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Last Saturday, Yours Truly and some other Bloggers from omy Blog Club participated in the Bugis+ Food Trail that was organised by omy Blog Club and we were hosted by 12 different Food & Beverage [F&B] Outlets/Restaurants! We spent 6 hours eating non-stop from point to point and at the end of the day, I was so full that I almost swore that I’m never ever gonna touch any sort of food ever again. In fact, I pretty much stoned for 2 days not eating much but recovered from the “ordeal” on the 3rd day.
Anyways, the 12 F&B Restaurants/Outlets that hosted us are:
1. Taipei Station
2. Laksania
3. Crystal Jade C-Jade HK Café In
4. Rocku Yakiniku Japanese Charcoal Grill
5. Su-ki ya
6. Manhattan Fish Market
7. Seoul Yummy
8. Ramen Champion
9. Ireland’s Potato
10. Marble Slab Creamery
11. Berrylite
12. Aloha Ma Maison

As I took more than 400 photographs during the event itself, I had quite a hard time doing tons of photo editing and because there were so much food that we had, I decided to make photo collages of the different individual restaurant/outlet that we visited.

In this blog entry, I will be sharing about the first 6 restaurants/outlets that we visited and the rest of the other 6 restaurants/outlets will be covered in the next part of our Bugis+ Food Trail Blogbuster Series.

1. Taipei Station

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

Honestly, I really miss Taiwan so much that I can’t wait to go back there again in 3 months time. When we were sampling the food from Taipei Station, it really reminded me of the awesome time I had in Taiwan and yes, the quality and authenticity of the food at Taipei Station are rather similar as that which are sold in Taiwan. If you’re a Taiwan foodie like me, be sure to try their Sweet Potato Fries, Oyster Vermicelli, Crispy Chicken, and Honey Oolong Milk Tea with Pearl! Their prices are quite reasonable although in Taiwan, it’s much cheaper. I can’t wait to dine at Taipei Station again for my favourite Taiwanese snacks!

Also, do check out Taipei Station’s Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter!

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

2. Laksania

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

If you’re a fan of Laksa, Laksania is the place for you because they’re the specialist when it comes to Laksa. They even have Laksa Pasta and Laksa Burgers on their menu too! When we were there, we had 3 different types of Laksa Noodles; the Kelantan Laksa, the Singapore Laksa, and the Sarawak Laksa. Personally, I like their Kelantan Laksa the best because of its distinct flavour. The soup base of the Kelantan Laksa is mainly fish and as a result, many hours are painstakingly spent to debone the fishes by hand to create this dish. And oh, we tried their Chicken Satay as well and I must say, they’re really awesome!

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

By the way, Laksania is also a social enterprise that helps people who have been marginalised by their mental or physical disability to gain employment. They employ the marginalised and enable them so that they can earn a living using their own efforts. Hence, Laksania set up a central kitchen in IMH to hire and train IMH clients.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

To find out more about the latest promotion that Laksania is offering, do check out their Facebook Page!

3. Crystal Jade C-Jade HK Café In

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

When people hear of Crystal Jade, the first thing that comes to their mind is Dim Sum and it is no surprise because Crystal Jade has always been rather well known for their finest Chinese cuisine and its Dim Sum.

Well, C-Jade HK Café In is unlike the typical Crystal Jade fine-dining Restaurant. The dining atmosphere at C-Jade HK Café In is rather causal and they serve a wide selection of Hong Kong local delicacies, some of which with innovative crossover of East and West flavours.

Check out Yong Wei [one of the fellow Blogger] enjoying the Crispy Macau Pork Chop Bun!

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

During the food tasting session, we had the Chilled Hong Kong Milk Tea, Crispy Macau Pork Chop Bun, Deep-Fried Chicken with Fries and Lemongrass, Hong Kong Cart Noodle, Corned Beef and Cheese Toast, and Old Time Hong Kong Biscuit.

4. Rocku Yakiniku Japanese Charcoal Grill

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

Rocku Yakiniku Japanese Charcoal Grill is another dining concept by Creative Eateries and it is quite similar as Tajiyama, a Japanese Grill Restaurant also under Creative Eateries.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

Seriously, Rocku Yakiniku Japanese Charcoal Grill is an awesome place for Japanese Grill Meat because the dining atmosphere is very relaxed and casual.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

The meat is flavourful and well-marinated, and it goes pretty well with the Japanese Asahi Beer. With contemporary pop music playing in the background, Rocku Yakiniku Japanese Charcoal Grill is definitely the place to let down your hair and hangout with your friends!

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

If you’re looking for the most happening place to dine at, we highly recommend Rocku Yakiniku Japanese Charcoal Grill.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

By the way, if you have already received the NS45 Vouchers, you can use it here. And if you’re an OCBC Cardholder, you can get a 10% off the total bill with a minimum spend.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

For the latest promotion at Rocku, do check out their Facebook Page!

5. Suki-Ya

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

If you’re into Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki, you might want to check out Suki-Ya, a Japanese Hotpot dining concept also by Creative Eateries. While we were there, we sampled 4 different soup bases and out of the 4, I prefer the Kimchi soup base because of its spiciness and flavour. In case you’re wondering, Suki-Ya also has a la carte food items besides their usual buffet. For the price of SGD$27 for Suki-Ya‘s dinner buffet on a weekend, the price is rather reasonable for the high quality of food items that are available.

6. Manhattan Fish Market

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

Manhattan Fish Market is no stranger to us as we have been dining there rather frequently. Honestly, we love Manhattan Fish Market very much because the service standard is always consistent and their food quality and portions are pretty satisfying.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

During the food tasting session, we sampled their Fried Country Mushroom, Garlic Herb Mussels, Caesar Salad with Crispy Whitebait, Manhattan Fish ‘N Chips, Manhattan Flaming Seafood Platter, Sizzling Brownie with Ice-Cream, and Citrus Mint Beverage.

From Bugis+ Food Trail 2013

For more information about Manhattan Fish Market and the promotions that they are having, do check out their Facebook Page!

Stay tuned to part 2 of our Bugis+ Food Trail Blogbuster Series!

God Bless!

Hello Everyone,
Baby and I were at Vivocity recently for an event and we were cruising around in search for a good restaurant to have our dinner. We had a few options opened to us, namely, the White Dog Cafe, Xi Men Ding [Taiwan Cuisine], Earle Swensen’s, and Akashi Japanese Restaurant. Well, we decided to dine at Xi Men Ding [Taiwan Cuisine] Restaurant because we wanted to try their Taiwanese food and see how good and authentic it was. Sadly, it was a horrible mistake to dine there and we will never ever set our foot into the restaurant ever again. Read on to find out more.

From Ximending 2012

The Physical Outlook of the Restaurant:
We wouldn’t deny that the physical outlook of the restaurant has a rather classy, clean, and minimalist feel. However, looks can be rather deceiving and we did not expect that this dining experience would be our first and last one.

From Ximending 2012

Surprisingly, Xi Men Ding comes under the management of CreativEATeries; a successful restaurant group that owns restaurants such as the Tajiyama, Sukiya, SiamKitchen, and many more. We’ve been to Tajiyama before and the dining experience was fabulous. You can check out our review of Tajiyama here –> http://awinsomelife.org/2012/05/30/tajiyama-restaurant-vivocity/

From Ximending 2012

So, naturally, we thought that Xi Men Ding would be of the same standards as Tajiyama. Boy, were we so wrong!

Here were the dishes that we ordered:

Rock Salt Crispy Chicken [$8.90]

Though the chicken was crisp, alot of Monosodium Glutamate was added. It was quite an average dish and we felt that for the price we paid, we could have had better tasting Taiwanese crispy chicken elsewhere.

From Ximending 2012

Scallop Fried Rice [$8.90]

Nothing out of the ordinary, the fried rice had a similar taste as the ones we had at Hawker Centres. Lots of vegetables like shredded cabbages and green peas were added but so little scallops. Totally not worth the money!

From Ximending 2012

Brazilian Mushroom Soup [$8.90]

This soup was just totally disappointing. The portion was only fit for one person and even then, the soup did not lived up to its, “Chef’s Recommendation” as indicated in the food menu. On top of that, the soup was way too salty! For the price we paid, we could have “Buddha Jump Over The Wall” at FoodCourts!

From Ximending 2012

Stir-Fried Sweet Potato Leaves [$8.00]

Substandard dish. We prefer the Sambal Stir-Fried ones available at those local “Zi Char”.

From Ximending 2012

Wok-Fried Tofu With Meat [$13.90]

Seriously, this is perhaps the most edible dish for the night. But with a price of $13.90, it is definitely over-priced.

From Ximending 2012

Inclusive of one additional bowl of rice, wet tissues, service charge and GST, our entire dinner cost a total sum of $59.10! Seriously, we totally regretted dining at Xi Men Ding! It was totally not worth it. Not only was the quality of food bad, service was extremely horrendous as well. Here’s why:

The supervisor/manager welcomed us, showed us to our seats, and presented us with the menu. For a start, this was just standard operating procedure. Nothing WOW about it. Then, having look through the menu, we decided to place our order and we waved our hands up in the air like we just don’t care. We waved for about 3-5 minutes and nobody attended to us. Then, a service staff saw our hands and quickly looked away and attended to other matters such as wiping the tables, clearing of plates from other tables, and pouring tea for other guests. I mean, at the very least, the particular service staff could have gotten someone else to attend to us or gestured to us that he/she would be attending to us right after he/she is done with whatever he/she needs to do!

We kept our hands up in the air like some clowns until the supervisor/manager saw us and attended to us. The order-taking was once again routine and nothing out of the ordinary. Our dishes were then served and we ate. By the way, the dishes that we ordered were all either recommended by the Supervisor/Manager or selected based on the “Chef’s Recommendation” as indicated on the menu. As we felt that the portion of the Scallop Fried Rice was quite small, we placed an order for a bowl of rice and the same scenario happened. We had to wait for 5 minutes before anyone attended to us. Honestly, we are very patient individuals and we wouldn’t have mind waiting if the service staff at least made an attempt to acknowledge that we needed some form of assistance. We just couldn’t believe that the service staffs are trained to look away when guests are waving their hands to attract their attention!

So, after placing an order for a bowl of rice, we waited… and we waited. The rice didn’t came. We waited for a good 10 minutes for a bowl of rice and it didn’t came. At the 15th minute, we decided to check with the service staff because we were rushing for time and for the 3rd time, the same scenario happened. We just do not understand why it is so hard for them to serve us. Was it because they didn’t like our face or what? But anyway, we weren’t the only guests that had the same unpleasant experience. All over the restaurant, I see guests with their hands up in the air trying to get the attention of the service staffs. Needless to say, service at Xi Men Ding was extremely bad.

After our entire meal, we asked for the bill and was attended by a service staff whom was rather impolite. She gestured to us to pay our bill at the cashier counter and the way she did it was as if we owed the restaurant thousands of dollars. During the whole cashiering process, it was really cold. No sense of warmth nor a fond farewell given. There was no eye contact and no, “Thank you and please come again!” nor, “How was the food? Is the service ok?” Everything was just transactional.

Well, I’m not sure if other guests encountered the same experience as we did but surly, for the amount that we paid for dinner, $59.10; we expected better food and better service. Time for us to move on from this bad episode and dine elsewhere worthy. By the way, the restaurant was running at full capacity on a Friday evening and just because its fullhouse, it doesn’t give them an excuse for bad service and bad food. This restaurant really do not deserve to use the name of Xi Men Ding because it doesn’t live up to the real authentic Taiwanese food and the warmth hospitality of Taiwanese people.

Our Verdict:

Don’t waste your money on expensive below average food that is coupled together with lousy horrendous service. Your money could be well spent at other restaurants.

Ok, before people say that I am bias and not objective in this particular review, do check out other reviews by other bloggers whom blogs regularly:

Review by LadyIronChef: http://www.ladyironchef.com/2011/07/ximending-taiwanese-restaurant-cuisine-food/

Review by Alvinology: http://blog.omy.sg/alvinology/tag/ximending-vivocity/

Review by 1911 Photography and Chronicles: http://fearstar.blogspot.sg/2010/08/ximendingvivo-city.html

Review by Love Oishi: http://loveoishi.blogspot.sg/2012/01/xi-men-ding-vivocity.html

Stay tuned to more updates from us.

God bless!