When many is good

If anyone wants to go to a place where there is a wide range of food, this is the place. I went for dinner with Caucasian friends who were just passing through Singapore. I needed the restaurant to have the following options available as I was not sure what they would enjoy.

– Asian food in case the wife wanted it

– salads in case the daughter wanted it

 – a steak in case the husband wanted it

We eventually settled for a pizza which had pharma ham and cheese on one side and just cheese on the other. We decided not to eat Asian food and settled for a fruit salad instead. So everyone was happy in the end. I think this was the founder’s philosophy as well — have a wide enough variety of food so that there is sufficient choices for different customers’ tastebuds. At a time when many restaurants have cut back on their menu, choosing instead to focus on their bestsellers, I was glad that this was not Lenas’ philosophy. The restaurant was an excellent idea for a night like tonight where different people wanted different food and there were enough choices for all of us to agree on one. Whew! Thank you, Lenas! And the food was reasonably priced. These two factors and alcoholic drinks have enabled them to survive in the highly competitive F & B industry.

Fruit Salad

 

Thin crust pizza with pharma ham and four cheese

 
Lenas,  Hougang Mall, 90 Hougang Ave 10 #02- 20/22. Tel: 63861929.


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Green food!

I decided that I wanted to have something vegetarian so I settled for this not realising that it was not Aglio Olio with spinach but that it was actually going to be cooked in spinach juice and look really green. And green it was, literally! I had a shock when it was first served. I really liked the pine nuts but not much else. I even brought it back to the serving counter to ask if the green colouring was real and not artificial colouring. They assured me that it was really spinach juice.

I returned to my seat and started eating. The pine nuts were the only items I liked. There was simply too much noodles, I guess in part to justify the price that it was priced at. I don’t think I will be vegetarian at this place again. Next time, I’ll just stick to my mushroom and tomato omelette with french fries on the side which used to be a good deal. Now they use fewer eggs in their omelette and charge more for it. Alternatively, I could have had one of their rice or noodle dishes which are always safe bets and more satisfying.

Han’s used to be a reasonably-priced place where one could get decent food and eat in air-conditioned comfort. I remember it was very popular when the first outlet was opened about ten years ago or so. Some of the western set meals were really value for money before and there was a wide variety of food. It was and still is self-service and one had to order and pay at the counter before getting one’s food. That was how they kept costs down.

Today, Han’s has expanded to many outlets, some of which are 24/7, and they have increased the price of their food as well. While they are still trying to get the quality of the their food to a more consistent level, they have certainly improved on their presentation, at this outlet anyway. The portions though have shrunk. Customers pay more for less but better presented food. The menu has also been streamlined which meant that some of their previous offerings are now history. The quality has not changed significantly, which is a relief, and I am still a customer.

Han’s Cafe and Cake House, 169 Jalan Bukit Merah, Connection One #01-20. Singapore 150169. Tel: 65 62725053.

Doesn’t this look green? Even my teeth turned green after eating this!

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Seafood hor fun is one of their better dishes.

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Dry beef beehoon was good.

Rising Sun: Italian food

We weren’t that hungry but we decided it would be wise to have something to eat. So we settled for Italian food. Most food in Japan is good and it seemed that this outlet was no different.

Italian Tomato outlets are found everywhere in Japan.

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A very basic hotdog with no vegetables on it.

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Corn soup.

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Salad with anchiovies

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Small half and half pizza. One half was pork slices with camembert cheese while the other half had minced beef in it.

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Hot cocoa

Junior’s Choice

I don’t often get a chance to eat with a nine-year-old so this was special. He wanted to have pizza so off to Pizza Hut we went. Choice of food? Cheese Trio pizza. My request was for the crispy thin crust. Next choice of food? Fries, of course, with cheese and barbecue sauce dips! I went along with his selection. The choice of pizza was an excellent one as it tasted really good. The fries were also nice and crunchy even hours later after we brought some back. I ordered a salad to share but Junior would have none of it! What’s with kids not liking their veggies? Seems like most kids I know don’t like veggies.

Pizza Hut, 1 Jurong West Central 2, #01-33 Jurong Point Shopping Centre. Tel: 67907146.

Trio Cheese thin crust pizza which turned out to be quite nice.

Fabulous fries which turned out to be quite fabulous indeed. The fries remained crunchy even after we had packed them home.

Junior and I tucking into the fries!

Light, heavy, cracker good

This is the first time I am visiting this place. The concept is actually brilliant — low carbohydrate, good food which predominantly yuppy customers are willing to pay for. Who would have thought that eating until one is sufficiently full, something which our parents’ generation really believed in, may be a thing of the past and in our weight- and health-conscious society, eating well has become more important than eating until one is full, and people are willing to pay more to eat less.

We ordered macadamia, roasted pumpkin pizza. The base was not just thin crust but cracker-thin. It was crunchy and delicious. We could taste all the flavours in the food and not feel overly full. We also ordered a Thai beef salad. To be honest, I almost wanted to call it Thai beef jerky salad as the beef was cooked in such a way that it was dry and chewy, though not as hard as jerky. It was quite tasty but the meat texture was a surprise. I did not expect the beef to be overcooked in this manner.

For dessert, we ordered a pandan jelly dessert and a chocolate orange scookie. The scookie was a cross between a scone and a cookie. The pandan jelly was very pretty — almost too pretty to eat. It was also light, with black pulut (black glutinous rice) on the inside. Delightful and not at all heavy despite the black rice! The scookie was quite nice as well, with a slightly nutty crunchy outer layer, while crumbly on the inside. This was also when we felt really full, and the scookie was to blame, being more carbo-laden.

Then there was the red tea latte which was rooibos tea with milk and honey on the side. It was wholesome and looked like teh tarik minus the caffeine.

Conclusion? The food here is light on the belly, good and wholesome to the tastebuds and heavy on the wallet. For two people, we paid about $58, including 10% service charge and 7% GST. The place also serves alcohol. Judging by the number of outlets that have sprung up in the past two years or so — there are now five outlets — this concept has worked for them. It was actually nice not waking up bloated and full the next day. Now to find some crackers so I can do this at home…

Skinny Pizza, 68 Orchard Road Plaza Singapura #03-79/83, Singapore 238839. Tel: 65 68848381.

Macadamia nut and roasted pumpkin pizza

Thai beef salad

Pandan jelly

The inside of the pandan jelly

Chocolate orange scookie

Red tea latte with honey on the side

Honey spiced coffee

I usually go for coffee in its pure form. I don’t take it with flavours usually. But this time I decided to try the coffee with honey and anise seed. It was love at first sip and perhaps second. After that, the honey seemed to overwhelm the coffee. The anise seed spice was a nice addition though. This coffee was a little different and all natural, as opposed to coffee with flavoured syrup. I am not sure if it would have tasted better with less honey or perhaps a slightly more acidic coffee. This was new to the menu and it was certainly worth the try. I could have drunk the coffee without any milk as the coffee itself was quite light.

For a meal, I ordered the seafood gratin. I am used to baked rice that tended to be dry. This turned out to be quite moist to the point of being a little wet. I actually do not know whether baked rice should be dry or wet but it tasted fine and so I was not bothered by it. The cheese was nicely glazed on top of the rice. It was not too much nor too cheesy. There were a lot of prawns in it and not much of other seafood. It would have been nice if they had added more clams and perhaps some fish. After all, it is called seafood gratin and not just prawns. If I order this dish again, I might make a request to the kitchen for slightly more variety in their seafood.

The bonus was the 15% discount which they offered for certain credit card holders which I am very happy about. Food prices have gone up for this restaurant and the discount was very much welcomed.

The Connoisseur Concerto, 435 Orchard Road, #02-18 Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, Singapore. Tel: 67336597.

Coffee is sweet, my love

Seafood gratin

TCC Serviette

Zesta cheesecake. It had a dash of lemon in it.

Building bricks and pizza

One would not be looking for good food at a place like this, I don’t think. After all, one comes to Legoland to play. Surely, food is secondary. But if there is a place that serves better food than the others, this might just be the place. I didn’t get to taste the food at the other places as I was told that the food here was better. I was not disappointed. After a quick tuck-in, the children, big and small, resumed their play and photo-taking.

Pizza Mania seems to also be in the original Legoland in Finland, so the place may well be run by the same folks who run the pizza place there. At least the pizza was good (enough) and for the price that one had to pay for food here, this was satisfactory. I cannot imagine paying as much as we did, for unsatisfactory food. Even though people do not come to places like this for food, nevertheless, food is still inevitable because of the long hours spent here.

Pizza Mania, Imagination, Legoland, Johor, Malaysia.

The guava was refreshing. Served with dried lime pieces and not the powder. They were delicious — a good idea to have as part of a set.

Aloha chicken pizza. I ordered the kid’s set which was just nice. The base was thin crust. This too was nice. The set came with a Ribena drink as well.

Time to go down memory lane and play!

Down Under: Italiano

Finally, we were not eating Asian food. I love Asian food but when you are in Australia, it is good to try some of the other foods as well. So tonight, it was Italian.

This place has been around for 30 years and certainly the friend who brought me here thought well enough of this place to bring me here. We ordered the seafood marinara with fettucine pasta and Margherita pizza. The portions were so large that we could not finish the food. We had ordered the normal portion of the marinara and a 13″ pizza. On hindsight, we should have ordered an entree portion of the marinara instead.

Some reviewers have raved on about the good, unchanging food while others have been disappointed with the long wait and poor service. Neither was my experience. The food was fine and the service was not too bad. It was not busy when we went and we could chat for hours on end, which was why we were having dinner here. The lemon lime bitter was good but the coffee was not.

Mamma Teresa Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, 412 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, NSW 2032. Tel: (02) 9663 5031.

Seafood marinara in napolitana sauce with fettucine.

Margherita pizza which I enjoyed.