Great Lunch @ Mikuni on 27Nov2015

mikuni business bento

mikuni business bento

went lunch with a friend to mikuni on 27.11.2015. ^^

mikuni is my favourite japanese restaurant, along with kuriya dining.

if i want kaiseki or omakase, it would be hachi.

& for a cheap & really good chirashi don (or maybe it is large cube cut barachirashi) don then sumiya.

mikuni robatayaki counter

mikuni robatayaki counter

today we wanted to take the teppanyaki or robatayaki set, so we sat at the robatayaki counter.

it’s quite an excellent seating actually, very private corner area.

robatayaki 炉烧 is like a charcoal bbq where skewered meats are barbequed. the chef then serves the food with giant oars to reach over the counter.

kinki

kinki

i was chatting with the chef before my friend arrived.

this ugly fish is kinki, a quite tasty japanese delicacy, a bit expensive.

kinki

kinki

looks a bit like the kinmedai, golden eye snapper.

lobster & king prawn

lobster & king prawn

they was lobsters & king prawns. cannot tell from photo but the lobster was 650g size & the prawns were very large king prawns.

alaskan king crab & oysters

alaskan king crab & oysters

& there was the alaskan king crab & large oysters.

sous vide kurobuta belly

sous vide kurobuta belly

the kurobuta belly were sous vide before bbq.

i am testing one belly now (being pressed with weights) in the fridge (tea brined & 16hrs in the oven at 70degC), and will pan fry skin side tomorrow. let’s see how that goes. 🙂

prawn crackers & salad with goma dressing

prawn crackers & salad with goma dressing

my friend ordered the teppanyaki set.

i had the teppanyaki set previously so i decided to try out the business bento (top photo) this time.

1/2 lobster uni yaki

1/2 lobster uni yaki

server told me lobster uni yaki was 1/2 lobster.

but then this a very tiny lobster, maybe 350g size, so 1/2 very small serving.

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi was good standard but not special, just 2 pieces salmon & a hotate.

futomaki

futomaki

futomaki was ok.

tofu, daikon & shimeji

tofu, daikon & shimeji

yam & mushrooms

yam & mushrooms

the small sides were very average, nicely presented.

if you take the menu prices before discount, 1/2 lobster = S$24, so the remaining almost nothing dishes added up to S$44=S$68-S$24, i would say the set is not worth at all, might as well order a lobster to share.

of course if you take the whole lobster business bento set at S$34 (after 50% feed at raffles discounts) in such a restaurant. i guess it’s ok.

but i would take the chirashi don anytime.

chawanmushi for teppanyaki set

chawanmushi for teppanyaki set

my friend’s teppanyaki set included a chawanmushi. 🙂

golden prawns, miso cod, tenderloin, garlic fried rice (teppanyaki set)

golden prawns, miso cod, tenderloin, garlic fried rice (teppanyaki set)

the golden prawns one of the popular dishes here, & miso cod was also good.

the tenderloin was so so here (i tried previously). my friend thought so also. garlic rice was ok.

caramel mousse ice cream

caramel mousse ice cream

the dessert was a mousse ice cream. quite nice really & my friend liked it.

i prefer the previous panna cotta though.

ambience was super & we had good time together. overall the food & place were great for the price. not the best i had at mikuni. but it ‘s good to try different dishes also.

c.h.e.f andy

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

Affordable “Nouveau?” Lunch Sets @ Nuvo on 8Sep2014

spiced carrot soup

spiced carrot soup

a friend recommended nuvo. the ongoing S$15pax set lunches looked ok (even though it had a lot of supplements for dish selections) so 6 of us went for lunch on 8.9.2014. chef mark richards hailed from keystone (which i went several times when it was accepting palate privileges – 50% discount for 2pax ala carte. i viewed keystone as the standard of saint pierre & slightly less expensive), and excelled in sous vide techniques. 🙂

the restaurant was located at the food edition at marina square at the corner facing citylink mall & suntec convention centre. it was nice, bright & airy & had a attached bar that was directly overlooking raffles link & raffles boulevard. we all commented this a place to be to watch the F1 (though i always prefer the couch at home..haha..not to mention it cost S$500 to come here & watch the cars turn round a corner!).

we were debating the name. i googled afterwards but there was no special meaning associated with the word so likely nuvo was just short for nouveau. 🙂

i was late, arriving at 12.15pm. the restaurant soon filled up & i would say perhaps >60% occupied during lunch hour on a monday.

a practice that did not find favour with me was NOT serving tap water.  we ordered 1 still & 1 sparkling for 6pax. they cost S$4.50each for a 500ml bottle. for me, i looked at the overall price vs the food & experience so paying S$9 for bottled water for 6pax (which also meant we have to drink less water) was not a big issue.

olive focaccia

olive focaccia

olive focaccia with herb butter

olive focaccia with herb butter

the olive focaccia bread with herb butter was pretty good, ok. 🙂

cha smoked salmon

cha smoked salmon

there were 3 choices of starters & main courses & 2 choices of dessert.

i thought my spiced carrot soup (top photo) with mascarpone, croutons & honey was really good & of fine dining standard. it was creamy, smooth in texture & flavourful, looked wonderful as well! 🙂

the smoked salmon with wasabi cream, furikake & baby spinach came with S$3 supplement. it looked great & appetising. the thick square cuts looked more like ceviche, cured or sashimi. my friends all liked the dish. 🙂 i asked 1 friend afterwards. he said the combination of flavours with the baby spinach was great. 🙂

tempura soft shell crab

tempura soft shell crab

the tempura soft shell crab had S$4 supplement. soft shell crab not my favourite dish but this looked fine & no complaints on the taste. 🙂

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

grilled pork collar

3 of us took the grilled pork collar on our friend’s recommendations. 2 took the risotto & 1 took the pesto cold soba.

the pork collar had good consistent texture of sous vide. the chef is famous for his sous vide cuisine. the friend who took cold soba & i both commented that the pork collar was kind of lean. i personally would prefer it the usual fatty collar. the 2 other friends preferred it lean. 🙂 fries were good. mash/cold slaw? were good too. i didn’t take much of either.

kabayaki squid risotto

kabayaki squid risotto

the squid risotto looked a bit skimpy to me. 5 or 6 pieces of squid on risotto. maybe it was the minimalist philosophy (just kidding…lol). i asked 1 friend afterwards. he agreed it was kind of plain.

pesto cold soba

pesto cold soba

the friend who took soba said it was too salty & maybe the set lunch was not that great for the price. i said a zaru soba could cost S$12 to S$15 so everything depended on how good the taste.

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

panna cotta with honeycomb

green tea kochi with melon

green tea mochi with melon

i hardly ever ordered panna cotta in singapore. so i started with the green tea mochi. when the dessert were served, i thought the panna cotta with honeycomb looked quite good so i asked to change the dessert (S$4 supplement).  i had excellent panna cotta at pizzeria balognett at tremezzo, i thought i would give the singapore version a try since it looked quite good. it was pretty good – light, smooth texture – but nothing amazing. the green tea mochi also looked competent. 🙂

overall including S$1.50pax for the mineral water, my share came to S$25++ (S$30nett). to me it was pretty ok & something i would not mind doing again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Lunch @ Ristaronte Pizzeria da T Levanto on 20Apr2014

frutti di mare - seafood salad

frutti di mare – seafood salad

we decided to trek to levanto on 20.4.2014. 🙂

many parts of the sentiero azzurro (blue path) coastal route no. 2 were still closed. anyway we walked the incredibly scenic route to vernazza on 19.4.2014. the route to levanto was longer & took us 3.5hrs. the view was marvellous though looking back at monterosso beach was not quite the same as looking at the postcard picture perfect vernazza town when approaching from moneterosso. 🙂

frutti di mare - seafood salad

frutti di mare – seafood salad

we were strolling along the streets close to the sea on arrival at levanto around 1.30pm. the ristaronte pizzeria da T levanto was filled with locals & looked quite exciting.

grilled prawns

grilled prawns

grilled prawns

grilled prawns

we ordered the seafood salad (around 11euro) & the grilled large prawns (around 15 euro) which we saw many tables were taking. both were very good, fresh & tasty. 🙂

mussels pasta

mussels pasta

prawn pasta

prawn pasta

we ordered 2 pastas, one with prawns the other with mussels. both were very tasty too, but there was a negative part – both were much too salty.  if we could eat more pasta, maybe we could have asked them to toss in more plain pasta – just a thought. haha! 🙂

panna cotta

panna cotta

sweet cake

complimentary sweet cake

the panna cotta was poor though. my daughter & i were still thinking of the fantastic panna cotta at pizzeria balognett at tremezzo lake como, but this was a far cry, no better or worse than the ones in singapore, the reason i hardly ever ordered panna cotta.

surprising we were offered a huge helping of complimentary sweet cake. it looked very sweet & it was, but it was much better than the panna cotta.

c.h.e.f andy

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

 

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

 

Fun Relaxed Dinner @ Bistroquet Pizza & Grill on 25Apr2013

capresse (mozarella with rockets & tomatoes)

caprese (mozzarella with rockets & tomatoes) – S$12

today our monthly dining quartet discovery took us to bistroquet pizza & grill at ARC (Alexandra Retail Centre) @ PSA Building. the host for the evening bought 9 voucherlicious vouchers of S$270 worth for S$135 & we were especially keen to try out the 400g porterhouse steak (which looked very alluring on bistroquet’s Facebook photo). 🙂

the place had the relaxed rustic ambience for a great chillax & drinking joint (though it was not drawing the crowd even with voucher promotion as we stayed till 9pm closing time and traffic was quite light). we were liking it already, though still suspect about the standard of food. 1 of our dear friend had kind of “forgotten” (we guessed correctly huh 🙂 ) & was about settling down to watch TV serial with his mum while our other quartet member was frantically SMS-ing, whatsapp-ing & calling him. 🙂 anyway we ordered a caprese (read ca-pri-seh) salad & a funghi pizza to start. the caprese was the usual mozzarella with rockets & tomatoes, light, good actually, and enjoyable.

thin crust funghi pizza

12″ thin crust funghi pizza – S$18

the large (12″) thin crust funghi pizza was good too (they served a white pizza here but we were the old-fashioned lot who loved tomato sauces on our pizza). our friend was not much into cheese but ok with light mozzarella & the young chef (looked like no more than 28) was most obliging to our request to warm up the quarter pizza we kept for the friend. 🙂

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baby back ribs – full rack S$28

we ordered a full rack S$28 baby back ribs (1/2 rack S$18) to share, and it was good!  fork tender and tasty, well marinated, though some of us would have preferred to have the sauce served separate. and 1 friend liked the purple cabbage with mayo which was too sweet for me

400g porterhouse steak

400g porterhouse steak – S$36

next was the 400g porterhouse – the reason we came for specifically and got 1 of us into the highs. 🙂 however it seemed that the office lunch crowd had taken off most of the porterhouse steaks & we were left with 3 porterhouse to share. we had 2 medium rare and 1 medium, served with beef sauce and the chef brought us some chimichurri sauce (taste like pesto sauce) which went well with the steak. 🙂 it turned out that while the taste was ok the meat was a bit tough on the sirloin side to be considered a good steak. The small tenderloin cut in the photo (what I usually thought of as a tender & tasteless cut) turned out to be quite a world of difference –  tender & nice. also of the 3 only 1 had the T so we were guessing the other 2 pieces were all sirloin or new york strip & no tenderloin..haha. 🙂

we asked the chef later & he admitted that the ribeye would have been more tender. well we would have to do that another time. I wouldn’t mind coming back.. in fact I bought another 5 vouchers (S$150 worth) for S$75 afterwards. 🙂

chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream

chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream – S$8

I am not much of a dessert person and we did not expect much really but since we had the coupon, we ordered a chocolate lava cake and a calzone (a turnover which can be sweet or savoury..in fact they serve a foie gras calzone here as a main course item). As it turned out the lava cake was quite outstanding, and the hardened crust containing the chocolate lava was very good in texture & taste & different from lava cakes in other places. the caramelized walnut with ice cream was a good pairing too.

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calzone – S$8

& the calzone was so pretty. the dough texture was really good too, crispy on the outside not fluffy but a bit like a pizza dough. 🙂 according to the expert among us,  since no one else was in a position to dispute with her “calzone made of the same pizza dough, filled with choc, hazel nuts, pistachio, etc”.

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somehow the young chef took a liking for us, and he showered us with 2 more desserts FREE – a panna cotta which was forgettable and a tiramisu, which was again quite pretty in presentation & tasted quite good albeit not enough liquor for some of us. very good indeed & far above our expectations for dessert in a drinking joint kind of place. 🙂

we paid in total S$124 (7 vouchers=S$105 +S$19cash), and that included 2 cappuccinos + 4 beers on 1 for 1 happy hour promotion. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy