Affordable “Nouveau?” Lunch Sets @ Nuvo on 8Sep2014

spiced carrot soup

spiced carrot soup

a friend recommended nuvo. the ongoing S$15pax set lunches looked ok (even though it had a lot of supplements for dish selections) so 6 of us went for lunch on 8.9.2014. chef mark richards hailed from keystone (which i went several times when it was accepting palate privileges – 50% discount for 2pax ala carte. i viewed keystone as the standard of saint pierre & slightly less expensive), and excelled in sous vide techniques. 🙂

the restaurant was located at the food edition at marina square at the corner facing citylink mall & suntec convention centre. it was nice, bright & airy & had a attached bar that was directly overlooking raffles link & raffles boulevard. we all commented this a place to be to watch the F1 (though i always prefer the couch at home..haha..not to mention it cost S$500 to come here & watch the cars turn round a corner!).

we were debating the name. i googled afterwards but there was no special meaning associated with the word so likely nuvo was just short for nouveau. 🙂

i was late, arriving at 12.15pm. the restaurant soon filled up & i would say perhaps >60% occupied during lunch hour on a monday.

a practice that did not find favour with me was NOT serving tap water.  we ordered 1 still & 1 sparkling for 6pax. they cost S$4.50each for a 500ml bottle. for me, i looked at the overall price vs the food & experience so paying S$9 for bottled water for 6pax (which also meant we have to drink less water) was not a big issue.

olive focaccia

olive focaccia

olive focaccia with herb butter

olive focaccia with herb butter

the olive focaccia bread with herb butter was pretty good, ok. 🙂

cha smoked salmon

cha smoked salmon

there were 3 choices of starters & main courses & 2 choices of dessert.

i thought my spiced carrot soup (top photo) with mascarpone, croutons & honey was really good & of fine dining standard. it was creamy, smooth in texture & flavourful, looked wonderful as well! 🙂

the smoked salmon with wasabi cream, furikake & baby spinach came with S$3 supplement. it looked great & appetising. the thick square cuts looked more like ceviche, cured or sashimi. my friends all liked the dish. 🙂 i asked 1 friend afterwards. he said the combination of flavours with the baby spinach was great. 🙂

tempura soft shell crab

tempura soft shell crab

the tempura soft shell crab had S$4 supplement. soft shell crab not my favourite dish but this looked fine & no complaints on the taste. 🙂

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

3 of us took the grilled pork collar on our friend’s recommendations. 2 took the risotto & 1 took the pesto cold soba.

the pork collar had good consistent texture of sous vide. the chef is famous for his sous vide cuisine. the friend who took cold soba & i both commented that the pork collar was kind of lean. i personally would prefer it the usual fatty collar. the 2 other friends preferred it lean. 🙂 fries were good. mash/cold slaw? were good too. i didn’t take much of either.

kabayaki squid risotto

kabayaki squid risotto

the squid risotto looked a bit skimpy to me. 5 or 6 pieces of squid on risotto. maybe it was the minimalist philosophy (just kidding…lol). i asked 1 friend afterwards. he agreed it was kind of plain.

pesto cold soba

pesto cold soba

the friend who took soba said it was too salty & maybe the set lunch was not that great for the price. i said a zaru soba could cost S$12 to S$15 so everything depended on how good the taste.

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

green tea kochi with melon

green tea mochi with melon

i hardly ever ordered panna cotta in singapore. so i started with the green tea mochi. when the dessert were served, i thought the panna cotta with honeycomb looked quite good so i asked to change the dessert (S$4 supplement).  i had excellent panna cotta at pizzeria balognett at tremezzo, i thought i would give the singapore version a try since it looked quite good. it was pretty good – light, smooth texture – but nothing amazing. the green tea mochi also looked competent. 🙂

overall including S$1.50pax for the mineral water, my share came to S$25++ (S$30nett). to me it was pretty ok & something i would not mind doing again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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The Best Dinner Degustation @ Jaan on 20Jan2014

seafood ceviche

seafood ceviche

of all my reviews thus far, this was the best dinner! 🙂

went to jaan on 20.1.2014 with a friend couple who are very close to my wife.  jaan has been always our favourite degustation restaurant. i had not intended to take photos as i had reviewed jaan when we dine here on 8.5.2013. the prestige menu (summer or winter) usually featured minimum changes, and so i missed out on the 2 amuse bouche photos. the first fingerfood bites platter was somewhat different with chicken samosa etc but the same crackers with humus dip. the second cepes mushroom tea, a very intense tasty soup, was largely the same – still the best soup i had. 🙂

the freshly baked bread basket came. i picked a brioche (a puffy highly enriched bread with nice crust) & a baguette. they did not have the previous truffle bread, which was brioche with truffle infusion.

when the first dish came – #1 a seafood ceviche – i decided to take photos. i had not paid attention to the prestige menu having assumed it had few changes. the ceviche was par excellence! well so many dishes were. 🙂 it was incredible – it had langoustine, caviar on top another prawn, scallop, oyster, ikura & crab meat. i could eat this again! 🙂

beetroot

beetroot “melody”

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toast to go with beetroot “melody”

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55min 60degC organic egg

55min 60degC egg

55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

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55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

roasted foie gras

roasted foie gras

#2 next was a beetroot melody thing – jelly, sorbet, some garnishes including cheese. there was some toast to go with it.

#3 the 55min 60degC  rosemary smoked organic egg with iberico chorizo & proscuito was same as before. i love the texture combination the egg yolk added to the dish & the savoury & slightly salty proscuito made it such a very enjoyable experience. a similar dish was served at au jardin for our recent new year eve dinner on 31.12.2013, and maybe this was something i could try out myself for my home dinners. 🙂

#4 there was no change to the roasted foie gras dish. my wife though preferred the caramelised pan-fried version, anyway she doesn’t take foie gras much these days. 🙂

brill

brill with crayfish foam

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

#5 the brill, an atlantic flatfish in the turbot family, came with crayfish foam. it was beautiful to look at, fine & exquisite in taste, but the texture of the brill was not my favourite.

#6 the menu prestige had pigeon as the second main, however 1 friend did not want pigeon so we asked the chef to substitute & requested for the miyazaki dry aged wagyu which was served on the 5-course menu. thanks to our friend, i tried miyazaki wagyu at jaan for the first time! it was fabulous! we were served a black sesame puree on the side, sounded odd, but tasted perfect with the wagyu.  although it is common for western steak cuts to be wet-aged or dry-aged, i have not seen this done for japanese wagyu. don’t know why but jap wagyu are so expensive, and already the flavour is very intense due to the high marbling, so perhaps not common to incur weight loss & intensify flavour further through ageing? anyway i was not complaining as the aged miyazaki wagyu was just exquisite! 🙂

pre dessert

pre-dessert

choconuts

choconuts

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we had a citrous pre-dessert, which had blood orange etc like a palate cleanser., very nice indeed.

#7 then it was the choconut – different temperatures of chocolates..good but no better than previous versions.

we ended with petit four & coffee/tea. it was such a wonderful dinner! 🙂

the entire degustation comprised 7 courses (4 appetisers, 2 mains & 1 dessert) PLUS 2 amuse bouche & 1 pre-dessert, so it was almost like a 10 course degustation.

every dish was great, many were superlative, and it was indeed an artisan cuisine, very pretty, fine & refine, utterly pleasurable.

c.h.e.f andy

Fabulous New Year Eve Dinner Degustation @ Au Jardin on 31Dec2013

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

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wanted to buy my wife a nice new year eve dinner, and saw the quite attractive menu in au jardin’s website, so decided to make a reservation for 2pax dinner on 31.12.2013.

we had couple of degustation dinners at au jardin many years back (my wife said 10 years ago). they were like 8-course priced at S$200pax  & were really good. i had considered trying the S$150pax table d’hote  (ie prix fixe)menu, but never did. subsequently, the regular menu did not look attractive as it does not today (ie 4-course at S$150pax), so i did not do dinner at au jardin but only occasional lunches (especially the recent maybank 1 for 1 promotion set lunch).

my wife & I generally have the practice not to dine out during public holidays, festive periods, mothers’ day etc as those occasions were very commercilaised & one often ended up paying through the nose (like 50% – 100% more) & getting poor food & poor service. anyhow for this new year eve dinner, au jardin served a 7-course+amuse bouche dinner at $198pax which was no difference in price from 10 years ago & far better menu than the regular S$150pax course menu, so the arrangement suited us fine.

i just wonder why they don’t do such menu regularly, especially when their business had not been good, and they are closing down by 31.3.2014 as a result of huge rental increase (& to me perhaps poor strategy & marketing). sign!

i do not rate au jardin degustation as better than the creative & excellent degustation at Jaan which cost only S$119pax after 50% feed at raffles discount, however one need a change of menu & environment, and most degus restaurants like iggy’s, gunthers etc are far more expensive. others like keystone & saint pierre are a little cheaper but not as fine, and private affairs had closed down.

wife ordered a red. it was expensive, 1/2 bottle for S$85++, but it was a grand cru classe & was really nice though i took maybe 30ml.

amuse bouche - foie gras terrine

amuse bouche – foie gras terrine

blue fin tuna ceviche

blue fin tuna ceviche

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

the 7-course dinner (+amuse bouche) came with 4 appetisers, 1 palate cleanser, 1 main, 1 dessert; as well as coffee & petit fours.

we had a warm bread basket. both the baguette & a raisin bread were good. the amuse bouche was a foie gras terrine with tobiko (flying fish roe) & jelly. this wasn’t exceptional & but still a great start to the evening dinner. 🙂

1st course was blue fin tuna ceviche with tobiko. it was nothing inventive, but very sweet & tasty.

the 2nd course, cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin, was heavenly, par excellence. it way surpassed gordon grill’s (no comparison really as gordon grill’s was for a S$48pax lunch) & according to my wife likewise c/w gunther’s. 🙂

the 3rd course was a braised iberico pork cheek, with joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffle. sous vide low temperature poached egg is a regular feature in fine dining & i really loved the texture enhancement it gave to the dish, the proscuito was excellent, pork cheek so-so & i had already written about the excellent winter truffle here. 🙂

the 4th course was a lightly breaded dover sole served with razor clam & clam emulsion. the dover sole was ok, tender, i guess considered good in a good restaurant, but really average dish by comparison to other courses. the razor clam was great. 🙂

palate cleanser - watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

palate cleanser – watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

next we had the palate cleanser – a watermelon confit with sorbet & lime jelly. it was good.

the grilled wagyu striploin MBS5 rare (top photo & second above) was excellent. this was much better than what i did at home. it was done rare & yet totally charred (for maillard reaction that gave flavour to the beef) & served with carrot & root vegetables and a tiny piece of black garlic. superb! 🙂

for dessert, we had pistachio cake with raspberry sorbet. the cake was bland but when taken together with the slightly sour sorbet, it was good. 🙂

my cappuccino was great. the petit fours though was miserable (same as they served for set lunches). mini macarons were too sweet, chocolate was ok.

overall we had an excellent evening of food, wine & conversation. Jaan’s degustation gave far better value.nevertheless i enjoyed this dinner very much & would come back but regrettably they do not serve this in their regular menu. i may consider trying ala carte or their course menu. not sure for now!

happy new year everyone!

happy new year everyone!

and before signing off, happy new year 2014 to all my friends, readers & everyone!

c.h.e.f. andy