boneless meat, first thinned with a meat tenderizer, and then coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, and finally deep-fried till crispy. It is a popular dish served at many German restaurants. The 3 pieces of schnitzel chicken stacked together created a thick yet crisply layered mouthfeel for the burger, we liked it very much and ordered a second serving of chicken burger sliders.

We were starting to feel quite full and decided to move on to desserts. After checking out the dessert menu, we picked out 3 desserts and requested the waiter to serve them in tasting portion (if possible) as we're not able to finish all 3 in full portion.

Molten Cake $10+, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake is made of good quality dark chocolate which was very dense and flavorful and not too sweet, nice! Although the molten center wasn't very lava like, it still taste delicious with the creamy ice cream. I don't mind having this again.

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich $8+, vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between two giant cookies. The giant cookie was quite hard initially but soften a little after soaking in the melting ice cream and turned out to be quite yummy to eat, not bad.

Kaiserchmarrn $16+, a traditional German dessert which is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter using flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk, and baked in butter. Raisins are traditionally added in the pancake mixture, and the dish is usually served hot, sprinkled with powdered sugar, together with apple or plum sauce or various fruit compotes. At Charly T's, this was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

We were rather unsure when the waitress first recommended this dessert to us, but we're sold once we took our first bite. It was very tasty, the pancake was light and fluffy and not overly sweet but very filling. Luckily, they served us a reduced portion for this dish.

Out of the 3 desserts, only the Kaiserschmarrn pancakes are served in a smaller portion, we were filled to the brim at the end of the meal!

We had a very pleasant dining experience at Charly T's, both food and services exceeds our expectations. I would come back regularly if I stayed in the east. But for now, I highly recommend the easterners to go check it out!

Thank you Charly T's and FoodNews for the food tasting invite!

Charly T's Press Release

Celebrate National Day with Charly T's
Salute the nation's 49th Birthday with the newly-launched Charly T's Chicken Rice, our mouth-watering rendition of the local iconic dish featuring our signature free-range "Best Chicken in the City", served with authentic fragrant rice, mom's chicken soup and popular chicken rice condiments.

Available all-day at both Charly T's 112 Katong and PasarBella from now till 31 August at $9.90 per portion.

Charly T's National Day Photo Contest
Express your love for Singapore this National Day by taking part in the Charly T's National Day Photo Contest and stand to win $500 cash and $200 worth of dining vouchers! To participate, simply post a photo of one's heartfelt wishes and share the contest to rally votes from your friends.

Click here to find out more:

Other promos that caught our eyes at the restaurant entrance...

Charly T's @112 Katong
112 East Coast Road, #03-15 112 Katong, S428802
Tel: (65) 6636 4701

Opening hours:
Mondays - Fridays: 11am to 10pm
Saturdays & Sundays: 9am to 10pm