Roland’s Pomfret

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We had a work treat and the bosses took us to Roland’s. There was a good spread of food, but what was especially memorable was the pomfret. I’m used to pomfret being either steamed Teochew-style (one of my favourites) or deep-fried and sprinkled with crispy ginger strips.

This version is especially unique. They filleted most of the fish, sliced it, and stir-fried it with broccoli and pine nuts. In the mean time, they coated the intact fins and head in flour and deep-fried it. Then it was all assembled into this glorious dish below.

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I liked how I got the best of both worlds: succulent bouncy fish stir-fried just-so and fins deep-fried so crisp the bones were easily crunched through. The tender broccoli and fragrant pine nuts rounded off the dish. It was so good we asked the other table for their pomfret skeleton and wiped it out in no time.

Roland Restaurant
89 Marine Parade Central
#06-750
Tel: 6440 8205

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A Melange of Regional Chinese Cuisine

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Eeyore and I were wandering around the Geylang area for want of anything better to do (!). We were waiting for lunch to be digested before tackling dinner. Eeyore was going to take me to his favourite or luak (oyster omelette) place in Geylang. After taking a long stroll up and down Geylang Road, we stumbled upon the restaurant at 666 Geylang Road that served regional Chinese cuisine. I apologise for not taking down the restaurant name and address. It’s actually on the odd number side of Geylang nearer the MRT track, but I do remember the 666 number. I’m sure you can find it yourself!

Being fresh from my travels in China, I was intrigued by the promise of Hunan cuisine, among others. I miss very much the fiery dish of fermented long beans fried with minced pork. Too bad this place didn’t serve it.

What they did have was che mian (stretched noodles), which is a specialty of Shaanxi province. Typical of food in China, the presentation wasn’t the best. Look at the mess below!

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But when mixed together, the noodles, garlic, chilli, beansprouts, cai xin and vinegar blended together into a sublime whole. The wide noodle (note singular) was very chewy and moreish. It had great mouthfeel and was very satisfying. Our entire bowl was filled with just one noodle. Eeyore was under strict instructions to find the end and failing that, to count the number of ends there were. We had a lively, though extremely geeky, discussion about the number of ends produced with each bite and whether it was an arithmetic or geometric progression.

Here I am showing off the noodle!

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We had the kou shui ji (literally: saliva chicken) as a cold dish. The name is so because it’s so tasty people start to salivate immediately. This dish was a pretty watered down version of the fiery Sichuan original. It’s a basic but very tasty dish of plain boiled chicken dressed with soy sauce and chilli oil. Here, it was decent if you’re far away from Sichuan and have no idea what to expect. Only one way to put it: for the chilli-wimps.

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Another dish we had was the zi ran mutton. Fatty strips of mutton were fried with chilli, leek and lots of fennel. It gave a Central Asian touch and was utterly delicious. I particularly enjoyed the bursts of fennel exploding on the palate. Again, it wasn’t as good as the ones I’ve had in China, but it’ll do.

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Before you run out to this place, ask yourself if you’re squeamish. I found a little extra in our fried vegetables towards the end of the meal. I’m not sure whether that was a good or bad thing. No, we didn’t see the point of complaining as the place felt like a little slice of China and no, we weren’t sick after that.

Verdict? Eat at your own risk. The che mian is fantastic and the food is reasonably priced ($28 for two meat dishes, one vegetable dish and one noodle).

Ramen Showdown: Miharu

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Not being too satisfied with Tampopo, I persuaded Shinta, KK and Eeyore to eat at Miharu the next day. (Don’t ask me why they have these pseudonyms, I didn’t choose them.) As is typical when eating with Shinta, we had a steady stream of appetisers.

The stir-fried beans were excellent. The beans were crisp-tender and just cooked through, the way perfect beans should be; and the thickened mince meat sauce was a great complement. Shinta gobbled up the last bits of meat and I wiped out the beans.

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The gyoza was so-so. It wasn’t as crisp as I’d like despite the picture and the filling wasn’t very tasty either.  We half-coerced Eeyore to finish the last one.

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I liked the braised belly pork with mustard. They used an extra-strong mustard that cut through the fat as well as the salty-sweet braising liquid. The pork was soft enough for me though not up to standard for Shinta and KK, who’d just got back from another trip to Japan.

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Moving on to the ramen, I ordered the spicy version. I guess it was some kind of misguided attempt for consistency between my earlier Tampopo experience and here. At Miharu, they serve it Sapporo-style, so I really should have ordered the miso without chilli.

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Never mind. This version was decent. It was topped with chashu, menma (marinated bamboo shoots), sweetcorn, spring onions, half an egg and piece of seaweed. All was fine: I especially liked the texture and sweetness of the corn though I’d prefer the egg to have a runnier yolk.

The noodles were quite heavy, though still springy and tender. I can imagine how good it’ll be to come in out of the Hokkaido snow for a big bowl of this stuff but it didn’t work as well in hot humid Singapore. It was also on the day it was 35 ºC! The soup was, as expected from online reviews, a bit on the salty side. The restaurant provides plenty of cold tap water and, on request, gives out stock to tone down the salt. I liked the soup but would probably need to come back another day to try it without the overpowering chilli. It was just an unnecessary distraction that didn’t add much to the ramen. Unfortunately, this ramen wasn’t good enough for me to finish either.

Sapporo Ramen Miharu
1 Nanson Road Singapore 238909
(Robertson Quay)
Tel: 6849 8686