Posts tagged: Tiong Bahru

Big Mama Korean Restaurant – Not ‘Gangnam Style’, but Home Style Cooking

By , November 7, 2012

It is very seldom that a woman in apron would come to your table to teach you how you should eat your food. Well, maybe at home, but we are talking about a Korean restaurant here.

Big Mama Korean Restaurant is not exactly ‘Gangnam Style’ (I know the song is hot, and it is Korean language colloquialism that actually refers to a luxurious lifestyle), but offers comfort ‘Home Style’ cooking.

And this new restaurant is also at Tiong Bahru. (Read: 5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru, new food places IKYU and PoTeaTo)

Former tutor and caretaker, Ji-young Nam Gung nick-named as “Big Mama” (looks like “Cooking Mama” in the Nintendo game), has set up a homely Korean eatery at Tiong Bahru after cooking for Korean students in Singapore for years. Her Korean dishes are in between authentic and creative, because half are inspired by her own mama’s recipes while others have been fine tuned to suit Singaporean taste-buds.

It was quite funny because my friends were all trying to guess who Big Mama was, then realised it was not difficult to point out. The one behind the cashier loh.

The restaurant looks quite minimal in terms of decor, but has groups of Koreans dining, an indication that this is worth your try.

There are two big pictures of the Dakgalbi (spicy grilled chicken) and Suyuk (steam pork belly) on the wall, which suggests that these are the two must-try dishes.

Big Mama or one of her staff would help you prepare the Dakgalbi ($15 per pax, min 2 pax), where marinated chicken chunks, Korean rice cake and vegetables are fried with a special homemade chilli sauce right in front of you on a grill.

Surprisingly, this is very delicious with the saucy chicken going extremely well with plain rice. Maybe it is also Big Mama is talking while preparing, which makes us feel right at home. Yes, she would tell us how to eat Korean food the right way. A tip is to NOT finish the ingredients, because Big Mama would fry it with rice (additional $3.00) if requested.

Full Post Big Mama Korean Restaurant – Not ‘Gangnam Style’, but Home Style Cooking

Big Mama Korean Restaurant
2 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169244 (10 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT) Tel: +65 6270 7704
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 11:0pm (closed on most Mondays)

Other Tiong Bahru Entries
5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru
IKYU (Tiong Bahru)
PoTeaTo (Tiong Bahru)
The Orange Thimble (Tiong Bahru)
Social Haus (Tiong Bahru)

Ikyu – High-end Japanese Restaurant Joins the Pack at Tiong Bahru

By , November 5, 2012

High-ended Japanese restaurant Ikyu (pronounced E-Q) has opened at Yong Siak Street in the Tiong Bahru ‘old estate’. You may be surprised – another one? There are already more than 20 F&B places there.

Since 40 Hands opened across the road just 2 years back in 2010, F&B outlets Open Door Policy ODP, SocialHaus, PoTeaTo, independent bookstore Books Actually and boutique Strangelets and Nana & Bird all set its foot on this short street. This is not counting PS Café opening at Guan Chuan Street, and Japanese bistro Abe’s Diner at Eng Hoon – just minutes walk away. (Read 5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru)

Too many?

Ikyu which means “take a break” and with a tagline “is the new sexy”, sells the usual Japanese basics such as sushi and sashimi, but with a contemporary fusion twist.

The 54-seater diner seems promising – décor is modern and service friendly, sometimes too friendly as different service staff came over to ask “Is everything okay, do you want to eat more?”

Executive Chef Takuma Seki (former chef-de Cuisine of Hide Yamamoto at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands) does not disappoint, from the aesthetically pleasing plating, to the use of fresh ingredients to create Japanese cuisines with French and Western influences.

Expect food to be pricey though.

I was urged by the service staff to order the Omakase ($128), which I was reluctant for the untried and untested. Instead I went for several of the starters such as Soft Shell Crab with Mexican Salsa Sauce ($12.50) and Assorted Wrapped Pork ($15.50) and Yuba Uni ($10.00) which were delicate, definitely above average and creative.

Full Post Ikyu – High-end Japanese Restaurant Joins the Pack at Tiong Bahru

IKYU (Tiong Bahru)
5 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168650 (15 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT), Tel: +65 6223 9003
Opening Hour: 11:330am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm

Other Tiong Bahru Entries
5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru
PoTeaTo (Tiong Bahru)
40 Hands (Tiong Bahru)
The Orange Thimble (Tiong Bahru)
Social Haus (Tiong Bahru)

PoTeaTo – New Café at Tiong Bahru to Jiak Kantang and Lim Teh

By , November 2, 2012

Another café, PoTeaTo opens at the very hip Yong Siak Street at Tiong Bahru, just two shops away from the famous 40 Hands. And there is already Open Door Policy ODP, drinking bar SocialHaus and Japanese restaurant IKYU opposite.

But they are not fighting for the same pie. (Read: 5 Best Places For Cakes At Tiong Bahru)

“PoTeaTo”, which is a combination of the words ‘potato’ and ‘tea’, sells mainly potato-made dishes and tea. So you can jia kantang and lim teh (eat potatoes and drink tea).

Owner Debra Chan say she is often called potato for her ‘jiak kantang’ nature (Asian with Western outlook), and she wants to appear as friendly neighbours to 40 Hands. So they don’t publicise so much on their coffee.

This potato-tea shop is not as well-known as the other Tiong Bahru eateries, because they are not under Spa Esprit and Debra says she does not have deep pockets. “My neighbours all drive bigger cars than I do!” Their shop is also partly covered and I had some trouble finding. (It’s okay Debra, the food blogger will help you publicise.)

The premium tea selections ($7.80 for a pot) such as Persian Apple & Ginger, Sunrise Sunshine, Raspberry Mint, Peach Peach and Oolong Berry are ordered from a local supplier. Though PoTeato is not TWG or Gryphon, its selections and mixture are pretty unique and refreshing, with the Oolong Berry as my particular favourite.

For the potato bites, the selection includes PoTeaTo Chips, shoestring fries, sweet potato fries and wedges ($5-$6). No, they don’t sell the usual potato chips from the packet. Instead, their chips are made from US Russet potatoes, hand-sliced and deep-fried fresh right in the kitchen. When you thought you had enough of those salty packet snacks, this is SO GOOD.

Full Post PoTeaTo – New Café at Tiong Bahru to Jiak Kantang and Lim Teh

PoTeaTo
78 Yong Siak Street #01-018 Singapore (10 mins walk from Tiong Bahru MRT), Tel: +65 6221 2488
Opening Hours: 11am – 10 pm Tue to Sun (closed Mon)

Other Tiong Bahru Entries
40 Hands (Tiong Bahru)
The Orange Thimble (Tiong Bahru)
Social Haus (Tiong Bahru)
Drips Bakery Café (Tiong Poh Road)
Centre Ps (Tiong Bahru)

Grand Shanghai 大上海 (Havelock)

By , June 27, 2008


390 Havelock Rd Level 1 Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel S(169662) Tel: 68366866

Enter the world of Grand Shanghai and you will be transported back into the olden city in the 1960s. Red cloth, dark wood, green lanterns, and black and white photos are central to the thematic decor. Immerse in a musical journey as the live jazz band plays the evergreens of Teresa Tseng and Cai Qin, belted by a songstress with a mesmeric voice and beehive hair.

You can choose to come with your family of ten, or strike a business deal at the cosy cushioned corner suitable for four to five. The serving staff is dressed in a uniform of maroon top and black bottoms, and ensures that your jasmine tea is always filled.

The Food
The elaborate decor and price is an indication that this is a dining place for businessmen to sign deals or for that special family celebration. The specialty dishes include Crispy Duck ($48 for whole), Baked Rice with Crab ($38 per portion), Deep Fried Prawn with Special Sauce ($8 per 100gm), Braised Superior Sharks Fin in Brown Sauce ($45), and Wuxi Spare Ribs ($7 per piece). You can opt for the set menus which range from $48 to $88 per person.

Shanghai dishes are usually characterized by the use of heavy and highly flavored sauce. Although the chefs hail from Shanghai, the food is modified to suit local taste, and thus not typically ‘Shanghainese’.  They also serve specialty dishes from Yunnan, Beijing to Wuxi.  

Despite the rather hefty prices to the dishes, the food here was slightly disappointing. The Crispy Duck, which is a cross between ‘kong bak pau’ (pork in dark soya sauce) and Beijing Duck, was not crispy and too bony for my liking.

The Wuxi Spare Ribs could have been a lot softer, and still had a slight lingering smell of pork.  Although there were bean sprouts which added some crunch to the sharks fin soup, the taste was not exquisite enough and the stock was bland enough to need more flavours. 

The consolation was the Deep Fried Prawn with Special Sauce, lightly fried with a unique salty taste of hot sauce within the shell. I suspect that the restaurant is also better at their cold dishes such as Crispy Eel ($14) which was sweet and light to the crunch, and smooth and tender Drunken Chicken ($12).

The Ambience
If you want to spend the night ala Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” style, you would appreciate the setting which looks transported from his movie set. The nostalgic atmosphere will be suitable for mothers who sing along to Teresa Tseng’s Xiao Cheng Gu Shi . This is a place you pay for the lovely ambience and experience, but not for the food.

The Verdict
Only if you are in the mood of Old Shanghai. 3.25*

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