49 Seats and their Tom Yum Pasta

49 Seats and their Tom Yum Pasta

Address (Google Map): 49 Kreta Ayer Rd

Opening hours: Mon to Thu 6.00 pm – 2.00 am, Fri & Sat 6.00 pm – 4.30 am

Introduction

49 seats is situated along the stretch of shop house, at the end of Kreta Ayer street. Comparing to most cafes and restaurants, the unique thing about this branch is they only open at 6pm and closes late at 2 am, even on a weekday.

Thank you BB and Fang Fang of 49 seats for hosting me. This is an invited food tasting session and i decided to accept the invitation after reading so much about their Smoked Duck Aglio Olio and their Tom Yum Pasta.

49 Seats Menu 1 of 2 – Click to enlarge

49 seats menu 2 of 2 – Click to enlarge

Smoked Duck Aglio Olio ($14.90)

This is their so-call off menu dish (although there is a pic of this pasta at the ordering counter). Apart from their Tom Yum pasta, this is another of their signatures and this is my favourite dish among all. Apart from the generous serving of buttery mushrooms and tender slices of smoked duck, the pasta itself is pretty good too.

There is a pleasant fragrance coming from the pasta which it guess there’s something to do with the oil of the duck. The slices of duck meat is not tough at all and the well marinated duck skin may just be the contributing factor for the popularity of this dish.

Tom Yum Fish and Chips ($16.90)

49 seats is rather proud of this creation – The Tom Yum Fish and Chips, and claimed that it’s currently the only one kind in Singapore. The tender breaded fish fillet is fried to crisp and served with fries. They also provide a separate bowl of Tom Yum sauce as dip or to be drenched over the fish. Dipping it may be a better option so as to retain the crisp of the fish. I think that the fish is quite average so the deciding factor will be on how well does the tom yum sauce complement the fish.

Sad to say that the tom yum is overly salty and that’s the only thing i taste. I also think that to complement the strong Tom Yum sauce better, it may be a better idea to go with a lightly battered fish and chips instead of a fully flavoured breaded one.

Tom Yum Pasta ($14.90)

This is like 49 seats’ signature of the signatures and has a reputation of one of the most spicy pastas around. The pasta sauce is a blend of cream sauce and tom yum spices. I thought this sauce is more creamy than expected and has a moderate punch of Tom Yum fragrance and is less sour and spicy than expected. I would very much prefer a much stronger tom yum flavour while maintaining a lighter cream base.

The pasta is boiled till moderately soft, which generally suits the taste of Singaporeans. Comparing to a bowl of hot spicy tom yum soup, this pasta lacks a bit of the “shiok” factor. However if i am to judge this as an entirely new creation, it’s actually pretty addictive after having the first mouthful.

Cheese Fries ($7.90)

I have no complain for this cheese fries. At $7.90, it comes with a good portion of fries, top with a hell lots of cheese. This got to be one of the most generous portion of cheese that i’d ever seen. The cheese taste like a cross between KFC’s Cheese Fries with Golden Village’s Nacho Cheese in term of taste and texture, which is not as sweet like KFC with a not-so-creamy texture. This is an ideal dish to order to go with a nice cold bottle of beer.

Chicken Wings ($9.90 for 8 pcs)

Their chicken wings are fried with a layer of seemingly simple blend of breading. It’s doesn’t has the most exciting flavours but I am satisfied with the traditional taste. The wings are rather well tenderise as the meat get seperated from the bone quite easily. The plus point? Juicy. The minus? Can be more crispy.

Waffle with Ice Cream ($10.90)

I thought a good dessert will complete the whole dining experience and it’s a pity that this waffle fall short of expectation. 49 seats waffle is actually sweetened, like a typical Prima Deli kind of waffle, but it lack in flavor and fragrance. The ice-cream taste like a typical Wall’s ice-cream tube and for the price of $10.90, there are definitely better alternatives out there. Not recommended.

Conclusion

I think this place and their menu selection will very much appeal to fun seeking youngsters. It has a very cosy and casual dining environment and they are also offering their food at a reasonable price. All prices indicated on the menu is nett, with no additional service charge and tax. Recommended dishes – Smoked Duck Pasta, Cheese Fries, Chicken Wing. Tom Yum pasta may also be something interesting to try.

In fact I went back to 49 seats (and that is when i also tried their Tom Yum pasta) as this place came to my mind when looking for a casual drinking place that opens till late. The cheese fries and fried chicken wings will probably be on my regular order when i visit this place.

Although the dishes here are not something to die for, it’s pretty decent and it can be an option if you are looking for something not heavy on wallet and yet looking for a more-comfortable-than-hawker kind of dining environment.

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot at Chinatown People’s Park Food Centre

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot 日日红麻辣香锅

Address: People’s Park Food Centre, 32 New Market Road #01-1042 & #01-1052

Opening hours: Mon to Sun 11.00am to 9.00pm

Introduction

Mala Hot Pot (麻辣香锅) originates from the Sichuan (四川) / Chongqing (重庆) region. It has a humble background and this everyday-dish is widely enjoyed by their ordinary folks. It has gained tremendous popularity in China and eateries selling Mala Hot Pot also started popping up in Singapore’s food court and hawker centre. In3 Singapore’s context, a hot pot refers to a steamboat kind of dish but this Hot Pot actually means Spicy Pot.

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot (日日红麻辣香锅) is one of the first Mala Hot Pot eateries in Singapore. It has since gained much popularity and long queues are formed out this hawker stall during dinner hour. The concept of Mala Hot Pot is the diner will choose from a wide variety of ingredients (like our Yong Tau Foo) to be wok-fried in their Mala spicy sauce and to go with white rice. Some common ingredients are pork, chicken, luncheon meat, chinese sausage, veggies, bean stick, mushrooms, lotus root, potato etc.

Order at the stall in front, and collect it from stall behind

Pricing

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot are well known for the good taste and affordability. Some of us may have seen food court selling Mala Hot Pot and they priced it according to weight (per 100g), which means a moderate size potato can already cost you two to three dollars, which is crazy. Even a piece of luncheon meat can cost three dollars for a thicker slice and you will only know the price after they weigh it. I think those kind of pricing is ridiculous and i never patronise those stalls ever since.

For Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot, you place your order with the stall lady and will be charged by per portion. It’s a dollar for a portion of non-meat ingredient, two dollars for meat and three dollars for seafood, and premium meat like beef, mutton, taiwan sausage and intestine.

The Level of Spiciness

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot Menu and Price List

You will then decide the spiciness level, from non spicy, mild, moderate, spicy to extra spicy. For people who can take spicy stuff, the moderate (中辣) is pretty bearable. Probably only the spicy (大辣) flavour will give some kick.

The Hot Pot Itself

The hot pot is brought to taste by some basic ingredients like garlic, red chilli, dried chilli flakes, sugar, spring onion, pepper, sesame, chilli oil and their secret Mala spicy sauce. They claimed that their sauce is made up of more than twenty kinds of herbs and spices. The overall taste of the Mala Hot Pot is similar to Kung Pao Chicken but less sweet and much spicier. I personally like it very much.

Their thick vermicelli (濑粉) is a must order. During the process of wok frying, these vermicelli absorbs much of the Mala sauce and made them absolutely delectable. I ordered vermicelli, mushroom, lotus roots, potato, veg, tau pok, tau kee, golden mushroom and luncheon meat and it only cost me $10.00, which is good to be shared by two person. If you had other Mala Hot Pot before, you will know that Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot is definitely affordable and very much worth the price.

Conclusion

To be honest, I was a little sceptical about this Mala Hot Pot initially as the appearance does not look appealing at all. I sort of mix this up with their cold-stir veggie (凉拌菜) and i am not very into cold savoury dishes. It was the queue that convinced me to try and it was definitely a good decision (in you are into spicy stuff like me).

Do note that it’s a little oily so it’s not exactly the healthiest dish. But Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot will always be in my mind if I happen to visit Chinatown. Now i understand why Mala Hot Pot can be so popular back in China. Cheap, good, shiok and spicy!

8 Days Eat Wish Dish Campaign – Majestic Restaurant

Majestic Restaurant

Address: New Majestic Hotel, 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road

Opening hours: Tue to Sun 11.45am to 3.00pm, 6.00pm to 10.30pm, Closed on Mon

Introduction

This is my first ever invited food session by 8 Days Eat in supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation‘s campaign. Thank you Priscilla, from Majestic Restaurant and Audrey from 8 Days Eat for hosting us.

As a quick intro, Make-A-Wish Foundation’s mission is to “grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy”. Mediacorp’s 8 Days Eat is supporting this Wish Dish Campaign throughout the month of October 2013.

The objective of this charity campaign is to raise funds for the foundation. Order a Wish Dish here at Majestic Restaurant and 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the charity.

The Wish Dish that they are offering is the Crispy Wasabi Prawn, Sliced Peking Duck and Pan Seared Foie Gras combination plate at S$18.00++

Crispy Wasabi Prawn, Sliced Peking Duck and Pan Seared Foie Gras Combination Plate (S$18.00++)

The Wasabi Prawn is well coated with mayo-wasabi but fear not as the wasabi taste is not overpowering. Prawn is fresh, crispy on the exterior and succulent on the inside.

Although i am not exactly a big fan of Foie Gras, this Majestic Restaurant version is rather well done. Very very tender on the inside.

There is a little fusion of eastern and western style for this Peking Duck. Instead of going with our usual pancake skin and cucumber, the sweet sauce is scattered over the Peking duck to go their salad.

Conclusion

The Wish Dish Campaign will be on till the 31 October 2013 therefore if you have no idea on what to eat for your dinner, or looking for snacks, feel free to drop by Majestic Restaurant to have their Wish Dish – Crispy Wasabi Prawn, Sliced Peking Duck and Pan Seared Foie Gras Combination Plate and to play a small part in this charity campaign.

50% of the proceeds for this dish will be donated to the charity.

I also wish to thank Chef Yong Bing Ngen for arranging other dishes to go with the Wish Dish as well. I will write my reviews on these dishes after this conclusion at a slightly later date.

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe 早安南洋 (Time’s 24 World’s Best-Kept Secret)

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe

Address (Main branch): 20 Upper Pickering Street, #01-01, Singapore 058284

Operating hours:  Mon – Fri 7.30am – 5.30 pm, Sat 8.30 am – 5.30 pm and closed on Sunday

* Important Update (20 August 2014) *

The main branch at Upper Pickering Street will cease operation at the end of August 2014 due to various issues. You may visit their other branches at:

1. The Grandstand @ 200 Turf Club Road #01-34A 

2. Far East Plaza @ 14 Scotts Road, #02-23 

3. 75 Pagoda Street

4. Maxwell Chambers @ 32 Maxwell Rd

Introduction

I got to know this less-widely known cafe through  a Times article entitled “24 World’s Best-Kept Secret” and i have to agree that Good Morning Nanyang Cafe is indeed a well-kept secret in Singapore.

This little cafe tucked at one corner of Telok Ayer Green CC starts their operation as early as 7.00am on weekday. I estimated the timing wrongly and i reached this place at 6.30am! To my surprise, they are already opened and invited me to have a seat and offered to take my drinks order first as the food will only be available from 7.00am.

There is an air-conditioned indoor and outdoor dining area which can accommodate not more than fifty people. The menu items that particularly interest me is their orange peel ciabata toast and ciabata toast.

Ciabatta toast

After having it once, this delightful toast immediately became one of my favorite kaya toast in Singapore. First I will talk about the kaya. Good morning nanyang cafe’s kaya is a little unique in the sense that it’s not smooth but rather grainy, which gives a very different and yet delightful texture. I can almost chew on the not-too-sweet kaya custard and i particularly like the kaya for it’s “eggy” taste. It’s like a 70% coconut taste and 30% egg with overflowing pandan fragrance.

The butter was melted into the toasted Ciabatta bread. It maintained it’s softness on the inside while it’s really crispy on the outside. Arguably one of the best kaya toast in Singapore.

Orange Peel Ciabatta Toast

Basically the kaya, butter and toasting method is the same, just that Good Morning Nanyang use a different bread. The orange peel ciabatta is thinner, with a smoother surface and with orange peel baked into the ciabatta bread.

The exterior is not as crispy as the ordinary ciabatta toast and bread gives off a rather unique tinge of orange aroma that I don’t normally find in kaya toast which goes unusually well with kaya and butter.

Curry Chicken

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe also offer lunch items like Curry Chicken, Curry Chee Cheong Fun, Chicken Stew with Rice and pre-packed Nasi Lemak. I will often order their Curry Chicken with toasted ciabatta bread if i’m a little hungry.

I am not going to elaborate more on the curry chicken. The curry chicken is not fantastic, or heavenly. It’s rather decent. Good enough to complete my meal for the day. But i do like to order their crispy ciabatta instead of white rice to go with their curry chicken. Much better to go with curry than traditional baguette.

Conclusion

After trying their toast once, i had already returned to Good Morning Nanyang Cafe for at least seven to eight times since. I also wish to highlight that their soft-boiled eggs are greatly done every time. The staff there are always friendly and made me felt like home. I am always left satisfied when i had my breakfast at Good Morning Nanyang Cafe and i do hope that they can maintain this great service and food standard.

It’s too bad that they will be closed by dinner time. The only alternative is for me to visit their franchised branch at Chinatown. Although the toast ciabatta is not as crispy, i am glad that the rest tasted as good.