Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Qi Le Boneless Chicken Rice (祺乐起骨鸡饭) - Totally Worth it! @ S11 Coffee Shop [Opposite Yishun MRT Station]

Long long time ago, i was famished after a full day of work and just wanted comfort food for dinner; decided on chicken rice and ordered a packet for takeaway. Bloody staff collected S$4 even though the range was from S$3-4! Needless to say, I blacklisted the stall since then.

A few years passed and i honestly didn't know if the stall has changed hands. However, i did notice that it is now commanding the longest queue in the crowded coffee shop right opposite Yishun MRT station!

Dad felt like having chicken rice and i was too lazy to travel to another coffee shop; hence, i removed the 'blacklist' tag from my mind and decided to give the stall another chance. Price had increased to SS$3.50 - S$4.50 for a plate of chicken rice and this time round, i was charged (rightfully without asking) S$3.50.

I was amazed by the speed and efficiency of how the staff managed to place everything on a single tray! As you can also see from the photo, the stall doesn't scrimp on the ingredients! Just the size of the bowl of soup for one person was already significantly bigger than its other competitors!

It's not even your bland and clear chicken soup; the content was peanut chicken feet soup and there were so many peanuts! Now, my mom can cook a mean pot of peanut chicken soup and i could easily finish a pot of white rice with the soup drenched on it! This tasted as good as mom's version and despite such a large plate of chicken rice given to me, i think i could still manage another full portion of rice.

Seated on a bed of crunchy beansprouts was a generous amount of tender chicken meat that was also chopped quite thickly! Roasted skin wasn't the crunchy type even though the absolute deal maker had to be the savoury oily sauce poured over the juicy meat!

Chilli had a piquant spiciness to it but i could do without it as it was a bit too hot for me. I was more impressed with the rice; it wasn't oily and although it might lose out a bit on flavour, i could moisture the dryness with the soup! Anyway, less oily means a healthier meal right?!  Always good to balance things out.

So bloody delicious; i actually went back a few days later!

=====

Location
Block 744, Yishun Street 72, #01-197,
S11 Coffee Shop, Singapore 760744

Map

As above.

Pricing
Chicken Rice (1 Person) - S$3.50

Other Stalls in the Same Coffee Shop
(click the link to find out)




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Kumagera - The Michelin-Starred Restaurant (Ranked #2 on Tripadvisor for food in Furano) @ Hokkaido [Japan]

Back when i was planning my itinerary for my first Japan trip to Hokkaido, i relied heavily on TripAdvisor and Google Maps for places of interest, including potential spots for meals. 

In Furano itself, the restaurants / cafes chosen for lunch, dinner and breakfast were ranked top three on TripAdvisor and number 2 was Kumagera.

Housed within a building that looked like it was overrun by money plant, you would definitely be taken aback by the bunches of overhanging fruits; it's a grapevine! Maybe it wasn't season yet as the grapes appeared too small.

Waiting for our turn as the restaurant was full that night! As expected from Japan's exemplary customer service, there was a notice informing diners that they might take slightly longer to serve us.

Couldn't quite pinpoint the decorative style even though as many of you would be aware that i don't care. Food taste would take the highest priority and in an evaluation matrix, be accorded the heaviest weightage.

While waiting, i suddenly caught sight of something red on a table; what the..... Kumagera is in the Michelin guide?!?! I didn't know how many stars it attained in 2017 but a search online revealed one start back in 2012. 

After a wait of about 15 minutes, we were brought to the second floor where there were two additional sections for diners! 

Don't understand Japanese? Ask for a Chinese & English menu! Variety was wide and we had a hard time deciding what to eat. I was focused on only one thing; beef.

Prefer something special? You can try the roasted bear meat with ginger soy sauce meat! I remember watching an episode of a popular Taiwanese food variety show where the hosts recommended a restaurant in Hokkaido for bear cuisine (stew bear paw etc)! 

Precautionary message, in four languages, for those who couldn't wait - "Some dishes would come early and some would come late because different cooking ways. Thank you for your understanding."

Alex got the message and proceeded to take a snooze.

100% Furano Grape Juice - this came more than 20 minutes later and arrived at the right time as i didn't drink much water that day. It was filled with the richness of grapes and super nice to have! Only problem; too little! 

Cheese Tofu - ordered simply because it was unique and one of our travel mates was apparently into cheese. I only took a small bite as it's technically not ordered by me.

Served cold, the texture was hard, unlike the silken soft tofu we are better accustomed to. It tasted literally of cheese and i don't know about the others; i would have very much preferred a block of cheese. 

Chicken Cutlet - a good picture of Japanese style chicken cutlet although the goodness is merely visual as it wasn't as amazing as i thought it would be. 

The chicken had a nice crunch (thanks to the breadcrumbs) and tasted not bad although the marination could have been more memorable. Rasa Sayang's chicken cutlet would be ranked higher and it's halved the price. Not to mention as well that it's conveniently located in Ang Mo Kio in Singapore! 

Furano Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu - indicated for one person in Chinese, i was surprised to find such a big pot of soup placed in front of me! 

Meat portion wasn't as generous though and i would very much like it if the vegetables (tofu, mushroom, udon, glass noodles and lettuce) were to be replaced by a few more slices of Furano wagyu beef.

In case you need a closer look; seven thin slices. Truthfully, i could add another portion of beef although it would set me back by a staggering 3,500 yen (approximately S$43). Never mind, i can make do with lesser meat so late at night. 

Soup was bland and seemed to be seasoned with just kelp and maybe a dash of salt. The vegetables didn't improve the flavour and i was so tempted to throw in a few spoonfuls of soya sauce. 

The slices of Furano wagyu beef didn't disappoint though despite the lack of flavorful soup; they were utterly tender and soft and given the limited pieces, i had to slowly chew through each piece to lengthen the blissfulness. 

Melon with Sake - a fellow travel mate couldn't resist and he kindly shared it with all of us! I don't really drink alcohol and i am under the impression that sake is very potent. However, i am all for taking just a small sip!

Woah, didn't regret at all - the melon had soaked up the sake hungrily and there's a sweetness that made the sake very palatable! Even the pieces of melon tasted extremely sweet; did the sake catalyse the original sweetness of the melon?

Pricing at 1,200 yen which wasn't too expensive given that a non-alcoholic Korean bingsoo in Singapore could already have set us back at around the same pricing! 

=====

Location
3-22 Hinodemachi, 
Furano, Hokkaido 

Phone Number (for GPS)
+81 167-39-2345

Operating Hours
11.30 am to 11.00 pm

Website

Pricing
100% Furano Grape Juice - 500 yen
Cheese Tofu - 500 yen
Chicken Cutlet - 1,000 yen
Furano Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu - 3,900 yen
Melon with Sake - 1,200 yen
(Inclusive of Tax)


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Potato Head Beach Club (Restaurant) - Great Place to Chill Out! @ Bali [Indonesia]

Friends who know me would be aware that i am not into the club scene and would prefer to stay at home rather than to get myself wasted and to wake up the next day with a massive headache.

However, someone suggested Potato Head Beach Club for dinner when i was in Bali and since it would be a group dinner, i found it a bit hard to reject. Furthermore, the beach clubs in Bali were supposed to be very good and you can even find their spin-offs in Singapore like Ku De Ta! 

Security was tight with bag checks and stuff and after we cleared it, we were kind of in a fix as there's no direction on where you should proceed to from there! 

We just walked straight until we caught hold of the sign as above. For a place known to be popular, there wasn't much of a crowd on a Friday evening and you can't blame us for thinking it might not be as great as it was made out to be. 

Was in fact expecting a queue but there was none! Anyway, an interesting facade made up of hundreds of wooden windows that were quite the norm in the old days. 

Going up one level; again, the disquiet was disturbing! Did we land ourselves in a tourist trap? But the review on google was an impressive 4.4 from over 1,600 reviewers!

A different storey greeted us once we entered Potato Head Beach Club - the whole place was filled with people and we did the right thing by making a reservation beforehand. There were three levels; top one was a pizza place, second floor served Indonesia food whereas the lower level (where we were at) was more for Western cuisine.

Our reservation was for level one as the second level was already full. Honestly, I wasn't too happy to see the orange lights as pictures taken of food would look extremely unappetizing. 

After ordering my dinner, i dashed out to check out the beach club as mountain-tortoise (basically ignorant) me has never been to one before! 

First thing that struck me when i first entered the restaurant was the infinity pool facing the beach and the ocean with a bar counter that had its seats underneath the water! 

In other places, i would have thought it's stupid to have a pool when the sea was just a few meters away. However, the waves were choppy at this side of Bali and it actually made practical sense for people to enjoy the sea-view while soaking in water.

Bed-sized lounges in case you do not want your skin wrinkled up! 

It was too cloudy that evening; if not, i guess you would be blessed with a beautiful sunset while relaxing on the lounge beds. Thought it's a really nice place for those looking for a chill-out venue and drinks are not as expensive as Singapore! 

Beach was frankly nothing to scream about. Looking for white-sand beach that's almost powder like? Maldives is definitely the place! You may check out my summarised itinerary here

Time for my dinner! As expected, all the photos were "orange-washed" and i was thinking if i should just give the food a miss; as in not taking any photo of it as i still needed dinner!

I am grateful to my tour group mates for helping to switch on the torchlight function on their mobile to shine my order; the 180 grams Altitude Farms Pork Belly.

My review, unfortunately, wouldn't be a good one; the pork belly was super fatty which would have a complement if the crispy roasted skin wasn't insanely tough! It was a bit overwhelming after a while and can you imagine that i actually left one piece untouched. Even the BBQ corn failed to remedy the situation; not buttery enough and there's a strange tinge of sourness. 

=====

Location
Potato Head Beach Club,
Seminyak, Bali Island, 
Indonesia

Website

Pricing
Altitude Farms Pork Belly - 155,000 rupiahs
(subject to 8% tax and 10% service charge)


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