Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dinner at Beng Hiang Restaurant 茗香菜館

Impromptu dinner with evil sistas again, they knew I had cravings for Asian food due to the lack of it during my recent vacation. So we're heading to Beng Hiang Restaurant for some traditional Hokkien cuisine.

Located just a short stroll away from the Telok Ayer station on Downtown line, Beng Hiang is housed in an old school restored shophouse along Amoy street. The interiors are deliberately designed to look traditionally Chinese.

Table setting and menu.

We ordered some of the most popular dishes served here, and we started the meal with a thick soup, Fish Maw Soup (M) $40+. The soup was loaded with ingredients, they were very generous with the amount of fish maw used in this soup, needless to say it was incredibly flavorful. Recommended.

Ngoh Hiong & Hae Zor (M) $16+, the must order Hokkien staple on every table. However, none of us find it nice, it just tasted really ordinary like those sold at economic beehoon stalls. The Hae Zor (prawn roll) doesn't contain crunchy prawn bits and the Ngoh Hiong lacks fragrance and flavor. Quite disappointed with this dish.

Kong Bak Bao (S) $16+, the saving grace came when this dish was served. The Kong Bak (braised pork belly) was super soft, tender and well infused with flavor. The bao wasn't the fluffiest I've eaten, but was acceptable.

The star dish of the day, Crispy Roast Chicken (whole) $30+. The chicken was roasted to perfection with delightful crispy skin and moist succulent meat. Serving portion was huge too.

Another star dish of the day, Crispy Oyster Omelette (M) $20+. The oysters were fresh and juicy and the omelette was expertly executed, very crispy and yet not greasy...thumbs up!

Stir fried Broccoli w/ Scallops (M) $30+, this was delish too, very hard to go wrong with fresh chunky scallops and crunchy broccoli.

The Traditional Hokkien Noodles (L) $16+, the second disappointment of the day. A reputable Hokkien restaurant that cannot deliver a tasty Hokkien Mee was unacceptable. Noodles was kinda soggy and sticky, and the dark sauce was seriously lacking in flavor! I wouldn't order this again.

Lastly, we're served a small portion of their complimentary dessert, Beancurd skin & Barley sweet soup. It was overly sweet, I added water into it to dilute the sweetness. Not nice.

Despite having two of the traditional dishes failing us, we still feel Beng Hiang serves pretty decent Chinese food that is also well priced for a restaurant situated inside the CBD area. The serving staffs weren't really very smiley but we couldn't complain when they don't charge the 10% service charge right?

Beng Hiang Restaurant 茗香菜館
112 - 116 Amoy Street Singapore 069932
Tel: +65 6221 6695 / +65 6221 6684

Operating hours
Mon - Sun
Lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm (last order)
Dinner 6:00pm - 9:30pm (last order)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10yr Anniversary & Re-Opening of Ricciotti, The Riverwalk (Media Party)

Ricciotti Riverwalk recently hosted their grand re-opening on 16th October 2014 to unveil a whole new dining concept, design and menu. The restaurant has gone through a complete facelift to offer a new concept of trendy home-style Italian dining experience. The newly renovated eatery has a contemporary and rustic design with industrial influences. The wooden walls and ceiling are made from imported Italian oak that exudes an understated chic.

The outlet at Riverwalk is now known as Ricciotti (formerly known as Ricciotti Pizza Pasta Grill). Ricciotti marks the celebration of a decade with a modern new concept that embraces all things Italia, combining food with the arts, music and culture. I'm glad to be tagging along my friend, Wendy, for its re-opening media party celebration. This party was organized by the Publicist PR company. We'll be sampling Ricciotti's newly revamped Italian menu and also their signature dishes.

The party officially kicked off with an opening speech by the restaurant's management giving us some insights to their new dining concept, followed by a live violin performance and creation of art pieces by Italian artists. There will be on-going collaborations with Italian artists from different backgrounds to make the restaurant’s dining experience a more holistic one, surrounding the theme of
Italian culture.

Free flow of beverages, wine and cocktails were served throughout the event. 

First up, we had a sharing platter of 5 appetizers, Carpaccio di Polpo (Sliced octopus salad), Asparagi alla Griglia (Grill asparagus w/ parma ham), Polenta herb fries (Cornmeal fries), Panzerotti (Cheesy baked pizza pockets) and Nizzarda salad (Pan seared tuna w/ greens).

I personally liked the Grill asparagus with parma ham cos of its savory & smokey aromatic flavor. The Polenta fries was crispy and a delight to eat. The octopus and tuna salads were also refreshing choices to kick start a meal. I didn't touch the pizza pockets cos I don't take cheese.

Next up, a trio of Italian carbo dishes. Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola (Spinach gnocchi w/ cheese), Linguine Al Granchio (Crabmeat, chili & tomato cream) and Risotto ai Frutti di Mare (Assorted seafood).

The crabmeat linguine tasted a little like chili crab pasta but a tad too creamy for my liking. The seafood risotto was not bad but the rice was a little hard/uncooked. I left the cheesy gnocchi alone.

Then came the grilled meats platter, Cod fillet w/ spinach tomatoes & thyme, Chicken skewer w/ chickpea dip and Pork ribs w/ potatoes.

The Cod fish was uber fresh and tender, very nicely complimented by the sauteed spinach and sundried tomatoes...thumbs up! The chicken skewer was good too, really tender and flavorful. The grill pork ribs was a tad dry due to a lack of complimenting sauces. I enjoyed this platter the most.

The last main course of the day was none other than pizzas, there were supposed to be two 9" pizzas for tasting but we're too full to finish two (plus I don't eat pizzas), so we were only served the Porcini e Scamorza Pizza. It was a thin crusted pizza topped with porcini mushrooms and cow's milk cheese. I figured it was good cos Wendy ate two slices when she's already 'very full'.

And finally, desserts to end the dinner on a sweet note. A sharing platter of 4 kinds of desserts. The signature Tiramisu, Carrot cakes, Canella sweet pizza and Soffiatto (Molten chocolate cake w/ gelato).

The only dessert I liked was the molten cake with warm creamy center (no lava effect though) and the complimenting Stracciatella gelato. The Tiramisu was not chilled when served, not nice already. The sweet pizza was overly sweet which I didn't like, and the Carrot cake has too much cinnamon in it. Overall, the desserts did not impress me.

Our dining experience at Ricciotti Riverwalk was a pleasant one, the food though a little incompatible for my palate was prepared the authentic Italian way with high quality premium ingredients. I would recommend this place to fans of Italian cuisine, and hope that it remains the destination of choice for authentic yet affordable Italian gourmet food.

**Thank you Ricciotti and Publicist PR for hosting us!

Press Release
Ricciotti Group has developed a new initiative 'Food For Good', to effectively give back to the society, a long term goal of the company. Besides sponsoring catering services to charity functions helping the less fortunate, Ricciotti Group has already revised their hiring policies to include all people of goodwill, regardless of their past and educational background. Restaurant patrons are also informed in their receipt that Ricciotti will donate a percentage of their bill to a panel of charity organization; if they wish, they can log onto the CrozzBorderz’s website and select one charity project over another, and also top-up payments via PayPal.

Ricciotti Riverwalk
20 Upper Circular Road
#B1-49/50, The Riverwalk
Singapore 058416

Tel: (65) 6533 9060
Fax: (65) 6535 5915

Opening hours:
Opens daily: 10am to 11pm