Wong Ah Yoke Food Critic recommends

Japanese produce at Me@OUE, crab dishes at Ah Hoi's Kitchen, The Carvery, and Tiong Bahru hawker food at The Clifford Pier

Grade A4 Kumamoto wagyu and fish flown in fresh from Tsukiji market.
Grade A4 Kumamoto wagyu and fish flown in fresh from Tsukiji market.PHOTOS: FULLERTON BAY HOTEL, HOTEL JEN TANGLIN, ME@OUE, WONG AH YOKE
PHOTOS: FULLERTON BAY HOTEL, HOTEL JEN TANGLIN, ME@OUE, WONG AH YOKE
PHOTOS: FULLERTON BAY HOTEL, HOTEL JEN TANGLIN, ME@OUE, WONG AH YOKE
PHOTOS: FULLERTON BAY HOTEL, HOTEL JEN TANGLIN, ME@OUE, WONG AH YOKE

QUALITY PRODUCE FROM JAPAN

Me@OUE, a restaurant offering French, Japanese and Chinese cuisines in one menu, seems to have dropped a little off the radar, but the introduction of new executive chef Sam Chin may change things.

He has not only changed a large part of the menu, but has also put greater emphasis on quality ingredients, especially the beef and fish. The restaurant now serves Grade A4 Kumamoto wagyu and fish flown in fresh from Tsukiji market - fine produce from Japan.

While old signature dishes such as Foie Gras "Chawanmushi" ($32) and Mapo Tofu ($25) remain on the menu - and are still good - the Charcoal-Grilled Kumamoto striploin ($88 for half cut, $178 for full cut) is likely to be the restaurant's latest draw.

I share the 150g half cut and an order of Shio Yaki Kinmedai ($78), or whole salt-grilled golden-eye sea bream, with my dining companion and the amount is just right.

The beef, well-marbled and bursting with flavourful fat, is delicious, but I will probably feel sick eating all 150g of it. The kinmedai is excellent too, so fresh that all it needs is salt to bring out its delicate sweetness.

WHERE: Me@OUE, OUE Bayfront Rooftop, 50 Collyer Quay MRT: Raffles Place WHEN: Noon to 2pm (weekdays), 6 to 10pm (weekdays and Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6634-4555


SMOKY WOOD-FIRED ROASTS

The roasts at The Carvery in Park Hotel Alexandra are usually cooked over a modern electric grill, but on weekends, the buffet restaurant rolls out a wood-fired grill instead.

For the next three months, it runs a promotion on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when its meats are grilled over hickory and mesquite woodfires in an Argentinian grill (above) that allows the chef to adjust the distance of the grilltop from the embers.

This method of cooking results in better control and the wood imparts a smoky aroma to the meat.

The range of meats include Argentinian ribeye, Australian lamb shoulder and honey lemon chicken. Check out the hickory pulled pork, which is served in a bun. It's good.

WHERE: The Carvery, Level 7 Park Hotel Alexandra, 323 Alexandra Road MRT: Queenstown WHEN: Till June 30, noon to 3pm (Saturdays and Sundays), 6 to 10pm (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) PRICE: Adults: $52 for lunch, $62 for dinner (includes glass of Asahi beer). Children: $32 for lunch and dinner TEL: 6828-8880


DELICIOUS CRABS IN 10 WAYS

The crabs promotion at Ah Hoi's Kitchen in Hotel Jen Tanglin, which has been held regularly over the past decade, is back. And the eatery is getting it right this time.

I wasn't too impressed with an earlier promotion I tried a few years ago, mainly because for almost all the dishes, the chef deep-fried the crabs before stir-frying them, which dried them up.

This time, the Sri Lankan crabs ($75 a kg) are cooked fresh and turned out perfect, with smooth and sweet meat.

There are 10 styles of cooking to choose from, so it's not difficult to find one to your liking. I found several in fact.

Top on my list is the Crab Beehoon (above), which is cooked in a claypot with a delicious milky soup. Then there is the Indonesian Curry Crab, also served in a claypot, but with a rich and aromatic curry. This doesn't come with noodles, but see if you can order a plate of plain beehoon to go with it. It should taste really good soaked in the curry.

The other crab dishes available are chilli crab, kam heong, black pepper, salted egg yolk, white pepper, glass noodle, butter and garlic, and ginger and onion. Take your pick.

WHERE: Ah Hoi's Kitchen, Level 4 Hotel Jen Tanglin, 1A Cuscaden Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Till July 7, noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10pm daily PRICE: $75 a kg TEL: 6831-4373


TIONG BAHRU HAWKERS AT CLIFFORD PIER

The Tiong Bahru hawker centre is closed for renovations until May 19, but if you are missing some of your favourite hawkers, you can drop by The Clifford Pier to see if they are there.

Eight hawkers from the popular centre are setting up stall at the restaurant in Fullerton Bay Hotel from Sunday to May 14, serving fare such as lor mee, fried carrot cake and Teochew kueh.

Lunch is a smaller affair, with five hawkers selling dishes that include tau suan and chwee kueh, while dinner features the full range of hawkers, including those selling minced meat noodles, fried fishcake and Nonya kueh.

Judging from a media preview featuring four of the stalls, my favourite is the chwee kueh (above) from the 61-year-old Jian Bo Shui Kueh stall. The steamed rice cakes are smooth and soft, the fried chai poh (preserved radish) topping is delicious and the chilli sauce is excellent.

WHERE: The Clifford Pier, Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay MRT: Raffles Place WHEN: Sunday to May 14, noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10pm (weekdays), 6.30 to 10.30pm (weekends and public holidays) PRICE: $39 a person (weekday lunch buffet) and $59 a person (daily dinner buffet) TEL: 6877-8911

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe