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

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Great Value Wholesome Lunch @ Ristorante La Scogliera Manarola on 19Apr2014

seafood spaghetti in tomato sauce

seafood spaghetti

was raining in the morning & mid day on 19.4.2014. we were not able to take the sentiero azzurro (blue path) which is the coastal route no. 2 trek from monterosso to vernazza.

we were early in apr so not quite the peak. there was still some crowd, and later commotion when someone was apparently pick pocketed. some friends went later in may & commented that the cinque terre trains were late but our experience with it was good, fortunately.

we took the train to manarola. the views were excellent but again the sentiero azzurro (blue path)trek between manarola & vernazza was closed.

manarola was a tiny place so we had lots of time & decided to take lunch there. ristorante la scogliera manarola prominently displayed its 4 trip advisor stars. must say we were not disappointed. indeed cheap & good! 🙂

Ristorante La Scogliera Manarola.

Ristorante La Scogliera Manarola

restaurant was pretty crowded. we were early so we were able to get a table after few minutes before the queue formed up.

seafood spaghetti in tomato sauce

seafood spaghetti

the lunch specials were all about 10euros & 11 euros, and the menu dishes not far off. my seafood spaghetti was about 11 euros, and it was really good very tasty dish. 🙂

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

grilled octopus

al the grilled octopus we had at lake como restaurants & at miky monterosso were all good, and so was this & it’s just 10 euros.

plate of mussels

plate of mussels

this my idea of eating mussels – wholesome, hearty, a large pot or plate & very reasonable prices (& not the meagre 4 stuffed mussels at miky). haha. i think also around 10 euros. 🙂

scampi pasta in tomato sauce

scampi pasta in tomato sauce

my daughter ordered the scampi pasta in tomato sauce. and they really do their tomato sauce pastas very well in all the restaurants we’ve been, very flavourful & great taste of tomatoes. 🙂

this definitely a lunch place i would recommend for all visitors to manarola. 🙂

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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