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Holland Village

nice warm bread to soothe the weary soul.

i googled petit salut and found out that the meaning was small welcome? hmm.. wierd. anyways, bistro petit salut is supposedly the cheaper version (bistro-style) of the high and mighty au petit salut, now situated a stone throw’s away from dempsey. its like.. if you can’t afford au petit salut but still want to claim to have gone to some petit salut, head down to chip bee gardens near holland village for the “cheaper” experience.

anyways, restaurants in chip bee gardens are all pretty atas, but try to dress down their decorations and ambience to make it more mentally accessible to the masses, what with their simple deck chairs and wooden tables set for alfresco dining, bistro-style ambience that doesn’t attempt to create much of an otherworldly experience. still, by virtue of its location, you get the sense of a hidden find, where you can chillax in the shade watching the world go by amidst the baking hot sun. sounds pretty good to me. lets get to the food. for lunch, there’s typically two choices – the $25 set meal that’s available in the menu and a $38 special set menu that scribbled on the boards. seeing words like black truffle, wagyu beef and ‘blanc manger‘ i opted for the latter, whilst my friend opted for the former. (which was kinda annoying for me because it became a point of comparison, especially since i felt that his appetizer and dessert was more worth it. -_-)

 asparagus salad with summer black truffle vinaigrette

this appetizer left me really quite confused honestly, because i couldn’t figure out where/what the black truffle was and neither could i suss out the taste of what i assumed was the black truffle, because the leafy, asparagus taste dominated the dish. to its credit, the dish felt refreshing and light and you could see the effort gone into shredding the asparagus till it looked like celery bits but in my opinion, i don’t get the dish. the flavors whilst refreshing, were nothing exciting or new and i couldn’t understand the combination of truffle and asparagus. =( maybe i am quite noob at this food tasting stuff. haha

grilled wagyu rump steak served with shallots and garlic confit with french fries

now after that not-too-satisfying appetizer, i was craving for some good main course. upon seeing the dish, i quickly realised i had ordered the classic entrecote with pomme frittes dish (essentially, steak that is cut into strips and doused with generous gravy and paired with shoe-string french fries) , but using asian ingredients (wagyu beef). the flavor of the steak was delicious and interestingly complex — by this i mean the flavors evolved in your mouth, usually starting with an “attack” phase when you first taste the dish, then an “evolution” followed by an “aftertaste”. to me, tasting food is akin to tasting wine and hence u see such similar process.

the disappointing part however where the french fries, which were slightly lacking in flavor though nice and crunchy. i mean, i’ve tasted much better fries so this was surprisingly lackluster. furthermore, the fries didn’t exactly pair well with the beef, hence feeling more like an afterthought carbs component to the meal. that makes me sad, because i believe everything on a plate happens for a reason. =(

home made pineapple “blanc manger” roasted almond pudding with fresh mint coulis

so i googled “blanc manger” and turned up with a reference of blancmange, a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch and often flavored with almonds. honestly, this sounds just like panna cotta. and tastes very similar to it besides the roasted almond flavor. yet again, the flavors of the dessert was complex, with hints of milk, ground almond (like your typical almond-tea chinese dessert). it was refreshing, and balanced well with the pineapple. that being said, the fact that the dessert resembled panna cotta and that it didn’t seem too difficult to make made me a little annoyed, considering my friend’s strawberry shortcake looked much better than this. lol. maybe again i dunno the goods.

all in all, an interesting but not exactly completely satisfying experience. to me, it felt like this wasn’t exactly authentic french but more like contemporary french with asian influences. it was a hit and miss to me, but definitely the food here was of some standard. 6.5/10

bistro petit salut44 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-54 Chip Bee Gardens | french, bistro, desserts

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looks pretty legit.

Yoshimaru Ramen Bar is this ramen place located in holland village that actually looks pretty much like a traditional japanese ramen-ya you would find in japan, complete with the chef-facing-you-preparing-the-dish-separated-by-a-glass-panel experience. that being said, the pretense of being traditional quickly evaporates when you notice that the servers are mainly foreign hires either from phillipines or china and that, well, the restaurant chain is managed by jumbo seafood. not that there is anything wrong with jumbo seafood — in fact i think jumbo seafood does a great job with food-related business, both with yoshimaru as well as one of the nicer restaurants @ vivocity, j-pot. that being said, it’s just kinda nicer to watch a wizened old japanese uncle laboring to make ramen noodles whilst one sips hot green tea in the cosy confines of a ramen-ya.. (ok getting carried away). let’s talk food.

hakata traditional ramen – $11

now, considering the growing popularity of ramen stalls in singapore, it’s kinda difficult at times to pinpoint what makes a good bowl of ramen worth it — that is, worth 2 – 3 times more than a common bowl of prawn mee or the likes at hawker centers. in my opinion, the crux lies with the soup as well as the char siu pieces. the soup really separates the wheat from the chaff, as good soups are fragrant, immensely rich in flavors and when served piping hot, is the ultimate comfort food in winter. the char siew creates the additional savory taste that enhances the dish greatly and also breaks the monotony of flavor by just eating the noodles alone. so what about yoshimaru? well.. honestly, i wasn’t too impressed with their ramen this time round– considering that this place to me is a sentimental value-priced favorite where I have really tasted good soup before. yet, the soup i tasted this time round was rather flat, as though it hadn’t been fully and thoroughly boiled. i dunno. kinda disappointed. the char siew was decent, but yet again, not impressive. i have tasted better. =(

 hakata mini burgers – mentaiko mayo prawn burger, $3.50

this appetizer dish is simple, relatively cheap and delicious. in fact, i have always wanted to order 3 mini burgers (other flavors include spicy char siu and teriyaki chicken) for a value price of $8 and just treat that as my dinner. but usually i come here to satisfy my craving of ramen.. so there. the fusion of east and west flavors creates a really good combination and is well worth a try.

overall, i expected better i guess. and well, i’m not gonna let one misstep (in my opinion) stop me from patronizing the place again. i’ll give u another chance, yoshimaru. anyways, you’re pretty value for money compared to other ramen chains. 6.5/10

a word of caution though: avoid the other ‘side dishes’ like ebi tempura or the likes.. i think the only authentic stuff is the ramen, so stick to it.

Yoshimaru Ramen Bar | 31 Lorong Liput Holland Village s277742 | japanese, ramen, comfort