Wow Wow West

Wow Wow West

For all the best the West has to offer that can't quite be nailed down to a specific regional cuisine.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

(PARTIALLY SPONSORED) @britishhainan has been in business for over a decade now, and they’ve been serving up consistently decent Hainanese western food. Plus, they’re preserving a piece of Singapore’s culinary history that was created by Hainanese cooks working for the British during the colonial era.⠀

The surprise hit of the night was the Porky Combo ($20.90 nett), which featured a porcine trio of British Hainan’s signature Hainanese pork chop, mustard pork chop and a classic bri’ish pork banger. The Hainanese pork chop was truly tender and sported a beautiful breaded exterior, and the sweet and sour sauce was tasty enough albeit a little sweet. ⠀
The mustard pork chop was the true standout, and not just because of its smoky & sapid flavours. The pork chop had a texture that hit peak neuron activation in my caveman brain, as it was tender enough to be swallowed with a moderate amount of chewing, but possessed enough resistance to give my jaw a decent workout and give me a chiseled jawline without mewing. And of course, the bri’ish banger was an absolute banger, with its juicy, meaty and bouncy qualities all encased in a snappy sausage skin.⠀

Still, as long as you main British Hainan’s mains, you’ll be alright. Thanks for the invite, @britishhainan & @scalemicroinfluencers!

(PARTIALLY SPONSORED) @britishhainan has been in business for over a decade now, and they’ve been serving up consistently decent Hainanese western food. Plus, they’re preserving a piece of Singapore’s culinary history that was created by Hainanese cooks working for the British during the colonial era.⠀

One common thread I noticed about British Hainan’s food is that it tends to be noticeably sweet, as evidenced by their Signature Oxtail Stew ($32.90 nett). The oxtail is tremendously tender, with the meat separating from the bone with minimal fuss. It wouldn’t be much of a stew if the meat wasn’t accompanied by potatoes & carrots, and both root vegetables were present and stewed till they were super soft. The stew gravy was satisfactorily savoury, but after a while I noticed it getting increasingly sweeter.⠀

Still, as long as you main British Hainan’s mains, you’ll be alright. Thanks for the invite, @britishhainan & @scalemicroinfluencers!

Hey look at us, dining at a halal steakhouse with nary a drop of alcohol. Who would’ve thought? Not me! @asapnco might just be the swankiest steakhouse that’s halal (or Muslim friendly at the very least), and they pride themselves on their choice cuts of cow from the most prized of bovine breeds.⠀

ASAP & Co’s Smoked Beef Bone Marrow is a little expensive at twenty eight dollars before adding GST & service charge, but when they served this starter I fully understood the pricing. Three massive bones, each filled with that much coveted marrow, are grilled over charcoal till perfection. For those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of sampling beef bone marrow, it would be best described as a beef butter. It’s like someone took the entire cow & distilled it into a ridiculously rich mix that’s not far off from butter, but better. ASAP & Co also serve their own beautifully baked dinner rolls complimentary, and I really wish I left one to enjoy the beautiful bovine butter. Oh well, next time it is.

(PARTIALLY SPONSORED) Saturdays are for the boys, but they’re also for shots. Liquor shots are great, but first we down some oyster shots at @fryingfishclub. They’ve got a few variants of Oyster Shooters ($4 before ten percent service charge), and I picked the shoyu & the classic tabasco one. The shoyu was decent with the extra umami & the little pops from the tobiko (flying fish roe), but oysters are peak when combined with a spicy & sour element, plus some diced onions for a little twist.⠀

I don’t know why I chose the Fried Cauliflower ($8 +10% service) as I’m in the cauliflower hate gang, but Frying Fish Club does these fried popper sized snacks excellently. Like the fish & chips, the batter used here is not a minute older than three hours, so the fresh batter means that the coating is more airy & less prone to soaking up oil. Additionally, the seasoning was sensational, with paprika leading the spice blend. I could’ve sworn I tasted some Indian spices in there, but the chef was not going to divulge his secrets to me, so that remains a mystery. A tasty mystery, but a mystery nonetheless.⠀

Thanks for the invite, @fryingfishclub & @scalemicroinfluencers!

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(PARTIALLY SPONSORED) I thought my clubbing days were long over until @fryingfishclub pulled up, and this is definitely more my type of club now that I’m the wrong side of thirty. They only have four entrées on the menu, making them a club of focus, commitment and sheer f-sorry. As their name implies, their claim to fame is fried fish, or more specifically, fish and chips.⠀

I was feeling a little hot to trot that day, so an order of Spicy Shio Maguro Fish & Chips ($19.50 before ten percent service charge) was in order. Shio Maguro is the Japanese designation for albacore tuna, and this might be the first time that I’ve encountered tuna being used for fish & chips. It certainly won’t be the last time, as the shiro maguro is a marvellously moist & mildly oily fish that holds its structure well. The texture is terrific, as its firmness ensures that it flakes off in large chunks that can be speared easily by fork, compared to some other fish that are flaky but fall apart far too easily.⠀

The batter used was immaculately crispy, and despite it being just a touch thicker than most other highly acclaimed fried fish, it did not absorb that much oil. I would later learn from a chat with one of the chefs that this was due to Frying Fish Club’s (FFC) insistence on keeping the batter fresh. The chefs would whip up & utilise a new batch of batter every three hours to ensure that the batter stayed as aerated & fresh as possible. That would certainly explain the airiness & crispness of the batter. With that said, I feel like FFC could’ve been a lot bolder with their mala spice applied to the fish, as the mala was only really a whispered suggestion in the grand scheme of things.⠀

The accompaniments to the fish were superb as well. The fries used here are thick cut fries, and while potato purists may debate their status as proper chips, they are a damn sight better than poxy little shoestring fries. Shoestring fries are nice, but they simply don’t belong in fish and chips. The kani (no nabei here) salad was certainly a curiosity, with lots of shredded imitation crabmeat mixed with carrots in mayo. Not quite as refreshing as a proper ‘slaw, but this was sufficiently superb.

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@pickysnoutsg has always been the place I pass by whenever I’m making my way downtown to the gym (ironic, I know). I’ve always been intrigued by them pairing meats marinated with Vietnamese flavours with the Swiss staple of rösti, which seems like a mismatch at first glance.⠀

However, I was proven wrong by their Rösti Saigon Pork, priced rather reasonably at eleven dollars & ninety cents for a rösti & two thin but ponderous pork chops. The rösti was a little soft, with decently crisp edges and it was pretty decent overall. As with any other fried potato dish, it absorbs a fair bit of oil as potatoes hoover up oil like nothing else, but Picky Snout’s rösti is acceptable and not offensively oily.⠀

The pork chops, as expected, carried the entire team. They were a little thin, but they were tender and still fairly juicy. The powerful piquancy of the lemongrass is the predominant aroma in this dish, and its citrusy, grassy scent kept the natural musk of the pork under control. The pork was sufficiently savoury with a charming char, but I personally reckon that Picky Snout could be a lot bolder with the use of fish sauce in their pork marinade.⠀

The one thing about Picky Snout that I was distinctly unimpressed by was their sour cream. They charge fifty cents for a saucer of sour cream, and their sour cream has a runny, thin consistency like milk. I don’t know if the usual consistency of the sour cream was altered due to the hellish heat in the coffeeshop, or if Picky Snout watered it down, but I definitely remember sour cream being a lot less runny.⠀

Sour cream aside, the tasty pork chops paired surprisingly well with the rösti mainly due to the rösti being simply flavoured with salt. Even if you’re picky about your porcine, @pickysnoutsg will satisfy your porky desires.

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@fura.sg is definitely a cocktail bar with a handful of small dishes and not a restaurant with a lot of drinks, so adjust your plans accordingly. With that disclaimer out of the way, this strikingly embellished bar does a biodynamic, vegetable centric spin on commonly available local produce. Every dish Fura serves is proudly vegetarian, futuristic and highly innovative.⠀

Take for example the Milk/Mylk/Melk ($22++), which has Bewilder oyster mushrooms served in something resembling a consommé, but here it’s a nut milk dashi. Nut milk…hehehehe-excuse me. The Bewilder shrooms were bewitching, and the gently chewy texture in conjunction with the umami from the MSG that naturally occurs in mushrooms made it a satisfyingly savoury shroom dish to ruminate upon with a couple of drinks. The nut milk added a luscious, rich creaminess (don’t you dare) to the mouthwatering mushrooms, making this dish a perfectly complete dish both taste & texture wise.⠀

Due to Fura’s highly experimental nature, there were always going to be a few misses. The Kurly Kale ($20++) sounded good based on its composition: hydroponic kale, edamame, toasted seed butter & pickled shallot. However, kale is already plenty bitter by itself, and it was charred, amplifying the bitterness. I was searching for more of the creamy & savoury seed butter to balance out the bracing bitterness, but there wasn’t enough to be found. Plus, the Kurly Kale always felt a lot more like a side piece to an entrée that never arrived.⠀

Still, even as an enthusiastic meat enjoyer, I can certainly appreciate Fura’s bold innovations with veggies.

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Due to @pilot.sg inherently experimental nature, their weekly specials board always has something that’s sure to tickle your fancy. We had the Blackened Tomahawk ($52++), which wasn’t as blackened or as beefy as its name may suggest, but it is still supremely sumptuous all the same. The bone-in cut of pork chop is gargantuan, and is chargrilled to porcine perfection. The fatty, juicy and tender pork is simply but superbly seasoned, relying solely on salt, smoke and a little pepper to tantalise your tastebuds, and it works wonders.⠀

The hot honey wholegrain mustard is a classic condiment, and the spicy heat of the mustard breathes fiery life into the pork. The roasted cabbage slaw brought a fresh crunch to accompany the smokiness along with what I think is curry powder tossed into the slaw. I couldn’t get enough of that stellar slaw, and I was bummed when it finished too early.

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(PARTIALLY SPONSORED) You’d expect fish & chips to be a staple at any seafood restaurant, but here at @estuary.sg it’s on the special menu, served only during weekend lunch & public holidays. Why is this ubiquitous British staple special here at Estuary? Well, just like all the other fish, Estuary’s Aged Fish & Chips is dry aged for extra flamboyance. They do three varieties of Aged Fish & Chips, and I had the red snapper for twenty eight dollars before tax & service charge.⠀

Due to snapper being an inherently oily fish, it is a prime candidate for dry aging. It was still moist and retained some flakiness, but just like with the hamachi, the flesh had firmed up some and started to resemble the texture of chicken. However, the mild salinity of the fish was concentrated and made more intense by the dry aging process, and the result was a stunningly savoury fish. The batter encasing the fish fillet was equally enchanting, living up to its billing as a ‘super light crispy batter’. Each remarkably crispy bite was packed full of flavour, and the fish fillet was so flawless it vanished in short order.⠀

The terrific tartar sauce deserves equal praise. This tartar sauce was jam packed with capers and herbs, and this sensational condiment was the perfect companion for the redolent red snapper. If they mixed in more lemon juice & zest, and added some dill, this tremendous tartar sauce would immediately be the undisputed condiment champion of the world. As for the chips, they aren’t proper chips and are just fries, but they are still absolutely addictive with their crunchy, well salted exteriors. ⠀

Thank you for having us @estuary.sg , and thanks for organising this tasting @scalemicroinfluencers!⠀

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When it comes to ringing in a new year, you gotta ring it in with a little opulence. And nothing says opulence like a beautiful beef wellington. Unfortunately, beef wellies are hard to come by in Singapore, so after doing some internet research for beef welly places that aren’t run by famous bri’ish chefs, I found @bistrog.sg. ⠀

Bistro G’s rendition of the classic dish does deviate from the classic format slightly ($40++). A cut of beef tenderloin is wrapped up tight in a mushroom duxelles, and the traditional second wrapping layer of parma ham is conspicuously absent. Nevertheless, the beef & mushrooms are encased in puff pastry and baked to perfection, and is accompanied by sides of mashed potatoes and a salad to keep your guilty pleasures at bay.⠀

The tremendously tender beef tenderloin took little effort to chew, and was quite well seasoned. The mushroom duxelles was chopped a little coarser than I’ve seen dozens of chefs do on YouTube, and that might be the reason why the duxelles wasn’t quite as dry as it could be. The moisture of the mushroom duxelles seeped into the puff pastry, turning it a little soggy quite quickly. However, it might not just be the fault of the duxelles alone, as the puff pastry was easily one of the most buttery ones to ever grace a plate.⠀

The crisp, flaky and breathtakingly buttery pastry was the perfect cocoon for the tremendous tenderloin. Of course, you gotta eat it fast before it gets a little too soggy. The redolent red wine reduction propelled the Beef Wellington to new highs with its silky, luscious savouriness. The mashed potatoes were delectably smooth & buttery, while the salad was the perfect palate cleanser to absolve you of any gluttonous guilt.⠀

At about fifty bucks for an insanely indulgent individual Beef Wellington, Bistro G is a real G for this.

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@nomnommonster.sg is not new, as they’ve been operating over at Chai Chee for years, but they’ve recently spread their wings & opened up their second outlet in my hood. Nom Nom Monster does classic Singaporean Western fare, such as Black Pepper Grilled Chicken Steak, grilled pork chops and grilled fish, but their unique selling point is that they are the only place that serves a full range of pasta in the Hougang Central area.⠀

From the timeless Aglio Olio to fusion options like Tom Yum Creamy Spaghetti, Nom Nom Monster’s selection of pasta is unrivalled by anything nearby. I chose the sensational sounding Mentaiko Salmon Carbonara ($12.90 nett!), and I was certainly not disappointed. Your standards might be a bit high if you’re expecting authentic Italian carbonara made with only guanciale, Pecorino Romano & egg yolks for thirteen dollars, so come in with an open mind & tempered expectations and you will be plenty pleased.⠀

Most carbonaras cooked with cream tend to be watery due to the cream splitting during cooking, but no such problems occurred here. The cream carbonara was sufficiently creamy and thick despite the inclusion of heavy cream into the sauce base, and the sauce had no problems clinging to the al dente spaghetti. The addition of bacon & mushrooms makes the carbonara alone rich & sufficiently savoury, but why stop there when you can turn it up to eleven with the mentaiko salmon?⠀

The salmon fillet boasts the crispiest skin I have ever had the pleasure of eating thus far, and most remarkably of all is that the crispness is fairly uniform throughout. However in the pursuit of crispiness, some of the moisture in the salmon had to be sacrificed, and it is a little charred around the edges. However, the abundance of creamy, umami torched mentaiko mayo is here to save the day, and all is well with this rich, delicious pasta.

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It was a tale of two beef briskets at @beervillage.co, and while I’ve already praised Meatsmith’s one previously, @bluesmokesg by @the1925brewingco Twenty Hour Smoked Beef Brisket (approximately $16.60 per serving) was also praise worthy albeit more polarising. While the brisket sandwich featured felicitously fatty & juicy brisket, Blue Smoke’s brisket was definitely a lot less fatty and not quite as tender but no less tasty.⠀

Blue Smoke probably used the brisket flat for their cook due to the limited amount of fat in the beef. The beef didn’t fall apart when picked up with a fork, but it definitely threatened to do so. The beef brisket felt incredibly satisfying to devour, as the meaty texture was certainly enhanced by the need to chew the beef a couple of times.⠀

Flavour wise, Blue Smoke certainly knocked it outta the park with a rendang that tasted like a cross between assam & good old rendang. The rich rendang was tempered by the little hint of sourness, which was handy for combating the richness of the rendang and for heightening the profile of the spices. The beef wasn’t very savoury by default, but when combined with the redolent rendang, the relatively tender cuts of brisket were superbly savoury and a joy to devour.⠀

Overall at @beervillage.co, the food was fabulous and the booze was bussin’. I hope Beer Village comes back next year with equally excellent beer & food, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself that Saturday.

EDIT: never gonna write while half asleep again lmao

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Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol. Insta: @okwhotookmyusername

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