Superdeal Maybank 1 for 1 Set Lunch @ Bistro du vin Zion Road on 20Dec2013

grilled lamb ribs with lentils

grilled lamb ribs with lentils

maybank repeated the 1 for 1 set super lunch deal with les amis group’s bistro du vin. 4 of us had lunch at the zion road branch on 20.12.2013. it was an excellent 3-course lunch plus coffee normally priced at S$26pax. with maybank 1 for 1 we paid S$61 for 4pax lunch including 2 reds (1 glass of wine for 2pax). 🙂 this was even better than the great lunch we had at bistro du vin shaw branch on 18.11.2013.

bistro du vin zion road was located at the previous coffee shop next to nasi padang river valley & split the space with their sister restaurant peperoni pizzeria. it was small & cosy with added al fresco sitting, quite a wine bistro ambience i guess.

we met another friend who was there for lunch also on a 4pax table. soon afterwards, another friend arrived with her family also a 4pax table. 🙂

leek & potato soup with breaded oysters

leek & potato soup with breaded oysters

endives salad in french dressing

endives salad in french dressing

red wine escargot, fried egg & crispy bacon

red wine escargot, fried egg & crispy bacon

there were wide choices for appetisers, mains & dessert. i had the rabbit terrine (good too) last time at shaw branch, so picked the leek & potato soup with breaded oysters. i always like cream of leek & potato. this was certainly competent, and the breaded oysters (kaki furai) were excellent, very tasty & good batter. my friend liked the endives salad with some blue cheese. another friend picked the escargot in red wine with crispy bacon. it was good too. 🙂

duck leg confit

duck leg confit

seafood boullabaise

seafood boullabaise

beer beef short ribs with mash

beer beef short ribs with mash

i ordered grilled lamb ribs on a bed of lentils (top photo) for main. it was excellent. lamb was flavourful & fork tender. another friend ordered beer beef short ribs with mash. i had that at shaw branch, it was competent but not my favourite. 2 other friends ordered the duck leg confit & seafood bouillabaisse, both were popular diners’  choices. 🙂 i would probably try the bouillabaisse next time.

apple crumble, roasted apple ice cream

apple crumble, roasted apple ice cream

pear tart pastry with slated caramel ice cream

pear tart pastry with slated caramel ice cream

chocolate with magdaleine

chocolate with madaleine

2 friends had the apple crumble (i had that at shaw branch & it was good!). i had the pear tart on puff pastry with salted caramel. i liked it, though i would probably go back to apple crumble next time. the madaleine this time was good, unlike that at shaw branch which was dense & not fresh.

a friend on the another table who had tried the lamb ribs at shaw felt that the food at zion road was better than shaw, & another friend had said previously that the service was a lot better. i agreed with both. i thought the ambience was more cosy & the service was significantly better. every server was responsive & communicated well to our queries on menu, & even agreed to let us extend the maybank discounts to another 2 friends (there was a limit of 3 redemptions each time) at the next table who came w/o knowing about the promotion though in the end that was not needed as they also had the maybank card themselves (& were allowed to use it) only that they did not know about the promotion.

so my 2 thumbs up for the really excellent service. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Very Cheap French Fare @ Bistro Du Vin on 18Nov2013

grilled ribeye

200g 200-day australian grain-fed char-grilled ribeye

3-course set lunch menu include coffee

3-course set lunch menu include coffee

update = wow, had even better deal at bistro du vin zion road on 20.12.2013!

our dining quartet decided to take advantage of maybank 1 for 1 set lunch promotion & dined at bistro du vin on 18.11.2013. the usual price for a 3-course set lunch including coffee was S$30pax.  the menu had quite wide choices. there were couple items like pan-seared foie gras & 200day grain fed ribeye that required supplement – quite reasonable unlike some places where 1 in 2 items required supplement, however the supplement were separately billed & not entitled to the 50% discount. 🙂

baked camembert with apples, bacon, sourdough

baked camembert with apples, bacon, sourdough

foie gras ravioli

foie gras ravioli

leek & potato soup with deep fried oysters

leek & potato soup with deep fried oysters

rabbit terrine

rabbit terrine

seafood bouillabaise

seafood bouillabaise

duck confit & lamb sausage

duck confit & lamb sausage

beef short ribs stewed in beer

beef short ribs stewed in beer

i love leek & potato soup (& especially this one came with 2 kaki furai – japanese breaded oysters). however i was distracted by the rabbit terrine & ordered that. it was good, tasty, competent. i was happy with it. 🙂

1 friend ordered the leek & potato soup which came with 2 deep-fried oysters & was good as expected.

1 friend ordered the foie gras ravioli (the pink sauce didn’t look great or very appetizing to me like the beautiful pumpkin ravioli at al borgo did, but i think it tasted fine). the other ordered the baked camembert with sour dough. it looked ok but my friend said it was not as good as the other bistro du vin outlet at great world city.

for the main course, i ordered the beef ribs stewed in beer. again it was competent & the mash too, though in comparison my own spanish beef ribs was better because i had a very sweet & tasty vegetable ratatouille to match/balance the fork tender beef ribs whereas this one was very beefy & robust.

1 friend had the duck confit. he thought the black sheep cafe’s was better. 1 had the seafood bouillabaise with fish, clams, mussels, prawns. she said the fish was not great. anyway, bouillabaise & duck confit not my favourite. the smartest among us ordered the 200g 200-day australian grain-fed char-grilled ribeye – a S$10 supplement with no discount.it was ok really for the quality meat. i could smell the steak when it was served, & i had a small piece & it was excellent. 🙂

petit pot chocolate with magdaleine

petit pot chocolate with magdaleine

creme brulee

creme brulee

caramelised apple crumble, roasted apple ice cream

caramelised apple crumble, roasted apple ice cream

for dessert, i & another friend had the caramelised apple & raisin crumble with roasted apple ice cream. it was good, though it would please the eye better served on a dessert plate or long dessert dish. 1 friend had creme brulee which was recommended by the waiter & which she obviously enjoyed. the other had chocolate madaleine. the madaleine texture looked dense. i was about to say the ones at esso station looked better but my friend beat me to it. so this dessert was not good. 🙂 i had cuppaccino & my other friends had coffee.

overall, at normal S$30pax for 3-course set lunch including coffee, the food was competent enough & i didn’t consider it expensive. with maybank 1 for 1 discounts, the lunch was S$15pax (excluding the supplement) with 2 free wine for 4pax, well you could not get that at a hawker centre or coffee shop. so it was very cheap & great value.

c/w au jardin which served a S$45pax 3-course set lunch include coffee (there was also a S$65pax menu), which was also having the maybank 1 for 1 promotion including wine, i would return to au jardin (which i was to happy to pay full price at other time) rather than bistro du vin. the latter was competent & average whereas au jardin was fine dining in both food & presentation (& of course quite different ambience). eg my lamb saddle was exquisite, even better than many good lamb racks i had before.

on the service, bistro du vin was ok. the young male server was quite knowledgeable & responsive & answered my several questions on menu items & selection. 1 of my dining companion had poor opinion of the service though because he did not offer the wine to us automatically but only when asked & he replied that most people did not take wine during lunch. the attitude i think was ok, but maybe the training on managing customers was lacking here. but overall, the service again was competent & in my opinion rather better than many similar places.

au jardin’s service was of course much better. the staff were much better trained & professional, but then it was a different class restaurant so not apt comparison. 1 younger au jardin male staff though appeared to be not so great in his service attitude.

c.h.e.f andy

Nikujaga=Japanese Braised Beef with Potatoes

nikujaga = japanese braised beef brisket

nikujaga = japanese braised beef brisket

was planning for a japanese theme dinner next month for friends & looking up recipes. i do a good miso belly pork & nobu miso cod currently, and my pan-fried angus or wagyu steak is a crowd favourite. so was thinking to add a braised beef starter & reading up the nikujaga (japanese braised beef & potatoes) recipe which used brisket or beef ribs, and the equivalent korean galbi jim recipe. 🙂 another dish i thought of adding was karei no nitsuke (simmered flatfish). that would make it a good 5-course dinner.

nikujaga = japanese braised beef brisket

nikujaga = japanese braised beef brisket

i had a 350g beef brisket in the freezer which i had intended to try out hong kong styled clear beef brisket soup (清汤牛腩) but had not started. & i had the other ingredients in the kitchen so this was an easy dish to prepare & cook. 🙂

i cleaned & diced the brisket to 1in pieces, and diced the carrot,potato, sliced the yellow onions & cut the bunch of spring onions in 2in stalks + slices for garnishing. i also sliced a 1in ginger & had 2 teaspoon minced garlic ready. for the braising sauce, i mixed the mirin, sake, light soy sauce & white sugar in a bowl.

i added 1 tablespoon oil to a dutch oven & added ginger, garlic & the diced brisket to lightly brown over medium heat, then added the braising sauce + water (can use chicken or vege stock) to cover the beef, and brought to boil. i transferred to an induction heater & set to 200W (which was enough to simmer & not boil off the water too quickly). i braised for 1.5hrs & added the carrot, potato & spring onion stalks, and braised for a further 3/4hrs, so total time about21/4hrs. reduced the liquids to get a more intense flavour but enough not to dry up. when the potatoes broke when pressed against the wall of the dutch oven, the braise was ready. i garnished with sliced green onions & served.

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 350g beef brsikets
  • 1 large carrot (diced 1in pieces)
  • 1 large potato (diced 1 in pieces)
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • few stalks of spring onions (cut 2in pieces + sliced for garnishing)
  • 1in ginger (sliced)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp cooking sake
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Directions:

  1. prepare – clean & dice the brisket to 1in pieces, and dice the carrot,potato, slice the yellow onions & cut the bunch of spring onions in 2in stalks + slices for garnishing. slice a 1in ginger & have 2 teaspoon minced garlic ready. for the braising sauce, mix the mirin, sake, light soy sauce & white sugar in a bowl.
  2. cook – add 1 tablespoon oil to a dutch oven & add ginger, garlic & the diced brisket to lightly brown over medium heat, then add the braising sauce + water (can use chicken or vege stock) to cover the beef and bring to boil. transfer to an induction heater & set to 200W (enough to simmer & not boil off the water too quickly). keep braising for 1.5hrs & add carrot, potato & spring onion stalks, and braise for a further 3/4hrs, so total time about 2 & 1/4hrs. reduce the liquids to get a more intense flavour but maintain enough not to dry up. when the potatoes break when pressed against the wall of the dutch oven, the braise is ready to serve. garnish with sliced spring onion.

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

Homegourmet 8-Course Lunch @ 14Mar2013

Picture1

I had another homegourmet 9pax lunch with friends recently.

I had quite some success on the pan-roasted brined chicken breast recipe, and was raring to try it on duck. 🙂 I wanted to test it once before I dumped the dish on my friends.  I did this using both the pan-roasted chicken quick-roast method & the prime rib slow-roast method successfully, the slow-roast method producing an even more tender meat.

The slow-roast pork belly was still a work-in-progress. It turned up very well for my daughter’s 14pax friends lunch on CNY 3rd Day, but I felt it was still mostly touch & go. I would not have time to do on 14Mar if it turned up poorly so I did it in the evening of 13Mar & as it was passable if not great so I kept it in the fridge to warm up & serve the next day.

For the soup. I had been doing a “kick-ass” …self-praise haha…Basque seafood soup using prawn shells but was a bit tired of doing the same soup every time. I looked up some creamy mushroom soup recipe and thought it could not go too far wrong and was worth a gamble, since I had on hand willing devoted risk-taker volunteers high on faith. 🙂

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

skin-on pan-roasted brined duck breast

We started off with 4 tapas – (a) pan-roasted brined chicken breast (b)slow-roast brined duck breast (c)slow-roast pork belly & (d) Margaret River wagyu MBS6/7+angus striploin.

I think all were happy with the brined chicken breast & duck breast (except that I was rushing a little & destroyed the crispy skin of the chicken quite badly, I relaxed and did it right for the duck). They were moist, tender & tasty! 🙂 The belly pork was a bit iffy. This was a rather fatty piece & though the fat & meat were quite soft, the skin was still a tad tough to the bite, so the “mouth feel” 口感 wasn’t quite right. Fortunately, the natural jus was quite tasty & the Spanish spicy mustard sauce was a very good dip to go together with.

I thought the wagyu was below par. I had better marbling for MBS4/5 striploin from the same supplier mmmm previously for the “Best of” dinner on 28Jan2013 (of course my friends would say its the bad carpenter..haha). The rockets were also not good. I forgot to buy on 13Mar & there was no time to get it on 14Mar so went at 1am the night before to Sheng Shiong’s 24hr mart at Ghim Moh & the only ones there were quite old & not fresh. 😦

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I had a separate portion of 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops for WL as he does not take beef. It should be quite ok now that I learned the simple technique=very hot pan +very dry scallop (scallops & fish etc contain a lot of water & if not bone dry, pan temperature will drop sharply & you will be steaming/poaching & will not have a hardened seared layer so it will stick to the pan). 🙂

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

pan-seared Hokkaido scallops

After the tapas, we had a pasta item, which was my seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine. I was quite confident on the taste department as this dish mostly turned up quite well but I thought the texture was not enough al dente this time. 😦

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine

Next came my very first attempt at creamy mushroom soup, and gratefully it turned up very well indeed – really quite smooth in texture and tasty – though from the photo below, I could see the caramelised mushrooms but NOT few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

creamy mushroom soup

creamy mushroom soup

The pistachio rusted rack of lamb was also my very first attempt, and this was quite an excitement for me actually. The lamb rack looked fabulous & tasted great! although I found it slightly overdone as I would prefer medium rare. It was moist, tender and did not have much of  the strong lamb gamey taste. 🙂

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

pistachio crusted rack of lamb

The 8-ribs lamb rack was good for 4 serving, and being my first attempt it was actually a stand-in for my more “established” Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs. This had been very good the few times I served previously, but the taste was a bit off this time, & we were at a lost to explain (other than bad carpenter). The vegetable base ratatouille (celery, carrots, yellow onions) should be sweet & balancing the beefy taste, the Chinese sausage added some sweetness & the chorizo (though may not be everyone’s favourite) had combined very well previously.  I thought that it could be the chuck rib itself, though I bought it from Giant the day before, but I could not be sure how long it was on their shelves. Photo below still looked ok but looks deceived 😦

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Spanish 2-hr slow-braised beef ribs

We had the usual chocolate lava cake.  I was getting a bit bored though, hoping to try out a new soufle recipe next time.

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WL brought very nice tarts and CH his usual strawberries & this time it was especially sweet. All the leftover tarts were polished off by my daughters soon enough. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

“Best Of” Dinner on 28Jan2013

ANDY'S HOMECOOKED 10 COURSE 10PAX -BEST OF- DINNER MENU MONDAY 28 JANUARY 2013 c.h.e.fandy

Gathered my gung-ho friends for a meal at my most recent homecooked dinner on 28Jan2013.

“Best Of” refers to the different dishes (French, Spanish, Italian, fusion) I was trying out in the MENU above, NOT that I was best in any of them..lol..I had 3 pan-seared Hokkaido scallops made for a friend who couldn’t take wagyu, & mercifully they turned up very well after I learned of the very simple technique from chef John of foodwishes.com (just make sure the scallops are bone dry at room temperature & the non stick pan is very hot – scallops & fish etc tend to have lots of water & if not dry, then pan temperature will drop instantly and you end up steaming & NOT searing the meat!). 

This was also the first time I tried my skin-on pan-roasted chicken breast on my friends and they all loved it. The slow roast belly pork was still very much a work-in-progress BUT the saving grace was the spicy, sour Spanish mustard sauce. 🙂 This, together with the original sauce from the belly pork made very lovely dips.

Skin-on pan-roasted brined chicken breast

Skin-on pan-roasted brined chicken breast

The Margaret River wagyu striploin with marbling score 4/5 (while pale in comparison with Japanese wagyu), was 1 of the dinner highlights & garnered many supporters. 🙂 I did it the GR (Gordon Ramsay) way – leave steak at room temperature for 1/2 hr, greased non-stick pan with fat from striploin, very high heat, turnover once & add butter, then rest for 5minutes before cutting.

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Margaret River wagyu MBS 4/5

The garlic jumbo prawns (these are 130g size – 10 prawns=1.3 kg) is one of my regular dishes, done with just minced garlic & chilli padi in a dry wok in very high heat, and only adding fish sauce at the very end before removing & serve.

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Garlic jumbo prawns 130g each

I also had a very smooth & sweet tasting Basque seafood soup using stock from prawn shells + chicken stock + leek, carrot & onions strained, adding poached prawn, sotong (squid) and mussels when serving.

Next up were the 2 pastas. The seafood alio olio spaghetti with white wine is my usual fare, and this time I added a fusion pasta using a chilli crab sauce I prepared from the prawn shell stock.

The main course was a Spanish 2hr slow-cooked beef ribs with chorizos, celery, carrots, red peppers, yellow onions & using just a dash of tumeric for the colour. They all loved this very tender & tasty dish.

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Spansh slow-cooked beef ribs with chorizos

And after all that, we still had room for a very nice chocolate lava cake (my usual fare) to round out the evening.

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Chocolate lava cake oozing lava served with strawberries

c.h.e.f andy