Friday, March 13, 2015

New Restaurant: Lollapalooza

Lolla reallyyyy impressed us when we went when they first opened but they've become so popular since then that we have yet to go back so when I heard a sister outlet was opening, I was very excited! I knew the food would be good and when they finally announced their opening, I told N that we would go asap! So we went and it was already full on a weekday night! (not Friday) so I guess they do have many fans :) rightly so since their food is great!

It is situated near the end of Keong Saik road but I suggest you park at whatever lot you find cos parking is crazy and so difficult to get! 

The following photos are the menus for the night and it changes daily according to their website. N and I both agreed that their menu is one of the most interesting ones we've seen and the dishes are all very original! There are safer choices and more adventurous choices for different palates and I suggest you try to push your limit cos you will never know if you don't try! 

The ambience of this restaurant is very different from Lolla. Lolla's main concept is a bar concept where you sit at the bar and watch them prepare your food. But Lollapalooza, is all sit down with a few bar seats but similarly its an open kitchen concept with a huge stone oven catching with my eye. It is not a big restaurant so expect seats to be full and it can get rather noisy but not deafening.

Now on to the food:

Dog Cockle Tartare

Okay so we didn't know what dog cockles were initially haha but after the dish was served, we were like "ohhhhhhhhh" basically its the kind that you find in some Chinese restaurants, sometimes they cook w vegetables and they come canned from the supermarket. I don't really like them usually because they're quite chewy and sometimes there's still sand inside but they cleaned it really well and the marinade was great because it didn't mask the taste of the cockle but gave sort of a "fresh" taste to it which made you okay with eating it continuously! Also like the presentation of this dish :) 3.9/5

Braised Tuna Eye with Salsa Verde 

I saw this on the menu and I told N, we are definitely ordering this!!! I thought only the eye would be served but actually it was more like tuna cheek/half of tuna head kind of thing haha which I love because the meat there is so full of fat and the texture is so soft and unlike the other parts of the fish! So if you love fish head then please get this :) the texture and the aroma is great and the salsa does a great job of balancing the fattiness! The eye itself you don't eat because its kinda hard but they do cook the parts behind the eyeball but don't worry, there's no strong fishy taste or weird smells. Don't be afraid to order this dish! You won't regret it :) 4.5/5

Wagyu Ribeye Cap
Prefecture, Grade A4, 180g, served rare only

The boy ate this on his own as I don't take beef. He said that this had a very interesting texture - crusty/crispy on the outside and the inside is very soft and kind of melt-in-your-mouth type of texture kinda like otoro he said haha. He thinks its really a v good dish and its v worth the money! The first few pieces were heavenly for him but because there were other dishes on the table and he kinda rotated amongst them so coming back to this dish, was a bit jialat cos he did have to finish all of those by himself haha but I imagine most people would share it so not much problem there! 4.3/5

With fennel and cured anchovies 

Please be prepared that cured anchovies is rather salty and the taste is quite intense so if you are not okay with that, don't order this. Because in some bites you'll get anchovies and flat bread, the taste is quite strong. Couldn't really taste the fennel tho :/ different parts of the flatbread had different textures, the first piece I got was chewy but then the 2nd slice I took was more crispy and fragrant. 3.4/5

Lamb shoulder and oyster stew

I LOVED THIS! :) It was a great marriage of tastes and I think its a really really great idea!!! Super creative to think of adding oysters to lamb stew! I thought it would taste weird but surprisingly the gravy went well with the oyster and the oysters were super plump!! Tons better than those at the hotel buffets omg love these :) the lamb was not super tender such that you don't really need to chew but theres still some bite to it which is the type of texture I like :) the gravy is super addictive and I used the flatbread to mop up the gravy :) also scooped up spoonfuls of the gravy to eat with the carrots inside! There's no raw/oyster-ish taste in the gravy, it tastes purely like a lamb stew kind of gravy 4.6/5

Dark chocolate roll

I haven't actually been to a restaurant that serves roll cake for dessert! This was very very fluffy and light! The cream in between though occupying about 80% of the dessert (look at photo below) doesn't feel heavy/cloying, there's a fairly strong taste of alcohol but doesn't overpower the chocolate! The chocolate cake itself, though it looks like it is super crispy, it is not actually crispy haha its just really soft and fluffy. Its a light dessert to end with! 3.9/5

Quince Galette

Quince is a fruit that is in the same family as the apple and pear. Its texture is more of a pear and when cooked it looks kinda like pumpkin haha but the taste and texture is like stewed pear! I really really loved the crust of the galette! It was sooo crispy on top and there were quite a few layers in the dough although it looks deceivingly thin, and the strong buttery fragrance just makes me love it even more! There is enough quince for it to be evenly spread out with the dough and the cream at the side went quite well with the buttery dough giving it some vanilla fragrance. The quince itself were cooked with vanilla too I think 'cos I saw the vanilla specks! 4.2/5

The service was really really good there! Everyone was super friendly and light-hearted, very smiley :) I love restaurants that provide a jug of iced water to those who want cos its so much easier for everyone! At Lollapalooza, they don't just leave you with the jug, if they pass by and your cup is empty, they'll pour it for you. There were quite a lot of staff for a restaurant this size which is applaudable since restaurants now have shortage of staff! Wish there could be some seats in front of the kitchen so we can see them in action. 

Our food came super quickly, one after the other and our table barely had space to fit everything. I think it was cos we gave our order when the other tables didn't so our food came super fast. Cos when the tables next to us ordered, theirs came at a more spaced out pace. 

I would definitely go back to try more dishes, especially since their menu changes daily! I also love the fact that they don't stay with the usual tapas dishes and really put their minds into creating new dishes. I also like the fact that they have adventurous options for those who want to try. For example, the veal tongue, according to the server, you are really served the tongue and you have to peel off the outer tough skin and then eat the inside. Then the fig dish is super interesting I feel haha, its stuffed with merguez which is a spicy mutton or beef sausage and wrapped w bacon! We didn't order that cos I don't really like sausages/bacon but both tables next to us ordered and it did look good :) 

They have a selection of red and white wines and some dessert wines but I didn't take a photo of that menu.

Be back soon Lollapalooza!
1A Keong Saik Road
Mon-Sat 6-11pm
Lunch and Sunday brunch coming soon
Closed Sunday
Can reserve online at Chope!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Restaurant: Boca Restaurant (Portugese food)

So Singapore doesn't really have restaurants serving purely Portuguese food and this hole is now filled with Boca Restaurant! 

Boca Restaurant has taken over the space of Oca Grassa and has totally transformed the interior! I have not been to the upper floors as they were not opened to public yet, the first floor has this relaxed bar vibe that seems to be the in thing now and I'm definitely not complaining! I love watching how food is being prepared and watching cocktails being mixed. But that night, N and I had lots to catch up on so we opted for a table instead! 

Being the first two customers of the night, we were very warmly welcomed into the restaurant and were given recommendations as well as notified of the daily specials by the chef herself who was very amiable. The two waiters were also very nice and helpful! More on that later.

Here is the menu:

It starts off with an explanation of the decor of the place, and what black swallows mean to the Portugese, then explains Boca and its concept, then the next page (which is not pictured) tells you about Portugal and its influence on the world!! 

For example, I totally didn't know that 
1) TEMPURA was introduced by Portuguese to the Japanese
2) Tulips, diamonds were introduced by Portugese to the Netherlands
3) Spices/curry to India

When we saw the number of desserts our eyes totally lit up and we were so excited to have dessert! I love a restaurant with a wide range of desserts to choose from that steers away from the usual but comes up with flavours that work and are interesting :)

We ordered white sangria as our meal consists of mainly seafood. I must say this was really refreshing :)

Complimentary Bread

We were served Portuguese olive oil along with the bread and I must say the olive oil is really different from those I've been having. Firstly its more viscous and secondly the taste is a little bit stronger and has a fragrance to it. Sorry my descriptive powers aren't very strong.

This bread was amazing, crispy crust with a chewy to soft consistency inside. N liked it so much that he ate everything haha. The bread is also made by the chef herself.

Octopus salad w red onions, capsicum, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar

I thought this was fairly average, similar to octopus salads I've eaten here. This was refreshing, octopus wasn't super chewy, was just the right texture, and the mixture of onions/capsicums/cilantro proved to be a good taste contrast to the octopus. Couldn't really taste any vinegar though 3/5

Grilled sardines with smoke olive oil and roasted peppers

We were recommended to order this dish and were told the bones could be eaten as well. Some parts I really chomped the bones down but it was a little difficult 'cos its only grilled fish not deep fried so the bones aren't really super chewable. Next I thought the sardines were a little too salty for my liking. However the sardine was fresh which made grilling it the best way to enjoy it 3/5

Bread "porridge" with choice of cod/shrimp (chose shrimp), olive oil, fish stock and coriander

We were super intrigued by "bread porridge" and we're so glad we tried!!! This reminded us of mui fan cos everything was so gooey in a perfect way! The bread was extremely soft and there was egg and pieces of crunchy shrimp as well as that stack of coriander! Very flavourful and very comforting dish. Super homey feeling when eating this!!! Esp nowadays when the weather is so cooling, eating this just warms your soul seriously, not exaggerating. 4.4/5

Special of the day: cod w egg/chorizo/potatoes/olives (I think)

Now I don't really know the exact ingredients in this dish and I forgot the price haha but the chef only told us cod + eggs and its a special and we won't regret haha and we really didn't! This was certainly a very interesting dish and something we've never tried before even in our travels! The mash was nicely peppered with the fragrance from fried egg + potatoes, saltiness from the chorizo (I think its chorizo, i'm not 100% sure) and the sweetness from the cod! Oh! And onions too. So this was a really nice combi mixed into one pot :) 4.4/5

Quail Confit with Port wine and grapes

Now we were recommended to order this and told that there was only 1 portion per night!! (D:) since it sounded interesting and being the first customers of the night, we managed to try it! Subsequently another group of guests wanted to order and the waiter told them they only have 1 portion per day :/

The quail wasn't really confit texture to me haha it felt more like a braised quail? The sauce was super super good omg with the plump huge grapes and mushroom (I think!) and the port wine! And knowing that the sauce is great and customers would wanna mop it up, bread comes along for this dish!! The boy finished the bread as well haha. Even though it looks like a small jar, the amount of meat is quite substantial especially after eating so many dishes! I love that they were generous with the plump grapes and mushrooms. 4.4/5

The Real Portugese egg tart

Now this was heavennnnnnnn so different from Tong heng egg tarts which are my to-go egg tarts whenever I'm having a craving. I've never been to Portugal so I can't compare and tell you if its really the real Portugese egg tart but I must say this is pretty darn good!!! Pity that 1) its rather expensive 2) it wasn't hot when it arrived :/ we weren't sure whether it was meant to be served at this temperature but we didn't bother asking them to heat it up because we didn't wanna trouble them. Even without heating it up, it was already amazing, I imagine it must be better when heated up! It had quite a few layers in its pastry but not those flakey bite and drop all over kind of layers, somehow the layers stay together and are distinct and nicely crisp. The custard is not too eggy and there's a layer of crispy caramelisation atop that brings this to a new level :) 4.5/5

Chocolate Mousse with hazelnut praline

Now I've seen some photos on instagram of this dessert and it definitely did not look like this. The versions on instagram had more stuff in it and even on the same night when this dessert was served to the other tables, it had blackberries inside which we didn't have :/ wonder what happened?

Anyhow, I thought this was rather normal, majority of it is the mousse. Cant really figure out whats in the white layer tho! We broke the praline into smaller bits so that we can have some in every bite. 3.2/5

Vanilla custard with egg white "clouds" in caramel

We were recommended to get this dessert but again I thought it was average but it was certainly a show to see the chef make the caramel! This had an eggy taste to it that was quite distinct so stay away if you do not like it. Couldn't really taste the caramel under the egg though. 3/5

Chef Lola's apple tart with cheese mousse

This can't really be considered a tart because there wasn't really a tart shell per se and I assume the crumbs in front are to be considered the shell. The cheese was very bland and you virtually only have  a slight bit of saltiness when you eat it with the apple. Nonetheless it was an interesting combi 3/5

In the future I would try the almond egg pudding! 

Overall - N and I both agreed that we really liked the food there because all the dishes were good even though not all stood out! But well its kinda hard to make all dishes stand out primarily because people have different tastes.

Service: the waiters are really polite, especially the Asian guy. And really helpful overall as well! So good service is a good thing!

We are definitely coming back to try the slightly more upmarket food on the first floor when it opens to the public! We really liked the change of cuisine and were glad we got introduced to Portuguese food :) I would say this restaurant definitely has much prospects and is a fresh addition to the global cuisine we already have in Singapore!

Now who thinks there's gonna be a crop of Portuguese restaurants opening soon? ;)

Boca Restaurant
6 Bukit Pasoh Road (parking is a bitch, either go early or ask for valet from the other restaurants nearby) note that it is at the start of Bukit Pasoh road when you turn in from Neil road
Mon-Sat 6pm-12am

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Restaurant: Sear

Sear is a part of a new dining concept - 50 raffles place which includes Sear (Steakhouse), Angie's Oyster Bar (as the name suggests), Empire (bar/club kinda concept) and a Japanese tapas restaurant.

With beautiful views and Kobe beef to boot, I decided to visit this restaurant for Friday dinner with the boy! It was a little confusing initially as the address does not state that it is at Singapore Land Tower! But it is atop Singapore Land Tower on the 45th floor. The lifts were a little confusing as well as only half of the lifts reach 45th floor! So do take note.

So after all these confusion, we were shown to our seats which had terrible lighting but was next to the glass windows! But the view was shitty due to haze I guess 'cos everything was blurry and so we didn't really have a nice cityscape to look at. We decided to switch tables to one with better lighting! There are also outside tables and I would really recommend those when the weather is good! The lighting is quite low there though but the ambience (especially if not many are seated outside) is quite good!

On to the menu:

You would also be told about the specials of the day. If I'm not wrong, we were only told of 2 specials and both were under the "mains" section. One was braised wagyu ribs and the other was grilled trout which I chose as my main and will be touched upon later!

 Served warm crusty bread with salted butter x caraway seeds and I forgot what else haha.


We ordered the Angie's Ocean Platter ($86 for 2 pax) which consists of:

Maine Boston Lobster 
Jumbo shrimp cocktail
Diver scallop ceviche
Oysters on the half shell

King Crab Leg

In general I thought the seafood platter was okay, the seafood didn't taste particularly fresh, neither were they sweet. It was just passable to me. The oysters were a little smelly. But I like the fact that they dug out the king crab leg meat so its much easier to eat! 2.8/5 

Pira Grilled Foie Gras


I think $32 is a littleeeeee bit overpriced but I really really love the texture of the foie gras here because the outer layer was amazingly amazingly crispy with some crunch but the inside was all buttery soft and melt in your mouth kinda texture! Wonderfully done this one!! Though perhaps presentation could be improved on a little as it looked rather side on that comparatively much larger plate! 4.4/5 

Sear Tasting of Rib Eye
Certified Kobe Beef
Wakanui 21 Day Dry-Aged NZ Hereford
Australian Jacks Creek 450 Days Grain Fed

N had this and he was in heaven. What repeatedly came out of his mouth was "mmmm I'm in beef heaven" and this look of utter bliss haha. I was really glad that he was enjoying his food so much!! The beef have differing amounts of fat but even the cut with the least fat was so tasty that N loved all of it!! But of course, especially the Kobe! And Sear is one of the few places in Singapore that serves Kobe beef! He kept telling me how much he loved his main course and well I guess this means ORDER IT IF YOU LOVE BEEF! :) MUST-TRY! 5/5 

Special of the day: Pira grilled trout 

I had this and I thought it was okay? The grilling was not bad because the fish was not completely dry and meat was not tough! However it didn't really have much taste?? So to finish the entire fish was a bit :/ for me. 3/5 

This creamed spinach w cheese was served w my trout and it tasted as good as it sounds!! Okay I like spinach hahaha so this was rly yummy for me :) I think even if you didn't like your veggies, you would eat this too! The taste of the spinach is covered by the cream and cheese so you need not worry!

Chocolate Mud Cake
Chestnut ice cream, raspberries and praline

This is a dense and rich dessert so please take this into account before ordering your dessert otherwise you will most likely regret your choice/hate it. That block of chocolate is pure thick decadent and sinful chocolate ganache and the praline is almond I think and it brings the crunchy texture that we all love hehe I had a great time scooping up the crunchy bits to go w the yummy chocolate :) the chestnut ice cream rly did taste like chestnut and this was a pleasant surprise! Because most of the time the ice cream doesn't taste like its flavour. 3.4/5

Overall I would think the food is okay with some hits and slight misses, the price a little bit on the high side mainly cos of the location I guess. Service wise it was as expected although some were really polite and friendly! Do note that even though it is on the 45th floor and you get window seats, do not expect views like Equinox because after the indoor seats there are outdoor seats so your view is a little bit obstructed and in the CBD there are so many tall buildings that your view may be obstructed depending on where you sit! 

50 Raffles Place Level 45 (actually just look for Singapore Land Tower, its in that building)
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