I have never fully explored Far East Square before so to visit 8 restaurants and cafes in a single sitting can be considered a massive introduction. My last visit to the place was some time back to Subway and their promotion of subs, this time round I’m back with the party from OMY Singapore and a group of fellow bloggers to embark on a Gastromania Feast Trail. From the likes of that fabulous fatty Pig’s Shank from Zhou’s Kitchen, to some spicy meats at Mirchi’s Tandoori Platter, or to finish off with petite artisan cupcakes handcrafted at ONI Cupcakes, these are but a sampler of the many more available at this modern heritage center.
The first stop, Zhou’s Kitchen where everyone dined in for Pork Shank ($24) with Fried and Steam Mantou. I remember Zhou’s kitchen from its Jurong Point outlet where I visited their buffet line. Also available are items from the a la carte menu itself, and this rendition of Braised Pig’s Shank is worthy of mention. Soft and gelatinous shiny skin hide the meaty, tender soft, and slightly fatty textures within. The braising brown sauce is savoury and sweet basking the portion in a glorious hue that contrasts exceptionally well with the spread of parboiled greens. Sides of pickled vegetables (I suspect radish) are served to quench the heaviness after the meal, and is a refreshing citrusy acidic flavour freshener.
The mantou mmmm..
The visit to SPRING Ju Chun Yuan comes with exquisite cuisine. Imagine tucking in to a Buddha Jumps over the Wall at $1288 for 10 persons, all served with huge pieces of abalone, scallop, sea cucumber, sharks fin in a smooth delicate brown seafood stock that screams collagen, richness, and umaminess.
The exquisite serving for 10 persons
Another shot for the table
Of course one can also settle for the individual portion priced at $98. Spring’s Buddha Jump over the Wall is without doubt a huddle of exquisite chinese delicacies all in a single pot. The stock is rich, and the aftertaste of savouriness is lasting. The texture of the broth is also creamy and the seafood flavour packs a decent punch. A dish that is meant to impress visually, and with the price tag.
The Xing Hwa Bee Hoon is not just bee hoon as this light fluffy serving of rice vermicelli noodles, seafood, and julienne vegetables come with sweet savoury sauce to pour before serve, fluffing up the already tasty flavours with more fluff and punch.
For something a little more rustic and marinatedly flavourful, there is the Fried Chicken with Blue Ginger Floss from Gardua Padang Cuisine.
The chicken is marinated for more than 5 hours in a myriad of spices and herbs before taking it to the deep fryer. Finely shredded Galangal (Blue Ginger) is also then deep fried to create the special floss draped generously over the pieces before serve. Deep game hen flavours, with a strong taste hinting of salt, each bite is delectable and can go very well with hot steamed white rice as an excellent pairing. On its own, it is a little too salty, but hey there is always lime juice as quenchers.
Padang cuisine doesn’t just end with the chicken, there is a wide range to select from.
I was excited to visit Shin Kushiya again as my most memorable visit would be the time when I had the Shin Truffle Infused Uni Pasta. Now after a hiatus of a year, I’m at the Far East Square outlet ready to give a go at their Japanese Charcoal Grill sticks or kushiyaki.
Chef busily preparing our food in the kitchen
We suddenly turned amateur Paparazzi with cameras and flashes going off simultaneously
For the Kushiyakis, here is what we had. From top to bottom: Tomato Maki, Ebi Shiso Maki, Buta Bara Yaki Miso, Black Pepper Yakitori. The tomato maki had its cherry tomatoes wrapped about in slices of bacon and grilled. Served hot, and if not careful, the juicy goodness within can scald in a good way. The Ebi Shiso Maki was decent in presentation and the Buta Bara Yaki Miso was a tad too salty for my liking. Might be due to the miso, but its flavour was tipping between both porky and brine.
But my favourite Kushiyaki out of the platter has to be the Black Pepper Yakitori. Cracked chips of the dark pepper is used to marinate the skewered tender pieces of chicken and when grilled, smoky richness seeps in. Texturally, the bite is rough and soft, with the charred edges on the meat providing excellent crispiness and a touch of savoury bitterness in each portion.
There are kushiyaki salts of curry and sour plum to go along as well. But that’s a personal choice.
To balance out all the heaviness from the meats, Shin Kushiya has the Yuzu Cooler to aid in the refresh department. Soda water with golden strands of yuzu and sweet syrup make up the drink, to give a slight tart citrusy flavour in calm chilling fashion.
To end the Kushiyaki on a sweet note, we had the Kuro Goma Heaven. Black Sesame Ice Cream with Black Sesame Paste and a wafer roll topped with sesame seeds. Talk about a sesame adventure. The flavours are refreshingly light, and the texture creamy throughout with earthy tastes.
The next stop was at Mont Calzone Pizza & Pasta for an array of, Pizza & Pasta!
Open concept kitchen where you can see your pizza being toasted to perfection.
And Mr. Kiasu makes an appearance. Gosh how long has it been since I last saw him.
There were a total of 3 pastas and pizzas to indulge in, I admit I am perhaps the most excited about this stop because I simply love all things pasta and pizza. First up, Carbonara, and one of the better ones I’ve had thus far. Creamy with a not too overpowering aftertaste, the richness is adequate and while still a tad tilted to the heaviness side, is made better with the bits of bacons throughout. The choice of penne cooked al dente is perfect for this cream based dish as the hollow tubes allow the gravy to seep in nicely. Thumbs up!
A light pasta dish with just the bare essentials and lots of olive oil would be the Parma Ham with Rucola Pasta. Linguine is tossed in generous servings of oil, salt and seasonings before being topped with a few huge slices of parma ham and rocket leaves on the top. Simplicity does it, and one which I would have enjoyed.
The Sambal Marinara Pasta is an interesting locally infused take on the traditional seafood marinara. Just a tad more spicy with the essence of sambal, the spaghetti was coated in a slightly thick tomato chilli based sauce rich in the fumes of the sea.
Something a little more special and there is the Black Truffle Pizza. Served in all its glorious basics of cheese, an egg in the centre and of course truffle bits throughout. I wished I spent more time with this, as I was too busy trying out the other five.
Pizza bases are thin and crisp at Mont Calzone’s, leaving each serving with a prepared base of crunchiness to pair with the beautiful toppings on the top. The Smoked Salmon Pizza looks and tastes as good. A simple combination of tomato paste, fresh garden leaves, and slices of smoked salmon, its hard to go wrong with this dish as the flavours of the sea and earth meet harmoniously together.
And the Rustica Pizza is just good combinations of pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese and tomatoes. Reminds me of some pizza game I used to play on the computer. This is a meat lovers choice.
Mirchi, Taste of India is the group’s next stop.
Cozy yet royal ambience.
At Mirchi, everyone had portions of the Tandoori Platter. With four mains of Mutton, Chicken, Fish, and Prawns all individually marinated in steeps of herbs and spices, the resultant ingredient is left to grill in the tandoor to charred perfection. I favoured the chicken tandoori especially because of its very rich spicy flavour, tender juicy and slightly fatty meat and wonderfully red taste. The prawns and fish were good enough on its own and the Muttom serving, though a little flaky and dry, goes hand in hand with the servings of Mango and Mint Chutney. We also had a Mango Lassi which was light, creamy and sweet. It was good but I would have preferred a thick volumed version that would quench, satisfy and fill.
Its nearly the end of the food trail! Yes, my tummy exclaims in delight. But before that, we have the Hock Lam Beef Kway Teow which as of this year is 100 years old. Set up in 1911, this stall was from the former Hock Lam road in a pushcart then. Now, it has come to the fourth generation of stall owners. And with a rich history, the beef kway teow has a equally rich taste, and a sweet one at that.
Pictures and clippings from the past adorn the walls
Taking the first sip of the beef kway teow broth, and I have to admit the sweet savouriness is the first to strike. The flavour is lasting and smooth, with a good immersion of herbs and bones to make each batch. Darkly tinted with a clear complexion, the soup is what makes the whole difference. Pair that up with the beef innards and meats which are hand sliced, together with the kway teow, and what you get is a beautiful combination of the savoury, the hearty, and the satisfying. Excellent!
And the last stop for the entire gastronomic journey at Far East Square, ONI Cupcakes! The petite unassuming shoppe sits innocently along the corridor, with the only suggestion of it being a cupcake boutique from the entrance shop name.
After all that food, I was glad to have the Assorted Mini Cupcakes, which on their own look fabulously too good to eat. Bright and cheery, each piece was a work in its own.
And for further customization for events, the shop also can make its magic happen.
Far East Square surely has a smorgasbord of food and of the places I visited is just a sample of what more there can be. All the bloggers and OMY team members were stuffed and full after the whole adventure. And for you readers to be part of that journey, you can log in to this site, vote for GourmetEstorie and stand to win attractive vouchers!! Burps, now that’s a tasteful ending!
Zhou’s Kitchen (www.zhouskitchen.com)
#01-01 Far East Square. Tel 6877 1123.
SPRING Ju Chun Yuan (www.juchunyuan.com.sg)
130 Amoy Street #01-01 Far East Square. Tel 6536 2655
Garuda Padang Cuisine (www.garudapadang.com)
7-8 Amoy Street #01-01 Far East Square. Tel 6536 4111
Shin Kushiya (www.shinkushiya.com)
33-35 Pekin Street Far East Square. Tel 6438 8991
Mont Calzone Pizza & Pasta (www.montcalzone.com)
38 Pekin Street Far East Square. Tel 6557 2304
40 Pekin Street Far East Square. Tel 6438 4171
Hock Lam Beef (www.hocklambeef.com)
22 China Street Far East Square. Tel 6220 9290
ONI Cupcakes (www.onicupcakes.com)
26 China Street Far East Square. Tel 6557 0108
This Gastromania Feast was organised by OMY Singapore