Excellent Ohmi Wagyu & Early Valentine Dinner @ ME.OUE on 12Feb2015

A4 ohmi wagyu

A4 ohmi wagyu

decided to do an early valentine dinner with wife on 12.2.2015. 🙂

we do that usually, no point paying through the nose on 14feb for poorer food & service.^^

me.oue

me.oue

me.oue

me.oue

me.oue

me.oue

there were quite good reviews for me@oue at OUE Bayfront. this place offers a choice of 3 cuisine – french/european, japanese & chinese. & of course it offers spectacular views on the roof terrace.

parking was S$3.21 after 6pm.

service was quite good, friendly not the top professional type which could be overly formal.

we asked for recommendations. server suggested red lobster & lamb (chinese), miso cod, the signature A4 ohmi wagyu (japanese) and pan-seared dorade (a fish) & tenderloin (french). for appetisers, he recommended crystal prawns (chinese), poached egg (french).

we enquire about sashimi moriawase. i showed the server a blog photo on sashimi moriawase which included chutoro, otoro, uni etc. the server returned to say that they were having maguro, sea bream etc (probably hirame, hamachi etc). well, it pays to ask. this nothing like what was written & not exciting at all!

squid ink brioche

squid ink brioche

we were served a squid ink brioche & butter.

tuna tartare

tuna tartare

we ordered the maguro tartare. this came to akami (lean toro), hotate & avocado. the starter was very nice, though i agreed with my wife that it was not very fine (or refine). it was a good cut so it was very tasty, but no better than the S$18.80 chirashi don at sumiya.

scallop carpaccio

scallop carpaccio

the scallop carpaccio was very fresh & tasty, a reasonable serving.

red lobster (chlli crab sauce)

red lobster (chlli crab sauce)

red lobster (chlli crab sauce)

red lobster (chlli crab sauce)

the server recommended the red lobster (S$55). i saw the photos before & thought it was 1/2 lobster but in fact it was a full whole lobster. the lobster was fresh, bouncy, very tasty & the chilli crustaceans sauce was excellent, better than many indifferent chilli crab places.

A4 ohmi wagyu

A4 ohmi wagyu

the signature A4 ohmi wagyu (S$145) was quite expectedly, superb!

this was japan standard, better than most of the bungo wagyu 丰后和牛we had in kyushu (yufuin, beppu, fukuoka) during our recent trip.

it was better than what we had at arossa previously & also about same as the kagoshima wagyu ishiyaki at mikuni. it cost nearly 2x what we paid at arossa (but arossa is closed now & even just prior to closing, palate privileges 50% discount was withdrawn & the wagyu cut was no more on the menu).

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

chocolate lava cake

i ordered the S$16 lava cake because it had good reviews. that was a mistake. it was competent but i think no better than my own lava cake, though lately i don’t do that much so fumbled couple times when i tried to do it. i must try it again!

MBS skyline

MBS skyline

marina square skyline

marina square skyline

marina bay skyline

marina bay skyline

marina bay skyline

marina bay skyline

after dinner, we went to the roof terrace outside for the nice night views of MBS & the marina bay. it was windy, there were very few people & it was a very pleasant & brief stop.^^

overall, price was S$193nett (inclusive of a S$20 red wine with no discount) after 50% palate discounts for 2pax, including japanese A4 ohmi wagyu & a whole lobster.

for me that was a very good deal. i would certainly come back for both the red lobster & also the ohmi wagyu. it was not quite fine dining yet, but it was overall pretty good & the 2 mains were just awesome!

c.h.e.f andy

A Tale of 2 Dinners Part 1 – Disappointing Totally Below Par Kaiseki Dinner @ Gettoan on 25Jan2015

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

we were booked for 2 nights at Gettoan ryokan 月灯庵 at yufuin 汤布院. Gettoan ryokan & its kaiseki dinners had very good reviews, and we were expecting a very good dinner on the first evening we checked into the ryokan on 25.1.2015.

it turned out to be really disappointing. i would say this dinner was below just about every ryokan dinner i had in tohoku (we visited just before the tsunami, sadly cannot go back now), and way below (say) mikuni or hachi or kuriya in singapore.

i need to add here though that the japanese breakfast the next day was excellent (& the day after too) & the shabu shabu kaiseki on our second night 26.1.2015 was just exquisite, par excellence, so i term this a tale of 2 dinners. ^^

https://chefquak.com/2015/02/08/a-tale-of-2-dinners-part-2-the-good-ending-a-marvellous-kaiseki-dinner-gettoan-on-26jan2015/

https://chefquak.com/2015/02/08/wonderful-breakfast-a-redemption-gettoan-ryokan-yufuin-kyushu-on-26-1-2015/

https://chefquak.com/2015/02/08/another-wonderful-breakfast-to-savour-gettoan-ryokan-月灯庵-yufuin汤布院-kyushu-九州-on-27jan2015/

kaiseki menu

kaiseki menu

sensai

sensai

sensai-seaweed wrapped mentaiko

sensai-seaweed wrapped minced salmon?

sensai - fish roes

sensai – fish roes

the sensai was ok, but really unexciting for this class of ryokan (i.e. very expensive ryokan). the mini kaiseki lunch at kuriya had far better sensai (前菜). and the omakase lunch at GOTO had just as good sakizuke(先附).

tofu dish with foie gras

tofu dish with foie gras

the foie gras flavoured tofu dish was a nice dish, but really average by japanese kaiseki standards, non descript really.

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

the sashimi moriawase (kampachi, tai maybe?? & hirame) was an immense let down, completely substandard. for me, even sun with moon sashimi is much better standard than this! sashimi was not sweet & was tough – a really low grade cut!

yuba pot

yuba pot

there was a egg, yuba pot with veg. i would give same assessment as the foie gras tofu…underwhelming, just like the entire dinner.

clear soup with fish

clear soup with fish

clear soup with fish

clear soup with fish

the clear soup came with a nice tasty piece of fish, maybe snapper? anyway for this dish alone, maybe one could say “normal service resumes??” but this was a non-substantial by-the-way dish in a kaiseki.

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

of course the bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧 was just excellent. like my wife said, ishiyaki is self service & they did gave a very good beef cut. in a good or at least par-for-the-course kaiseki, one expects to taste good cooking, some creativity & great matching of taste. those were non existent in this dinner!

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

other than the bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧, the ochazuke (お茶漬け) was the only other dish throughout the dinner that we consider of good standards. the kampachi cut was good & could be taken as sashimi or slightly poached with the rice. the yuzu miso paste was great & the dashi 上汤was just excellent! a very good dish.

deseert

deseert

the dessert was just as bad. any dessert in sun with moon would be better!

one comment on the service. the overall service of the ryokan was top notch as expected of any ryokans of this standard. we were assigned a server who spoke very good english & we were kind of expecting top level service.

but the service was really superficial! the server tried to get us to order red wine instead of sake claiming that the dishes suited wine better. i would say none of the dishes qualified at all as western or fusion & why would one take red or white wine instead of sake for a japanese dinner, they were just not very good japanese food! & it was quite blatant way to get us to spend more money. this the first & only time we encountered that in japan. even in Singapore these days, server will advise you NOT to order things you don’t need/want!

and worse, after the beef before ochazuke she asked us whether we wanted tea. we asked for ocha & was later billed 950yen! of course it was not about the money. she did not tell us it was chargeable, and the way she asked it was evident that she did not intend to reveal it was chargeable. immediately after the ochazuke, we were served another ocha, this one free. does that make any sense??

for me it was a lowly tactic suited for yesteryears, like london chinatown in the 1970s, not a top class ryokan in Japan, or for that matter any ordinary restaurants in Singapore.

fortunately for us, the ryokan redeemed itself the next few meals. we were asked again the next dinner if we wanted tea by the same server, again w/o telling us it was chargeable! some bad habits just do not go away!

c.h.e.f andy

Very Expensive Kaiseki & Way Below Expectations @ GOTO on 23Oct2014

#1 sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers

#1 sakizuke – a selection of small appetizers

we had good recent experience of GOTO’s S$68 omakase lunch on 1.10.2014.

my wife wanted to buy me a good dinner & also to invite her close couple friends. since GOTO will start renovation very shortly & remodel to a casual non kaiseki restaurant, we decided to order the S$280pax omakase dinner on 23.10.2014.

food was good of course, but relative to the exorbitant price, it was really far below expectations, compared with keyaki, kuriya, hachi & of course mikuni. 😦

#1 sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers

#1 sakizuke – a selection of small appetizers

the #1 sakizuke – a selection of small appetizers 先附 was of very good standard, with a very nice pickled sanma (秋刀鱼) pacific dory which i liked, duck, a periwinkle?, prawn, cured squid, ikura, pickled shimeji mushrooms & spinach.

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi was a very good soup, very clear, tasty soup, with pieces of fish fillet, mushrooms etc.

#2 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#2 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#2 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#3 uni - sashimi moriawase

#3 uni – sashimi moriawase

the #3 sashimi moriawase was a very large serving than the usual served in a kaiseki or course meal. there were 2 chutoro, 1 botan ebi, 2 hotate, several thick cut tako, 2 kampachi, hirame & tai, & uni. it was good standard but no better, in fact the toro was distinctly poorer c/w the S$45 chirashi don (after 50% feed at raffles discounts) at mikuni.

#6 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

#4 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

#6 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

#4 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

the #4 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish) was a good tasty fish but to me it tasted like angkoli (red snapper), so i didn’t really understand why it was expensive. this was a nitsuke or simmered dish.

#5 minced prawn in lily bulb paste

#5 minced prawn in lily bulb + yan paste

the #5 minced prawn in lily bulb paste was an interesting, unique dish. the lily bulb + mountain yam paste had the slightly sticky yam texture, and the dish was very tasty overall. 🙂

#6 miso ebi tempura

#6 miso ebi tempura

#6 miso ebi tempura

#6 miso ebi tempura

as with the S$68 lunch, they served a dry miso tempura. it was very nice. 🙂

#8 kagoshima wagyu

#7 kagoshima wagyu

#8 kagoshima wagyu

#7 kagoshima wagyu

#7 kagoshima wagyu was very good, but the better marbled much tastier kagoshima wagyu ishiyaki at mikuni only cost S$37.50 alacarte after 50% discounts.

#9 gohan - chicken shimeji musroom rice

#8 gohan – chicken shimeji mushroom rice

#9 gohan - chicken shimeji musroom rice

#8 gohan – chicken shimeji mushroom rice

the #8 gohan – chicken shimeji mushroom rice had good mushroom flavours but otherwise no comparison with any kamameshi at sun with moon wheelock or a unagi chahan at zen japanese.

#10 dessert tray

#9 dessert tray

#10 dessert tray

#9 dessert tray

they offered very good dessert – very good japanese melon + grapes. yuzu ice cream, orange jelly & strawberry mousse.

macha - nice end to dinner

macha – nice end to dinner

& i always enjoyed macha.

the kaiseki dinner was very good standard, but for me price was far too exorbitant relative to other good kaiseki restaurants & it was not at all value-for-money.  one could get a very good omakase dinner at hachi for S$118pax. and at this price i would want to try kumo anytime.

c.h.e.f andy

Fabulous Omakase Lunch @ GOTO on 1Oct2014

sakizuki - a selection of small appetizers

sakizuke(先附) – a selection of small appetizers

GOTO is closing for renovations on 26.10.2014 & reopening on 11.11.2014.

i had wanted to go GOTO all these while but somehow did not get to do. a friend suggested recently & 5 of us decided to go for the  S$68pax omakase lunch on 1.10.2014. there was no GST so it was just S$75nett! 🙂

GOTO at 14 ang siang road is currently a kaiseki only restaurant. lunch is 6-course at S$68pax & dinner S$180pax & S$280pax. the chef owner GOTO HISAO, was previously the personal chef to the japanese ambassador to singapore.  after the renovation it will be remodelled to a casual restaurants. according to the server lunch sets would be like S$40 onwards.

we were wondering about the economics of a straight kaiseki restaurant where the dishes & ingredients were limited,  vs a normal restaurant with an extensive menu, dishes & ingredients. we were of course out of our depths, no expert in f&b, but perhaps the main objective was to increase traffic & customers. kaiseki restaurant would have a limited number of patrons. a casual restaurant would attract a larger customer base & the sitting could be doubled from the current 20?

seems the restaurant name would be changed as well to G-One. couldn’t figure out G-One, but we were kidding the place change from GOTO to GONE? is that good? 🙂

who cares as long as food is good right? & it was, quite excellent! 🙂

sakizuki - a selection of small appetizers

sakizuke(先附) – a selection of small appetizers

ikura on enoki mushrooms

ikura on enoki mushrooms

we had the first course sakizuke(先附) – a selection of small appetizers. it had a delicious pickled sanma (秋刀鱼), a equally delicious tofu, pickled ika (squid), some vege, and ikura on enoki in small bowl. really good! we were saying if every dish could be like this.  they were, quite! maybe minus the rice. 🙂

sashimi moriawase = maguro, hirame, hamachi, hotate, anago

sashimi moriawase = maguro, hirame, hamachi, hotate, anago

the sashimi moriawase = maguro, hirame, hamachi, hotate, anago was just incredible! they told us its maguro, but it was so sweet its like akamai (lean toro). hotate was just 1/2 a piece but very sweet. same for hirame (flat fish) & hamachi (yellow tail). the anago (conger eel) was an expensive item too but actually that was my least preferred among the quality sashimi.

tempura moriawase

tempura moriawase

the tempura moriawase was served differently w/o the dip & radish & wasabi. there was a lemon & a dish with what looked like green tea powder but actually salt. the server missed out explanation at our table for this dish, so we were guessing the lemon should go on the salt (lemon juice with salt is a very good dip for yakiniku), anyway a few of us including myself was too quick & just squeezed the lemon on the tempura. there was shisamo (pregnant fish), asparagus, 2 like fish cakes etc. very good dish. 🙂

a simmered kamo (duck) dish

a simmered kamo (duck) dish

we have a simmered duck dish. i liked it very much. 1 friend felt the duck had too gamey taste. the rest didn’t. a few thought the duck was tough. 1 said the sauce a bit sweet (japanese like to add sugar to their dishes).

for me though it was quite perfect – duck, yam etc. 🙂

gohan (rice) set

chicken & mushroom gohan (rice) set

a friend said that the mushroom smell was really good. & indeed it was. however i & a few of us did not think this good was great. it did not really had the wok hae of a good chinese fried rice, nor the flavours of a good japanese unagi chahan (fried rice) like say in zen or its sister restaurant en japanese dining. nor is it flavourful c/w the very nice kamameshi at sun with moon.

of course we were just picking bones. haha! 🙂

dessert - mochi, fruits, black sesame ice cream

dessert – mochi, fruits, black sesame ice cream

dessert was good too. kochi i liked, good quality fruits & a great black sesame ice cream.

i think this a very good lunch for S$75. i consider this perhaps more refine & better than the S$68 omakse lunch at hachi & about same as (or sometimes better than depending on menu) the S$68 monthly lunch special at kuriya dining. anyway i have booked to go back next week. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy