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.

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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!

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.

Lola’s Cafe – The most popular Cafe at Kovan

Lola Cafe

Address (Google Map): 5 Simon Rd Singapore 545893

Opening hours: Sun to Thu 10am to 11.30pm, Fri & Sat 10am to 12am, Closed on Mon

Introduction

Lola’s cafe is another hipster brunch cafe that is situated near to Kovan MRT. You won’t believe how popular this cafe is. Despite the inconspicuous location, there is even a queue on a weekday lunch hour.

I went there a couple of times, once on a Sat afternoon at about 3pm and i was told that there are ten people in the queue so i left. When i returned at night at about 8pm, i was told that I needed to wait for 45 minutes so i left again. Then, I visit this place on a Friday afternoon at 11.40am and I STILL NEED TO QUEUE. Need to be so popular or not?

But this time, the waiting time is only 15 minutes and I got myself a seat for two pax. They have a queuing system whereby a diner enters his contact mobile into an ipad and system will give you a call when your table is ready so that you do not need to stand outside the cafe like a dummy and i like this system very much.

They serve breakfast menu from 11 to 3pm and dinner from 6 to 9pm. Note that they only serve starter dish and finger food between 3 to 6pm. All prices on menu are nett with no GST and service charge.

Menu 1: Click to enlarge

Menu 2: Click to enlarge

Lola’s Full Monty Breakfast

In recent years, brunch culture is blooming in Singapore and everyone started selling breakfast platter. Majority of them are actually mediocre and seeing all-day breakfast on the menu does not excites me as much as before.

However, Lola’s breakfast platter brought back some excitement to the term “All-day breakfast”. Unlike some restaurants that charge for the sky, Lola’s is at a reasonable nett price of $15.

Their honey glazed ham and bacon is outstanding with a tinge of char-grilled flavour by torch flaming it for a slightly charred outlook. The scrambled egg is creamy and well-flavoured with a runny texture. If there is one thing to improve, they can increase the quantity of the bread for a fuller meal.

Butter Croissant ($13 nett)

Melted Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Ham, Pan Fried Bacon, Scrambled Egg wrapped in a lettuce and freshly toasted Croissant.I love the Croissant. Cripsy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Each mouthful is sinfully good with chunks of egg and melted cheese.

This dish not exactly an exciting option, but Lola’s manage to bring together people’s all time favourite ingredients and made it into something better. The only complain is it’s served on a flat wooden pan. Although it looks nice on photo, the crumbles of the Croissant fell all over the place and was really untidy. There’s gap on the table top so these crumble even fell onto my legs.

Paparika Honey Wings

This is a highly recommended dish by many fellow Singaporeans. It was sold out when I went there for brunch so i returned on another day’s evening for this. The garlicky wings are well marinated and lightly battered and it’s served piping hot. The exterior is really cripsy while the interior retains it’s tender juicy texture. The added paprika powder is mild but yet adds a rich flavor to the wings and the final touch is completed by the sweet honey taste. Love every bite of the wings.

Dinner menu

While I’m back the second time, I ordered their dinner menu, but it was not as impressive as their breakfast menu.

The chicken burger ($14 nett) is rather mediocre and it’s marinated in a curry powder marinate with the bread spreaded with aioli. The only good thing is for the tenderness of the patty and the generous amount of fries.

The Bacon and Mushroom Spaghetti in Truffle Cream Sauce ($14 nett) is not bad though not impressive and probably is my favourite among the mains that I had. The pasta is creamy rich with a generous amount of mushroom but can be better as the truffle taste is not strong enough.

Duck Leg with Honey Mustard Sauce ($16 nett) The Duck leg is well-cooked, but i can’t accept the supposed Honey Mustard Sauce that is drizzled on the duck. If you enjoy sour and sweet sauce on your duck, then likely you can accept this dish better than me.

Their Banger and Mash is an all-day dish but I find comfort in this dish after a few not-so-exciting experience of their main courses. The sausage is the same as the breakfast platter.

Conclusion

It’s a pity that their dinner menu is not as good as it’s breakfast menu so sadly only Lola’s breakfast menu works for me. You can see many youngsters pantronizing Lola’s as it probably has something to do with Lola’s affordable pricing as well as their sinfully good side dishes.

Truffle Fries ($12 nett) with grated parmesan cheese

Judging from the waiting time, having Lola’s in the vicinity is definitely a move welcome by the residents of Kovan. However, that also means that instead of being the place to chill and hang out, it became a eat-and-pay-your-bill as there are much people waiting for a seat. On top of that, Lola’s tables are very close to one another and is rather cramp. As such, my conclusion is – Dinner? So so. Place to relax and chill? Not really. Brunch? Yes.