Good but Expensive Dinner @ aPompei on 21Nov2014

florentine steak - S$88

florentine steak – S$88

we were thinking of a place to go for 5pax family dinner on a friday w/o too much hassle on traffic & parking. decided to try the new restaurant aPompei at 6th avenue on 21.11.2014. 🙂

restaurant only started a week ago, according to chef mimo, who was from al borgo. we liked the florentine steak at al borgo by chef mim0. my wife recently had that at al borgo & she said it’s no longer good, so we were looking forward to having the good florentine steak here. 🙂

chef mimo was friendly & chatty, and we had always liked his food. so we decided to order his recommendations & let him organise the dinner. 🙂

food was good as we expected. price though was a bit expensive.

bread to start

bread to start

bread in most italian diners were mostly just baguette with olive oil/balsamic dip, nothing fancy like top restaurants.

antipasti - S$72

antipasti – S$72

antipasti - S$72

antipasti – S$72

the antipasti was a huge serving. it was good, with parma ham, good quality salami (my wife normally does not take salami but she was ok with this one), buffalo mozzarella, another cheese & olives.

we found out only later when we had the bill that the antipasti cost S$72 (since we left it in the hands of chef mimo). this was way too expensive for an antipasti for 2 guys & 3 ladies.

i am just guessing that maybe we were charged 3 portions=S$24×3. if we had ordered ourselves, we would have ordered just 1 portion. it was not about the price of the antipasti but whether we would spent S$72 for a very large portion or used the same money to order 2 more pastas etc.

focaccia

complimentary focaccia

we had a complimentary focaccia, topped with cherry tomatoes. in fact we thought it was better than the seafood pizza. we saw on the menu it cost S$13.

mussels - S$28

mussels – S$28

mussels - S$28

mussels – S$28

the mussels was very good. i felt it was expensive at S$28. i could do very good mussels myself, but i used the cheap mussels from sheng shiong. these mussels here were of course the better variety. 🙂

vongole - S$28

vongole – S$28

vongole

vongole – S$28

the vongole was very good also. the spaghetti were very al dente. somehow it cost more than S$24 on the menu? this is also a dish i do well, and sometimes i can get mango clams from sheng shiong which i think is better than la la (littleneck clams).

seafood pizza

seafood pizza

the seafood pizza was good, but we felt the cheaper focaccia (complimentary by chef mimo) was better. 🙂

florentine steak - S$88

florentine steak – S$88

& the 600g florentine steak. this was our favourite & it was as good as the one at al borgo of old (though my wife said it was no longer so). al borgo charged S$60 initially but raised to S$75 last year. it was S$88 here. i guess the price was not cheap but ok as long as the standard is kept. 🙂

complimentary dessert

complimentary dessert

chef mimo offered us 2 complimentary sponge cakes. the texture felt a bit like tiramisu (moist) but chef mimo said it was sponge cake. they were good but these tended to be quite sweet.

the dinner for 5pax (2guys, 3 ladies) cost S$350nett including a S$62 bottle wine. wine was good & priced similar to what you get at a good restaurant. 🙂

i felt the dinner was overly expensive at about S$56nett excluding the wine. if the antipasti was 1 portion at S$24++, price would be S$45pax nett, which was still not cheap but i guess ok for the food.

anyway, we were overall happy with the food, even though price was on the expensive side & it had cost a lot more than if we had ordered from the menu, which is what we would do next time. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Mille Crepe & Lady M Cakes on 8Sep2014

lady M's cheese cake

lady M’s cheese cake

on the day the 6 of us had lunch at nuvo on 8.9.2014, we planned also to try out the mille crepe at lady M confections, which came under the same caerus holding group. caerus was set up in 2008 as a wine distribution company in India, Maldives and Malaysia & moved into the crowded f&b business a year later.

we adjourned from nuvo to lady M which was conveniently located next to the escalator at the dining edition with direct access to the car park. 🙂

lady M's mille crepe

lady M’s mille crepe

we ordered the mille crepe & a gateau nuage plus some drinks.

a few of us had lady M couple times before. the last i had though was already some time off, when a friend brought a mille crepe to a dinner at alborgo on 22.11.2013.  the cream was light & not too sweet. it was for sure a nice cake but actually overall there was a lot of cream in it. i actually prefers the ritz apple strudel as i liked a fluffier texture to go with that much cream (even if light) & the apple to jazz it up.

gateau nuage translates to “cloud cake”. it was nice too, a light cheese cake with a cinnamon graham cracker crust with a thin layer of sweetened sour cream to give it a silky finish.

i generally don’t mind cheese cakes. this one was good, but did not hold any special attraction (say) like the cheese cake i had at honey & co, londonrecently on 22.8.2014. my own tofu cheesecake does not look the class but is lighter w/o the crepe pastry & also jazzed up with lemon & yogurt. 🙂

the prices were not cheap. it was though the going price of cakes & coffees for such ambience & location. not a place i would usually go.

c.h.e.f andy

 

Squid-ink Seafood Spaghetti

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

reserved the squid-ink pouch in the freezer when i was cooking a grilled large squid. there was also a defrosted squid in the chiller & couple prawns which needed to be used before the head turned black, so decided to cook squid-ink pasta. this my first attempt. 🙂

squid-ink seafood linguine

squid-ink seafood linguine-added 24.10.2014

i used the squid-ink from 3 squids, from the large one & 2 medium ones.

squid-ink linguine with clams & squid

squid-ink linguine with clams & squid – added 24.10.2014

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

squid ink manila clams with squid spaghetti

squid-ink linguine with clams & squid

squid-ink linguine with clams & squid – added 24.10.2014

as usual i browned a whole bulb of garlic cloves in olive oil over low fire, and set aside. i seasoned the prawns & squid in 1 teaspoon fish sauce & white pepper. i added 2 teaspoon butter to the pan & turned to high fire till it just began to smoke, then i added the squid & prawns & cooked to about 90%. i removed the squid & prawns & added back the garlic olive oil & added 1 chopped chilli padi and the squid ink. then i added white wine & 1 teaspoon sugar & reduced.

meanwhile i boiled some spaghetti till just before specified time (just before al dente). i added back the squid & prawns & then the spaghetti, off the fire & tossed.

it was a really good squid-ink pasta, really tasty. i would say matching in taste the squid-ink pasta at al borgo. well almost la. haha! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Lovely Italian Food & Service @ Al Borgo on 22Nov2013

florentine steak

florentine t-bone steak

my 2 close buddies insisted on buying my wife birthday dinner on 22.11.2013, even though it was 2 weeks after due to various schedules. 🙂

we decided on al borgo, which another friend had introduced us at 1 of our earlier G8 dinners. i went there with my family many times afterwards and sometimes ordered the squid ink pasta & florentine steak takeout. i had not tried al borgo though for most of this year.

vini rosso feudi di san gregorio

vini rosso feudi di san gregorio

al borgo charges S$30 for corkage but if you buy a bottle then the second bottle is free corkage. 1 friend picked up a jacob creek moscato & he orderd an italian red feudi di san gregorio. another friend took the trouble to pick up a mille crepe from Lady M. she later had problem catching a cab to the restaurant. i would usually pick her up but this evening i was not sure of my wife’s timing & we made it to the restaurant just on time. 🙂

parma ham pizza

parma ham pizza

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce

squid ink seafood tagliatele

squid ink seafood tagliatele

florentine t-bone steak

florentine t-bone steak

i ordered a few of our favourite dishes.

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce was an excellent starter. portobello was nicely grilled & flavourful & the crab meat pink sauce was excellent, pretty to look at & tasty. 🙂

parma ham pizza was good too. parma ham was a favourite for many of us (a friend commented it was not so dry when served on a warm pizza than as antipasti though personally i liked the latter more). it made for a fine combination of dishes for the evening though i had no special thing for pizza. 🙂

we ordered 2 servings of seafood squid ink tagliatele to share among 5pax. they were very good as usual, quite a bit of prawns & squid & the nice flavour of creamy squid ink went very well with the pasta. 🙂

next was the florentine steak (we waited quite a while for this item as the restaurant was quite full). this was a 700g t-bone steak (new york strip on 1 side & tenderloin on the other). it was S$60 before, now S$75, just as the squid ink was S$22 before & now S$25.

it came together with very nice grilled potatoes & mesclun salad & a dip of balsamic vinegar & olive oil (maybe with the grilled juices). it was still good though for this night, the meat was a bit tougher than what we had here many times before. being greedy, i ordered a second serving, and though we polished up everything, i thought afterwards i would have done better ordering the S$38 250g ribeye steak instead. 🙂

millecrepe cake

millecrepe cake

the mille crepe was the new hit in town. it was like kueh lapis, with many thin layers of pastry interleaved with cream & custard, very labour intensive to make & obviously very costly. it was not too sweet. we all liked it especially my 2 friends who had this recently at another birthday. 🙂 for my personal preference though i would prefer a ritz apple strudel which has apple in addition to cream custard & pastry.

the service at al borgo was super! nicola, the restaurant manager (he took over from luigi) was friendly, chatty & constantly at our table & mimmo (the chef) came many times & took several photos with us including with his “brother”,  my good friend who had the same hairdo as mimmo. he even recommended the wine. 🙂 they also arranged for parking redemption for my 2 friends (never knew they had that, so i parked my car along the road with single yellow line though as there were quite a bit of construction going on, i had to park my car a bit further up the road). & the servers, kumar & 2 ladies, were also very friendly, attentive fun & cheerful (an important trait in service business).  my wife was commenting on the generation change in the image of chefs. they used to be haughty & temperamental, scowling in their kitchen fiefdom, now they are reinventing to be like warm, gracious inviting hosts.

dinner was S$430 with wine, about S$338 w/o wine & just S$250 for 5pax if i had not ordered a second florentine steak. 🙂

the evening (& the whatsapp messages afterwards) was filled with conversation, laughter & fun. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

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

20130217_131710

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. 🙂

20130217_131721

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