Platypus Kitchen, by Lobster Shack at Bugis Junction

Platypus Kitchen at Bugis Junction

Address (Google Map): 200 Victoria Street #03-29 Bugis Junction

Opening hours: Daily, 12.00pm to 10.00pm

Introduction

Platypus Kitchen first opened for business in end 2012 and they pride themselves to serve the freshest handmade paste and to offer gourmet cuisine at affordable price.

They are actually the same group of people managing the famous lobster shack at China Square. In October 2014, they revamped their menu and incorporated their famous lobster roll from Lobster Shack as part of the menu.

Menu: Click to enlarge

Chicken Garlic Creme Risotto (S$16.90++)

I like my risotto’s rice grain to have a well-defined texture and Platypus’ rice grain is a little too mashy and soft. From the name Chicken Garlic Creme Risotto, i was expecting something more robust in taste.

The garlic flavour is strong and is to my liking but overall it fell short for it’s taste. The portion is good and presentation is great. This is an OK dish for me.

Spicy Diablo Crab and Prawn (S$18.90++)

The pasta is tossed in a herby pasta base with medium sized prawn and topped with a generous portion of shredded crab claw meat. Unlike what the name suggested, i thought it’s not really spicy.

I have no complain about the prawn and crab claw meat and I really love the texture of their handmade pasta. It’s actually like a softer and more moist version of Mee Pok. The only complain is the lack in flavour. It’s very lightly salted with the majority of flavour coming from the herb, which doesn’t add much taste to the pasta as well. A little saltier might been nice.

Lobster Rolls (S$23.90++)

My favourite is actually their lobster roll. A generous amount of butter is spread onto the roll and the lightly-fried bread is delightfully crisp on the outside. There is little or zero unpleasant seafood taste and i pretty enjoyed the texture of the chewy and succulent lobster chunk.

Each portion of their lobster roll also comes with a serving of thick-cut truffle fries and a side salad. Among the two flavours, the traditional and garlic, i enjoyed both but my vote goes to the traditional.

The lobster meat in the garlic flavour is tossed in a sweet mayonaise with a pinch of lemon. A generous sprinkle of crispy garlic slice and tomato cubes made up the majority of the condiments and goes rather well with the sweet chilled lobster meat. This is lighter in taste compared to the traditional flavour but enjoyable nevertheless.

The traditional, flavoured with buttery mayonnaise (and cheese powder I guess), chopped onion and sprinkled with pepper, is my favourite among all dishes. This lobster roll gives a stronger punch compared to the Spicy Roasted Garlic. Despite the potent mix of ingredients in the sauce, i can still taste the sweetness of the lobster meat.

Conclusion

Actually I’m am pretty impress with the pasta selection of Platypus and they did a very good job in describing their dishes in it. It made me wanted to order everything. It’s a pity that the actual taste ia a little different from the expectation. Not that it’s bad, just that it’s different.

From the four main courses that i ordered, i am pretty more into their lobster rolls although I think that the handmade pasta’s texture is commendable. I thought the price is pretty reasonable, given the variety and kinds of ingredient used.

I enjoyed the overall dining experience at Platypus. I think this place is quite suitable for family with kids. Firstly it’s very accessible, right in the center of Bugis Junction and the tables are well spaced out. During evening time, the place is also slightly dimly lited, which adds a little romantic atmosphere in the air for couples who don’t wish to burn a hole in their pocket.

I will go back to try out a few more of their handmade pasta selections. Have you tried any good pasta from Platypus? Feel free to leave a comment if you do and you think that it may does justice to their pasta range.

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Choo Choo Chicken, The Authentic Korean Fried Chicken at Bali Lane

Choo Choo Chicken

Address: 33 Bali Lane

Opening hours: 10.30m to 11.00pm, Last order 10.30pm

Introduction

After having the best fried chicken in Seoul at Kyochon Chicken, i am quite interested in what Singapore has to offer given the current Korean food craze.

Choo Choo Chicken at Bali Lane (just beside a famous cafe Stateland Cafe) is one such restaurant selling Korean-style fried chicken. They offer mainly three style of fried chicken – Whole Chicken, Chicken Strips and Chicken Wings and they come in various authentically-Korean flavours like Soy, Spicy, Sweet, Crispy and Garlic.

The seating capacity of Choo Choo Chicken is really small and can house up to only 26 diners. Payment method is only cash and NETS.

Choo Choo Chicken Menu: Click to enlarge

Spicy and Soy Chicken Wings (S$29.90nett)

I ordered their chicken wings with two (Spicy / Soy) flavours and it cost S$29.90 nett for a total of 16 pieces of fried chicken. It’s good to be shared by two people.

The Spicy Flavor of Choo Choo Chicken

Their wings are fatter and fuller compare to Four Fingers and it’s juicer and not as dry. Choo Choo Chicken applies a rather generous coat of sauce on their succulent crispy wings and the meat tears off from the bones with little effort.

The soy flavour has a tinge of garlicky soy sauce fragrance. It’s lightly sweetened and the soy sauce doesn’t overpower the natural sweetness of the juicy wings.

If you like strong flavour and likes spicy stuff, you probably will like the spicy flavour more. It has a fiery zesty aroma but it’s taste less mild than it’s smell (at least to me cus i can take spicy stuff quite well). It has a good blend of sweet spicy sauce that is finger licking good.

The Soy Flavour of Choo Choo Chicken

However, their wings are a little oily (and that’s what made it juicy) and it’s a little overly cloying. The first six wings are really enjoyable but it’s a little too much for at the eighth. I thought it will be good if Choo Choo Chicken has an option for twelve piece wings so that two person can have six pieces each instead of eight.

Choo Choo Spam Rice Burger (S$6.90nett)

This dish is a decent surprise. I ordered this with little expectation but it’s actually quite satisfying. The idea is serving Korean rice patties mixed with Kimchi and a slice of Spam. The layer of salty Mayonaise complement the sour spicy Kimchi very well.

The rice is moist, well-flavoured with sesame oil and is mix in a generous portion of Korean Seaweed. Spam, which is very popular in Seoul, is also added to complete the final Korean touch. Love this unique dish of Choo Choo Chicken.

Conclusion

Choo Choo Chicken is serving some decent Korean fried chicken wings here. It’s authentically similar to those that i had in Seoul and the quality is not lacking either. The biggest drawback, in my opinion, is their price. Let’s take a quick comparison:

Fried Chicken Price Comparison
$19.50 for 24pcs – Kyochon Chicken Seoul ($0.81ea)
$22.00 for 18pcs – Four Fingers ($1.22ea)
$10.00 for 6pcs – Lola’s Paprika Honey Wings ($1.67ea)
$30.00 for 16pcs – Choo Choo Chicken ($1.88ea)

Choo Choo Chicken, just beside Stateland Cafe at Bali Lane

To be fair, I think the size of Choo Choo Chicken wings is slightly bigger compared to the other three. Choo Choo Chicken did however satisfied my craving for Korean Fried Chicken.

Choo Choo Spicy Sandwich at $7.90 with Potato Wedges

Probably it’s not something that I can eat on a regular basis due to it’s price and calorie count, but it’s worth the visit for the taste of authentic Korean Fried Chicken.

Stateland Cafe at Bali Lane (Bugis)

Stateland Cafe

Address: 30 Bali Lane

Opening hours: Mon – Thu 12.00 pm – 10.00 pm, Fri – Sat: 12.00 pm – 12.00 am, Sun: 11.00 am – 6.00 pm

Introduction

People eat with their eyes first. This is what I always believe and that leads me to a small cafe a Bali Lane. Among so many cafes, Stateland Cafe stood out for it’s Red Velvet Waffle and Butter Toast in the virtual Singapore Instagram world.

I visited this cafe on at 11am on a Saturday and there is no crowd. Upon stepping into the cafe, the first thing i noticed is for it’s industial-theme interior. From the rustic old school electric fan, red metal railing, aluminium hanging light, to the black and white photos hanging on the wall, i can see that there are much thought put in for the interior design.

Menu: Click to enlarge

Red Velvet Waffle with Ice Cream ($14.90)

This is what caught my attention on instagram so this is definitely on my to order list. I was waiting in much anticipation as it took about 25 minutes for the dish to be served. I give this dish a 90/100 for it’s appearance and not so much for it’s taste though.

I love the ice cream. On the menu, it says that there are chocolate in the waffle but sadly I can’t taste much of it because the cream cheese taste basically overpowered the waffle. The waffle itself is also rather dry. I prefer a lighter cheese cream that is sweeter and more moist rather than salty and dry. Sad to say that this dish don’t work very well for me but I think there is potential in this dish.

Hazelnut Honey Toast with Ice Cream ($14.90)

After visiting Bangkok’s After You Dessert, i really miss the Shibuya Toast and i thought that Stateland Cafe’s Honey Toasted concept is quite similar to Shibuya Toast. Chocolate Ice Cream, Nutella Spread, Honey Syrup, Thick Toast with Salted Butter sounds lovely as a dessert, however it’s not very much so when all appears in a single dish.

Due to the rich flavour of the Nutella spread, i can’t really taste the toasted buttered bread and there is almost no need for the honey syrup as the whole thing is already very sweet. The only thing i can figure out from the bread is for it’s crispy texture.

I thought it will be better if the Nutella Spread is served separately from the butter toast like how the honey is served. Another suggestion is probably the Nutella can be drizzled (maybe by adding fresh milk or something and cooked to dilute the nutella) over the toast instead of spread. Probably it’s my mistake and i should order the original honey toast if i wanted something not as sweet.

Caffe Latte

I am not an expert in coffee but Stateland’s Caffe Latte is evidently more milky than usual. There is little espresso taste. It’s probably less than a shot of espresso or it’s a different kind of coffee bean used on that day. I don’t know. I love the steamed milk taste so i got no issue with that.

Conclusion

Actually i am not that satisfied after visiting Stateland Cafe and i immediately took to cab down to Loo’s Curry Rice for my lunch part two. Maybe it’s a wrong choice of dish ordered on my part. So kindly leave a comment if you think that there is any dish that is worth ordering and i will probably try it on my next visit.

Overall, I like Stateland Cafe, their friendly folks and the industrial-look-yet-cosy feel of the cafe. I think the concept of the dishes is good. The only thing is just basing on the two dishes i ordered, there should be more thoughts given to it as we won’t necessary get a good dessert by just putting many ingredients that we adore into one dish.

Please note that this cafe only transact in cash term. They don’t accept NETS and credit cards.

Crispy Seafood Bee Hoon at Jalan Besar

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant

Address: 43 Jalan Besar

Operating Hours: 5.00pm to 3.00am (closed on first Wednesday of the month)

Introduction

Johor Bahru has this third storey bee hoon (三楼米粉) that is unique to Malaysia food culture. One side of the bee hoon is intentionally fried till crisp while the underneath of the bee hoon remains moist. While Singapore does not has exactly the same dish to offer, we have a few variations of it. One of them is the crispy chao ta bee hoon at Jalan Besar. Chao ta literally means burnt in hokkien (one of the dialects in Singapore).

Johor’s Third Storey Bee Hoon. Exterior is charred but not yet to the extend of crispy.

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant is situated in an old school coffee shop along Jalan Besar, diagonally opposite Sim Lim Tower. It is not exactly a restaurant but a Cze Char stall. They offer various signature dishes like Pig Trotter, Egg Yolk Crab, 上汤苋菜 (Chinese Spinach served in soup stock), steamed salted chicken and of course the Crispy Bee Hoon.

Click to see their signature dish.

Cripsy Bee Hoon

Unlike Johor’s version, the charred side is pan fried till really crispy, to the extend of the texture of eating crackers. This also means that it will be slightly dryer. However, the other side of the bee hoon remains moist. The ingredient used is similar to our seafood Hor Fun that includes Prawn, Squid, Fish Cake and slices of Meat. Fried crispy pork lard and bean sprout are scattered onto the Bee Hoon to complete the dish.

I personally think that every Cze Char stall should have a unique signature dish and it’s this Bee Hoon for Yong Kee. This dish didn’t disappoint with it’s flavorful stock infused Bee Hoon. The texture is something new and refreshing. I would enjoyed the Bee Hoon even more if the pricing can be more affordable. A small size cost $6 while a medium and large cost $12 and $18 dollars.

Chinese Spinach serve in Soup Stock

Typically, this dish is served in restaurant.  It’s served in a big bowl with the Chinese Spinach soaked in soup. Yong Kee’s version is served in small pot over a small flame. Fried Ikan Billis (anchovies) are scattered generously over the vegetable.

The soup taste abit like chicken/ikan billis soup stock cubes. But of course, such cubes are actually widely used in hawker food so I think I will give it to them, because I like the soup. The soup is more flavorful than the usual one in restaurants. Vegetable is soft enough and yet remain crunchy. It cost $10 and is good enough to be shared by two.

Steamed Salted Chicken

From the name Salted Chicken, I was expecting something like Salt Baked Chicken but apparently the taste is totally different from what I imagined it to be. In fact the chicken is not at all salty and taste more of chinese herb with a tinge of Danggui (当归).

There is also a layer of jelly-like stuff, which i assume is a layer of starch because it is rather tasteless which the taste only comes from the sauce that it absorbs. I don’t particularly enjoy this dish.

Conclusion

Yong Kee does not offer the comfort that seafood restaurant can offer. The construction work for the new MRT line around this area made the coffee shop looked really run down and unappealing. I took a short walk from Bugis MRT to OG Bugis, cut across Sim Lim Square, then to Sim Lim Tower to reach this place, but i think it’s worth the walk. Maybe not for the steamed salted chicken, but for their Bee Hoon.

This Cze Char stall opens up to 3am in the morning so if you are feeling hungry at Jalan Besar, this stall may just be fix for you. You also can read up on Swee Choon Dim Sum at Jalan Besar that opens up to 6am in the morning.