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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bites: Quality Japanese @ Kiri, Shenton Park

Kiri has been on my wish list for awhile now.  From the pictures of luscious tempura aubergine topped with miso to their Teriyaki splendours, I was sold very early on but was held back by a time constraint.  Eventually I would pay a visit and that finally happened last week.   In the day, Kiri serves a delicious take away from the cafe side and at night it serves customers fine Japanese cuisine from both the restaurant and cafe side.  

To start, we ordered the Creamy Prawn Croquettes.
These golden brown lovelies were beyond the normal croquettes. For me, the creamy prawns encapsulated in a thin and crisp potato case were a highlight from usual croquettes filled with nothing but carbs!  Little lashings of chilli mayonnaise completed the course.

The mountain of Kara-age.
A honest and humble favourite is preserved in its classic form. Deep fried to perfection, it came out burning hot before being served on a smear of tonkatsu sauce with a wedge of lemon and ponzu.

Crispy squid salad.
A surprise favourite and a definite crowd pleaser.  The tempura battered squid were light and crisp. But it was the amazing pairing with a refreshing salad dressed in sesame sauce that made this dish a hit. 

Dengaku Miso or Aubergine topped with miso.
One advice.  Do not bite straight into these little morsels the moment it hits the table!  Its 100 degree centre is likely to burn your palate and that dollop of Miso with a salty hit is not going to help either.  The famous Kiri dish is a little over-hyped IMHO.  Bland by itself but overly salty with the Miso, I did not really like it.  I think there ought to be better balance and refinement in the miso.  Also, I’m thinking of grilled aubergines instead of fried.  Might just be me though :P!

To share among the table we called a serve of Teriyaki Salmon and Teriyaki Chicken with two rice to share.

Teriyaki Salmon

Teriyaki Chicken
The Teriyaki dishes at Kiri are one of the best in town.  The sweetness is balanced well with the saltiness of the soy and you can tell that the chefs in the kitchen did not come out of YouTube academy like some other places in town.  The chicken was tossed in the sauce well and its crisp edges tell the story of a good frying, but perhaps a tad more reduction in the sauce would allow for a better coat.  All in all, a faultless Teriyaki.  But then comes the price tag.  At $25 for Chicken Teriyaki, the serving size was OK but it did not come with rice which was another $3.50.  The Salmon on the other hand was another well-cooked dish but my pocket felt a little reluctant for $32 without rice again. 

Seated in the cafe side (by will) due to the low availability of seat in the main dining room also means being shrouded in cooking fumes at no less a dining cost.  One tip, having the door open is a quick fix!  The food here was really quite nice but the bill, not so much.  Its delicious Teriyaki is comparable to my favourite one in Kanta but at a much higher price tag.  A Chicken Teriyaki is $14 w/ rice in Kanta whilst in Kiri it was $30.  But considering the demographics of high income earners in the leafy suburb of Shenton Park, it is no surprise that the food in Kiri is priced that way.  However, for the same price one will definitely be tempted to go for the Omakase in Bonsai or Halu/Satsuki and maybe even for a 3 course at Nine Fine Food.  In saying that if prices are not of the essence, you will find yourself pleased with the basic yet necessary offerings that Kiri serves up with decent quality and great authenticity!

Kiri Japanese on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bites: Brunch-ing @ Hylin, Leederville

Hylin is a suburban cafe situated on the corner of Rail Way Parade and Abbotsford Street in West Leederville.  Hylin caught my attention with its unconventional take on the daily breakfast, all of it documented on TakeMeToFoodieHeaven's blog.  In my week off, I visited Hylin and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their offerings.  

Obligatory drinks to start was a pot of green tea for myself and for my sister, a skinny latte.  Whilst the latte was good, the same cannot be said for the green tea.  It tasted weird as.  Neither was it grassy, or sweet, just painfully bitter for some odd reason!

But that did not dampen my spirits because once I saw my breakfast of chorizo, asparagus and creamed corn ($16.50) hit the table, I was sold.
Despite looking a little withered, the asparagus were cooked well with the fibrous layers removed and it was cooked to the middle just right.  The salty and moderately spicy chorizo paired with the creamed corn sensationally.  Putting a bit of everything in your mouth, you get that bitey chorizo giving you a salty-spiced hit that is complemented by the super smooth sweetcorn puree!  It was yums!

My sister’s choice of breakfasts was the field mushrooms on thick cut bacon served with guacamole and crumbled ricotta on toast ($16.50). Another yummy meal that was high in protein and low on carbs.  Its as thought we were doing some sort of paleo morning diet that morning haha.
The smoky bacon felt as though it were thinner slices of salted minute steak cooked on a grill.  Add cuts of it to the juicy mushrooms and slightly tangy ricotta, damn it was a joy to eat.  The bacon by itself though, is a little salty as one would expect.

Hylin is a good breakfast spot close not far from where I leave and it did not disappoint me in anyway(besides that terrible pot of tea of course!).  The venue is airy so the ever present morning crowd was not a bother thanks to it large open windows.  Add that Hylin's decent prices and you will find yourself very satisfied with a trip here.  However, the bread serve of one which bucks the trend of the usual two slices might leave some walking away hungry.  But as I was only keen for the good stuff rather than stacking up on the boring bread, it was just right!

Hylin on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bites: Autumn's Harvest @ Harvest Espresso, Victoria Park

The temperature is cool, and the weather has been slightly gloomy as of late.  But thankfully with the passing of Summer and the coming of Autumn, the trusty crew of Harvest Espresso has changed their menu once again to suit the season.  At 8am on a long weekend morning, their dedication to serve is unwavering with the cafe already half-crowded.  And by 9 a massive line had already formed as Harvest Espresso was one of the few places in town to open.

But queues are the least of my concerns, as I was already seated and enjoying small sips of Harvest Espresso's grassy sweet Macha latte. A first love in Seoul that took 3 years to hit town.   Just minutes later, my breakfast was served.  Grilled squid, grilled morcila, and bruschetta salad served on toast smeared with chicken liver pate.  I know most people would cringe at the idea of having chicken liver, blood sausages and grilled squid for breakfast. 
Putting the norm of having boring Hollandaise and eggs for breakfast aside, one begins to appreciate food beyond the norms. At Harvest Espresso, this dish is about the ripe colours of the season paired with a whiff of incredible chargrilled flavours.  My first bite of the chicken liver pate on toast was absolutely spectacular. Imagine buttery goodness, and spot on seasoning with a subtle brandy flavour.  Then comes the perfectly cooked black pudding pairing with the sweet & acidic bruschetta tossed with plenty of seasoned shallots. Sensational.   I liked every element on the plate and everything worked really really well together.  

Next one up was my sister’s dish of crisp potato rosti topped with shredded snow peas, smoked cod, Onsen egg, and anchovy infused cream sauce served with a drizzle of herbed oil.
The potato rosti at Harvest has always been a highlight thanks to its generous seasoning, and great cooking which ensures a crisp finish.   Each mouthful of the 2015 Autumn “fish” course  was filled with freshness thanks to the shredded snow peas which sat generously between the cod and the potato rosti providing each mouthful with a taste that mellowed in with the salty anchovy cream.  It was yummy although I never quite bought the idea of having fish for breakfast :P!

Harvest Espresso is a place for seeking refuge in the chilly Autumn mornings.  The food is comforting, rich and over all just really interesting.  Its new creations are more than just cosmetic upgrades and goes significantly beyond the marginal improvement act played by most.  Its like a new generation of thought every season.  Kudos.


Harvest Espresso on Urbanspoon