Sunday, September 15, 2013

Red Star Dim Sum Restaurant (红星酒家)

We made van impromptu decision to have dim sum for lunch today as church ended early. This meant that we could skip the hour-long wait for a seat as we arrived at the restaurant just before the lunchtime crowd arrived. I read about this restaurant briefly online, and also learnt that the owner was one of the four "Heavenly Master Chefs" in the old days. We even got the good fortune to have chatted with him for a while as he sat next to our table to rest.

The dim sum ladies weaved around tables serving dim sum to the customers. We literally just waited for the trolleys to come to us and ordered our dishes off them!

Pan-fried dumplings, Yam fritters and Bo Lo buns

The pan-fried dumplings (rather like Japanese gyoza) were actually really good! Though the base of the plate was really oily, it was worth the fats. The yam fritters were another star. The deep fried flakes were melt-in-your-mouth and the yam was so soft and smooth! It was a pleasant surprise indeed. The Bo Lo buns had some custard filling in it, not like the char siew we had initially expected. All is well, though, as it taste that bad. However, I would have much rather saved the calories on that. (The bread was pretty thin though, so not much harm done!)

Siew Mai was unbelievably good. The meat was juicy and the skin was just right - smooth and thin.

The salted egg yolk custard paus! The filling was really good, even better than Swee Choon's! However, on little complaint is that the skin of the bun was a bit too thick, making this an extremely sinful item.

The egg tart was amazing as well. The egg filling was just right - not too sweet! The pastry was not overly flaky and not too buttery either. This means less guilt! P e r f e c t.

Char siew soh was good as well. A bit too much butter and egg yolk brushing the pastry though.

Roast meats were the biggest rip-offs for the day. For $10, we got a small plate of tough and fatty pork!

Char siew chee cheong fun was silky-smooth and delicious. But for $4, it is definitely pricey.

Mango pudding was so so so good! It's been so long since I've tried mango pudding served with condensed milk and the pudding was actually not jelly-like, but pudding-like! (a little thicker)

We also bought home two Phoenix paus, one to give to a church friend. The boss was very pleased when we looked surprised when we saw the paus. It's really huge! It contains Chinese sausage, mushrooms, chicken, pork and eggs! The bun was yummy and soft as well, even after five hours! (we steamed it up, of course)

I have big hands, just so you know.

Overall, Red Star is a pretty good restaurant for dim sum, but ambiance there is totally lacking. Typical kiasu Singaporeans walked around the restaurant, chasing after trolleys with their desired dim sum dishes. It is also quite expensive for dim sum. Our total bill was about $112, including all the service charges and taxes and tea. However, it's the kind of place that you should go at least once in your life, just to soak up the atmosphere! It's rare to see such traditional (well, almost) dim sum restaurants in Singapore nowadays.

  1. Address: 54 Chin Swee Rd, 160054
    Phone:6532 5266

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant

Yesterday, to mark the end of the Preliminary examinations, my friend Cherie and I decided to indulge in a buffet! We chose Kiseki for one reason: salmon sashimi. There are few good Japanese buffet restaurants that serve fresh sashimi in Singapore. Furthermore, Kiseki is definitely one of the more pocket-friendly restaurants as we each paid $23.70 (including taxes and service charge). Also, it's central location made it an ideal place for us to stuff our bellies with sashimi!

As we were in our school uniform, we noticed quite a few people staring at us as they walked past the buffet spread (we were seated next to the food heh). But that hardly dampened our spirits as well, what's wrong with being a student?!

Anyway, upon entering the restaurant, I was glad to see that it was not very crowded. My mother had warned me about how Kiseki was extremely crowded when she visited on a Friday lunch period. Thankfully it was Tuesday.

I shall spare the details of every single food offered. Suffice to say that I focused mainly on the salmon sashimi, as I read online reviews about how the other hot foods were just meh. True enough, the hot foods such as udon, tempura etc. were just average, or even lower than average!

As soon as we settled our bags down, we made a beeline for the salmon sashimi! After craving it for quite a while, we were only too excited to grab at the chunks of fatty raw fish. The salmon tasted a little sweet, and very very fresh. Dipped in the Japanese soy sauce, it was perfect.

They also had tuna sashimi, squid sashimi and other sorts of raw seafood, but I stuck to salmon. The salmon belly, though looking "poisonous" was very delicious, too.

Cute tray of sushi that we assembled ourselves. The sushi was so-so only, nothing much to shout about.

On to the hot foods! I read that the pizza was good, and I would not disagree. The crust is thin but the amount of cheese and oil is a little terrifying.

I also read that the poached egg on pasta was divine, and so asked the lady cooking the pasta if I could have a poached egg on my pasta. However, she either did not understand me or did not allow me to enjoy a poached egg on the pasta I (almost) ordered. Her ungraceful attitude towards me was rather appalling and left a rather nasty impression of her. I skipped the carbohydrate-heavy pasta.

The hot foods here really aren't good.

This seemed interesting: Japanese Black Curry! There were lumps of carrots in it, as well as some sort of meat. I really enjoyed the black curry, especially when smothered on a bed of Japanese pearl rice. It looks rather funky, but tastes just like the regular familiar orange Japanese curry. If you are disturbed by the colour, maybe you can imagine you're eating the Japanese version of squid ink rice...or something. That didn't come out right. Oh well, who could care less when it tastes so good??! If not for my fear of carb-loading during buffets, I would have eaten bowls and bowls of this black curry concoction.

You know what comes next..."meh".

There was mock abalone too, which reminded me of the mock abalones I had at the Sakura buffet. They were nice, but that's about it. Nice. Salmon, however, was lovely as ever. (Ooh, it rhymes!) I must have eaten about sixteen slices of fatty salmon sashimi! Towards the last few pieces, the fishy taste kind of marred my tastebuds and I had to "burn" the fishy taste with piping hot green tea. Oh well, it is a buffet after all. As with every (well, most) Singaporean's mantra: Stretch your dollar as much as you can. We certainly got our money's worth, with all the sashimi we had.

Just to, you know, tantalize your taste buds.

Chicken bamboo rice was better than the other hot foods, but still just a borderline average.

On to dessert! They had green tea red bean cake, as well as chocolate rum raisin cake. To be honest, I preferred the chocolate rum raisin cake to the GTRB one as the chocolate mousse was simply divine. The green tea part of the cake tastes a little odd (like wasabi!) and there was more cream than red bean sandwiched within.

The waffle was not crisp as I had expected from all the online reviews raving about it. It was just passable. However, it was very popular as every time they re-filled the waffles, it would be snapped up in no time.

The green tea gelato was the bes among them all! I love love love green tea-flavoured things and the gelato was no disappointment! They also offered wasabi gelato...scary.

Anyway, the line (yes, there was a queue) for the ice-cream was pretty long, probably the longest of all the lines in the restaurant. There was a group of people seated right next to this long queue, and I cannot possibly fathom how unpleasant it must be for them to be squeezed into such a corner, with so many people standing around their table!

Chocolate-dipped watermelon! The chocolate was really really good. It wasn't overly sweet and just rich enough to make me crave more, and use a spoon to scoop up all the chocolate on my plate. I was just this close to licking the plate!

Cherie isn't a very big eater so she helped to control my eating. If not for her, I imagine I would have devoured the entire restaurant! Anyway, I am glad that I had a pleasant experience at Kiseki, amid all my fears after reading the (very) negative reviews online.

Also, do note that the food there is pretty salty. I did not feel it at first, but after a few hours, I was really really thirsty!

Overall, Kiseki is a pretty decent restaurant to visit for a sashimi-fest. It is the only food worth parting with your money for. I would suggest you just go straight for the sashimi and possibly desserts. After all, wasted calories are such a shame. In other Japanese restaurants, sashimi is really pricey. I believe Sushi Tei sells a plate of 5 slices of salmon sashimi for a whopping $8! Imagine, my 16 (thick) slices of salmon would have set me back more than $24 alone! Furthermore, the quality of the sashimi is really good, nothing like the supermarket-grade sashimi. Hence, Kiseki would be very very value-for-money with regard to the sashimi. I look forward to visiting again whenever I have a sashimi craving!

Kiseki Japanese Buffet Restaurant
Orchard Central, #08-01/02/03
181 Orchard Road
Singapore 238896 
Tel: (+65) 6736 1216

Lunch 11.30am – 3pmDinner
6pm – 10.30pm


Adult : $19.80++
Child : $12.80++

(4 to 12 years old)

Saturday, Sunday,
Eve PH and PH

Adult : $27.80++
Child : $17.80++

(4 to 12 years old)


Adult : $31.80++
Child : $15.80++

(4 to 12 years old)

Friday, Saturday,
Sunday, Eve PH and PH

Adult : $34.80++
Child :$18.80++

(4 to 12 years old)