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Silk Road @ Amara Singapore

~Invited Session~

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Silk Road at Amara Singapore specializes in Chinese cuisine, focusing on Sichuan, Shaanxi, Liaoning and Beijing cuisines. Armed with a bevy of culinary experts, the menu is an epitome of innovative and unique provincial dishes. Recently, they welcomed Chef Jack Huang from Inner Mongolia who because of his love for his mother's handmade noodle carved a 17 year career as a noodle chef.

From now until 31 May, visit Silk Road to get first dibs on their provincial selection of handmade wheat noodles and dumplings.

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As if hand made noodles are not labourious enough, Chef Huang is also an amazing fruit carver, painter and can possibly double up as a very charming PR officer too.

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Spot my logo on the watermelon and this customized dough plaque!

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Small plates.

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Sliced Pork with Cucumber on Rack ($14)

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First I was sold on the concept of the sliced pork and cucumber strips hanging off the rack. Secondly, it was served like a peking duck crepe complete with sweet sauce too. Top marks for creativity and the dish worked for me.

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Chilled Cucumber with Garlic Sauce ($8)

A typical chinese appetizer that looks simpler than its usually given credit for. I love this refreshing chinese salad over the stir fries though.

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Aged Drunken Chicken ($12)


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Deep Fried Prawn with Wasabi and Crispy Potato ($28)

Probably the only disappointment with a barely there wasabi dressing, this was just a really well fried prawn fritter.

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Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli ($20)

Some know it as 口水鸡 (loosely translated as saliva chicken) but really this is one dish worth salivating over. Deep fried chicken nibbles with a copious amount of dried chillies and peppercorns. These nibbles are fried so crisp, it is a wonder how they end up so juicy still! This was an explosion of flavours - chilli and peppercorn seems to be that catalyst and in a heart beat,  I would give up my fried chicken obsession for this. 

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Traditional Ma Po Tofu ($16)

Another mouth watering dish that aims to numb the tastebuds but I found the heat acceptable. Hot enough to cause a ripple but not a riot. Together with the stir fried chicken, these two dishes alone are suffice to warrant a return.

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Wok Fried French Beans with Minced Pork ($16)

I found this on the oily side but this is signature of most chinese provencial dishes anyhow. I should be thanking my lucky stars this was not soaking in oil.

Note that noodle portions were adjusted to tasting portions. The normal size are about three times those showed below. 

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Knife-shaved Noodle with Braised Pork Belly ($10)

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These noodles go through an arduous process of being shaped like a willow leaf first before they are skillfully shaved off in a flurry and paired with an incredibly fatty yet succulent pork belly braised with spices, herbs and Sichuan chilli paste for more than two hours.

I love how silky smooth and chewy these noodles are, almost the perfect bowl of noodle if it weren't for the fact I was already full!

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Homemade Noodle with Special Braised Beef ($12)

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Also known as longevity noodles to the locals in Shanxi province (Chef was very candid about the eldery standing on chairs to slurp this up!) and is served with an uber tender and tasty beef brisket.These noodles were also different from the knife shaved noodles, this had more bite and was denser.


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Chilled Noodle with Sichuan Pepper Sauce ($8)
  
These are great for hot summer days and nights, surprisingly springy and served with freshly minced pork belly, pan-fried with Sichuan chilli paste and peppercorn alongside other fragrant spices. Coloured with matcha powder, it had a mild tea taste to it as well.


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Pan-fried Shanxi Dumpling ($14, 8 pieces)
Unlike other dumplings, this uniquely shaped dumpling comes with open edges which allow the broth of juicy pork and chive fillings to flow out during the pan-frying process – resulting in a golden crispy surface with a juicy filling.

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Fish Paste Dumpling ($12, 8 pieces) 
This is one of the traditional must-haves during large family reunions and special celebrations in China and is made with a paste combining fish meat, ginger, spring onion and pepper before being lovingly clothed by a carrot flavoured skin.

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Cempedak Creme Brulee

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Silk Road's interpretation of the French classic is given a local twist with cempedak. The honey nectar flavour and fragrance was particularly enthralling for this liquid dessert.

It was a meal worth remembering and returning for. Arguably the island's best chinese restaurant specializing in provincial cuisine. Be there, or be square.

Silk Road
Amara Singapore

Patara Thai Revisited @ Tanglin Mall

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Patara Thai's a personal favourite for authentic and beautifully executed Thai food locally. Unlike what Bangkok has to offer, Thai food is actually more than just spicy food and tom yum goong. At least at Patara Thai, I have had very good experiences through the years
 

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Chor Muang ($20)
Handcrafted flower dumplings with caramelised chicken, sweet turnip and peanut filling topped with 
coconut cream reduction

Beautifully piped, these would have failed for a dimsum chef with a pastry skin too thick and tore too fast. It tasted just like a chicken dumpling with coconut cream. In short, prettier than it tastes.

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Som Tum ($19)

Spicy green papaya salad with dried prawns

Wicked and packed with enough heat from the bird's eye chillies. Authentic and so tasty, I thought this was a tough fight with the mango salad.

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Tum Mamuang Punim ($22)
Lightly battered crab with a salad of crisp julienned mango, roasted julienned coconut, cashews and crispy shallots

The crab itself was good enough as a dish of its own, delicious batter and that addictive crunch. I was glad the papaya salad was not repeated here - as much as I love my papaya salads, young mango makes for a different type of salad too, very raw and crunchy yet so addictive.

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Tom Yum Goong ($23/pot)
Authentic spicy hot and sour soup with prawns flavoured with Thai herbs, mushrooms and slices of young coconut meat


I love how their tom yum goong hits all notes of authentically thai - comfortably spicy without getting my senses assaulted, none of the weepy-blowing nose mess I get myself into. This was wicked without being devilish, just so good and the ingredients were so fresh! 

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Moo Ob Nam Ma Prao ($28)
Pork belly slow-braised with fresh coconut juice

I found this on the sweet side and almost boring unfortunately.

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Whole Seabass  (whole or fillet) ($42)
with superior soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms and ginger

Another dish that should be ordered in lime and bird's eye chillies instead of the oriental version. 

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Gang Kiew Wan Nua ($26)
Classic Thai beef shin green curry with sweet basil and bird’s eye chilli




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Gang Kua Kor Moo Yang ($29)
Grilled Iberico pork collar with bittergourd in thick red curry


The curries in general were rich on coconut milk (not that I am complaining, I enjoy my curries lemak!) and both were equally satisfying. The red curry was something unique with bittergourd barely having any influence over the taste of it.

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Phad Phak Bung Fai Daeng ($19)
Stir-fried morning glory with garlic and chilli

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Black Olive Fried Rice ($21)
Black olive fried rice with chicken served with fresh chilli, lime,shallots and cashew nuts

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Khao Phad Sapparod ($22)
Pineapple Fried Rice with Seafood

Olive fried rice rocked whilst the pineapple fried rice was more subdued.

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Mor Kang Durian ($14)
Baked thai style durian cake with choice of coconut or vanilla icecream

We weren't asked for our choice and served vanilla icecream anyway.

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Mango Sticky Rice ($16)
Thai fragrant mango with sweet coconut rice

Apparently no choice of icecream  but this came with coconut icecream. We got to try both flavours anyhow. Go for the durian cake over the mango sticky rice for more satisfaction. I'd dare say this is amongst the first few times eating durian dessert at a thai place!

Patara Thai is top on my list of favourite thai restaurants.

Patara Thai
Tanglin Mall

Bakehouse by Carpenter and Cook @ Alexandra Central Mall

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Bakehouse by Carpenter and Cook brings Carpenter and Cook closer to town since their flagship is at Lorong Kilat. While I enjoyed their lemon tart, it just was not a good enough reason for that journey to the west.

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The rather rustic looking cake counter.

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Croissants anyone? These bakes were mostly untouched throughout our dinner encounter, it could be the timing but I'd gladly take on these anytime.

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Sugar cookies anyone? On top of retailing fresh bakes, there was also a corner for these nibbles. Perfect with kids, methinks.

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This very vintage looking corner is worth spending some time at. Each side of the wall had a different set of ornaments.

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Caesar Salad ($13)
Crunchy Romaine, Home Baked Croutons, Eggs, Smoekd Baacon, Caesar Dressing

At a large, this was ridiculously small and really easy to put together - I was infact very inspired to make my own caesar salad and not have to pay through my nose and teeth for it.

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Blueberry and Mozzarella Salad ($14)
Fresh Market Blueberries, Mixed Spring Greens, Herb Mozzarella, Orange Marmalade Dressing, Chopped Macadamias, Brioche Slice

Significantly larger and I'd call this more of an open faced sandwich than a salad proper. Look out for the macadamias that were precious but really delicious.

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Parma Ham Pizza ($18)
Tomato, Mozzarella, Rocket, Shaved Parmesan, Truffle Oil

The size of a personal pan pizza, this biscuit crust thin pizza made a great snack and generous drizzle of truffle oil.


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The Bakehouse Special Fish 'N' Chips ($23)
Crispy Golden Apple Soda Batter, Fries, Tartar Sauce

Given this was a special and came with such an interesting sounding batter but the fish had a really metallic after taste which left little to be desired after. Two orders of this showed varying shades of golden brown (to an almost burnt brown). 

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Tuscan-Style Braised Clams ($12)
White Wine Tomato Sauce, Venus Clams, Herbs

The sauce was not too different from the tomato pastas that were ordered, infact this was on the sweeter side.

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Pasta Di Mare ($25)
Prawns, Squid Rings, Clams, White Wine and Tuscan Style Marinara, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Linguine

Clearly an overdose on tomato sauce by the time we were done with the pastas and clams. Pasta was slightly overcooked though.

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Carbonara Classico ($18)
Smoked Bacon, Grated Reggiano Cheese, 5 min Egg, Linguini

With all the onsen eggs, this 5 minute egg suddenly becomes a tad overcooked on the bed of pasta. I'd recommend further seasoning with a dash of salt, pepper and chilli flakes. 

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Lemon Cream Tart ($6.50)


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Passionfruit Tart ($6.50)


Reserve these early or risk not having any dessert. The unfortunate part of it is, I could not tell the difference between passionfruit or lemon, fortunately the portions are small enough for the dessert to be guilt-free.

The portions are on the small side and definitely not meant for sharing. I'd reccomend this place just to hang out over small bites. Otherwise IKEA's cafe would definitely be more satisfying.

Bakehouse by Carpenter and Cook
321 Alexandra Rd #01-14, Alexandra Central Mall