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Western Grub

Western Grub

Everyone's favourite, be it if you are a child, teenager or an adult. Food that we will never get tired of and leave you wanting for more!
Xing Wei Chua
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From Charcoal Man Street Eats at ION Food Opera which prides itself over the charcoal-grilled meats that they have on the menu — the outfit also owns Charcoal Man Sumiyaki at Bedok Point which opened over the weekend, serving up more Japanese-style eats.

The Chargrilled Hainanese Pork Chop came with Fries, Baked Beans, Soft Roll and Coleslaw as standard sides — the main star (the Pork chop) comes with an evident hint of smokiness that I particularly enjoyed; this version sees that tangy Tomato sauce that is carefully drenched over the moist and tender Pork Chop. Fries were well-seasoned for flavour, while the baked beans were a tad more generic; the coleslaw is noticeable creamier and thicker than the usual, while the soft roll wasn't my cup of tea (slightly mushy from the moisture within the display cabinet they were steamed in). Overall, a decent eat at $7.90.

Returned to South Union Park again because they seemed to have added in a new dish to their menu recently. Yet another dish that is hard not to fall in love with here — those plump, seared prawns that delivered a good bite and provided a hint of crustacean sweetness, the Risotto that isn't too wet nor dry with bits of breadcrumbs within for a crunch whilst carrying a tangy (from the Basil Pesto) yet slightly sweet flavour of carrots with bits of small, chopped up pieces of carrots for a bit of texture. A dish that again manages to impress — one that encompasses all aspects from execution to flavours and texture; a new favourite found!

From Kyodai, a new hole-in-the-wall Japanese fusion eatery at Hotel Bencoolen which primarily serves the takeaway crowd — the eatery has five counter seats situated along the walkway of Hotel Bencoolen to cater to dine-in customers, though the counter tables are a tad high in comparison to the stools (they would be re-adjusting the height of the counter soon however).

The Gyoco is a fusion of Taco and Gyoza — seaweed, sushi rice, shabu shabu beef that is cooked with wasabi butter all encased in a taco shell that is similar to a Gyoza wrap. Sold in twos, the Gyoco is actually pretty crisp, while the entire package was not too messy to eat save for the stray pieces of Gyoza skin that broke off whenever we took a bite. Flavour-wise, the dish was actually more on the buttery side, perhaps due to the wasabi utter used while mostly savory from the Gyoza wrap — not too bad actually.

From Meat Market, a new eatery that specializes in wood-grilled meats at Hougang One that is situated right opposite Thai Super Bowl. The place offers a wide variety of meats available in pre-determined sets or in the form of "Build Your Own" platters where patrons can mix-and-match the meats, sides and sauces according to their preferences. Other items such as Sandwiches and Pasta featuring their wood-grilled meats are also available.

Opted for the Pork Collar, while picking the Truffle Fries for my choice of side and Honey Garlic for the sauce. The Pork Collar was tender but could have been juicier — the meat somewhat feels more broiled than actually wood-grilled here, lacking any crusty bits on the exterior whilst also short of any form of smokiness. The Fries were decent; more of the slightly limp sort seasoned with truffle salt, while the sauce was actually pretty garlicky amidst the sweetness, though didn't really last after a few dips with the meat.

PS: it's incredibly strange how the area around the kitchen carries a strong, smoky smell that most patrons aren't quite willing to sit within the area, yet the Pork Collar seemed to lack of any smokiness in its flavour. Also, the some of the seats here are placed in an odd positions, blocking the path of the service staff from collecting the food off the window and also the door leading to the kitchen — really strange placement of seats here.

Not exactly a new menu item, but one of the new items on their special boards for this weekend. The portion is pretty generous with three thick slabs of pork belly — each comes with an adequate amount of fat as well as lean meat for a balance of tenderness and bite; charred for a bit of smokiness amidst the savoury flavour without carrying a porky stench. Beneath the slabs of pork belly lie nibs of corn, pine nuts and baked beans (which is all prepared in-house) for some texture, while everything sits atop a bed of parsnip purée that's absolutely smooth with a hint of sweetness; very intriguing and certainly my favourite element in the entire dish.

From a-day at Orchard Central which takes over Pompompourin Cafe — the establishment serves up Japanese-Western fusion cuisine with quite a decent variety of items on the menu including Tamagotoji, Kamameshi, Pasta, Ramen, Omurice, Tonkatsu and Stews available on their menu.

Found the Mentaiko Carbonara to be rather pedestrian — it's mostly more cream and the umami-ness of the Mentaiko barely pulled through; the pasta was done al-dente, while the egg yolk does manage to satisfy being all oozy as it bursts eagerly with a poke from the fork. The lack of other ingredients such as bacon (or ideally, pancetta) made the pasta felt really plain however.

They seem to have a promotion running where patrons can opt for two mains at $18.99++ (the mains mostly don't come with carbs unless one opts for ramen, pasta, omurice or kamameshi). That being said, they have a rather inflexible rule stated on the menu that discourages sharing of the mains between two pax — each patron is required to have one main (a downer for those who just want a drink and dessert). I do understand that the policy exists in order to safeguard the establishment's own interest, but it does sound rather odd for a casual dining operation to adopt such policies somehow.

Went a little further for lunch today and ended up at Cajun On Wheels — they do have a set lunch promotion that runs on weekdays with the Ocean Boxes; prices start from $9.50, and each box comes with a mix of seafood of your choice with a side (pasta, fries, rice and corn are available as options) while accompanied with a sauce.

Actually found myself liking the Pilaf Rice quite a bit for its pretty flavourful and came with raisins; reminds me of comforting flavours of Mediterranean cuisine. That being said, I wasn't a big fan of the fish which was a wee bit too dry; the baby potatoes somehow looked like meatballs but otherwise pretty average — could have been halved to make the portions look more generous. Singaporean Chili Crab Sauce seemed to be a little too gloopy; doesn't really carry the sweetness of crustaceans though pretty punchy in terms of spiciness (then again it's the price anyway). Not something that is exciting enough to encourage me to make return visits for though.

Originally coming with Strawberry sauce, our portion came replaced with Marinara sauce for they had ran out of strawberry sauce on the day we visited. The fried batter was crisp, while the melted mozzarella is pretty was all dense and stretchy. We wouldn't know how it would taste like with the Strawberry sauce, but we thought the tanginess from the tomato base of the Marinara sauce worked just fine.

From Pastaria Abate, a relatively new Italian restaurant along Craig Road taking over the former spot of now-defunct Fordham & Grand. The place serves up starters, mains as well as pasta — the pasta are freshly made in-house, while patrons can choose the type of pasta to go with the various sauce available for their pasta.

This dish was a true stunner — the tender Pork Loin was easy to cut and chew without being too dry nor carried any porky stench while glazed in their Italian Martini sauce; the glaze itself provided a tinge of mellow sweetness that felt really luxurious and complimenting to the slab of meat. Comes with salad dressed in balsamic vinegar on the side. A dish I really wouldn't mind ordering again; the Italian Martini sauce really got me here!

Felt that this one was a miss — essentially a chicken roulade considering the chicken thigh wraps the pork and spinach within while dressed with a cranberry sauce with purple cabbage and potato mash at the bottom. The chicken was a little dry, while the entire taste profile was generally rather flat except for the tanginess of the cranberry sauce which helps to cut a bit of the meatiness. Strangely, the potato mash came stone-cold, throwing the entire dish off-balance considering we were expecting the entire dish to be served warm — it created this odd temperature contrast that felt rather weird that made the entire dish a no-no for me.

From Grazie which was previously at Serangoon Gardens Market and Food Centre — they have since relocated to Blk 34 Whampoa West taking over the former space of Oh My Tian Bakehouse and Cafe; much of the furnishings and fittings are retained from the previous tenant including the whimsical and eclectic elements. While the menu in general expanded quite a bit, there seems to be a smaller range of pasta available.

Overall the dish is pretty decent though could be a little pricey at $16.90 especially considering the seafood used — there are only sea prawns and squid being used; the former was ok but the latter being pretty rubbery. That being said, pasta was done al-dente while the Tomato Cream sauce was rather tangy, yet having a thicker consistency than the usual tomato-base sauces for a more creamier touch. Decent, but not very memorable.

Have always wanted to give DOJO a visit ever since they moved to [email protected] While the menu is a little more concentrated as compared to the days they were at Circular Road, the most significant different had to be the lack of a dine-in space — it's very much confined to the communal dining space at the basement of [email protected] (also meaning that everything would be served in disposable wares).

Went for this to satisfy my craving for meat and savoury items (all I had was bread and cakes). Essentially a grilled pork steak with the meat cut up and served with honey mustard — the meat was especially juicy and succulent; hinting of a light smokiness from the grilling. Decent for a light snack, though the portion is probably not the best for sharing.

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Xing Wei Chua

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