FAR Card 50% Discount for up to 5pax @ Mikuni on 28Jul2013

lobster uni yaki

lobster uni yaki

a very short update on Mikuni. 🙂

had family dinner at Mikuni on 28.7.2013, a belated birthday for my youngest now that her 2 elder siblings are back Singapore. 🙂 we used the 50% discount for 5pax (only on Monday except Mikuni which also allows Sunday) with the new FAR (Feed At Raffles) card. 🙂

in addition to the usual Andy’s Kaiseki (in jest only la!), we ordered the S$45 lobster miso yaki..wow this was really good! 🙂 i can do with this the next time as a shared item for 2pax OR to replace the botan ebi (S$42) or the sous vide tako tempura (S$30).

negitoro maki

negitoro maki

we also had negitoro maki.  wouldn’t say that it was better than the UN Futomaki, but it was equally good. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Good Food Quiet Dinner @ Gattopardo on 21Jul2013

sous vide iberico pork jowl

sous vide iberico pork jowl

i had not made much use of my amex palate discounts till recently. i guess partly there are so many good credit card offers, groupon vouchers etc, 🙂 only when the card is expiring suddenly there is greater impetus to try out various palate outlets.

for this night on 21.7.2013, we picked Gattopardo – a good choice! 🙂

Gattopardo is located at the level 1 of The Legend Fort Canning Park Hotel. there was al fresco dining, we chose though to sit inside. it was a quiet pleasant ambience not so many tables occupied on a Sunday evening.

baguette

baguette

warm baguette was provided. i was contented with olive oil & balsamic & did not ask for butter. 🙂

beef tartar with crispy toast

beef tartar with crispy toast

we picked the beef tartar, which came with a crispy toast, to share. this was excellent! the combination of flavours & texture of beef, onions, anchovies, egg yoke. 🙂

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there was no soup item, so we asked the waiter. he recommended a curry mussels (S$14). this was NOT a menu item & knowing the tricky situation with palate discounts, we asked SPECIFICALLY if the same discounts applied, and the waiter replied yes!  this was very good, like a good mulligatawny, the mussels were the small & tasty type though with just 3 mussels we thought the serving was rather small. when we asked for the bill, the curry mussels were excluded from the discount. we told them that we specifically confirmed with the waiter on the discounts, and the bill then made a round & came back with the discounts accompanied with a pleasant smile (good service recovery) that actually the item had no discount & they specially made an exception for us.

well no harm done, but i always have difficulty understanding this part of many restaurant’s service & marketing philosophy. i supposed restaurants are entitled to “buyers beware” & no obligations to advise customers. but i always feel that if a service philosophy is to make customer experience memorable, then it should NOT be a contest to outsmart the other. a service outfit should make service offers if it wants to offer & NOT make offers if it does not want to offer & give customers a consistent message. of course it could be just an oversight by an individual server but the impression i got was that the philosophy was one of “if customer asked & waiting staff said so then give discounts, if customer did not ask then too bad no discounts” so the checking was not about the staff making a mistake, but just whether the customer did ask or not.

the fact that i was not unhappy with the episode but still spent time blogging it showed that it did NOT add to customer experience. 🙂

risone with braised squid & bone marrow

risone with braised squid & bone marrow

for mains, we had the risone (risotto shaped pasta) with braised squid & bone marrow. this was super! 🙂 it had good reviews by other bloggers & the waiter also confirmed it was a popular dish. very flavourful, quite intense.

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the sous vide iberico pork jowl (top photo & above right) was very good too! 🙂

overall, we enjoyed the dinner very much! our selection of dishes were great.  the costs after palate 50% discount for 2pax was S$70nett excluding wine for 1 appetizer, 2 soups, 2 mains (& S$90nett including 1 glass of red). 🙂 the prices were a bit lower than at Senso. Senso though have a more classy ambience & the staff at Senso are more professional (a general observation excluding the curry mussel discount matter). will certainly go back again to Gattopardo. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Wonderful Set Lunch @ Pollen on 22Jul2013 (Part 1)

pickled anchovies, orange salad & olives & chilled fennel soup

pickled anchovies, orange salad & olives & chilled fennel soup

i first dined at Pollen Street Social at Pollen Street Mayfair in Oct2011 when my wife & i were visiting our son in London. at the time Jason Atherton had just started the London restaurant for 1/2 year & already gained his 1st michelin star. while he did have pedigree association/partnership for 10 years with various Gordon Ramsay restaurants including Maze, he obviously collected quite many accolades in his own right & we had excellent lunches at Pollen & revisited it a few times. the set lunches were GBP22 for 2-course & GBP25.50 for 3-course then. I checked the website – it is GBP26 & GBP29.5 today.

on this day (22.7.2013), my dining quartet decided to lunch at Pollen @ Gardens by the Bay.  Pollen offered a S$55pax 3-course lunch inclusive of admission to Flower Dome (S$12). with DBS card there was a free wine (which cost S$18) or mocktail for each (promotion till Dec2013),  together it was a rather good deal. and so it was even better when the food was truly good, and the service too (they have a free buggy from carpark A pick-up point to restaurant doorstep as well). 🙂

Pollen Restaurant @ Gardens By The Bay.

Pollen Restaurant @ Gardens By The Bay.

Pollen was just located with the Flower Dome, so ambience was great!

S$55pax 3-course set lunch menu

S$55pax 3-course set lunch menu

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& nice crockery. 3 of us had a red, 1 friend took a mocktail.

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there were bread (with apple mustard puree, black sesame butter & herb butter) & some small bites to get started – crispy pig skin & risotto croquette with truffle & aubergines. nice! 🙂

texture of potatoes

texture of potatoes

3 of us took the pickled anchovies & chilled fennel soup, & 1 took the texture of potatoes & clearly enjoyed it. i liked the combination of somewhat salty & savoury anchovies with the chilled soup.

aussie ocean trout, gnocchi, pea puree, shimeji, garlic emulsion

aussie ocean trout, gnocchi, pea puree, shimeji, garlic emulsion

for the main i picked the pan-seared trout. the crispy skin was done very well. i generally enjoy sea perch, chilean seabass or cod better than salmon (which i find one gets satiated easily), but this trout was very flavourful.  i liked it. 🙂

roast kurobuta pork belly & asparagus, black sesame, miso

roast kurobuta pork belly & asparagus, black sesame, miso

my other friends all opted for the kurobuta pork belly with miso & black sesame. it was very good too. i thought then i would try out a miso pork belly at home.

thai peanut, green apple, kaffir lime

thai peanut, green apple, kaffir lime

banana with madras curry ice cream

banana with madras curry ice cream

70% dark choclate, coffee, rum raisin, truffle honey

70% dark chocolate, coffee, rum raisin, truffle honey

all the desserts were very good. i liked my banana & madras curry a lot. the thai peanut & kaffir lime was very refreshing & the dark chocolate everyone liked even if it was more common place. 🙂

petite fours

petite fours

we had petit fours (chocolate, nougat, pastilles & cookie)  & coffee. 1 friend was educating us that petit four meant “small oven” nothing to do with 4 items. indeed she was right & it was a good fun thing to learn while enjoying a great meal. 🙂

i will do a separate post on the complementary visit to Flower Dome, which i enjoyed very much.  my friend made a very good lunch choice with Pollen indeed. even w/o free wine, 3-course+coffee & entrance to Flower Dome was a fair deal. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Hawker Tour @ Bukit Timah Food Centre (BTFC) on 19Jul2013

or luah (fried oyster omelette)

or luah (fried oyster omelette)

for zi char tour, see cheap & good zi char on 10.8.2013.

a group of us makan kakis (for this round 4pax) decided to start hawker tours. we picked Bukit Timah Food Centre (BTFC) to start our journey on 19.7.2013. 🙂

food galore @ Bukit Timah Food Centre (BTFC)

food galore @ Bukit Timah Food Centre (BTFC)

for this day we ordered 8 hawker dishes. all were good but not one really stood out.

the HK style beef briskets & offals was very tasty, but actually quite different from those at street beef noodle stalls in HK. the chinese herbal mutton soup was good too, but i would say the amoy street hawker centre one was better & so was bukit merah view.

white fried carrot cake

white fried carrot cake

there were many foodie posts about the white fried carrot cake. it was good, crispy, quite tasty, but…didn’t see much difference from other hawker places or c/w with good black ones, say at ghim moh market. 🙂

if i had to pick, i would say my best was the or luah (but then again,many places did just as well), & after that the HK style beef brisket & offals. 1 friend was missing her favourite “jiu her eng chye” (cuttlefish kang kong) stall which was not open (we were there on a friday 2.30pm to 4pm). 🙂

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the fried hokkien mee looked good in the photos, quite good ingredients, but probably rated lower..that could be because we were satiated as we had 8 dishes excluding dessert for 4 of us! 🙂

char kuay teow (fried noodles with cockles)

char kuay teow (fried noodles with cockles)

the char kuay teow had very good “wok hae” & tasty at the start but as it gotten cold it became much less compelling…

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rojak

rojak

both the popiah & rojak were good.

iced cheng chow with aloe vera & lychees

iced cheng chow with aloe vera & lychees

a friend had ice cheng chow with aloe vera & lychee (looked tempting). I had a plain ice jelly.

very satiated… after that 3 of us went to watch Pacific Rim (good enjoyable movie) at Cathay Cineleisure. 2 of my friends had the S$4 movie ticket + free coffee privilege. i had still to bear with paying S$10.50 movie tickets for the next few months. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

S$12 Thai Lunch Set by Students @ Toptable CIA (Culinary Institute of America) at Temasek Poly on 17Jul2013

S$12 thai basil squid lunch set

S$12 thai basil squid lunch set

a friend organised a lunch at Temasek Poly where another former RI friend was teaching. 🙂

we took the self-service S$12 Thai lunch set prepared by students of a Bachelor in Professional Studies in Culinary Arts Management at CIA (Culinary Institute of America) at Temasek Poly campus, a degree course by CIA & SIT (Singapore Institute of Technology). they also had the full restaurant service at Top Table but we didn’t make reservations.

this is, i guess, still a best kept secret – though i was pleasantly surprised to find Toptable already featured in hungrygowhere 🙂 i tried Toptable before & it was a rather good 3-course western set for the price. this time we had the S$12 self-service lunch set. they served lunch on alternate days with different menus and for today we had Thai. 🙂

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they served a coconut prawn fritter in thai chilli sauce before the set.  The tomyam kung was quite ok – prawn was good tomyam not flavourful enough…the satay was ok not the best, pickles ok the crab cake or fish cake quite good. 🙂

basil squid + fried rice

basil squid + fried rice

the basil squid was good…rice too with nice egg netting decoration. 🙂

S$12 green curry pork set

S$12 green curry pork set

S$12 chicken rice lunch set

S$12 chicken rice lunch set

the other friends took the chicken rice set & green curry pork set..each set came with the same tomyam soup, and satay etc side dish.

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for the dessert, the sticky rice was bad – overcooked & marshy not fragrant. the other was not worth mentioning. they might want to consider practising a proper red ruby or thai chendol dessert..

overall it was of course an excellent value lunch for S$12nett. quite enjoyable for us and a very good learning experience for the students.

c.h.e.f andy

Forgettable Set Lunch @ La Villa on 16Jul2013

beef carpaccio with ricola salad & shaved parmesan

beef carpaccio with ricola salad & shaved parmesan

1 of the co-founders of Fundonate (a social networking charity efundraising site we started last year=see Fundonate- Share, Give & Receive) called for a lunch meeting on 16.7.2013. he decided on La Villa. La Villa is owned by Senso group (see Relaxed Dining @ Senso) and is located at the old River Valley Primary School at River Valley Road. 🙂

La Villa S$30pax set lunch menu

La Villa S$30pax set lunch menu

i had amex palate discounts but it was only 20% off ala carte orders for 5pax so we opted for the S$30pax set lunch instead.

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the ambience was great, slightly rustic with the timber trussed ceiling, spacious & bright. 🙂 not so many diners though, like many decent average restaurants in Singapore!

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for the choice of starters, the beef carpaccio with ricola salad, rockets & shaved parmesan was good. the preparation was similar to Senso, basically relying on the sweet original taste of beef (my preference would be a dash of balsamic cream, olive oil & sea salt). 🙂

the wild mushroom soup of the day & the mesclun salad with tuna flakes were quite ok too.

rigatoni with seafood

rigatoni with seafood

chicken wrapped with bacon

chicken wrapped with bacon

for choice of main course, none of us took the hawaiian pizza. the rigatoni seafood looked pathetic really, though the taste was ok (like not horrible), it was a just average, “nothing” dish & a pathetic serving in terms of quantity & ingredients. the chicken wrapped with ham looked better & tasted ok by my friends’ account. i would say confidently that i do a better pasta by miles, and a better chicken too!

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for desserts, i had a berry cheesecake.it was a good cheese cake..the tiramisu looked right & my friends said it was ok but not much liquer flavour..the mango mille feuille tower looked & tasted ok too it seemed.

overall while we had a good meeting & discussion, food-wise it was entirely a forgettable one. at S$30pax for 3-course+coffee, couldn’t really say it was expensive. but now that i am at an age where i need to be selective on the calories i consume, this would not fall within the worthwhile calories category..haha. 🙂 won’t be back, especially when there are so many good lunch deals in Singapore!

c.h.e.f andy

Relaxed Dining @ Senso on 13Jul2013

burrata cheese with St Daniele prosciutto – S$26

i am thinking of stopping my amex palate privileges which offer 1pax off discounts for ala carte orders at a number of outlets i mostly not motivated to frequent. anyway before the card expires, might as well use it. 🙂 we decided to go to Senso. it is a restaurant i used to go for business lunches when i was working in that area years ago, but have not visited for many years.

ala carte prices at this kind of restaurants are usually on the high side unless you are doing business entertainment, so i was not attracted to frequent. with palate privileges 50% off for 2pax, it would still be more costly than set lunches, but since we were doing dinner, we thought we would revisit the place. 🙂

Senso is located at a Club Street conservation terrace so it has great relaxed ambience with an enclosed outdoor courtyard. still we opted for air-con indoor seating. 🙂 you could see that the waiting staff were well-trained & efficient.

bread basket

bread basket

warm bread basket was good. you could ask for butter. i just do the usual olive oil & balsamic.

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my wife ordered a prosecco & a red.

amuse bouche

amuse bouche

we had an amuse bouche, a lime cured tuna with avocado puree – good not great. 🙂

wagyu cappacio with rockets & parmesan

wagyu carpaccio with rockets & parmesan – S$28

we ordered a wagyu carpaccio with rockets & shaved parmesan (above photo) & a burrata cheese with Saint Daniele prosciutto (top photo). the carpaccio was served the natural sweetness way w/o any seasoning. it was sweet but we kind of preferred those with dash of balsamic cream, olive oil & sea salt. i liked the burrata (though so far i think Valentino’s the best & Capri’s also better than this, but they cost a lot more!) and also the Saint Daniel prosciutto. 🙂

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we had a pasta & a main to share. we ordered the lobster taglierini (S$34).  they split for us so the photo above was a 1/2 portion. 🙂 this was good, though we forgot to order the squid ink version which was usually more flavourful and the waiter did not ask us for the choice.

pan-fried venison rare -

pan-fried venison rare – S$48

we had wanted to order the veal rack (we had a very good one at spizzico) but this was breaded & pan-fried so we gave up the idea. the waiter recommended venison medallion (tenderloin) rare. this was a superb choice – very tasty & tender & the dauphine pommes (crisp potato puffs) were excellent! 🙂

we were both not dessert persons. excluding the wine, the bill was S$68++ for 2 appetizers & 2 mains after 50% discount, which explains why i had not been there like forever w/o the discounts. it was still more ex than set lunches but this was dinner & this price was quite fine really (there was no discount for wine which added another 50% to the total bill).

c.h.e.f andy

Suckling Pig 8-course Dinner @ Sichuandouhua Parkroyal Kitchener on 12Jul2013

1/2 suckling pig (4 eats) for 6pax

1/2 suckling pig (4 eats) for 6pax

the group decided on trying sichuandouhua after we dropped the plan to try Esquina’s S$95 tasting menu on a friday 12.7.2013. we picked the S$288 6pax suckling pig 8-course menu, with 20% added discount using UOB card. the very delicious dinner came up to only S$46pax nett. 🙂

sichuandouhua parkroyal kitchener road

sichuandouhua parkroyal kitchener road

i had never been to this sichuandouhua at Parkroyal Kitchener.  it had a very pleasant, classy, slightly understated ambience, but it was just <50% full on a friday night.

the 1/2 suckling pig for 6pax (whole for 10pax) appeared bigger than the ones we usually had. it was the片皮 style eaten with cucumber, sweet sauce & chinese crepe, and comprised 4 eats including for steaming red garoupa, deep-fried & porridge afterwards.

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the double-boiled kampung chicken soup with conpoy (dried scallop) & cordyceps flowers was excellent, very sweet & tasty goodness. 🙂

deepfried prawns with popcorn etc in XO sauce

deepfried prawns with popcorn etc in XO sauce

the 避风塘prawns in XO sauce with garlic & almond flakes was very good too, a welcomed variation of the usual cereal prawns. 🙂

steamed red garoup shunde style

steamed red garoup shunde style

next we had a red garoupa shunde style. fish was very good. it was like teochew style with lots of tofu strips & steamed with suckling pig neck replacing the usual belly pork (didn’t see much diff there!).

tofu spinach with diced abalones & seafood

tofu spinach with diced abalones & seafood

next we had a spinach tofu (similar to Tunglok’s 三层楼) with diced abalone & seafood. great dish! 🙂

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the next eat for the suckling pig was a deep-fried (椒盐) meat. i liked it though i agreed with 1 friend that it might be even better to just chop up & eat the meat. 🙂

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the last before dessert was a porridge again using the suckling pig meat & bones…this was once again an excellent tasting dish-very smooth porridge & very sweet. 🙂

signature douhua with wolfberries

signature douhua with wolfberries

we ended with the signature douhua with wolfberries, and it was good. very smooth indeed!

S$288 6pax suckling pig 8-course dinner menu

S$288 6pax suckling pig 8-course dinner menu

according to 1 friend, this menu was popular when they introduced last year so they decided to repeat this year. we checked with the service personnel & they confirmed that was so & the current promotion would end Jul2013.

i think it was a truly excellent meal for the quality & quantity of food at this price. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

10pax Homegourmet 9-course Dinner on 1Jul2013

had a wonderful dinner get-together with friends on 1.7.2013. 🙂

got the usual faithful to come over to try out a few new dishes like Nobu miso cod, simmered crispy skin salmon &  kurobuta steak. 🙂 few other dishes like Jap chashu belly pork, funghi risotto, pistachio lamb etc, some have tried before but many have not.

10pax Homegourmet 9-course Dinner Menu

10pax Homegourmet 9-course Dinner Menu

i did a 9-course dinner – the first 4 were served as tapas for sharing, followed by baked funghi risotto & spicy seafood alio olio with white wine, and then 2 main courses Nobu miso cod & Spanish slow-braised beef ribs OR pistachio crusted rack of lamb, and finish off with the usual chocolate lava cake. 🙂

as i had learned earlier, everything was about planning, so planning what could be precooked & the cooking/reheating. serving sequence was the key. the kurobuta steak & wagyu of course had to pan-fry on the spot when all the diners arrived. likewise tossing of the mesclun salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar & sea salt only when about to serve. the best that could be done for risotto was to precook (mine was a baked version in oven) but still needed to add stock & cream, reheat & reduce w/o overcooking the rice. for the seafood alio olio, the prawn & squid & spaghetti were pre-cooked but the wine, reduction etc & tossing was best done on reheating, again to keep the pasta al dente w/o overcooking. 🙂 likewise the rack of lamb took 22mins in the oven, and i had to start that while reheating the risotto, so that the lamb could be served not too long after the spaghetti which came after the risotto. the beef ribs was precooked but needed reheating and the miso cod which took 11 mins had to be done after the lamb. 🙂

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first 2 tapas were pan roasted brined chicken breast & thigh (i used to serve only breast but seemed like many preferred thigh) and a sampling of pan-fried kurobuta steak & Japanese chashu oven slow-braised belly pork in mirin, sake, sugar & light soy sauce. these served together with mesclun salad. 🙂 after resting the meats & cutting, i saw that the kurobuta was slightly pink so i decided to re-fry 2 of the 3 pieces. that delayed the start of the dinner a bit, but seemed that many friends actually did not mind the less well done piece, so i think would be better to serve it just slightly pink (about medium well) next time. 🙂

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next up was pan-fried MBS 4/5 wagyu steak. the above left photo showed the kurobuta steak which looked more marbled than the wagyu. i did the wagyu medium rare at the centre, so it was a bit well at the ends. i think i would do it rare the next time. 🙂

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ebi miso yaki

as WL did not take beef (everytime he had to repeat the story, this time to Oonch), i did ebi miso yaki (the medium prawns were marinated in miso for 3 days & stored in the chiller) for him from the miso i made to use for Nobu miso cod. 🙂

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i did 2 fillet of salmon first simmered 8 mins skin-up in mirin, sake, sugar, then pan-fried to get the crispy skin. this dish was quite easily done & just needed to heat up before serving. i cut the 2 fillet into 10 bite-size pieces & served in a white bowl & just poured the slightly sweet tasty sauce over it.  the salmon did look nice & tasted quite ok, but i think it was kind of a “nothing” dish that just looked good but could do with or without. 🙂

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everyone liked the baked funghi risotto which had nice, intense mushroom flavour from button mushrooms & shimeji. this time the rice (i used a cheaper USA sushi rice & not real stuff – italian arborio rice) was al dente. JK felt it was too wet. that was because i did not estimate well the stock + cream to add on reheating but had to leave it wet as it would overcook before i could make it drier. 🙂

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next, spicy seafood spaghetti alio olio. so far this had turned out quite well in taste everytime & visuals too. 🙂

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then we had a choice the pistachio crusted rack of lamb (i cooked only 1 rack of 8ribs to serve 4) OR Spanish slow-braised beef ribs (which had 2x3ribs to serve 6). 🙂

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the Spanish ribs were inspired by a lunch last year at La Cicala with my son. my son preferred La Cicala’s beefy brown sauce. i decided though to pick up an internet recipe with a sweet vegetable ratatouille to balance the beefy ribs. i used carrots, celery, yellow onions, & red pepper, i did not get chorizo so substituted with chinese sausage & also used tumeric for the colour in place of expensive saffron. 🙂

Nobu miso cod

Nobu miso cod

the last main course was Nobu miso cod. like the rack of lamb, kurobuta, & wagyu, i got the cod from mmmm at West Coast Plaza. the key was to marinate in miso for 3days or more. the result was a very “jit bee” 入味 tasty cod.  the cod was firm, tasty & quite tender. my personal preference is a firm & springy (& oily) fish, so i like cod but i like chilean seabass a bit better, though it is not so environmentally correct to consume them. 🙂

chocolate lava cakes with cherries, strawberries & grapes

chocolate lava cakes with cherries, strawberries & grapes

the last up was chocolate lava cake. this took just 3mins 40secs in the oven so anything could go wrong. this time it was my phone timer (phone was in silent mode! OMT!) so i thought the first batch might turned out to be brownies.  but it turned out to be ok with quite a bit of lava. the second batch though had lots of lava.

c.h.e.f andy

Esquina Degustation Did Not Happen/Other Restaurant Promotions

6 of us had planned to go to esquina to try out the dinner tasting menu. the menu items (including beef tartar, beetroot salad, kingfish sashimi, scallop ceviche etc) & gallery photos from esquina website had looked awfully exciting & most alluring. 🙂

esquina is a tapas bar, sister of Pollen at Marina Bay by Jason Atherton who had worked with Gordon Ramsay in his restaurants including Maze in London for 10 years & received 1 michelin star within 6months of starting out Pollen Street Social at Mayfair London.

i called & emailed esquina to make a reservation for 6pax on a friday. there was no reply to the email (does not look like i will get a reply). when i called to reserve a table for 6pax, the person who answered said they do not take reservations as theirs is a walk-in tapas bar with counter seats.  i told him it was kind of difficult for me to arrange for 6pax to come and try out a S$95 tasting menu if we could not get a confirmed reservation & we have to eat at the counter trying to have conversation among the 6 of us. i asked for the manager and he replied that he was the manager, and the name was Ashburn when i asked for his name. he said perhaps we could be seated outside, so i asked if i could make a reservation for the outside table if there was one. he replied that he would check with the chef & revert to me. he never did – perhaps he was too busy or had misplaced my handphone number haha. 🙂

i decided to google hungrygowhere & tripadvisor (i had earlier saw 1 or 2 good reviews of esquina by bloggers before deciding to try out esquina with my friends). i must say that the majority of the reviews & comments were actually favourable. there was one that stood out rather ominously for us=Waited 1.5 hours for a table and food. Walked out. Scary! 

  • The biggest inconsistency I’ve found with Esquina is the service. I’ve visited 3 times and on the first occasion the service was horrendous. Rude and unaccommodating…. I guess it was stress from the busy Friday night

a second review helped me drop the idea altogether.  A great buzz and original tapas was actually an overall favourable review & i guess quite balanced as it included the not so good parts as well. the only reason i extracted the above was not to highlight the bad part but just that it was immediately relevant to our specific needs as we were going on a friday evening. 🙂

many things are a matter of matching expectations. the restaurant is probably right. if they are positioned as a walk-in tapas bar, and if that is well received by patrons, then they probably got it right. having introduced a 9-course tasting menu (& from the gallery photos a rather exciting array of dishes) perhaps to please its regular supporters & to introduce new patrons to its tapas dishes, whether they should extend the service to include a proper table degustation with full service experience is of course something for the restaurant to decide. 🙂

so it would be that the venue & setting are just NOT matching the needs for our dinner get-together – in the end, food is not everything & we cannot trust every food photo…if service & ambience are not right then the experience is not quite there..(will have to try esquina another time)..

i found though a few other restaurant promotions so giving an update here-

  1. sichuandouhua at Parkroyal has a second anniversary celebration Suckling Pig Feast set at S$288 for 6pax (& S$48.80pax) until 31.7.2013, with added 20% discount for UOB cards.
  2. Oso has a amex 5-course set dinner at S$78 (usual S$98) until 31.12.2013.
  3. Xin Cusine has continued the very good set i reviewed here=S$118 1 for 1 Lobster & Abalaone Set until 18.8.2013.
  4. Azmaya is still offering its 50% discount for wagyu/pork shabu shabu & now sukiyaki (S$45pax & S$50 respectively after discount) all-you-can-eat shabu shabu for the month of sep2013 (updated on 14.9.2013)

well, for this friday, we will be going to sichuandouhua. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

10,000 Hits in <4 Months

my blog past 10,000 hits on 1Jul2013, less than 4 months from start. 🙂

today, exactly 4 months from 4mar2013, there were 10,308 hits, of which 7,878 (76.4%) were from Singapore, and the rest from 65 other countries.

i started chefquak as a food blog to relish, record and share my fun moments & joy in cooking, eating out & get-togethers with family & close friends & of course occasional musings on Perspectives on living, eating, cooking & on Fundonate (later i added also my travelogue including travel destinations & eats). 🙂 this will continue to be my single focus & motivation.

the internet & youtube have empowered & liberated so many, & i have learned to cook several decent dishes in a short time entirely by checking out internet & video recipes & learning from the experiences of friends & mostly strangers who shared their knowledge & skills on the internet & sometimes from great eating out places. likewise for travel destinations & eats.

so it will be great if my own experiments & mistakes are also of some use to others who may visit my blog as i have gained in learning from others’ experiences. 🙂

so thanks again everyone for stopping by my blog, and if you should enjoy my blog, please do visit & “Like” my Chef=cookhangouteatfun Facebook Page as well. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy