Spruce: A Birthday Dinner

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

The DC’s birthday was long overdue so I booked a table at Spruce so that we could try their famed ahi tuna starter and their supposedly famous burgers. The ahi tuna certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a western twist to negitoro: chopped tuna sashimi was seasoned and dressed with olive oil for unctuousness and sprinkled with chives, then eaten with some of the best baguette I’ve had in a while. Creamy avocado slices on the side lifted it to sublime. I’d go back there again just for that one dish.

DSCF5906

The problem with having the best dish first is that the rest of dinner, though competent, was a bit of a letdown. I liked the squid salad with rocket and roast lemon. I hate to complain about such a minor detail like fiddliness, but it was a bit of a mess trying to get to get the lemon juiced. It was a nice touch though, and enhanced the herby sharp rocket very well. The squid wasn’t too bad, but I’d prefer it a bit more charred so I can taste the smokiness.

DSCF5903

The burger wasn’t too bad either. The staff noted that we were sharing and were nice enough to instruct the kitchen to divide it up and skewer each half carefully. DC liked the tender patty, it was quite juicy and tasty, with good beefy flavour. I liked the chips: soft and fluffy on the inside and nicely crisp outside.

DSCF5909

The meal went downhill after that. There was a side of what were supposedly grilled mushrooms drowned in a lacklustre and vaguely vinegary (wine?) sauce, then a ginger steamed sponge. I don’t know why the presentation was so bad because the ice cream was half melted by the time it got to us (see the picture). Presentation aside, the cake itself was decent, though nothing to shout about.

DSCF5914

Service-wise, this place had great intentions. It was sweet of them to bring out a ginormous piece of chocolate cake for DC. The waitress came out with the candle ablaze and singing the birthday song. It was a pity that this was only after I’d asked for the bill and was preparing to go. Nevertheless, it was a nice touch. I’ll definitely be back for the ahi tuna and perhaps for other starters, but I’ll give the sides a miss.

Spruce
320 Tanglin Road
Phoenix Park
Tel: 6836 5528

Basement Restaurants at Liang Court

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

I wanted to have Okinawa food again and DC suggested trying Ichibantei at Liang Court. While not strictly an Okinawan restaurants, it served pretty decent food. The deep fried mini prawns were pretty good even though they didn’t quite have the oomph of the version done at Nirai Kanai next door. I liked how they were so crispy everything could be crunched up nicely. The only problem was making sure that I put the prawn in  my mouth tail first, if not I’d get pricked by the spikes on its head.

DSCF5484

The goma salad wasn’t particularly exciting, though the deep fried noodles add a nice touch.

DSCF5485

An unexpected find was the pork belly ramen. I wasn’t expecting much but I liked this quite a lot. The soup was rich and the noodles firm and bouncy. It’s runner up to my favourite at Ken’s.

DSCF5490

Last dish here was the deep fried prawn roll with tai and mentaiko. I liked how the rich grilled mentaiko topping went really well with the prawn. While the tai added a smooth, almost silky dimension, the delicate flavour was a little overwhelmed by the prawn and mentaiko. A bit of a pity as this imaginative dish could have been that much better.

DSCF5495

The desserts at Ichibantei weren’t very inspiring, so we headed over to Tampopo Deli where we tucked into the tart pudding. It was lovely! The tart at the bottom was buttery and nutty (almonds?) and went really well with the rich caramel pudding on top. The syrup topping and real cream gilded the lily incredibly well. It’s a simple pairing that worked incredibly well. Definitely a winner.

DSCF5496

Ichibantei
177 River Valley Road
#B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6338 0393

Tampopo Deli
#B1-16 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6338 7386

My Favourite Hong Kong Dessert

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Oh Yee Shun Steamed Ginger Milk, how many ways do I love thee? I discovered your shop, the Yee Shun Milk Company, while wandering around Causeway Bay.

dscf3261

I berate myself because I thought you were naught but a tourist trap, simply from the Japanese words on the sign.

dscf3264

Yet it was love at first sight when I spied the little bowls of ginger steamed milk awaiting the hungry hordes.

dscf3270

I plucked up my courage, made it past the curt staff, timidly sat at my designated seat across from a similarly determined local, and ordered my silken bowl of ginger goodness. Oh my, the sinus-clearing sharpness of ginger, the impossibly smooth curd sweetened just right.

dscf3267a

I just had to drag my friends here the next day for more of my favourite Hong Kong dessert. Sadly, there’s no substitute in Singapore. I tried a version in Chinatown that disappointed so much I’ll just have to wait for my next visit to Hong Kong.


Yee Shun Milk Company
G/F 85 Percival Street
Causeway Bay
Tel: 2576 1828