The TEPPEI group is no stranger to our Singapore food scene and has made waves for the affordable Omakase sets they offer in their hole-in-the-wall space in Orchid Hotel, which by the way has a three month long waiting list. Apart from that, they are also known for their Chirashi Dons that are brimming with thick slices of fresh raw fish at Hanare, a few doors down.
Fast forward a few years later, Chef Teppei Yamashita will be creating long queues again with his new venture- an Unagi speciality restaurant that will be opening its doors today, 12 Oct 16, along Keong Saik Road, walking distance from the original Teppei Japanese Restaurant in Tanjong Pagar.
The eel served here is imported directly from Japan, from the Mikawa Isshiki region. They are so fresh that they are still swimming in the makeshift tanks at the corner of the restaurant before being slaughtered live in front of diners who choose to sit at the open concept kitchen. Not for the faint-hearted because it gets bloody, real bloody but no worries about any oil or splatter because there is a glass screen between you and the Chefs. However, I would personally not recommend that you sit there unless you really need to catch some live action and watching your dinner prepared in its rawest form.
By the same people behind one of Singapore’s well-loved cafes- Symmetry, comes an interesting concept that is both cheeky and playful. Serving “Naughty Modern Asian Cuisine” which is essentially local tze char done with a modernized twist, Xiao Ya Tou (小丫头), which means “little girl” in Mandarin, is the newest entry to the many eateries along Duxton Hill.
With its row of hanging red Chinese round lanterns framing the entrance, this quirky Asian restaurant and bar stands out from the recent trend of minimalist decor by re-creating the 1960s vibe which is synonymous with being flashy and gaudy. Similarly, XYT is unapologetically garish and showy with their multi-coloured colour theme throughout and neon sign featuring an outline of a risqué “hostess girl”.
We came by for their newly launched Weekend Brunch which was intriguingly one-of-a-kind Asian inspired, featuring dishes such as Chai Tow Kway, Spicy Otak-Otak Aglio Olio and Oyster Congee. Prices ranges from $12-$23 per item.
Our first pick was the Unagi Benedict $23– poached eggs served atop deep fried mantou smothered in Yuzukosho Hollandaise and topped with two fillets of grilled eel. An interesting mish-mash of textures and flavours, the zest and spice from the citrus creamy sauce was also delightfully unexpected. We loved the touch of shredded nori to complete the Japanese feel.
Roast goose is almost quite synonymous with Hong Kong and is a definite must try when you are in this food paradise city. Although there are a number of places that do serve roast goose, few have risen above the ranks and made a name for themselves, earning a Michelin Star even in the process. Mention roast goose in Hong Kong and the following names- Yung Kee, Kam’s and Yat Lok will surely be in the conversation. I personally tried Yung Kee when I was in Hong Kong three years ago but sadly was none too impressed and thought it was quite overrated. Because of that previous experience too, I was not too keen to have roast goose during this trip but the family wanted to try it and that was how we came to try Yat Lok.
According to our research, Yat Lok was reputed to have the crispiest skin so that alone was our sole basis on choosing it over Kam’s. However, the reviews also revealed that approximately 5 out of every 10 people who ate at Yat Lok, complained that the service staff were really rude, queues were extremely long and altogether not a very pleasant experience. But like I said earlier, the family wanted to try roast goose so we decided to take the chance and went mentally prepared i.e. we were not going to get offended even if the shop aunty was to yell at us.
I have just returned from my short weekend getaway in the land of Dim Sum and needless to say, we squeezed in as many eateries and restaurants as we could during the short 2 days we had in Hong Kong. Some were not too impressive, others we simply could not stop raving about even till today. One such example is Chau Kee 周記點心, located in the quiet and relatively obscure neighbourhood of Sai Ying Pun. Famed for their Golden Lava French Toast and classic Dim Sum items, we also heard stories about the crazy queues and lacklustre service but was delighted to find none of that when we went down ourselves on Friday morning at about 10am.
The space was very quintessential Cha Chaan Teng style- small tables huddled together with tight walking areas that were narrow in width. Lucky for us, the lady at the front counter gestured for us to sit at a corner where five of us fit rather comfortably.
Prices for the Dim Sum items range from HKD$18 – HKD$35 (the exchange rate was SGD$1 = HKD$5.70) so that worked out to approximately SGD$3 – SGD$6, which was still rather affordable. Menus were also translated in both English and Mandarin, for those whose grasp of their Mother Tongue (like us) is rather limited and although the range offered was not extensive, it was more than sufficient. We did find it difficult to decide who should make the short list.
Tucked away in the quiet enclave of Rochester Park and just a level below the upscale Nosh restaurant, is the more casual and cosy version sister cafe- Noshery. Enshrouded with greenery and the ideal escape away from the bustling streets, this place is the answer for cafehoppers looking for a hidden gem that is serene and peaceful. Accompanied by great coffee, good food and the touch of tranquility, it is not hard to be charmed by this neat space.
We dropped by on a Saturday to try their Weekend Brunch menu and was led to the al fresco area as the area downstairs was unfortunately already full. There was nothing much to complain about though because the upper deck had a theme of wood and whites, bathed in natural lighting and almost perfect for taking photographs. With high powered fans covering almost every corner too, sitting outdoors in our heat was pleasantly bearable and enjoyable even.