Gourmet Trip

Gourmet Trip

The better and the best of the places I've eaten at.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

Chinese brand Yu Ba Fang had these stick-looking Pan-Fried Dumplings (or some call them 鍋貼 or pot stickers) catching my attention along the food kiosks at Basement 1 of Raffles City Shopping Centre.

At 8 pieces for S$10.90, I initially thought it might be a tad pricey. However, when eaten immediately, these Pan-Fried Dumplings were comforting and tasty, with pork and chive fillings going well with the dark vinegar. But perhaps I took my time with the food from start to finish, the last couple of pieces started to stick to each other as they cooled down.

In short, unless one could eat this very quickly upon serving, I would think that the dumplings might be expensive to savour.

@sevenscafe.sg has only been officially opened for less than 24 hours at time of writing, and they’ve already deeply impressed me with their fantastic food. Besides all day brekkie staples, the modern Australian inspired menu features this lipsmackin’ Land Protein bowl ($21++).⠀

Sliced smoked duck is fanned out on a bed of white rice mixed with quinoa, and is accompanied by smashed avocado plus diced beetroot and radish on the side. Of course, it wouldn’t really be a rice bowl without an egg, so there’s a nicely poached egg that crowns the entire affair. The carbs have the occasional additional bite to them due to the quinoa mixed in with the rice, and unaware diners may mistake the added resistance of the quinoa as the rice being undercooked. The rice is cooked perfectly, it’s just the natural bite of quinoa, relax.⠀

As expected, the star attraction is the smoked duck. It’s sliced a touch thin, and it’s a little uncomfortably close to being so thin that the texture of the duck is ruined. Fortunately, it’s thick enough to retain the tender, meaty texture of the duck, and the flavours are utterly scintillating. The already savoury smoked duck is glazed with a sapid soy glaze and is blowtorched, giving the fowl a delightfully deep smoky & umami flavour. The fat is skilfully rendered out, leaving a tastefully moderated layer of unctuous duck fat under that gloriously browned skin.⠀

I haven’t had smashed avo & beetroot since I left ‘straya, and both elements really take me back to the best year of my life. The avo is universally welcome with its comely creaminess, and the beetroot balances out the stellar sweet & salty elements already in the bowl with its zesty tanginess.⠀

At $21++, this is a premium portion, but the premium pleasure it provides will bowl you right over.

I haven’t seen any posts repping the sweet potato bites ($3.80 as a solo order) from @momstouch.sg, so imma be the pioneer. These bites are some sweet treats, as the small sweet potato balls are satisfyingly sweet & soft at its core, and creditably crispy on the exterior. These bites are some of the best you’ll ever get at a fast food joint, change my mind. Hint: you can’t.⠀

I find the cheese stick kinda funny, I find it kinda sad because it’s alone, and it costs $2.80 for a solitary stick. Still, it’s a a stick of mozzarella cheese that’s been breaded & deep fried, of course it’s gonna be awesome lmao⠀

Me posting salads? What in the fresh heck is going on? Look, imma keep it real with you chief. I sure as hell wasn’t intending to post about the salad course in @wineconnectionsg insane steal of a set lunch which is $14.90++ for this salad, a pasta or pizza of your choosing, and a drink. Of course, there’s the irresistible option to get a glass of red or white wine for an extra five bucks. Of course I did a spot of day drinking, I have a reputation to maintain after all.⠀

However, the minute this beautiful bowl of the garden’s finest was placed in front of me, I knew that I had to wax lyrical about it. Sure, it’s dressed very plainly in olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and seasoned simply with some salt, but this ain’t your typical halfhearted salad. Besides the base of baby spinach, lettuce and rocket leaves, there’s cherry tomatoes, battens of roasted red & yellow capsicums, olives, and a pair of wedges that possess the texture of roasted potatoes.⠀

This is a textbook example of how to do an excellent salad at just a tiny touch more cost. I’m not even talking dollars here, I’m talking cents and pure sense. The sweetness of the roasted capsicums & cherry tomatoes offset the peppery heat & sharpness of the rocket. Meanwhile, the black & green olives provide an unctuous umami & a compelling complexity to the salad that’s already layered with flavour thanks to the aforementioned sweet elements.⠀

And this, people, is how a salad should be. A layered, delicious dish that is far more than just the easiest way to get in lots of fibre, minerals & vitamins at one go. I never expected a wine merchant to teach everyone else how to structure a salad properly, but I’m glad Wine Connection’s restaurant arm is here to teach these plebs.

One thing I definitely miss about dining out are freshly shucked oysters. Especially when an oyster goes for just $2++ with the purchase of any drink at @tanukiraw from 1700-2000 every damn day. Of course, you can only get a half dozen of these plump pretties with every drink you order, but that’s just more encouragement for an alcoholic like me.⠀

Am I broke? Yes.⠀
Did I drink way too much? Of course.⠀
Did I clear out an entire sea of oysters? Yep.⠀
Would I do it again? Shuck yeah.

As for the crispy cauliflower ($8.90), it’s a damn good appetiser that has me reconsidering my scathing condemnation of what I have deemed as trash tier broccoli. The batter is thin & quite deliciously seasoned, and the sriracha mayonnaise was slightly spicy & charmingly creamy. The only problem with it? Not nearly enough sriracha mayonnaise. Imma channel my inner Kylo Ren and say: more. MORE!⠀

Garlic. Butter. Mussels. It’s a simple spell, but quite unbeatable. @littlepart1cafe does them exceptionally well, and their version of garlic butter mussels ($18 nett for 500 grams) is quite memorable.⠀

The mussels are fresh & thoroughly cleaned, which allowed the simple yet stellar sauce of garlic, butter & possibly white wine to shine. The sauce is thin, as expected, but there’s a myriad of marvellous flavours in it. It’s rich & silky from the butter, it’s pleasantly pungent from the aromatics of the garlic, and it’s satisfyingly salty.⠀

That’s it, that’s the review. The garlic butter mussels consist of less than five ingredients, but it’s deliriously delicious. Now, I’m gonna get Part 2 of these majestic mollusks, so you can see yourself out the door.

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@cavemen_sg aren’t just a butchery & wine cellar that cooks up your meats for you, they’ve got a a surprisingly comprehensive selection of food that aren’t beef, lamb or pork on their menu. They’ve got a broad range of appetisers, and the pancake ($14++) is a shoo-in for the most interesting starter on the menu.

It’s a Korean seafood pancake, complete with a paltry serving of prawns, a smattering of squid, and a sprig of spring onions on it. It’s tasty, but it’s definitely doughier than I’d like. The layer of flour certainly seems to be thicker than average. While the edges are still charmingly crispy, a thinner layer of flour would’ve resulted in a stunningly light & crispier pancake. And as everyone knows, dough hoovers up oil while cooking like nothing else.

The exterior is actually relatively grease-free, but all that oil is concentrated in the innards of the pancake, which does get overwhelmingly rich after a while. There’s some mildly spicy chili oil provided on the side, and I strongly suspect that it’s based off the chimichurri that comes with your main meat order. Sharing is most definitely recommended for this delicious but decadent starter.

I ran into Instagram’s character limit on the last post, but I really cannot commend the stellar service staff enough. The lady I assume to be the service captain kept my dad & I engaged in boisterous banter, and she managed to convince us to buy two bottles of world class wines home with some help from one of the ladies at the butchery, who seemed to double up as the resident witty sommelier. As for the rest of the service staff, they were absolutely on the ball despite getting slammed with the Christmas Eve throng. I did not find myself lacking for water or anything else I desired all night long.

And that, my friends, is why @cavemen_sg has eternally etched itself into the primitive, caveman part of my brain, if not the entirety of my consciousness.


I certainly wasn’t expecting to enjoy my side of Garlic Creamy Mushrooms ($5.90 nett) this much, but I ain’t complaining, quite the contrary actually. It’s essentially a mushroom soup that’s been topped off with a bevy of button mushrooms, but it is definitely delicious. The superbly sautéed button mushrooms sported a delicious, earthy roastiness, and it went down a treat with the luscious, savoury & charmingly creamy mushroom based sauce.⠀

Overall, Pasta Loft by @gastronomickitchen is a promising, big bang for your buck pasta place that competently delivers palatable pastas for relatively cheap. Sure, there’s a few improvements that could be made here & there to their dishes, but they’re still young, and they’ve got a (hopefully) bright future ahead.

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Unlike the Fish McDippers & the Fan-tastic burgers @mcdsg robbed us of, I only have vague memories of the Chicken McCrispy. As such, the return of this supposed Singapore macca’s legend had me mildly surprised and digging deep into my memories for any records of this deep fried chicken-y goodness.⠀

What’s most definitely not mild is the spice in the thigh & drumstick cut that’s standard issue for the Chicken McCrispy. It’s on the same tier as a standard McSpicy burger, which means that you will be having a massive McShit™ soon after. The pleasure is totally worth the pain, as these deep fried birds are absolutely amazing.⠀

The batter is, as expected, gluttonously greasy, but it’s oh-so-delicious with it’s captivating crunchiness. The meat entombed within is succulent, juicy and so sensationally sumptuous, with every bite you take prone to leaking coc-sorry, chicken juices into your greedy maw. The meat is, if memory serves me well, fantastically Flash Fried™ & Steam Marinated™ for maximum palate pleasure.⠀

While the return of the Chicken McCrispy is a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one, I still want my Fan-tastic rice burgers, Fish McDippers, McGriddles & Samurai Burger back permanently. To the clown(s) at @mcdsg who keep taking these beloved favourites from me:⠀

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you that I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career at various internet forums. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my favourites go back onto the menu now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and knn I will slap you understand?

I wasn’t planning on posting about the soup initally, but @blackpearlsteak Blue Swimming(sic) Crab Bisque ($15++) was too sublime to skip. I’ve had my fair share of crab bisques, but Black Pearl’s rendition might just trump ‘em all. The ambrosial aroma of crab boiled down alongside prawn into a sapid stock greets you just before you open your mouth to accept a spoonful of sumptuous soup.

The flavours are fabulous, and they tread the fine line between orgasmic & overwhelming, masterfully managing to stay on the pleasant side all the time. The heady, briny salinity of the creamy crab bisque triggers an overloaded of unami, and the shredded blue swimmer crabmeat within adds a touch of sweetness with every sip of soup.

Seriously, this stellar soup is a must have when you pay a visit to Black Pearl. Thank me later.

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I may not have the 5Cs, but I got 3Cs at @grumpybearsg. That’s right, the Cheesy Chicken Chop, which goes for $15.90. The common cajun chicken chop gets completely cheesed on with a deluge of nacho cheese, before a slice of white cheddar is plopped on top of it all and melted.⠀

It certainly isn’t revolutionary, it’s just cheese and more cheese on a hefty chicken chop. Perfect for most cheeseheads out there, no doubt. However, I do wish that they would’ve used shredded mozzarella instead as mozzarella melts much better than cheddar does, and the moz is the one that delivers on your #cheesepull needs.⠀

Thanks for the invite, @grumpybearsg!

Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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