Jamie’s Italian, Singapore

After what seemed like forever, we finally got to check out Jamie’s Italian at Vivocity. Well we never made it there because we were daunted by the queues, and I am truly averse to queueing for food. Well, not always, but generally. I would rather settle for something that is just decent or passable than to spend time queueing for something that is supposedly good. Food, is at the end of the day, just food.

The other time I tried Jamie’s Italian was somewhere in the UK, not in London but Reading I think. The food, from what I recalled, was pretty decent but I wouldn’t say exceptional. Maybe I don’t know what is considered to be really good Italian food but to me, pasta is pasta. There is bad pasta, for sure, but how good it can be, I guess I don’t have a yardstick for comparison.IMG_0007.JPGSo this time we finally made it to the outlet at Vivocity, not without waiting for queueing though, even if there was not really a visible queue in sight. They will make you leave your name with the host who will then let you know an approximate time you will need to wait. I figured it wasn’t due to the restaurant reaching its maximum capacity because as we loitered in the vicinity we could see that there were quite a number of empty tables. But it was probably more to ensure that guests who are seated are more or less promptly attended to and served. It can be good or bad in a way, good in that you can turn around tables much faster but bad because you make the customers wait while standing outside the restaurant. Unless of course you want to shop around and hope they remember to give you a tinker.

Well service was indeed prompt. We already knew what we wanted since we had a fair bit of time before being shown to our table, not in the best location though, as it was a 2-seater in the midst of thoroughfare. We decided not to be ambitious and chose several small portions of sides. This is the roast potatoes dish with fennel, garlic and chilli, which I love of course, what do you expect, this is an entire dish of potatoes!

IMG_0009.JPGThen we had a main too, which was the pumpkin tortellini, filled with roasted squash, ricotta and parmesan, in a pumpkin, chilli and rosemary butter with smashes amaretti. We ordered a half portion, thinking that with 2 sides it may get too much, but if you take a look at this, you will see that there are just about 8 small pieces of tortellinis to be shared among the 2 of us. We are not big eaters, so I can imagine that those who have a hearty appetite may need to order more stuff in order to be truly full.

IMG_0010.JPGOne of the other sides, the cauliflower and parmesan fritters with arrabiatta dip. As much as I enjoyed this dish, it was a little miserable in terms of size.

IMG_0008.JPGTada, the “spread” that we had.

IMG_0011.JPGI was nicely satiated but I wouldn’t say I was full, but I could be from the bottle of lemonade that we ordered for sharing. So since we still had room, we decided to have dessert as well, also because we were celebrating my birthday! Haha, shameless I know, but what is a birthday without a cake? So we ordered the Tutti Frutti Lemon Meringue. To be honest, I am not a fan of meringues, knowing how sweet they can be, despite that I am a cake-lover these days. Which come to think of it, I really do ought to cut down on. Sigh. Anyway, this was a huge serving, in contrast to the conservative amounts of the mains and sides. I liked the base that was made from limoncello and crunchy pistachio brittle, as it had a zesty and refreshing flavour to it!

IMG_0012.JPGOn the whole, this was a good dinner with nice food and desserts, coupled with of course great company! The service was polite and professional but it somehow lacks a touch of warmth which I would have preferred.

Skinny Pizza, Plaza Singapura

Was just talking about Skinny Pizza last week, and here I went to have dinner at Skinny Pizza at Plaza Singapura’s new wing last weekend! But I didn’t have any pizzas though…

Call me a noob or a mountain tortoise, but it is the first time I’m stepping foot into Plaza Singapura after its extension and as I transited from the old wing to the new wing, it was evident the stark contrast between the two. The old wing, as I entered from the basement by way of the MRT station, felt like a heartland mall and not a mall that belonged in town. Even as we progressed up the levels there was hardly a change in how I felt. The new wing was slightly better, but it still didn’t exude that downtown mall kind of experience, and my friend commented that this is typical of Capital Malls’ shopping centres. Really? I didn’t really notice who the developer is when I am in a mall.

Nevertheless, it’s great that PS now offers more options, and the Starbucks that is now at the new wing looks nice and open but as usual it was fully-occupied. The F&B outlets on the other levels above were not reflecting the same picture though, except perhaps Hoshino, where a short queue outside deterred us from checking it out. And as expected, Tin Ho Wan on the ground floor had a long queue outside, reminiscent of the Mong Kok branch I visited last year. The difference was that this queue was in an air-conditioned mall and it seemed more orderly, but still I don’t think I will ever queue that long again for their dim sum. It is good but not to that extent of hour-long queues, and my friend said this outlet’s food was horrible, which was strange because the reviews I read online about the food were generally good, although many of them were reviews based on the media preview, which of course will mean food would have been prepared to the highest of standards or at least quality-checked by the main chef in-charge.

So anyway, this isn’t about Tin Ho Wan. It is about Skinny Pizza, without their famous skinny pizzas. Haha, I didn’t want to order it because it would have been too much for me alone, even if it is so thin, and my friend doesn’t like pizzas that thin. She prefers Pizza Hut pizzas *gasp*. How can anyone like those??

So I ordered a soup for starters. The Red Pepper and Tomato soup, which was very refreshing to the palate with the slight tanginess from the pepper and a little sour flavour from the tomato.

20130731-085827.jpg

My friend ordered the Sweet Corn Crab, which should be not bad because she finished everything and didn’t comment otherwise.

As I wasn’t having pizza and wasn’t in the mood for pastas, I ordered a salad, and from the options it was pretty clear that my choice would be the Macadamia Crusted Pumpkin Salad!  

20130731-085840.jpg

I was honestly a little taken aback by its generous portion of two large slices of pumpkin, topped with some macadamia and arugula (I think these are arugula), sun-dried tomato and drizzled with a sauce. I don’t know what sauce that is but it wasn’t too bad. I actually cleaned off the entire plate, which left me very full and satisfied so if you are a pumpkin lover, this is the dish for you!

My friend ordered a pasta, the Bay Prawn Cappellini, and requested for it to be less spicy. When it came, yes the serving was also ginormous and she probably only took less than half of it. But her verdict on it was that with the request, the dish was completely tasteless; she then asked for salt and drowned her pasta with salt. Maybe that was also the reason why she didn’t finish it eventually, although she mentioned it tasted at least a little better with the salt added. I thought it looked pretty good, the cappellini, but unfortunately, perhaps without chilli it really is tasteless.

So maybe the next time I return to Skinny Pizza, I’ll pass on their pastas, and either find someone who will share the pizza with me, or order the pumpkin salad again! 🙂

Yomenya Goemon, Tokyo (洋麺屋 五右衛門)

Through my friend Ilsa, I came to know about this Japanese restaurant that serves pasta, although I have never actually tried it. The only times I recalled having Japanese-style pasta or pizzas were at Waraku, and they weren’t too bad, based on the choices I had selected anyway. I liked that the pizzas were so thin that it didn’t feel like I was stuffing myself with flour (like those thick-crust American pizzas that I can never appreciate), and the choices of pasta were really interesting, not your usual cabonara or whatever.

There was a Yomenya Goemon near my hotel in Tokyo that I had to pass by each time I walk to and fro the JR station or the shopping districts, so one evening when it was raining, I thought I’d pop in for dinner since I was really cold and hungry and wasn’t exactly inspired as to what to eat. The restaurant was decidedly empty at that time, probably about 7pm, since I believe it was a weekend, and the area I stayed in was more of a business district, though it wasn’t far from the always-crowded areas of Shinjuku.

I had wanted to order just a spaghetti but was told by the friendly waitress (in English! I think she wasn’t local) that I could just pay a little more for an additional salad, small soup and drink; all that for 1,430 JPY (about S$21 thereabouts), so I thought why not?

The salad and soup were served first, which I really liked as an appetizer because of the light yet tangy dressing on the salad and those… bacon bits? I don’t know what they are but they provided a nice contrast to the taste of the rest of the vegetables. 

20130109-091100.jpg

And I was indeed ravenous, because after the salad I kept thinking why my food wasn’t served yet even though it was not a long time before my spaghetti was brought before me.

Needless to say, the moment it was presented to me, after snapping a couple of quick pictures, I dove right in and felt extremely satiated by the feel of hot food coursing through into my stomach. It was a rather big portion, to me at least, and even after just about half or slightly more than that, I was pretty stuffed.

20130109-091146.jpg

As you can perhaps make out from the picture, this one that I ordered came with mushrooms, seafood (prawn and I think there was one piece of scallop), pork, seaweed, cut chilli and a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. The overall taste of this was excellent, although I might have felt that way because I was really starving. I really liked it too because it was not drowning in sauce like some western-style pastas are, and I am honestly not a big fan of cream sauces, tomato-based pastas are ok but my favourite would generally by the aglio-olio type, and hopefully not so dry that the noodles end up clumping together. I didn’t have any problem with this plate I had, and it was a big thumbs up, for the restaurant and for the service of the staff!

Maybe it helped too that the restaurant was fairly empty that evening, and as I was making my payment I chanced a look at the cake display and they looked so inviting; a pity that I was already filled to the brim, and no I don’t have a separate stomach for desserts, snacks maybe yes, but desserts, usually not. Perhaps I will check out Goemon in Singapore in future, when I am having a pasta craving.

Happy mid-week!