Good but Expensive Dinner @ aPompei on 21Nov2014

florentine steak - S$88

florentine steak – S$88

we were thinking of a place to go for 5pax family dinner on a friday w/o too much hassle on traffic & parking. decided to try the new restaurant aPompei at 6th avenue on 21.11.2014. 🙂

restaurant only started a week ago, according to chef mimo, who was from al borgo. we liked the florentine steak at al borgo by chef mim0. my wife recently had that at al borgo & she said it’s no longer good, so we were looking forward to having the good florentine steak here. 🙂

chef mimo was friendly & chatty, and we had always liked his food. so we decided to order his recommendations & let him organise the dinner. 🙂

food was good as we expected. price though was a bit expensive.

bread to start

bread to start

bread in most italian diners were mostly just baguette with olive oil/balsamic dip, nothing fancy like top restaurants.

antipasti - S$72

antipasti – S$72

antipasti - S$72

antipasti – S$72

the antipasti was a huge serving. it was good, with parma ham, good quality salami (my wife normally does not take salami but she was ok with this one), buffalo mozzarella, another cheese & olives.

we found out only later when we had the bill that the antipasti cost S$72 (since we left it in the hands of chef mimo). this was way too expensive for an antipasti for 2 guys & 3 ladies.

i am just guessing that maybe we were charged 3 portions=S$24×3. if we had ordered ourselves, we would have ordered just 1 portion. it was not about the price of the antipasti but whether we would spent S$72 for a very large portion or used the same money to order 2 more pastas etc.

focaccia

complimentary focaccia

we had a complimentary focaccia, topped with cherry tomatoes. in fact we thought it was better than the seafood pizza. we saw on the menu it cost S$13.

mussels - S$28

mussels – S$28

mussels - S$28

mussels – S$28

the mussels was very good. i felt it was expensive at S$28. i could do very good mussels myself, but i used the cheap mussels from sheng shiong. these mussels here were of course the better variety. 🙂

vongole - S$28

vongole – S$28

vongole

vongole – S$28

the vongole was very good also. the spaghetti were very al dente. somehow it cost more than S$24 on the menu? this is also a dish i do well, and sometimes i can get mango clams from sheng shiong which i think is better than la la (littleneck clams).

seafood pizza

seafood pizza

the seafood pizza was good, but we felt the cheaper focaccia (complimentary by chef mimo) was better. 🙂

florentine steak - S$88

florentine steak – S$88

& the 600g florentine steak. this was our favourite & it was as good as the one at al borgo of old (though my wife said it was no longer so). al borgo charged S$60 initially but raised to S$75 last year. it was S$88 here. i guess the price was not cheap but ok as long as the standard is kept. 🙂

complimentary dessert

complimentary dessert

chef mimo offered us 2 complimentary sponge cakes. the texture felt a bit like tiramisu (moist) but chef mimo said it was sponge cake. they were good but these tended to be quite sweet.

the dinner for 5pax (2guys, 3 ladies) cost S$350nett including a S$62 bottle wine. wine was good & priced similar to what you get at a good restaurant. 🙂

i felt the dinner was overly expensive at about S$56nett excluding the wine. if the antipasti was 1 portion at S$24++, price would be S$45pax nett, which was still not cheap but i guess ok for the food.

anyway, we were overall happy with the food, even though price was on the expensive side & it had cost a lot more than if we had ordered from the menu, which is what we would do next time. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Simply Italian @ La Nonna on 4Sep2014

parma ham

parma ham

a friend bought lunch today on 4.9.2014. 🙂

it would be difficult to get parking at hollandv even at 12pm so we decided on la nonna at namly place.

i had not been here for ages (like 4 or 5 years). they were still having the 50% ala carte discounts for weekday lunches. i looked at the online menus of other palate outlets like la cuisson, sopra cucina & initaly which i had yet to try. actually i thought they all looked more exciting than la nonna, but never know until you try. anyway la nonna seemed ok.

bread

bread

we had some bread to start.

& the parma ham with melon (top photo) was pretty good, nice flavour of aged ham to go with sweet melon & some rockets/mesclun.

spicy prawn tagliatelle

spicy prawn fettuccine

i liked the spicy prawn fettuccine. i think they had this classic italian bisque sauce (probably a prawn bisque). it was just slightly creamy & quite tasty & the chilli gave it the kick. i can do this at home as alternative to the usual spicy tomatoes or alio olio white wine sauce. & i used prawn bisque for my seafood risotto also to good effect so it’s the same for the pasta.

ossobuco with saffron risotto

ossobuco with saffron risotto

my friend liked his ossobucco & risotto. i had this before many years back & remembered that it was 1 of the nice dishes here. i guess it still is. 🙂

the lunch came to S$47nett for 1 appetiser, 1 pasta, 1 main for 2pax.

i had not been doing this but i guess la nonna can be a place to go to some evenings if i want to dine out nearby. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Great Dinner @ Joel Robuchon London on 24Aug2014

lobster pasta

#3 scottish lobster sea shell pasta

i had a very good lunch at gordon ramsey at the claridge’s brook street (now closed), & not so great dinner at marco pierre white in london in 2011. had yet to try joel robuchon. i had joel robuchon in hong kong both the set lunches menu decouvert at l’ artelier & dinner degustation at la cuisine. the set lunches were pretty good & reasonably priced. the degustation was good of course but too expensive for me.

wife & son had been talking about joel robuchon in london & paris, so we decided to go for a pre-theatre at joel robuchon london on 24.8.2014.

it was really good. 🙂

bread basket=baguette, olive bread, sour dough

bread basket=baguette, olive bread, sour dough

bread basket of baguette, olive bread, sour dough was ok for good restaurant standard.

parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

#1 parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

#1 parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart

#1 parma ham, goat cheese, melon tart was lovely. my son & i were talking about that this being an assembled dish, but still the presentation was great & all the ingredients came together beautifully. 🙂

crispy sous vide poached egg

#2 crispy sous vide egg with chorizo & cheese shavings

#2 crispy sous vide egg with chorizo & cheese shavings was very good too. it’s a bit similar to the excellent 64degC 55mins sous vide egg with iberico chorizo at jaan with the combination of taste & texture – the silky yoke & the salty bits of chorizo PLUS the crispy filo. this was good. jaan’s was much better.

open ravioli with clams & razor clams

#2 open ravioli with clams & razor clams with a crispy top & foam

open ravioli with clams & razor clams

#2 open ravioli with clams & razor clams with a crispy top & foam

#2 the open ravioli with littleneck clams & razor clams with a crispy top & foam was again excellent. the shellfish, crispy top & foam was a wonderful combination. 🙂

6hrs braised ox cheeks

#3 6hrs braised ox cheeks

6hrs braised ox cheeks

#3 6hrs braised ox cheeks

#3 the 6hr braised ox cheeks was very good in terms of taste & preparation, however just for comparison of braised items i think the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co was much tastier than this, so was the braised wagyu at hkk london & for my own taste preference = my own spanish beef ribs is also better (of course the meat cuts were different & we are not comparing apples with apples). 🙂

lobster pasta

#3 scottish lobster sea shell pasta

#3 the scottish lobster sea shell pasta, a substantial portion (i think 1/2 a 600g lobster), was tops! the foam & broth like a very good lobster bisque, and the lobster was very sweet & tasty. the pasta too. an excellent pasta dish! 🙂

the price for 3-course was £36 + 13% = S$73++ & there was a £7 supplement for the lobster. at S$73++ for a set lunch/pre theatre menu it was very much more expensive than the fabulous les amis S$45++ 4-course set lunch. both were excellent & JR was more inventive but quality+value wise, les amis would beat this hands down. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Lovely Italian Food & Service @ Al Borgo on 22Nov2013

florentine steak

florentine t-bone steak

my 2 close buddies insisted on buying my wife birthday dinner on 22.11.2013, even though it was 2 weeks after due to various schedules. 🙂

we decided on al borgo, which another friend had introduced us at 1 of our earlier G8 dinners. i went there with my family many times afterwards and sometimes ordered the squid ink pasta & florentine steak takeout. i had not tried al borgo though for most of this year.

vini rosso feudi di san gregorio

vini rosso feudi di san gregorio

al borgo charges S$30 for corkage but if you buy a bottle then the second bottle is free corkage. 1 friend picked up a jacob creek moscato & he orderd an italian red feudi di san gregorio. another friend took the trouble to pick up a mille crepe from Lady M. she later had problem catching a cab to the restaurant. i would usually pick her up but this evening i was not sure of my wife’s timing & we made it to the restaurant just on time. 🙂

parma ham pizza

parma ham pizza

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce

squid ink seafood tagliatele

squid ink seafood tagliatele

florentine t-bone steak

florentine t-bone steak

i ordered a few of our favourite dishes.

portobello mushrooms with crabmeat in pink sauce was an excellent starter. portobello was nicely grilled & flavourful & the crab meat pink sauce was excellent, pretty to look at & tasty. 🙂

parma ham pizza was good too. parma ham was a favourite for many of us (a friend commented it was not so dry when served on a warm pizza than as antipasti though personally i liked the latter more). it made for a fine combination of dishes for the evening though i had no special thing for pizza. 🙂

we ordered 2 servings of seafood squid ink tagliatele to share among 5pax. they were very good as usual, quite a bit of prawns & squid & the nice flavour of creamy squid ink went very well with the pasta. 🙂

next was the florentine steak (we waited quite a while for this item as the restaurant was quite full). this was a 700g t-bone steak (new york strip on 1 side & tenderloin on the other). it was S$60 before, now S$75, just as the squid ink was S$22 before & now S$25.

it came together with very nice grilled potatoes & mesclun salad & a dip of balsamic vinegar & olive oil (maybe with the grilled juices). it was still good though for this night, the meat was a bit tougher than what we had here many times before. being greedy, i ordered a second serving, and though we polished up everything, i thought afterwards i would have done better ordering the S$38 250g ribeye steak instead. 🙂

millecrepe cake

millecrepe cake

the mille crepe was the new hit in town. it was like kueh lapis, with many thin layers of pastry interleaved with cream & custard, very labour intensive to make & obviously very costly. it was not too sweet. we all liked it especially my 2 friends who had this recently at another birthday. 🙂 for my personal preference though i would prefer a ritz apple strudel which has apple in addition to cream custard & pastry.

the service at al borgo was super! nicola, the restaurant manager (he took over from luigi) was friendly, chatty & constantly at our table & mimmo (the chef) came many times & took several photos with us including with his “brother”,  my good friend who had the same hairdo as mimmo. he even recommended the wine. 🙂 they also arranged for parking redemption for my 2 friends (never knew they had that, so i parked my car along the road with single yellow line though as there were quite a bit of construction going on, i had to park my car a bit further up the road). & the servers, kumar & 2 ladies, were also very friendly, attentive fun & cheerful (an important trait in service business).  my wife was commenting on the generation change in the image of chefs. they used to be haughty & temperamental, scowling in their kitchen fiefdom, now they are reinventing to be like warm, gracious inviting hosts.

dinner was S$430 with wine, about S$338 w/o wine & just S$250 for 5pax if i had not ordered a second florentine steak. 🙂

the evening (& the whatsapp messages afterwards) was filled with conversation, laughter & fun. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy