Hooked! (Restaurant)

October 23, 2010 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Hooked! (Restaurant)
390 Upper Bukit Timah Road
The Rail Mall
Singapore (678045)  





Hooked on great food 
(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 5
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 8
Value for Money: 7
Spent about $22 per person.

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At first glance, Hooked! (Restaurant) may seem like just another restaurant with a Seafood theme... But unlike its competitors, the quality of food at Hooked! (Restaurant) is so much better. Hooked! (Restaurant) various cuts of fish are not just thicker and heavier (weight), but very fresh as well, without having that "fishy" taste. Their various seafood like prawns, squid, etc, are also very fresh.


Pacific Bonanza, a starter, is a great way to sample the various seafood they have to offer. If you're inclined, you could even eat it as a meal by itself.


Hooked! (Restaurant) Roasted Cod In Lemongrass Miso comes nicely roasted, crisp on the outside, but the flesh of the cod is still juicy and firm, neither too overcooked nor hard. The miso adds a nice contrast to the taste of the fish. The accompanying salad is just average, but the mashed potato beneath goes well with the miso sauce.


Another must try would have to be the Steamed Red Snapper In White Wine, Lemongrass & Garlic Fish Broth. Served in a large pan, the aroma of the lemongrass hits you the minute the lift the lid. The broth is wonderfully light and flavorful, while the snapper is firm and succulent. I found myself wishing I could have more of the broth...


Hooked! (Restaurant) service is above average... staff are friendly, and will patiently provide suggestions or answer questions if you have trouble deciding what to eat... which you might, seeing as Hooked! has quite a large variety of items on their menu. The are also quite knowledgeable on the preparation and ingredients of the dishes.


Overall, Hooked! (Restaurant) has the right mix of good food and service quality to beat its competitors... I only wish there were more outlets!




Grandma's Beef Shin Stew




Pacific Bonanza




Pan-Grilled Jumbo Sea-Bass In Balsamic Ragenov Sauce




Roasted Cod In Lemongrass Miso




Roasted Garoupa In Dried-Shrimp & Salted Egg Yolk Butter




Roasted Snapper Wrapped With Streaky Bacon




Steamed Red Snapper In White Wine, Lemongrass & Garlic Fish Broth




Tuna-Salmon Tapas










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E18hteen Chefs

October 21, 2010 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs
3 Simei Street 6
#01-12 Eastpoint Mall

51 Yishun Central 1
#01-04 Yishun 10

302 Tiong Bahru Road
#02-K1 Tiong Bahru Plaza


53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#04-02 AMK Hub

8 Grange Road
#04-02 Cineleisure Orchard

2 Handy Road
#B1-19 The Cathay

23 Serangoon Central
#01-57 NEX

311 New Upper Changi Road
#02-03 Bedok Mall

1 Jelebu Road
#02-19 Bukit Panjang Plaza

2 Jurong East Central 1
#02-13 JCube

200 Victoria Street
#04-06 Bugis Junction


http://www.eighteenchefs.com/


Pretty Good Food, Commendable Social Cause
(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 6
Ambience & Setting: 5
Food & Beverage: 6
Service: 5
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $8 / $18 per person.


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Eating at E18teen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs is a bit hit-and-miss... Order correctly and you'll walk away feeling satisfied, order incorrectly and you might leave and never return.

The novelty of E18teen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs is their Create Your Own Pasta / Baked Rice dish. Go for the Pasta or Cheese Baked Pasta. Their Cheese Baked Rice, while covered in excellent, gooey, thick cheese, is let down by the quality of the rice - it often ends up slightly more dry or hard.

Choice of ingredients plays a huge part as well. Ordering the Minced Beef ingredient adds a wonderful hearty, meaty flavor to the dish, especially combined with Cheese Baked Pasta / Rice.

Choosing the Baked Beans ingredient however, may leave you finishing the meal unsatisfied. Even worse is if you pair it with a sauce like Japanese Curry... the taste of the curry clashes with the taste of the beans.

Of course, part of the fun is in experimenting with the choices at E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs, and seeing what kind of dish you end up with!

Tip: You can actually choose more than 1 top-up ingredient, but of course, be prepared to pay more. If you wanted, you could request to add ALL the ingredients, but you'll end up with a really expensive plate of pasta!

E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs Light Meals, like omelettes, are really light, and are good for a snack or to share.

Also, do try their Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow.... First time I've been served a Hot Chocolate that was still bubbling... It really lives up to its name!


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Cheese Baked Rice In Creamy Mango Sauce With Minced Beef & Prawns


Eggs Chips Beans Veg


Funky Strawberry


Hot Chocolate


Pasta Cheesy Spaghetti In Spicy Garlic Sauce With Prawns, Scrambled Eggs & Mushrooms


Pasta Spaghetti In Spicy Garlic Sauce With Mushroom & Chicken Slices


Plain Omelette


Three Cheese Omelette


Snack Platter



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Update Jul-2014: It's been 4 years since I last visited E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs, and Chef Benny has been hard at work expanding his brand! Today, E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs has many more outlets across Singapore, though the original 2 outlets are now closed. Prices are as affordable as ever, especially for students, but the menu has been updated and expanded, though the main focus of Pasta still remains the same. Service and Ambience have improved slightly as well, and E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs look set to go far!


E18hteen Chefs / Eighteen Chefs Interior


Chef Benny & Team



I loved the Calamari (SGD $4.80) Rings here, because the serving size of 7 thick squid rings is decent for the price, but more importantly, it's always very fresh! The batter is a bit bland and limp though, but the squid rings are outstanding on its own.

Calamari



The house special Double Cheese Bolognaise Fries (SGD $6.50) is among the best cheese fries I've had for its price range. A generous scoop of oozy cheese, mixed with their savoury minced beef bolognaise sauce made with tangy, intense tomato sauce, and you have a definite winner. Don't waste time eating other cheese fries elsewhere!

Double Cheese Bolognaise Fries



The Funky Eighteen (SGD $6) is an in-house beverage drink creation with a suprisingly zesty taste. A mix of lychee, raspberry and orange juice, the tangy sweetness is a zip on the palate, followed by a lingering refreshing sweetness. Good!

Funky Eighteen


Funky Eighteen



The Home Brewed Ice Lemon Tea has a nice balance of sweet and tangy, not too overpowering or cloying. Very refreshing!

Home Brewed Ice Lemon Tea



I couldn't resist the create-your-own-pasta, and I ended up with the Pasta Spaghetti In Spicy Garlic Sauce With Prawns & Pan Grilled Fish (SGD $16.30). The pasta is as good as ever, with the spicy garlic sauce being thick, creamy, moderately spicy, and fragrant. The prawns and fish are very fresh, cooked well, and the taste is savoury and clean.

Pasta Spaghetti In Spicy Garlic Sauce With Prawns & Pan Grilled Fish


Pasta Spaghetti In Spicy Garlic Sauce With Prawns & Pan Grilled Fish



The Pasta Fusilli Tom Yum Seafood Aglio Olio (SGD $13.80) was highly recommended by several Singapore television channels, and it's easy to see why. A fusion of East and West, the fusilli was cooked perfectly al-dente, soft with a slight bite. The prawns and squid rings are large, meaty, and very fresh. The tom yum and aglio olio sauce is fragrant with lemongrass and spice, with the heat being a slow build that causes perspiration towards the end of the dish. My only complaint is the freshness of the mussles and peas in the dish, which were previously frozen, and tasted bland and dull. Otherwise, a good dish overall!

Pasta Fusilli Tom Yum Seafood Aglio Olio


Pasta Fusilli Tom Yum Seafood Aglio Olio



The Pasta Spaghetti Aglio Olio With Beef Striploin & Black Pepper Sauce (SGD $16.80) has spaghetti that is average at best, as I found it too oily and not fragrant enough for my liking. The students seem to lap it up though. The lettuce was fresh, and the beef striploin was the correct doneness, tender and still juicy within.

Pasta Spaghetti Aglio Olio With Beef Striploin & Black Pepper Sauce


Pasta Spaghetti Aglio Olio With Beef Striploin & Black Pepper Sauce


Pasta Spaghetti Aglio Olio With Beef Striploin & Black Pepper Sauce



The Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips (SGD $15.80) may be ominously named, but each of the 3 components is done well. The fried rice is cooked well, with each grain coated in flavour, while the home made chili sauce is a potent and spicy mix. The beef strips are grilled till tender and medium, but could have been rested slightly longer to lock in the moisture and meat juices.

Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips


Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips


Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips



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Update Aug-2015: Met the boss / founder Chef Benny Se Teo, during a corporate event. Found staff to be very friendly, helpful, and engaging, during our corporate event at their outlet. Great hosts! Food took a little long to be served though, and the sharing platter of appetizers only arrived after we finished our main course.

The Dory Fish With Lemon Caper Sauce (SGD $12.80) features a large, fresh fillet of dory fish, covered in a creamy sauce that has a light zesty, tangy citrus taste. The vegetables on the side are alright. Decent execution.

Dory Fish With Lemon Caper Sauce



The Teriyaki Chicken With Potato Apple Salad (SGD $11.80) has a perfectly grilled piece of sweet teriyaki sauce glazed chicken steak. The potato apple salad is fresh and crunchy. Portion size is small though, and you're better off ordering something else if you have a bigger appetite.

Teriyaki Chicken With Potato Apple Salad



Got the Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips (SGD $17.80) again, but this time, with an additional 64 degree sous vide / soft boiled egg. Still as good as before!

Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips


Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips


Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips 06


Heart Attack Fried Rice With New York Beef Strips






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Botak Jones

October 21, 2010 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Botak Jones - Closed
325 Clementi Avenue 5 #01-129

970A Toa Payoh North

357 Bedok Road

214 Serangoon Avenue 4

181 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5

118 Depot Lane

121 Somerset Road

412 Bedok North Avenue 2

233 Bukit Batok East Avenue 5

5 Changi Village Road

892C Woodlands Drive 50

211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8

248 Simei Street 3


http://www.botakjones.com/


An excellent and filling meal..... Once upon a time

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 5
Ambience & Setting: 2
Food & Beverage: 5
Service: 5
Value for Money: 4
Spent about SGD $9 per person.


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Almost 4 years ago, Botak Jones was the granddaddy that started the trend of having "restaurant quality food at coffeeshop prices".

Back then, you could hear many of your friends raving about it... Like how it was possible to purchase a meal at Botak Jones for about the same price as any other regular fast-food chain value meal, and have them serve you a heaping plate of food, enough to last you throughout the day. It was almost like eating a mini-buffet. "So value for money!", they would say, or "Wah lau, the portion so big! Dunno how to finish... wanna share?"

Then you would hear some others compliment the quality of the food... Like how their fish was fresh and flaky, and almost melted in the mouth. Or that the cajun chicken came with nicely melted cheese that gave it a tangy twist, and the meat was neither overcooked or dry, but juicy and tender. Or that their steak was grilled just nicely, with enough char outside, yet still juicy inside. Or that their hot dogs were among the largest ever sold at the time. Or that you could customize your burger, which was a brand new novelty...

Service was almost similar to a restaurant... The staff would helpfully offer suggestions on what to order and explain what you didn't understand. All with a smile.

Of course, most people know a good deal when they see one, so queues formed at most outlets, especially the first few branches, which meant you might have to wait a good 15 minutes or more for your order to arrive. Still, many didn't seem to mind.

But, as with most things in life, change is inevitable.

The rising standard of living over the last few years have forced the chain to also raise their prices... And along with it, the quality & quantity of food at Botak Jones has dropped drastically. Portions are no longer as large as they used to be, and if you wanted the "original - large" size portions, you have to pay more for it.

Normally, this wouldn't be that big a problem... if the quality of food was still high. Sadly however, a meal at Botak Jones today is just average... Not much better than most other coffeeshop western food, which is cheaper.

As a pioneer and market-leader of the trend, competition is inevitable. Unfortunately, while many of their competitors have improved by offering better quality food and service, Botak Jones has slowly deproved, making it "just another western food stall".

Today, of course, you may not hear your friends talking about their fantastic dining experiences at Botak Jones anymore... And the long, long queues of yesteryear are all but gone.

On the plus side, at least you don't have to wait too long for your food anymore.


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Fish & Chips With Spicy Fries & Coleslaw


Cajun Chicken With Potato Salad & Baked Cheese Potato


Botak Burger Add Egg & Provolone Cheese With Spicy Fries & Pasta Salad


Chili Dawg With Baked Cheese Potato & Spicy Fries


Swank & Eggs With Pasta Salad And Spicy Fries


Char-Grilled Salmon Fillet With Mixed Veggie Stew & Potato Salad


Sirloin Steak With Baked Cheese Potato & Mixed Veggie Stew


Chicken Gumbo


Stuffed Jalapenos Plate


Stuffed Jalapenos Plate


The Massive Cheese Whoopass Egg With Sliced Jalapenos, Spicy Fries & Corn Cob


The Fish Burger


Whoopass Cheese Fries


Hot Dog With Butter Corn & Spicy Fries






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