Cheap & Authentic Italian @ la Botte Stresa on 29Aug2014

€9 funghi pasta

€9 funghi pasta

we went to villa taranto & mottarone cable car on the second day, and decided to go to la botte (which was like 50m from hotel elena) for dinner. we got our hotel to book 2pax table for us on 29.8.2014 7pm.

we were there at 6.55pm. there was a queue about 10pax including us. the others did not have reservations. the restaurant was filled up quickly.

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

we ordered the €9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef) & the €9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese.

the cold meat platter was a monstrous serving. the meats were good but it’s something i would like just 2 or 3 slices so it was not a good idea for 2pax unless you did not want to try other starters. also it killed the tastebuds for other more subtle dishes like the fungi pasta. it was very generous for €9 & would be great for like 4pax.

the beef carpaccio did not look great but the taste was excellent with the truffle scented melted cheese. it was better than the usual more classy looking ones with rockets & extra virgin olive oil & balsamic. 🙂

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

the €9 creamy fungi pasta was good, but i felt the cold meat platter aftertaste killed off my appreciation of this more subtle dish.

the tagliata di manzi was kind of ordinary but good for €15, and so much arugula. we had to cancel 1 order of lamb ravioli as we had too much food already & would not really enjoyed it.

my son was also eyeing the guy next to us who was having nice grilled lamb chops. certainly there were several items on the menu we would be happy to come again to try. for me personally it was important to bypass the cold meat next time & enjoy some of the other great dishes here.

the service was indifferent to impatient, not outright rude but they didn’t really need us…it’s no different from any nazi chefs in Singapore where people go just to have the food, in fact probably slightly better. 🙂 the table wine was undrinkable, better to pay for better wine or just pay for bottled water.

the dinner cost about €50 including a 500ml carafe of table wine.

c.h.e.f andy

Advertisements

Quality + Great Value Alacarte Buffet @ Zen on 21Jul2014

salmon sashimi

salmon sashimi

bought 2xS$33.80 groupons & went with sis to zen at ue square for ala carte lunch buffet on 21.7.2014. 🙂

normal lunch buffet is priced at S$42++pax. i had also taken their lunch sets starting from S$16++pax (but some years back) & they were pretty good. quality of food & cooking had always been good here.

for the ala carte buffet, the main event was the wagyu shabu shabu. there was also pork & whole array of jap dishes. only set back was the lack of good sashimi other than salmon for the buffet. you could order them as additional ala carte orders & they were at good discounted prices too e.g. what looked liked a very good 10 piece sushi set was going for like S$18. i wouldn’t order that while i was having a alacarte buffet lunch though.

aburi salmon sushi & maguro susghi

aburi salmon sushi & maguro susghi

aburi salmon sushi

aburi salmon sushi

the salmon sashimi was good, probably about chikuwatei & momoya standard. anyway these days many places served good salmon sashimi. the aburi salmon sushi & maguro sushi were both good but the rice was so huge you could not order more w/o leaving the rice. anyway i set aside the rice for later dishes like the kimchi buta & ebi ika basil dish. 🙂

kaki hoba yaki

kaki hoba yaki

breaded oyster

breaded oyster

both the broiled oysters & the breaded oysters were good. we did not order additional as could not finish so much food!

also ordered 2 pieces ebi tempura (forgot to take pictures). good too. flour a bit much. we did not add orders.

steak

steak

steak

steak

unlike the sister restaurant en japanese dining bar, they did not serve beef carpaccio, but the wafu steak was really very good, very tender & sweet.

thai style basil prawns & squid

thai style basil prawns & squid

kimchi buta

kimchi buta

the 2 thai & korean dishes showed the quality of cooking here. kimchi buta was just ok but with lots of pork & belly pork. the basil prawns & squid was very good, the standerd of a good thai restaurant. i kept my rice for these dishes. 🙂

zen at UE square

zen at UE square

shabu shabu

shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

10306771_10152553056884494_4685666459049624998_n

vege set for shabu shabu

for the main event wagyu shabu shabu, the beef was excellent. perhaps azmaya was better. hard to tell, but this was very good anyway. 🙂

it came in 1/2 & full portion (200g). we had the full portion for 2pax but could not add more. we also ordered 1/2 portion belly pork. it was just 6 slices & it was very good. we just could not add more.

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

decided to take 1/2 portion of unagi chahan to share. it was still very large portion & we took about 70%. it was very flavourful with unagi pieces but no better than a good fried rice at imperial treasure or crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

creme brûlée

creme brûlée

also shared a tofu cheese cake & a creme brûlée. both were good. creme brûlée a bit sweeter & we did not finish it.

the normal weekday lunch buffet price is S$42++pax & dinner S$52++pax. still ok i guess if you take a lot of beef. the S$33.80nett groupon deal was of course superb value. 🙂

just to add that the service was overall good. not always the most attentive, but very polite friendly when they served you. ice water was free unlike other places (tajimaya does not serve tap water & charges S$5.90 for 1 litre bottled water), so the S$33.80 groupon was all we paid.

c.h.e.f andy

Great Brunch Mini Kaiseki @ Keyaki (quick update) on 27Oct2013

teriyaki cod

teriyaki cod

1392548_10151937112689494_1459600757_n 1385295_10151937112754494_1464708928_n

(we had a superb S$58 november lunch kaiseki @ kuriya dining on 16.11.2013 & the food was much better than this).

a quick update. last had excellent brunch here on 18.8.2013. everything was good as before. the mini kaiseki brunch was truly good quality & great value. thumbs up! 🙂

kobachi 小钵 - some pickled radish

kobachi 小钵 – some pickled radish

sake

sake

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

good tempura moriawase

good tempura moriawase

aussie beef teppanyaki

aussie beef teppanyaki

kagoshima pork

kagoshima pork – better than beef!

maki

maki

1375856_10151937113034494_1032199507_n1382400_10151937113604494_1001546_n

kuro goma ice-cream

kuro goma ice-cream

menu items same as before. sashimi (kajiki, sake, maguro) were good quality – sweet & fresh! cahwanmushi was very good – very smooth & tasty! tempura also was among the good ones. the teriyaki cod was the best – good helping & really nice! i must try this at home! 🙂

the teppanyaki beef tenderloin rare was good, but the kagoshima pork was better! 🙂

& we had 3 pieces of maki. nice too.

we asked, & they let us changed to black sesame ice cream, but the macha ice cream was good here too! 🙂

for S$60++pax, it was really very good value for the quality of food. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Affordable Eats @ Kyoto 17-21May2013

super-value Japanese beef (国产牛) teishoku (set) at 900yen

super-value beef teishoku (set) at 900yen

not every meal has to be kuroge wagyu, teppanyaki course or expensive sashimi. there are lots of great value meals to be had in Kyoto, Tokyo or anywhere in Japan. 🙂

DSCN5101 DSCN5102

on the first night of our arrival on 17.5.2013 we chanced upon a very interesting eat at Teramachi/Kawaramachi corner just opposite Takashimaya called 百练 (it is at level 2 of a small building). It  was kind of a family-style izakaya 居酒屋- we were the only non-Japanese around. we visited again at dinner on 21.5.2013, and we were still the only non-Japanese around..haha. 🙂

I ordered this super-value beef teishoku (set). I asked for medium rare & it was nicely done & tasty. It came with the gohan aka rice set including pickles & miso soup.  the beef was served with some pasta (which were ok but irrelevant) – all these for just 900yen. 🙂

DSCN4916

pork shabu shabu for 1500yen

DSCN4917 DSCN4915

my sis ordered a pork shabu shabu for 1500yen. It was NOT kurobuta but it was really good, very sweet & tasty. 🙂

thick-cut bacon with asparagus for 500yen

thick-cut bacon with asparagus for 500yen

I saw that our neighbour, a Japanese couple, ordered what looked like ham & asparagus dish, so when we went back 2 nights later, I managed(despite the lack of communications) to get the chef to do up this dish – which was a thick-cut bacon & asparagus for 500yen – it was very good! 🙂

DSCN4907 DSCN4905 DSCN4906

on arriving on 17.5.2013, we visited Tofukuji then Uji. 🙂 on the way back to Uji JR station about 3+pm, we decided to share a set as a late & light lunch, & was lucky to pick out this rather nice 1580yen set at a 中华料理. the tempura was good, and so was the sashimi & the 2 side dishes – one was just egg, the other was rather more elaborate, and nice too! 🙂

DSCN5115

690yen set @ Yayoiken-kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato croquette, tofu, egg & vege etc

DSCN5113

690yen set @ Yayoiken-kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato croquette, tofu, egg & vege etc

DSCN5111DSCN5118DSCN5112

on 20.5.2013, before setting off for our hike from Kurama (鞍马) to Kibune (贵船), we were looking for a place for early lunch and found this joint Yayoiken @ Kawaramachi. 🙂

the meal was just 690yen, and was quite good too, with kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato korokke (croquette), tofu, egg & vege etc 🙂 maybe Singapore should consider this meal ticket machine system common in Japan. it’s very labour efficient & staff have no need to manage cash too. 🙂

DSCN5177

mini chirasi don set with 5 delightful side dishes for 1190yen

DSCN5179 DSCN5178

returning from the hike, we took the train to Keihan Shijo & walked across Kamogawa (鸭川) to Kawaramachi (河源町) side. we found this restaurant on the 7flr of OIOI building along Kawaramachi across the road from Takashimaya.

this fabulous mini chirasi don set with 5 delightful side dishes was just 1190yen & they provide a very tasty soup which you later add to the rice like ochazuke. the mini chirasi don came with amaebi, crabmeat, ikura, 2 pieces hotate, maguro, tamago. the 5 delightful side dishes were ikan bilis, braised beef, tamago & tofu PLUS a  red bean/jelly dessert. 🙂

DSCN5180 DSCN5181 DSCN5175

we had another set which was somewhat less good (by comparison) also for 1190yen. it was a salmon tekkadon(鉄火丼) – this was quite good – with 4 side dishes.

so good food were aplenty in Kyoto & at very affordable prices too 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Beef Hotpot @ Budaoweng(不倒翁) at iSquare, Tsimshatsui Hong Kong on 9Mar2013

handcut US angus marbled beef (肥牛)

handcut US angus marbled beef (肥牛)

The beef hotpot at Budaoweng(不倒翁) is favourite with my wife Lisa (& with me too!). Everytime she is in Hong Kong. she will go for a late supper (宵夜-there is a 40% discount after 9.30pm during weekdays & after 9.45pm during weekends), sometimes twice during her stay. This time is no exception.

During our recent trip to Hong Kong, we arrived & checked-in to Marco Polo Prince Hotel about 8.15pm, so timing was quite perfect. 不倒翁 was just a short walk to iSquare and there was no need to pre-book. We did this again on the evening of 11.3.2013, before flying back Singapore the next day.

We ordered the usual large portion of specially selected handcut US angus marbled beef (特选手切肥牛)- HK$168 after 40% discount. You can see the marbling, and this is really flavourful & tender, melting in the mouth. I thoroughly enjoyed this even though we ate exactly the same thing the second visit. Both times we were greedy and ordered another small portion of beef  – HK$138 after 40% discount. Our daughter Su Lin was with us, so there were 3 of us. I could just eat the beef & vegetables and nothing else.

Image

very nice prawn dumplings, each with 3 very fresh big prawns

We also ordered a plate of prawn dumplings – 8 for HK$58. You could also order a 1/2plate – 4 dumplings for HK$30. This was really good too. Each dumpling had 3 very fresh large prawns, the skin was smooth, and it’s super tasty.

Image

脆鲩鱼骨腩 (grass carp bones & belly)

I also added a 脆鲩鱼骨腩 (grass carp bones & belly) – HK$38. I like fish so I quite enjoyed it, but though 脆 means crunchy, it can mean tough & also several pieces have bones, so not everyone will like. We did not order that the second time we visited.

Image

prawn paste (虾滑)

Lisa also ordered a prawn paste (虾滑) – HK$58 – which is nice too, though we don’t really need to have that, and we did not order it the second time we visited.

Image

vegetable basket

We also had the vegetable basket. I cannot remember the price but it should be like HK$88 of HK$108. You must have vegetables for balance for a meat steamboat and Hong Kong vegetables are fresh & nice. On the second visit though we ordered just the Chinese lettuce for HK$48 & that was really quite sufficient.

hotpot soup base (汤底) - we had the HK$88 clear vegetable soup

hotpot soup base (汤底) – we had the HK$88 clear vegetable soup

There was a wide range of hotpot soup base, but since we went there primarily to take the beef, we opted for the cheapest HK$88 clear vegetable soup. There was also a HK$20pax charge for the condiments (调料) – haebeehiam, garlic, spring onions, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, soy sauce etc (most hotpot restaurants in Hong Kong charged this also).

condiments platter - haebeehiam, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, spring onions, sesame sauce, garlic etc

condiments platter – haebeehiam, chilli, chilli oil, wasabi, spring onions, sesame sauce, garlic etc

The entire meal, if you were to say order for 2pax 1 plate of beef, 1 plate dumpling & 1 Chinese lettuce + the plain soup base, it will set you back by HK$442 (inclusive of HK$20pax for the condiments & 10% service on top), and if you add a bottle of 350ml sake, that will be another HK$300+, so it is not really that cheap even after 40% discount. But to me the food quality & the enjoyment of it is well worth the price! Service is efficient, and they will bring hot water & ice, which are free (they don’t serve cold water only mineral water, I did not check the price but it should be ok to order it if you need to have mineral water..), we don’t really have any complaint about that.

c.h.e.f andy

The Clan Restaurant @ Bukit Pasoh Singapore on 8Mar2013

had a great lunch with my daughter at The Clan Restaurant at Bukit Pasoh. We had the 5-course set lunch.

This my second time here – I was here with wife 3 weeks back. We both liked the food. The Chef, Ken Teo, was formerly the Executive Chef of Dozo, and we have always liked Dozo’s food. The price of the 5-course lunch, S$42.80 (6-course dinner S$63.80), is slightly higher than Dozo (& w/0 the cooler drink), but I think overall the food quality is better. There are 5 choices of appetizer & dessert, 4 choices of soup & 6 choices of main course.

I suppose the name has got to do with its location at the premises of The Gan Clan Association. Bukit Pasoh locale is home to a good few top restaurants like Majestic, Oso and nearby at Kiong Siak Street – Ember, Nicolas Le & Bistro Soori. The food is I guess nothing “Clanish”, being in the modern european genre similar to Dozo with touch of Japanese fusion – perhaps there is a new “Clan” there slowly in the making. 🙂

just like Dozo, we started with a nice thirst quencher.

The Chef Starter is a trio comprising duck rillette, pan-seared scallop with lots of foam (this is very good & definitely better than Dozo) and a salmon mouche cone (Dozo serves a smoked salmon, tiny pan-seared piece of foie gras & pan-seared scallop).

Image

duck rillette, salmon mouche cone, pan-seared scallope with foam, thirst quencher

Next we had a choice of appetizer. I had the bamboo clam. This was really very good. the clam was very sweet & bouncy fresh, and the ikura (salmon roe) flavour & saltiness combined very well with the shellfish texture indeed. daughter had the deep-fried foie gras, which was not a common preparation. I stole a bite. It was different & quite good, not sure it would become popular enough to be avant garde but unlikely to displace the all-time favourite pan-seared caramelised foie gras anytime soon. In terms of quality, quantity & presentation, both these appetizer choices certainly qualified as appetizers in a 3-course lunch in a fine-dining restaurant, nevermind a 5-course lunch priced at S$35++pax after 15% discount.

Image

bamboo clam with ikura, deepfried foie gras

Next up is the soup. I had the cepes mushroom bisque. It was very good, maybe slightly more quantity-wise but not much different from Dozo. daughter had the crab bisque which came with a prawn twister. I think this had a lot more foam than that served at Dozo & was overall better.

Image

cepes mushroom soup, crab bisque with prawn twister

Next came the 48hr beef short ribs served on hoba leaf on a lava stone. I really, really loved this dish. The quality of the beef was much superior to that at Dozo. The meat was just so sweet & flavourful & the texture was just super.

Image

48hrs beef short ribs

For the dessert choice, daughter had the chocolate lava cake. It was good but daughter thought it was no better than the one I made at home and perhaps my 70% cocoa chocolate flavour was indeed better. I had the 4-cheese platter-good stuff!

Image

chocolate lava cake, 4-cheese platter

Overall, it made for an extremely satisfying meal. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy