Saturday, May 31, 2014

Victor's Kitchen - overpriced for mediocre taste

I heard so much about Victor's Kitchen particularly their Salted Egg Custard Bun as they happened to be one of the first to serve it. I have heard about how good their standard used to be but has dropped quite a fair bit. And, i have heard the increase in their prices that did not quite justify their standard and quality now. I decided to find out myself. 

I was there slightly after lunch. No queue spotted with just 3 tables occupied then. I walked to the counter and picked up an order chit. Most of the items are priced $4.50 and above. I decided to go with their King Prawn Dumplings (3 pieces for $5.00), their Steamed XO Carrot Cake ($4.50), Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf ($5.00) and Polo Char Siew Bun ($2.50 for each piece). The XO sauce is chargeable at 0.50 cents per serving.

I ordered a canned drink to go with it. I initially wanted to order their Signature Milk Tea that served by placing in a bowl with ice cubes to keep it chilled but discouraged by its price. I seriously do not think it is worth the $3 as it is just a small glass. 

The King Prawn Dumpling came first. The size of the prawn dumpling is not as big as expected.

The skin of the prawn dumpling was slightly thicker with a rather delightful chewiness and rather smooth in texture.

I liked the filling that consists of chunky pieces of fresh tasting prawns and the satisfactory feel when i placed the whole piece of it into my mouth then slowly chewing it before swallowed it in one gulp.

It tasted alright but it definitely did not quite justify the price. At $5 for 3 pieces, it is even more expensive than those in restaurants.

Next, came the Steamed XO Carrot Cake and Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf, together.

I took notice that 0.50 cents is chargeable for the XO Sauce and i remember i did not indicate in the order chit to order it. I guess it is served by default unless otherwise stated.

I was a little skeptical initially. I took just a bit and put on my tongue, then slowly using tongue to taste it and i actually liked it. This is good stuff indeed. I would think it is even better than those bottled ones available in the supermarkets. I would be more than willing to pay 0.50 cents for it and i would be happy to get a bottle or two to take away to have it at home.

The XO sauce added a nice touch to the rather plain steamed carrot cake. The carrot cake itself was good though, the texture was nicely soft with bits of shredded radish embedded in it. The XO sauce complemented it perfectly, though it tasted a slightly spicy but it has got a distinctive taste of scallop and general bits of it in the sauce. This is definitely one of the better ones that i ever tasted.

Then, it came the Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf. It was nicely wrapped and steamed in a big piece of lotus leaf just like any other. After unwrapped it, i used the chopsticks to slowly break opened it. I did not see the mushroom but taiwanese sausage and bits of chicken meat in it. The taste was slightly plain and i did not like it. 

The Polo Char Siew Bun came in 2 pieces for $5.00. I was told this is the newest item on their menu and strongly recommended by the Auntie serving the table. The same Auntie came back in a while to inform us that it takes a little longer to prepare and she suggested that we might want to go with the Salted Egg Custard Bun instead but i decided to wait for it. 

I expected it to be something special since it is so strongly recommended but it seemed to be the usual Polo Char Siew buns that commonly available in those Hong Kong bakeries or eateries. 

I ate it when it was still hot so it actually tasted not too bad. The filling consists of sweet and moist char siew that tasted quite flavorful but it did not make it any special. And, paying $2.50 for such a piece, it might not be quite worth it after all.

The overall experience was a pleasant one though i am not likely to go back again.

91 Bencoolen Street #01-21 Sunshine Plaza SINGAPORE 189652

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mr Wong Seremban Beef Noodles at Marine Parade Food Centre

I was told this is a MUST TRY Beef Noodle if i happen to be in this food cetnre. I was there just before lunch so no queue is spotted. I wanted the smallest portion of beef noodle for just $3.50. The lady manning the stall was all by herself to take order, to cook then served it, and collected the payment. It happened so quick. 

Never really a fan of Beef Noodle and so i did not have much expectation.

The taste was generally alright. The thick noodle was cooked to the right texture then served with the thick braised sauce. It then topped with the poached sliced beef and the salted vegetable, roasted peanuts and chopped spring onion to serve. Bits of sesame seeds were sprinkled to add flavor. 

After a good mix, every strand of thick noodle was nicely coated with the braised sauce and ready to eat.

It was nice though not exceptionally outstanding. I might just eat it again if i happen to be here and there is no queue.

Block 84 Marine Parade Central #01-184 Marine Parade Food Centre SINGAPORE 440084.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Peachy in the Hot Kitchen - an Interesting Name

It was a rainy day right after a meeting to have a quick lunch. This stall is located at a corner of the basement.  There was a buzzing crowd waiting to order and to collect their orders right there. There was only a lady taking and delivering the orders and another gentleman cooking it right at the stall. 

I waited after stood in front of the menu board for a while, waiting to order. The lady was really busy. She brought out several plates of foods from the kitchen, garnished by sprinkled it with bits of dried parsley leave or squeezed the mayonnaise on it right before served. She might be busy but there was a smile on her face. When she noticed me, she gave me a nod and i told her my order, then pointed to the table right at the corner, indicating to her that i will be sitting there. I decided to try Cheesey Chicken Cutlet with Tomato Spaghetti at $6.00 for the first time. 

I waited. About 15 minutes later, i spotted the lady waving at me, indicating that my order is ready to be picked up. I went over, paid and collected it then proceed back to my table. 

The presentation was pretty neat though not quite appetising. A massive piece of cheese covered chicken chop served with a small portion of tomato based spaghetti and accompanied by coleslaw.

The deep-fried chicken cutlet was a little too brown in color but its texture has not been compromised. Though it did not taste too crispy but it still has it juiciness in it and tasted rather moist despite its unappetising look. 

There was cheese and mayonnaise underneath that layer of baked cheese. It tasted alright though not particularly mind blowing. 

The tomato based spaghetti was a little too dry though they managed to get its texture just right. Its taste would definitely be much better if they served it with more sauce.

The Avocado Juice ($2.50) from the stall next to it is a good choice.

Gotten news that Peachy in the Hot Kitchen has decided to close its chapter. They are letting the stall and the equipments go in a month's time. It is definitely sad to see them go.

Block 505 Beach Road #B1-45 Golden Mile Food Centre SINGAPORE 199583

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Madam Kwan's - a different perspective

After reading the recent article on Yahoo Singapore, you might be wondering whether Madam Kwan's in Singapore is really worth a visit after all? I have got the honor to meet up Madam Kwan and her daughter-in-law just before Chinese New Year this year. 

As this was a planned event, the service then was extremely impressive, prompt and attentive. Though Madam Kwan was rather busy with her friends that night but i was told by Maureen Ooi, her daughter-in-law that she flew specially from Kuala Lumper to meet up with us over this event. Maureen seated with us throughout the dinner session and shared with us her ambitious in expanding the brand name by setting up another outlet probably in the Orchard area.

I was telling her that the prices of the dishes here are rather overpriced. She explained the operation costs in Singapore are much higher in compared to running her outlets in Kuala Lumper. She further shared difficulties encountered during the setting up stage in Singapore. She mentioned that they do have a Central Kitchen in Sembawang to prepare certain dishes in advance to further ensure the consistencies in the standard of the dishes served here. She said, the taste between here and there should not have too much of a difference.

She then passionately shared how they sought for a supplier to produce Chendol. She said, it was quite a difficult process and only found the right match after several attempts as cost is their main concern. She further emphasized that they would rather give the best to their customers with a lower return. She proudly proclaimed that they serve one of the better Chendol. 

She left quite an impression. She is a an outspoken, sociable, friendly and undeniably ambitious. 

I went back for lunch after that particular encounter on a rainy afternoon. It got only a few tables occupied then even though it was during the lunch hour. The service was not as attentive when i was here the other time. After browsing the menu, i decided to go with Soda Bandung ($5.90), Nasi Bojari ($18.90), Nasi Lemak ($13.90), Otak-otak ($13.90), Fried Chicken Wing ($11.90), Fried Hokkien Mee ($14.90) and Banana Fritters ($8.90) to be shared with my lunch partner.

The waiting time was a little longer than expected. The Soda Bandung came first. And, i took notice that the plain water is not served right here even when you do not order a drink. The Soda Bandung was a little sweet with a nice taste of bandung. A good choice for something different. 

Their famous signature dish, Nasi Bojari served right after. The first impression of this dish was it is rather expensively priced at $18.90. What you get for such a price is a piece of perfectly deep-fried and well-seasoned Ayam Goreng, a small portion of Beef Rendang and a equally small portion of Sambal Prawn. I took my first bite and the noticeable crispiness of the skin with a delightful juiciness and moistness nicely retained within was love. The overall taste was slightly saltier in comparison to the sweeter version in Malaysia and a little spicier to better suit the taste bud of Singaporean. 

The colorfulness of the rice did not enhance the flavor much though a plus to its presentation. 

The Nasi Lemak came next. The price is a few dollars cheaper as compared to Nasi Bojari. If you think Nasi Bojari is a little too expensive and you are not quite a fan of fried chicken drumstick then this is likely to be a better choice. The Nasi Lemak came with a substantial portion of Chicken Rendang. It was a piece of chicken drumstick covered thick and rather rich looking curry gravy. The dish accompanied by a handful of Azchar, half of a hard-boiled Egg with spiced grated coconut and Sambal Ikan Belis. 

The chicken drumstick was cooked nicely to achieve its tenderness. I could taste of the strong coconut milk added to give it its complex richness and the distinctive flavor by the mixed ground spices. The level of spiciness was not overwhelmed but comforting.

I particularly enjoyed the freshly prepared Achar and the crunchiness of the carrot and cucumber enhanced the texture quite a fair bit. The Sambal Ikan Belis tasted just decent. The coconut milk infused rice tasted pretty good with a desired fluffiness.

Otak-otak served next. I remember it tasted rather good the first time but somehow, something was amiss this time. The texture was a little too soft with rather mild spiciness.

Fried Chicken Wings was quite a disappointment. The 6 pieces of deep-fried chicken mid wings did not taste as flavorful as the Ayam Goreng served in the Nasi Bojari in comparison. Paying $11.90 for such mediocre tasting mid-wings is definitely expansive. I would rather get another piece of Ayam Goreng for a slightly cheaper price. 

Fried Hokkien Noodle came last. The portion of the thick noodle was quite little served with ingredients like prawns, squids and bits of vegetable. The taste was quite a disappointment, it somewhat did not taste as close to the real thing that i had in Kuala Lumper. The main factor contributed to such substandard taste is the missing of wok taste and fried pork lards to enhance its flavor. 

Banana Fritters is definitely a good choice for dessert. It consists of 2 pieces of perfectly deep-fried Goreng Pisang served with 2 big scoops of Vanilla ice-cream. The amazing combination of the cold and hot was quite a memorable one. This is something that i would like to eat it again. Though it is something simple but they have done it well. 

Now, the question is whether Madam Kwan's worth a visit at all? The taste is quite subjective though most of the dishes tasted pretty decent to me. The deterrent that turned people away from trying is definitely the prices on menu. Many might be asking why would i pay $13.90 for a plate of average tasting Nasi Lemak or $18.90 for Nasi Bojori? 

There is still no news of their other outlet and that deterrent might be part of the reasons.

1 Harbourfront Walk #01-152/153/154 Vivo City SINGAPORE 098585.