Tuesday, 26 March 2013

King Louis Grill and Bar


We had a lunch outing at King Louis Grill and Bar recently. We took advantage of the weekday set lunch and are pleasantly surprised by the big servings. Most of us had problem finishing the food. It really was a pity to waste them. I think next time we have to share a set. Here are some of the stuff we tried. 

Cream of Mushroom
All set lunches comes with a drink, soup of the day and ice cream. There are the usual array of soft drinks to choose from, ice lemon tea, hot coffee or tea. This cream of mushroom is packed full with bits of mushrooms. While my colleagues liked it, i think they were not aware that the soup lacks mushroom flavour. You may be wondering how can it lack mushroom flavour if it is full of mushrooms? Well, you will need to have had a real decent bowl of mushroom soup chocked full of flavour before you can tell that real thing from the "fake". The real flavour come from within. It is strong and lingering. Nevertheless, i think it is a good attempt at making a cream of mushroom soup. I drank every last bit of it.

Roast Beef
I picked the Roast Beef ($14.90++) for my set lunch. It came with 2 decent sized sirloin steak. Yes 2 pieces! Amazing. Most places only serve one. There were also boiled potatoes, coleslaw, asparagus and a garden green. The beef was moist and tender. Value for money.

Baby Ribs
My colleague had the Baby Ribs ($13.90++, i think). Do not be fooled by the name. It should be called Giant Ribs for its sheer size! This dish came with roasted potatoes, coleslaw and garden green. 3 people ordered this. 2 girls and a guy. Only the man could finish this! Unfortunately the meat was not tender enough. The girls had a hard time trying to eat with the fork and knife. The guy was smarter. He used his hands and teeth! lol. I had a taste of it. If it were roasted for a longer time, i will pick this the next time. I love pork!

Beer Batter Fish and Chips
Someone order Fish and Chips. If my memory serves me correctly, they used Stella Artois beer for the batter. The portion is again, generous.  While i did not try the fish and it's batter, my colleague told me it was quite salty. Maybe too much salt was added.

Grilled Salmon
Lastly, a colleague ordered the grill salmon. The salmon given was big! For this size, it will cost you over $20 if you order elsewhere. I think its $13.90++ for the set lunch. The salmon came with a mix of stir fried vegetables and mushroom. I cannot remember if this came with any potatoes but there is a piece of it at the top right corner of this photo. lol. My colleague praised the texture of the salmon to the type she likes. I think it is not too dry. Cooked just right. But because my mum cooks salmon at home frequently, salmon is not something i will order when i'm eating out.

I didn't take any picture of the strawberry (?)  ice cream. It was a cross between an ice cream and a sorbert. Go figure. You can skip it to save some calories.

Here is a picture of the view you will be treated to at King Louis. I quite like the place. The food is value for money. Try to share the set lunch with someone if you are a small eater. I think we will be back again.

King Louis Bar and Grill
1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-07A Vivocity
Tel : 6276 0862
Opening hours: Daily from 12pm to 11pm.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Tom Yum Kungfu (Visit 2)


In order to satisfy my Thai Steamboat craving (after the unsatisfying trip to MooJaa), i made a trip down to Tom Yum Kungfu (16 Circular Road) on a weekday. Please sms your reservation (highly encouraged) to this no. 9375 5736 with your name, time of arrival, no. of pax, preference for outside or inside seating. I recommend sitting outside as it can be really smokey and stuffy inside once the place gets packed. Please note they are close on Sundays.

My friend and i ordered the $38 set (came with marinated pork, pork belly, scallops, prawns, fish cake, tang hoon, xiao bai cai, golden mushroom, white cabbage, beancurd skin) and an additional packet of thai tom yum instant noodles ($1.80). The seasoning really gave the soup stock a different dimension! This serving is makes a satisfying meal for 2 hungry women. Just like my first visit, the pork is tender is well marinate, the prawns are big and fresh. We added the instant noodle seasoning to the normal soup and it instantly became tom yum soup! The chilli sauce goes very well with the cooked food. It was spicy and slightly sourish, a real treat for the taste buds. We finished the meal by cooking the instant noodles in the soup. It was most excellent! Look at the pictures i took!

Outside seating area

Tom Yum Kungfu Steamboat menu

Tom Yum Kungfu side menu

Tom Yum Kungfu Steamboat

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Singourmet - Singapore Curry Sauce


During one of my shopping trips to Singapore Food Industries, i can given a free pack of Singourmet Singapore Curry Sauce because i spent over $50 (or $60 i can't remember).

Singourmet Singapore Curry Sauce

I decided to follow the instructions closely and not add any other stuff to see how the original taste like. When i read the instructions, i was puzzled. 60g of potatoes and 80g of chicken (or other meat) are to be added to this mix. In case you were wondering, 60g of potato is how much 1 medium sized potato weighs. 1 chicken drumstick will surely exceed 80g worth of meat. Now, looking back at the serving size, it says 3-4 pax. One word - W.E.I.R.D.

I followed my own good common sense and used 4 medium sized potatoes (cut into 2) and 4 drumsticks because i wanted to serve 4 pax! I first browned the meat and the potato. Next i added the curry sauce and some water. I did not add any other seasoning except for some soy sauce. I let the curry simmer until the potatoes and chicken are cooked.

Although the package also says "Ready in 10 minutes", it is not true unless your chicken and potatoes are already cooked. Please give allowance for cooking time. 30 minutes more like it.

Conclusion: The curry was oily but it was ok after i scooped the red oil out. It's taste is acceptable and the sauce is relatively thick if you do not add too much water. However it is of course in no way comparable to those sold outside. But i suppose if you are staying overseas long term, it can be a substitute for the real thing. If you are looking to fix a quick meal, it is pretty effortless. There is no need to add coconut milk unlike some other brands. Since i have not tried any other curry mix, i am unable to compare the taste. My search for the perfect curry mix will continue!

What's your preferred brand?

Monday, 11 March 2013

MooJaa (Thai BBQ Steamboat) @ 25 Keong Saik Road


Yesterday i was out at MooJaa (Thai BBQ SteamBoat) @ 25 Keong Siak Road. We decided to check out that place because Tom Yum Kungfu was not open (now i know they are closed on Sundays) and after seeing some positive reviews of MooJaa online. That being said, i must say i was quite disappointed with the food. Maybe because i was thinking Tom Yum Kungfu standard, but MooJaa did not live up to my expectations.

MooJaa interior
When we got there, we were persuaded to get the buffet at $32 per pax instead of the usual a la carte set @ $39.90. The lady said there won't be enough to eat if we ordered the set. Isn't it strange? There were only 2 of us. I think she was just trying to get us to spend more money. Free flow of drinks if we top up $5. We decided to just stick to 1 drink. The Thai Ice Tea @ $2.50 was quite decent.

Thai Ice Tea, Cheese Balls and Fried Fish Skin

The buffet came with 1 serving of Kurobuta Pork and Angus Beef each. I think there were probably 6-8 strips of each. The rest of the items are free flow. They didn't ask us what we want to order. They served up the fried fish skin and cheese balls (even though we didn't order them) first while we waited for the charcoal to come. Next, they brought out a tray of food, all assembled. Why didn't they ask what we want? We did not complain since we thought we can try the range of food. The pork collar was sliced too thick thus making it tough when cooked. The beef was not marinated. The prawns were really small. Only the chicken was marinated. I think that was the one good thing on the tray. The Kurobuta Pork and Angus Beef was ok but there was too little to feel the buffet was a good deal. I liked it that another lady helped us start the meal off by placing the ingredients nicely in the steamboat.

Placing of ingredients on steamboat

Half way through eating, i heard a staff telling a new table of customers behind us that they ran out of Kurobuta Pork. There were also other items that were out of stock, e.g. Pork belly, prawn balls etc.

Moo Kata @ MooJaa
Unlike at Tom Yum Kungfu, there was no option to buy a pack of tom yum instant noodles to add to the soup for that tom yum taste. Although the place was relatively smoke free (they had those sucking air thingy near the steamboat), my clothes still smelled abit after our meal.

Owners of MooJaa, if you are reading this, I suggest making a few changes (in no particular order) for your consideration:
1) Please marinate all meat.
2) Ensure sliced meat are thin enough.
3) Always have enough food stock.
4) Sell tom yum instant noodles.
5) Always check with the customer what they want to order.
6) Bigger prawns please! More Kurobuta Pork and Angus Beef!
7) Instead of saying the set is not enough for 2 pax, why not suggest we order other a la carte items like your tom yum soup etc for a wider variety of food.

Conclusion: Definitely going back to Tom Yum Kungfu in future.

25 Keong Saik Road S(089132)
Tel: 6536 4780

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

My heart is still in Phuket!


Yes, i was at Phuket!! It was my 2nd trip there and more mellow than my first trip. Here are some useful tibits of information you may like to read about if you are going for a holiday in that sunny paradise!

How to get from the airport to your hotel:
Once you exit from the terminal halls, there will be people asking you if you want to take their transport to the beaches (Kata, Patong, Surin etc). On both occasions, we took our transport with the company P.M.K. They have booths right outside the airport. If you are sharing a mini van (sits 9 people) to Patong, it cost 150 baht per pax. The van will only leave when it is full. You probably won't have to wait long. If you have 4 people in your group, you can opt to go in a private car. A trip to Patong cost 800 baht. Although taking the car will cost more than the van, i think not having to share the journey with noisy strangers is worth paying more for. Besides, the car will go straight to your hotel but the van will stop along the beach to drop tourists off, depending on which hotel comes first. The van or car will surely make a stop at their tour agency office. They will try to sell you some tour packages. It is ok to tell them you do not need any package. If they try to sell the ride back to the airport on your day of departure, i advise you not to book with them. I will explain why later in this post.

On my 1st holiday to Phuket, we stayed at Aspery Hotel. We loved it so much that we stayed there on the 2nd time too! If i'm going back to Phuket again, i will stay there! That's how much i love the place. Aspery Hotel is located at the quiet side of the beach, near to the road leading back to town. It is only a 2 minute walk away from the beach. The rooms are new and clean. No complains. On my 2nd trip, the hotel staff was thoughtful enough to suggest a family suite to us since the 2 rooms allocated to us were not connected and were on different floors. The family suite consists of 2 rooms (with individual doors that could be locked for privacy), 2 showers, 2 sinks but only 1 toilet bowl. Each room came with it's own safe, TV and fridge. One of the bigger rooms had a sitting area with table and sofas. There is an "infinite pool" at the rooftop. The pool is quite small. It's really a joke to call it an "infinite pool". But we had fun lounging on the deck chairs, drinking ice cold beer and eating Pad Thai when hunger strikes.

Not too far from our hotel is a zichar place we frequented. Just walk towards the beach, turn left at the junction. The place is a little further up, on the side of the beach. I cannot remember the name of the place nor did i take any pictures of the signboard. But it is opposite a japanese restaurant call "Shou". All the staff there from Myanmar. They were very friendly! They'll even stop traffic for you to help you cross if you are on the other side trying to get to them. We had BBQ lobster there. It was 200 baht per 100g. Our's was 800g. 4 of us shared. We also other 5 other dishes including fish cake, vegetables, big deep fried fish (very fresh!), tom yam soup, stir fried beef with basil, rice (thai fragrant rice! sooo good!) and of course beer. The bill came up to 3000 baht. While it is not dirt cheap, it is value for money! Can you find a decent sized lobster for $50 in Singapore? In the evening from 5 to 11pm, they have outside sitting area right at the beach. You can enjoy the sea breeze and waves while having dinner under the open sky. You will be treated to mini firework displays when other tourists buy to set them off! One of the nights we had big grilled prawns. They cost 500 baht for 1 kg. There were around 7 huge prawns. Not the king prawns type of size. They were one size smaller. Very fresh and tasty. Try the fried squid (Calamari) if possible. All of us were craving for it when we got back to Singapore!

zichar place
800g lobster

grilled prawns

You have to try this Banana Pancake. Its like crispy roti prata with ingredients inside. It cost 50 baht for a banana nutella one. That's my favourite.

Banana Nutella Pancake with condense milk

There were plenty of shops that sells t-shirts, sunglasses, bikinis, slippers etc. Bargaining is a must. I suck at bargaining and hence, i did not buy anything at all.

Phuket Town:
Here's a short bit of information on how to get to Phuket Town. Stand along the road near the beach. You'll see a big blue bus coming. That's the bus to take to Phuket Town. You can flag it down along the road. There are no bus stops. If in doubt, check with the bus conductor before boarding. It is supposed to come every 30 minutes. We waited around 15 minutes before it turned up. It cost 25 baht each pax to go to Phuket Town. The journey takes about 30 minutes. This bus will also stop along the way at 2 big shopping centres. We didn't go there but we saw other tourists getting off. The bus conductor will announce when the bus arrives there. In Phuket Town, we stopped at this roundabout thing with a status in the middle. As we did not have ample information on how to get around Phuket Town, we only managed to walk the surrounding area. There was not much shopping to be done. The place reminded me of Malacca with it's shophouses. One thing about Phuket Town is the bottled water cost half of those in Patong!! After an hour, we decided to head back to Patong. But where is the bus? We happened to chance upon the "bus terminal" while walking around. At the roundabout where you were dropped off, look for a Marie-France ad. Look at where the lady in the ad is facing, that's the direction you should go to find the buses back to the beaches! There are many buses that are like covered lorries. They are all blue. On each bus, they'll state the beach they go to. Just board the buses/lorries. They'll leave when it is 75% full. The journey back to Patong cost 30 baht from 1 March 2013 onwards. The bus conductor will collect the fare when on the way to Patong. Be prepared to squeeze abit on the bus as it can get crowded. If you want to alight, just stand up and walk towards the exit. The bus conductor will know you want to alight. It was a good short local adventure for us.

Island hopping:
On my 1st trip to Phuket, we went for the Koh Phi Phi tour. We booked our tour with the tour agency beside the hotel. It cost 1500 baht each pax. The tour includes pick-up from the hotel at 8am (or 8.30am). They sent us to a marina to board the speedboat with 20 over other tourists. They provided motion sickness pills FOC! The ride to the first island took quite awhile. I'm guessing about an hour. We sat at the head of the speedboat and were treated to the blazing hot sun and a bumpy ride. It was very enjoyable nevertheless! We went to a few island. Maya Bay was very beautiful except it was overcrowded. What's new? I had alot of fun snorkelling at one of the last beaches we were at. Yeah, i can't swim. So i only dared to snorkel on the beach. There were fishes to be seen! Lunch and drinks were provided. The tour ended around 4-5pm and they sent us back to the hotel. Remember to put plenty of sunblock on for this! They tried to sell us a video (DVD) of our tour for 2000 baht. It is OK to refuse. Do not feel pressurized to buy anything you don't need.

Our speedboat

Souvenir pics to be bought on one of the beaches

Let the party animal out! My favourite club at Bangla Soi is the "Tiger Cave". Ok maybe that's not the real name but there are many tigers on display and they look like they were in a cave like thing. You can't miss it. It is probably one of the biggest clubs along Bangla Soi. I was there on both trips. There are pole dancing for entertainment. On our 1st trip, we got on very well with one of the bartenders. We even took some pictures together. On our 2nd trip, we found her still working there! And the most miraculous thing is she recognised us! What are the chances? She was very friendly and hospitable. Before we left, she said "see you next year".

Going to the Airport:
I suggest you book the taxi back to the airport with the hotel. If the taxi failed to turn up, at least you have someone concrete to give pressure to. It should cost 800 baht for a car. On our 2nd trip, we booked with P.M.K when they tried to sell us packages. We paid a 300 baht deposit but the driver did not turn up. We waited 40 minutes, got the hotel staff to call the number on the receipt but nobody picked up the phone. In the end, we decided to get another taxi. The lady at Aspery Hotel's travel desk was our savior. She made her call to her driver immediately when she knew we needed another taxi. She did not take the chance to jack up the price or anything. Her driver came within 5 minutes and we were off to the airport. As there was an accident in Phuket Town, we heard the main road was jammed. Maybe that's why the PMK driver did not turn up? Anyway, our new driver took another route to the airport. With his superb driving skills, he overtook cars and squeezed into impossibly small lanes just to get us to the airport on time. We made it in 50 minutes, in time for check in!

Will i go back to Phuket again? You bet!