Food I Love!

Food I Love!

A list of dishes and places that I love that you might want to check out, because sharing is caring! :)
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Came across the social media accounts of House of Chirashi since some time ago, but hadn’t really made the visit there until quite recently. Being situated within East Village Mall, the establishment is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall space, occupying a unit relatively near to the main entrance and is a intimate space with a bar counter that seats six facing the sushi counter, and another bar table which seats another three by the window beside the door looking into the aisles of the shopping mall.

There is a wide variety of Bara Chirashi, Chirashi and Donburi (mostly featuring either raw fish, or Aburi-ed) items — the prices varies according to how premium each bowl is, but the most affordable bowl is the Salmon/Aburi Salmon Bowl at S$10.80, and the most affordable Bara Don/Aburi Torched Bara Don comes at S$16.80. This Spicy Bara Don is pretty much just the spicy variant of the Bara Don — features cubed sashimi, spicy sauce, Burdock Gabo, Shiitake, Sakura Ebi Shrimp and Hokkaido sushi rice; priced pretty affordably as well at S$18.80. I liked how the entire bowl seems to come served with more fish than rice — the cubed sashimi featuring an assortment of fish from the ever-popular salmon, to tuna, swordfish, shrimp and even Unagi; all of them being especially fresh and particularly loved how the Unagi provided a hint of sweetness that periodically sparks of a mini surprise amidst the other raw fish. The cubed sashimi are also well-sized, providing a good bite of the fish for the right texture and flavour. Despite the rice being unsweetened and being a wee bit warmer than the fish, this was one of the rare instances I didn’t particularly feel bothered with the temperature contrast; the fish, as well as the spicy sauce helps add enough flavour and fiery punch that antes up the flavour profile of the bowl sufficiently — one that is pretty surprising and definitely tingles the tastebuds even for those who are tolerable to a moderate level of spiciness; pretty unexpected for a Japanese establishment, and certainly comes pretty shiok for spicy food lovers.

As much as this is a post I am rather reluctant to make considering how small the establishment is and how much of a hidden gem they are, I must say I am very impressed with what they have to offer. I liked how much attention to detail they have placed to each bowl — a contrast of colours, that Tamago which comes with their logo stamped; these are all things I would have not expected from a Bara Chirashi bowl at this price point. No doubt the premium bowls are probably the ones which comes with more impact, but I must applaud their efforts in serving a very good bowl of Bara Don with such finesse at the price point; would certainly return for more. A spot that is worth making the trip for to the east; and a place to look out for — wishing the folks of House of Chirashi all the best in what is to come!

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Launched during the Circuit Breaker period, I had my first go on these little nuggets of joy a couple of weeks ago in the comfort of my own home when everyone was to stay at home except to grab essential goods and services. With the dine-in restrictions now being relaxed, it’s finally time to head back to the favourite place to have them from a plate instead of from a paper bag, and pair it up with the usual Flat White.

Whilst I am not a fan of donuts, Brawn & Brains does their rendition with finesse (and also somewhat reminds me of the ones from Hock Ann Confectionery at Tanglin Halt, but in a Bombolone form — another donut that I am absolutely in love with); a fluffy donut that is not too dense, yet sufficiently bread-y with a good bounce when chewed upon. I liked how the version here never felt greasy (seemingly baked, rather than fried) be it having them right on the spot, or having it as takeaway/delivery, whilst being rolled in cinnamon and sugar for a hint of sweetness that somewhat resembles that of a churro with a slight contrast coming from the spice itself.

Admittedly this would have paired even better with their Long Black (especially one with a fruity note and a light body), but I am just missing of their Flat White for too long. Yet another item I would not mind going for the next time I am here, which adds on to the other items I enjoy here such as the various croissants and Almond & Vanilla Bun which I also utterly enjoy.

For those who still prefer to enjoy these at home, Brawn & Brains is still taking in delivery orders/takeaways for both their Guillemard and East Coast locations via their own website, as well as through GrabFood and Deliveroo; just so you know 😉.

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Wagyu Patty, Tomatoes, Caramalised Onions, House Pickles, Aioli & Relish, Cheese, Buttered Brioche, Secret Fries.

Pretty stoked when I came across the social media pages of Operation Burger during the Circuit Breaker; a stall within Jia Yuen Eating House at Crane Road (yes, the one where that famous Salted Egg Chicken Rice is located) which is also run by the same folks behind now-defunct Corner Burger previously at Brunner’s Coffeeshop and also subsequently at Shaw Towers when they moved there.

While I am a bit bummed that the Nan Ru Grilled Pork Burger from Corner Burger isn’t available at Operation Burger now (and understandably so considering it’s new branding), the Dependable Wagyu Burger is certainly as dependable as what it’s namesake describes it to be. No doubt this is quite a standard cheeseburger, but this is one rendition that the execution is on point — the beef patty is well-crusted on the outside while tender and also being easy to chew; carried a slight saltish note amidst the meatiness without being gamey whilst being drenched with melted cheese on the exterior, the caramelised onions helped to provide a dimension of sweetness while the tomatoes gave a refreshing burst of zinginess. The house pickles provided a crunch whilst giving the burger a good tang that balances out the savoury notes, while the aioli and relish spread across the fluffy, buttered buns also comes with a slight hint of mustard to further help enhance the flavours and gel the pickles with the entire burger together. While the burger was the limelight here; the Secret Fries are also equally stellar — a mix of both crisp fries and soft fries where one can feel the potatoes within the fries, it’s the mix of seasonings that is a true stunner for them here. Not sure what exactly goes in there, but think shreds of seaweed(?) and plum salt(?) that is well-tossed with the fries so that each fry comes with a consistent burst of flavours that is saltish and umami — so addictive and I certainly would not mind going for more.

Glad that they are back dishing out pretty dope burgers that is worth a trip down, or via GrabFood if you still intend to stay home!

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First came across Ye Tang Chendol’s Facebook page during Circuit Breaker, thus its needless to say it became one of the spots I have marked to visit once the dine-in restrictions are being lifted. Could tell that the stall owners of this humble stall in a corner at the food centre in Beauty World Centre are pretty happy to be seeing people around, engaging in small talks with their patrons while the order is being made; the mention of fresh coconut milk made in-store here speaks volume on their dedication in serving the dessert.

I really liked how the ice turned out of even fineness — not particularly coarse and no big chunks of unshaven ice here; all fluffy and drenched with that smooth coconut milk that they take much pride in serving. The Gula Melaka comes all thick and gooey; aptly sweet and earthy as it lends its sweetness to the entire bowl for flavour, while the palm seeds (Atap Chee) gives a good bite. I should have probably asked earlier, but I reckon that there is a chance that the Pandan jelly is likely to be made in-house too given it’s slightly dull aesthetic (which also means it’s made from the real stuff — Pandan juice) and it’s particularly strong note of Pandan. No red beans for this one right here, but the Durian Chendol seems a dollop of durian flesh that’s oh-so-pungent and fibrous; a great addition considering it’s also time for the durian season. One of the better Chendol out there that is totally worth checking out, even when it seems that the competition in the chendol scene is more happening now than ever before; will definitely be back for more!

From Kaiyo Sushi & Grill, a newly-opened Japanese establishment along Teck Chye Terrace along the same row of shophouses as Two Bakers' newest outlet in Serangoon.

Offering a wide variety of menu items ranging from sushi/sashimi to grilled items and set menus, the items are largely pretty enjoyable just like this Kaiyo Chirashi — an assortment of raw fish slices on a bed of rice served with salad, Chawanmushi and Miso Soup. While most Chirashi Don only places their emphasis on the freshness of the raw slices of fish, this one goes further to even place some effort on the rice for a more well-rounded experience. Really enjoyed how fresh the assortment of fish was; all of which sliced in pretty chunky portions to allow for some bite while the Tamago was well-layered and provided a hint of sweetness. Coming with pickled ginger and Wasabi on the side, the pickled ginger helps to refresh the tastebuds with a zingy crunch while the Wasabi provided quite a kick to tickle the taste buds with its numbing sensation. The short-grained, pearly Japanese Rice was nothing short of being memorable here too; coming with a tinge of slight sweetness, it comes with traces of pickled mushrooms for a slight earthiness that helps to balance things out quite a fair bit. Even the Chawanmushi is out to impress here; the infusion of Yuzu is pretti evident here — whilst being relatively smooth, the Chawanmushi comes with an abundance of goodies such as mushrooms, shrimp and a huge chunk of meat as well. Considering how this bowl costs $21.90++, it is pretty value-for-money considering the level of execution here — pretty much a showcase of the chef's skill and passion to create the very best for the patrons — a gem within the neighbourhood that we would look forward to visiting again!

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From Kai Yakitori, which had moved into the premises of now-defunct Otowa at Orchard Plaza.

Whilst serving up pretty stellar Yakitori sticks, the Oyako Don at Kai Yakitori is a true stunner of its own — a dish that is almost a game changer in its own right. Coming in a portion slightly smaller than usual at $10++, the Oyako Don is unlike another. Sitting above the pearly, short-grained rice is the egg and chicken simmered in dashi broth as well as a sous-vide egg; the former being all runny and flavourful with a distinct note of the dashi broth that's absolutely delicious with its savouriness — the chicken chunks being all tender and succulent while incredibly flavoursome. The sous-vide egg was also amazingly fresh and runny as well; the yolk carrying its own natural flavours pretty evidently. Really enjoyed the Yakitori sticks and the produce used in the food served here; the Oyako Don being really on point and to die for. A pretty divine bowl that changes the perceptkon of the Oyako Don of the usually simple, comforting dish into a gourmet variant, and one that I am most likely to develop specific cravings for pretty soon — a must try!👌

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Japanese Garlic Rice had always been a thing for me, which is why I went for this straightaway after skimming through the menu here.

Really like how the Teppan Garlic Rice here — the savoury, garlicky notes come subtle from the start, but slowly builds up without being overwhelming; the rice being pearly yet without feeling particularly greasy, topped with fried garlic for more flavour. No regrets going for the beef variant; the small chunks of beef carrying a great marbling considering how the fatty bits are so melt-in-the-mouth tender, perfuming of a smoky, meaty aroma as the juices burst with every bite — almost akin to that of a pleasant Yakiniku experience. Thought this was extremely value-for-money ($18.00++) considering the quality, as with most items listed on their Express Set Lunch menu, which also includes Kobachi (side dish), Chawanmushi and dessert — pretty much a steal for the quality of ingredients used and execution!

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Citrus Marinated Salmon, Avocado Purée, Edamame, Pickled Cucumber Sticks, Ikura, Crispy Salmon Skin dusted with Kombu Butter. Spoilt for choice here the other day but was recommended this item. No regrets; really very impressed with the texture of the fish here that’s almost sashimi-like with its moistness but cooked — it gives a bit of bite, but one could taste that fresh flavours of cooked salmon. Other elements such as the avocado purée gives it some sort of creaminess, while the Ikura adds that umami pop; the fish skin was a thoughtful touch to give some crispness to the entire item as well, while the bread (baked in-house btw) is all crusty and chewy. Like how places like this puts so much emphasis and heart into their food; would be a place that I am going to make a note to revisit in the future. (PS: The folks here uses beans roasted by Prodigal Roasters/Cafe for their coffee here — you guys bet I will be back here soon!)

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GG French Poulet, Seasonal House-made Pickles, Truffle Honey. Was really blown away by this dish during dinner — using chicken that is farmed locally at Toh Thye San farm in Loyang. The chicken came with a crisp skin; the flesh so tender, so succulent and juicy while the skin comes glazed in a truffle honey glaze. The truffle honey glaze was truly amazing; the truffle cuts through the sweetness at the right point, providing a flavour contrast that makes their variant so different from the usual honey-glazed chicken dish. The tater tots are absolutely a charm on their own; crisp on the exterior while the potato filling were similar to those of croquettes, though less dense and creamy. The house-made pickles gives a good tang and a crunch. So delicious, we were already making plans to revisit while we were slowly going through the entire dish to savour all that goodness (and making it last, so we wouldn’t be all too sad when everything on the plate is gone).

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Liberty Coffee starts their food menu at Jalan Besar today, serving up salad, sandwiches and pasta — the Blue & Shells is a simple treat; Gorgonzola, Pasta Shells, Candied Walnuts and Rocket. Really liked how the pasta is served simply; al-dente pasta shells with a good bite that comes with a suitably cheesy Gorgonzola sauce at the bottom that is not too overwhelming on the tastebuds. Coming with candied walnuts, the sweet nuttiness cuts through the cheesiness nicely, providing a flavour contrast for the pasta. Something that I would certainly not mind having again!

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Certainly hard to find a dish involving Japanese Mountain Yam; quite a surprising find at a cafe in a neighbourhood estate. Coming with elements such as Kiwi Berries, Figs, Burnt Cream and Coffee, the dish is incredibly umami without being overwhelming on the tastebuds. For one, the Japanese Mountain Yam carries the texture that is a hybrid of a good, boiled potato and a radish; soft to the bite while crusty on the exterior — a little smoky from the coffee powder over the top whilst umami from the burnt cream. The Kiwi Berries and Fig provide that hint of sweetness that rounds off the other flavours nicely to help refresh the tastebuds. Honestly, this is a dish that I love; the elements done so beautifully and coming into harmony as an entire dish, though a concept that is pretty hard to explain for how abstract it is. Still, an interesting and delicious, well thought-out dish that provides an interesting perspective of different produce around.

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Knew I had to get down to Brawn & Brains when I saw them posting about this weekend special on their social media — one of my favourite places serving up my favourite local breakfasts — certainly couldn’t give this a miss.

Yes, it’s priced higher than your typical local Kaya Toast at the coffeeshop but you do get some quality stuff for the price here — the Kaya Toast comes with sourdough, while the Kaya itself is made in-house (you know you gotta try when someone goes through the effort to make their own Kaya). It even comes complete with two soft-boiled eggs on the side; all with soya sauce and pepper for flavour. I really liked how buttery the Kaya Toast here is; melted butter that is absorbed by that crisp sourdough that is chewy and comes with that tinge of sourness from the fermentation process — the coconut jam not being overly sweet nor tastes artificial/processed; very clean-tasting with evident notes of Pandan as well. It’s hard to find places that gives so much love and effort to Kaya Toast, but I am glad that Brawn & Brains does quite a good one that I wouldn’t mind splurging on the weekend for!

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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