Burpple Tastemaker Eatups!

Burpple Tastemaker Eatups!

Food from the various tastings organised by Burpple!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Attended a Burpple Eatup at Niku Kin recently; pretty stoked about the Yakiniku dining experience that we have had. Apart from the sleek decor, Niku Kin brings patrons the Hokkaido Yakiniku dining experience — 100% Hokkaido Wagyu Beef is being served here. Serving up different cuts of beef, Niku Kin carries a wide variety of cuts; even the lesser known cuts such as Rib Finger and Chuck Tenders amidst other known cuts such as Sirloin — all to introduce locals to less common cuts here with new favourites to be found.

We enjoyed the Niku Blue ($108.00++); a platter of five different cuts of beef that are available for the day to be grilled on the charcoal grill — complete with charcoal imported from Japan. Enjoy the various cuts from the leaner ones to the fatty parts — simply builds up the experience where the fatty cuts are just simply melt-in-the-mouth and leaves the lips smacking with flavour; salt and sauces are available at the side for those who prefer to have a bit more flavour with the meat, the latter also works well with the pearly Gohan ($1.50++) here. Side dishes include the Wagyu Niku Miso Tofu; a silken tofu with a slight firmness but carries a prominent soy flavour that is topped off with flavourful minced meat over the top. An item to be introduced in the menu in due course, the Wasabi Yukke is their rendition of a beef tartare; the beef carrying a consistent texture whilst giving enough bite — the wasabi cutting through the meatiness with its numbing sensation. Available as a side for dinner, but also listed on their small variety of lunch menu items would be the Wagyu Hamburg Katsu; a patty that isn’t too beefy or gamey, with a tomato-esque sauce that was not overly tangy and went well with the crusted patty with a consistent texture that carried enough bite without being too wet nor dry — pretty well-executes indeed.

Thanks to Niku Kin for hosting, and Burpple for the invite; one of those meals where we truly enjoyed the food and the overall dining experience!

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Attended a Burpple Eatup recently at Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles at Tiong Bahru Plaza — an eatery serving up beef noodles hailing from Lanzhou with around 300 outlets across China. The menu is simple, offering only four variations of beef noodles while patrons can choose from eight different types of noodles — patrons can also opt for a set at an additional $4 which includes side dish, braised egg and drink. My favourites were the Dry Beef Noodles with Flat Noodles (chewy with a substantial bite; absolutely slurpy — an entire strand of noodle that is fun to eat) which was made better with chili and coriander mixed in, while the Mala Spicy Beef Noodles carried just a comfortable tinge of numbness and spiciness that fits really well for those who are not too accustomed to Mala. We also tried the Signature Beef Noodles; the broth being cooked and reduced from an entire shank with the meat being used for the beef slices within the noodles. Pretty delicious and authentic, with flavours accustomed to the local palate.

Thanks to Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles for hosting, and Burpple for the invite!

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Had the chance to revisit Seven & Ate for a recent Burpple Eatup — Seven & Ate had went through a slight revamp, with the establishment shifting their focus towards a bar and kitchen concept rather than the cafe concept that they used to have had in the day. The revamp sees a change to the operating hours, opening from 4pm to midnight on weekdays, as well as with the introduction of a revised menu that puts more emphasis on their burger offerings, while also having sharing platters such as a Cheese Platter, Charcuterie Platter and Meat Platter that would suit the drinking crowd.

We managed to try a couple of sides, including the Spam Fries, Scotched Quail Eggs and Fried Eggplant — all of them coming with a light and crisp, breaded batter on the exterior which they managed to execute a well without being greasy; I am no fan of Spam Fries at cafes, but their variant is one that I find crisp, yet meaty without being greasy or overly salty. Burgers that we had tried included the 3 Little Pigs (double pork patties, bacon wrapped sausage, slow-cooked pork belly, grilled spam and sriracha mayo in between fluffy, toasted buns and served with nacho chips — a little heavy but would work well with meat lovers with a big appetite), Jam and Eggs (double pork patties, sweet-yet-savoury bacon jam that provides a bite, fried egg white fritters and fried egg between fluffy, toasted buns and served with nacho chips — a lighter option that not only sounds good for breakfast, but absolutely hearty for lunch or dinner), the Gringo (double pork patties, housemade guacamole, fresh pico de gallo in between fluffy, toasted buns and served with nacho chips — a well-sized burger with a Mexican twist that works well for those look for something simple here) and the Atas Burger (double pork patties, blue cheese, foie gras, melted gruyere and shaved pear in between fluffy, toasted buns and served with nacho chips — meant for those who wants to pamper themselves with all the best things in a burger).

It is certainly interesting to see how Seven & Ate had shook things up with their new menu revamp — there seems to be a clear focus where they have found what they were doing well, and decided to put an emphasis on it. We certainly enjoyed their sides (especially those that were fried), as well as the burgers that they have to offer — thanks Burpple for the invite, and Seven & Ate for hosting!

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It’s always been a pleasure to be at The Salted Plum — was glad to have been invited for the Burpple Eatup that was held at The Salted Plum recently to try out their revised menu, which sees a couple of new dishes introduced alongside old favourite that are still available.

We managed to try an extensive selection of items from both their all-day dining menu, as well as from the newly-introduced supper menu. Highlights from the menu would definitely be the hot favourites ever since their inception, such as the Burnt Chili Chicken (smoky chunks of spicy chicken with notes of coriander), Lu Rou (pork belly with their signature Haus Saus; all richly savoury, while the meat all tender and juicy; a signature since their days as Five Ten) that goes extremely well with the Shiny Rice (rice drizzled with lard and garlic oil) — all of which are items from the all-day dining menu that I had tried on my very first visit, priced reasonably at $10 and are dishes that I would most certainly order again whenever I am at The Salted Plum. Other items we had tried from the all-day dining menu included the crisp and tender Pork Chop. The brand new supper menu features more comfort food, along with bar bites that would work well with drinks (e.g. the Golden King Mushroom, Plum Powder that is crisp with a bite whilst carrying a slight hint of umami from the plum powder). We also enjoyed the Crispy Duck Leg (fried duck leg that comes with a crisp exterior and succulent meat that is all savoury and falls off the bone neatly), the Oyster Omelette (their very own rendition of the Taiwanese dish that is slightly more dense than our local variant without being overly starchy) and the Sweet Potato Congee (all smooth and silky with a thoughtful use of dashi that makes it incredibly flavourful with a hint of sweetness that is absolutely delicious even for those who dislikes the plain-tasting nature of Congee). Ended the meal off with their Red Tea Jelly, Pearls, Cream dessert — the only dessert listed on the menu here at The Salted Plum which I had also tried during my previous visit; essentially bubble tea in dessert form that carries the fragrance of red tea whilst pairing with the rich, milky aroma of the cream well.

Again, we were certainly impressed with what The Salted Plum is able to offer — food of good quality at a reasonable and affordable price point that works great for sharing. It’s certainly hard to come across eateries with a Taiwanese twist, much less for one that is pretty much value-for-money. Thanks to Burpple for the invite, and The Salted Plum for hosting!

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Attended a Burpple Tastemsker Eatup at Jinjo recently, a new Japanese Sumiyaki concept by the folks of the Les Amis Group.

Had a go on quite a number of dishes across different sections of the menu; highlights include the Yaki Goma Tofu (tofu made from scratch that carries a chewy, bouncy texture like no other topped with beany original and a sweet Aichi Red Miso), the Kawa (charcoal-grilled Yakitori chicken skin that is absolutely crisp and smoky), Satsuma-Imo (sweet potato from Chiba prefecture that’s absolutely soft and sweet; served with knobs of butter on the side), Tomato (Kochi Tomato that’s absolutely sweet, plump and juicy, served with a refreshing, savoury and zippy pickled compote beneath) and Donabe (essentially a Japanese Rice Pot available with various condiments — the Unagi being a crowd pleaser with plump flesh that’s utterly tender along with savoury sauce and pearly rice, while the Truffle is the ultimate deal for truffle-lovers where more black truffle could be shaved at $7/gram — absolutely fragrant with evident truffle aroma). Finished the meal off with the Jinjo Warabimochi; chewy and slurpy rice cake pieces with nutty and beany soy bean powder drizzled with Kuromitsu sauce — a classic combination that never fails.

A place where great execution meets quality produce, the tasting at Jinjo was one we really enjoyed — really impressed with how the usage of quality produce helps to make something so simple tastes so remarkable — a place that is worth making the visit especially for special occasions. Thanks Burpple for the invite, and Jinjo for hosting!

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Attended a Burpple Eatup at Artichoke recently; it’s definitely great to see Chef Bjorn Shen back in the kitchen, shaking things up with some new items on the menu here. We had a taste of a number of dishes from their updated dinner menu, all of which were simply big on flavours and absolutely delicious. Highlights include the Iraqi Spiced Mushroom dip (Fried Egg Purée, Parmesan) that goes superbly well with their chewy Turkish Bread that comes with a bite, the Hot Skillet Prawns (Green Harissa, Split Cream and Fried Onions) that had been a staple on the menu that is a hot favourite amongst patrons here, the Iberico Pork (Grilled Spanish Pork, Coca Cola and Shallots) that comes all chunky with a sticky, aptly sweet glazing and the BJ’s Favourite Steak; juicy and tender flank steak served with savoury Za’tar Butter and Garlic. The Lamb Adana is also truly amazing — chunky lamb sausage that is juicy and tender; not too gamey especially with the pistachio yogurt beneath that helps cut through the flavours. Ended the meal with three pretty stellar desserts; their rendition of the Choco Pie (yes, it may be gone from the big M but you can always get your cravings fixed here) with Sea Salt Burnt Honey Soft Serve , the Baklava Croissant that is aptly sweet, nutty and flaky and the Date Pudding (Date Cake, Dulce de Luche Custard, Espresso Agar, Cashew Brittle); a brilliant play of textures and subtly sweet flavours with quite a bit of contrast that goes well with one another. Paired everything up with the Kopi B from the Sunday Punch category of the beverages menu — bottled cocktails that literally gives a punch; something that would appeal to those whom prefer strong drinks.

Totally enjoyed the Burpple Eatup at Artichoke; a delicious spread that is served up with good company — must say that we were really well-fed and stuffed! Thanks to Artichoke for hosting and all that food, and Burpple for the invite!

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Checked out alittle tashi at 39 Tyrwhitt Road for a Burpple Eatup recently and must say that I have left pretty impressed. The concept serves up simply done Mod-Asian fare in both their Laundry Room and Dining Room menus — expect bar bites and communal dishes here served alongside alcoholic drinks such as sake, cava, red wine or even cocktails (non-alcoholic choices include pour over coffee and single-pressed sugarcane with Lemon amongst others). What left the strongest impression on the vibe was probably the Laundry Room; a unique concept where patrons can sit on steps to have a tipple or two — the “Laundry” lighting hanging inside at the back of the shop just magically blends into the environment surrounding alittle tashi, providing a hip, modern look against the rustic surroundings that is attention-grabbing without sticking out like a sore thumb (its easily my favourite detail at alittle tashi).

We got to try a couple of bar bites from the Laundry Room menu, as well as a few small and bigger bites on the Dining Room menu. Highlights from the Laundry Room menu includes Mozzarella (stretchy, baked cheese on skewer for the cheese pull that’s sprinkled with furikake for flavour), Spicy Vegetable Chips (crisp, thinly cut lotus root and other vegetables that are lightly salted for flavour — the light bite one would munch on while keeping the conversation going). Pickles were also served alongside to compliment both the bar bites and the small/bigger bites; the Garlic Cucumber comes with a juicy crunch that provides a good tang , while the Pickled Beetroot whilst being sweet carried a hint of aroma from the Szechuan Chili Oil that added a nice contrast to the beetroot similar to Ma La without being numb or spicy.

Out of the small bites, bigger bites and bowls of comfort section of the Dining Room menu, highlights include the Brussel Sprouts served with charred miso sour cream (fried greens that is all savoury and crisp; a seriously addictively dish that changes perceptions on the usually unappealing green; for me at least), chargrilled Baby Peppers with melted goat’s cheese (juicy peppers that explode in the mouth; the cheese being the crowd-pleaser that adds another dimension of flavour to the peppers). The Hot Salty Soya Milk would be an item great to share at the table — unlike the usual smooth and silken soya milk, it comes slightly grainy; almost porridge-like and totally love-able for a savoury dish. Coming with pickled radish, Chinese Donut, Szechuan chili oil and spring onion, the Chinese Donut was a mini You Tiao that had a texture similar to Hum Cheem Bang, while the pickled radish provided a zesty crunch to cut through the heaviness.

alittle tashi also has a staples section on the Dining Room menu that carries all the carbs; the Rice Cakes are recommended — another unique item to alittle tashi, the texture resembles pan-fried carrot cake, carrying that bounciness and crusted exterior which is pretty unexpected but delicious on its own. Dip them in any of the 12 sauces that they have to offer; the Skhug works as a sauce with a Middle Eastern flavour that was like a crossover between pesto and hummus, while the Ssamjang is all sweet like how Korean chili paste is known to be. My personal favourite has to be the Miso Cream; all savoury and buttery, it’s all artery-clogging sinfulness but works well with almost everything on the table from the meats to the greens and even with their Tashi Rice — absolutely amazing (don’t even leave alittle tashi not ordering this — it’s just that delicious).

Really glad to have the opportunity to attend the Burpple Eatup at alittle tashi; a place that serves up simple, Asian-influence dishes with their own unique twist — the food is in no way complicated and fancy schmanzy, but I did enjoy how everything came with a subtle attention to detail where they add an unconventional flavour that blends in well with the main star of the dish. Thanks to Burpple for the invite, as well as Jayne and her team for hosting; certainly enjoyed the food here — a place that I should really find some time to return to another day.

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Got a little busy to write this post but glad to be invited to the Burpple Tastemaker Eatup at Gastrosmiths a while ago — got to enjoy quite a number of their small plates which works great for groups to try a little bit of everything. Of the lot, my favourites were actually the greens — the Grilled Kai Lan, Pickled Daikon was smoky, crunchy and beautifully charred, while I simply couldn't resist the Cauliflower Arrabiata which features roasted cauliflower with its charred florets and tangy, mildly spicy tomato sauce with onion pickles. Even the Tofu & Roma Tomato, Shoyu Caramel was splendid — the silken tofu was a match with that mix of savoury and sweetness behind the sauce that is signature to Gastrosmiths. Those looking for meaty options would also be happy to learn about the tender Angus 150 Days Grain Fed Hangar Steak and the well-crusted and flavourful Grilled Spanish Pork Neck, Roasted Grapes. Gastrosmiths also offer quite a number of more substantial bites that works great as a meal, including the Angus Hamburg & Truffle Egg Rice Bowl (highly recommended for a main!) and Fried Chicken Caviar Roll. Really liked how the Grilled Camembert Toast, Rosemary Honey rounded off the meal though — cheesy, sweet and atop crusty toast; I don't even mind having it as dessert or breakfast!

Thanks to Gastrosmiths for hosting, and Burpple for the invite — a place I would be pretty much looking forward to visiting again!

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Visited Half Pound Burger Bar & Grill for a Burpple Tastemaker Eatup yesterday and managed to try quite a couple of their dishes such as the Salt & Pepper Squid, Xalala Pepper (sauté green chili with salt and pepper) and a couple of burgers. Some of the menu items here come with a rather interesting take on local-western fusion — items such as the Malaysia Boleh was a re-iteration of the Ramly Burger with familiar elements like the beef patty that is wrapped with egg, chili sauce as well as green lettuce, cabbage, cheddar cheese, tomato, red onion ring, pineapple, mayonnaise and others. Yet another item that comes with local touch would be the Laksa Spaghetti — carried a pretty evident aroma and flavour of Laksa and almost like a dry version done considerably well, coming with prawns as well. Those who prefer something more conventional can opt for the Pork Burger, Half Pound Burger (220g beef patty with bacon, cheese, tomato, onion ring, green lettuce and truffle fries on the side) or the Gourmet Burger which comes with a beef patty that comes with Foie Gras within — all burgers come with their signature Butter Sauce; artery-clogging sinfulness that I can't resist dipping then buns, vegetables and fries in. There are also two dessert options available — the Sticky Date Pudding and Chocolate Molten Lava Cake. Not a bad spot for those looking for a watering hole with mains being served on the menu — Half Pound Burger Bar and Grill also serves quite a decent variety of alcoholic drinks that would go along well with the sides they have on the menu.

Thanks to Half Pound Burger Bar & Grill for hosting, and Burpple for the invite!

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Made a trip done to Healthy Soba IKI recently with a couple of Burpple Tastemakers for a Burpple Tastemaker Eatup and tried a selection of their healthy buckwheat soba offerings — they have a menu that boasts quite a good mix of Japanese as well as locally inspired creations such as the Laksa Soba.

My personal favourites would be the Collagen Chicken Soba from the Local Signature section of the menu and the Avocado Kaisen Tororo Soba from the Cold section. The former was almost akin to eating chicken rice after the ginger is mixed into the collagen chicken soup base which is not overly rich; comes with a rather generous portion of poached chicken that is immensely tender and also chili oil for those who can't do without chili when having Hainanese Chicken Rice. The Avocado Kaisen Tororo is the crowd pleaser; marinated cubes of raw fish and a lightly savoury cold dipping sauce that is pretty good on its own. Dessert was pretty good — never thought that matcha would work well against strawberry but the Matcha Strawberry Pudding proved us wrong with the bitter aroma of Matcha complimenting and counters the tartness of the strawberries really well.

Thanks Healthy Soba IKI for hosting, and Burpple for the invite!

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Had the opportunity to return to Dim Sum Haus for a Burpple Tastemaker Eatup last night — a place that I had been looking forward to make a return visit after my first visit some time back for I was impressed with the dim sum that they had to offer. The chefs prepare the dim sum fresh daily; a tedious job considering the wide spread of dim sum they have on the menu.

We tried a variety of their dim sum, a number of which I had ordered on my previous visit. All of the dim sum items were good and well-executed; highlights include the Hak Kim Siew Mai (Steamed Charcoal Chicken & Shrimp Dumpling) which comes with a black skin and chicken meat that works very well for those who doesn't like the porky flavours some Siew Mai might carry while also with a popping sensation from the roe over the top. Despite so, the Siew Mai (Steamed Pork and Shrimp Dumpling) does give a firm bite without being too meaty in flavour. The Deep Fried Shrimps Dumpling is also crisp; filled with ample shrimp which were fresh and delivers the bite. We were also pretty impressed with the Har Gau (Steamed Shrimp Dumpling) — the skin came with an adequate thickness that doesn't require much effort to chew and comes with a fresh and plump shrimp within. Another item which I loved since the previous visit was the Steamed Crispy Rice Roll with Shrimp; your typical Hong Kong style Chee Cheong Fun with Vietnamese-style fried shrimp spring roll within — every bite carries that smooth, slurpy texture of the rice roll while also with a bit of crispiness of the fried spring roll that contains the bite of fresh shrimp all with that savoury soy sauce within. Crispy Mee Suah Kueh with Chinese Sausages was like the Pan Fried Carrot Cake on steroids; fried till crisp and carries a bouncy texture — well filled with Mee Suah with evident flavours of Chinese sausages and mushrooms. To top it all off, we also had their signature Baked Salted Egg Custard Bun; the buns came with a crisp, buttery texture while generously filled with salted egg custard within that flows the moment one takes a bite into it. Other dishes we tried include the Japanese Dumpling, Xiao Long Bao, Steamed Malay Sponge Cake, Baked BBQ Pork Pastry and Hong Kong Boar Congee — each also stellar in their own right; you know the food is good when the other Burpple Tastemakers end up taking away more portions of the food back home after the dinner!

Thanks to Burpple for the invite, and also Dim Sum Haus for hosting!

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Hopped over to Waa Cow Sushi Bar right after being at Jjigae Jjigae to try out what they have to offer here.

While I did visit Waa Cow Sushi Bar before as a regular customer some time ago, I had skipped trying their Wagyu Beef Bowls — glad that I have had a taste of them yesterday and they are definitely comfort food for the soul made convenient for the folks around the Central Business District; a good place to just treat yourself to during mid-week if one doesn't mind spending a little more for lunch. The Signature Wagyu Beef Rice Bowl is one meant for purists — coming with tender and juicy chunks of Wagyu beef, the sweetness of the meat exudes as one chews on it; already good on its own while each bowl comes with sous-vide egg (that runny yolk that I just can't resist to mix into the rice), tobiko, pickles (which helps to cut through the meatiness) and a knob of wasabi. For those looking for something with a little more flavour, the Mentaiko (which comes aburi-ed; who wouldn't like that stuff!) and Truffle are also equally as good and would satisfy fans of both Mentaiko and Truffle camps without overwhelming the stellar execution of the meat. We also tried the Mentaiko Salmon Donburi (not pictured); a favourite since my previous visit — a smooth and flaky (also generous) slab of salmon with garlic chips at the bottom. The salmon itself is the main star of the show, considering the multitude of textures as one goes all the way down. We also managed to try the Mentai Hokkaido Scallops, a sharing plate featuring nine slices of scallops drizzled with Mentaiko and topped with Tobiko and Spring Onions — the Mentaiko comes torched; similar to the Mentaiko Wagyu Don. The scallops slippery smooth, fresh and with a hint of smokiness and umami flavour from the Mentaiko and the popping of the Tobiko with a bit of pepper that prevents it from being too overwhelming — very hard to stop at just one.

I was impressed by my first visit to Waa Cow Sushi Bar, and I am glad that it was still a good experience for this second visit — still somewhere that is convenient for a good Wagyu Donburi fix in the heart of the Central Business District that is still relatively well-priced. Thanks to Waa Cow Sushi Bar for hosting, and Burpple for the invite!

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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