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Bring On The Carbs

Bring On The Carbs

Atkins-schmatkins. These pastas, risottos, breads, rice and noodles can all banish carb's bad rep.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Although we had already paired the other dishes with a bowl of steamed rice each, I wasn’t going to let us leave without trying Shao’s “Vegetable Hor Fun”.
It turned out to be better than any of us expected. The moment it landed on the table, salivary glands were triggered. My first chopstick-full confirmed the noodles’ tastiness. Masterfully fried with just soya sauce and bits of chopped up “kai lan”, it dazzled with an intense “wok hei”. In short, a seemingly simple but very, very tasty dish that’s worth a try.

When I visited this hawker stall for lunch yesterday, Bossman Lawrence recommended a mix of “Pei Dan” and Pork as the filling for my made-to-order Chee Cheong Fun. Glad I listened to him because it was really good. I especially enjoyed those pieces with the century egg yolk - its slightly funky creaminess waltzed most gracefully with the silky-softness of the freshly-steamed rice roll.

H O S T E D
Group Executive Chef @juanjocarrillochef of FOC Restaurants wants us to be acquainted with other Spanish rice dishes besides Paella. Enter the NEW “Juicy Rice” or “Arroz Caldoso” of Catalunya.
Shown above is a stunning rendition starring a Boston Lobster ($68++). There’s no denying it is a showstopper. Due to a rich broth derived from lobster heads and sofritto (simmered mixed vegetables), it is immensely flavourful. I love that the grains of rice stay pretty much al dente and aren’t reduced to a mush.
As for how many people this pan can feed, well, it depends on the number of other items ordered. I reckon it is suitable for two substantial servings or four tasting portions. You can also pay to add extra lobster if you like.

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Chef Alan brought this plate of balls straight from the oven and they smelled insane.
We couldn’t resist gobbing on the Comte Cream like it was going out of fashion before popping the cheese bread balls into our mouths. Slightly hard on the outside, they are softer within, and are tantalisingly delicious.
Warning: It’s very hard to stop once you get started on them. But you must because there are so many other delectable dishes on the menu to try.

T R E A T
Besides ready-to-eat meals, @level33_sg has a selection of individual Meal Kits for takeaway too (best accompanied by a bottle of their own craft beer naturally).
Each of the meal kits is a balanced nourishing set with fully prepped ingredients, which means they’ve been washed, portioned and perfectly seasoned. Clear instructions are included to help you put together a restaurant-quality meal in under 20mins.
Me and my itchy backside opted for this when Gastrosense PR emailed to say they wanted to send a meal from Level33 to me and my family. I chose the Black Garlic Carbonara Pasta ($13) for us because after gawking at @casanostrasg’s Antonio’s pasta lessons (beautifully filmed by his wife Jasmine), I was seduced into thinking even I could try my hand at a carbonara.
Granted the Meal Kit was a bit of a cheat 😆 and I had a little help. But it was easy and fun to follow the step-by-step guide that led to the plate-up mere minutes later. There wasn’t even a need to turn on the stove since I used a kettle to boil water for the pasta.
I think the result was very flavourful, due in part to the almost alcoholic sweetness of the black garlic and the rich bacon oil (slightly unconventional carbonara ingredients but shhhhh....). However, in my #noobness, I think I left the pasta languishing a little too long in the hot water and thus, it was soft rather than al dente. Oops.
If you aren’t into a heavy carb, fret not. Several other Meal Kit choices await at the link in @level33_sg’s Instagram bio. Vegetarian ones too.

G I F T E D
Here’s the other dish from @mandarinorchard that was a sleeper hit with us.
Of course I knew the Fried Hokkien Mee was going to taste decent enough given that it’s from @chatterboxsg, the hotel’s all-day-dining restaurant famous for their chicken rice and other local specialties, but little did I expect it to impress the way it did.
Loaded with King prawns, abalone clams, scallops, squid, pork, egg and beansprouts, and cooked in a concentrated pork and prawn-based stock as well as pork lard oil, the noodle dish knocked it out of the park with its rich flavours. It so happens to travel well too since the noodles end up absorbing more of the delicious gravy en route.

If you’re keen on trying this or any of the other items in Chatterbox’s Takeaway Menu where everything is going at 𝟓𝟎% 𝐎𝐅𝐅,

please call:
6831 6291

or visit:
https://shop-orchard.meritushotels.com/en_SG/

The menu is also available on FoodPanda and Deliveroo.

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Got an urge to gorge ourselves on pizza and that’s how we finally got around to paying “John’s Pizzeria And Bakery” on Tanjong Katong Road a visit. You can find them easily as they are located a few shop units away from the famous Punggol Nasi Lemak.
Anyway, according to what I read in their menu, @johnspizzasg is owned and operated by expats, and seems to be focused on just two things: American-style pizzas and big, thick, soft-centered cookies (which they can pimp into some mighty stunning sundaes). Both items are produced fresh on the premises daily.
Free from preservatives and commercial yeast as well as being low in gluten and G.I. (glycemic index), their pizzas boast a hand-stretched sourdough crust which is completely different from the Neapolitan-style ones that have enthralled me for the longest time. It was nice to have a change. I ordered the 14” NY Style “John’s 4-Way” ($31.90) for us as widest variety was what I was after.
The crisp-on-the-outside, chewy and flavourful sourdough crust, which was even in thickness and texture from centre to the edge, was sectioned into four, but cut into eight slices. Each quadrant came neatly covered in the different toppings I had chosen. My favourite of the lot was the classic “Pepperoni” - I recommend adding an extra topping of pepperoni for $4.50 more if you love a meatier pizza. A close second was the “Walnut Pesto Parmesan and Chicken Sausage” - unusual and really fragrant, this had the ground sausage spread all over, ensuring tastiness in every bite. I loved the “Hawaiian” too due to the pineapples sweet juiciness. As for the “Supreme”, as generous as the toppings were, this had too much going on in my humble opinion, but of course, by no means was it bad and I’m sure this toppings combo has its fans.
Besides the NY Style, John’s Pizzeria & Bakery also does a Signature Deep Dish Pizza which we plan to return for since our meal today was so satisfying. Will need to allocate space for one of their cookie sundaes too.

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It tastes every bit as good too!
The early birds among our group who were at @theampangkitchen for lunch were fortunate enough to catch Uncle Raymond and one of his helpers in action as they prepared Fried Hokkien Mee for a catering order. Yes, apart offering a private dining experience in the comfort of their spacious home, you can also cater from The Ampang Kitchen. And this dish which costs $60 and can feed about 10 pax, is only one of the many items listed in their extensive menu. Uncle Raymond was kind enough to give us a plate to share and all of us couldn’t stop raving about it. I was especially taken by the gravy which was so silky and decadent from the luxuriously saturated stock and fragrant from the amount of garlic and fried pork lard used.
What I think many of us will appreciate about ordering from David and Uncle Raymond (you can choose to self-collect or have the food delivered for a fee), is that they can prepare only one dish if that’s what you want. The serving size and price of each item is fixed though. However if you are attending a potluck party, or just having people over for a meal, it is the ideal solution as you just select what you like.
They also pay attention to ensuring the dish tastes as good as possible when you serve it. For eg. when it comes to their bestselling Penang Rojak, its various components of housemade sauce, cut vegetables and fruit, century egg, “youtiao” etc. are packed separately. So when you toss them altogether right before serving, that Penang Rojak is going to taste simply divine.

I wouldn’t have known about the awesome promotion at Trattoria L’Operetta if not for my niece craving pizza recently. When I popped by the restaurant on Tanjong Katong Road, the staff happen to share with me the information below...

WHEN: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

TAKEAWAY: Pay only $5 for your Second Pizza. Orders must be placed between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

DINE-IN: Enjoy 1-for-1 Pizzas.

CALL: 6440 9322 to book a table or order your takeaway pizzas.

This is NOT a sponsored or hosted post. I’m just sharing because I have always liked the food at this Italian restaurant and use to visit them very often. Plus my niece and MIL (yes, she couldn’t resist it either) loved the Parigina Pizza ($24) I‘d bought for them. The Neapolitan-style crust was topped with mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, basil, Parmesan and instead of the usual tomato sauce, it had a cream one. To say I was surprised at how swiftly the two of them gobbled the entire pizza is an understatement!

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Given a choice, I will always pick Penang Char Kway Teow over local Char Kway Teow because my tastebuds gravitate towards the savoury rather than sweet. But this version of the latter at Brunner’s Coffeeshop in Katong was really decent.
Perhaps it is because I requested for it to be extra spicy, so some of the sweetness was masked by the increased amount of chilli used. The cockles were miniscule to be frank but it’s no big deal to me as I didn’t order this for the seafood. What I really wanted was a plate of noodles, freshly fried with pork lard oil, lots of beansprouts and a whack of “wok hei”. This $3.50 serving delivered all that in spades.

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We use to frequent Blanco Court Beef Noodles often when they were located at Guillemard, a stone’s throw from the Brawn & Brains cafe at the old Badminton Hall. Since moving to Aperia Mall a week ago, they have shrunk their menu to focus on their signature item of beef noodles. So no more “zi char” items like at the previous place but the quality and taste of the food is still really good. In fact, I think the beef broth seems to have become more “nong” (thick).
We ordered two items today - one was the Superior Beef Noodles ($9.90 nett) which has a mix of sliced beef, beef shank, beef ball, beef tripe and tendon. The chosen noodle can be prepared in a dry or soup style. However, because we use to have it sans noodles but with a bowl of rice instead at their old place, the young boss kindly offered to serve it to us that way.
We also tried the dry version of the Beef Shank Noodles ($8.90 nett) for the first time, and enjoyed it very much. While their thick beehoon had just the right texture (not overcooked and mushy like at some places), the classic starchy “zhup” (sauce) was flavourful and well-seasoned.
Condiments are integral to my enjoyment of Hainanese beef noodle dish, and the extremely spicy chilli dip and “cinchalok” (fermented krill) at this place are perfect.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
After the most un-pizza of pizzas “Pizza alla Banh Mi” which brought up the rear in the succession of toppings-laden baked doughs doled out by Bjorn Shen, I would vote this as my second favourite from that night’s Omakase.
Named “Pizza Black”, it is inspired by a meal he had years ago in Osaka, Japan, at a little unassuming joint called “I Love Pizza” (sadly, it doesn’t exist any longer, he returned to check). That was Bjorn’s first taste of Neapolitan-style pizzas. To say he was blown away by it is probably an understatement. So in tribute of the life-changing squid ink Margherita and cheese creation he inhaled that fateful evening, he created this.
On the poufy crust (made from a 3-days-aged dough with 70% hydration level) is a sea of squid ink sauce, thick slices of baby zucchini, smoked octopus, cow’s milk mozzarella and pecorino. To finish, he threw on basil, splashed some olive oil and grated octopus bottarga. The final taste was a whack of flavour upon flavour upon flavour. Multifold and intensely umami, I couldn’t help but eat it with an expression of incredulous delight.

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