Friday, November 29

Food Review: Ssikkek Korean BBQ

Cuisine: Korean Barbecue
Price: $27 per person
Location: #01-01, Oriental Plaza, 291 New Bridge Road, 088756
Website: N/A

There's a few Korean barbecues around Singapore which offer buffet style meals. I went to Ssikkek after seeing it highly recommended on There was a queue outside the restaurant but since we were 2 people, we go a table right away.The interior was bland but serviceable.

Once you sit down you are free to choose whatever you want from the food table. There are a varieties of cuts of raw meat including pork loin, chicken, bacon and beef steak. Seafood is limited to whole prawns and squid, which I noticed was frozen. This lead me to believe the meat is likely frozen as well. There was also quite a few vegetables offered, including lettuce (though I noticed a lot of the leaves were wilted and close to becoming rotten).There were a few pre cooked options including something similar to savoury pancake, a noodle dish (which was great) and some chicken in a sweet sauce. Dessert was limited to watermelon and orange. Free refills of drinks of soft drinks and iced tea were included in the price. Finally there were a variety of condiments such as chilli and oil to add some flavour.

Monday, November 25

Food Review: Octapas

Cuisine: Spanish tapas
Price: $50+ per person
Location: 3D River Valley Rd, 179023

Octapas is situated at the gaudy Clarke Quay, with the restaurant overlooking the river. It's a nice location to whittle away the hours with good company. We ordered several dishes; the iberico and cheese platter, sautéed potatoes with chorizo, beef and pork meatballs in tomato sauce, deep fried battered squid rings and churros with chocolate sauce. We also ordered 2 sangrias and a beer.

When the dishes came I raised an eyebrow at how tiny the portions were. Yes, it is tapas so they will never be large dishes, but $14 for 5 small meatballs is ridiculous. The cheese platter had 3 types of cured meat, some slices of cheese and some olives and walnuts as garnish. It was the highlight of the meal. Both the meat and cheese tasted great and were likely imported. The rest of the meal could only be describe as okay. The meatballs were under seasoned, the chorizo and potato was okay, the calamari was okay, the churros was okay. At the end of the meal we were still hungry, but I lost the appetite for more Octapas.

Over priced, mediocre food, with what some may consider a beautiful view of Clarke Quay river front.


Thursday, November 21

Food Review: The Coastal Settlement

Cuisine: Western, Asian 
Price: $45+ per person
Location: 200 Netheravon Road, 508529

The Coastal Settlement is situated out of the way, with no public transport nearby. This has the obvious benefit of being one of the few quiet locations in Singapore, one of the few locations where you can sit outdoors and feel at ease. The inside of the restaurant is filled with old memorabilia and the outside is beautiful, surrounded by plants.

The menu has a varied selection of Western and local dishes including burgers, laksa and calamari. After speaking to the friendly waiter he dissuaded me from the laksa and instead recommended the curry chicken with rice (also orderable with bread). We also ordered the pepper beef, sambal kai-lan and chocolate bread and butter pudding for dessert. As a drink we ordered the chocolate martini.

The chicken curry came in a generous portion and I was quickly impressed. The curry was thick and extremely rich in flavour. It was a fatty curry, but thats the way I like 'em. The chicken portions were drumstick and wing, with drumstick being my favourite. The potatos were cooked perfectly as well. I was extremely happy with this dish and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Tuesday, November 19

Cheese Cake Review: Mezza9 (Grand Hyatt)

Price: Under $15
Location: Grand Hyatt Singapore Hotel, 10 Scotts Road, 228211 

The strawberries were fresh and sweet, though they were covered in a sugary gelatinous layer which I didn't feel added to the dessert. The cheese was rich and moist without being overly sweet or cloying. The base was crumbly and a little bit crunchy, adding some nice texture contrast. 

Absolutely fabulous!


Cheese Cake Review: Dr. Cafe Coffee

I love cheese cake and whenever I've had the chance, I've eaten cheese cake while I'm in Singapore. However I've been extremely lazy recording my experiences. Aside from the mention in the Mezza9 review I haven't written at all! This is me trying to make things right!

Price: Under $7
Location: #03-86 to 88, Plaza Singapura

The cheese cake itself was soft and mushy, like it had been steamed. The base was also soft. The cheese was incredibly sweet. The strawberry jam on top made things even worse, sweet jam + sweet cheese cake.

The worst I've had in Singapore, eat at your own risk! 


A Retrospective On My Elder Scrolls Experience: Oblivion

It wasn't long ago that Bethesda's, The Elder Scrolls series existed in relative obscurity. Morrowind was certainly popular with PC gamers, but then PC gaming didn't represent mainstream gaming culture, let alone mainstream culture. It was the release of the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, on consoles, that the series started to gather some main stream recognition. It was finally with Skyrim that Bethesda entered the big leagues. My experience with The Elder Scrolls was slightly usual. I started with Oblivion around 2007, then played Morrowind in around 2009 and played Skyrim on release. I've never touched the other games such as Arena and Daggerfall and do not have any motivation to play them now. To my eyes they simply look awful. So in this series of posts I'll be recounted my experience of The Elder Scrolls, not chronologically, but in the order I played them.

As mentioned Oblivion as the first Elder Scrolls game I played and with it I developed a real love/hate relationship. In my first play through I was blown away. Cyrodil was larger than I could comprehend, there were hundreds of NPCs with their own little lives, you could improve countless skills and most important was the level of freedom you had over your progression. Up until Oblivion I'd mainly been playing Japanese role playing games (e.g. Tales of Symphonia and Golden Sun); games in which the narrative, questing, item progression etc. is extremely linear. You went where the story told you and you could rarely go anywhere else. You bought items at stores along this narrative path, you could rarely get gear beyond the structured acquisition from dungeons and shops. Playing Oblivion opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. Almost from the start of the game you could go anywhere you wanted to. You could go after powerful loot or encounter dangerous creatures. All of this blew me away. In fact even the start of the game was a totally unique experience for me; I was able to decide upon the physical aesthetics of my character, as well as choosing what skills to focus on.

Thursday, November 7

Game Review: DmC: Devil May Cry

Genre: Hack and Slash
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: 15/01/2013 
Developer: Ninja Theory

DmC launched early this year year after much vitriol from fans of the Devil May Cry franchise, a series which started life on the PS2. DmC marked a reboot for the series and rather than being developed by Capcom, the reins were handed to Ninja Theory. This decision perplexed me. Ninja Theory had released 2 games Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. In these games the story, characters and location were extremely unique and interesting, and in particularly in the case of Enslaved, the characters were well written. However were Ninja Theory faltered was with gameplay, in particular combat. Heavenly Rain featured a lack of intelligent combat, where you could mostly button mash your way through the game even on harder difficulty settings. Enslaved used a slightly better combat system, but it was plodding and slow and enemies had far too much health. So what would be the product of a franchise were the gameplay is combat centred, when the developer's weakness is combat?

Like its fore-bearers DmC is extremely combat heavy, the majority of your play time spent battling demon spawn. The rest of your time will be spent exploring and watching cut scenes. In this sense Ninja Theory have stayed true to the series, there is no grand overhaul of the core components of the Devil May Cry series. But where the game fumbles in its in the combat, Ninja Theory's consistently weakest point. Your main attack consists of using your sword and using directional input and button timing to generate a variety of devastating attacks and combos. Your secondary attack fires your guns and you have access to additional melee weapons; one which delivers slow powerful attacks, and the other fast, sweeping attacks. Enemy attacks are negated with by dodging or deflecting attacks by timed weapon strikes. At first glance the combat is similar to previous Devil May Cry games, however there are a few differences which aficionados will immediately pick up on, if not revile. For instance High Roller has been remapped to a single button press and renamed 'High Time'.

And Now For Something Completetly Different

The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” - Neil Gaiman

I read this quote on Timothy Ferris's blog, who is the closest thing I have to an idol. He's a cool dude with several great books. 

Anyway on this blog I've deliberately shied away from writing things of a personal nature. Arguably such posts are useless. Almost everything I've written so far has been informative; reviews. But recently my head has been fucked up and why not write out down for others to read? Apparently some people find it cathartic and I've found that writing my thoughts down on pen and paper is helpful. I'll try and make this as non ranting as possible and as comprehensive so you won't have to read too much of this shit.

  • When I was a teenager I developed bad speech habits; mumbling, talking too fast and poor pronunciation. Whenever I dared to speak people wouldn't understand me, I'd feel even worse and not want to talk again. I more or less fixed the problem over the years by learning to speak clearer. Now in Singapore I'm having a similar problem; people can't understand my accent. My grandma can barely understand me which makes expressing more than a sentence impossible. Its compounded when I mess up my speech e.g. stutter. Its extremely mentally tiring to constantly talk slowly with exaggerated enunciation. I try so hard but some people still miss 20%+ of what I say the first time.  I hate it and there is nothing I can do, it makes me not want to talk at all.

Wednesday, November 6

Food Review: Cold Stone Creamery

Cuisine: Ice Cream
Price: $7
Location: #01-09/10, 181 Orchard Central Road, 238896

Although I'd like to think I eat healthy (though we all think that), I frequently find myself eating ice cream, especially flavours or varieties I've never had. This is how I found myself at Cold Stone Creamery on a Thursday night.

I'd eaten at Cold Stone Creamery once before and had found the ice cream itself pretty bland. It tasted generic, the type of ice cream you would find in any super market tub. So this time I went for one of their signature creations; Coffee Lovers Only. It was a mix of coffee ice cream, roasted almonds, caramel chocolate bar and caramel at a reasonable $6-8 (including the waffer).

When I dug in I was pleasantly surprised, it was delicious! The mix of crunchy nuts and coffee ice cream were great and the caramel wasn't overpowering. What's more the serving of ice cream was very generous, as were the quantity of nuts! I did notice a lack of chocolate though.

While I don't suggest you go to Cold Stone Creamery for plain ice cream, the signature creations are definitely worth a try, I will surely find myself there again!