Good Food, Good Drinks, Good Vibes

Good Food, Good Drinks, Good Vibes

Featuring triple threat establishments that cater to all your gathering needs. Can’t promise these won’t put a dent in your wallet though!
Mystickal / Melly W
Mystickal / Melly W

Remember when a certain someone and I tried capybara dumplings? (Farmed ofc; you can find the review… Somewhere down there in my Insta.) I said I’d do a proper review of the actual place we were at, but because my old photos have disappeared into the depths of my phone, we’ll just have to settle with the haphazard spread of my latest visit instead for today’s intro post. Yay!

First things first: What is a 串烧 (chuan shao)? Take a close look at the 1st character — see how it’s made of 2 rectangles stacked atop a vertical line? That visual metaphor is literally it: It’s chinese-styled skewers (typically cooked in spicy broth or dusted with chilli powder)! And shao refers to cooking said skewers over a fire — like in a bbq!

When I first visited BBQ Box, I was most struck by how similar the place was to my memories of meals in China. The entire atmosphere and vibe were analogous to my memories — they did a great job of transplanting a taste (heh) of China into my neighbourhood. (Finished with a gundam-esque rip-off welcoming you at the door; perfection!)

And just like other Sichuan-derived eateries that serve similar fare in the Mainland, the menu is huge. In spite of its name, BBQ skewers are just a fraction of its offerings: You can find everything from noodles, to dumplings, to cold dishes, to skewers of all kinds (meat, seafood, carbs, veg — the entire works, really), and even Japanese dishes! (I wholeheartedly believe this is why Mikawa next door can’t seem to do a full-house.)

This totally-not-CB, if you’re curious to try some good ol’串串 and its complements from BBQ Box (takeaway/delivery), let me give you a sampler list of what you should get:

Lamb w/ Red Switch (Basically premium lamb) > all other meat skewers ($3.80)
Japanese Grilled Unagi (well worth) ($5.80)
Grilled shrooms (the abalone shroom/pleurotus eryngil is my fav) ($1.50)
Grilled Mantou Slice or 2 pc Grilled Japanese Rice Balls (for real) ($1.20 or $5.60)
Sichuan Tasty Lotus Root (best. thing. EVER.) ($5.80)
Spicy Dry Soya Bean Cake Floss (great palate cleanser) ($7.80)

(All prices are per serving/skewer.)

Oh, and everything is customisable too!

[ Food Review — Ever been to a coffeeshop bar? ] What are two things that my neighbourhood is lacking in? 1) Coffeeshops, and 2) bars. And I guess that’s why Bar Bar Black Sheep decided to set up shop here — the dearth of both makes it the perfect fit!

I’m not particularly fond of coffeeshops (until we have a smoking ban), and I haven’t been bar hopping since my uni days (allergies, phooey). So what brought me to the confluence of two things I’m not all that partial to? (Hint: I a m a food insta)

The food ofc!

Gonna preface this by saying the food isn’t exceptional; what it does have is a mix of eastern-western food options that is right up my alley, served with a surplus of cool drinks on the side, and packaged in a casual atmosphere that’s walkable from mine. Check, check, and check!

After Omakase Burger closed at Turf City, I was devastated. But after it took up residency at BBBS, right next to Thai, and Indian food stalls — both of which have pretty robust menus as well — I had to swing by one day for a bite of that crunchy sala-, I mean…burger. Cause some of the ingredients inside are crunchy.

Despite being branded as a coffeeshop-bar, don’t expect the prices to be near hawker fare. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Sans OB (which has only gotten pricier), the Thai and Indian stalls serve up restaurant-adjacent dishes with pretty substantial portions.

I’m going to skip on a OB review since I did one a couple while back (refresher: 100% get the salad; pretty good, albeit kinda small, burgers with fluffy buns). My winner for the night: Aloo gobi. Cooked to order, it arrived in a tantalising lil mountain of vibrant colours, and even more vibrant aroma. We spent most of our stay plucking studs of potato and cauliflower from it; we could have just gotten this and paired it with rice and another side and be done — that’s how hefty a portion it was!

The prawn cakes weren’t about to be outdone too. The crust was gold and thin, and the interior was moist and sweet — it was the perf snack to end on, esp when eaten hot. A lil pricey for 3-pc, but if you want to share a main instead, their fried rice and noodles is responsible for feeding >50% of the tables!

[ Food Review — New Place; quirky, fun, and the food’s actually good! ] Let’s say you’re trying to find a casual, fun spot with above-average food to wind down for the weekend. If you’re in my neighbourhood, Grandstand in Turf City isn’t exactly the spot that’d come to mind. But with this new place in the Southern corner of the strip mall, that just might change. Introducing Aquadisiac.

When a certain someone first pitched the place to me, I was admittedly a little confused. The place is branded as a neon-jungle themed modern European spot with a love for the eclectic and drinks — not really a place I’d typically visit. Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued, and within the half hour we were seated!

We were served mostly by Vicky, one-half of the restaurateur couple who runs the joint. Cheery, efficient and professional, she made our stay very comfortable. We especially appreciated how quickly any miscomm was cleared up, and how she spent time to personally check on every single table.

As for the food, I think I had the b e s t spring chicken I’ve ever eaten tonight. And that’s not even a hyperbole! The only catch is that you can only get the chicken as a part of My Other Half ($42), but if you can find someone to share the chipotle pork ribs with, this is a must-get. (The ribs were good too — I rarely like ribs, but this was lean but tender, with a sauce that wasn’t overbearing!)

Their signature is their S. Aus mussels (flown in weekly!) served with free-flow truffle chips ($24/$48). You’ve a choice of Belgian-styled white wine to more localised flavours like chilli crab and salted egg. But despite my alcohol intol, I couldn’t resist and we got the white wine option. No. Regrets. The broth was full-bodied, with an enticing aftertaste of sweet sea-kissed brine. My only gripe was the wine was too mild, but it’s because of that I could eat more of it! Heh!

Our Mixed Grill Sausages ($24) didn’t pale in comparison either. Despite being chicken only, each sausage had a distinct flavour, and was lusciously moist inside. It was surprisingly light on the tummy, especially when paired with the ultra-refreshing tangerine-speckled mesclun salad!

Can’t wait to return!

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[ Great flavours; multitude of drinks ] Having been a fan of Middle Eastern flavours since forever, and add on the dearth of said cuisine in my diet once the pandemic started, I was more than happy to follow the group’s suggestion to dine at Fat Prince, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant-bar concept!

While I was expecting traditional flavours, Fat Prince prefers to take a contemporary spin. For e.g., instead of large skewers of kebabs, you get a small plate’s serving paired with a taco-like wrap. It’s quite bite-sized but you do get a small selection of dips to enjoy it with (starts at $10).

But what I really wanted to try was their hummus (from $12) + flatbread ($4). We started off with the Sweet Corn Hummus — which was excellent — and after that evaporated, we chose the Roasted Cashew Hummus to accompany our drinks for the rest of the evening. I personally preferred the corn for its sweet-savoury-spicy mix, but the walnut’s fuller body made it better for solo eating without the distractions of other dishes.

For our meat-protein main, we got the Wagyu Beef Cheek ($25/100g) to share 3-ways. Tender without being mushy, a light smoky crust courtesy of the earthen oven, with a mild tangy-spicy sear thanks to the fermented chilli and za’atar (a classic Middle Eastern spice blends; imo it tastes like thyme). The chilli’s acidity helped cut through a lot of the heavy flavours, and the pomegranate + walnut crumble further lightened the profile and added texture. If I weren’t so full, I’d have eaten more!

The true highlight of the night though was the Fried Cauliflower. (The Brussels Sprouts Fattoush was good but didn’t come close.) Ever had bad cauliflower? I have — it’s plain, monotonous, and incredibly uninspired. 0/10 would eat again. However, when done well, it’s one of my favs! The night’s rendition was beautiful: lightly crunchy, gently spiced, and all around nutty. I could not stop eating it. It didn’t matter that the green chilli dip had good heat; I was so taken by the original taste profile that I ignored the sauce for the rest of the plate! A must-get if you visit!

Oh, and if you like alcohol, Fat Prince has tons to offer. (Pst, they’ve a bar up front!)

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[@meltingflavours on Insta] I ramble about food. A lot. 📝Long posts | ❌🧀🍷🥛 ⛔️Do not repost⛔️

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