Restaurant Week 2014: Wolf @ Gemmill Lane

It’s the start of restaurant week again!

Every time I go to restaurant week, it feels like a roller coaster ride. The anticipation of some good/decent/spectacular food and the disappointment when reality doesn’t meet expectation. Haha so this time round, my first visit was at Wolf, a nose to tail dining restaurant located at Gemmill Lane near Club Street. It is Singapore’s first nose to tail dining concept so I guess there’s a certain hype. I love the feel of the place, just classy and elegant with high ceilings and dark furniture. And after we were seated, the show begins.

Swimmer Crab w Lime Aioli, Shaved Carrots & Cumin

Honestly when the starter came, we were like … that’s it? The minimal portion wasn’t attractive but with doubts aside, we began to dig in. I wasn’t very impressed with the crab. Yes it’s sweet and fresh but I thought the garnish was strange and didn’t go well

Confit & Smoked Duroc Pork Belly

The pork belly fared just a little bit better in terms of taste. Though I have to mention it is a little oily and the meat is a little tough

Pan-Fried Sea Bass w Sun-dried Tomato Beurre Blanc, Crushed Baby Potatoes & Wild Rocket

Honestly we wanted to order 2 sets of pork but I’m glad we stuck with 2 different mains. Even though the place is probably famous for their poultry dishes, their sea-bass was excellent. I love how succulent and well-cooked the fish is and the tomato puree was delightful. The sauce was so appetizing we paired it with the pork as well. The baby potatoes were soft and the wild rocket was nicely marinated

Nagano Pork Chop w Mesclun, Maple-glazed Sweet Potatoes

We went with medium for the meat doneness but it came half medium and half medium-rare. That aside, I enjoy the smokiness of the meat and the juiciness of the medium-rare doneness. Though I’m still curious why they did not offer us the platter of sauce to go with the pork but they did that for every other table #whyliddat

Rosemary Lemon Posset w Pistachio Shortbread

This was strange. Lemon and rosemary just don’t go together. The friend commented it tasted like ginger haha. And the pistachio shortbread was pretty tasteless

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Sad to say, I can’t see any effort in their sea salt caramel chocolate tart. It felt like something they just outsourced from elsewhere or simply bought off the rack. The tart was pretty normal and the sea salt caramel was faint, very faint in fact

Latte was decent but we have to ask the staffs for coffee. We were very amused how they asked every other table if they would like some coffee to go along with their desserts but simply did not offer the choice to us. I mean yes, selection of coffee or tea was not included in the menu but still, out of politeness and good service, you can still ask right? The friend and I were joking maybe we were dressed too shabbily and looked like we can’t afford a cup of coffee

I think consistency is the word for this place. Being consistent in terms of food and service would probably make me rate them higher. I enjoyed their mains which I may probably go back for, if I ever go back. I will remember to dress better next time. ha

Wolf Nose to Tail Dining

18 Gemmill Lane S(069255)

452. Criollo Cocoa Cafe

The visit to this cafe wan’t an intentional one. It just happened we walked by and the friend was craving for waffles and we decided to pop in and try. Located at a corner of Orchard Gateway, it was empty and quiet and sitting next to the windows was just a good option to watch the day pass by. This cafe has a variety of menu from All Day Breakfast, Pasta and Main Course. We got a few to try since we were not particularly hungry

Truffle Fries

The description says shoestring, but I doubt it’s anything like that. The fries were mushy on the inside to the point you can taste the potato taste. The parmesan cheese had a very fake cheese taste to it. To put it simply, this dish failed

Fish n Chips

Imagine our horror when we realised we had more fries to finish. The fish was good, crisp on the outside and cooked right inside. I like the batter being just right. It’s just sad the fries didn’t make the mark

Waffles w Fresh Fruits

The waffles weren’t crisp. I would prefer them to be fluffier as well. It was a very forgettable plate of waffles

Chocolate Waffle

The presentation of the waffles probably score more than the taste. Though the chocolate waffles were crispier, they were very dry but the friend said the icecream was decent

Overall, we were not impressed. They have lots to work on if they wanna survive for a long while. The only upside was this cafe was quiet enough for you to just drink a cup of coffee and do your own thing since service wasn’t attentive as well

Criollo Cocoa Cafe

Orchard Gateway

#02-01, 277 Orchard Road S(238858)

451. Slake

It was an impromptu decision to visit Slake, one of the new restaurants that sprung in the East. And cos it is rather inaccessible, it will probably take someone to drive me there in order to visit them again. The S in Slake has a shape of a swan which we guessed they probably modelled it after the address. It is a pretty small establishment but being new doesn’t stop the crowd from coming in. We were lucky enough to get the last table and though we were seated outside, it was a good place to chill

Sweet Potato Fries

The sweet potato fries were good. They were deep fried nicely and the killer sauce goes very well with it

Spicy Wings

The wings were a disappointment. First, they were tiny. Second, they were not spicy. It was not worth it to pay that kind of price for these small portion of wings. I rather have my BBQ chicken wings anytime

Portobello Mushroom Gratin

The portobello mushrooms were pretty normal. It felt like they were missing something

Asian Pesto Noodles

The pesto chicken noodles were one of their signatures, and worthy enough to be their signatures. The sauce was pretty amazing. It had a mixture of thai flavours along with the beautifully balanced herb flavours and the chicken was very tender

Crackly Pork

The crackly pork could have been better. It was not bad, but not tasty enough to leave an impression

Slow Cooked US Angus Beef

The beef was nicely done and marinated. We love the sweet potato mash that came along with it but we regretted ordering the extra portion of foie gras. It was small and not very awesome. I think Saveur might have done a better job with it

A dash of pink

I see this place with potential, if they could have master the taste of their food and improve on the portion. The owners said the small portion is to encourage sharing but the problem is the wait time gets too long. For the Easties or those that happen to be in the East, it’s worth giving a try. For the rest, don’t bother. There are new restaurants popping up every other month

Slake

15 Swan Lake Avenue S(455711)

450. Comnam Broken Rice Bowl

Comnam, the sister restaurant of Nam Nam is a new brand under the Les Amis group of restaurants. It took over the space of Canele at Raffles City shopping centre serving Vietnamese broken rice bowl. Broken rice is something different as it introduces the concept of peasant food since the commoners are too poor to enjoy good quality rice. Somehow I find the deco of Comnam too yellowish and the tables are too cramped within each other.

It’s a pay-at-the-counter kind of service

Hot Lotus Tea, Ice Lotus Tea & Ice Coffee w Condensed Milk

We didn’t like the lotus tea. I think it requires acquired taste to appreciate it. The coffee on the other hand was pretty disappointing. I thought it tasted like kopitiam’s ice kopi

Spicy Tomato Egg Drop, Dill, Crab & Pork

The spicy tomato soup wasn’t very spicy w a very strong tomato taste. I thought the soup was quite normal, it feels like something you can whip up at home

Crispy Squid

Our appetiser came the last, after we finished our main courses. I have a thing with appetiser arriving after main courses. I mean whats the point of ordering appetiser if it cannot come fast enough. I would have ordered desserts then. Maybe cos we were already full by then, the squid was nothing spectacular. It felt like the street food in Vietnam could have done this better

Sliced Patin Fish, Fried Chicken Balls & Beansprouts

I actually thought the bowl looks quite sad. haha

The soup was light and sweet and the chicken balls were pretty good. Though I think the broken rice tastes better in the dry version

Marinated Fried Pork Cutlet w Chicken Ham, Viet Steamed Egg, Pork & Fungus

The pork cutlet was fragrant and tender and the skin was deep fried crisply. I thought it can be better if they remove the bone of the pork. But the star of the dish – the broken rice had a very coarse texture which I didn’t like it. To put it simply, it was nothing special

Prawns, Tomato-Turmeric Sauce, Fish Cake w Viet Steam Egg, Pork, Fungus, Pickles & Crispy Pork Crackling

The tomato sauce was appetising and I like the fish cakes though I wouldn’t say the same about the fungus & pickles

I think we are too privileged to have good quality rice and not able to appreciate peasant’s food. I don’t find the rice here very flavourful and I can’t find the draw about this place. I think it needs to do more for me to go back there again. I rather visit Nam Nam anytime

Comnam Broken Rice Bowl

Raffles City Shopping Centre

252 North Bridge Road B1-46/47 S(179103)

449. Toa Payoh Mellben Seafood

My last dinner on a weekday had us feasting at Mellben Seafood Toa Payoh! I have never tried this outlet before so I anticipate how different it will be. The difference with the Ang Mo Kio one is they accept reservations here so 2 hours queue no more :D  It wasn’t very crowded while we were there mainly cos it was a weekday which was good, since we won’t feel pressurised to leave.

Steam Bamboo Clams w Minced Garlic

I don’t think we wanted to order this but the auntie kept recommending the bamboo clams so in the end we gave it a try. The bamboo clams were quite good – sweet & fresh

Broccoli w Beancurd Skin

We ordered broccoli w beancurd skin but this dish felt more like beancurd skin w broccoli. The amount of beancurd skin they gave was really generous. I like the texture of the beancurd skin and the flavours were just right. I thought the broccoli paled in comparison maybe cos the gravy was all absorbed by the beancurd skin

Guinness Stout Pork Ribs

The pork ribs had a (very) faint taste of guinness stout though the meat was cooked really well. I wished I can taste more of the guinness stout to bring out the contrast of the dish

Claypot Crab Vermicelli Soup

One of their signatures that people come down all the way for. The soup was amazing with the crab essence  and the crabs were fresh and sweet

Creamy Butter Crab

Also another must-order. Dipping the mantou with the sauce was just amazing. The creamy butter crab at Mellben is simply one of the better ones around in Singapore

Salted Egg Yolk Crabs

I remembered I didn’t like the one at Ang Mo Kio but this dish redeemed itself this time round. The salted egg yolk was coated well and evenly such that you can taste the saltiness of the salted egg yolk but also the sweetness of the crabs

Chilli Crabs

I still think chilli crabs here paled as compared to other seafood restaurants. The gravy has a rich tomato flavour which I didn’t really like it though towards the end the spiciness came on. I preferred my chilli crab sauce to be more balanced

Mini Mantou

And what’s crabs without mantous. I think the person who invented mantous to go with crabs is the best invention ever. haha

It was amazing how much we can eat. Though I think the crabs here are generally smaller, but the freshness of the crabs makes up for it. And the best deal of the night? We met Ethan Ruan who was dining at Mellben that night, and he was so good looking. haha #starstruck

Toa Payoh Mellben Seafood

211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8

Singapore 310211

448. Noir Art Specialty Coffee

Noir Art Specialty Coffee, is one of those hole-in-a-wall cafe where the place is so tiny it can only seat a few people. It isn’t air conditioned as well, so imagine the heat you get in Singapore’s sunny weather. I like the furniture and tableware though, somehow the uniqueness gave the cafe its own identity.

The menu is simple and so are the cakes on display so you wouldn’t take long to make your choices.

Our coffee & cakes are served!

Flat White

The coffee was forgettable. Though this place roast their own beans, I couldn’t quite taste the uniqueness they hope to offer. It was just a normal white coffee

Mocha

The mocha had a rich chocolate taste to it so for those for prefer your mocha this way, you might enjoy the brew they have here

Classic Cheesecake

The cheesecake was light. It didn’t really have a strong cheesecake taste so for those who prefer your cheesecake creamy, you might find this a little bland. It’s a case of either you like it or, hate it

Pistachio Cake

The pistachio cake tasted very much like carrot cake. The taste of the pistachio was so faint we had trouble identifying it.

Overall, this place is just disappointing. I think it has lots of improvement to work on and with Whale & Cloud just round the corner, it will just play second fiddle to it. It is a good cafe to pop in just so Whale & Cloud happened to be closed and people are lazy to travel far to cafe hop. But then again with so many new cafes in Little India & Farrer Park, this cafe might just be one of those to be forgotten soon.

Noir Art Specialty Coffee

23 Mackenzie Road S(228680)

447. 8 Stanley Street

I don’t think 8 Stanley Street is very new but the inconspicuous cafe along the stretch of soup stalls just don’t stand out. It is good for customers since we don’t have to fight with the lunch crowd. There are always seats there and it just don’t feel as crowded as compared to restaurants elsewhere. Interior of the place is simple and the barista was from Oriole Cafe & Bar so for those who missed his coffee, you can continue enjoying the coffee here now.

Flat White & Latte

The coffee was smooth and light and had a natural balance

They have lunch sets or you can choose to go ala carte. So we took one lunch set and had an additional order. The lunch set consists of a starter and a main that goes for $14.80 and you can add on a coffee to complete your meal

Smoked Duck Salad (Part of set)

Duck Breast, Romaine Lettuce & Raspberry Vinaigrette

It was very sour, and just strange

Pan Seared Sea Bass (Part of set)

The fish was a little overcooked and the sauce tasted like pasta sauce which we thought it didn’t go very well.

BBQ Pulled Pork w Apple Slaw, Ciabatta Bread & Fries

I topped up $1 for truffle fries, and.. I think we should just stick to normal fries next time. This pulled pork sandwich is one of the better pulled pork I ever had. The pork was very tender and flavourful and I like how it paired with the apple slaw to give different textures

Stanley’s Classic

Espresso Infused Waffle w Walnut Crumble & Vanilla Bean Icecream

They don’t serve waffles during lunch cos the waiting time is too long, but they make an exception for us (HEHE). If you eat the waffles on its own, it is a little dry but when you paired it with the icecream, it is amazing. The waffle had a faint taste of the espresso which was good since too much will be overwhelming. Adding the walnut crumble was smart and I like how the vanilla bean icecream had a very strong vanilla taste

Overall, I think the food here is generally well received and the service was good. I will definitely come back here for the pulled pork sandwich and waffles again

8 Stanley Street, S(082001)