Nice Food & Ambience @ Ochre at Orchard Central on 25Feb2013

antipasti platter

antipasti platter

a friend close to me now resident at Cupertino California with his family came calling and a few of us arranged to have a quiet 5pax dinner.  I had an expiring 50% discount voucher from Kitchen Language which owns Ochre, Salta, Kumo etc so decided to do dinner at Ochre @ Orchard Central. 🙂

Ochre has a nice dining setting & ambience. It was one of the restaurants that had earlier offered palate discounts so I frequented it quite a few times then. The food was good for the price after palate discounts and as Ochre does not charge service, I used to provide the equivalent 10% in tip to the waiting staff.

For this evening, we had 7 dishes-

  1. antipasti platter
  2. beef carpaccio
  3. seafood linguine
  4. meat-eater pizza
  5. sous vide beef cheeks & kurobuta pork
  6. osobucco on a bed of risotto
  7. funghi risotto

using UOB Kitchen Language 50% discount voucher, we paid S$124nett for 7 dishes for 5pax, so its just S$25nett pax, truly great value for such food quality & ambience. 🙂

the anitpasti was good & substantial – with buffalo mozzarella, parma ham with rock melon, smoked salmon with caviar, artichoke. olives & cherry tomatoes with feta cheese.

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the beef carpaccio with rockets & parmesan shavings was also good.  the seafood linguine though was really average. I think I consistently do mine better!

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the meat-eater pizza was again very average (pizza not my thing but currently I like quatro fromage (4-cheese) pizza after trying a very good one some time back at Alfresco Gusto)- which is not saying so good for an Italian joint to have very average pizza & pasta..well, can’t have everything cheap & good I guess..

the duo sous vide beef cheek & kurobuta pork was quite ok, and actually my friends quite liked this savoury dish.

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the osobucco was the usual good for osobucco in most italian joints, but the bed of risotto not good – not creamy & “pang” (fragrant”) as it should be. clearly they were not good at risotto as the next dish – a funghi risotto which like a vongole dish should define good risotto & pasta dishes – was mushy & not fragrant, again below par!

The restaurant was maybe 40% full on a Monday night & we had a good quiet table though likely not for the other diners as we were laughing quite a bit & quite noisy. 🙂

after dinner we moved to the lobby level and had a nice cuppa to continue our chat. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Pasta Lunch @ Alfresco Gusto at Ion Orchard on 17Feb2013

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linguine carbonara – S$22

I bought some deal.com vouchers for Alfresco Gusto @ Ion Orchard & the family decided to go for Sunday lunch. Ion Orchard happens also to be a convenient location for other members of the family for after lunch shopping..haha. 🙂

the Alfresco Gusto vouchers were S$10 for S$20 & you can redeem unlimited number of vouchers, so effectively (nearly) it was quite close to a 50% discount, so relatively a good deal if the food & prices were good. 🙂 We don’t do Italian out so much as the ala carte main courses are quite expensive in the good restaurants and both my wife & I as well as our domestic help do quite good pasta dishes ourselves, but we do visit from time to time a few like Al Borgo (update –  i had excellent dinner there recently on 22.11.2013), Valentino, Spizzico, Covelli, Ochre & a good cheaper place like Capri. 🙂

tuna salad - S$20

tuna salad – S$20

We ordered the tuna salad. It was well plated, looked pretty. The mesclun salad with olives was great, the tuna was very average (kind of tasteless) though.

antipasti platter - S$26

antipasti platter – S$26

We also had the antipasti platter which had parma ham, beef, salami & sun-dried tomatoes, olives & baguette. It was good & S$26 was ok but Capri served a much better version at S$18, so w/o the near 50% discount Capri would do better on this item.

I was never much into carbonara. My son actually taught himself to cook a pretty good one, but the one here was really good – creamy & flavourful & looked amazing (top photo), the best among all the good dishes. 🙂

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veal ragout – S$24

I would put the veal ragout as the second best item. It was creamy, savoury and nicely sprinkled with chopped parsley & grated cheese & sun-dried tomatoes. 🙂

prawn linguine in tomato sauce - S$30

prawn linguine in tomato sauce – S$30

The prawn linguine in tomato sauce came with very good helping of large prawns – my daughter counted 7! it was good too but I guessed more towards the ordinary & boring – something we could do at home with equally fresh ingredients almost equally well. 🙂

crabmeat risotto - S$32

crabmeat risotto – S$32

the last item we ordered was the crab meat risotto. It was good as well but I distinctly remembered that I had tried the funghi risotto here once before a while back & that was the best I had for that meal & this crab meat version was not near as good even though it cost S$10 more.

all in all, the 6 dishes for our 5pax lunch cost S$101 nett using the vouchers which was really a very good deal considering the quality of the dishes. without the vouchers it would cost S$181 nett or about S$31++pax. as ala carte order it would not be overly expensive however there were many good lunch set places & better deals to be had elsewhere, so I would do this but not often w/o the discounts.

c.h.e.f andy