Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cheap makan @ Clarke Quay

Woohoo....yet another lobang for cheap weekday lunchtime eats.

Over 18 restaurants in Clarke Quay are offering SGD15 nett set lunches (plus free parking on weekdays!)

For details, pls click on link below:

Note: Valid for all weekdays except public hols and eve of public hols. Selected restaurants may extend the lunch promotion to weekends. Advance reservations strongly recommended. Not valid with other discounts.

Here's a rundown of all the restaurants:
(places marked with an asterisk are under my radar...which means a visit is in the making!)

1) Bayang*
Choose Set A, B or C

Set A: Ayam Goreng Daun Pandan, Nasi Goreng Indonesia, choice of Soft Drinks or Lime Juice.
Set B: Satay Chicken, Bak Mee Goreng Ayam, choice of Soft Drink or Lime Juice.
Set C: Popiah Goreng, Nasi Goreng Hasil Laut, choice of Soft Drink or Lime Juice.

Add: Blk A #01-05
Tel: 6337 0144

2) Cocoon Alfresco @ The Forbidden City*
Choice of Roasted Duck Egg Noodles/ Ladna (Beef / Seafood Hor Fun) / Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)/ Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)/ Congee (Chicken / Prawn / Slice Fish)/ IndoChine House Fried Rice.
Served with a choice of Soft Drink, Coffee or Tea.

Add: Blk A #01-02
Tel: 6557 6268

3) Coffee Club
Soup of the Day + Fixed choice of 1 Sandwich/ Pasta/ Main Course.

Add: Blk B #01-18
Tel: 6336 5663

4) Hooters
Choose Set A or B
Set A - Seafood Set Lunch: Grilled Sole Fille with 2pcs of Succulent Tiger Prawns topped with White Wine Cream Sauce. Served with Garden Salad and Buttered Mashed Potato.
Set B - “Obligatory Set Lunch”: Pan-fried Chicken Coated with Egg & Cheese Batter. Served with Al-dente Buttered Spaghetti & Rosemary Sauce.
$10 Set Lunch Specials with 10 different choices of Main Course is available.
All set lunches are served with Soup of the Day, Ice-Cream, 1 Soft Drink and a Fresh Brewed Coffee or Tea. Add $5++ for a Mug of Tiger Beer.

Add: Blk D #01-03
Tel: 6332 1090

5) Hot Stones
Choice of Appetizer: Sweet Corn Broth with Asparagus or Hot Stones Salad;
Choice of 2 Variety Meats: Aus Beef Sirlion/ Pork Tenderloin/ Chicken Breast/ Salmon Fillet/ Tuna Fillet/ King Fish Fillet/ Tiger Prawn;
Choice of Dessert: Panna Cotta with Plum Syrup/ Fresh Fruit platter;
Choice of Beverage: Coffee or Tea.
Add $5 nett for additional selection of above meat.

Add: Blk D #01-06
Tel: 6333 4868

6) Hutong*
Choose Set A or B
Set A: Appetizer, Hot & Spicy Boiling Fish Fillet, Sweet & Sour Pork, Stir Fried String Beans with Minced Pork.
Set B: Appetizer, Shanghai Dumpling Soup, Crispy Chicken in Szechuan Style, Stir Fried Seasonal Vegetables with Oyster Sauce.
Each set comes with a Steam Rice and a choice of Soft Drink.

Add: Blk D #01-07
Tel: 6336 0212

7) Ivory The Indian Kitchen
Specialty Dish of Live Hot Indian Salads, Tawa Grilled Meat and Vegetables in Skewers; Wok Tossed Indian Spices Infused Noodles, Assortment of Exotic Tandoori, Choices of Curry, Soup of the Day, Salad, Non-Vegetarian and Vegetarian Main Course, Indian Chaat, Fresh Baked Naan & Breads, Dessert, Tea & Coffee.

Add: Blk A #02-04
Tel: 6333 4664

8) Kura No Naka
Includes Small Salad, 2pcs Salmon Sashimi, Vegetable Kakiage Tempura, Salmon Teriyaki, Pickles, Rice and Miso Soup.

Add: Blk B #02-02
Tel: 6336 6659

9) L’Entrepot Bistrot*
Choice of 1 Starter with 1 Main Course OR 1 Main Course with 1 Dessert.
Starter: Choice of Mesculan Salad/ Caesar Salad/ French Onion Soup; Main Course: Choice of Croque Monsieur/ Seabass/ Vongole; Dessert: Choice of Creme Brulee/ Profiteroles: Choux Pastry, Vanilla Ice-Cream, Almond Flakes, Chocolate Sauce/ Ice-Cream.

Add: Blk E #01-02
Tel: 6337 5585

10) Le Noir*
Soup of the Day; Main Course: Choice of Oven Baked Fish Fillet with Garlic Butter, served with Mashed Potatoes/ Chicken Casserole with Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes and Potatoes; Dessert: Chocolate Mousse. *Includes 1 Complimentary Soft Drink.
$12 Lunch Set: Choice of Grilled Chicken/ Vegetarian/Lamb Sausage/ Salmon Sandwich. Served with either a choice of Green Salad or French Fries and Complimentary Soft Drink.

Add: Blk C #01-01
Tel: 6339 6365

11) Lotus Grill
Choose Set A or B
Set A Menu- Balinese Set. Starters: Choice of Soto Ayam/ Sambal Kangkong; Main Course: Mee Goreng/ Nasi Goreng (Spicy).
Set B Menu- Vegetarian Set. Starters: Papaya Salad/ Mix Vegetable Soup; Main Course: Fried Mushroom Rice/ Lotus Hor Fun.
Includes Complimentary Ice-Cream.

Add: Blk D #01-04
Tel: 6338 0902

12) Mama’s Carribbean Bar
Starters: Soup Of The Day/ Haiti Green Salad;
Main Course - Select an item from Main Course selection;
Dessert - Select an item from Acklins Desserts selection.

Add:Blk B #01-16
Tel: 6333 4482

13) Marrakesh – Moroccan Lounge & Bar*
Appetizer: Choice of Harrira Soup/ Hot Mezza.
Main Course: Choice of Mussakhan Dajaj/ Istamboli Kebab/ Moroccan Fish Kebab/ Stuffed Egg Plant. Dessert of the Day: Choice of Semolina Pudding/ Almond Cream Pudding with Saffron and Rose Water.

Add: Blk D #01-01
Tel: 6338 7331

14) Ras The Essence of India
Starter: Soup of the Day;
Main Course: Curry of the Day with Rice, Naan/ Roti. Dessert of the Day.

Add: Blk D #01-05A
Tel: 6837 2800

15) RENNthai
Choose Set A, B or C
Set A: Tom Yum Soup, Phad Thai and choice of Soft Drink.
Set B: Tom Yum Soup, Fried Rice with Black Olive and Minced Chicken and choice of Soft Drink.
Set C: Tom Yum Soup, Thai Pineapple Rice and choice of Soft Drink.
Tom Yum Soup (choice of Chicken, Beef or Seafood).

Add: Blk D, #01-05
Tel: 6338 7200

16) The Tent Mongolian Fresh Grill and Bar*
Choice of Soup or Salad; Bowl of Grill; Dessert.

Add: Blk D, #01-05
Tel: 6338 7200

17) Tomo Izakaya*
Includes Rice, Miso Soup, Pickles, Main Course, Side Dish and Sashimi. *Main Course and Side Dish will be changed every week.

Add: Blk A #01-04
Tel: 6333 0100

18) Verve Espresso Bar
Choice of Freshly Baked Panini Sandwich, Illy Coffee/ Soft Drink and a scoop of Gourmet Handmade Verve Gelato (95% fat free!)

Add: Blk D #01-10

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Poison Ivy @ Neo Tiew Road

We were itching for some mild adventure on a late Sunday afternoon.

Being lazy urbanites allergic to any form of exercise (other than eating) we decided to drive down to Poison Ivy at Neo Tiew Road for a taste of laid back farm life (Singapore style).

Thank goodness there was GPS, without which we would have been hopelessly lost. We traversed through windy gravel-like roads, industrial estates, wild patches of grassland and even cemeteries before we finally reached Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy is a rustic cafe run by the ever effervescent Ivy Singh Lim and her husband. As the title of the cafe suggests, do NOT mess with Ivy Singh Lim. She is a firm provocateur of female enpowerment and more intriguing in person than on TV. In fact, part of the draw of visiting this far flung cafe is personally meeting this chilli padi in person.

Back to the food. We ordered Warrior Chicken Curry, Satay Chicken and Sambal Sweet Potato Leaves as our main dishes. Everything is supposed to be healthy, with minimal addition of salt and msg. Even the veges are purportedly grown from the adjourning farm maintained by Ivy and her genteel hubby. Very impressive indeed.

The spiciness of the warrior chicken curry left me reeling with a dripping nose and flaming tongue. To tame the heat, I ordered a cup of fig tea, which proved to be a refreshing remedy. As the curry was too spicy for hubby, he dived straight for the satay chicken and gave it two thumbs up. Whilst we appreciated the healthy touches in the dishes, we wished the "lemak" ante was upped in most of the dishes.

For dessert, hubby ordered the banana pineapple crumble with vanilla ice cream while I opted for kueh kosui. The crumble was melt in the mouth delicious, boasting just the right amount of buttery goodness and tangy fruit punch. The generous scoop of vanilla ice cream was a welcome diversion to the sweltering heat outside.

Equally delightful was my serving of kueh kosui, which was practically oozing with gooey gula melaka goodness at every bite.

My only 2 grouses? The cash-only payment terms (which caught us unprepared and left us unceremoniously rummaging for loose change) and the ever present houseflies (which never quite seemed to leave us alone).

Face off- Royal China vs Lei Garden

Both are chi chi chinese restaurants and both offer ridiculously cheap 48++ (for 4 pax) set lunch menus. Needless to say, I was quick to book myself a seat at the first instance.


Our set menu at Lei Garden consisted of a soup of the day (boiled pork rib soup), trio of dim sum (siew mai, filo wrapped prawns and har gao) Chinese greens in superior broth, a seafood special (garlic prawns doused in enoki mushroom infused soy sauce), 2 selections from a special menu (Conpoy in claypot with vermicilli and scrambled eggs with prawns). We ended off with dessert of the day (an interesting apricot soup dotted with crunchy sagos).

Impressive as the menu may sound, I didn't enjoy it very much. Too much prawn and vege and too little meat! I tried to order a mixed platter of char siew and roast duck under the "special menu selection" course but was informed halfway into my meal that they had run out! I find it hard to believe that a restaurant famed for its Cantonese roasts would run out of char siew at 1pm on a weekday afternoon. Rrrr! I had to resort to scavenging for the pork ribs earlier used to braise the soup of the day, which naturally tasted bland and highly unappetising.

What the restaurant certainly overdelivered on was the provision of greens. A monstrous portion of em was served to us as one of the courses (Chinese Greens in Superior broth). Couldn't detect any superiority in the broth but the interiors of my mouth started to feel funny after prolonged chomping. When the conpoy in claypot with vermicilli arrived, I was hoping for some meat to balance the equation. Unfortunately, the conpoy only took up 5% of the claypot and the rest comprised of tangled vermicilli and...more veges! I almost felt like crying at this point. Whilst the garlic prawns did help break the (green) monotony somewhat, I couldn't help feeling a little overwhemed by the presence of prawns too..har gao has prawns, siew mai has prawns, even the egg dish we ordered from the special menu (to substitute the char siew and roast duck) had prawns!

The dining experience at Royal China was much more enjoyable, although the menu did not sound as impressive as Lei Garden's. Our set lunch comprised of a soup of the day (boiled pork rib soup again! the royal china version is better...), duo of dim sum (crystal dumplings and siew mai), Chinese greens in superior broth, sea perch, fried rice and dessert of the day (peanut dusted mochis with a black sesame filling).

Every dish was thoughtfully presented and boasted the right balance of flavors and ingredients, which contributed to the overall robustness of our meal. The dim sum duo looked as good as they tasted and went really well with the restaurant's special shrimp based chilli sauce. However, what really caught my attention was the braised sea perch, which was infused in a seductive black marinade bearing hints of ginger, dried chilli, wine and sweet sauce. It took lots of self control not to lick the sizzling claypot clean. The fried rice proved equally delectable, each fluffy morsel of rice smothered with wok hei goodness.

Round 1: Royal China wins.


Royal China wins for its elegant, exclusive and ethereal environment. Ah Peks will however feel more at home in Lei Garden given its cheena (think chandeliers and bossy buxom waitresses) and bustling setting.

Round 2: Royal China wins again.


I'm half hearted on this one. The servers at Lei Garden were loud and boisterous but in a motherly (and almost heartwaming) way. Although highly efficient, they lacked the grace and finese of Shatec trained service staff. Conversely, the ladies over at Royal China were poised and professional but lacked the personal touch. I guess this ultimately boils down to personal preference. However, since I am not one who likes to be constantly fussed over, Royal China wins.

Round 3: Royal China wins (barely)


I take my words back. The magical no 48 sounds cheap but after taking into account the infamous miscellanous items like GST (7%) , Service Charge (10%), Napkins and Tea, the bill for both places effortlessly skyrocked to over 60 bucks. In Lei Garden, we ordered an additional bowl of rice and were charged 2+++ for it, which sounds like daylight robbery in my honest opinion.

Round 4: Both Royal China and Lei Garden win. I am the (sore) loser.


Royal China wins (hands down).

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Goodbye Michael Jackson

Many people regard Michael Jackson as a legend. To me, he's just a lonely superstar with a high pitched voice and outlandish clothes.

I enjoy his music but not his crotch grabbing antics. "Man in the mirror" and "Heal the world" strike poignant chords in me but then again, so do other catchy tunes like "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Zombie" and "Like a Virgin" (just to name a few).

When Michael Jackson died, I happened to be on leave. It was an almost surreal feeling sitting in front of the TV and watching broadcasters all around the world recount the same story. Then, after awhile, it became apparent that everyone just wanted to cash in from his death. And so did I. I signed up to attend his memorial service, hoping to be selected so I could sell the ticket for a tidy sum. On hindsight, I'm glad my name was not chosen in the end.

Here's a passage from Michael Jackson's favorite song (Smile). I think its a great song. Looks like Michael Jackson and me do share something in common afterall.

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by...

If you smile
With your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just...

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just...

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by...

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile...

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile


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