Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Singapore Kitchen

It was a hard task planning a gathering for 12 people when you factor in everyone's busy schedules but we finally agreed on Singapore Kitchen in West Ryde mainly due to the lure of their Singapore Chilli Crab. At 7pm on a cold wintry Saturday evening we walked into Singapore Kitchen on Victoria Road and found that our group had been split over two tables due to the tiny seating area. Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner (more like a feast I'd say!).

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The tiny restaurant with the oldish charm. (The decor reminded H of old restaurants in Singapore.)

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Cincau Drink (grass jelly drink). These were home-made and really good. Unlike the canned variety, the sweetness of the drink was just right.

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What's a Singaporean dinner without satay? The Chicken Satay ($5.50 for 4 sticks), grilled over a charcoal pit was tender, moist and authentically well-balanced in flavour. Yum!

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Singapore Fried Kway Teow ($9.00). Although these are different from the Malaysian fried kway teow H assures me that this dish here is very close in taste to the ones cooked in Singapore hawker stalls. It only lacks authenticity as the restaurant did not get their supply of cockles which really would go well in this dish. H also said that in Singapore, in really good ones, you find pieces of fried lard.

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I luuuuuurvve this dish of Okra in Nyonya Sambal ($8.90). The Peranakan style chilli paste (sambal) brings me back to lunches and dinners at my grandma's.

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Teow Chew Style Duck - only by special order. We didn't even know they did this dish but Uncle Sam (the owner) asked if we wanted one as they had made an extra plate just for tonight. The duck was tender and moist and the combination of cucumber, hard tofu, tau pok (deep-fried tofu) and the sauce was just right.

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Chicken Curry ($8.90) - Peranakan influence was very evident in Singapore Kitchen's chicken curry and it was oh so yummy. The influence was probably due to the fact that the chef (Uncle Sam's wife) is of a Peranakan heritage.

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We ordered a side of Roti Canai ($3.50 for 2 pieces) to go with the curry. The roti was very buttery, too buttery for my taste, but went very well with the curry.

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Kang Kung w/ Belacan ($8.90) - The Kang Kung (also known as morning glory at Thai restaurants or water spinach) was cooked with just the right balance of shrimp paste (belacan) that resulted in a delicious dish which we finished rather quickly!

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Hainanese Chicken Rice ($9.50) - The aromatic chicken rice had a nice, clean flavour with tender pieces of chicken. However, due to the robust flavours of the other dishes the chicken rice went on the back burner of our taste buds.

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When Uncle Sam laid down a dish of baguette on the table we got really excited as this was the prelude to the reason why we were in Singapore Kitchen....

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Singapore Chilli Crab (market price - We paid $80 for one mud crab). We had ordered 4 mud crabs for the 12 of us and they served them one at a time which was great because once we finished a plate another steaming hot plate would come out almost instantly out of the kitchen. Back to the food; the sauce was sooo delicious. It was slightly spicy (ok some at the table found it too spicy so maybe it's my Malaysian trained tastebud), sweet and sourish all at the same time. We doggy bagged the leftover sauce and cooked it with hokkien noodles and fresh squid tubes the day after ;)

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Durian Puffs ($8.50) - Wow! The durian meat was fabulous. These are air-flown in from Penang which explains why the durian fillings are fresh, rich and sweet. I just wished we had a whole durian, or two, to dig into.

Singapore Kitchen
Shop1, 991 Victoria Road
West Ryde NSW 2114

(02) 9807 3088

Open
Lunch 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner 5.30pm - 8.30pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday

Note: Bookings essential on weekends

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sushi Arigato

I've had a craving for Japanese food for a while now so one Saturday night, H and I made our way to Sushi Arigato on Stanley Street.
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H ordered the Arigato Dinner Special - Yakiniku Sashimi Set ($19.90). The beef was tender and tasty but only 5 pieces of meat. But then again considering all the other food you get; sashimi (very fresh), tempura, salad, miso soup and rice, this is great value for money.

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As for myself I had ordered the Sushi Set D ($16.80) which was a plate of combination nigri (as above), seafood katsu, today's side dish, miso soup and salad. Unfortunately the "today's side dish" came out almost towards the end of the meal and I forgot to take a picture of it. The side dish however was seriously yummy. It was prawns battered and wrapped in noodles then deep fried and a sweet sauce poured over it. Yum!

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Seafood Katsu was delicious too. The batter with dried breadcrumbs was crispy and oh so tasty with Japanese mayo.

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Miso Soup and Salad w/ Ponzu Dressing

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Due to our cravings for Japanese food we decided to stuff ourselves and ordered an extra dish - Grilled Salmon nigri ($9.90). The mayo and sweet sauce dressing over the grilled salmon was a tad too much but they added extra flavour to the dish. Although the salmon was seared with a blow torch, by the time it got to our table it was quite cool which was a bit of a let down. Will visit Sushi Arigato again though as it's great value for money.

Arigato Sushi
83 Stanley Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Palace Chinese Restaurant

I had heard about this place from a colleague who claims that this place gives Golden Century a run for their money. Naturally, I had to go try it! One Saturday morning, a couple of weeks ago, H and I woke up with cravings for yum cha. I made some quick calls to see who else was interested in joining us (the more ppl at yum cha the more variety of dishes we get to order) but sadly we only managed to get one other person to join us for the ride. (We'll have to go back to try their dinner menu another time).

We walked in to the restaurant and things are pretty calm compared to the chaotic mess at other yum cha restaurants with trolleys bumping into each other. Service was good too. I'm especially impressed by the smiling trolley ladies.

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The Har Gow (prawn dumplings) were fantastic. The chef has the magical touch when seasoning the dish that results in a beautifully seasoned prawn dumpling.

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Equally beautiful were the Siu Mai (pork dumpling). Two of my favourite dishes.

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Black Bean Steamed Pork - I loved the taste of this dish; slightly salty, slightly sweet, with a hint of black bean.

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Wu Gok (taro dumpling) - Light and crispy on the outside and hot and steamy on the inside!

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This place has the smoothest and lightest Radish Cake I've had in Sydney. I usually just have a bite or two of Radish Cake lest I get too full but this time I had to have a whole piece all to myself.

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Vegetarian Bean Curd Skin Roll - *swoon* This were so delicious that I'm at a loss on how to describe this dish.

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Chicken Feet in Black Bean - The skin on the chicken feet were soft and tender, and tasty to boot.

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The only let down were the Tan Tart (Egg Custard Tart). They were very rich, to rich in fact that I couldn't even finished one Egg Custard Tart.


Palace Chinese Restaurant
Piccadilly Tower
Level 1, 133-145 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 9283 6288

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Uighur

After an exciting day spent eating and drinking at the Good Food n Wine Show, Ms S, H and I made our way to Uighur on Dixon Street to meet up with friends visiting from Singapore for dinner. We left Ms S to do most of the ordering as she was the only one who has been to the restaurant before and what a great job she did! Thanks Sis! We had so much to eat and they were all delicious and dirt cheap too. The bill came up to $116 shared amongst the 7 of us which made it $17 pp (rounding up here) . I have to apologise though as I've forgotten the Uighur names of most of the dishes except one (see if you can tell which one) and have used my take of what these dishes were to me.

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We started off with the Lamb Kebab. These were so divinely tasty that one plate was just not enough. We quickly ordered another which was wolfed down in minutes.

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Pumpkin Samosa - The pumpkin (steamed? then mashed and seasoned) was light and sweet, encased in a thick pastry that made this dish pretty filling. A note of advice; this dish should be eaten when hot otherwise the pastry becomes cold and hard.

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Uighur's Meat Pancake are super delicious. The combination of meat in pastry reminds me of the Malaysian Murtabak but the pastry used in this Uighur dish was much denser.

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Hmm.. I can't seem to recall what this dish was called but it's a bread; soft and spongy and proved very useful when scooping up remnants of the stew (below).

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Uighur's Lamb Dumplings - These were yummy. The meat was slighty juicy and the seasoning was just right (meaning the spices were not too overpowering as you would find in most Northern Chinese dishes).

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The Beef Stew here was seriously yummy that I wanted to suck on the bones after all the meat had been eaten ;) hehe The broth was rich and tasty; just right for the colder months.

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The Chicken Stew was equally good. Writing this review and going through the pictures are enough to make me crave the food at Uighur.

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Ding Ding Saomian - Finely cut Uighur noodles with stir fried vegetables and lamb. The only fault of this dish was that the noodles were cut too small. I would have had more satisfaction from this dish if I was able to slurp up the noodle.

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To counter all that meatiness in the other dishes we ordered the Stir Fry Vegetables in a bid to meet our daily vegetable intake ;) The vegies were sadly a tad salty.

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Our other vegetable dish which was a combination of eggplant and capsicum stir-fried in some sort of black bean sauce was really good. The eggplant was velvety smooth and matched the texture of the sauce really well.

Uighur
1/8 Dixon Street
Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 9267 8555

Monday, July 6, 2009

Abhi's

Abhi's - I've seen this name around for a while now and it didn't click until Mrs B suggested this place for Mr B's birthday dinner that I've seen Abhi's in the Entertainment Book and that I've always wanted to try it.

Walking into the restaurant, H and I were impressed by the decor and the cosy ambience they've created. Not only that, the service was excellent too. The waiters were very attentive and professional, always keeping an eye out for empty glasses and clearing away empty plates.

Our group of 8 had the Banquet B ($47.50 pp or $49.50 incl dessert) dinner menu which was a huge feast.

Starter
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We started off with Papadums. I would have loved this more if the Papadums were straight out of the deep fryer.

Entrees
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Palak Patta Chat - Spinach leaves in crispy lentil batter, topped w yoghurt, chilli and mint sauce. The spinach in lentil butter were tasty but overpowered by the amount of yoghurt, chilli and mint sauce covering this spinach.

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Chicken Tikka and Angari Chops (Lamb cutlets marinate in yoghurt, sandalwood powder, ginger and saffron). Both were nicely cooked - tender and juicy.

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Crab Iddiappam - Shelled blue swimmer crab tossed w/ black mustard seeds, fresh tomatoes and ginger. A new dish for me which I quite like. The blue swimmer was light and tasty and went really well with the noodles.

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Masala Dosa - Would have loved it more if they were crispier / thinner :)

Mains (By the time the mains arrived I was pretty stuffed from all the entrees)
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Basmati Rice

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Goa Fish Curry - Barramundi fillets cooked in a sauce of coriander seeds, cumin, turmeric powder and freshly ground coconut. I was looking forward to trying this dish especially after watching Kate cooked a similar dish on Masterchef but after tasting this I found Abhi's version pretty bland. It might just be me as H liked the taste.

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Patiala Goat Curry - A Punjabi style slow cooked goat with milled chillies, tomato, mace and garam masala finished off with fresh coriander. The goat meat was pretty tender and the sauce was rich and tasty.

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Aloo Matar - Vegetarian Curry

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Beef Chilli Coconut - Cooked with fennel, coconut milk, fresh curry leaves and roasted dry chillies.

Dessert
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Pistachio Kulfi - Cubes of pistachio kulfi served in tiny silver bowls. I wasn't too impressed with the presentation of the dessert as I believe they could have put more thought into it after all the good they've done in terms of decor and ambience.

Overall I think I have a love/hate relationship with Abhi's. I loved the entrees but am not won over by the luke warm curries. Hmm.. Could this be because we ordered the Banquet menu? I've encountered similar experiences in Chinese restaurants where the a la carte dishes are always way better then the banquet menus.


Abhi's
163 Concord Road
North Strathfield NSW 2137

(02) 9743 3061