Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Sampan @ Boat Quay - Pan Asian Flavours And Avant Garde Cocktails

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If I were to just tune up my imagination and visualise a vast white beach in front of me, replacing the Singapore River, this is The Sampan at Bali, not Boat Quay. Though I'm not, with the whitewash tiled walls, wooden furnishing and homeware, former Ku De Ta Bali General Manager, Steve Collinson has quite successfully brought that atmosphere into this 3-storey high restaurant and bar. Drawing inspirations from restaurants and cuisine in Asia, both food and beverages here exude a strong deal of pan Asian flavours and characters.

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White Sangria 3/5 and Mango & Chili Smash 4/5

White Sangria ($18) is an elegant cocktail with white wine, june liqueur, clove, calamansi and Asian pear. The woody nuances of the clove stands out which complements the sweetness and acidity of the cocktail. Mango & Chili Smash ($17) surprised me more with its rather simple ingredients - tequila, mango, mint, sugar and lime. It tastes almost like a full-bodied mango juice but accented with an alcoholic bitterness and elevated with refreshing herb, spice and acidity.

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Pork and Chicken Choi Bao 4/5

As a start, accompany your cocktails with Light Bites & Salads. I have tried Choi Bao in one of Melbourne's bars before and what's left of that memory is its intensity of wok hei that hit me. If that is the defining trait of this dish, The Sampan's version Pork and Chicken Choi Bao ($3.50/pc) is even more successful with the integration of lap cheong into the pork and chicken bites. The smell of the caramelised dark soy sauce when it is served, will tempt you as much as a plate of black carrot cake.

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Mushroom San Choi Bao 3.5/5

A meatless option would be Mushroom San Choi Bao. Texture itself is similar, thanks to the good mix of black fungus, enoki and shitake mushrooms, and the level of wok hei is pretty intense too. But that lap cheong bits are still the winner.

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Blue Swimmer Crab and Pomelo Salad 3.8/5

If you like the flavours of Thai and Vietnamese salad, Blue Swimmer Crab and Pomelo Salad ($14) will be right up your alley and beyond, with all the greens adorned with pieces of fresh Blue Swimmer crab meat.

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Sichuan Pepper Chicken Spare Ribs 3.8/5

Among wings, drumsticks and spare ribs, I would choose the latter. Sichuan Pepper Chicken Spare Ribs with Spring Onion Salad ($12) is almost like chicken tenders but more succulent and flavourful. The exterior remained crispy even after a while.

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Stracciatella and Curried Lentils 4/5

Stracciatella and Curried Lentils ($6.50/2 pcs) may appear to be modest in many ways but each and every of this modish Pani Puri is a darling to be savoured upon. The original recipe calls for sweet, spicy and tangy flavours, and this unique blend of milky stracciatella cheese, cucumber and mint yogurt and curried lentil, not only hit all the quintessential notes that the original recipe calls for, it is even tastier with the freshness of the yogurt mixture soothing out the spiciness of the curried lentils.

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Mini Banh Mi 3.5/5

Similar to Choi Bun, Mini Banh Mi ($12) is small in size but big in flavours. The grilled pork neck was well marinated, with slow cooked pickled cucumber to cut its richness. I like the use of rye bread which is firmer and drier compared to a brioche, giving this rich filling a more balanced support.

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Crispy Chili Beef 3/5

Crispy Chili Beef with Green Mango Salad and Crispy Noodles ($18) is too overly done with seasoning and dressing. The wok-fried beef itself is quite salty to begin with and the gluey salad dressing weighs the entire dish down even more. It would have tasted a lot better should the green mango salad be clean of sauce and seasoning, and simply toss in to complement the beef.

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Valrhona Chocolate and Tofu Mousse 3.5/5

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Mango Pudding 4/5

For desserts, you can't get any more Asian with this Mango Pudding with Coconut Sago and Mango Sorbet ($12). The pudding was almost like a solidified puree and the mango sorbet was mango to the core. On the other hand, the chocolate mousse in the Valrhona Chocolate and Tofu Mousse ($14) with Chai Spiced Shortbread and Passionfruit Curd was quite addictive with its saltish-sweetness, coupled with tang from the passionfruit curd.

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Boat Quay does need some rejuvenation and I think The Sampan has come in pretty strong with its concept and offerings. Level 2 and 3 spaces are available for private functions or corporate events as well, if you are keen.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.


The Sampan
63 Boat Quay
Singapore 049851
Facebook
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (NE Line), Raffles Place (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 1130am - 12midnight
Sat: 430pm - 12midnight
(Closed on Sun)

Direction: 
1) Alight at Clarke Quay MRT station. Take Exit E. Cross the road walk to Upper Circular Road. Walk down Upper Circular Road to North Bridge Road. Cross the road and walk to destination. Journey time about 6 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Raffles Place MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk to the river front. Turn left and walk down Boat Quay. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

Monday, October 15, 2018

Jun Omakase @ Samsung Hub - 5 Months Old Japanese Omakase Restaurant At Telok Ayer

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Thanks to my friend Sherine for introducing me to the 5 months old Jun Omakase at Samsung Hub. Jun Omakase offers omakase dinner menu ranging from $98, $138 to $188. For lunch, it has affordable set menus starting from $28 which comes with a salad, soup and dessert.

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Tomato 4/5

Our omakase dinner started with the fresh Japanese Tomato that is bursting with sweetness.

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Maguro 4.2/5

Next I have Maguro paired with plum jelly. It is a delightful combination that is very pleasant on the palate.

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Sashimi 4.5/5

Probably one of the most look forward dishes, the fresh Sashimi platter that comprises of uni, botan ebi, scallop, tuna and more.

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King Crab Tempura 3.8/5

Next is the King Crab Tempura. The king crab is wrapped within crispy tempura seaweed together with the crunchy cucumber. A light savoury sauce is poured into the bowl, complementing the roll like a dipping sauce, elevating the enjoyment.

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Sazae 3/5

Served and cooked in its own shell is the Sazae, which is a type of sea snail. The flesh of the sea snail is cut into thin slices and paired with thinly sliced asparagus. I felt that flesh is too thinly sliced, not allowing me to enjoy the texture of the sea snail.

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Teriyaki Fish Cheek 4/5

Come highly recommended is the Teriyaki Fish Cheek. Love the moist and fatty fish cheek meat that simply melted in the mouth. Squeeze a bit of the lemon for that added zesty boost on top of the sweetness from the teriyaki sauce.

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A4 Tochigi Wagyu Shroom Rice 3.5/5

Something new on the menu is the A4 Tochigi Wagyu Shroom Rice. Like I feedback to the chef, I get the idea but it would be better if the foie gras is mixed into the rice ball instead of having the whole piece of foie gras stuffed inside the shroom rice. That will probably bring the different components together as a dish.

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Squid Sushi 4.2/5

What impressed me at Jun Omakase is actually their sushi. I have the Squid Sushi and Tuna Sushi. The sushi are very exquisite and what caught my attention is the different unique pairing with each sushi. Take for the squid sushi, it is paired with yuzu mayonnaise while the tuna sushi is crowned with sliver of wasabi.

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Tuna Sushi 4.8/5

While omakase are usually decided by the Chef on what to serve to their guest, the chef at Jun Omakase is quite flexible. He will try to accommodate to your request as far as possible. I would recommend asking for more sushi for your omakase menu. I find that it is their forte against other Japanese omakase restaurant.


Jun Omakase
3 Church Street
#01-01
Singapore 049483
Facebook
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer (DT Line), Raffles Place (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 1130am - 230pm, 515pm - 930pm
(Closed on Sun)

Direction: 
1) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk down Telok Ayer Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Raffles Place MRT station. Take Exit F. Walk to the traffic light junction at Cecil Street and Church Street. Cross the road. Walk down Church Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 6 minutes. [Map]

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