Wong Ah Yoke Food Critic recommends

Food Picks: Beef Sukiyaki Don Keisuke, The Carvery's meat fest and more

Kiwami Wagyu Sukiyaki Don ($29.90)
Kiwami Wagyu Sukiyaki Don ($29.90)PHOTOS: BEEF SUKIYAKI DON KEISUKE, MARINA MANDARIN SINGAPORE, PARK HOTEL ALEXANDRA, SI CHUAN DOU HUA
150 Days Grain-Fed Beef City Black
150 Days Grain-Fed Beef City BlackPHOTOS: BEEF SUKIYAKI DON KEISUKE, MARINA MANDARIN SINGAPORE, PARK HOTEL ALEXANDRA, SI CHUAN DOU HUA
Smoked Spring Chicken With Minced Green Ginger Paste ($38)
Smoked Spring Chicken With Minced Green Ginger Paste ($38)PHOTOS: BEEF SUKIYAKI DON KEISUKE, MARINA MANDARIN SINGAPORE, PARK HOTEL ALEXANDRA, SI CHUAN DOU HUA
Tapas-sized dishes
Tapas-sized dishesPHOTOS: BEEF SUKIYAKI DON KEISUKE, MARINA MANDARIN SINGAPORE, PARK HOTEL ALEXANDRA, SI CHUAN DOU HUA

BEEF BOWLS ONLY

Japanese chef Keisuke Takeda already owns a string of popular ramen shops in Singapore, boasting unique stocks such as those made with crab and lobster, as well as tendon and hamburg eateries.

Now, he is poised to draw crowds again with his first beef bowl concept, Beef Sukiyaki Don Keisuke.

Located on the ground floor of a condominium behind Tanjong Pagar Plaza, it is a tiny 14-seater outlet.

The concept is simple. There are only two items on the menu: Beef Sukiyaki Don ($13.90), with US Prime beef; and Kiwami Wagyu Sukiyaki Don ($29.90), using Yonezawa A4 beef from Japan.

You can opt for more beef - at $10 for 120g US beef and $25 for 120g wagyu beef - as well as more rice at an extra $2.

The normal serving size is just nice for me and I'd suggest treating yourself to the wagyu if you don't mind the price.

The sukiyaki beef is cooked and added to the rice at the counter in front of you. The rice, which is cooked in traditional donabe claypots, comes already topped with shimeji mushrooms, tofu cooked in sukiyaki sauce and shirataki noodles.

To complete the meal are side servings of sesame tofu, an onsen egg and a bowl of miso soup. You can also help yourself to free-flow pickles.

The eatery does not take reservations, so be prepared to queue during peak hours.

WHERE: Beef Sukiyaki Don Keisuke, 01-01 Onze@Tanjong Pagar, 11 Kee Seng Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5 to 10pm daily


CARVERY'S GREAT MEAT FEAST IS BACK

If you have been to The Carvery's annual The Great Meat Feast promotion, you'd know to expect lots of good beef. Back for its third year, on now until Oct 21, this year's edition has some new features.

Most prominent is a chiller at the restaurant's entrance, stocked with raw beef, cheeses and charcuterie you can buy for home meals. But for those who prefer to let someone else do the cooking, the buffet boasts beef from Australia, Uruguay and Japan.

The one that will catch diners' attention is the Yukimuro snow-aged wagyu from Japan, served from Fridays to Sundays. The beef from Niigata prefecture is aged in snow cellars and is tender with high fat content.

But my favourite is instead the Ana Paula Black Angus striploin from Uruguay, which boasts a stronger flavour because the cows roam free and feed on grass.

The 150 Days Grain-Fed Beef City Black from Australia is pretty good too, because the tomahawk steak has plenty of fat to give it flavour and the meat is cooked directly on hot coals.

Falling in the middle are the cuts of Tajima wagyu from Australia - tri-tip, bolar blade and chuck roll - which are milder and leaner.

The buffet includes chilled seafood, salads, cooked dishes, pasta, pizza and dessert, but the star attractions are definitely the roasts. Go hungry.

WHERE: The Carvery, Level 7 Park Hotel Alexandra, 323 Alexandra Road MRT: Queenstown WHEN: Till Oct 21, 6.30 to 10pm PRICE: $78 (Mondays to Thursdays), $88 (Fridays to Sundays), $38 for children daily TEL: 6828-8880


ELEVATING HOMEY DISHES

Peach Blossoms' executive Chinese chef Edward Chong has been going from strength to strength since joining the restaurant late last year. He comes up with a different promotion each month and the Home-cooked Specials for October feature some outstanding dishes.

Chong hails from Malaysia and the dishes are curated from his Hakka grandmother's recipes as well as other dishes he enjoys. Flavours are robust, which is something that distinguishes Malaysian-style dishes, and hit the spot.

What impresses is how Chong puts in creative touches to turn the homey dishes into fine-dining fare.

An example is the Hakka Yam Abacus Seeds With Dried Shrimps, Minced Pork And Shredded Fungus ($26). He uses high-grade ingredients such as sakura ebi and adds a layer of deep-fried yam strips on top for added texture and flavour - which also help justify the high price of the originally humble dish.

And you should order the Smoked Spring Chicken With Minced Green Ginger Paste ($38), which is soya sauce chicken given an extra boost by being smoked with aromatic spices. The chicken is juicy and so delicious that you hesitate to dip it in the accompanying ginger sauce. This is one dish you wish will stay on the menu after the promotion.

WHERE: Peach Blossoms, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard MRT: Promenade WHEN: Till Oct 31, noon to 3pm (weekdays), 11am to 3pm (weekends), 6.30 to 10.30pm daily TEL: 6845-1118


REFRESHING SICHUAN DISHES

If your idea of Sichuan food is that it is all numbingly spicy, you have to try the current promotion at Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant in Beach Road.

Called "100 Sichuan Delights, 1 Gastronomic Feast", the a la carte buffet actually offers 105 dishes - classified according to flavours such as Sichuan minced pepper, tomato sauce and lychee. There is also the popular ma la flavour, of course, but, surprisingly, there are only five dishes under that category.

You can order as many of the tapas-sized dishes as you want, but the idea is not to see whether you can eat all 105 dishes. Rather, it is to open your eyes to the breadth of Sichuan cooking.

My favourite items are chilled chicken with spicy bean paste, boiled sliced beef in Sichuan pepper sauce and diced chicken with spicy chilli sauce - all classic ma la dishes. But I also love that there are dishes such as braised pork belly with honey sauce and minced meat dumpling in superior stock to douse the fire the peppers and chillies set off in the mouth.

You can also pair the meal with a whisky flight of three Auchentoshan - 12 years old, three wood and 18 years old - for an extra $30.

WHERE: Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant, Parkroyal on Beach Road, 7500 Beach Road MRT: Bugis/Nicoll Highway WHEN: Till Dec 31 PRICE: $58 for an adult, $29 for a child TEL: 6505-5722

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2018, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe