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.

The Chop House, Vivocity

For my friend and I, every year we would treat each other to a nice birthday dinner. It doesn’t always have to be somewhere expensive or fancy, but just somewhere we thought we might like to check out. This year, my friend actually wanted to check out Jamie’s Italian at Vivocity, but unfortunately, reservations were very limited and filled months in advance, and walking in, although available, meant waiting in line for perhaps a duration that we weren’t exactly prepared to do. Hopefully, we can come back another time when there is no/less queue. Who knows, as Singaporeans tend to be fickle when it comes to thronging new eateries, a good example being Tin Ho Wan in Plaza Singapura. I will reserve my opinions for that until such time when I actually get to try it right here.

So we went to The Chop House instead, an eatery that looked promising when we walked past on the way to Jamie’s. My friend thought the decor of this place reminded her of The Skinny Pizza, with its simple and clean lines with a touch of industrial-chic (that is my opinion). But it’s actually from this Wooloomooloo Group (you can read more about it here), a grill house that hails from Hong Kong.  20130926-083512.jpg

The grill house struck me more of a Mexican place, based on their offerings on the menu (mainly just the quesadillas and fajitas haha). If we had more people in our party, we could probably order more stuff to try, like the soups and starters. We were really hungry and just jumped straight to the mains, because from what we eyed on the tables of other patrons, portions seemed pretty large.

I chose the chicken Fajitas, sauteed with onions, bell peppers and chillies, and were served with guacamole, sour cream, salsa and tortillas! It’s a self-wrap kind of dish, which really made me think of the trip I made to Mexico City, eating tacos that I wrapped myself, and the yummy guacamole and salsa spreads.  20130926-083525.jpg

There were four tortillas, but I think the chicken meat isn’t enough to go round all four pieces, and I didn’t want to have so much tortillas anyway, so I just had three. Besides these sauces that were served with the Fajitas, there were also a rack of three other spreads provided, one that contained beetroot, another which was chilli mustard and the last being sweet onion relish (or something like that). I love the grilled chicken, which is tender and not losing its juiciness; they are good even on their own without the spreads.20130926-083532.jpg

My friend had the BBQ Beef, Bacon and Cheddar Burger that was served with tater tots (bite-sized hash browns). It was huge but it certainly looked extremely appetising for the hungry us. I almost wished I had ordered this instead but I knew I wouldn’t have been able to finish it at the end. Maybe the next time if I were to visit again, I’ll order a burger too! 20130926-083539.jpg

They had some sides too that I was tempted to order too, like Sweet Potato Fries and Roasted Aubergine, Zucchini and Tomato, but for two persons it was definitely going to be a challenge finishing all that food if we had. Their menu isn’t extremely extensive, but I would say they have quite a good mix of items, chops and burgers and the likes. The table next to us ordered a Mixed Grill Platter (for two) that looked really good too!

Since it is a birthday meal, of course how can we go without dessert. The selection was small but this was the only picture on the menu and we saw the actual item on another table, which looked just as good. The Apple Strudel in tortilla with Vanilla Ice-cream:  20130926-083546.jpg

It is interesting to wrap the apple slices in tortillas before deep-frying them (not baked otherwise the skin wouldn’t be crispy), and the vanilla ice-cream was nicely fragrant. I took a mouthful of it and it was good. Apple strudels or apple crumbles are something that I quite enjoy if they are not too sweet; I don’t have too many expectations or requirements of these, heh.

The Chop House has a whole menu of drinks for you to choose from too, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, and the service was pretty good. It was a weekend so maybe with the expectation of crowds, they had kept a sizeable staff strength who made sure that diners aren’t kept waiting too long to be attended to. It’s a place worth checking out besides the usual raved-about places that everyone scrambles to queue up just to have dinner. Thumbs up!