Another Fabulous Degustation Dinner @ Jaan on 16Jun2014

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

had another wonderful degustation par excellence at jaan on 16.6.2014. 🙂

regretfully jaan is fully booked for the rest of the year for feed-at-raffles (FAR) discounts. looks like only mikuni & occasionally equinox & prego to  go to.

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

amuse bouche 1

the new amuse bouche of beetroot macaron, an eel mousse, (can’t remember the last) plus the rye cracker with very good hummus was good, pleasant & quite fine, though no better than previous.

amuse bouche 2

amuse bouche 2 – cepe mushroom tea

the second amuse bouche, a cepe mushroom tea, was the best soup ever, so intense & flavourful & lingering. 🙂

#1 ocean - simply delicious!

#1 ocean – simply delicious!

#1 ocean - simply delicious!

#1 ocean – simply delicious!

# the ocean seafood composition was simply delicious! every item was excellent & there were so many – langoustine, oyster (yummy!), scallop, ikura (salmon roe), eel, caviar, another prawn. i could have this again! 🙂

#1 toast

#2 toast

not quite sure what the toast do? anyway a good toast.

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#2 zucchini, tomatoes, olive, burrata

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#2 zucchini, tomatoes, olive, burrata

#2 the zucchini trumbetta was nice, pleasant, refreshing, not quite a standout among so many excellent dishes.

64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico ham

#3 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo

64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico ham

#3 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo

64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico ham

#3 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo

#3 the 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo was quite a complete dining experience with the dry ice foam flowing down. the silky egg yolk added texture combination to the crispy iberico chorizo.

#4 foie gras

#4 foie gras

#4 the foie gras preparation/presentation had changed several times but texture wise quite the same. the inside was soft tender tasty. the outside though was different from the more caramelised preparation which we preferred.

monk fish, white asparagus

#5 monk fish, white asparagus

monk fish, white asparagus

#5 monk fish, white asparagus

#5 monk fish was pretty good – firm, bouncy. meat was slightly sweet. somehow all the monkfish i tried in singapore (& this was a better one) could not match the excellent sweet tasting monkfish ala plancha i had in barcelona’s bouqueria market & tapas restaurants. white asparagus was very good, very tasty & tender. 🙂

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 hay roasted pigeon

#6 the hay roasted pigeon was as usual, nothing less than superb. the medium rare sous vide breast was the best. i couldn’t quite decide if amsterdam beulings’ quail was better or this. 🙂

the best dinner we had at jaan though was on 20.1.2014 where we had miyazaki beef in place of pigeon. 🙂

pre-dessert grape granite

pre-dessert grape granite

the grape granite palate cleanser was refreshingly good. 🙂

#7 choconuts - taste & texture

#7 choconuts – taste & texture

#7 choconuts was supposed to offer different temperature, texture & taste. i supposed it did & its a good dessert, but i thought some of the previous choconuts editions were distinctly better.

petit fours

petit fours

the petit four were good or competent for this level of restaurant, not a standout.

well, looks like i have to try the waiting list & see my luck play out.

c.h.e.f andy

 

 

 

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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

Good Food Quiet Dinner @ Gattopardo on 21Jul2013

sous vide iberico pork jowl

sous vide iberico pork jowl

i had not made much use of my amex palate discounts till recently. i guess partly there are so many good credit card offers, groupon vouchers etc, 🙂 only when the card is expiring suddenly there is greater impetus to try out various palate outlets.

for this night on 21.7.2013, we picked Gattopardo – a good choice! 🙂

Gattopardo is located at the level 1 of The Legend Fort Canning Park Hotel. there was al fresco dining, we chose though to sit inside. it was a quiet pleasant ambience not so many tables occupied on a Sunday evening.

baguette

baguette

warm baguette was provided. i was contented with olive oil & balsamic & did not ask for butter. 🙂

beef tartar with crispy toast

beef tartar with crispy toast

we picked the beef tartar, which came with a crispy toast, to share. this was excellent! the combination of flavours & texture of beef, onions, anchovies, egg yoke. 🙂

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there was no soup item, so we asked the waiter. he recommended a curry mussels (S$14). this was NOT a menu item & knowing the tricky situation with palate discounts, we asked SPECIFICALLY if the same discounts applied, and the waiter replied yes!  this was very good, like a good mulligatawny, the mussels were the small & tasty type though with just 3 mussels we thought the serving was rather small. when we asked for the bill, the curry mussels were excluded from the discount. we told them that we specifically confirmed with the waiter on the discounts, and the bill then made a round & came back with the discounts accompanied with a pleasant smile (good service recovery) that actually the item had no discount & they specially made an exception for us.

well no harm done, but i always have difficulty understanding this part of many restaurant’s service & marketing philosophy. i supposed restaurants are entitled to “buyers beware” & no obligations to advise customers. but i always feel that if a service philosophy is to make customer experience memorable, then it should NOT be a contest to outsmart the other. a service outfit should make service offers if it wants to offer & NOT make offers if it does not want to offer & give customers a consistent message. of course it could be just an oversight by an individual server but the impression i got was that the philosophy was one of “if customer asked & waiting staff said so then give discounts, if customer did not ask then too bad no discounts” so the checking was not about the staff making a mistake, but just whether the customer did ask or not.

the fact that i was not unhappy with the episode but still spent time blogging it showed that it did NOT add to customer experience. 🙂

risone with braised squid & bone marrow

risone with braised squid & bone marrow

for mains, we had the risone (risotto shaped pasta) with braised squid & bone marrow. this was super! 🙂 it had good reviews by other bloggers & the waiter also confirmed it was a popular dish. very flavourful, quite intense.

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the sous vide iberico pork jowl (top photo & above right) was very good too! 🙂

overall, we enjoyed the dinner very much! our selection of dishes were great.  the costs after palate 50% discount for 2pax was S$70nett excluding wine for 1 appetizer, 2 soups, 2 mains (& S$90nett including 1 glass of red). 🙂 the prices were a bit lower than at Senso. Senso though have a more classy ambience & the staff at Senso are more professional (a general observation excluding the curry mussel discount matter). will certainly go back again to Gattopardo. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Pan-fried Kurobuta Steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

just realised that i did not put up the recipe for pan-fried kurobuta steak.

i was looking for a main course item to add to Nobu Miso Cod to cook for my wife for the Mother’s Day 6-course Homegourmet Dinner. 🙂

the technique is largely what I use for pan-fried angus or wagyu steak in tagliata di manzo – a good dry steak at room temperature seasoned with sea salt & coarse black pepper, and a very hot pan, & voila! the only difference being that for a beef steak, i mostly do it medium rare whereas for kurobuta (i use either iberico or yorkshire black pig bought from mmmm) i do it well done.

pan-fried kurobuta steak

pan-fried kurobuta steak

my understanding of pan-fried steak (or say scallops) is basically one of temperature. once you get the temperature right not much can go wrong & you just have to get the doneness right. So the pan has to be very hot (& well greased with olive oil & butter), and the meat has to be dry (air dry in fridge or pat dry with kitchen towels) and at room temperature, so that the steak can be seared quickly to seal in the juices, and to achieve maillard reaction. if the meat is wet, the pan temperature drop sharply & you will be poaching instead of searing.  the only other thing to remember is to let the steak rest for 5-10mins to redistribute the juices, before you cut it. 🙂

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we find the kurobuta from mmmm to be excellent in some way equal or better than angus striploin, but of course not comparable with the wagyu MBS 4/5 striploin. of course these things are very much a matter of personal taste preference. 🙂

it seems to me that anyone can cook an excellent steak at home with a good piece of meat. so i don’t do steaks out often these days unless it is at a very good restaurant. it is surprising though that many restaurants sometimes deliver a mediocre or poor steak when they get the temperature wrong, which is something they should never do!

c.h.e.f andy

Directions:

  1. remove kurobuta (1/2in to 3/4in think cuts) from fridge & leave at room temperature for 1/2hr.  pat dry & season with sea salt & coarse black pepper on both sides.
  2. heat a non-stick skillet. add 1 tablespoon olive oil & add 10g butter. when the pan is very hot & just begins to smoke. add the steak (say 2 pieces) w/o crowding the pan. making sure the places where the steaks are sitting are well greased. turn heat to medium after 1 min. when the steak is cooked 1/2 way up on the side, turn heat to high & flip over and turn down to medium after 1 min.
  3. remove meat from pan to cutting board & rest for 5mins before serving.