Fat Cow, Singapore

located pretty randomly on the ground floor of camden medical centre, fat cow is the perfect place to go to satisfy a donburi craving! i had always thought it was rather pricey but after spotting their set lunch menu on display outside the restaurant while i was at camden for an eye appointment one day, i decided that i had to give the decently-priced set lunches a try.

went on a saturday afternoon (yes, they offer the set lunch on saturdays too – YAY!) with the mother and the sister to check out if it was worth the hype. the conclusion: the signature fat cow donburi definitely was, but the other things we tried weren’t mind-blowing though still above average i would say.

we were seated at the counter which i really liked because unlike some counters that tend to be cramped and result in you elbowing your neighbours when you eat, this counter was big and spacious, with a great view of the chefs doin’ their thing to boot!20130907_133020

here’s the set lunch menu:20130907_133150

the sister and i had a fat cow donburi each, while the mother decided to go for the fat foa-gura don. besides that, we ordered a medley of mushrooms in a garlic, butter & yuzu sauce (if i remember correctly) from the a-la-carte menu to share.

despite them being pretty crowded, service was prompt and the meal started with us being served a salad, chawanmushi and miso soup:
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the salad was nothing out of the ordinary; the greens were fresh but i would have preferred the salad to be more chilled. as for the miso soup, it was tasty but very normal, without any additional ingredients besides the usual tofu and seaweed that would have made it that bit more exciting. the chawanmushi was pretty good though! there was this strange gooey layer of sauce on the top but it was fine once we dug into it and it got mixed with the rest of the chawanmushi. it was very smooth and contained some whole ingredients like prawn and scallop etc so that was nice, but i think it could have been a tad lighter and less dense!

as mentioned earlier, we also ordered a mushroom medley from the a-la-carte menu. i LOVE mushrooms so this was my cup of tea! the mix of mushrooms was nice and they were very well-fried, retaining a nice bite but without a hint of any raw crunchiness. the sauce was very yummy – i think it was garlic, butter and yuzu (if i’m not wrong; sorry my memory fails me!). it was added in just the right amount to the mushrooms, resulting in them being coated in it but not swimming or being drenched. the serving was also just nice to be shared among the 3 of us as a nice accompaniment to our sets.20130907_134401

the fat foa-gura don that the mother dearest ordered:20130907_134904
glazed foie gras and wagyu beef over rice

the mother decided to be (kinda) adventurous and go for the foie gras donburi instead of the classic fat cow donburi. we were disappointed though! they were really generous with the foie gras which was cooked to perfection (melt-in-your-mouth goodness) and absolutely delicious, but what marred the perfection of the dish was the sauce! we all felt that the sauce was much too sweet and was added a little too generously, so much so that i felt the dish became quite blandly sweet (if you know what i mean)! it was a real pity because the beef and foie gras were actually really delicious. don’t get me wrong though – this donburi wasn’t terrible at all, in fact i would still say it was above average, but just not what i’d go for or what i’m looking for in a donburi. it also seemed like we were just eating plain rice with the beef and foie gras on top; i felt there wasn’t anything that brought everything together (like the egg yolk in the fat cow donburi). i think its safe to say that we’re all going to opt for the trusty fat cow donburi when we return.

and now, saving the best for last, presenting to you… *drumroll please* the famous fat cow donburi!!!

various fat cow donburi-eating stages:
stage one – shamelessly snap a pic (or as many as it takes to get a good shot) of it in all its glory. won’t be too hard to get a good pic cuz its one of those foods that’s so good it’s photogenic from all angles wahahaha.20130907_135259charcoal-grilled wagyu beef with onsen egg and shiro negi

stage two – break your egg yolk (if you are a fellow runny yolk lover, i understand your pain; this is the hardest part HAHA), mix it all in and EAT!!!20130907_135344

stage three – when you reach your last spoonful, stop to snap another pic and try not to feel too sad that such an amazing bowl of food is now close to empty.20130907_140840

stage four – observe a moment of silence for the loss of the food in the bowl but trust that it has gone to a better place.20130907_140852

the fatcow donburi was amazingly yummy (as you can probably infer from my bowl that was wiped completely clean); i’d go back and order this in a heartbeat! we ordered the beef done medium rare and it came in the perfect shade of pink. mixed together with the onsen egg that was spot-on with its runny yolk factor, this bowl of rice was worth every bit of carbs (for the weight watchers among you) and definitely worth getting fat on 😉 my only complaint is that the beef we had that day wasn’t as juicy and tender as i had hoped. i’ve had other wagyu beef that’s tasted better – more marbled, tender and naturally sweet (i felt the beef in the beef with truffle donburi i had at tamashii robataya was better than fat cow’s though fat cow’s is certainly better value for money. read about tamashii’s donburi here!). despite this, the donburi still proved itself to be one of the best i’ve had; i think it was the general mix of everything in the bowl that made it taste so so good.

ended the meal with ice cream that was also included in the set lunch:
20130907_141642the ice cream we had that day was honeycomb ice cream, and it was a very nice end to the meal. it surprised us all by being not too sweet at all, and was smooth and creamy with crunchy honeycomb bits within. i could have done with a bigger scoop though 😉 hahaha!

all in all, we had a great lunch experience at fat cow. be sure to make a reservation if you’re going though! we didn’t expect them to be so popular especially because of its sightly odd location but were surprised that we were only offered the late seating (1.30pm) when we called to make a reservation and even had to wait for a while before being seated when we arrived at 130pm. this is definitely somewhere that i’m adding to my ever-growing list of must-eat places when i’m back home for the holidays 🙂

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Fat Cow

1 Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre #01-01
Singapore 248649

Platypus Kitchen, Singapore

previously catering to mainly the working crowd at their first branch in the heart of the cbd at clifford centre, Platypus Kitchen is now catering to a more diverse clientele at 2 other locations – bugis junction and bukit timah plaza.

i first heard about it when i was interning at raffles place last year but unfortunately never got the chance to try it during my short working stint. so i was really excited to hear about their new branches that are a lot more accessible to people who don’t fancy heading into the business district to jostle with the working crowd!

occupying a spacious area on the third floor of bugis junction, Platypus Kitchen prides itself on offering not only the widest selection of handmade pastas in singapore, but also as mediterannean bistro serving quality food at affordable prices. i paid the bugis junction outlet a visit last tuesday night, and thought they did pretty well at living up to the reputation they have created for themselves!20130806_200241
platypus kitchen at bugis junction

it was definitely affordable, with a set menu (for both lunch & dinner!) starting from $16.90 that included a choice of starter (pumpkin soup, mushroom soup or salad), a pasta (an additional $1-$2+ was added for certain more “gourmet” pastas) and a drink (a whole range of exciting-sounding but not so exciting-tasting options):20130806_185750

the selection available in the set menu was surprisingly extensive and gave indecisive me quite a headache deciding what to get – everything looked/sounded so good! luckily we had decided that the set menu was too good to pass on, so that limited our choices to the (not so) few you see above; the main menu takes being spoilt for choice to a whole new level and is a real nightmare for the indecisive like me, though i suppose that is a happy problem? and a very good way of getting people to keep returning to try more of what they have to offer!

20130806_185850 happy val with the a-la-carte menu

we both chose the wild mushroom soup as a starter which i felt was passable but certainly nothing to shout about. it had bits of mushroom in it that added a slight chunkiness which i like, but i thought the soup could definitely have been thicker and creamier. it seemed slightly watered-down (probably ladled out from a giant ready-made pot), and definitely could do with a bit more of a really fragrant portobello mushroom type of kick! but that said, maybe that’s too much to expect from a mushroom soup that comes as part of a set menu or otherwise at a very reasonable price of $3.90 a bowl.20130806_190500
mushroom soup and lychee peach tea

the drinks on the other hand, were really rather terrible. my lychee peach tea tasted nothing even remotely like lychee or peach! if not for the fact that there was a lone lychee bobbing around in the drink, i would have thought they’d sent the wrong drink. my friend’s mango peach tea was just slightly better, but both were as diluted as each other and just tasted like iced tea without the sugar syrup. a big disappointment, especially when i got excited by the range of interesting flavoured teas they had that came with the set menu.

for our pastas, we ordered 2 of their most popular pastas – a truffle carbonara tagliatelle and a black & white scallop & crab. both were good, but the black & white was the one that really stood out for us!!! (note 3 !s to denote excitement and sheer delight :P)

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black & white, scallop & crab $17.50 / an additional $2.40 with the set menu

the black & white is something i will definitely go back to Platypus Kitchen for – a mixture of egg and squid-ink tagliolini with crab and scallops in a white wine consomme. i loved the mixture of noodle types, the white wine consomme which had a tinge of zestiness in it, and the generous servings of crabmeat and scallops. the ingredients were fresh and the consomme was light, its very subtle sourness giving the sauce a really refreshing lift. i absolutely loved this dish!

as for the truffle carbonara, i normally avoid creamy pastas like the plague (the closest thing i’ll have to anything creamy is a pink sauce) but decided to give this a shot since it is one of the most popular dishes on the menu. plus it had truffle (my fave) which totally egged me on in my foray into the land of creamy sauces.20130806_191230truffle carbonara tagliatelle $16.50 / an additional $1.90 with the set menu

the carbonara was much lighter than other carbonaras i’ve had (that have managed to leave me unable to finish the dish halfway through it – an extremely rare occurrence, i assure you); you can probably see that from the picture above! it wasn’t just the fact that the amount of sauce that the pasta was tossed in was less than normal, it was also the fact that the sauce itself (an egg yolk-based sauce, apparently) was quite light. i think the taste of truffle (that was rather strong) definitely helped to distract me from the usual creaminess in carbonaras that can sometimes be overpowering. i also really enjoyed the mushroom slices, cheese and double-smoked bacon that topped the pasta pile. it was definitely one of the better renditions of carbonara that i’ve tried, but i still preferred the black & white since it was something more unusual.

although we were super satisfied and rather full after our pastas, we couldn’t resist dessert, of which they have a sizeable number of options! we ordered a sea salt caramel to share and were pleasantly surprised by the portion which was quite generous for its price, quite unusual at such cafes that can typically serve desserts in rather meagre portions!20130806_201447sea salt caramel $6.90

the most interesting/amusing part of the dessert was the popping candy that topped it. we only realised it was popping candy after we each took our first bites and started hearing loud crackling sounds emerging from the depths of our mouths – definitely awkward first date food… or on the other end of the spectrum, a (quite literally) sizzlin’ one? hahahahaha! popping candy aside, the dessert wasn’t fantastic but it was a decent end to a good meal. there wasn’t a very strong sea salt caramel flavour at all – it seemed to have been lost in the chocolate sauce and peanuts that were rather distinct flavours in this seemingly confused cake. that said, it still succeeded in satisfying our craving for a sweet end to the meal.

Platypus Kitchen is definitely a great place to go if you are looking for affordable gourmet pastas with quality ingredients. i’m already looking forward to the next time i get to return to try more of their exciting offerings!

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Platypus Kitchen

200 Victoria Street, Bugis Junction
#03-29/29A20130806_211309

Menya Musashi, Singapore

ramen is all over singapore! there are way too many choices – so much so that everytime i feel like having a good bowl of ramen, i end up spending more time searching which shop i should go to and reading reviews than actually eating the bowl of noodles.

this time, the choice was menya musashi. i used to wonder how good it was when i saw the snaking queues outside the raffles city outlet and this time, it was the outlet at ion orchard that we headed to to see whether it was really worth the queue!

this shop is supposedly one of the most popular in tokyo, and their specialty is the tsukemen, where the ramen and soup are served separately and you are supposed to dip the noodles into the soup with each bite you take! wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous that night so i stuck to the ramen we are used to – a piping hot bowl of delicious noodles. their menu is pretty straightforward: they have a black, white and spicy soup base and for each soup base, there are 4 options, each differing based on the amount of toppings given.

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we ordered one bowl of black big tiger ramen and white big tiger ramen.
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(black on top, white at the bottom!)

what’s the difference between the white and black soup? the black soup is more garlic-y and also a little saltier – a heavier soup in general.

the “big tiger ramen” comes with the most toppings; i suppose its meant to be the “top of the range” bowl (at SGD16.90) – it comes with a mixture of shabu shabu pork and cha shu, half an egg, and a whole bunch of other garnishings. it was the most expensive on the menu but i would say it was very worth the money.20130327_183836
i have to say, they are EXTREMELY generous with the toppings, which is what i really liked.  every bit of noodles could be eaten with something (unlike some other bowls of ramen where its just a lot of noodles with a few measly slices of pork) and the cha shu was one of the best i’ve had with ramen! it was cooked to perfection – tender and very very tasty.as for the soup (which is key to any bowl of ramen), it was definitely not what i was expecting. it was so thick that it was almost like a gravy – i think i remember remarking that it reminded me of lor mee gravy. don’t get me wrong – it tasted good, but was just much thicker than i had imagined soup for ramen would ever be! because of the super generous amounts of toppings given and the extremely thick broth, it was a very filling and satisfying  bowl of noodles. definitely not something that everyone will like though, as its not the normal tonkotsu/shoyu soup that most of us are used to. however, another good thing about it was that i didn’t feel too thirsty after the meal, which means the tastiness is pretty natural and doesn’t come from too much msg!

out of sheer coincidence, the lady sitting next to me on the bus home had had her dinner at menya musashi as well. i sheepishly (or shamelessly?) admit that i eavesdropped on her phone conversation as she recounted to whoever was on the other end of the line how her shoe-shopping trip failed because apparently shoes that are both comfortable and nice-looking just do not exist, and how she did NOT like her ramen at menya. in her words, she said it was “super gao” (gao = thick in hokkien dialect, for the uninformed). she also complained that she didn’t get to drink coke because they only serve pepsi (heads-up for all coke lovers out there lol).

total bill: SGD39

who i would recommend this to: people looking for a different sort of ramen, either the dipping sort (if you are interested in trying something new) or one with an extremely thick soup. guaranteed to be a filling meal! i’m not sure how crowded it normally is as we went early and on a weekday but given the crowd i’ve seen at dinnertime at the raffles city outlet, i’d say its best to go early to beat the crowds. when we went at 630pm, there was no queue, but there was a steady stream of customers.

will i go back? i don’t really foresee myself going back in the near future unless i’m craving this sort of ramen. i think i still prefer the normal soup bases, though this is an interesting change. probably the kind of place i’d consider going to if i’m in orchard with no food ideas and am craving some ramen. i’d definitely say its worth trying at least once though!

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Menya Musashi
2 Orchard Turn
#B3-25 ION Orchard