Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Gastroliterary 48: Taste Paradise, a revisit

A second visit to Taste Paradise was made on 2th of August.

Revisits take place when the previous visit left remarkable memorable experience, or that it is forced upon, for instance, when a dinner treat is being held. In this case for Taste Paradise, both reasons occur at the same time.

For some perfectly good reasons, this restaurant had been featured positively in the recent local papers.

It is actually quite misleading when this restaurant brands itself as ''chinese cuisine with a difference''. From their menu, it is clear that many of their dishes is not authentically Chinese at all. They made use of goose liver, French sauces, Japanese wasabi. Fusion is a better choice. Perhaps in this 21st century, it is hip and happening to be a Chinese.

This is the wonderful shark fins soup kept warm in Japanese stoneware. It comes with well-flavoured broth, and large pieces of the sharks' cartilage. It is only, for a moment, that one forgets about how this dish originates, will one be able to fully enjoy its sweetness and fragrance.

The cod fish is a product of one's creativity of fushion. Drizzled in French sauce, and wasabi-flavoured fish eggs, this simple fish is brought to a new level of complexitiy. Presented well, and tasted just as good, this dish cannot be missed.

The dinner continued with deer meat, asparagus with geoduck, eggplant with pork floss and fried noodles. All except the last fried noodles, in the light of other dish, lack much interest, were entirely satisfying. To complement the dinner, the service was generally friendly and quite professional. However, budget contraints of about $50 and beyond, may hinder revisits to occur again. If one has money that flows like the Yangze, then this restaurant is really the place to be.

This restaurant has traditional Chinese decorations.

And with the combination of modern design, it reminds the customers that modern China is really the place to be.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gastroliteray 47: Japanese xiii @ Noodle House Ken

A small Japanese ramen restaurant situated at Orchard Road. This place serves good ramen and this cold ramen is interesting. With generous condiments and sliced pork, the cold noodes were filled with good texture, while coming along with sesame seeds gravy. Service here is quick and comes with no fuss. However, their menus and their tables need much upgrading because there are old and dirty. This place is one of the rare gems in Singapore that serves Asahi in the draft version.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gastroliterary 46: Korean ii @ Auntie Kím's

After a break of 3 months, a revisit to Auntie Kim's, a Korean restaurant, was made. This time with much anticipation, of great food, of life's sinful indulgence, in wait for one to experience.

Upon entry of all customers, it is customary that the waiters ask the same question. "Any reservations?'' Perhaps a custom of Korea, perhaps it was auntie Kim's way of welcoming their guest. Once seated, the waitresses who looked young are very keen to take customers' orders and would visit the table several times to ask. Of Korean efficiency perhaps, or just Singaporean's enthusiasm. There was no sight of any auntie working.

The day's dinner open up with typical Korean side dishes, which consist the famous Korean kimchi. It was quite unfortunately that this restaurant charges extra for the second set of these side dishes, which is not the case in more generous Korean restaurants in Korea. Maybe this restaurant has localised to suit the habits of typical Singaporeans.

This is the same old pancake ($16), of great resemblance to the local fried oyster, minus the greasiness and added with much delight. It was as great as the taste from the first visit. If there be a third visit, which is most likely, another order of this pancake will certainly be made. The order of the grilled mackeral ($19) was a good one. It was flavourful and grilled with optimum duration. Suspiciously, it resembles the Japanese way of shioyaki. Howver, the mackeral was filled with bones which make eating this dish, a little of a hassle. Maybe this prevents customers from gobbling up and finish the fish too soon, maybe it tasted better when grilled with the bones.

There was another order of beef bone soup ($16), with lots of vegetables. The menu stated that this soup was used to relieve hangovers and interestingly include the phrase ''with lots of vegetable''. Only one simple word can describe this. ''Heavenly''. Heavenly, it was. The soup was fragrant and with the depth of the beef bones, and possibly some sinful fats, the soup was creamy yet without the vulgar beef stench. Korean drinkers must be loving their lives a lot. Extra orders of grilled beef ($16) and Korean fried rice ($15), however, were less memorable but possibly of slightly above average standards. Even after the meal, there was still no slight of any auntie.

This Korean restaurant's has relatively calming and beautiful indoor decorations. There is even a private room for customers if they want to have a better environment for their dining experience. Indeed, with the tables arranged close together, the restaurant can get overwhelmingly noisy, possibly even muting the background music entirely. However, it does make sense to choose a table or book a table in advance wisely, to avoid the deafening choice of being seated with the wrong customers.

Refilling of tea, which cost $0.50 each, was not done anymore when the meal was finished completely. The waitresses filled the tables of other eating customers and just deliberately missed the tables who had finished their dinner. Perhaps it was the Korean way of service, perhaps it was auntie Kim's idea.

The bill came to be quite a reasonable of slightly above $20 per person. This particular day was special because auntie Kim decided to reward their customers with a complimentary gift of 2 packets of Korean rice cake, made locally. Upon exiting the restaurant, the waiter would kindly open the door for their customers, in the hope of another revisit. However, there was still no auntie to be seen. There was a serious consideration of a revisit, but a taste of the ''free gifts'', however, quite turn the impression of this Korean restaurant around. The rice cakes tasted sweet initially, then with a bite, the salty sesame sauce inside would burst out. The chewing of the thick layer of flour cakes will take several long minutes, and the minutes felt like hours. One would just need one piece and this one piece will be sufficient. Perhaps the restuarant was just generous and was in much appreciation of their customers. Possibly the restaurant was quite into recycling; it was the leftovers that was left unsold. Whatever the reason was, it was as mysterious as auntie Kim.

Food: 7.5
Service: 6.5
Ambience: 7
Overall: 7.5

Previous visit

Friday, August 04, 2006

Gastroliterary 45: Italian @ Casa Roma

Casa Roma was revisited on the 29th of July; the 9th time.

The fish and seafood soup which consist of butter fish, prawns, shells, in Italian tomatoes, bay leaf and spice, is a new found love. Costing $19.90 may not sound too good, but it is has quantity large enough for a few people to share. And most importantly, the seafood is fresh and the tomato used gives the soup it's full flavour and the bright summer sweetness.

The pizza that is perhaps the star of this restaurant, is a little soggy in the centre. Today's special is homemade pasta, with ricotta, and smoked cheese. This dish is a heavy one and required stamina to finish, because of the cheese used.

It was interesting to notice the great diversity of the races visiting this restaurant. Other than some Singaporean Chinese, there was a family of Indian, a table of adult Japanese and some caucasians couples. Even the stuff working in the restaurant boost a range of ethinicities as well.

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