Excellent Dinner with Son @ The Greek Larder, London on 7May2015

salt cod, scordalia & soft boiled eggs

salt cod, scordalia & soft boiled eggs – £7

had an excellent dinner with son at the greek larder at art house down the road from the apartment.^^

son was waiting for me at the apartment & came down to help with the luggage. everything went quite smoothly except for the unwanted 1.5hrs cab ride through congested london after an equally tiresome 13.5hrs long flight from singapore.

i had food at the asia treasure lounge and also a poached egg breakfast & chicken biryani on board. don’t really need to eat dinner, certainly not to take underground etc just to eat. didn’t make sense also for son to cook.

anyhow we decided to walk to king’s cross near the apartment. caravan, place we went to first had a 45mins wait at 630pm, and the indian place around the corner, dishoom, 45mins to 1hr wait. we were walking back to apartment then son remembered another place, the greek larder at art house.

the greek larder

the greek larder

no wait, phew!

the greek larder

the greek larder

nice, cool place too!

olives

olives

complimentary olives to start.

rock oysters, vinaigrette

rock oysters, vinaigrette – £2

service was super good! young lady server came to our tables maybe 5 times throughout to assist with order, check on us etc.

rock oysters, vinaigrette

rock oysters, vinaigrette – £2

the oysters, £2, did not look great, but was actually pretty ok, fresh, no metallic taste, sweet, juicy not so plump.

octopus & fava (split pea puree)

octopus & fava (split pea puree)-£6

octopus & fava (split pea puree)

octopus & fava (split pea puree) – £6

octopus & fava, a split pea puree like a hummus was excellent. very tender tasty octopus. the lady brought nice complimentary rye bread & a refill which was excellent with the hummus.

menu

menu

we took 2 oysters & 3 appetisers, no main courses. price was pretty ok! 🙂

soutzouki sausage with smoked aubergine salad

soutzouki sausage with smoked aubergine salad – £7

soutzouki sausage with smoked aubergine salad

soutzouki sausage with smoked aubergine salad – £7

we loved the sausage too, like a chorizo, very tasty flavourful, and the smoked aubergines salad was just fabulous!^^

salt cod, scordalia & soft boiled eggs

salt cod, scordalia & soft boiled eggs – £7

& the best, the salt cod. i was having this image of the best??? fish & chips in london at poppies (turned out to be the worst fish & chips i ever had, and it was cod!).

anyhow the lady said it was very good. & it was! superb crispy batter & very tasty cod. i would have this again for sure.

dinner with son was just great & we were both very satisfied & happy we took the walk & had such a wonderful dinner together.

c.h.e.f andy

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Prawn & Oyster Beehoon (the Crab Beehoon Style)

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

recently a friend bought 4pax dinner & crab beehoon at seng kee on 1.2.2015.

we were all quite disappointed with the food, especially the crab beehoon which cost S$70 after my friend was given a special discount.

i was thinking, maybe i should cook this myself. it did not look difficult at all.

subsequently i did have a very good S$60 crab beehoon (i think at this price all stalls selling crab beehoon must at least be of this standard) at kamjiazhuang organised by my daughter on 7.2.2015.

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

anyhow, today i decided to give it a try, on 26.2.2015. ^^

i didn’t have crabs & did not intend to get crabs to experiment, so i did a flavourful stock of prawn heads & shells with salt & oil. (i did the same for my chilli crab pasta w/o crabs).

i fried some chopped shallots, garlic, 2 chilli padi & 1 cm sliced ginger in oil in a wok on medium to a nice aroma. then i added the cleaned chinese cabbage & fried till it softened, and added some fish sauce. i removed the vegetables and added about 200g of beehoon softened in cold water & stir fried a short while. then i added the prawn stock together with the unshelled prawns & turned the fire up to reduce the stock. i added 2tablespoon of oyster sauce & 1 tablespoon of cornflour.

once the stock was reduced and checked for taste & making sure the beehoon was not overcooked, i added the oysters, covered it with the beehoon & off the fire.

& it was ready to serve. voila!

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

crab beehoon style prawn beehoon

for me the test was –

1. that the shellfish stock flavours were infused into the beehoon (入味)
2. the beehoon are NOT marshy, stick together

i had tasted the dish during cooking, so i knew it was tasty & flavourful & the shellfish stock was properly infused. overall i was quite satisfied with the result, so maybe will try with crab or lobster.

while the current preparation was not really superb, it was still probably better than seng kee’s which was more like a singapore fried beehoon than a crab beehoon.

c/w with kamjiazhuang’s crab beehoon & ming kee’s crab beehoon though, mine was quite some way to go. so let’s see if i can get close using crab instead of prawns.

c.h.e.f andy

 

Quick, Simple Home Dinner on 9Jan2015

bought some live manila clams & mussels from sheng shiong in the morning.

manila clams

manila clams

the manila clams were expensive this time at S$13.90/kg. mussels were priced as usual at S$3.50/kg. i bought 500g mussels & 600g+ manila clams. 🙂

i decided to cook the manila clams & mussels differently.

for the manila clams, i cooked with curry leaves, chilli padi, sliced ginger, oyster sauce & starch, similar to the wok-fried manila clams i did last time minus the white wine, orange peel & butter.

mussels

mussels

mussels

mussels

mussels

mussels

for the mussels, i decided to use the western mussel pot style. i used butter, chilli padi, sliced ginger, sliced orange peel & white wine, & added a teaspoon sugar.

oysters

oysters

oysters

oysters

as my youngest daughter decided to join the 2 old folks, i added a oyster omelette. i used the large frozen oysters, fried the egg first, pushed that to one side, put pan to high heat & added the oysters, and stir-fried for short while (about 20secs).

very nice wok hae (flavours) for all 3 dishes. manila clams had the best flavours.

romaine lettuce

romaine lettuce

romaine lettuce

romaine lettuce

we also had a romaine lettuce to round off the light dinner with some plain rice.

nice evening & great simple food.

c.h.e.f andy

Sumptuous Alluring Omakase @ Hachi on 22Nov2014

#4 sashimi moriawase 1pax = botan ebi, sawala (spanish mackerel), chutoro, ika, kinmedai, tai, hamachi

#4 sashimi moriawase 1pax = botan ebi, sawala (spanish mackerel), chutoro, ika, kinmedai, tai, hamachi

my wife’s good friend couple bought us a wonderful super delicious omakase dinner at hachi on 22.11.2014. 🙂

my wife & i had been to hachi several times. we introduced the restaurant to them & said we would buy them dinner there, but they sprang this superb omakase on us & bought us instead.

in fact we had never take this S$188pax premium omakase here (restaurant said it’s a new menu started 2014). every time we just took the S$118pax (now increased to S$128 pax) omakase, which was also pretty good. well no complaints. ^^ 🙂

#1 japanese persimmon with persimmon leaf

#1 japanese persimmon

#1 japanese persimmon with persimmon leaf

#1 japanese persimmon

#1 first course was a japanese persimmon came shielded with persimmon leaf. dish was beautiful & exquisite, feeling of koyo (autumn colours). persimmon was very sweet but could not recall the other items. there was goma (sesame) sauce.

#2 ayu fish, tam ago, ginkgo nuts, chestnut, crispy sweet potato, seaweed

#2 ayu fish, tamago, ginkgo nuts, chestnut, crispy sweet potato, seaweed

#2 ayu fish, tam ago, ginkgo nuts, chestnut, crispy sweet potato, seaweed

#2 ayu fish, tamago, ginkgo nuts, chestnut, crispy sweet potato, seaweed

#2 second course was ayu fish, tamago, ginkgo nuts, chestnut, crispy sweet potato, dish of seaweed. such delicate & beautiful plating. 🙂

ayu is a tasty but flaky (falling apart) fish, not my favourite but ayu shioyaki (鮎塩焼) is a very popular dish (see photo of the open grill here). in small bites for this starter, it was quite nice.

#3 steamed tai (seabream) on braised tofu

#3 steamed tai (seabream) on braised tofu

#3 third course was a steamed tai (seabream) on braised tofu. sea bream was very sweet & tasty. tofu was excellent, very crispy outside & smooth consistency inside.

#4 sashimi moriawase 1pax = botan ebi, sawala (spanish mackerel), chutoro, ika, kinmedai, tai, hamachi

#4 sashimi moriawase 1pax = botan ebi, sawala (spanish mackerel), chutoro, ika, kinmedai, tai, hamachi

#4 the next course sashimi moriawase for 1pax kinmedai 金目鯛 (japanese golden eye sea bream – see photo here), tai (sea bream), hamachi>> was a real treat. i have not taken sawala before & probably not kinmedai (as sashimi) too.

the kinmedai was really good. 🙂 and of course the chutoro, botan ebi etc etc. ^^

we had really good sashimi moriawase just last week at sumiya on 16.11.2014 which included uni, awabi & akami.

and of course mikuni’s chirashi don sashimi quality was top draw.

but to have this sashimi moriawase as part of an 11-course omakase was truly luxurious, sumptuous. 🙂

the sashimi moriawase for GOTO’s kaiseki was not too bad, but it was expensive & not as good value.

#5 crispy sweet potatoes on steamed sea bream on japaenese rice cake

#5 crispy sweet potatoes on steamed sea bream on japaenese rice cake

#5 crispy sweet potatoes on steamed sea bream on japaenese rice cake

#5 crispy sweet potatoes on steamed sea bream on japaenese rice cake

#5 fifth course was crispy sweet potatoes on steamed sea bream on japaenese rice cake in a very tasty starchy mountain yam soup. simply yummy. i drank the whole thing.

#6 very large (3in), firm & tasty oyster

#6 very large (3in), firm & tasty oyster

#6 very large (3in), firm & tasty oyster

#6 very large (3in), firm & tasty oyster

#6 sixth course was a large (3in), firm & tasty oyster. 1 of us found it sandy. it was ok for the rest. it was evidently good enough though as we finished the oysters before i thought of asking the restaurant to replace the oyster. i like this dish very much.

#7 excellent tempura - anago (conger eel), very good hotate, shiso 紫蘇 leaf (also called oba), and red pepper.

#7 excellent tempura – anago (conger eel), very good hotate, shiso 紫蘇 leaf (also called oba), and red pepper.

#7 excellent tempura - anago (conger eel), very good hotate, shiso 紫蘇 leaf (also called oba), and red pepper.

#7 excellent tempura – anago (conger eel), very good hotate, shiso 紫蘇 leaf (also called oba), and red pepper

#7 next course was an excellent tempura – anago (conger eel), very good hotate, shiso 紫蘇 leaf (also called oba), and red pepper.

the konbu (昆布) which japanese use for dashi (clear soup stock) is not edible.

#8 ohmi wagyu (近江牛) with xavier, jalapeño chilli, sweet potatoes

#8 ohmi wagyu (近江牛) with caviar, jalapeño chilli, sweet potatoes

#8 ohmi wagyu (近江牛) with xavier, jalapeño chilli, sweet potatoes

#8 ohmi wagyu (近江牛) with caviar, jalapeño chilli, sweet potatoes

#8 eighth course was ohmi wagyu (近江牛) – among the top 3 japanese wagyu – with caviar, jalapeño chilli, sweet potatoes.

taste was simply sublime, out of this world. ^^

#9 hokkaido momotaro tomatoes - a palate cleanser

#9 hokkaido momotaro tomatoes – a palate cleanser

#9 hokkaido momotaro tomatoes - a palate cleanser

#9 hokkaido momotaro tomatoes – a palate cleanser

#9 next was hokkaido momotaro tomatoes – a palate cleanser.

#10 my selection of sushi = kinmedai, hotate, uni (each diner can pick 3 types of sushi)

#10 my selection of sushi = kinmedai, hotate, uni (each diner can pick 3 types of sushi)

#10 my selection of sushi = kinmedai, hotate, uni (each diner can pick 3 types of sushi)

#10 my selection of sushi = kinmedai, hotate, uni (each diner can pick 3 types of sushi)

#10 the server brought us a tray of 10 to 12 sashimi. each diner can pick 3 types of sushi. my selection of sushi = kinmedai, hotate, uni. the hotate was really good, very huge, plump & sweet. the uni & kinmedai too of course. 🙂

wife had uni, negi toro & kinmedai. the 2 friends each had botan ebi, hotate & uni. 🙂

#11 dessert - yuzu ice cream, kiwi fruit, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, cheese cake slice

#11 dessert – yuzu ice cream, kiwi fruit, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, cheese cake slice

#11 dessert - yuzu ice cream, kiwi fruit, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, cheese cake slice

#11 dessert – yuzu ice cream, kiwi fruit, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, cheese cake slice

#11 i guess dessert was the least tantalising of the omakase – yuzu ice cream, kiwi fruit, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, cheese cake slice. it was a bit more quantity than quality, good standard & substantial, but not like say japanese melon.

overall this hachi premium omakase was much superior in quality of ingredients & taste c/w the kaiseki we had at GOTO on 23.10.2014, which cost a lot more.

c.h.e.f andy

Quality + Great Value Alacarte Buffet @ Zen on 21Jul2014

salmon sashimi

salmon sashimi

bought 2xS$33.80 groupons & went with sis to zen at ue square for ala carte lunch buffet on 21.7.2014. 🙂

normal lunch buffet is priced at S$42++pax. i had also taken their lunch sets starting from S$16++pax (but some years back) & they were pretty good. quality of food & cooking had always been good here.

for the ala carte buffet, the main event was the wagyu shabu shabu. there was also pork & whole array of jap dishes. only set back was the lack of good sashimi other than salmon for the buffet. you could order them as additional ala carte orders & they were at good discounted prices too e.g. what looked liked a very good 10 piece sushi set was going for like S$18. i wouldn’t order that while i was having a alacarte buffet lunch though.

aburi salmon sushi & maguro susghi

aburi salmon sushi & maguro susghi

aburi salmon sushi

aburi salmon sushi

the salmon sashimi was good, probably about chikuwatei & momoya standard. anyway these days many places served good salmon sashimi. the aburi salmon sushi & maguro sushi were both good but the rice was so huge you could not order more w/o leaving the rice. anyway i set aside the rice for later dishes like the kimchi buta & ebi ika basil dish. 🙂

kaki hoba yaki

kaki hoba yaki

breaded oyster

breaded oyster

both the broiled oysters & the breaded oysters were good. we did not order additional as could not finish so much food!

also ordered 2 pieces ebi tempura (forgot to take pictures). good too. flour a bit much. we did not add orders.

steak

steak

steak

steak

unlike the sister restaurant en japanese dining bar, they did not serve beef carpaccio, but the wafu steak was really very good, very tender & sweet.

thai style basil prawns & squid

thai style basil prawns & squid

kimchi buta

kimchi buta

the 2 thai & korean dishes showed the quality of cooking here. kimchi buta was just ok but with lots of pork & belly pork. the basil prawns & squid was very good, the standerd of a good thai restaurant. i kept my rice for these dishes. 🙂

zen at UE square

zen at UE square

shabu shabu

shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

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vege set for shabu shabu

for the main event wagyu shabu shabu, the beef was excellent. perhaps azmaya was better. hard to tell, but this was very good anyway. 🙂

it came in 1/2 & full portion (200g). we had the full portion for 2pax but could not add more. we also ordered 1/2 portion belly pork. it was just 6 slices & it was very good. we just could not add more.

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

decided to take 1/2 portion of unagi chahan to share. it was still very large portion & we took about 70%. it was very flavourful with unagi pieces but no better than a good fried rice at imperial treasure or crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

creme brûlée

creme brûlée

also shared a tofu cheese cake & a creme brûlée. both were good. creme brûlée a bit sweeter & we did not finish it.

the normal weekday lunch buffet price is S$42++pax & dinner S$52++pax. still ok i guess if you take a lot of beef. the S$33.80nett groupon deal was of course superb value. 🙂

just to add that the service was overall good. not always the most attentive, but very polite friendly when they served you. ice water was free unlike other places (tajimaya does not serve tap water & charges S$5.90 for 1 litre bottled water), so the S$33.80 groupon was all we paid.

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

10431331_10152512494029494_372888348257348339_o

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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So Very Nice 4pax Family Dinner @ Mikuni on 23Jun2014

oysters - S$28

oysters – S$28

dinners at mikuni are always so very enjoyable. see recent post on a wonderful mikuni dinner on 31.3.2014.

we were there again on 23.6.2014. this time we ordered the chirashi don, oysters & golden prawns, in addition to the usual.

the oysters were good. at 50% discounts, it was S$14 for 3 pieces. the ones we had recently at chikuwatei was better but more ex – 2 large ones for S$22. 🙂

chirashi don - S$90

chirashi don – S$90

chirashi don - S$90

chirashi don – S$90

the chirashi don was so, so very nice. this must the best in singapore or anywhere for S$45++ after 50% feed at raffles (FAR) discounts. 🙂 needless to say, it was far, far better than sun with moon or chikuwatei. not only there was uni, 2 pieces of chu toro, & a huge botan ebi, all the other cuts like salmon, tai, hamachi, hotate were so sweet & fresh & so very many. 🙂

it was kind of a late discovery for us, as we dined quite a bit at mikuni but we tend to take the cooked food rather than sashimi.

botan ebi - S$42 for 3

botan ebi – S$42 for 3

botan ebi - S$42 for 3 pieces

botan ebi – S$42 for 3

we had the usual botan ebi sashimi (S$42 for 3 pieces) & had the head deep-fried.

sous vide octopus tempura - S$30

sous vide octopus tempura – S$30

& we all loved the sous vide tako kari kari age.

cold sake - S$50

cold sake – S$50

the sake was ex… S$50 & only 25% discount.

golden prawns - S$40

golden prawns – S$40

golden prawns - S$40

golden prawns – S$40

& the golden prawns (basically teppanyaki large prawns with lots of mayo) was really good! each of us had about 5 prawns, so there must be 20 pieces. we took very little mayo but this mayo taste was very good. 🙂

lobster uniyaki - S$48

lobster uniyaki – S$48

lobster uniyaki - S$48

lobster uniyaki – S$48

the lobster uniyaki today was below the usual standard. i had always liked the lobster but somehow this time the lobster meat did not have the usual bouncy fresh texture. couldn’t say it was bad but c/w the golden prawns, it was substantially poorer.

kagoshima wagyu konabe - S$48

kagoshima wagyu konabe – S$48

& the kagoshima wagyu konabe was as good as ever.

the bill came to S$239nett for 4pax (c/w S$205 for 4pax at chikuwatei & such huge guff in quality of food). excluding the sake, it would be S$195nett or S$165++ for 4pax, really good deal. 🙂

i think i gonna go back just for the chirashi don. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Oysters & Chirashi Don @ Chikuwatei on 17Jun2014

japanese oysters

japanese oysters = S$22 for 2

my daughter & jh bought dinner as return treat for my wife & i ‘lombang’ aka enjoyed collateral benefits. 🙂

they suggested chikuwatei, and now thinking back the last time i went there was 3yrs+ ago. these few days i had been thinking of going to chikuwatei again so the time was most fitting.

(P.S. subsequently i had dinner at momoya on 6.7.2014 & it was the best value sushi & sashimi bento, quality equal if not better than chikuwatei & much better value)

not sure if there was any change of ownership but the service was very much better. the lady taking charge at the front counter, showing us to the table, gave good recommendations and was not pushy. the oysters she recommended were excellent. when she was clearing the dishes at the end of the meal she tipped over my wife’s sake cup. later she came back with a full cup of sake. i guess we could have reasonably asked for that too but we did not, & did not really expect it. 🙂

chirashi don

chirashi don = S$25

chirashi don

chirashi don = S$25

teriyaki chicken

teriyaki chicken = S$10

japanese oysters

japanese oysters = S$22 for 2

we ordered 4 chirashi don for 4pax, 2 servings of oysters (4 oysters), teriyaki chicken & a 250ml house sake (S$16).

i was much looking forward for the chirashi don as i had not taken here for so long. in fact i was slightly disappointed. the helpings were just as large – 5 slices of salmon, 3 maguro, 3 kajiki, 2 hamachi & 2 tamago (egg), with a heap of ikura. rice was good, ok not the best. the salmon was not so sweet (2 of the 5 were sweeter). i thought that the salmon sashimi i had at sun with moon wheelock as a S$3 side dish for 3 pieces were better! the kajiki & maguro were also not very sweet, the hamachi was a bit sweeter. the ikura added a slightly salty, flavourful touch to the vinegared rice.

i guessed overall it was not too bad but a bit underwhelming for me & kind of below what i expected. if i were having just sashimi, the S$20 chirashi don lunch set i had recently at ginza kuroson was a lot better quality, but that was lunch. if i wanted combination then the sets at sun with moon would be more attractive than this.

must add though that the oysters were quite large & excellent, juicy, tasty with no metallic taste, very enjoyable. the teriyaki chicken was good too, though not really food i would order.

probably won’t come here too soon unless there are some other specials or promotions.

c.h.e.f andy

Very Good Dinner @ Zazas Amsterdam on 14Apr2014

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amuse bouche

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focaccia bread

had a good dinner at zazas on my second night in amsterdam on 14.4.2014. 🙂 like beulings, we planned & booked the restaurant before the trip.

could not recall the amuse bouche but it was good tasting.

the focaccia was good, the usual.

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carpaccio – euro10.50

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smoked duck mille feuille euro 10.50

we ordered 5 appetisers including the oysters & soup. 🙂

#1 the beef carpaccio was good, sweet & came with foie gras terrine.

#2 the smoked duck mille feuille was good too. smoked duck was good & the pastry too, overall a good dish. taste wise it was not as exciting as it looked. the duck & pastry were competent, good, not special.

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cheese ravioli 1/2 portion euro 8.80

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carrot soup 1/2portion euro2.80

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3 de claire oysters euro 7.50

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creamy & sweet de claire oyster

#3 the ravioli was good. couldn’t remember what was in it, I imagine cheese? but this was better than the green pea risotto we had at the movies restaurant the next day. 🙂

#4 the carrot soup (we had 3 servings of 1/2 portion) had some cream at the bottom & was again very good, and also better than the one at the movies restaurant.

#5 the oysters were excellent, very creamy and sweet. we ordered a second helping of 3 oysters. 🙂

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black cod euro20.50

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guinea fowl euro 20.50

we ordered 2 mains to share.

#6 the cod was competent, but somehow the meat were firmer (& less oily??) than the texture i generally liked, as in my own nobu miso cod or teriyaki cod.

#7 the guinea fowl i guess was competent, just was not a dish that we particularly liked, and by comparison, the duck confit at the movies restaurant was much more enjoyable.

the service was very good – professional & friendly. there was 2 taiwanese ladies on our next table. 1 ordered a lamb but didn’t like it. she was requested to order a different main from the menu. the server took back the lamb & later explained politely & cheerfully that the chef tasted the lamb & it was fine however they would replace it with another main anyway. the lady said sorry when paying the bill & the server said they were sorry that she did not like it. all very nice & pleasant. 🙂

overall the dinner came to euro104 including 2 coffees & a glass of wine, quite good price. it was not really much more expensive than the movies restaurant. the appetisers were great but the mains were not as enjoyable for us c/w the movies restaurant.  i would come back again when in amsterdam.

c.h.e.f andy

 

Good Mansard Champagne Dinner @ Halia at Raffles Hotel on 2Dec2013

baked oysters in feta cheese gratin

baked oysters in feta cheese gratin

i have this group of friends who are always in the know when it comes to the finest wine dinner in town. 🙂

we got ourselves a table for 10 at the mansard champagne dinner at halia @ raffles hotel on 2.12.2013. halia looked to occupy the previous seah deli space, with a open bar area at the pavilion outside. the acoustic was very poor as 1 of my “expert” friends noticed right away, and we had to “shout” at each other to be heard as the place was full & echoes were flying off all the hard surfaces – walls & glass windows. the din was like fish market – very happening…haha. 🙂

this the second time my wife & i joined the wine dinners. the last one at fordham & grand was one of the best dinners i had. 🙂

mansard champagne dinner menu

mansard champagne dinner menu

i looked at the halia mansard dinner menu & it looked great too. the concept was communal dining so the courses came in platters for sharing for 2pax. i had been to halia @ botanic gardens once, perhaps twice, likely more than 5 years ago. the experience was good, perhaps not compelling. i did remember it served 1 of the best lamb racks then. but halia standard should be fine. 🙂

the oyster gratin was a good, tasty, competent dish. most of us would prefer freshly shucked oysters or sashimi but if you had to have it baked, this was good. 🙂

spicy prawn salad

spicy prawn salad

the spicy prawn salad was 1 of my favourites. very refreshing. love especially the sharp spiciness that added kick to the dish. prawns & salad were fine but nothing special.

pan-fried foie gras risotto with shredded duck leg

pan-fried foie gras risotto with shredded duck leg

the foie gras risotto with apples & duck leg rillette was great too, the duck imparting some flavours to the risotto, which was nicely done al dente. this was perhaps a finer preparation than that served at jamie’s italian & alfresco gusto but taste-wise i preferred the latter 2 which were creamier & more hearty & intense. certainly it was not the best risotto experience i had. 🙂 a few friends did not like the al dente texture. 1 quipped that it was duck porridge..haha. 🙂

palate cleanser sorbet

lime & lemon sorbet palate cleanser

before getting on the main, we had a very nice lime sorbet palate cleanser.

seared yellow fin ahi tuna loin

seared yellow fin ahi tuna loin

the ahi tuna loin was another competent dish (maguro not quite my favourite sashimi as it is plain in taste, not so sweet like hamachi or kajiki or aji). these were very lightly seared. the japanese aburi (torched) sashimi preparation would be better. the capsicum & white beans garnishing were good & complement the fish rather well.  overall i liked the dish though i had better ahi tuna loin in california & aburi maguro in japanese restaurants. the dish did not win many votes among my companions though, 1 was shaking his head. 🙂

sous vide wagyu rump & polenta

sous vide wagyu rump & polenta

next was the sous vide wagyu. i thought it was rump as most restaurants served this cheaper cut braised in course meals & confirmed with the server that it was so. it was strange that after sous vide (slow vacuum low temp cooking) the beef was still slightly tough & not tender enough, something not usually associated with the tender consistency if anaemic colour that sous vide produced. it was still not a bad dish for a rump cut, perhaps fine preparation & kind of average taste. 🙂

white & dark chocolates

white & dark chocolates

the dessert was fabulous, especially the white chocolate. the caramel honeycomb had an interesting & pleasant after taste. some of us thought of it as “terng chan po piah” the vanishing food with a honeycomb wrapped in po piah skin. 🙂

many of my friends, having been schooled in (or just “spoilt” by) many good wine dinners, didn’t think the food was great. it was ok though for my wife & me. i guess everything is relative & depends on the point of reference. perhaps many other wine dinner were better & this would not rank high. but i didn’t see much difference between this (comparing over all the courses) & what one could get at oso, otto, absinthe or forlino at S$88 even w/o the champagne,  so to me dinner was quite good, & especially fun & enjoyable with the company, though the food at fordham & grand i had last was much better. 🙂

& that’s not the end. there was a lucky draw for a magnum (1500ml) champagne. there were 64 diners so we had 10 in 64 chances, & 1 of our friends took home the magnum, with the few among us trying in vain to coax him to let us do the safe-keeping! hahaha. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Excellent Omakase @ Hachi on 9Nov2013

excellent kobachi (小钵) -amuse bouche

excellent kobachi (小钵) -amuse bouche

we had an immensely satisfying omakase dinner for 3pax at hachi on 9.11.2013. 🙂

omakase is like a chef’s table. there is no menu & the chef dishes out the freshest ingredients of the day. generally it is done like a kaiseki course dinner. at hachi we were served a 12-course autumn-theme dinner. the restaurant asked whether we had diet restrictions, as was customary. we of course ate anything & everything..haha. 🙂

the first dish was an excellent kobachi like an amuse bouche. i can’t really remember what it was except for the slice of japanese persimon sticking out. 🙂

sensai (前菜) platter - tofu, ginko nuts, a momiji (maple) flour cake. chestnut etc

sensai (前菜) platter – tofu, ginko nuts, a momiji (maple) flour cake. chestnut etc

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi)

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi)

oyster

raw oyster

sensai (前菜) platter was lovely – tofu, ginko nuts, chestnut & a momiji (maple) flour cake etc befitting the occasion.

next was a dobin mushi (teapot soup) which was simple & nice. didn’t take a photo though!

the sashimi moriawase consisting of shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi was excellent, very fresh & sweet. 🙂

we also had a very large plump juicy oyster. very good indeed!

hamachi kama (fish cheeks)

hamachi kama (fish cheeks)

steamed crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon dish

simmered crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon dish

ohmi wagyu rare

ohmi wagyu rare

hokkaido tomatoes

hokkaido tomatoes

light noodles with tempura batter

light noodles with tempura batter

next up was the hamachi kama (fish cheeks). this was among the best for this evening. i don’t order kama at japanese restaurants because it is usually quite a large helping & not everyone likes it. for this evening though it was excellent, 1 of the best kama i had, very well marinated, sweet (not too sweet) & tasty. we all liked it. 🙂

next was a simmered dish of crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon etc, delicate & tasty.

following that we were served ohmi wagyu (ohmi is 1 of the top 3 kuroge wagyu after matsuzaka & kobe) – the highlight of the evening. it was very flavourful & a nice rare. after that we had hokkaido tomatoes. they were super, sweet & refreshing. these are now served in many restaurants in Hong Kong & Singapore & xiyan served them as a starter dish in their rather expensive course meals.

to round off the meal, we had, in place of the usual gohan set (rice & pickles), a light noodle with some tempura batter. it was very satisfying.  after that we had a nice macha ice cream. 🙂

the price of the omakase was S$118pax. it was very good in quality of cooking & ingredients & also quantity. it was certainly a much better deal c/w the S$138pax kaiseki at kuriya dining & the S$170pax kaiseki at keyaki. c/w mikuni at 50% FAR discounts and Andy’s kaiseki (in jest only la! haha), mikuni was still the better deal. still hachi was an excellent alternative for good japanese kaiseki. will certainly be back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Expensive Average Buffet Great Ambience @ The Edge Pan Pacific Singapore on 24Jun2013

grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion)

grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion)

my dining quartet had this sudden spell of interest in hotel buffet. for this round, our hostess selected The Edge @ Pan Pacific Singapore, which had last year undergone a major renovation. lunch was S$58pax and there was an ongoing 3paying 1 free promotion for various credit cards, so the price worked out to S$43.5++pax. 🙂

i (& i think in fact all my dining quartet friends) had no fondness for buffet – yet there we were! I always thought buffet main courses “sucks” (pardon the language) & if I went to buffet I would just take very selected items from the appetizers or antipasti & the cheeseboard if they had.

The only buffet I thought worth going was the semi-buffet lunch at Equinox which served a selection of good fine dining main courses & great appetizer buffet/cheeseboard at S$59pax (so S$29,50pax for 50% Feed at Raffles discount for 2pax). Lately I have added One-Ninety @ Four Seasons, which I now think serves a higher quality semi-buffet than Equinox and at S$38pax w/o main course suits me fine (S$48pax with main course). 🙂 The other very good buffet is Basilico at Regent Hotel. I went during RestaurantWeek in 2012 & the antipasti was excellent. I think I should go back there to try again soon, talking about not having too many buffet..haha.. 🙂

I had tried The Line st Shangri-la & Carousel at Royal Plaza at Scotts but sad to say I didn’t think much of them even at 50% discount! I saw The Edge’s menu and didn’t think it was going to be any different.

kajiki (swordfish) sashimi with pickled ginger

kajiki (swordfish) sashimi with pickled ginger

the sashimi section was very limited for lunch! the kajiki (sword fish) sashimi was good, the salmon was ok, just average same as other buffet & not the best ones. I went back for a second helping of kajiki w/o the salmon. real nice! 🙂

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there wasn’t much to pick in the sushi section so I just picked 1 maki (one of my friends liked the inari aburaage sushi though). that’s quite the same in most buffet. In Equinox I would pick a unagi (eel) & a ika (squid) sushi, and in One Ninety I had smoked duck but that’s about it.

chinese station - laksa was very good

chinese station – laksa was very good

the laksa at the Chinese station was very good – gravy was excellent only regrets no “hum” ie cockles.

roast duck & roast chicken at chinese station

roast duck & roast chicken at chinese station

I also took a slice of roast duck (very crispy skin & flavourful), & also 1 slice of roast chicken (good but ordinary, the ginger sauce was good)..

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I did not take any from the malay/peranakan? station. there was a beef rendang and my friend thought the steamed rice (basmati?) was “super aromatic”. 🙂 I took 1 stick each of beef & mutton satay (above right photo). One friend thought the mutton satay was very good. it was kind of average ordinary to me. there was no pineapple sauce with the satay gravy.

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there was salmon and grilled aussie beef tenderloin (medallion) at the western station (above left photo).

I asked the station chef who replied that the beef were medium to medium well. I ordered rare & he grilled on the spot for me.  it was super (top photo) – very sweet, tender, flavourful, well beyond my expectation of buffet main courses, even though tenderloin not my favourite. 🙂

I skipped most of the Italian station – the pasta, pizza & pork rib. My friend who bought lunch thought the rib was good & healthy lean. the other friend thought it was too dry. The 1 item i thought was excellent was the roast pork. I had 3 slices. 🙂

oysters, scallops, prawns

cold entre=oysters, scallops, prawns

my plate of oysters.scallop, prawn salad

my plate of oysters, scallop, roast pork, prawn salad

& not forgetting the cold entre station. I took 4 oysters (very sweet) & 2 scallops (good). the station chef told my friend the orange ones were female & tasted better than the all white male ones..lol. 🙂  i skipped the prawns but took the prawn salad – it was kind of  limited selection.

dessert - 9 layer cake & angkukueh

dessert – 9 layer cake & angkukueh

the dessert station was quite ordinary, and included chocolate fountain & nonya cakes.  i took my fav the 9 layer kueh (good) & angkukueh (not good – don’t like the shaved coconuts flakes, that one better for tutu kueh). I also helped myself with some brie at the cheese section & we all took quite a bit of nuts (macadamia, walnut, pistachio, pine nuts, sunflower seeds etc).

the ambience was great. there was good drinks like calamansi juice with sour plum, very good coffee & also tea selection. it was a fun lunch, food & company & trying out a new place (it was first time there for all of us).

At S$43.50pax after 25% discount, would I come back though? regrettably answer is no or very unlikely!

c.h.e.f andy