20 August 2011

Beginners

Based on the true story of Mike Mill's Dad coming out, this is a depressing rom-com previously released in 2010 (who knew such a thing exists). Moments of quirkiness strung together non-chronologically with melancholic sadness. Ewan McGregor and Melanie Laurent are a great screen couple: 2 lonely individuals exploring the beginnings of a relationship through the turmoil and struggle of their own personal life. He a commitment-phobe dealing with personal loss, and she a globe-trotting actress with only hotel rooms as her constant. Standout performances by Christopher Plummer as the gay father (seriously, viewers...if you come to watch a movie with "homosexual content", please don't get squirmish with any gay PDA. sheesh!) and Cosmos the Jack Russell (I swear it is the "Mask" dog!). A good antidote to the popcorn flicks and a good segue to the Fall aka "Oscar-baits" movies.

19 August 2011

Cocotte

Not impressed with their version of rustic french bistro fare. Went down for a lunch and the online menu made it sound tempting. Nice setting, good decor. Had the 3 course set lunch. The tripe was good (only if you like tripe) with the lemon and the sauce, otherwise not wow. Mains took a long time to come. The pan-seared sea bass was an okie size, and the fillet was moist and tender, but the accompaniments did not really serve to complement. The overall taste was just...blah. The roast pork collar had an interesting mustard sauce, but it is triste when the best part of the dish was the roasted nuts! The pork was on the dry side. At least desserts was a saving grace. The creme brulee had a good custard taste and texture; sweet but not masking the egginess behind it. Weak coffee.

Return Policy: Nice setting to chill out with friends (not really a date place...they got the communal feel right) where food is secondary to company.

Cocotte

2 Dickson Road
Singapore 209494


tel: 6298 1188


Opening Hours
Lunch
1200 - 1430hrs (Last order 1400hrs)


Dinner:
Mon-Thurs: 1830 - 2230hrs (Last order 2200hrs);
Fri-Sat: 1830- 2300hrs (Last order 2230hrs)


Le Chasseur

 A not-so-little tze char restaurant right opposite Central. Good thing about it is that it's air-conditioned (which is really a blessing in tropical Singapore), no service charge/GST (hence 20cents for ice-water), and no MSG. Also, its chef/owner used to own a restaurant on top of a hill in Mauritius called Domaine del Chasseur, worked in China, and learnt from an Indian chef (all these information is from the friendly guy who came to talk to us as we were last table sitting after a weekday lunch crowd). Now that the etymology of the name has been settled, we come to the actual review. Friendly enough wait staff but definitely stretched too thin with the load from the lunch crowd. Large, exhaustive menu with everything claimed to be "you-order-then-we-cook" - this can be either a good thing or bad - and it did lead to a long waiting time. Not for those in a rush. The 2nd best dish was the eggplant braised with mince pork and salted fish. Excellent over a bowl of (white) rice. Speaking of rice, we had their supposedly-famous claypot rice. The chef uses a mixture of long-grained bismati rice and short/broken rice. Granted, the bismati gave a nice texture and absorbed the flavour well, but it is not the best claypot rice I had. Although for the price it is kinda worth it. The steamed fish (I ordered HK style and it came Teochew) and special beancurd was very disappointing. The stewed pig trotters was saved by the excellent Teochew condiment (which went very well with the fish too!), but otherwise was not stewed long enough to be very good. The best dish was the last. I can safely say: best damn tau suan ever! Sweet but not sickening, thick but not nauseating, and the you tiao (dough fritters) was nicely charcoal-grilled before serving to ensure crispness!

UPDATE (21 Aug 2011): Went back for an early dinner. The service there still needs to be improved...slightly nazi-ish. Thankfully, the food was still good and reasonably priced. Their chicken wings were very fried. Nice batter that went well with the accompanying sweet chilli. The stir-fried bittergourd and beef was nicely done, but the beef could be a bit more tender, though the bittergourd was soft and flavourful. The tomato omelette was nicely done in a scrambled egg sort of way, rather than flat omelette style. Tried the black fungus dessert too. Generous amount of black fungus in a sweet broth (not too sweet). But nothing beats the yummy tau suan...seriously, I can just come here and eat tau suan!


UPDATE (22 Aug 2011): This place must be doing something right, if I am back here...again. And that is...the damn Tau Suan!! Also the very reasonably priced, MSG-less food. The eggs and sprouts was a great combi, and the dry stif-fried beef hor fun was very well done. The latter had enough wok-hei and the beef was better than the last time I had it (no tenderiser!). Sadly the curry chicken was not to my liking. Too thick and curry paste-y. It tastes like something I get a prata store. Although the bread that we asked for was nicely charcoal-grilled to crispiness.


Return policy: Will definitely go again for the tau suan, and try the other dishes when I'm in that area.



Le Chasseur
31, New Bridge Road (opp Central)
Singapore 059393
11am to 11pm daily


tel: 63377677; hp: 91440322
 











8 August 2011

Cowboys & Aliens [Digital]

A watchable mesh-up of genres for the fanboys that lacks a certain epicness and grandeur which was hinted by its premise. Unfortunately, bogged down by an uneven screenplay from the boys of "Lost" and poor pacing by Jon Favreau (which so far as yet to really appeal to me as a director yet, "Iron Man" including). Another poorly designed and thought out alien creation in the same vein as the disappointing "Super 8" alien. Poor/zilch chemistry between Thirteen (oh man, she's as bad here as in "House") and 007, but the banter between Indie and Bond kinda makes up for it. Interesting concept that failed in its execution. Hopefully Craig Daniels scores better with the Millenium Trilogy.

6 August 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes [Digital]

James Franc'so big budget follow up to his Oscar nominated role in "127 Hours" is surprisingly bloody damn good, but the star is not him. The apes were awesome from the first scene to the last (I call it: Best Special Effects Oscars) and Cesar's humanisation, ape-fication, evolution and rise is the real star. Andy Serkis deserves some recognition. Best movie of the summer (so far). Sure there are some plot holes and inconsistencies, with some suspension of disbelief, but they are not too glaring or taxing on the brain. Started off a tad slow, but steadily rise to an exciting, scary crescendo with one of the best golden gate bridge climax ever! There was an astounding moment in the movie where almost the whole audience practically stopped breathing. WOW!! Patrick Doyle's brilliant rousing score definitely suited the movie to a T! Hope the sequel (Outbreak-ish I think) of this prequel won't suck.

5 August 2011

Ippudo Tao

Ippudo-Tao, the 2nd branch of the fabulously yummy ramen chain in Japan. Granted, the Mandarin branch, though superior to most other ramen-yas in Singapore, is still inferior to the Japanese branches; similarly this new one @ UE-square does not disappoint. 2 new types of ramen here: black (kuro) and red (aka), but the ramen here is the thick kind, so there's more bite to it which some people do actually prefer. The char siew is 50% fat which is to my liking, and the tamago is of the right temperature, though the yolk could have been less cooked (this is where the Japanese chains are vastly more superior). The lunch set is really value for money: add $5 for a salad, 4 gyozas and 1 soda.

Return policy: Will definitely be back; less queue than Mandarin hotel's!

Ippudo Tao
UE Square
205 River Valley Road (facing Muhammed Sultan Road)
Singapore 238275
tel: 68875315

Opening Hours:
Mon - Thurs: 11am - 3pm; 5pm - 12am
Fri - Sat: 11am - 3pm; 5pm - 2am
Sun: 11am - 11pm




2 August 2011

The Cranberries LIVE in Singapore


Flash from the past! The band still rocks. Dolores still has got the pipes after so many years! I last watched them almost 8 years ago in a double bill with No Doubt. The Cranberries played a 90mins set with a pseudo-encore towards the end that was kinda lame. Then again, this is Singapore, also the country where >50% of the crowd sits down during a rock concert...heh! Damn wish I was with the ground crowd which seemed more happening, my section there were only like a handful of us who stood up...sigh. Where's the love? Even had to move one side as I was blocking the peeps behind...sheesh. Anyways, the Irish quartet (now) played all their big hits which got the crowd into a frenzy. Started off slow with "Animal Instinct", built up with "Linger" but by the time they reached "Zombies" and "Ode to My Family" the fans went wild! They did sneak in some of Dolores' solo efforts and some slower tunes, but that felt more like fillers to give the band (and the audience) time to catch their breath. It all ended with a rousing rendition of "Dreams" and the band's promise to be back next year with new material! You think people will come for their new stuffs?

Little Women

This was a good and entertaining film that was far from perfect. Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, this film was anchored by great pe...