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Lunch Buddies

Lunch Buddies

Featuring Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant (Keong Saik), Ginza Tendon Itsuki (Tanjong Pagar), GastroSmiths, Grain Traders (Telok Ayer), The Marmalade Pantry (Novena), 11 Hamilton, Epiphyte, Sandaime Bunji, Zaffron Kitchen (East Coast), Dallas Restaurant & Bar (Suntec City)
Amanda Jayne
Amanda Jayne

Nothing like a big bowl of sashimi to make you smile. Affordable too!

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Payday! I spoilt myself with a $23 lunch at @hustlecosg. I thought that it might be absolute rubbish, cause you know, new cafe 🙄 but boy was I wrong! The portions were generous, the ingredients fresh, and the coffee, satisfying. The salmon had a crisp skin that neatly fell away when I slid the fork into the tender flakes of salmon. The gently salted, pan-fried sides hid a butter-soft centre that seemed to sigh with pleasure as I cut into it (or was that me? Bahaha). Carrying the dish was the pancake of rosti that, like every good carb, warmed me right up. Completing and lifting the dish was the dollop of dill crème fraîche and spoonful of salmon roe. The salmon roe, though a little small, were buoyant balls of flavour *sniggers* that were burst with every bite and gave the rosti a fun fusion twist. Will be back to try others!

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Ain’t nothing like a Tandoori party! Celebrated a friend’s birthday with dinner at @zaffron_kitchen , the only place I go to (besides Samy’s) for superb Indian nosh. Butter chicken... dum briyani.. man the list is endless. Come find me if you’d like to share a delicious platter with me okay :D

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You know it's really good when you can't stop thinking about it days after eating the dish. Like this amaze-balls chicken katsu set I had for lunch at the Japanese store next to my office. It's simple, $14 gives you rice, a side dish, miso soup, pickled radish and green tea. It's not one of those trendy Japanese places, but it's simple and authentic. The crisp batter neatly envelopes tender chicken meat, giving an explosive crunch that bursts with flavour especially with a dash of salty-sweet tonkatsu sauce. Balanced with the fresh cabbage, it makes for a rewarding lunch. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of its preparation - it takes real skill to whip up something as satisfying as this chicken katsu set. Thick, rich miso soup that bares the hours of prep that goes into it. Tender meat that has clearly been pounded into submission and lovingly breaded for that perfect bite. Even the side dish blooms with flavour despite its nondescript appearance. Service, as always, is polite, prompt and perfect. The Japanese owner is so professional and I feel this air of calm every time I dine there. No need to be pretentious, no need for fancy names, barely the need for words beyond saying thank you. If you work in my area, make this your go-to place for homely Japanese fare. #rakuraku #japanesefood

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I finally hopped onto the tendon hype and popped by #tendonginzaitsuki for dinner. While not unpleasant, it wasn't an outstanding beacon of Japanese gastronomical delight either. It wasn't bad. I enjoyed that it wasn't too greasy, that portions were hearty and that there was a free flow of pickled vegetables to cleanse my palette. I particularly enjoyed the onsen egg sitting innocently under the towering shrimp and pieces of tempura-ed chicken fillets (though a little dry, they were entirely flavourless). It burst with gooey abandon and brought oomph to the dish. What really stood out though, was the starter that came with this $13.90 set - Chawanmushi. Silky smooth, pudding-like egg with the ability to melt into a rich broth in the mouth. So worth it!

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Popped by @hicjuicesg's cafe at Centrepoint a while back for an Acai bowl (I love Acai bowls, they're like the healthy cousins of ice cream and yogurt.) I love how this juice company has branched out so much. They now do Acai bowls, and they offer a SOUP cleanse on top of their juice cleanse. I complained a while back that juice cleanses suck cause it's all sweet and sickly after 3 days of fruits and veggies pressed into a watery pulp. But with a soup cleanse, you've got sweet AND savoury. Fair warning though, it's not thick and rich soup. Yes, it has plenty of flavour, but there's a... Lightness to it that reminds you that their soups are cleansing. I loved the creamy mushroom and tomato basil. Before you embark on a cleanse, you should pop down to the cafe to try out a few flavours. They're sold individually here with the Acai bowls and ice creams! It's about two servings per bottle so you'll be really full after :) anyway, I'm only putting this up now cause I feel like I've been indulging a bit too much lol. So... I might attempt a cleanse soon. MIGHT. #hicjuice

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I had food cubes the other day. At Tanjong Pagar MRT station there's a store called Food Anatomy that also serves up Illy coffee, and this was all on display! Pretty cubes of favourite dishes. I jumped to get the (clockwise from bottom left) Thai basil pork rice, teriyaki rice cube, bacon and sweet potato cube and seafood pasta bake. Of the four, I think the teriyaki done and the sweet potato bacon were perfect. Honestly, one is enough for an entire meal, about the width of my palm and the height of a muffin. I microwaved them when I got home and had them - still good! The teriyaki one in particular was great, it tasted like the gravy-soaked rice from tori-Q with a layer of shredded seaweed and topped with juicy morsels of chicken

#unagi. This was rather delicious, or.. More intriguing than delicious. I feel it's flavour is something you need to get used to. I finally popped by the tiny Unagi bolthole, #ManManUnagj. It felt really synthetic Japanese. The ceiling was low, furnishings more functional then decorative with an airtight focus on just one ingredient - Unagi. The tubs of live eel sat in a corner, and behind the tables, off its side, a glass wall separated the diners from the chefs. You could watch clearly as the chefs efficiently ambit gruesomely prepared your meal from literal start to finish. BBQ-Ed in the spot, the skin is crusty, with a caramelized surface that hides a flaky interior. The meat is succulent with a strong smoky taste far from what you enjoy when you eat store bought Unagi. I enjoyed it, but I won't necessarily come back, might take a while before I feel strong enough to watch my dinner being slaughtered in front of me. Haha

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I had this today. Perfectly pink and perfectly cooked in every way. Each pearl of rice had a lovely bite to it saving the dish from becoming mushy. The diced beets were a happy surprise with every bite and the scallops plump and juicy. But... But.. And I hate to say this.. But the dish was so salty.... Salty in the sense that there was either too much stock or.. Something. I really needed to drink A LOT of water (and the glass of water was so schmall I had to keep asking for refills :/) I'm not saying it was bad, I'm saying it was just too.. Much. Too much. Still worth coming for the lovely service and the dessert! Note to self: don't order something just cause it's pink! The dish costs $22 and is definitely more than enough for one person. Visit @epiphyte.sg to try it! ⠀
Get dessert to balance out the flavours everyone.

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Yum nom nom! @gastrosmiths dished out an amazingly warm and hearty bowl of mee sua with a few new tricks. Their New Fisherman's Mee Sua is flavoured with kimchi, laden with gigantic prawns and soft, yet flakey, cod. Capers are liberally sprinkled all over the dish for that tangy punch. Just a wonderful dish that comforts.

Risotto made with barley? Yeah I was skeptical too. Unlike rice, these were less chewy and gave more of a crunch. It made for a curious, but not unpalatable dish. Flavour-wise, I couldn't discern it's base, which I assume was lobster, or crustacean in nature, thanks to the fat chunks sitting atop the slop. But it was just lacking in character, a calefare rather than the star of the dish. Even after mixing with the dollop of cream, it still had no body. The lobster meat was tasty though, robust and strong in flavour, the barley paled in comparison. Still hungry, I asked for Marmalade Pantry's special - cupcakes. That was, no surprises here, delicious. More on that next time... on the chronicles of #disappointingdishes.

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Never found a reason to head to @GrainTraders till yesterday. I now work at Raffles Place and it is the closest place. I am happy to announce that its exuberant price point is worth it! The place is a yuppies dream, pay $18 and you get a banana and a water with your healthy, balanced meal. The make-your-own-plate idea is simple, but the ingredients of high quality and unique enough to have you coming back for more - I got charred corn, seared tuna, soba, apple kimchi, seed mix and grilled peppers. Filling, satisfying and worth the $16 I would say. #healthylivingisexpensive

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