Andrew: The oft-claimed reputation of Singapore as a food paradise is indeed well-earned and you can find almost all types of cuisine in Singapore. However, finding good quality cuisine amidst all the various restaurant chains is another issue all together. Here’s our take on which restaurants which offer affordable and quality cuisine –
Japanese: Ootoya at Orchard Central
Andrew: In a mostly deserted Orchard Central, you’ll find that Ootoya is one of the only stores where there is a substantial crowd and even a queue at times! They serve mainly bento sets and you won’t find a selection of sushi and sashimi here (which greatly disappointed me), but we weren’t disappointed with the food at all!
Andrew: I had the healthy option of rice and scallops in a steamer along with assorted vegetables and chicken in broth. It seemed ironic to me that the rice was being heated whereas the ‘stew’ (of vegetables and chicken) wasn’t. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the chicken and assorted vegetables a lot. It was healthy yet very, very tasty!
I really liked the rice in terms of its texture and moisture, but I felt that it was way too little! The scallops were not bad.
Jasmine: I ordered the signature set which came with chicken cutlet and a croquette. From that set, I liked the humble croquette most, which was crisply fried, and the potato was soft without being gelatinous or clumpy.
Jasmine: I read somewhere that Ootoya’s decor and menu are designed to connect the customer to a typical Japanese home. Ootoya does not serve your typical restaurant staples like sushi and sashimi, but what it does, it does really well. Ootoya excels at simple, homely fare. I even found myself enjoying the rice (and I almost never eat rice), which was fluffy and chewy, yet not too sticky.
Jasmine: Quality assurance? I finished my set (again, a very rare occurrence for me, leaving poor Andrew without leftovers)!
French: Saybons at Plaza Singapura B1
Andrew: We’ve featured quite a few French restaurants before in our entries, but I would call this more of a snack cafe than really a place for a meal. Jasmine recommended the soup here. However, as we had already had a meal before this at MOS, we decided to go for the blue cheese escargoes instead. The blue cheese went well with the escargoes indeed and they were very generous with the olive oil and garlic which was very good for dipping bread in. However, the escargoes themselves weren’t as chewy and tasty as the ones I’m used to having at Jack’s Place. Granted, Jack’s Place probably isn’t well-known for their escargoes, but it was the first place that I ever tried these snails after my dad introduced it to us and we’ve only ever trusted the snails from there!
Jasmine: The escargot themselves were average but the savory blue cheese flavouring tasted delicious with a chunk of warm bread!
Thai: Epicurious at the Rail Mall
Andrew: We’ve been to Epicurious twice and we still love the food there very much, especially the curries. The rice crackers (shown above) are pretty good too. The rice crackers are very warm when they arrive and larger than most other restaurants. There was a generous amount of the sauce to dip the crackers with too! This was very appetizing indeed without being filling at all.
Jasmine: These are deceptively labelled as "rice cakes" on the menu, but I loved the rice crackers, which were light and perfectly crunchy. The dipping sauce was a little heavy as it was loaded with chicken chunks but otherwiseadded a little kick of spiciness to the dish.
Andrew: After looking through the curry prices, we decided that the curry triplet (3 types of curries for $18, as opposed to $10 for a single portion of curry) was the most worth it. We ordered a roast duck red curry, mackerel fish curry and a green curry with scallop (from left to right). My favourite was the mackerel fillet green curry. I really love the rich and spicy sweetness of green curry and the rather plain and unobtrusive taste of the mackerel really enhances the sweetness and flavours of the curry!
Jasmine: And my personal pick was the roast duck red curry- generous servings of shredded duck and skin (sinful!) lent texture to the curry, which was also sweetened by the unusual addition of seedless grapes. O
Andrew: The curries come with a portion of jasmine rice for 2-3 people. Not too bad, but I still much prefer the rice at Ootoya!
I’ve read that Epicurious actually specialises in Western-style brunches. We’ve had Thai food both times here. Perhaps it’s time to venture out and try it again!