Stew Kuche’s German Pork Knuckle and Two Wings at Salute Coffee Shop

Stew Kuche’s German Pork Knuckle and Two Wings at Salute Coffee Shop

Address: 119 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-40

Opening hours: Tue to Fri 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10pm, Sat & Sun 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am, Closed on Mon

Reservation Phone Number: 62766445

Indroduction

Have you heard of a coffee shop that requires/accept reservation during weekend dinner time? Salute, one of the most hip coffee shops in Singapore, is filled with stalls selling “Ang Moh” style cuisine like speciality coffee, French cuisine and i am going to write about Stew Kuche, a stall that specialises in affordable German Cuisine. One of popular stalls, two wings, is also located in this coffee shop.

A friend (who wanted to be named), Charlie, recommended this place to me and swear that this is the most value for money Pork Knuckle that you can find in Singapore. He actually wanted me to link his name to his facebook. Charlie, if you are reading this, i am not going to do that.

Looks like an ordinary coffee shop from the outside

Stew Kuche

Stew Kuche, means Stew Kitchen in German. and it is most well known for their Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle). Not only it taste great, portion is big, the price is also rather economical.

When we mention pork knuckle, which part of the pig is the knuckle?
When people mention pork knuckle, they are actually referring to the hock of a pig. It is around the lower knee area of the pig that extends towards the ankle.

We ordered their pork knuckle platter which consist of a whole pork knuckle, potato wedges, achar, garden salad, mash potato and two German sausages. Typically, German Pork Knuckle comes with a side of Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) but theirs come with a local twist – our Singapore’s achar.

Stew Kuche ran out of garden salad and potato wedges so they gave us one more sausage(!) and five hash browns, which is awesome. I think the sausages are decent. Not exceptional, but very decent. The portion is quite big and i enjoyed it.

Their pork knuckle is the definitely the highlight and the whole platter only cost $35 nett. In a typical restauant, a banger and mash already cost you about $12. This platter is good to be shared by two to four pax depending on how hungry you are. The skin is crackling crispy and probably everyone will be fighting for it to the last bit.

The pork knuckle is well roasted and some parts of the exterior are a little drier. This can be rectified by dipping it into the bowl of brown sauce. At just $25 for a whole pork knuckle, i will choose this over Brotz**t’s easily. And what’s better than pork knuckle? Pork knuckle with German beer!

Two Wings

I have read about how much some bloggers raved about Two Wings online and I finally had a chance to try it. At $2+ per wing, it’s definitely not cheap to begin with. I feel that the marinade is a little similar to our Nasi Lemak’s wing so it’s no wonder that some people that think that Two Wings is actually not a big deal.

Menu: click to enlarge

The juicy wing is freshly fried and is evidently meatier and bigger in size comparing to a typical nasi lemak wing. I find Two Wings is rather good, just that there is no need to make a special trip down just for them.

Conclusion

Given the current cafe hopping culture, chilling out and hanging out at a coffee shop is considered as “not hip” and probably something that an elderly person would do. However, Salute smashed this perception totally.

Stew Kuche, apparently the main attraction in the coffee shop, offers the most reasonably priced German food and yet does not compromise on the taste. Pairing their pork knuckle with a few glasses of ice cold German beer and a couple of fried chicken wings is definitely one of the best ways to end a stressful day of work. Prost! – ein Toast!

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Lao Ban Zhai Roast Meat at Alexandra Village Hawker

Lau Phua Chay Roast Meat (老半齋烧腊)

Address: Alexandra Village Food Centre, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1,  #01-20

Opening hours: Sun to Fri 11.00am to 7.00pm, closed on Sat

Introduction

Lao Ban Zhai (老半齋) roast meat is definitely not foreign to friends that live around Alexandra area. It’s situated at a far corner of Alexandra Village Hawker Centre. They are well known for the char-roasted char siew and unique braised sauce.

Braised Sauce

Their style of braised sauce is in a class of their own and we are unlikely to find another one that is similar to theirs. Although it does not appear visually appealing, like a bit of mess, the taste tells an entirely different story.

I thought the braised sauce taste very much like a mix of bean paste and sweet melted onion bits. Some may find this dark lumpy sauce a little too sweet but i personally like it very much and thought that this is exactly what made Lao Ban Zhai Roast Meat unique.

Roasted Char Siew

Apart from the braised sauce, the number one must-order is their Char Siew. Unlike some hawker stalls, Lao Ban Zhai uses cut that are moderately fatty. Each pieces of Char Siew are roasted to Char that gives a consistent level of sweet crisp to the meat. The char siew is fatty but not greasy, and some pieces of fat char siew simply melt in my mouth.

I also got to mention their chilli. This chilli is evidently drizzled with lime juice (i think), that gives the spicy chilli a fruity sour taste that goes perfectly with the Char Siew. It’s similar to how a piece of lime enhances the taste of a piece of a roasted chicken wing.

Lao Ban Zhai also sells roast meat and duck. I thought the two are NOT BAD, but the Char Siew is the one that is worth the calorie.

Conclusion

At $3.50 a plate, apart from the great tasting Char Siew and rice, you will still get a bowl of cabbage soup. I thought Lao Ban Zhai Char Siew rice is really well worth the money.

I enjoyed Lao Ban Zhai Roast Meat a lot while I was working in that area. Despite the long queue, it’s always worth the wait during lunch time. It’s one of my favourite Char Siew rice in Singapore and i will try to patronise this stall whenever i am in that area.

Alkaff Mansion – One of the Most Romantic Restaurants in Singapore

Alkaff Mansion @ Telok Blangah Green

Address (Google Map): 10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178

Opening Hours:

Lunch: Mon – Fri 11.30am to 2.30pm (last order at 2pm)

Dinner: Mon – Sun 6.00pm to 10.30pm (last order at 10pm)

Afternoon Tea: Mon – Sat 11.30am to 3.30pm (last seating at 2.30pm)

Weekend Terrace Brunch: Sat, Sun and PH 10.00am to 3.30pm (last order at 3pm)

Reservation Contact Number: 6510 3068

Introduction

Alkaff Mansion is reputed as one of the most romantic restaurants in Singapore. i celebrated my birthday once, and also attended a friend’s wedding at Alkaff Mansion. This is my third visit  and I would like to thank Jeanette from Sixth Sense Communications & PR Consultancy for the media invite and Alkaff Mansion for hosting me.

Sunset at Alkaff Mansion

History of Alkaff Mansion

The history of the Mansion goes way back to the 1918 and has been around for almost a century. The mansion was built by Arab (Yemeni) immigrants as their weekend retreat bungalow and was subsequently abandoned during WWII. It reopened as a restaurant in the 1980 but closed down in 2003.

In 2010, the management of Alkaff Mansion, LHN Culinary Concepts, won the bid from Singapore Land Authority and renovated the mansion at about $5 million and turned it into the current posh Italian restaurant.

The Interior and Ambience

I was quite mesmerised by the whole ambience of Alkaff Mansion when I first visit them in 2013. It is something quite un-Singapore.  What greeted me after a small flight of stairs are patches of lush greenery and the sounds of water fountain.

No traffic can be spotted here as the Mansion is totally tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  There was a performance put up by an unplugged band at the Gazebo that overlooks the outdoor terrace dining area while the guests enjoy the al-fresco dining that’s accompanied by the soft relaxing music.

The main dining area is at level one of the Mansion. Each dining table is very well-spaced from each other to ensure couple get to enjoy their private lovely dovely moments. The lavish interior design and the dimly lited dining area sets the perfect mood for a romantic dinner.

The Food Menu

The newly appointed Executive Chef, Simone Depalmas, is a native Sardinia (Italy) that had more than 20 years old culinary experience. Chef Simone added his own Sardinian flair to dishes and came out with a couple of refreshing items on their menu.

Alkaff Mansion Menu 1 of 2 (click to enlarge)

Alkaff Mansion Menu 2 of 2

Slow Cooked Sardinian Style Suckling Pig ($46++) 

This is one of my favourite dishes of the day. This Suckling Pig is roasted in it’s own fats for a few hours at 70 degree celsius to ensure the chunks of meat is evenly cooked and remain tender. The preparation method reminds me of duck confit.

The heat is turned high towards the end to produce the delicate crispy skin texture. I am pleasently surprise that this roast pork goes really well with the dash of berries compote.

Oven Baked Lamb Rack ($45++)

I tend to avoid lamb due to the distinctive strong smell that comes with it, but Alkaff Mansion’s lamb rack has none of it. The lamb rack is baked to a good medium pink that gives the lamb a smooth and succulent texture. i could not get enough of their caramelised onion and the sauce goes perfectly with the celeriac mash. I feel that the portion can be a little bigger though.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto Superfino Acquerello with Thyme ($28++)

The dish that gains my favour the most is not the most fanciful or the most expensive but it’s this simple and yet delightful dish. The rich garlicky mushroom broth is well-absorbed by the Superfino Acquerello fluffy-soft rice grain and this dish is complete by dousing a small amount of truffle oil. Those who like strong flavour like me will enjoy this risotto very much.

Fresh Mint Vanilla Panna Cotta ($14++)

Panna Cotta is my favourite kind of Italian dessert that is mainly made from cream, milk, sugar and gelatin, and Alkaff Mansion’s is one of the best that I had so far. The mixed berries sauce gives a good balance between the sweet vanilla flavour and a fruity sour-sweet taste and is complement by a very subtle taste of mint that gives a refreshing aftertaste. Savoring this sweet wobbly-soft pudding should be the best way to conclude a nice romantic dinner.

Other dishes

Gran Misto Di Mare – At $68++, consisting of Tuna Tatare, fresh Lobster, Tiger Prawn, Sea Bass and Octopus, this seafood platter will certainly make an impression on your first date. The portion is honestly is a little too big for two pax.

Fregola Ai Frutti De Mare ($28++) – Fregola is a uniquely Sardinian ball-shape pasta, each rolled into a diameter of 2-3 mm and toasted in oven. It’s then simmered in tomato-base sauce with clams and squids. The pearl-like texture is rather refreshing.

Conclusion

It’s always a pleasure to visit Alkaff Mansion. Despite the higher-than-average price tag, it’s truly a different dining experience that is reasonable to pay for the extra bucks. There is no pressure to leave right after dining. Grab a patio couch near the outdoor fountain area that’s dimly lited with a tea light and enjoy the rest of the night under the moonlight. This place will always be at the back of my head when my friends ask for recommendation for a classy romantic dinner venue.

For friends who are not driving, i encourage you to go down in a cab. It is possible to climb up to Alkaff Mansion from the bottom of the hill but trust me, get a cab, unless you are dining in running attire.

The Grand Marquee at a glance, mainly for holding functions like wedding banquet.