Archive | June, 2012

Han Bat | Chicago

30 Jun

Han Bat | Chicago

2723 W Lawrence Ave
(between Fairfield Ave & Washtenaw Ave)
Chicago, IL 60625
Neighborhoods: Lincoln Square, Ravenswood

(773) 271-8640

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American breakfast options revolve around eggs, and the non-egg options fall within a few major categories – bagels (usually with cream cheese), pancakes, corned beef, or a healthy medley of yoghurt and fresh fruit.

Craving Asian food last Saturday, I went to Han Bat, which is Korean restaurant, and ordered their seolleongtang. Seolleongtang is a broth soup made from beef bones, simmered over many hours, where the marrow leaches out of the bones and turns it an off-white colour. The soup is mild-tasting, and spring onion, chilli was provided at the table.

The $10 bowl of seolleongtang (4.5/5) was a refreshing dish, and the kimchi (4.75/5) is free flow. It’s authentic Korean – when I went into the restaurant at 9am on a Saturday morning, I was greeted with a string of Korean. This, according to Tyler Cowen, bodes well for the authenticity of the restaurant. Very enjoyable Korean home cooking.

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Yolk | Chicago

30 Jun
Address: 747 N Wells, Chicago, IL 60654
Number: (312) 787-2277
Other outlets:
South Loop
1120 S Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312.789.YOLK (9655)

Streeterville
355 E Ohio Street (corner of Grand & McClurg)
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-822-YOLK(9655)

 

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The great American breakfast, which descends from the complete English breakfast, has one thing at its core – eggs.

Most American breakfast places serve a great many egg dishes – Eggs Benedict (poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce) and variants therof, omelettes, steak and eggs, french toast, eggs and potatoes, eggs done any way (laid on a hot plate to fry).

Yolk lives up to its name, by offering a few good spins on eggy dishes.
The Eggs Benedict (3.75) had a crispy muffin and well salted homefries. The substantial fruit side was nice. Overall, a decent eggs benedict. It was good enough for me to go back for breakfast two days later.

Croque Madame (4.5) , or a French toast – grilled turkey, ham sandwich with a sweet Dijon relish and a sunny side egg draped on top was an excellent and delicious sandwich well-fluffed with egg. French toast and Dijon relish went surprisingly well together.

Avoid Noodles on Singapore Airlines Flights

21 Jun

I’ve planted my butt on a Singapore Airlines seat a fair number of times. One thing I’ve noticed: the noodle dishes in economy class are usually drowned in brown sauce. This by itself isn’t bad, but airline food sits there a while. So the noodles become soggy. Avoid the noodle choice.

Keystone Restaurant | Singapore

21 Jun

Keystone was hanging around the top of the Singapore restaurant rankings when it came to Tripadvisor ratings. (As I type, it’s currently #14). Was it that good?

Price: $120++ pax w/o wine. [Menu]

It’s a participant of Palate so there’s a 50% offer occasionally.

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We went to Keystone on a leisurely Monday night, having read ladyironchef’s recommendation. It really is food worth “eating with your eyes”.

First was the amuse-bouche, which featured halves radish, seared eel, and a spread of cumin and pumpkin, and a delicious charcoal bread with parmesan. The charcoal bread (5/5) was highly delicious and was warm and crisp. Along with their nice touch of having pepper over their butter, this bode well.

Appetiser was Georges Bank Sea Scallop (3.75/5) with [Hummus Purée | Confit of Cherry Tomato | Smoked Kurobuta Soil ].  The scallops were well seared and were quite sweet, but nothing amazing. The outstanding thing about the dish was the cherry tomato, which was really sweet. (Grape-level sweetness). (Georges Bank is a fishing bed off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachussetts – home to a famed oyster festival in October – to Nova Scotia)

Main was Snake River Farms Pork Belly (4/5) with [Kakuni | Blood Orange & Chili Jus | Yukon Chip | Karashi Paint]I didn’t fall in love with this dish. The texture of the pork was expectedly soft, (as something sous-vide-d for 36 hours and finished in brandy for 10 should be). The taste reminded me a bit of Wang Wang rice crackers. There was a rolling pungency that came from the pork, which probably is due to the meat itself. The Yukon Chips were a bit soggy and a let down. The poached radishes were not bad.

Snake River Farms, a quick Wikipedia search tells me, is the premium provider of Kobe beef in the USA, since importing the bull Fukurutsu from Japan in the early 1990s. Which also means it is part of a most mendacious marketing technique. There is no Kobe beef outside of Japan!!!

I also got to try a bit of the Chilean Seabass ConfitDecent, but not great.

Dessert was a trio of Silken Curd (4.25/5), Valrhona Genoise (4.75/5) , and Nutella Bar (3.5/5)Silken Curd featured two well-desiccated lychees, which tasted every bit as lychee-ish and was a delight to eat along with the Curd.

Valrhona Genoise was a chocolate cake with a hole in the middle, which they filled with something that tasted like condensed milk (in a good way!). What made the dish was eating the chocolate soil with yuzu sorbet. It was crunchy and sweet-chocolatey with a tangy taste. Something to replicate next time with a sorbet and cookie crumbles in my home, methinks.

Nutella Bar was a good hazelnut dessert. However the chocolate beads in the middle of the dish were a bit soggy, and detracted from the crunch I think the chef was going for.

Overall that was the story of the meal – slight flaws in some of the dishes – not fully crisp nutella crunch, soggy yukon fries – that made those dishes fall short of excellence. It was quite good, but I’m not sure if I’ll come back on my own dime.

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Address: 11 Stanley StreetSingapore

Tel: +65 6221 0046 | Website

Pasta Brava | Singapore

15 Jun

Pasta Brava

Pasta Brava has good pasta. But the other 2 times I’ve been here (2009, 2010) I remember being unimpressed by their other offerings. Keeping that in mind, I ordered pasta. Third time lucky?

Yes. So I am delighted to mention that Stracci al Gamberi e Capesante (4.5/5) or “thin strips of fresh pasta with scallops, prawns, green peppercorn, white wine and saffron cream sauce” [source] is delicious.

Crunchy scallop, crunchy prawns. Delicious sauce, delicious delicious sauce. Mount the butter!

Italian

Por Kee Eating House | Singapore

15 Jun

There are food places that are just famous for one-dish, and Por Kee is one of them.

The champagne pork ribs (5/5) are transcendental. Made from some unholy combination of (as far as I can discern, and this might be completely wrong) – champagne, sweet sauce, huao diao jiu (glutinous rice wine), sugar, coffee – it just coats the juicy pork so lovingly.

Champagne Pork Ribs

Get it in the short rib variety. The long rib variety is too troublesome and features too much striated flesh, leaving shreds between your teeth. You want a pillowy texture, get the short ribs. Pillowy mounds of fat.

Proust loved his madeleines. I say, get me to Por Kee.

The house special tofu has good texture and taste. (3.5/5) I had it in a seafood claypot bowl, which featured a cornstarch based brown sauce, as is de rigeur in Chinese cooking. The sauce isn’t great, but the tofu is good.

The Thai-style fish (4/5) is also good. Leave it to simmer with soup for 20 minutes in front of you, and the fish gelatin will come out. Recommended.

Bamboo clams (3.5/5) (or Atlantic jackknife clams) with garlic are also decent, but generic.

Who are you kidding, you’re here for champagne pork ribs.

 

The education of an epicurean.

15 Jun

I started thinking seriously about food when I read Tyler Cowen’s “An Economist gets lunch” earlier this year. Before that, I had loved to eat delicious food, but rarely did the question of the absolute best food become uppermost in my mind. Tyler Cowen says – “A BAD OR MEDIOCRE meal is more than just an unpleasant taste, it is an unnecessary negation of one of life’s pleasures—a wasted chance to refine our palates, learn about the world, and share a rewarding experience.”

So here’s some food reviews. Food to me is important. It’s a craft, not an art – we all need to eat – so I hope to feature some great craftsmen in the following months.