Some Ships – Singapore Strait

Leaving on a jet plane

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So there I was, flying off again from Changi airport, one of my favourite airports, heading to Jakarta, one of my favourite cities, and I noticed this ground crew.

He had just finished doing whatever it is they do to the ‘plane and we were taxiing away. Below is an expanded shot from the photo above.

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Do all ground staff wave goodbye to their charges when the ‘plane leaves?

What a nice airport!

Sandcastles

The first castle I saw
The first castle I saw

As you know, I’m a bit of a wargamers and military history nut. I like military history, painting toy soldiers and the like. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I ran across a castle here in Singapore.

The lady and I had decided to head down the East Coast for a walk on the edge of the Straits and a bite to eat by the seaside. Sand in the toes, a surf and turf and a bottle of something cold, a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening.

We went to the ManaMana Beach Club for a stroll and dinner.

What a pleasant surprise. Walking along the beach we ran across a sand castle. This was not the pile of sand I used to build as a child but rather a proper castle.

Defenders on the wall
Defenders on the wall

Walking along a bit further and we ran into a castle, defenders on the walls ready to repel the evil … well, evil whatevers.

I was impressed with the level of detail such as the stones in the walls and tiles on the roofs.

The soldiers and flags came from a popular toy set but the builder’s skill was amazing.

This castle was a big one.

A great way to spend a Sunday evening and when it was dark and there was no one around … I got to jump on the castle and flatten it 🙂

The big castle - with defenders
The big castle – with defenders

The New Harbour Cheeseburger

The New Harbour CHeeseburger
The New Harbour Cheeseburger

On the way back from the wargame last night, the topic of dinner came up. The lady was looking for Korean first or mussels second. Our favourite Korean restaurant was full so mussels were then Plan B. We stopped into the New Harbour Cafe and Bar on Tanjong Pagar Road where I had a chance to savour a cheeseburger.

The New Harbour is a big cheeseburger with minimal inclusions – a piece of limp lettuce, a slice of tomato and a slice of cucumber. The beef patty however is reasonably seasoned and more importantly, big. The cheese is melted to the patty and the bun is strong enough to last the burger through.

The burger itself is fine and filling but not great. It weighs in at about $16.00 and on the modified Thomo Cheeseburger scale, I’d rate it a 6/10.

I really must put the scale up here at some point in the future.

Food Garage Cheeseburger

The Food Garage Cheeseburger
The Food Garage Cheeseburger

I’ve been on a diet. Yep, Thomo has been trimming down. My first target is to be overweight and in this I am being slowly successful. I only have about 300 grams to go to be overweight.

The diet has been to quit alcohol (with the exception of the very occasional shandy) and eat at least one cheeseburger a week.

Today, for lunch, I needed to head to Chinatown Point here to grab some stuff from the Daiso (the $2 store) and thought I would lunch there. There seemed to be at a table free at Food Garage so I wandered in. There was a cheeseburger there for $14.50 so burger it was.

Meat patty was well cooked but still juicy. Sesame seed bun, a reasonable cheese, ketchup, two types of shredded cabbage, onion and tomato.

A generous burger for the price and good overall flavour. I’d have to call this at about 7/10. Certainly good quality for the money.

The Gun Bar Burger

The Gun Bar Burger - sweet!
The Gun Bar Burger – sweet!

Anthony decided to experiment on Saturday before the French-Indian Wars Big Battle and in an effort to become more acquainted with his barbecue, decided to experiment with a burger. This was partly because of my previous burger posts and partly because he also likes a good burger.

Now, where there is a barbecue involved and the end result is a burger, Thomo is happy to be experimented on. Given the pursuit for the perfect burger in Singapore (and other locations as well it seems), the first bite of any burger needs to be reported on!

A hand-made beef patty lightly seasoned and pressed with care provided the core component of the burger. Taking flavour from the barbecue enriched the flavour. The cheese added to this burger was Brie which provides a nice depth of flavour to the burger. Add tomato, lettuce and onion and the burger provided an excellent meal – and certainly sustenance enough for me to fight the dastardly British to a standstill in North America!

Overall, I reckon this was the standard of a good burger – 7.5/10. Future burgers will need to work hard to taste better.

Cheeseburger – &MADE by Bruno Menard

2013-08-18 19.57.16We had just come back from lunch at the Taphouse and had spent a couple of hours chatting and taking over coffee. We were hungry again and as we were near Scott’s Plaza we decided that we would try what looked like a French Bistro.

They made burgers.

They made other stuff as well, like a steak but all Thomo noticed was that they made burgers.

I had a burger.

You may remember that the lady took me to db bistro moderne in Marina Bay Sands, a restaurant by chef Daniel Boulud, another Michelin Starred chef where I had for a Birthday Dinner – the $42 Burger. I was not so complimentary on that burger. However, chef Bruno Menard’s burger was the business.

For a start, the cost was $19 which compared very favourably with the $42 at db bistro moderne.The burger itself was well cooked and the presentation, whilst simple, was appealing. I was hungry and managed to demolish the chips before I managed to remember to take a photo.

The burger itself consists of a beef patty made with dry aged beef, caramelized onion, French Comte cheese, and a caper and garlic mayonnaise. It is served with a tomato relish.

The burger was delicious. The patty was juicy still and the bread was a treat. I would certainly rate this burger up there with the ones at Two Blur Guys in Tanjong Pagar ((I’m sure I reviewed those burgers here somewhere before but I’ll be dashed if U can see the review)).

In any case, I reckon the B  Burger is worth

Birthday Dinner – or the $42++ Burger

The Original db Burger - made with braised short ribs and foie gras
The Original db Burger – made with braised short ribs and foie gras

This is it – the signature burger. It was my birthday and the Lady had decided to take me to db bistro moderne in Marina Bay Sands. The restaurant is one of a chain run by chef Daniel Boulud, a French restaurateur with restaurants in New York City, Palm Beach, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, London, Beijing, and Singapore. His restaurant in New York City, Daniel, is a Michelin 3-star restaurant.

The Lady knows I have a passion for a good burger. As I once said to the executive chef at the Renaissance Hotel in Seoul back in the early 1990s, “anyone can cook a reasonable duck l’orange, but it takes a master chef to produce a brilliant cheeseburger”. I should note that he then proceeded to cook possibly the best cheeseburger I have ever had!

The Original db Burger was not that burger!

Overall the burger was nice, the mix of foie gras and good quality meat provide a nice flavour combination but I think my issue with this burger is that attempt to make it 3-Michelin star standard – something a burger, no matter how nice, should ever be. The attempt to keep height in the meal meant the meat patty was very thick (and yes, that is partly to contain the foie gras) and that thickness makes the patty difficult to cook evenly. That thickness is a problem as I like my burgers well done so where the  centre was cooked, the outside was almost burnt.

The chips (OK, pommes frites) were nice enough but were over salted – more on that later.

The burger is served on a very large plate and the serving makes it a little reminiscent of the old days of nouveau cuisine where the meals were pretty but left you looking for a cheeseburger on the way home. $42++ ((all pricing is in Singaproe dollars here)) for the burger though? Way overpriced for what it was. The restaurant may see itself as an exclusive, fine dining establishment but there are a few cracks there too – more on that later. I was glad to have had an onion soup to start with otherwise I may have been looking at the golden arches on the way home.

The Baked Alaska flambéing away!
The Baked Alaska flambéing away!

The  Lady decided to have a set menu and her choices were a seafood pasta followed by two types of beef – one I think was a sirloin cut, the other was from the flank. She had selected the Baked Alaska for desert. I tried her entrée as she was not happy with it. It was a seafood pasta in a butter sauce. The sauce was so salty. The whole dish had been over-seasoned. Serving a butter sauce (in itself a little salty) over a pasta that I am sure was cooked in salted water with seafood cooked in the butter (and I am guessing salted some more) would have been lovely except for all the salt. The Lady is used to salt and salts her cooking well but this was just too much salt.

In fact, the over-seasoning seemed to attack both the burger and her main course as well as it was quite salty. Now I know that many places like salty food to encourage the patron to drink more but this is a classy restaurant – surely they are above that? Her main course was so memorable that neither of us can really remember it 24 hours later.

The saviour food-wise for the evening was the Baked Alaska. It was a 9/10 dish. It even looks good up there.

Apart from the food, there were other disappointments too. The tables are small. That’s nice, you can be close to your dinner companion and it feels a little intimate. This mood is destroyed almost immediately by the noise of the restaurant. It is a very noisy restaurant. The décor seems to just echo sound. The maître d’ was excellent as was the wine waiter (or perhaps sommelier).

The serving staff were a little too attentive for my liking except when they needed to be. I mentioned the small table. The plates are huge so two plates and a condiment tray across the table and the plates are starting to hang off the edge. I am eating a burger which entails some finger work to be eaten properly so it was not totally unexpected when I knocked my knife off the table. Attentive waiter number one rushes over and picks the knife up and says they will bring another one. It never arrived. That didn’t matter so much as I knocked the fork off as well about 5 minutes later. That I retrieved myself and again, it was never replaced.

Overall, it is an interesting place and we are glad we have eaten there. After $42++ for the signature burger, I have a renewed respect for the $3.85 Mos Cheeseburger!