Ootoya

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Ootaya has been in Singapore for a while and they just opened a branch in Suntec City. The mains were fresh and cooked fairly healthily, tasting like home-cooked fare. Mine was a mixed bag as the pork balls with tendon just tasted a bit gristly, though still a notch above the mystery-meat balls served at economy rice stalls. I loved the onsen egg, essentially a chilled soft boiled egg, but I have a soft spot for those and this was cooked just right till the whites turned, uh, white and the yolk hadn’t yet set. Shinta and CH both enjoyed their mains and I especially liked this grilled pork dish that we shared. The pork had a layer of fat on it that charred slightly and reminded me of the reason why pork is just So Good.

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CH went for the Kyoto Uji matcha green tea mousse that came with milk ice cream, mochi and red beans. The green tea mousse was very intense and quite excellent as the bitterness of the tea comes through robustly. Much better than most insipid green tea concoctions.

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Shinta and I shared the castella parfait, a trifle made up of cake cubes, ice cream and plenty of cream. Oh I think there was jam or some kind of fruit sauce in it, but who cares? Cake cubes soaked in melted ice cream and accompanied by good quality whipped cream make my day any day.

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Ootoya
3 Temasek Boulevard
#B1-057 Suntec City Mall
Tel: 6837 3718

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Dear Dessert at Camp

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DC and I were stuck for options one evening and we ended up at Camp for dessert. While the food was fine, it was horrifyingly expensive. A juice and dessert each cost us slightly more than $40.

Nevertheless, the strawberry shortcake was rather good. I liked how fresh strawberry was baked into the tasty cake. The creme anglaise instead of boring vanilla ice cream was a very welcome change. While the presentation in mess tin was quite cute, the high sides of the tin made it hard to dig into the food, so it kind of evened out plus and minus.

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The green tea and tofu tiramisu was quite interesting. It was hardly tiramisu to me as there wasn’t liqueur nor coffee in the mix. I could only taste the macha powder sprinkled on top, no green tea anywhere else in the dessert. The cake layer was kueh bolu and the cream layer had a centre of tau hway which I liked very much. It was a very imaginative dessert, though I’d probably not order it again as it didn’t really wow the tastebuds.

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House, Barracks and Camp
8D Dempsey Road
#01-01 to 06 Tanglin Village (Dempsey Road)
Tel: 6475 7787 / 6479 9212

Casual Lunch at OChaCha

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I was pleasantly surprised by the food at Ochacha. I admit that I’m a snob and was a bit surprised that a friend would suggest here of all places for lunch. Since I’m trying to keep an open mind and be more open to new experiences, I gave it a shot. Of course it helped loads that my friend was giving the treat!

I had the salmon sandwich set lunch. For $7.90 I had a soup, sandwich and drink. Very decent value. I didn’t find anything special about the cold macha tea. It was, well, green tea. I don’t think I’m made to be a macha connoisseur.

True to its Japanese styling, the food came in nice crockery with fancy shapes. Too bad the tomato soup I had was too sour. I think they tried to make it from fresh tomatoes but couldn’t get decent ones to fit their price point. Try again with canned ones next time.

The sandwich was very good. The soft multi-grain bun was stuffed with good quality smoked salmon and lettuce. It was completed by a sprinkling of furikake, giving it lots of umami flavour. I liked the sandwich a lot, but not the salad. The salad was the typical Japanese fast food side salad with some wilted iceberg lettuce at the bottom and other miscellany on top. I don’t see why the lettuce was wilted and brown at the edges when they could do it fine for the stuff in the sandwich. The wasabe peas didn’t add anything to it, especially when they got soggy too fast. There were also some potato crisps with green powder on the side. I presume they’re some kind of Japanese flavoured ones to complete the Japanese theme.

In short for food, sandwich: PASS, everything else: FAIL.

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My friend had this vegetarian soba salad. He said it was good but didn’t elaborate any further. You’ll have to go try it yourself then.

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Service-wise, this place was great. The staff were super smiley and very obliging. They described the drinks to us to help us decide. When they served the food, they waited patiently for a break in conversation before putting the dishes before us. And when my tea was too sweet despite me asking for less sugar, they gladly replaced it with a no-syrup version. Well done, 10/10 for service!

OChaCha
252 North Bridge Road
#B1-44F Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6333 5886