Hei Sushi @ Downtown East

June 29, 2008

It has been one of my life long dreams to experience eating sushi served on a conveyor belt. The idea of food being served to your table endlessly somehow seemed to excite me more ways than one! I finally understood what it felt like to be a kid in a toy shop, grabbing anything that was vehicular or that could talk back to you the moment you press a button.

(On a related side note, I did not have a deprived childhood! Just a childhood without visits to Toy’s R Us since Mak did not believe in toys but rather in pieces of cardboard with many red dots on it to teach us how to count. -_-‘ Well I did manage to get into Law didn’t I?)

Okay. I have to confess that it was only the novelty of food being served on the conveyor belt that excited me, NOT the sushi. I do not love sushi. I do not hate it either. However, this visit would probably last me for a year or two before I would even look at anything that is remotely resembles a sushi. Hence my decision to order something other than sushi. 😀

Salmon Tama Don Donburi

I wanted to order Ramen initially or something with Teriyaki in it. But in an effort to be more adventurous, I decided to order something that I assumed would not be available elsewhere – Salmon Tama Don Donburi! It basically consist of rice topped with cooked salmon fried in a special batter, and then fried together with egg. I especially loved the egg because they had added some seasoning which made it so much more savory and memorable! The fact that the salmon was cooked and fried in a batter made it even more delicious for me simply because it masked the natural fishy taste of salmon. Although I have not acquired a taste for salmon, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed eating this dish.

Tori Chawanmushi

This dish called Tori Chawanmushi was ordered by Huda, the one I shall refer to as The Sushi Veteran since she claimed that she has been eating sushi from such a young age! (I for one only started eating sushi when I was in secondary school? But that was like once in a blue moon!) According to The Sushi Veteran, this is basically a fermented egg dish, with an assortment of things being added to it. I thought it tasted vaguely like tofu, due to its light texture and smooth consistency. I thought it was okay, nothing spectacular. 😀

[Edited – According to my friend Sau Yee, this is a steamed egg dish rather than a fermented one! Thanks Saus!]

By now you must be wondering – Where are all the sushi? Give me my sushi! Well here they are, in no particular order of merit or preference (More like as and when they came along the conveyor belt. Why can’t I have delicious Malay food being served on a conveyor belt, like Hajjah Maimunah’s Ayam Bakar or like Sinar Pagi’s Ayam Bakar Sunda? BUT I digress..)

Baby Octopus Ajitsuke Idako

The Baby Octopus Ajitsuke Idako was grabbed (and I do mean grabbed!) by The Sushi Veteran from the conveyor belt. (I’m not exactly sure that this is the name of the dish since it was not listed in the menu, but the way in which the baby octopus was prepared is similar to a sushi in the menu). 

THEN she asked Kakak and I whether we would like to share the dish. Kakak was like “Er, they look alive!” I thought to myself, “Is that a whole octopus?!?!?” Although I preferred my food not to be too sweet, under a strict low sugar regime by health conscious Mak, I thought the sweetness of the sauce complemented the chewy texture of the baby octopus. It was actually quite good!

Fried Maki

When I saw the Fried Maki on the conveyor belt, I was like “Hey WHAT IS THAT?“. This had caught my attention because a) This sushi was fried, something I thought never existed and b) It was a non-red plate dish, which meant that it only cost $1.88 rather than the red plates which are $6.88. A month being unemployed filled with endless shopping, eating, diving lessons and chalet bookings had taken a severe toll on my wallet. Hence my more fiscally prudent eating choices. Or so I thought. There were basically rice and pieces of crab inside. Again this was good, nothing spectacular.

Dragon Roll

The Sushi Veteran was eyeing the Dragon Roll on the menu ever since we came into the restaurant. Yes I know it looks eerily green right? I must say this is one of the more unconventional sushis I have ever seen, since instead of seaweed, the sushi is covered by strips of avocado! The Sushi Veteran thought that she has tasted better Dragon Rolls elsewhere. I thought besides the sweetness of the avocado, there’s nothing much to talk about.

Soft Shell Crab Makimono

Ever since I read the review on Putri Berendam on the delicious soft shell crabs being served here, I wanted to try it out as well! Due to my dire financial situation (I need my GST credits now!), a more cheaper version had to be ordered! Hence the Soft Shell Crabs Makimono. I think Putri summed it succinctly “Crispy, crunchy and yet the flesh is sweet and soft“. I wish I had more crabs (and more money). AHHHH!

Tempura Ice Cream

This was our dessert, Tempura Ice Cream. Kakak and I were like WHAT? Tempura Ice Cream? Its basically Ice Cream covered with a layer of tempura batter which is fried to a crisp, topped out with strawberry sauce! I thought I was eating Ice Cream Roti, you know the ones you can get when the uncle on the motorbike comes to your neighborhood and announces his presence by ringing the bell? Then Ayah would immediately come running down to buy a few for his anak-anak. In the past once he comes back Abang, Kakak and I would immediately hound him for the Ice Cream. Now he would leave it in the fridge and once every few nights one would disappear. I wonder who is/are the Ice Cream Roti Stealer/Stealers? 😀

Hei Sushi

Similar to Fresh Bulggogi, the food not being served on the conveyor belt can be ordered through the computer screens as can be seen in the photo. I was telling Kakak that based on what I have read online, on average a meal here can cost up to $50 plus for two to three persons. I told her that we needed to restrain ourselves so that we would not spend that much. Even though we didn’t order much sushi, because of the Donburi Kakak and I ordered (Kakak had the Teriyaki Chicken Don Donburi), the bill came up to a whopping $69! A futile exercise of fiscal prudence. :C

On a more happier note, finally one of my life long dreams satisfied! Next on my list, traveling around the world. I wonder when THAT will happen. 😀

Hei Sushi (Singapore’s First Halal Sushi Belt Restaurant)

Downtown East

1 Pasir Ris Close #01-01/02

Tel: 6582 8467

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Polar Puffs & Cakes @ Tampines Mall

June 28, 2008

I have always loved the Chicken Pie at Polar Puffs & Cakes because its always very very hard to get halal baked goods stuffed with meat in Singapore. 

Polar Chicken Pie

Not the most flattering photo of the Chicken Pie I must say. 😀 What I love about the pie is the lightness and flakiness of the crust! Although it seems that the chicken filling seems to be getting lesser and lesser these past few years. Hrumph!

Mak has been wanting to buy eclairs ever since she ate them at one of my cousin’s weddings. Since we received Polar Puffs and Cakes vouchers from Starhub, she decided to try the ones available there. 

Polar Eclairs

Even though I am not a regular eclair consumer, this eclair has little to be desired. I was expecting for there to be a chocolate cream filling inside, or that the bread puff be of a softer texture despite the fact that it is frozen, or that the chocolate coating would simply melt once it reaches my mouth. 

Well it failed on all three counts. The chocolate coating is as hard as a rock, the bread puff was tough and the cream was just simply that – cream and nothing else. 

Mak knows that Ayah is a big fan of all things durian. So she spent the rest of the vouchers on the Durian Puffs.

Polar Durian Puffs

Again this was also a disappointment. The bread puff was hard, and the cream inside was not purely made of durian flesh but of a cream that tasted like durian. I was expecting the cream to be made of 100% durian flesh, like the Durian Puffs I always love to buy at the basement of Takashimaya. Definitely not one of the best durian puff I have ever tasted. 

I agree with what Kakak said. Polar is only good at making pies and puffs with the flaky crust. Maybe they should just stick to that and nothing else.


Breeks @ Takashimaya

June 28, 2008

I have always been a fish or a chicken kind of guy. I would always stay clear of beef steaks, knowing that white meat is a better source of protein, and that cost of steaks are astronomically higher than other dishes. But somehow I began nursing a craving for steak after my friends and I decided to meet at Breeks for dinner. Hence upon arrival, I immediately decided to order the Australian Chilled Ribeye with Black Pepper Cream Sauce.

Australian Chilled Ribeye with Black Pepper Cream Sauce

First off, I must say that the Black Pepper Cream sauce is fantastic! I could really taste the spiciness of the black pepper the moment the sauce touched the taste buds in my mouth! Although most people who don’t usually eat steak would rather have the steak be well done, I prefer the steak to be medium rare, so that it remains juicy and tender.

Since my mantra for eating is always to save the best for the last, I ate the boiled vegetables and the fried tomatoes first before attacking the steak – to the amusement of Nurul who was sitting beside me since I diligently separated the vegetables, potatoes and the steak.

Although the steak and sauce was fantastic, I thought that the boiled vegetables and fried potatoes didn’t go well with the steak. Something was missing. As I walked home, it hit me – Chilli Sauce! Yes, you heard me! Not for the steak but for the vegetables and fried potatoes because they tasted quite bland eaten separately from the steak and black pepper sauce! I should have asked the waiter for chilli sauce. My Chinese friend was so amused once when I ate something (I can’t remember what!) with chilli sauce. He claims its symbolizes the “true Malay Taste”! HA! All I know is that Chilli Sauce has always been my good friend, and will continue to be for years to come! 😀

Peppermint Tiara

I had the Peppermint Tiara for dessert. I wondered why they named it Tiara, since it was neither Miss Universe material, nor did it physically resemble a Tiara in any way.

I have always been loyal to chocolate. If Chilli Sauce is my good friend, I would say that I am married to Chocolate! Although I must add that Chocolate can only be enjoyed monogamously, not like Chilli Sauce which has always been promiscuous. 😀 Anyway, since Yusri ordered something Chocolate, I decided to go with Peppermint, since it was my second choice (Or shall I call it my mistress? HAHAHAH!) I thought that the brown portions were chocolate ice cream, but it turned out to be chocolate powder! It was like drinking Milo Dinosaur, just that the Peppermint was solid. It certainly satisfied my hunger! 😀

On a dessert related note, I must definitely try the Massive Attack from Breeks one day! Just imagine a champagne glass x 10 in size, filled with all the ice cream you can imagine, topped with cream, cherries and oreos! THE ULTIMATE SIN! Sigh.

Overall the meal was good. The service was definitely much better than the last time I came, despite the busy Friday dinner traffic. I guess some waiters do need the pressure to provide better services. On another note, my friend had some trouble booking the place on Friday. Apparently Breeks! does not do reservations for Friday dinners, something which I thought was weird.

Anyway, it was great meeting up with my Vega OG mates from the Malay Social Camp 2007! Its been a year since we had orientation and it was great to catch up! Hope to spend more time with you guys soon!

 

Breeks! Cafe

391A Orchard Road #05-29

Ngee Ann City

Singapore 238 873

Tel: 6738 3368 Fax: 6738 9298

(Opening hours: 11.30am to 10.30pm)


Badoque @ Simpang Bedok

June 24, 2008

I have been so eager to try the food at Badoque ever since I saw the review in Berita Minggu and reading about it in Putri Berendam, which has become my Halal Food Bible of sorts. This was where I found Sakunthala’s, after my friends and I agreed that the criteria for the Indian restaurant we were going to in Little India must include Tandoori Chicken, Garlic Naan, Air Conditioning and must be full of people eating as evidence of its popularity and great food. I absolutely forgot to take photos of the food since I was too busy catching up with my friends from various universities, both local and overseas. BUT I digress.

I have been trying to persuade my family to go eat at Badoque for a few times – First for Mother’s Day, which was later cancelled due to the fact that my mother wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day with her mother, my grandmother, and we went to eat at Delifrance Bistro at Changi Airport (I know! What is it with me and eating at the airport?!?). Second was for Kakak and Mak’s Birthday Meal, which was at Fresh Bulggogi as blogged about previously. Finally, after telling Fatma and Hui Chuan about Badoque during our meal at Bali Thai, I managed to persuade them to join me for a meal at Badoque (Although I must say it was not difficult being fellow foodies and all!)

Since there were so many delicious sounding things on the menu, we decided to order a few dishes so that we all could try each other’s dishes. I must apologise for not having the exact spelling of the dishes, or even the names when I list them on my post. I absolutely forgot to note it down from the menu! I must add that it was an interesting menu, full of corny and cute names for the food!

For the starters, I ordered the Turkey Ham and Cheese Bruchetta. Having heard of Bruchetta from a TV show, I have always wanted to try a Bruchetta. But to my surprise it was simply Sliced Roti Perancis or French Loaf with a piece of Turkey Ham, a slice of tomato and Cheese! Although the simplicity of the dish astounded my wallet (Having to pay so much for a dish I could make myself at home, which i did for breakfast today by changing the turkey ham with tuna), it was quite delicious to say the least. The bread was soft and the cheese literally melted in my mouth! Now I can add this to the list of things I can cook, alongside eggs and maggi.

Fatma order the other starter called Gambas Ala Pil Pil. It looked vaguely like sambal udang to me, but with less sambal. Upon eating the first prawn, Fatma claimed that she could easily have cooked this at home and proceeded to list down various ingredients, all of which I cannot remember. This Italian (I am assuming that this is since this is an Italian restaurant) dish was spicy but not overwhelmingly so like most Malay dishes. Next time if we were to ever cook for each other, Fatma can make this while I make the Bruchetta. HA!

This was what I ordered – the Margharita! No not the alcoholic drink. I have always wanted to try pasta with stings stuffed inside it. If my memory serves me correctly, there is a type of cheese and hazelnuts inside the pasta. I was quite happy with my dish simply because it was cream based, although it reminded me vaguely of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom I had just a few days ago. But I felt somewhat dissatisfied after the meal which I later rationalised to be the fact that my main course did not contain any meat! Being an avid meat eater, having no meat in the dish leaves me somewhat dissatisfied. This is not a criticism against the dish itself. I didn’t fully realise there was no meat in the dish, until after I finished eating and left the restaurant. :C 

I have no memory of the name of the dish except that it starts with a letter P? Omg. If anyone reads this and knows what dish is, please tell me! You have done a great service to me and to all those halal foodies out there by who simply must know the name of this dish! As seen in the picture, this pasta has a tomato based sauce. The pasta itself is also filled with a certain type of cheese which I cannot remember and some other things. According to Fatma, it was quite a nice dish, although she, like me, prefers the cream based pasta rather than the tomato based one.

[Edited – Fatma has graciously reminded me that the name of the dish is Panzarotti. Thanks Fatma!]

“This” was ordered by Hui Chuan. I call this “This” because I can’t remember the name of this dish! This was specially recommended by the waiter serving us, who had also recommended the other dishes we had ordered. Upon the first bite, Hui Chuan immediately said that this reminded me of a dish she used to eat at her neighbour’s house during Hari Raya. I was like Rendang? Ayam Masak Merah? I took a bite of it and confirmed that it had a vague sensory resemblance to Ayam Masak Merah! I must also justify this by saying that this dish fell into a part of the menu where the dishes did not seem to be Italian but more suited for the Malay palate. It was quite delicious though according to Hui Chuan. She finished everything and left only the bones. 😀

[Edited – This is not an Italian dish according to Fatma but a Spanish dish, like Gambas Ala Pil Pil. And according to sj, this dish is called Chicken Khuzee. Thanks sj!]

Last but not least, we have dessert! Being seated right in from of the glass refrigerator displaying all the cakes, we knew we simply had to try them to complete the full Badoque experience. Of the eight cakes that were available, we ordered six, since the menu stated that it came in six or twelve (If my memory serves me correctly) I like cakes that are moist, or in the case of chocolate cakes, fudgy. But the cakes did not meet to my expectations. I thought most of the cakes I tried were a little dry. Maybe the cake is supposed to be dry. Then this critique of the cakes would just be a reflection of my particular taste preferences, as I am sure most of you have as well.

Overall I must say that Badoque was a pleasant experience, not because of the food, but because of the service. He was extremely attentive to our needs and questions, and actually knelt down beside us while we sat at out table, explaining to us the dishes and how they were prepared! Although I must confess we were the ONLY customers in the restaurant then (Therefore, he did not have to serve anyone but us!) other people who have went to Badoque have also positively commented on their excellent service.

I hope that their restaurant would remain sustainable in the long run, and remain as one of the few halal restaurants I can count on for great food and excellent service!

 

Badoque (S) Cafe Pte Ltd.

298 Bedok Rd (aka Simpang Bedok)

Bedok Shopping Complex

Singapore 469454


Fresh Bulggogi @ Changi Airport

June 24, 2008

Is blogging a phase I go through, like some teenagers do? Or am I the kind of person that gets passionate about something at the start and then loses interest somewhere along the way?

Hmm. I am beginning to think I fall into the latter category, sometimes not having the motivation or inspiration to wax lyrical about all things halal (mostly food and not other halal-related issues), or ruminate over the issues facing the Malay community. 

But there are the rare moments when I do feel inspired, especially when I have a relatively good or exceedingly bad experience while eating.

Before I start my review of Fresh Bulggogi, I must add a disclaimer that my sensitive senses cannot stomach anything remotely connected to table barbeque food (like Seoul Garden, Hans River etc). This revelation could not have come at a more inopportune time when I nearly projectile vomitted on the lawyer I was working for before I matriculated, in the middle of a table barbeque meal (I shan’t say where!). This has nothing to the with the food being served at the restaurant itself, but due to the fact that the food I was cooking and eating were either undercooked or burnt. Although I ordered something that was already cooked in Fresh Bulggogi, the smell of the table barbeque was nauseating in itself causing me to make a premature exit, even before Ayah had paid for the meal.

Chicken Bulgogi Rice

The first thing when I asked myself when I read about the restaurant in Berita Harian was What in the world is a Bulggogi? So when I saw that there was a Chicken Bulggogi Rice dish on the menu, which was cooked and ready to eat, I immediately told the rest of my family that this is what I was ordering. 

And if you are wondering why I would have agreed to torment myself to such misery knowing the probability of me projectile vomitting in the middle of the meal, this restaurant was chosen by Kakak and Mak who were both celebrating their birthdays! And the meal was being fully sponsored by Ayah, since we both had a consensus that he would settle the food while Abang and I would settle the gifts for Kakak and Mak.

Although I am a soup kind of guy, I thought the dryness of the rice were compensated by the different tastes in the dish itself – from the spiciness of the Kimchi, to the sweetness of the Chicken Bulggogi (which I am assuming that it is the sauce that is used to cook the chicken) and the natural tastes of the tauge and vegetables. To all those who cannot stomach table barbeque food but have to accompany friends, family or loved ones to this place, this is a definite must try, and would appease your sensitive senses, as it did mine.

Fried Mushroom

This was another cooked meal that I dared to eat – Fried Mushrooms. I must say that this was better than the ones I had in ZingDo, simply because they offer a wide variety of mushrooms, not only one type. I wish I could list you the names of the mushrooms that are available on the menu, but between eating my food and trying to prevent the nausea from causing me to projectile vomit on my brother sitting across me, I did not had the chance. The mushrooms were crispy, yet chewy on the inside, just the way I like it. YUM!

The only unique thing about this restaurant is that you must specifically order what you want to cook and eat. This is different from Seoul Garden or Hans RIver where you pay a certain amount for the buffet that allows you to take as much as you want (which does not mean that you have to finish them). And another cool thing about this place is that you don’t have to call a waiter to order your food. You simply order it through the computer located at your table as you can see on the top right hand corner of the above photograph. Which would explain the rather unresponsive service staff who seemed to forget that my mother wanted a glass of plain water, or that we wanted to refill the soup in the middle of our table barbeque. 

All I can say is, if you would like to experience the novelty of ordering through a computer, please go right ahead.

 

Fresh Bulggogi

Changi International Airport

Terminal 2 No 2 Airport Boulevard

Viewing Mall South

Unit No 036-059 at Level 3