Tag Archives: dinner

The Salted Plum, Circular Road

Go!!!

When my friends suggested The Salted Plum for dinner I was afraid it’ll turn out to be one of those exorbitant priced eatery along Boay Quay. Turns out they have a very unique business proposition. All their items are priced at $5, $10 or $15, which doesn’t seem too overly pricey and to be honest, it isn’t.

My friend made a reservation which was a really smart move because not long after it opened for business there was a super long queue.

Smashed Baby Potatoes with Salted Plum Powder, $5.

Great way to start the dinner! Loved that the fried potatoes were not oily and it paired well with the salted plum powder. It comes with a side serving of chilli which I thought was not needed at all. The dish was good on its own.

Haus Fried Rice, $2.

This (and the porridge below) will be your staple for the side dishes, so ration wisely! Don’t finish them in one mouth.

Sweet Potato Congee, $3.

This is a must try. I thought this would be the big grain, watery kind of porridge with chunks of sweet potatoes within but no! Super smooth and gentle on the stomach, great base dish for all the fried and braised meat to come.

Five-Spice BBQ Glazed Squid, $10.

Not quite a fan of squid but I couldn’t stop taking seconds from this dish. The squid was rather well done, so you don’t get that overly rubbery and chewy mouthful.

Mega Lu Rou, $15.

This is also a must try. The meat was well braised and super soft. The proportion of lean meat to fats were also just right.

Hamachi Collar, $15.

Quite an interesting dish to be on the menu. The collar was well fried (again, not oily) and the meat was aplenty.

Mega Fried Chicken, $15.

This plate of fried chicken could do with more seasoning. When I saw fried chicken I immediately thought of the Shilin XXL chicken with lots of powder so I had a little expectation, and indeed I was disappointed with this dish.

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs, $15.

The pork ribs were sous vide! You can be sure that the meat will fall off the bone easily and cleanly.

Steak, $10.

The steak looked good, but taste wise it didn’t meet my expectations. I guess if there was one thing you had to skip, this is it.

Burnt Chilli Chicken, $10.

Not for the faint hearted or light chilli eater, this charred chicken thighs with chilli and coriander is best eaten with the Haus Fried Rice.

Considering how much food there was on the table (I had two meat dishes leftover which I brought home for my lunch the next day), the bill came up to an affordable $120. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and flavours of the dishes, as did my party of four.

10 Circular Road, S(049366)

+65 6260 0155

Mondays to Saturdays: 1130am to 230pm, 6pm to 930pm

Closed Sundays

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Why I decided to discontinue MealPal Singapore after a month

TL;DR: Do NOT subscribe to MealPal.

When MealPal was introduced in Singapore majority of the CBD folks rejoiced, myself included.

(Screenshot from MealPal’s website.)

To put simply, MealPal is a subscription service where you pay a fixed amount of money for a fixed number of meals per month. You order your meal from the restaurant the day before, and simply show up to collect your food the next day when it’s time. No queue, no fuss.

The model is simple math. Taking the mid level package as a reference, you get 12 restaurant meals for $96, averaging it out to $8 per meal. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to eat with MealPal:

(Screenshots all taken from the respective Facebook pages or websites.)

All’s good? Not quite.

Strike one. I should have seen this as a red flag. When I was still exploring MealPal I had wanted to see the variety of restaurants as well as food options under their belt.

I couldn’t.

I was prompted to sign up for an account, including giving my credit card details and choosing my meal plan before I could view the restaurants. I was definitely not comfortable doing that. Why do I even need to sign up for an account?! It’s like having to sign up and give your credit card details before you can browse Qoo10. I got around this by browsing through my friend’s app (she was already a member).

Strike two. Restaurants offer only one option per day. If you don’t like beef soup, then restaurant A is out for the day. The whole idea is to allow the restaurants to prepare the required demand so they don’t run into issues of insufficient food. Sure, I’ll just wait until a day where restaurant A finally offers that meal I really wanted; the meal they are well known for.

Wait long long.

Most, if not all, rotate their menu between two to three options across the days. It’s always either Green Curry or Tom Yam Chicken. After a while, you can guess tomorrow’s menu, and it screams boring. Also, this means that people with preferred dietary options have a super small selection to choose from.

Strike three. Some restaurants offer very limited sets. And I mean the likes of 10 meals a day. To give you context, MealPal opens the kitchen at 5pm sharp daily. Once an item is sold out, the pin would be greyed out, like in the screenshot below:

Needless to say, the greyed out restaurants offer something really value for money. So I tried to grab a meal. I went in daily at 5pm sharp. Got my co-workers to do so as well. None of us successfully got it for as long as a week, until Lady Luck smiled at one of my co-worker. When she went to collect her meal the next day, she asked if they (the restaurant) could release more meals.

The answer is no.

MealPal had capped the number of meals they (the restaurant) offered per day. The restaurant explained a little more, and I figured that MealPal wouldn’t be able to cover the costs if more sets were released. Sure, I’m fine that it makes perfect business sense, but as a customer, being unable to get my favourite meal even though I went in at 5pm sharp daily for a week no less, is just ridiculous.

Strike four. I was primed to think that I had only 12 meals per month. If I used up all 12 meals before the billing cycle ended, I would have to wait till the next cycle before my meals would be reset. Not too bad, I can choose to have other types of food however I pleased on the other non-MealPal days.

Nope.

The moment you finish your 12th meal, MealPal will start billing you for the next 12 meals. What this means is that even if you haven’t reached the 1 month mark, you might be billed again depending on how quickly you finish your meals. Not quite the typical way of how subscription services work.

Strike five. By this time I was starting to fume. I explored the notion of cancelling my subscription, and started looking through the app for that “unsubscribe” button. Couldn’t find any, so I tried looking for the “FAQs”.

There were none.

Wtfbbq? How could it be so difficult to unsubscribe? What was MealPal trying to hide from me? Desperate, I clicked on everything, and finally, the “Tems of Use” (who reads these anyway?). Cue enlightening background music. The answers were all there, within the 946261957462 paragraphs of words.

“For a cancellation to be effective for your next Membership Cycle, it must be received at least 7 days prior to the end of your then-current Membership Cycle or before you reserve your last meal in your cycle, whichever comes first. To cancel a membership, i) email hi@mealpal.com with “Cancel Membership” in the subject line; or ii) access “My Account” from the MealPal dropdown. To cancel your membership in My Account, click “Change Plan for Next Cycle”; then “Hold or Cancel My Account”; and then “Cancel Account”. ”

Oh I must have missed the “My Account” button on the App. So I checked again and:

This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Come on MealPal, isn’t it obvious that everyone works on their mobile smartphones these days? Going to a desktop meant that I’ll have to make that dedicated, special trip to my study room, and that I’ll have to key in my password (which I may have forgotten by now since mobile apps are unlocked via thumbprints these days).

Bonus strike. You have to unsubscribe at least 7 days in advanced, either before the last meal or before the billing cycle ended, whichever comes first. What is this 7 days notice about? MealPal are you paying me a salary? Do you need 7 days because you need to find a replacement for me? The last I checked I am in fact paying you close to a $100 a month. And note this ridiculous condition if you decide to unsubscribe but later for some reason think that you want back in: you have to pay $19 to re-join.

Still thinking of subscribing to Mealpal? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To be honest, towards the end of my first month I was screaming to be released from MealPal. It was pure torture, having to settle for food that I didn’t really like (or rather, was bored of), coupled with the accumulated disgust I had for them.

So it’s goodbye MealPal, you won’t be missed.

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Cafe Mosaic, Carlton Hotel

Worth a try (if you love oysters).

I fondly remember my experience at Cafe Mosaic’s dinner buffet over Christmas a few years ago, so when my husband jioed me to eat this buffet again I was pumped! He used the Chope 1 for 1 deal, equivalent to $88++ for 2 adults.

Was it worth it? Depends on whether you can eat a lot of oysters.

Oyster station.

Pick out your oysters and the chef will shuck them for you on the spot. I liked that the oysters were pretty big and fresh. The blue light from the station was quite blinding though. Probably their way of making you slow down on the oysters.

Crustaceon station.

I can’t help but think that buffets that put out the mini lobsters look alike are in fact just trying to increase the value of the buffet.

Sashimi and sushi station. The normal stuff here.

Rojak station.

I love a good rojak station where I can control the amount of spice and sugar I add into my rojak. This station wasn’t exactly fantastic, but it had the bare essentials.

Noodle station.

Uniquely, they serve Mee Sua which I enjoyed! Remember to add the vinegar.

Fried Carrot Cake.

This is one of the highlights of the buffet. When eaten hot, the carrot cake was super flavourful and satisfying. It certainly deserves seconds but unfortunately when I took my second serving they had already pre-cooked a lot and hence I didn’t get a piping hot one.

Cooked food station.

The cooked food station had the usual fare — sweet and sour pork, seafood in Thai style sauce, but what I liked from here (and was hot in demand throughout the night) was the crayfish!

Most crayfish at buffets tend to be really tough and tasteless, but this dish was really tender and juicy. I’m not sure if it’s because of the chef’s skill, or because they had to churn this dish so quickly that the meat wasn’t overcooked.

Dessert section.

Looking at my pictures now, I think I was so unimpressed with Cafe Mosaic’s desserts that I was uninspired to take good pictures. The desserts tasted as good as they looked, rather meh.

The ice creams were so much better! Apart from the usual strawberry and chocolate, they also serve Thai milk tea flavour. The ice cream counter definitely helped to raise the bar of the dessert space a little higher. My favourite was the lemon ice cream.

Overall, I thought that the buffet spread was too limited for the price I paid. Yes they had oysters and crayfish but that was pretty much it. What really irked me was they had one whole area (the long space equivalent to the cooked food counter pictured above) filled with fruits. It really gave the whole buffet a cheapened feeling, and I was super put off by that sight. This would be my last time at Cafe Mosaic for their buffet dinner.

76 Bras Basah Road, Carlton Hotel Level 1, S(189558)

Daily dinner: 6pm to 10pm

+65 6311 8195

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8 Korean BBQ, Clarke Quay Central

Go!!!

It does seem unlikely that a Korean BBQ place will do well in Clarke Quay Central (ask anyone to recommend a place for Korean BBQ and they’ll all point you to Tanjong Pagar), but 8 Korean BBQ has really done itself proud. This place takes their pork belly very, very seriously. I’ve been to many Korean BBQ places, but 8 Korean BBQ takes the top spot specifically for for BBQ pork.

Apparently, they use Mangalitza hog, which fat melts at a lower temperature than regular pork fat, and is still tender and juicy even after cooking.

For dinner, there are 3 set menus to choose from:

1. 8 Colours Set – 8 flavours of pork belly, $98.

2. Flower Pork Set – Pork Belly, pork neck, pork jowl, $68.

3. 4 Colours Set – 4 flavours of pork belly, $58.

The flavours for the pork belly include wine, original, garlic, herb, curry, miso, kalbi and red pepper paste. You can choose 2 flavours for the Flower Pork set. All set comes with side dishes and a stew.

The hot plate is tilted at an angle which allows the oil to flow into a hole embedded in the table. Talk about well designed tables.

Kimchi Stew with Pork.

Their kimchi stew has the right level of spiciness packed with chunks of cabbage and a generous helping of pork. An army stew version is available for a top up fee of $6.

The pork belly comes rolled up. Look at how thick they are! I picked garlic and kalbi marinate. Their meats are well marinated with the right amount of fats in each strip.

Their staff will help you BBQ the meat (yay!!). They will also place some kimchi, beansprouts, onion and mushroom on one side of the hot plate. These go well with the meat wrapped vegetables. Also, the meat and stew portion is enough for 3 to 4 pax.

They are super thoughtful you know! While waiting for the meat to be cooked, they will place a piece of paper so that the oil won’t splatter onto you.

The pork neck took longer to cook than the belly and jowl, so they told us to start eating the rest of the meat first. What surprised me was that they meticulously monitored and checked multiple times to see the pork neck was done.

I really enjoyed my dinner at 8 Korean BBQ at Clarke Quay. People who know me will know that I’m no big fan of pork (beef lover here!) so for me to give praises, this place must be really good.

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