The Clan @ Bukit Pasoh Road

About a month ago, a friend told me about The Clan. It’s by the same people at Dozo, and follows a very similar concept. Value-for-money fine-dining set menus. Only the cuisine is different here. While Dozo is strictly Japanese, The Clan is more fusion, with asian-western influences.

After seeing it being heavily promoted on hungrygowhere.com, I decided to make a reservation. Love it when reservations are only one click away. No more repeatedly spelling my name over the phone because the receptionist couldn’t catch it. Daphne? Stephenie? Last name please?

The restaurant was full when I arrived. Most were in their late twenties to early thirties. I guess if I needed a face to what a hungrygowhere reader looks like I would come here.

On to the decor: It’s a big restaurant, occupying two whole floors. I think it can seat about 110 people at once. The thing about the Clan and Dozo is they don’t really pay much attention to interior design. So the restaurant came off a bit tacky and trying too hard to be atas. For example the chairs tables and carpentry looked a bit cheap. But you know what, at the end of the day this really isn’t a concern. Nobody came for the decor. We all wanted those damn set menus!

Another thing is the waiters were OVERLY friendly. They crossed the line of politeness to invasive I think. The would drape their arm over your chair while talking (extensively) to you. Or kneel down next to you while taking your order. It’s not just one or two waiters. Many try to engage in prolonged conversations with you which I find a bit unnecessary. Plus they spoke in Chinese.

My takeaway is it’s okay-nice food at reasonable prices… Definitely not the most fancy place. There is no romantic or comfortable vibe. On the contrary lights are so bright they are harsh! However that didn’t stop about 30 couples to have dinner there. More than half the restaurant consisted of lovebirds on dates.

The irony is I didn’t end up getting the set menu. I ordered a-la-carte so I could try more starters and fuck the soup and dessert. We ordered like almost every starter on the menu haha. Here goes:

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Oyster in 3 ways ($25) – Oysters were fat and fresh. I liked them a lot. It was also my first time having an oyster shot – I’m a fan. The sourness of whatever vinegarish ingredient they added to the oyster works so well.20130826-121552.jpg

Alaskan King Crab w Homemade Karashi Dressing ($25) – Even though they only served one little leg of the crab, it was really fleshy and good. Love the accompanying salad dressing too – a mix of balsamic vinegar and sesame.20130826-121534.jpg

Beef Carpaccio w Truffle Teriyaki & Horseradish Sauce​ ($25) – I actually scraped the dressing off the beef carpaccio because the truffle teriyaki dressing was so thick creamy and flavorful that I couldn’t enjoy the beef very well. Even truffle oil would be okay. Teriyaki was too much.20130826-121542.jpg

Herb Crusted Mushroom Escargot ($16) – This was good! Escargots + herbs + garlic can never go wrong! And over here they really spam the herbs!20130826-121620.jpg

Deep Fried Foie Gras, Balsamico Reduction & Cheese Focaccia ($16) – so this kinda sucked. I wish they didn’t deep fry the foie gras and serve it normally.20130826-121604.jpg

Steamed Razor Clam, Salmon Trout Roe Drizzled w Japanese Sauce ($16) – Yeah this kinda sucked as well. They’re done so much better at Chinese restaurants. I think they served it too dry, and it was too bland. I personally would add a bit of soup/gravy over it plus more garlic.20130826-121612.jpg

48 Hours Beef Short Ribs on Hoba Leaf w Peppercorn Sauce on Lava Stone ($38) – A popular dish found on every table. It is served raw and you cook it yourself on the lava stone so you can moderate your preferred doneness. I found it okay. Presentation gets an A+ though.20130826-121640.jpg

Green Lobster Crustacean Oil Pasta ($32) – Kinda spicy. Generous with lobster and prawns. The pasta reminded me of meepok because it was overly yellow.20130826-121630.jpg

In case you’re wondering, the five-course set lunch is at $48.50, and the 6-course dinner menu is at $65.80.

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Mikuni @ Fairmont Hotel

Came here on a friend’s recommendation. And a craving for sea urchin.

Chips to start off. Tasted like those dried prawn roll snacks at Chinese New Year! Or like hei bee hiam? In any case we wanted more. Yum!IMG_4434

My starter was a slow cooked onsen tamago egg with truffle sukiyaki foam, sea grapes and water shield. (5-course set) I’ve never had a tastier egg, thanks to the sukiyaki flavours. The sea grapes added texture to the silky egg. Love it!IMG_4435

Hokkaido sea urchin topped with homemade tofu and black truffle soya. (Tasting menu) A very light fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth dish. Super fresh uni is the star obviously. I only wish it came in a bigger portion.IMG_4437

“Ayu” sweet fish potage, green drop. (Tasting menu) A very thick soup that is obviously fishy.IMG_4439

Sashimi from my (5-course) dinner set.IMG_4440

Katsuo tataki with ginger flower, garlic chips, with sesame ponzu (Tasting menu). I don’t get why they would serve so many of a single same item to one person… Even for sharing between two it got boring after a while.IMG_4442

Kyushu abalone with sea urchin cream, eringi mushroom, celery and baby crab. (Tasting menu) So much abalone drenched in sea urchin cream! I usually like my uni in its raw unprocessed form, so the cream wasn’t really my thing. But if you don’t mind, it was very rich and creamy and the uni taste was strong. IMG_4445

Kagoshima Wagyu beef, eel teriyaki, kyusu sea snail, baby crab. (5-course)IMG_4450

Hokkaido kinki fish (Tasting menu)IMG_4451

Tenshi prawn “tatsuta age”. At first I thought, tempura seriously? It’s deep fry. Anyone can do this. But the difference here lies in the prawns they use. (Tasting menu)IMG_4455

Tepanyaki style miyazaki wagyu beef. (Tasting menu) they’ll ask you for your preferred doneness for this dish. IMG_4457

Hokkaido sweet corn Takikomi rice (tasting menu). This is really just fried rice. I just stand the accompanying soup. IMG_4458

Deep fried sakura shrimp rice, accompanied by kyushu aosonori miso soup. Great beer food I would imagine… (5-couse set)IMG_4462

Passion fruit creme brulee. (5-course set)IMG_4464

Yamanashi peach with mint leaf. Basically this is a peach cut up and served. No prep skill or recipe. But it was a good peach. Probably those expensive ones from Isetan. (Tasting menu)IMG_4466

Tasting Menu ($220), 5-course set menu ($138).

Since it was my first visit to Mikuni, the set menus gave me a general impression of the food. Next time though, I will just order a-la-carte because I prefer the starters and small dishes. Will get more of those instead of the meats and rice.

The crowd mainly consisted of couples on dates, tourists (it is a hotel after all), and families celebrating birthdays. There was a business meeting going on somewhere. And some baller teenagers sitting at the sushi bar ordering sushi.

Address
Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road
Phone
64316156

Infinite Bar List: Ding Dong

I’ve not paid Ann Siang a night-time visit in close to a year – and how things have changed. There are now barriers and the roads are closed off so revellers can walk freely at night without the risk of being run down by cars, and operators can put up more tables on the road for more business and victimize more consumers.

One new establishment in the hood is Ding Dong, a fun Asian-influenced drinks and tapas bar. Paid it a visit on a Saturday night largely because I am drawn to Asian themes. And of course, cocktails.

The neon signboard. The shopfront looks dark in pictures below, because I was focusing on the signboard. It’s actually well-lit.

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The party only gets poppin’ on levels 2 and 3. As you can see there’s a sticker on the spiral staircase saying “Proceed to Level 2”. It’s not super crowded but music was very loud, gotta raise your voice a bit for conversation. Types of people observed at Ding Dong: yuppies, expats and hipsters.

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Very cute chopstick rest! Love the dice.

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Pirates of Malacca – House spiced rum, garcenia gomme, clamansi, pineapple, falernum.

Our very friendly bartender was so cute, he served the drink and awkwardly announced that he was going to set something on fire, for aesthetics purposes. He was pretty shy about it and we all had a good laugh. While the lime was on fire, the cup was frozen and ice cold. The drink was sweet, as with most white rum drinks. Easy to drink if rum is your thing. It’s not mine.

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The Sign of Four ($22) – Don Julio Reposado, toasted sweet rice, coconut cream, mango. I was trying to steer away from my usual whisky sour -ish drinks, and out of all the cocktails this appealed to me most, mainly because I had absolutely no idea what it was. So it would come as a surprise. Yeah that’s my style of ordering.

Anyway the bartender I ordered from said that it is sweet, but very very strong. He’s seen some people finish it up and walk out swaying. OK, sounds promising, I thought. Asked him what “Don Julio Reposado” was, he said it’s D.O.M., the old man’s drink. Oh, cool, good for health. Asked him if it was creamy, he said, not at all. Ordered it in a heartbeat.

As you can see from the picture below, the bartender clearly does not know his stuff. The drink is so viscous it travelled up my straw at 1mm/second. How is this NOT creamy?? And a quick google search later showed that the alcohol used is actually not D.O.M. but a tequila. Whut. I was tricked into ordering tequila (my nemisis), I might as well have been spiked. Nonetheless I found the bartender very cute and likeable so I will not hold this against him. Looks do matter after all.

That said, the cocktail was a very sweet, creamy dessert that reminded me of chendol (hmm). You can hardly tell it’s tequila because any trace was masked by the thick and rich flavours of the other components. My companion loved it. And it was interesting to taste. But it’s a one off thing for me, will not order this a second time.

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It’s interesting that their kitchen is on the ground floor, made to be an attraction at their entrance, instead of hidden out back. It looked very clean and I must admit the menu looked very interesting – asian inspired tapas that I would love to try one day. (Only if Lolla across the street was full because face it, Lolla over Ding Dong for food any day)

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Address
23 Ann Siang Road
Phone
65570189 (book a table here)

Infinite Bar List: Morton’s Bar

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t get excited at the mention of Morton’s martini hour. I can’t decide which is the bigger highlight here, the drinks or the free steak sandwiches. Whether you’re a foodie or junkie there’s something here for everyone.

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Since this magical period is only a short two hours between 5pm and 7pm, much planning was needed to coordinate busy schedules and make time for a visit. We dropped by on a Thursday at 6pm, it was crowded but still with seats available. We settled down on two armchairs and observed the people around us, largely comprising the after-work crowd. Tables were close together, so we overheard them discussing work, their daily commute, travels, etc.

There are 6 mortinis on offer at $12.95 – yes, they call them mortinis. Choose from the classic gin martini, vodka martini, appletini, lycheetini, cosmopolitan and chocolate martini. Only the lycheetini appealed to me, so I had two or three of those. Lychee martinis don’t take a rocket scientist to make. You can’t make a BAD lychee martini imo, so I have no complaints about the drink. Plus it was decently strong.

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It was like angels descended on us when the waitresses walked out with platters of steak sandwiches piled so high they built a mountain. They moved from one table to the next, and you pick out a sandwich with your napkin. The sandwiches seemed small at first; you could finish one in 3 bites! Then you’ll be left hanging with hunger and longing because it takes another 20 minutes for the next batch to surface. You think you’ve never been hungrier for steak in your life. Meanwhile, the waitresses ask if you want more drinks. “Why not” is always the answer. We were waiting for the sandwiches anyway.

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By the third round we were full. Especially since we took 2 sandwiches on our last round. We walked out satisfied and it was clear that the biggest draw is definitely the steak sandwich. The bun was rather normal – I wouldn’t be surprised if they just pulled it off a Gardenia rack. But the beef was outstanding; textured and a slight bloodiness and you know you got a great bargain.

Drinks-wise, they worked in getting us tipsy, we had to hold off a while before we could drive. But I’m unimpressed because there are better cocktails at better prices elsewhere. No biggie though, the sandwiches more than made up for this.

Address
4F, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Raffles Avenue
Phone
63393740

Infinite Bar List: The Spiffy Dapper

Take a walk down boat quay and you’ll find plenty of seafood restaurants (along with their touters) lined up in a row, waiting for tourists to fall into their trap. But those in the know will know that some hipster joints have set up shop here… if you look carefully.

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One of them is The Spiffy Dapper, a hole in the wall bar located on the second floor of a shophouse, above an Indian restaurant. With a name like that, it’s clearly catered to some dapper dudes, one would think. Sure enough, when we entered, there was a party of five guys enjoying their tipple. I think it’s a great idea to build a bar focused on the men. Give them a less girly space to hang out with their bros over some less girly drinks.

The place is small and dim. Dark wood furniture is basic and dare I say kinda old? Even the stairway leading up looked quite rundown. From a lady’s point of view this is a thumbs down for the bar. I’m not a fan of what they did with the space. Especially when I’m used to fancy decor in cocktail bars. But I’m quite sure spiffy dappers wouldn’t mind this.
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I went for a “hard boiled torpedo”, which is basically a changed up old fashioned. Bourbon blended with The Spiffy Dapper whisky sour mash. If brown is your liquor colour of choice this is great. I ordered a second round of this.

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My friend wasn’t a fan of it though. She got a bespoke vodka cocktail from the bartender, which was good. Can’t remember what was in it exactly but I think it’s flowery. So yeah if nothing on the menu suits your tastes then ask for something special!

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She also got a Bellini type cocktail (on the menu). I can’t remember what it’s called exactly but it clearly says on the menu it is Bellini like, so shouldn’t be hard to spot. If youre looking for something easy to drink, this is it.

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All the drinks on the menu are priced at $20 nett which is great because its easy to keep track. And a nice round number to pay at the end. Very friendly and personalized service because its such a small space. Everyone seems to know each other.

I see this as a great alternative watering hole to your usual neighborhood Harry’s. Serving better quality drinks at a reasonable price. I say this because its very unfussy and no frills.

OR if you’re a group of friends looking to do a theme night then yeah this will add character to your night.

I will go back if I’m in the area for dinner.

Level 2, 61 boat quay.

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