Excellent Dinner @ Petite Menu Aqueen Hotel on 22Mar2014

onglet steak

onglet steak (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

my daughter wanted to try petite menu. she booked a 4pax dinner on 22.3.2014.

parking was horrendous. it was not something unexpected though. i had called to ask for directions to the car park & was warned that there were few lots. i followed the directions & entered from tyrwhitt road behind the hotel at 7.30pm but could not find any carpark. after dropping the others, my daughter & i circled the area & finally was lucky to find a just vacated lot along a row of shophouses at king george avenue.

well, i guess it was worth the trouble. the quality of food at petite menu & artisan presentation was outstanding really for the price. 🙂

i read a few reviews & blog posts & was looking forward to try the S$36 4-course tasting menu (bottom photo). unfortunately this was the restaurant week & the restaurant only served the S$35 3-course RW menu & ala carte. restaurant week had gone off my radar for the last 2 years. there were many good offers when it first started here but these days the RW set menus were often not as good as the regular ones.

on this occasion though, the S$35 RW menu included onglet steak (the flavourful hanger steak near the last rib which my wife & i like which we were first introduced in the early days at petite salut). so we decided to order 2 RW sets & i replaced my salmon with lavendar pumpkin soup (a lower price option) as that was an oft commented dish here.

duck salad S$11

duck salad S$11

smoked salmon (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

smoked salmon (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

lavendar pumpkin soup S$8

lavendar pumpkin soup S$8

pan-seared onglet (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

onglet steak (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

the smoked salmon was excellent – sweet, light, not salty.

the duck salad was very good standard even though by comparison, the salmon was better. the duck was done nicely, tender & flavourful, tomatoes were sweet & plating outstanding, and it was only S$11.

the lavendar soup was strange (some might say interesting or unique). lavendar was overpowering but taste, texture combination was ok when combined with the wakami seaweed.

the hanger steak was a good helping, medium rare, tender & flavourful, i would have preferred more charred, the sauce was good & so the presentation (above & top photos). overall quite excellent. i asked the waiting staff how this stood up with the S$20 torched ribeye steak on the menu. he thought the ribeye was even better.

salted egg soft shell crab fettucine S$15

salted egg soft shell crab fettucine S$15

mushroom risotto S$14

mushroom risotto S$14

my daughters ordered 2 main courses, mushroom risotto & salted soft shell crab fettucine, which were popular dishes here.

both were very good. risotto was slightly wet but very tasty, texture a bit past al dente. the fusion salted egg soft shell crab pasta was very good. it reminded us of laksa pesto, one of the early fusion pasta which we first tried (like >10years ago) at willin low’s wild rockets. i will probably try making this at home.

deconstructed black forest S$8 (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

deconstructed black forest S$8 (part of S$35 3-course restaurant week menu)

kaya toast S$7

kaya toast S$7

4-course tasting menu S$36

4-course tasting menu S$36

our 2 RW sets came with dessert & coffee so we picked 2 deconstructed blackforest cakes, which was rated highly by many food bloggers. and it was indeed excellent, the chocolate, cream, pitted cherries, and the soil that came in a tiny planter to be emptied over the cake in a bibimbap stone ware bowl. pretty, delicious & fun. 🙂

for the free dessert we thought might as well try the kaya toast. it was again very well plated, very fusion & artisan, with green kaya, toast and expresso in the middle. like the lavendar pumpkin soup, i did not dislike the dish, it was good, ok, but not something that attracted me to order again.

overall the food was not just looking nice but actually good tasting which to me was most important, so the delightful presentation enhanced the dining experience. a S$20 ribeye (if it is same or better than the onglet steak) is good value, & the risotto & pasta dishes at S$14 & S$15 were all quite outstanding for the price. and likewise the blackforest cake. there is also a $15 pan-seared seabass which i don’t mind trying & another oft commented dish – chicken leg confit. i am not hot on duck confit so can skip this one, can try also if someone else order…haha! 🙂

will be back.

c.h.e.f andy

Restaurant Week 6pax Lunch @ Summer Palace Regent Hotel on 7Oct2013

mango puff, har gao, crispy char siew pao

mango puff, har gao, crispy char siew pao

S$40++ restaurant week lunch menu

S$40++ restaurant week lunch menu

for october G8 get-together, we decided to go for the S$40++pax restaurant week lunch at summer palace at regent hotel on 7.10.2013. 🙂

i don’t do restaurant week lunch these days as the offers are not great at dining city ‘star’ restaurants (often worse than credit card like UOB offers & more restrictive in menu than cheaper set lunches). also many ‘star’ restaurants do not provide menu so it is a “trust me” deal, when there are so many other good deals to pick & choose from? 🙂

anyhow summer palace provided the menu which looked fine. & we checked at the restaurant the usual lunch menu started at S$68++pax & the restaurant week menu looked better by comparison. 🙂

crispy char siew pao

crispy char siew pao

sliced fish century egg tan chai soup

sliced fish century egg tan chai soup

1/2 baby lobster in superior sauce

1/2 baby lobster in superior sauce

siew york meen sin

siew york meen sin

trio of dessert

trio of dessert

we had trio of dimsum. the mango puff  was ok, har gao with birds nest was good consistent with good dimsum restaurant but bird nest was too small a helping to be relevant. the puffy char siew pao was good  too sweet like a char siew soh (the reason i don’t take char siew soh) whereas HK Timhowan’s version was a crispy not puffy dough & less sweet & much better.

the sliced fish century egg tan chai soup was quite strange as 1 of my friends observed. it was quite tasty (though no better than a good lie tong), a bit heavy & confusing in taste & kind of poor in presentation for fine dining.

the 1/2 baby lobster in superior sauce (those small 300g ones), which ought to be the centre-piece attraction, was kind of disappointing to me taste-wise. the meat texture was also not bouncy like usual live lobsters & the superior sauce not flavourful enough.

the 烧肉面线 – mian sian was ok not as tasty as chui huay lim. the roast pork however was a disaster. hard & tasteless. i thought it was a poor dish for such a classy restaurant.

the trio of dessert was very average. the osmanthus jelly was ok but harder jelly not as soft & tasty as HK Timhowan’s or the ones they served at the Lantau Big Buddha vegetarian kitchen. the aloe vera & mango were just ok, average.

water & cashew nuts were free. they charged S$2.50pax for chinese tea, quite fair. 4 of us took the poh lei tea. ambience was great, service professional, but the food standard was kind of below par c/w majestic or even tunglok! there was a 1/2lobster but overall taste wise this specially discounted S$40++pax menu gave less satisfaction than a similar priced 6-course lunch set at majestic. of the menu dishes, actually the dimsum were better items (except for dessert) so maybe dimsum here but it sure would be ex.

one last thing, because it was restaurant week, they gave only 1 complimentary parking coupon for 6pax. there were 3 of us who parked at the hotel & my friends kindly let me have the coupon & i noticed on leaving the carpark that the charge was S$10.75 or something! goodness!

c.h.e.f andy

Restaurant Week $35nett Lunch @ Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant on 19Mar2013

Menu-Restaurant Week $35nett set lunch at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant

Menu-Restaurant Week $35nett set lunch at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant

A friend bought lunch today. We had great time chatting about the charity he was actively leading last 25years, travel & food.

As it was DiningCity Restaurant Week (18-24mar2013), I suggested the $35nett lunch set at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant. There was just a little confusion as many restaurants were awarded DiningCity Star (and Kumo Kaiseki was 1 of them), and this meant they charged additional S$15 & S$20 respectively on top of the standardised S$25++ lunches & S$35++ dinners. Most if not all ‘Star’ restaurants would simply indicate lunches as S$40++ & dinners as S$55++ to avoid confusion but Kumo did not. So we called up to make sure that we would be paying S$35nett and NOT S$50++ & that was indeed the case (good to be certain than have wrong expectations and be disappointed..haha..). 🙂

I have stopped going for Restaurant Week these days as there is nothing much on offer. S$40 lunches & S$55 dinners at the ‘Star’ restaurants like Oso, Gaia, Absinthe etc are not cheap and also usually restrictive on the menu items especially mains c/w their daily lunches. Last year for example, UOB had very good 1 for 1 Young Chef Creation Menu in many restaurants and you get a 4-course S$68 1 for 1 menu at Gaia vs a S$40 3-course Restaurant Week menu at the same restaurant! Even at La Cicala Gastrobar (which has no Star), the usual S$25 set lunch menu is to me better than the same-priced Restaurant Week menu.

This Kumo S$35nett menu looks good though.

I had a kaiseki dinner only once at Kumo using a $50 Kitchen Language (which owns Kumo, Salta, Ochre, Saltwater cafe) voucher. Kumo’s food is good but not great for the price c/w say Hachi, and if you are not overly enameled with kaiseki presentation, I think Kuriya Dining’s monthly sets offer better value. For me, none of them can compare with Mikuni using the Feed@Raffles card with 50% discount for 2pax, so I usually frequent Mikuni, but it is good to have a change once a while.

The first course, tai (sea bream) sashimi topped with ikura (salmon roe), was truly delightful in all departments – taste, colour, presentation! the jelly  (can’t remember what it is) went really well with the tai sashimi. every item (broadbean, petals & all) was edible. This dish was very impressive even for a full course kaiseki! 🙂

tai sashimi topped with ikura - so pretty (every item edible!)

tai sashimi topped with ikura – so pretty (every item edible!)

The lotus & prawn dumpling were ok & tasty, nothing to wow about. the bonito soup was also ok with a nice after taste.

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lotus & prawn dumpling in bonito soup

The main course comprised a braised saga wagyu shank & some vegetable items in batter & the usual gohan set of rice, pickles & miso soup. This really was quite so-so, very average taste wise.  As a braised item, one could not tell much between wagyu (& Japanese wagyu at that!) & normal beef.

braised saga wagyu shank & yasai furai

braised saga wagyu shank & yasai furai

also done this way it is more commonly served as an appertiser item (eg Dozo serves a japanese braised beef as an appertiser item in their 6-course lunches which maybe tastes same or better), and is no comparison with the modern european braised lamb shanks served in many restaurants here.

braised saga wagyu shank in miso

braised saga wagyu shank in miso

The yasai (野菜) furai (not a tempura batter) was a good complement to the braised beef.

yasai furai

yasai furai

Well at S$35nett (S$30++ just for comparison though Kumo actually does not charge 10% service) for such a lunch, I guess there was little to complain about except for the parking costing S$10 at neighbouring Amara Hotel. 🙂

sakura mochi with Japanese strawberries

sakura mochi with Japanese strawberries

The dessert was a nice red bean mochi which I liked & 1/2 a strawberry.

Overall, it was a very pleasant meal and also nice way of keeping up with a friend.

c.h.e.f andy