nakajima suisan grilled fish, takashimaya

nothing fancy, but an oh-so-satisfying food store at the back of the takashimaya food hall – queues build up long and quick here during mealtimes, so choose to eat at an awkward time, or get ready for a bit of a wait.

this isn’t a place to linger – even if you were to ignore the death stares dealt to you by the horde of people queueing to take you place, the food is meant to be quick and cheap – and satisfies by fulfilling both those expectations and topping it with tasty, satisfying fare.

you have plenty of time in the queue to decide what you want to eat – and the menu is standard enough that you don’t exactly need to look at the menu, if you see what I mean: it’s a standard bento format with your choice of fish (cod, horse mackerel, eel and etc.)

when you do reach the head of the queue, you get to an efficient, japanese-sounding man who takes your order and payment, before waving you quickly to your seat.

I started with a chawanmushi, which was a great start to the meal – soft, smooth, custardy steamed egg, that was: (1) surprisingly unsalty, which is a common gripe; and (2) really surprisingly chockful of chicken, fishcake and gingko (my favorite part!). seriously cheap and good (even the fiance, who doesn’t usually like chawanmushi, shared this!)

and the bentos that arrived quickly after were just as satisfying. first of all, they don’t skimp on the rice quality here – it’s good, sticky-enough japanese rice, cooked well enough to maintain grain integrity. secondly, the fish comes in a generous portion (I’ve certainly gotten much smaller for much higher prices elsewhere), sauced adequately and tender.

the grilled cod had fatty skin that was blistered and charred enough to bring texture and interest. if you really want to fault it (but what for?), you could gripe that the cod fillet comes with bones (be careful!) and the unagi certainly isn’t fatty enough to be melt-in-the-mouth, but I would call you a grouch (which is rich, coming from me).

anyway – it’s about one step up from food court in ambiance but more than a few steps up for quality, and it’s certainly a nice meal to round off a long day.

Nakajima Suisan
#B2 (Takashimaya Food Hall)
Ngee Ann City
391 Orchard Road
Singapore 238872
$.5: less than twenty

river safari, singapore

how is it Monday again! but I thought I’d help start it off on a good note with these gorgeous (even if I do say so myself) photos of the animals at the river safari.

I recently posted about my trip to the Singapore zoo, which was an interesting visit made even more special through nostalgia – and the river safari certainly doesn’t have the same handicap distinction, given its recent opening in the past year or so. but I massively enjoyed my day out here. there’s just so much to see, and I can even bear the outdoors for the joy of being out there (notable for I truly detest being under the sun).

plus, there are pandas. those make up for nearly everything.

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putien restaurant, vivocity

indubitably one of my favorite restaurants in singapore.

my nomination of best dish definitely goes to the song shu yu, or filleted fish deep-fried and slathered with a not-gloppy tangy sauce, cucumber cubes, pine nuts and other bits of crunchy greens.

the complimentary (or is it not) fried seaweed and peanuts do great for starting the appetite – as do the slightly chilli-oiled jelly fish.

my recent discovery: a dish of chicken and chestnuts, which was very good, and especially so with rice. chestnuts are plenty awesome, both cooked and straight from the packet.

but it’s not just the food – the service is pretty good too, and food comes in decent time. AND I recently realised that if you celebrate birthdays here, they do that whole polaroid-and-card thing for you (and some outlets have a twisted bubble crown)! how awesome.

as rave a review as my normally-pessimistic nature allows.

Putien Restaurant
#02-131/132 Vivocity
1 HarbourFront Walk
Singapore 098585
tel +65 6376 9358
$$.5: twenty to thirty a head

the little fish shop, serangoon nex

an offspin of the greenwood fish market, this place serves good seafood and fish dishes – it’s fancy and yet not: the dishes are properly and beautifully plated, but preparation of the white meat is usually simple and served with condiments that let it shine.

I used to think it was a little strange setting up in the heartlands – prices are a little more associated with town dining than simple suburbia – but they do fantastic business day after day, so they definitely know what they’re about.

and I can’t complain – for it’s good food, and great lighting for photos. really the wet dream of a food photographer.

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fish & co., tampines

I’ve done fish & co before, and I know people scoff at it – as they do many of the chains – but hey, I like it.

not so much this branch though, and here’s why (hey, a list!):

  1. we were kept waiting in a queue while there were empty tables inside;
  2. numerous staff were walking about looking busy without never actually helping (manager included, and probably doing it best – in that she was worst);
  3. tables were cramped together so you had to hear your neighbor’s conversations (and get dragged into their birthday song-singing). it’s more than enough to make a person more schizophrenic.
  4. and the utensils came sticky (eew). and then they took them away, told us they had to wash the entire basket AND THERE WERE NONE LEFT IN THE STORE FOR US TO USE AT THAT MOMENT, and left us waiting with our rapidly-cooling food on the table.

seriously, what?!

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fish & co., novena

alright-to-decent fish at this chain (we went to the novena square branch). I’ll be honest: I come here only for their swordfish collar. it’s brilliant, and clearly outshines the other dishes, which skim the surface of perhaps-above-average.

this chain suffers from inconsistency – food standards can be well below average depending on the outlet you visit, and service is slightly haphazard. but I think of the swordfish, drool a little, and ignore it all.

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geales, london

best fish I’ve had in london – or at the least the best that I can recall, located near high street kensington. I am really excited about sharing this with you – it was such a fantastic meal with staggering portions, my family had a lark of a time (especially because we love fish and seafood) and I am still berating myself over the fact that I never visited once in the last four years – truly idiotic behaviour. I implore you to learn from my mistake and come have a great dinner here.

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