Tasty Tastings

Tasty Tastings

All the tasty treats devoured during Tastemaker tastings go here.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

The crown jewel in @enjoyeatinghouse fish lineup is the Salt Baked Whole Barramundi ($40++). When a whole ass fish touches down on any dinner table anywhere, it automatically becomes the center of attention. Enjoy Eating House’s Salt Baked Whole Barramundi is a statement piece, albeit a tastefully subtle one.⠀

The local Singaporean fish that’s delivered fresh daily from a farm off Pulau Ubin is simply baked in a cocoon of salt, and that’s quite adequate for this fantastically fresh fish. Don’t try to eat the skin like I did though, it isn’t scaled and is there for decoration. I wish they’d scale the skin & make it edible, it would be the perfect accompaniment to whatever drinks you order. The salt baking has given the firm, flaky and slightly moist barramundi flesh adequate salinity, while not overshadowing the natural sweetness of the firm flesh.⠀

Most of the flavour work is conducted by the Thai style seafood sauce & the house-made sambal served separately. The Thai sauce was a godsend, as it moistened the barramundi and provided a riot of flavours. The deep umami of the fish sauce in the mix is balanced with the sour & spicy elements of the mix, resulting in a quintessentially Thai sauce that everyone’s familiar with. Enjoy’s proprietary sambal is no less scintillating, with its insistent spice backed up by superb sapidity and just a little bit of acidity. The little sharpness sets it apart from other sambal chilies out there, and I enjoyed this minute difference.⠀

Minor gripe aside, the Salt Baked Whole Barramundi went swimmingly well and had us all hooked. Thanks for hosting us, @enjoyeatinghouse & @burpple!

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The aptly titled Ugly Cabbage in Fish Sauce ($13++) paralleled the old tale of the ugly duckling. Rejected by society during before its metamorphosis, it transcends into something ethereal in its final form. Nobody could believe that a lowly cabbage stir fried in a wok with some fish sauce & crispy shallots could ever attain this level of piquancy. Even I can scarcely believe it myself. ⠀

The fish sauce provides most of the ambrosia, but the wok hei sends it straight into the stratosphere. Every leaf of tender cabbage is indecently smoky and sports an alluring char, and it had us all jockeying to get the last vestiges of veg. You read that right: the Ugly Cabbage, a vegetable dish, had us battling over it. It’s so mind bogglingly majestic that I would happily trade up a meat dish for a serving of Ugly Cabbage.⠀

Thanks for inviting us, @enjoyeatinghouse & @burpple!

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@enjoyeatinghouse has been on my ‘to-try’ list ever since they opened their main outlet in Jalan Besar, but it’s years and a second outlet later that I finally sample their food. And yes, I enjoyed the food at Enjoy.⠀

Starting with a new appetiser, the Har Jeong Sotong Kia ($16++) arrived on our table and immediately set to work on charming our senses of smell. The baby squid (sotong kia) were coated in fermented prawn paste (har jeong), battered and deep fried for the perfect beer snack. While I found the batter a touch too thick myself, there was no denying the overwhelming umami from the prawn paste. The baby squid was enjoyably chewy due to its inherently springy qualities, and it was deeply sapid due to the prawn paste.⠀

Thanks for inviting us, @enjoyeatinghouse & @burpple!

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The Prawn & Seaweed Aglio Olio ($27++) pasta suffered the same predicament of being under seasoned, just like most of the other dishes during our Eatup. However, since said Eatup, I have been assured that @harryssingapore has made the vitally necessary revisions to this quintessential pasta dish.⠀

It’s actually a good dish if it’s the seasoning is spot on. Plump, ocean fresh tiger prawns grace the twirly mound of al dente spaghetti, and it’s garnished with some furikake and a good helping of chili. All that’s needed is enough garlic to kill Dracula from a mile away, and a good dose of high quality extra virgin olive oil & salt.⠀

Not gonna lie, I was shocked to discover that this pasta costs close to thirty bucks. But that’s where #burpplebeyond comes in clutch with the one-for-one deal! Harry’s is definitely one of the more generous Burpple Beyond partners, allowing you to get that sweet 1-for-1 deal on all pizzas, pastas AND mains! That’s right, almost all entrées save for their Asian selections are fair game! ⠀

Once again, thanks for the hospitality @harryssingapore & @burpple!

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I’m actually pretty amazed at the number of restaurants that do achingly tender, fall-off-the bone-cleanly barbecued pork ribs. Back when I was a kid, juicy tender ribs could only be found at Tony Roma’s & Dan Ryan’s. But then again, I shouldn’t be that surprised, because it is 2022, and the standards expected of food have skyrocketed in the last decade or so.⠀

@harryssingapore Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs ($33++) meats-sorry, meets, that high standard quite well, boasting meat that tears apart effortlessly & slides right off the bone. Glazed in a barbecue sauce, this truly tender pork is flanked by coleslaw and a good helping of Harry’s fabulous French fries. While the succulence & texture of the pork was impeccable, it was a little lacklustre taste-wise.⠀

If you want to do a spectacular rack of ribs, you gotta go extremely loud. Take the sweetness, smokiness & saltiness expected of a rack of BBQ ribs and turn it up to eleven. Unfortunately, Harry’s rendition is kind of muted, and it wasn’t nearly as impactful as it could’ve been. To be fair, all Harry’s outlets are adjusting & working out the kinks of the all new menu & recipes that have been developed, so I’d expect fantastic food from them in the very near future.⠀

While these baby back ribs may not be as tasty as they could be right now, their scintillating succulence has got me rapping Baby Got Back. Here at Harry’s, she’s got the rack AND the back, and imma risk it all to come back. Many thanks for having us, @harryssingapore & @burpple!

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What do you normally do when you’re done with your hotpot? Turn it off, loosen your belt one last time and let out a legendary belch that can be heard around the world, right? Not at @90minutes.sg! Here, you finish your hotpot by frying rice in the same broth that you were previously using to cook all your meats & veg.⠀

The broth has been fortified by the flavours of everything you’ve been cooking in the pot, and all of that flavour is suffused into the rice, corn & seaweed. There’s no egg added into this rice, and it’s really just a fried rice. However, remember when I said that the cheese & corn was a surprise tool that would help us later? Well, the time is now.⠀

After the waitstaff is done frying up your rice, quickly dump all that cheese corn into the rice while it’s screaming hot for a sexy, stretchy & sumptuous carb & cheese laden end to your little pot session. Rice is nice, but with cheese it’s sure to please.⠀

Kamsahamnida for hosting us, @90minutes.sg & @burpple!

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At @90minutes.sg , you get the option of adding on a molten cheese ring to your hotpot for $9.90++. As the name may suggest, it’s simply a metal ring filled with melted cheese & corn, and blowtorched for that aesthetic af crust. I haven’t been to a Korean hotpot in a while, so this is the first time I’ve seen a cheese ring and the hotpot be completely separate entities.⠀

The metal mammoth fits onto the handles of the pot, which isn’t very structurally sound especially when you’re digging out that cheese. But most notably of all is that the heat from the hotpot does not transfer over to the cheese ring at all. So this means that you gotta dig into that cheese as fast as possible before it gets cold & congealed, and you just gotta find a way to shoehorn it into every bite you take.⠀

90 Minutes does have some deep fried foods on the buffet line that are ready to eat if you simply can’t wait for your hotpot to boil over. The only really noteworthy fried food are the drum/winglets, which you can use as a very convenient implement to dig out that molten cheese & corn. The chicken wings are left out in the cold, so bring ‘em in and warm them up with the heat of the molten cheese & corn.⠀

While it might seem like the cheese ring isn’t quite worth the extra expense, I would still order it. Why? Well, it’s a surprise tool that will help us later. Trust me on this one.⠀

Thanks for the invite, @90minutes.sg & @burpple!

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Man, if I knew that @hardrockcafesingapore served up such ridiculously redolent ribs, I would’ve become a regular customer years ago. I’ve had some repulsive ribs, and many succulent ones down through the years, but Hard Rock’s may have just trumped them all.⠀

While $41.95++ for this rack will come as a bit of a jaw dropper, this is a full rack of baby back ribs, which come in at a hefty eight hundred grams. Yep, it’s definitely enough for two to share. These porkers are seasoned superbly with Hard Rock Café’s signature spice blend, glazed with house made BBQ sauce, and grilled to sublime succulence.⠀

The spice blend has penetrated & permeated deep into the meat, producing deeply savoury & fabulously flavoursome pork ribs. The rib meat was insanely juicy and felicitously fatty despite being baby back ribs, not the fattier St. Louis style ribs. The ribs were flamboyantly showcasing its wet, juicy qualities with every single morsel of meat. I must commend the chefs at Hard Rock Café for being meat magicians, as they grilled this ravishing rack o’ ribs to absolute faultlessness. Just look at the meat, man! It would probably slide off the bone if you so much as looked at it.⠀

But wait, there’s more! The tangy barbecue sauce that’s been slathered in just the perfect amount onto the fat, juicy rack turbocharges the salty, meaty qualities of the meat with it’s sweet & slightly vinegary tang, causing your saliva to flow freely just like the meaty juices from this P H A T rack. The house made barbecue sauce is utterly unctuous, and I demand that Hard Rock Café bottle the sauce and sell it. I want that stupendous sauce on everything. That’s right, EVERYTHING.⠀

I’m glad @burpple & @hardrockcafesingapore invited me to come down and have my mind changed. No, Hard Rock Café is no longer Boomer Central. It’s Rack City, Rack Rack City. And imma be racking up these huge, juicy racks.

I was always that weird kid who enjoyed braised pig’s intestines, and that exotic taste has followed into adulthood, where I’m now an average innard enjoyer. It isn’t everyday that you see a Thai restaurant featuring intestines on their menu, so I definitely had to get @khaohomsg Garlic Pork Intestines ($12++).⠀

While they could’ve been cleaned out more throughly, I definitely savoured the superb seasoning & masterful frying they’d been through. The texture of the intestines were delightfully chewy and incredibly satisfying to gnaw on without being rubbery. Deep fried intestines are definitely a fair bit chewier than the more common braised variant, but the texture is pretty damn satisfying.⠀

The deep fried garlic is awesomely aromatic & delightfully delicious, and the innards are scintillatingly salted. Despite being a little less clean than it could be, you don’t really taste any off putting flavours due to the bold aromas of the garlic and the strong seasoning applied to these tasty tubes. If you’re looking to get exotic for once, pounding Rung Mama’s gorgeous guts is a pretty good way to go.⠀

Thank you for the invite, @burpple & @khaohomsg!

While @khaohomsg stuffed wings were a bit of letdown, their Moo Yang (grilled pork strips, $12++ a plate) was moo-velous enough to save my night. As a matter of fact, it might just be the breakout star of the night.⠀

The meat is marvellously marinated, and each bite is a testament to that marination. It’s splendidly savoury and despite not being able to pinpoint the precise herbs & spices used alongside the godfather of all seasonings (salt), it’s subtly yet delightfully complex. The grilling adds an alluring smoky aroma to the meat, and said meat is felicitously fatty with its divine distribution of fat within the meat. This makes for some succulent slices of porcine that I was simply physically incapable of resisting.⠀

I don’t know why the Thai word for pork is the sound a cow makes, but I do know that I’ll be moo-ving to secure myself more of this majestic meat. Rung Mama can definitely bang out meat like a pro, and that’s why she’s a MILF. Yeah I said it, Rung Mama’s a Mother I’d Like to Feast with. What did you think I meant?⠀

ขอขอบคุณ, @burpple & @khaohomsg!

Ain’t nothin like a chicken wing, but what if said wing is stuffed and 🅱️oneless? @khaohomsg attempts to answer that question with their Peek Gai Yad Sai, which are a trio of boneless stuffed chicken wings. What exactly are stuffed chicken wings, and why are they 🅱️oneless?⠀

What if it told you that you could have chicken wings, but with more meat on them? Yep, that’s essentially the guiding principle behind Thai stuffed chicken wings. The bones are removed, and minced chicken(?) and glass noodles are stuffed into the chicken to make it resemble an overinflated rubber chicken.⠀

The batter was perfect: crispy, crunchy & just greasy enough without being disgustingly so. Unfortunately, the chicken wings themselves were anaemically seasoned and were rather tasteless even with the sweet Thai chili sauce amply applied. It’s a cryin’ shame, because everything else was bang on target: juicy, moist meat, beautiful batter, and portly proportions. Maybe next time.⠀

Thanks for the hospitality, @burpple & @khaohomsg!

The last time I paid a visit to @beerbasketsg, they only had the one outlet in Kovan, and their claim to fame food wise was having sambal stingray on the menu. Now, they’ve got bigger, swankier digs in Katong, and their new expanded menu has a whole lot more bar bites, and some new mains.⠀

One of their newer options for pub grub is this towering serving of portobello mushroom fritters ($11++). Chonky chunks of portobello ‘shrooms are cased in a thin layer of breading & deep fried for that glorious golden brown crust. The mushrooms could and should definitely be sautéed dry, or dehydrated in another way, to extract some water from the portobello before deep frying. Currently it’s a bit too moist, and the overly wet shrooms do obfuscate the luscious lemon & garlic aioli. Still a decent option when the beer munchies hit.⠀

Thanks for having us, @beerbasketkatong & @burpple!

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

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