Wonderful Matsutake Autumn Bento @ Mikuni on 20Sep2015

mikuni autumn matsutake bento

mikuni autumn matsutake bento

mikuni a favourite destination for me.

mikuni’s chirashi don is still the best in singapore for me.

matsutake lunch special bento

matsutake lunch special bento

i wanted to try the autumn matsutake bento set, so today 3 of us came for lunch on 20.9.2015. ^^

it’s F1 race day, so many roads were closed. i googled and saw that bras basah road entrance to raffles city was open & also i could returned by beach road in the direction to middle road which was also opened.

i drove through orchard road with some traffic, but overall it was perfect. & carpark was empty.

matsutake (pine mushrooms) otoshi

matsutake (pine mushrooms) otoshi

it’s a pine mushroom set, so every dish had some matsutake. 🙂

matsutake (pine mushrooms) otoshi

matsutake (pine mushrooms) otoshi

it was ok.

excellent sashimi=chutoro, hotate, kampachi, uni

excellent sashimi=chutoro, hotate, kampachi, uni

sashimi was excellent! chutoro & hotate were fantastic cuts.

excellent sashimi=chutoro, hotate, kampachi, uni

excellent sashimi=chutoro, hotate, kampachi, uni

chutoro really melt in the mouth & hotate had incredible bite. kampachi were very sweet too. wish they gave more uni, haha! 🙂

tempura

tempura

tempura was lovely. chestnut really nice.

tempura

tempura

matsutake has a bit of woody? mushroom flavour. daughter didn’t like it so much.

sea bream teppanyaki & snow crab legs

sea bream teppanyaki & snow crab legs

teppanyaki sea bream seemed to be the dry treated type like many japanese fish including salmon & cod. you get them in japan a lot, in bentos, restaurants, supermarts.

i liked it but not so favourite for wife & daughter.

sea bream teppanyaki & snow crab legs

sea bream teppanyaki & snow crab legs

the snow crab legs were excellent.

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu

& the kagoshima wagyu was sublime! ^^

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu

there’s some mustard seeds/sauce. i put a bit of wasabi on the beef also. just so wonderful. 🙂

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu

it felt like not the very chargrilled preparation. wonder if i can do this. google a bit & see.

ikura kamameshi(釜飯)

ikura kamameshi(釜飯)

i normally don’t particularly fancy kamameshi as i used to think they tasted average until i had very good tasty kamameshi at sun with moon @ wheelock.

ikura kamameshi(釜飯)

ikura kamameshi(釜飯)

this one here though was very average.

panna cotta

panna cotta

panna cotta was very good! great texture & bite.

panna cotta

panna cotta

daughter though was still thinking of the panna cotta at pizzeria balognett at tremezzo lake como, but i think this was very good already. 🙂

with amex FAR (feed at raffles) privileges, the 7-course set was S$60++pax, very good deal i feel!

c.h.e.f andy

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Great Dinner @ il Vicoletto Stresa on 28Aug2014

seafood tagliatelle

seafood tagliatelle

leaving london for milan, my son booked a 5am cab to london gatwick south terminal. it took 1hr 10mins even w/o traffic, so we had to rush a bit to catch our flight departing at 6.55am. we scanned the boarding pass on our phones which got us through the entry gates smoothly but the security was quite thorough. flight time was 2 hrs and milan was 1 hr ahead so we arrived at malpensa terminal 2 at 10am. we were booked on the alibus departure to stresa at 1130am & arrived 1230pm at chiesa at piazza marconi stresa, which was a very short walk to our hotel elena, very conveniently located at a square with restaurants & shops.

ristaronte il vicoletti stresa

ristaronte il vicoletto stresa

we asked the hotel to recommend some eating places, and decided to take their recommendations to try out il vicoletto on 28.8.2014. we were early at 7pm & was able to get a seat. it was full & turning away customers 1/2hr later.

bread basket

bread basket

we had a bread basket which was quite ok.

very good extra virgin olive oil & balsamic

very good extra virgin olive oil & balsamic

the balsamic & extra vurgin olive oil superb. wine was good too. 🙂

octopus salad

octopus salad

we ordered an octopus salad to share. the overall dish was quite ok except that the octopus cannot c/w the very nice grilled octopus at alle darsene in bellagio at lake como.

seafood tagliatelle

seafood tagliatelle

we ordered a seafood tagliatelle to share. it was excellent, nice creamy pasta with fresh mussels & prawns.

braised lamb shoulder

braised lamb shoulder

very tasty braised lamb shoulder though not as good as the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co.

stewed monkfish

stewed monkfish

pretty looking stewed monkfish – nice sauce, fish was bouncy but texture a bit tough, a bit like the texture of swordfish steak.

overall it was a good & enjoyable dinner. we were seated outside (our own choice as we were early & could have seated inside) & getting quite a bit of mosquito bites that went through the jeans & socks so we had to quit the place soon after finishing our food & wine.

vicoletto is a good standard restaurant & not too expensive (our dinner about €71) & sure looked like one of the better places to have dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Tak Shiok! (No Thrill) Dinner @ il Ciliegio Monterosso on 19Apr2014

scampi pasta

scampi pasta

we arrived at monterosso about 3.50pm on 18.4.2014 after returning the car (we drove from tremezzo lake como) at malpenssa airport & taking the malpenssa express to milano centrale to connect the train to monterosso.

we were booked at the very nice ballembra hotel in the old part of town & walked about 700m from the station. it was very pleasant as monterosso has a nice beach & there were lots of shops & gelato stalls.

for the first evening we had earlier made reservations & enjoyed a super dinner at miky, after strolling around.

the friendly proprietor of ballembra recommended & arranged for us to have dinner at il ciliegio, 200m up the hills the next day on 19.4.2014.

gianni, il ciliegio’s owner, came in his MPV to fetch us from the town centre. he stopped near the top for us to take photos of the monterosso coastline in the sunset. 🙂

the service was excellent. the view was actually quite limited as surrounded with trees, mostly ciliegio. afterall the whole cinque terre & monterosso offered awesome vista everywhere.

regrettably, dinner @ il ciliegio monterosso = tak shiok leh…NO THRILL! 😦

grilled zicchini

grilled zicchini

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swordfish steak

swordfish steak

swordfish steak

swordfish steak

scampi pasta

scampi pasta

food was quite mediocre & would be poorest if c/w miky OR even the cheap & very good trattoria scogliera at manarola.

scampi pasta was skimpy, 4 tiny scampis for 2pax portions (mike’s seafood risotto while 50% more ex had like 5times the ingredients so much greater value & of course superior taste & dining experience), trofie (a risotto like pasta that looked like our chinese “beetaimak”) pesto was totally plain, swordfish was ok, vege was actually good, very sweet.

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il ciliegio has a nice setting, but almost no customers. only 1 other table was occupied.10260019_10152334390929494_7737027130625861121_n 10171003_10152334390774494_7807149832331859890_n

the outside was pleasant. it was cold so more comfortable to dine indoors.10273369_10152334391954494_6956391925483448181_o 10153760_10152334391849494_2718618501736750980_n 10175067_10152334391549494_696552267939311361_n

we took some photos of the monterosso coastline & also in the direction of vernazza in the sunset. 🙂

owners gianni & rosanna are very nice people. after dinner, gianni drove us back to town below. he turned & reversed his MPV like >50m in one fluid movement on the narrow path like in car chase movies, but he drove safely & not fast.

food was ok, & i am sure if you speak italian, the company & conversation would be most pleasant. just on food however monterosso was filled with nice restaurants, so regrettably i would not recommend this. 😦

c.h.e.f andy

Andy’s Lake Como, Cinque Terre, Milan Grand Tour Tasting Menu on 2Jul2014

grand tour tasting menu

coming back from a wonderful trip to amsterdam, lake como, cinque terre, and milan, i was much motivated to recreate some of the delectable dishes we had. 🙂

may calendar was crowded as i had the 11pax RI friends “fine” chinese dinner on 5.5.2014 & also the 27pax G20 RI friends dinner on 28.5.2014. some friends were away in june, so the dinner was fixed on 2.7.2014. 🙂

1 of the (dining) highlights of our cinque terre tour was the flamed pasta seafood risotto at miky restaurant in monterosso on 18.4.2014 (the lobster, langoustine cold platter was likewise excellent). it was so good we went back again 20.4.2014 to enjoy one more time before leaving for milan the next day. we also had very good pasta at manarola, levanto & milan, both pesto & tomota sauce based; & excellent grilled octopus in tremezzo, bellagio, monterosso, manarola, levanto & milan.

for my menu planning, i added lobster pasta, and since i reckoned the reason miky’s risotto was so very tasty was mostly because of the stock & i used prawn shells & heads for the stock, i added lobster bisque which made use of the same stock plus the lobster shells. i had wanted to do a pesto pasta like what we had at fresco in duomo, milan which was very good too, but it was easier to do squidink.

i wanted also to recreate the grilled octopus tentacles (alle darsene at bellagio, miky at monterosso & at manarola) but i could not find any octopus in singapore, the only ones at meidi-ya liang court were the sashimi variety selling at astronomical price.

a popular appetiser in lake como (alle darsene at bellagio, al darsena at tremezzo & miky at monterosso) was 5 or 7 different preparation of fish. i couldn’t do that but i could play with different preparation of seafood.

both the lobster bisque & risotto already included lots of vegetables, so the easiest way was to round up with rockets & mesclun salad to accompany teriyaki cod & pan-seared scallops & bring balance to the seafood tapas. 🙂

teriyaki cod

#1 teriyaki cod

pan seared hokkaido scallops

#2 pan seared hokkaido scallops

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rockets + mesclun salad

squid ala plancha

#3 squid ala plancha

pan seared teriyaki cod, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, squid, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

pan seared teriyaki cod, squid, hokkaido scallops, mesclun salad

steamed oysters

#4 steamed oysters

we started with a seafood tapas medley.

#1 teriyaki cod & #2 pan-seared scallop were accompanied with a rockets + mesclun salad. my friends loved the teriyaki cod (marinated 3 day with self-made teriyaki sauce, well infused & very flavourful).

#3 squid ala plancha (teppanyaki) came about as i could not get octopus. as squid cooked very fast & curled every time, i did not use the crockpot or sous vide method. to create flavours i used the same sichuan slight spicy sauce i used for 蒜泥白肉 and marinated 2days. taste was good.

#4 the steamed oysters were a crowd favourite. i just added 2 teaspoon light soy sauce & 2 tablespoon olive oil, some sliced ginger & chilli padi to 9 large oysters of the IQF (individual quick frozen) variety from sheng shiong which i bought for a very inexpensive S$11.95 for 1 kg. i do good orh luah (oyster omelette) with them too. 🙂

the key was the timing. i did 1.5minutes steaming & left it for another 1 minute or so poaching with fire off. the result was a delectable, plump, tasty oyster. 🙂

cured salmon

#5 cured salmon

#5 the cured salmon was another very simple new dish, following chef john of foodwishes.com recipe. i bought a very fresh salmon fillet from sheng shiong, cut like sashimi as in the video, then cured in salt & sugar but for a much longer time like 3-4hrs. the salmon was very tasty, looked great & had firmer texture than sashimi. this was great stand-in dish. i had wanted to do a razor clam ala plancha but there were no razor clams at sheng shiong that morning.

2 live lobsters from sheng shiong

2 live lobsters from sheng shiong

lobster bisque

#6 lobster bisque

lobster angel hair pasta

#7 lobster angel hair pasta

#6 lobster bisque was the another crowd favourite. everyone found it to be very intense & flavourful & smooth, like XO. indeed i had added otard. 🙂 the key to a good shellfish bisque is (1) the stock made from prawn heads & shells with the lobster heads & shells added later (2) a good vegetable base (chopped leek, celery, onions, carrots) to combine the vege sweetness with shellfish sweetness & to give the bisque “body” when blended smooth with hand blender, then adding some heavy cream & brandy ( i used otard).

#7 lobster pasta was a popular dish at restuarant miky monterosso. i did not take it during the recent trip as we already ordered the lobster platter. I bought 2 live lobsters from sheng shiong, grilled the lobsters on very hot pan & flamed with otard, then scooped out the meat & tomalley (the creamy lobster liver & pancreas in the head), and throw the heads & shells into the prawn stock for the lobster bisque & also the stock of the seafood risotto. when tossing the angel hair pasta for serving i scooped back the tomalley to the lobster heads.

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

Andy's "Monterosso Miky" seafood risotto

#8 Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto

#8 i was quite proud of my “Andy’s “Monterosso Miky” seafood risotto“. 🙂 while miky’s risotto has no peers & i was not able to do the flamed pasta which was very good too, my risotto was very tasty & flavourful, infused with sweetness from the prawn stock & also the same vegetable base as the lobster bisque. 🙂

squidink spaghetti

#9 squidink spaghetti

#9 squid ink spaghetti was another late replacement. it was quite good, tasty, just a touch more salty.

i thought of doing a pesto pasta at first. pesto is a good vegetarian pasta, though you can also add prawns & chicken. the vegetables (grilled sliced egg plants, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes etc) actually required more effort. squid ink was a bit easier to do. it was basically alio olio method with white wine & squid ink.

tofu cheese cake

#10 tofu cheese cake

#10 tofu cheese cake was a popular dessert as i only lately discovered. the lime juice & yogurt provided the very mild sour taste, enhanced by the mild sweetness, and a very smooth & light cream cheese & tofu texture. an excellent ending. 2 friends brought very nice rambutans & also the usual strawberries. 🙂

a friend took the very nice photos. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

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Romantic Villa del Balbainello Lake Como Italy on 17Apr2014

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villa balbainello

our next visit was to villa balbainello on 17.4.2014. it is a beautiful and romantic attractions at lenno on lake como, at the tip of a small wooded peninsula with beautiful terraced gardens. it was also the filming location for star wars episode 2 – attack of the clones (2002) & casino royale (2006). 🙂

we spent the morning taking the lake shuttle from villa carlotta to varenna, had lunch at alle darsene, strolls through villa melzi & did some fast shopping at bellagio (& earlier at varenna) before picking up our car at villa carlotta jetty, and drove 30mins to villa balbainello at lenno.

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route accès to villa balbainello

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route accès to villa balbainello

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river taxi to villa balbainello

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it was possible to trek/walk to villa balbainello, but it was late afternoon, so we decided to take the private river taxi. the round trip fare including access to the gardens was euro13pax. 🙂

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we strolled around the terraced gardens overlooking the lake.

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loggia at top of the hill

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loggia at top of the hill

the loggia with the famous sunset scene, the kiss (anekin & padme) & the secret marriange. 🙂

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a charming & romantic garden setting, perched on the hill & overlooking the lake. villa carlotta was also facing the lake & had a lot more trees, flowers & plants to admire while you strolled. here at villa balbainello the space were more expansive living space & you could sit in the lawn (as in 007 recuperating in casino royale), rest on the verandah etc.

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1619497_10152329569269494_2734882906825612184_non the return journey, the river taxi took us on a short cruise further south, and we had a good view of villa balbainello & another villa further south of the lake & also lenno from the craft.

it was past 5pm when we got back to our hotel la perla. we liked the panna cotta at pizza balognett so much that we stopped by & ta pao (take-out). la perla has a sprawling scenic terrace patio overlooking the lake. we had couple of macchiatos to go with the panna cotta while enjoying the great views. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

The Enchanting Villa Carlotta on 16Apr2014

10252148_10152108866445662_1904424028743536863_n the enchanting villa carlotta is located in tremezzo just past the grand hotel tremezzo palace. there is an open carpark free parking area next to it, and the jetty for the lake shuttle for bellagio & varenna ia also located nearby. 🙂

we had sometime before dinner after returning from pigra cable car at argegno, & villa carlotta fits in the schedule well. 10308133_10152108866380662_250614155345170435_n1609925_10152108866295662_6784631393572576435_n

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the villa sat on hilly terrain at the lakefront. there was a massive gate & a beautiful fountain area with pruned hedges that were 6m tall! little bit like a maze. looked beautiful especially from the lake view balcony on level 3.

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the enchanting villa was built in the late 17th century, and bought in 1843 by Princess Marianne of Nassau, Albert’s of Prussia wife, who gave it as a present to her daughter Carlotta in occasion of her wedding with Georg II of Saxen-Meiningen. Hence the name Villa Carlotta. Georg II was fond of botany, & the fascinating romantic gardens were well known for its century old cedars and sequoias, rock garden, ferns valley and bamboos garden, and the many varieties of azeleas & rhododendrons. 🙂

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my wife & daughter felt that villa carlotta gardens were more attractive than keukenhof gardens. in the sense that there were 100 year old cedars & sequoias & bamboo patches spread over rolling knolls in an outdoor natural landscape setting extending over 7hectares, it did have its unique beauty.  keukenhof though was 4times in size about 32hactares. 🙂

we were looking forward to dinner, quite expecting a delightful evening at la darsena, the dinner recommendations by our b&b proprietress. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Pigra Cable Car at Argegno Lake Como on 16Apr2014

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after a wonderful lunch at pizza balognett, we took a short 15mins drive to argegno & managed to park right below the pigra cable car entrance on 16.4.2014. 🙂

pigra cable car, 1 of the steepest in europe, was opened in 1971. it took you from 200m to 850m in less than 5 minutes, or about 8km/hr.  it is actually capable of 5m/s or about 18km/hr. of course if you c/w taipei 101 just regards speed, that lift goes up at 60km/hr! 🙂

the adult return fare was 3.90euros. see the tariff & schedule here. 🙂

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the view at the top was awesome, such a beauty to behold. 🙂

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it was like a top-of-the-world feeling. you could see the small town of argegno populating the shoreline. 🙂10258768_10152327729449494_610356105448171779_n 10265614_10152327730844494_4234315811545095709_o 1484662_10152108856140662_5038915772151073548_n

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10312005_10152108856015662_8327047963765080833_na wonderful liberated feeling! 🙂

we did not have time to do the trails to belvedere. so we took the 4pm cable car down & drove back to tremezzo & made a short tour of villa carlotta before a nice dinner at la darsena. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

Best Meal at Lake Como @ Alle Darsene on 17Apr2014

7 lake fishes done in different ways

7 lake fishes done in different ways – 15euros

had the best meal at lake como at alle darsene on 17.4.2014. 🙂

alle darsene is located next to villa melzi, but it is on the other side, so a rather long walk from the bellagio ferry jetty. we had a leisurely morning & visited varenna (& the shopping). we walked on the narrow road just bordering villa melzi to reach alle darsene. on the way back we decided to just pay 9euro each & walk through villa melzi. ok la..it was but a pleasant stroll through the gardens. 🙂

our first order was the lake fishes (top photo), since we were at lake como. it was excellent, better even than that at daserna. all the 7 fishes, cured or smoked or pickled, as well as the roe, were all excellent. 2 thumbs up! 🙂

grilled octopus on a very tasty broth

grilled octopus on a very tasty broth – 15euros

and the grilled octopus, that was the best i had during this trip, better even than miky at monterosso, cinque terre. the broth was really good! i would recreate this at home, that is if i can find the octopus. 🙂

beef tartar with burrata & truffle - 15euros

beef tartar with burrata & truffle – 15euros

& the beef carpaccio was again par excellence. so sweet & tasty. my daughter & i loved it(though my wife was a bit off beef tartare). i could have this again! 🙂

fillet of sole pan seared then baked with lentils & mussels - 20euros

fillet of sole pan seared then baked with lentils & mussels – 20euros

and the fillet of sole was so good. even the lentils (though i don’t like too much of it) was very tasty with the sweet, lovely mussels. such great dish this! 🙂 i not so successful with western fish dishes except for my quite excellent cod, but i might try to do this as well. 🙂

very good catavelli with octopus, clams & muscles, excellent seafood broth - 16euros

very good catavelli with octopus, clams & mussels, excellent seafood broth – 16euros

the catavelli pasta was likewise excellent, and the octopus, clams, mussels & the seafood broth. 🙂 this i would also try to recreate.

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my daughter ordered a chocolate – so pretty

every single dish was excellent. this a restaurant i would not miss if i come again. 🙂

because of the location, it is inconvenient though for dinner if not staying at bellagio as there is a ferry to catch! 😦 that was why we changed our prior booking from dinner to lunch.

c.h.e.f andy

Good Dinner Set @ la Darsena Tremezzo on 16Apr2014

45euros pax menu darsena #1 selection of 5 lake fishes done different ways

45euros pax menu darsena #1 selection of 5 lake fishes done different ways

la perla’s proprietress was very friendly & enthusiastic. she made 2 restaurant recommendations for dinner on 16.4.2014. we picked la darsena, restaurant at hotel la daserna located at the road junction entering the main road coming from la perla b&b, and she made a reservation for us. 🙂

we went to pigra cable car at argegno after lunch & still found time to wonder through the beautiful villa carlotta and got back to la perla 6-ish, so dinner at darsena at 8pm was ‘perfecto’. 🙂

the owner’s son waited on us. a very friendly & helpful guy. he recommended some of their signature dishes & as couple of them were already on the 45euros pax 4-course menu darsena, we ordered 2 sets plus 1 order of pasta to share among the 3 of us.

food was overall good, quite above average, just did not bowl us over.

#1 the selection of 5 lake fishes done different ways (top photo) was their signature dish & really good, though personally i felt the one at the alle darsene lunch the next day was even better. this a dish i would pick if ordering ala carte. this seemed to be a popular starter dish in restaurants here & also in cinque terre.

45euros pax menu darsena #2 crispy perch fillet risotto

45euros pax menu darsena #2 crispy perch fillet risotto

#2 the crispy perch fillet risotto though was below expectation. texture-wise risotto were always done very well al dente in all the restaurants including darsena. taste-wise though we were expecting a bit more. the perch tasted quite dry & flat & the risotto was quite plain. portions in italy were quite large & i ended up taking more than i should 😦 to make up the smaller quantities my wife & daughter took.

seafood pasta - ala carte

seafood pasta – ala carte

the seafood pasta, also 1 of their recommendations, looked good but also tasted average or just better. spaghetti was the thicker version & somewhat less al dente. the dish was ok just not as tasty as expected.

45euros pax menu darsena #3 lemon sorbet

45euros pax menu darsena #3 lemon sorbet

#3 this 1/2 eaten lemon sorbet was excellent. the owner’s son said he owned a gelato stall further down the road & he made these himself & brought them over to serve at darsena. 🙂

45euros pax menu darsena #4  fillet of pork

45euros pax menu darsena #4 fillet of pork

#4 the fillet of pork was good actually. unfortunate not sure what was the combination of factors, i had either tired from the driving or taken too much of the risotto & pasta, or the wine, i was feeling drowsy & also not comfortable. in the end i took only 1 quarter off my plate & my wife & daughter were also too full to take any. the portions were also truly huge in italy. 🙂

45euros pax menu darsena #5 trio of desserts

45euros pax menu darsena #5 trio of desserts

#5 the dessert combo of custard with some crumble inside, apple tart & chocolate mousse was excellent. 🙂

overall, except for the crispy perch, i think it was actually a very good set for the price 45euros. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

 

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

 

The Dazzling Keukenhof Gardens on 14Apr2014

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2 things wife wanted to do was to cycle in amsterdam & see the tulips at keukenhof gardens, hence the “detour” from the initial vacation plan of lake como & cinque terre. 🙂

we had the holland pass so we used the gold pass for entry to keukenhof gardens (cost 15euros). we used a silver pass for the bus return from schipol airport to keukenhof (cost 9euros). for the journey from amsterdam central to schipol we had to pay 4euros as it was not covered by the holland pass. if you do not have holland pass, you can get a combi ticket here including return from amsterdam central & entry to keukenhof for 28euros.

keukenhof is located in lisse and used to be the part of the the estate of teylingen castle.  games were hunted & food collected for the kitchens of the castle, hence keukenhof or kitchen courtyard in dutch. in 1857 the same architect who designed vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in english landscape style, the basis for keukenhof today. there is wifi throughout the gardens & you can download the map here.

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tulips galore! 🙂

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flowers were mostly in full bloom and it was a wonderful stroll through the garden. very pleasant indeed. 🙂

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floral art. 🙂

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sakuras. quite pretty these, but of course nothing could compare with seeing sakuras in kyoto or tokyo. 🙂

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there was an animal pen.

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fun time for the children, and adults too!

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such beauty! 🙂

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keukenhof was really beautiful. a very enjoyable day. we visited villa carlotta later when we visited tremezzo in lake como, and that was extremely beautiful too, and villa carlotta gardens was in a landscaped natural terrain setting, not garden plots, so it had added attraction. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy