Thursday, August 30, 2012

Omakase @ Teppei Japanese Restaurant

This is the place to go if you want to experience Japanese dining Izakaya style. You sit in a room teeming with at least 20 other like minded diners, back touching back, perched uncomfortably on a little stool. The air is stuffy and reeks of stale oil.

But your discomfort is not in vain because the food is THAT good. In fact, this has definitely got to be the best no frills Omakase experience I have ever had.  For SGD70 (after all the +++) here's what we had.

Refreshing salad with crunchy sweet nutty notes
Lovely silky tofu (kind of like the Chinese fu-chok dessert) with a dollop of uni paste
A mossy conch with curly briny flesh which you extract out with a toothpick. Simply steamed with no accompanying condiments. Weird!

A more normal looking sea whelk which tasted rather bland.

Squid rings with crunchy asparagus. Clean tasting and perfectly cooked.

This dish I did not like. Cod fish in honey miso. The sauce was nice but my fish had tons of little bones, making it a chore to eat.

A crunchy roll with some minced sashimi, tempura bits and fish eggs encased in seaweed. Very addictive!

An assortment of very fresh sashimi ranging from otoro to salmon and scallop
When the cooked main courses arrived in relatively quick succession, there was no turning back. It was love at first sight when I sunk my teeth into this.

Pictured below is a chicken, wagyu and tofu dish served "yin yang" style with one half of the broth comprising clear chicken stock and the other half Japanese curry. Mix it together and you get heaven.

The most "Chinese" oriented dish of the night and one of my favorites. Dumpling and king prawn in egg drop soup. My mother would approve! The soup was super unami and the ingredients were generous and fresh.

We were given a choice of spicy fried rice, normal fried rice or sashimi rice. I opted for spicy fried rice while hubby had the sashimi one.

I thought mine would just taste like ordinary garlic fried rice, possibly jazzed up with some chili. But again, this dish surpassed my expectations. It was definitely spicy but I couldn't see any chili inside. There were also bits of yummy surprises hidden inside, including chestnut, egg and bits of crunchy vegetables. Super yum!

Hubby seemed to enjoy his dish too. Check out that huge slab of uni on the left.

Dessert was lack lustre compared to the starters and main but decent nonetheless and a sweet end to the meal. We were given a choice of different flavours of ice cream. I had maple walnut and hubby took the chocolate.

As we left, the Japanese chef (who was working his magic right in front of us the whole night) flashed us a charming grin and hollered "Thank you. See you tomorrow". It took us a little by surprise but in a good way. Yes. We will definitely be back for more and we can't wait to bring our friends too.

Thank YOU for a mindblowing meal.

Angsty at The Clan Restaurant

For food ideas, I typically scour local print media (like 8 Days, The Straits Times, Simply Her, Food &Travel magazine), food websites like Hungrygowhere and local food blogs. Often, I am delighted with the result and relish each good find like a pirate who has found his bounty.

Unfortunately, there are also immaculately written articles that prove to be bogus, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. It makes me wonder if these articles are products of paid reviews, invited tastings, or just a marked difference in taste?

Clan Restaurant is one such restaurant where my taste seems to deviate from the mainstream. The menu sounds tantalizing, with fanciful sounding items like earl grey cured tuna, 48 degree poached salmon, 48 hours short ribs and an interesting apple "slurpee" amuse bouche. Value also seems reasonable with a 6 course meal costing around SGD62+++. Unfortunately that's where the good stuff ends.

Service was friendly at first but gradually degenerated to forced smiles, unfilled glasses and vanishing acts as the evening wore on and our complaints mounted.

Round 1: The evening started beautifully as we were ushered to our seats and presented with the menu. As I was feeling quite full from lunch, a waiter suggested that our party of 3 order 2 set dinners to share. We decided to take up his suggestion after perusing the menu. We quickly caught the attention of another waiter to make our order. When he heard that we were only ordering 2 set dinners, his tone immediately stiffened and he seemed reluctant to accept our orders. We felt a little embarrassed and eventually settled for 2 set dinners with an additional main course.

Round 2: The starters, sides and soups arrived in quick succession. Most of the dishes were ordinary tasting- a chewy smallish scallop spritzed with some truffle foam, salmon mousse in cute crunchy cone, a bland tasting crab leg, a cold unappetising slab of foie gras and passable crab bisque. A unanimous turnoff was the earl grey cured tuna with lavender scent. Urgh! It was like eating tuna marinated in axe brand oil.

Round 3: The mains. A total disaster despite the impressive descriptions. 48 hour short ribs (beef) in madeira sauce turned out to be cold leathery slices of meat on a crumpled Hoba leaf. My salmon course was fishy and hidden with bones. Another kaki's pasta with grilled barramundi was laced with strong lashes of squid ink which she didn't take well to. After giving our feedback to the servers (for the record they did offer to replace our dishes but we declined), we noticed a visible drop in service. Water glasses were not filled and our table seemed to be shunned in favor of the more appreciative diners from other tables.

Round 4: Dessert. We ordered their famous chocolate fudge and a green tea tiramisu. No complaints taste wise but not outstanding either. Potions were rather measly.

I don't think I'll be going back to this place again. It reeks of pretentiousness. I feel sick in the stomach just writing this review.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


One of the cutest videos to hit town - introduced to me by my other half.

Shows you don't have to be good looking to draw in the crowd. Just act cool and be yourself! =P

Thursday, August 02, 2012


I arranged a rare lunch date with Hubby yesterday. Chose the newly opened Pollen at Gardens by the Bay due to the novelty factor which includes (1) being transported to the restaurant in your own personal buggy, (2) eating food prepared (or at least conceptualized) by a one star michelin chef, (3) gaining free access to the Flower Dome thereafter and (4) getting up close and personal with a 1000 year old olive tree! Wow! How's that for SGD55 per head? I'm in! Was quite fortunate to secure reservations one week earlier. They are fully booked most of the days so reservations are a must.

It was a sweltering hot day and the restaurant is not exactly very near the main entrance so the restaurant's complimentary buggy service (which runs every 5 mins) was a very nice touch.

Pollen is located within the Flower Dome itself. Its furnishings are classy, white and seem to carry some Nordic influences. Most of the diners were locals comprising well heeled executives, rich tai tais and the occassional auntie. Formal wear is not a must here. Hubby and I wore jeans (paired with a smart top) and looked perfectly in place. However, I must also add that skimpy tops are also not recommended due to the chilly temperature in the dome. If you must, bring along a jacket or shawl.

Table 8. That was my requested choice of seating since it was recommended by an 8 Days article and purportedly boasts the best view (which includes close proximity to a 1000 year old olive tree on the 2nd level). Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn't open its 2nd level for lunch and Table 8 turned out to be a really shaky table on the first floor with a clear view of the Flyer, joggers and tourists.

The SGD55 menu offers excellent value.

For starters, we were served with some tough baugettes and sour dough bread, a potato cod spread and some clean tasting preserved olives.


The waiters don't seem to possess the finnesse of upper end eateries in Singapore like Cut, 1929, Mortons and St Pierre. One waitress spilled our bowl of olives just as it was about to be served to us while the other gave me a clueless look when I asked about the 1000 year old tree on the second floor. They were however attentive in refilling our water (yes, its only tap) and paced the meal nicely.

The food however redeemed the whole dining experience. Clean tasting notes with surprise ingredients that we never thought could work so well together. Portions were just right- leaving us satiated but craving for more.

Hubby's salmon starter was an interesting match of ocean trout (looked like salmon to me) with beer pickled onion, oyster mayo and smoked eggplant. A most unusual combination which left him a little perplexed and strangely delighted.


My starter of slow cooked egg with some tomato puree, cubed potato and chorizo chips was a savoury mess of comfort food at its best.

For mains, we both had the roasted pork belly with broad beans, squid and chorizo. Pollen's version isn't the crackly brown kind which you find at Chinese roast stalls. Rather, this one was caramelized with a melt in the mouth tenderness and richness that only pork can offer. Placed on top of the dish was a crackling piece of keropok that added some localised feel to the dish. What caught us by surprise was the addition of small pieces of slow cooked squid. Who would have thought pork and squid taste so good together? I suddenly recall a nyonya dish where minced pork is stuffed into fresh squid..looks like the Europeans also have their own ang moh version.

Dessert was interesting...a play of colours and textures. More to tease than to fill. Hubby's dessert of beetroot sorbet with hibiscus compressed apple and salted milk chocolate was again an evolution of taste that entertained our palates. It was so girly looking he almost wanted to swap with me.

My dessert was substantially less flamboyant in sight but no less interesting in taste. I opted for something more sourish and was rewarded by a cucumber sorbet with crispy and burnt lemon meringue. It was unlike any dessert I have eaten before. Heavenly.

We didn't linger too long at our table our lunch and promptly adjourned to the 2nd level to admire the 1000 year old olive tree before moving on to the main Flower Dome.

The transition from taste to sight, smell and sound of nature was seamless and left me slightly breathless. I felt as if I had been teleported to some flower garden in Cameron Highlands. An almost ethereal experience that I strongly recommend.


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