Great Pizza Lunch @ Pizzeria Balognett Tremezzo Lake Como on 16.4.2014

frutti di mare pizza, beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toast

frutti di mare pizza, beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toast

we left amsterdam on an early easyjet flight & arrived at milan’s malpensa airport at 1020am on 16.4.2014, picked up our car from avis at our arrival terminal 2, and drove to our b&b la perla perched on a hill at tremezzo at lake como. 🙂

the journey was 85km & took about 1 hr 20mins. the drive was scary as the roads were very narrow, i was driving on the “wrong” side of the road (left wheel drive), and the cars including heavy vehicles were coming at you quite fast.

pizza balognett

pizza balognett

i had read about pizzeria balognett (some claimed the best pizzas in lake como!) & had made a prior reservations at 1pm. place was quite empty actually, there was only 1 other table of 2pax americans i think, i guessed the location was a bit inaccessible w/o a car. for us it was 3 minutes drive after checking in at la perla & b&b owner assured us it was an excellent choice for lunch. 🙂

we ordered beef carpaccio, frutti di mare pizza & grilled eggplant to share among 3pax, ending the lunch with a panacotta & macchiato. we were served a toast basket, nice! we were hun-gwee. 🙂

food, especially the pizza, was good. 2 thumbs up! 🙂

beef carpaccio

beef carpaccio

beef carpaccio was ok, ordinary.

pizza frutti di mare (fruits of the sea)

pizza frutti di mare (fruits of the sea)

pizza was excellent. i not much into pizza, would not normally order them. this though was very good. the texture of the dough was good, the ingredients (squid, octopus & especially the mussels) were good, but mostly the flavour of the pizza was outstanding, very tasty. 🙂

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& this grilled eggplant was very good!

lovely if inaccessible

lovely if inaccessible

plateful

plateful

beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toasts

beef carpaccio, grilled eggplants, toasts

very satisfying lunch, but we were not finished yet. 🙂

panacotta

panna cotta

normally my wife & i are not so hot on desserts, tiramisu & stuff (my daughter loves dessert of course). & i unlikely to order panna cotta in singapore. but we did here, and it was extremely delicious (for a panacotta). texture was excellent & it was very tasty. i guessed the best of not so many panna cotta i had tried! haha. 🙂

anyway we went back next day just to ta pao (takeout) the panna cotta & had it at la perla’s scenic terrace patio overlooking lake como with couple macchiatos. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Very Good Dinner @ Zazas Amsterdam on 14Apr2014

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amuse bouche

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focaccia bread

had a good dinner at zazas on my second night in amsterdam on 14.4.2014. 🙂 like beulings, we planned & booked the restaurant before the trip.

could not recall the amuse bouche but it was good tasting.

the focaccia was good, the usual.

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carpaccio – euro10.50

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smoked duck mille feuille euro 10.50

we ordered 5 appetisers including the oysters & soup. 🙂

#1 the beef carpaccio was good, sweet & came with foie gras terrine.

#2 the smoked duck mille feuille was good too. smoked duck was good & the pastry too, overall a good dish. taste wise it was not as exciting as it looked. the duck & pastry were competent, good, not special.

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cheese ravioli 1/2 portion euro 8.80

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carrot soup 1/2portion euro2.80

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3 de claire oysters euro 7.50

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creamy & sweet de claire oyster

#3 the ravioli was good. couldn’t remember what was in it, I imagine cheese? but this was better than the green pea risotto we had at the movies restaurant the next day. 🙂

#4 the carrot soup (we had 3 servings of 1/2 portion) had some cream at the bottom & was again very good, and also better than the one at the movies restaurant.

#5 the oysters were excellent, very creamy and sweet. we ordered a second helping of 3 oysters. 🙂

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black cod euro20.50

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guinea fowl euro 20.50

we ordered 2 mains to share.

#6 the cod was competent, but somehow the meat were firmer (& less oily??) than the texture i generally liked, as in my own nobu miso cod or teriyaki cod.

#7 the guinea fowl i guess was competent, just was not a dish that we particularly liked, and by comparison, the duck confit at the movies restaurant was much more enjoyable.

the service was very good – professional & friendly. there was 2 taiwanese ladies on our next table. 1 ordered a lamb but didn’t like it. she was requested to order a different main from the menu. the server took back the lamb & later explained politely & cheerfully that the chef tasted the lamb & it was fine however they would replace it with another main anyway. the lady said sorry when paying the bill & the server said they were sorry that she did not like it. all very nice & pleasant. 🙂

overall the dinner came to euro104 including 2 coffees & a glass of wine, quite good price. it was not really much more expensive than the movies restaurant. the appetisers were great but the mains were not as enjoyable for us c/w the movies restaurant.  i would come back again when in amsterdam.

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

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