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

Expensive & Very Average Chirashi Don @ Tatsu Asia Square 2 on 7Nov2014

aji sashimi

aji sashimi – S$35

had a 5pax family dinner for a special occasion at tatsu asia square 2 on 7.11.2014. 🙂

daughter was keen to explore the different chirashi don. decided to try this place even though i was not impressed with the photo of the S$40 chirashi don on the website menu.

since we were there, might as well try some of their recommendations.

aji sashimi

aji sashimi – S$35

years ago (almost 20years coming to think of it), my wife & i used to enjoy mezzanine japanese food at the sushi counter with 50% hyatt card. the aji sashimi usually cost about S$45 for the whole fish before discount. & before that, even earlier we had great aji sashimi at unkai at nassim hill, can’t remember the hotel now but i think it was at the current site of ‘the nassim’ (condo).

i don’t know the current price of aji sashimi at sushi restaurants as seldom take now, but S$35 seemed reasonable (though at first the server say S$25 to S28 depending on size, but later became S$35).

the aji did not disappoint. it was very sweet. the presentation though was somewhat disappointing. i told the server they should serve the sashimi as a whole fish like most sushi bar & also in japan, but i get it that they might be offering what they thought was good service by serving up the flesh & having the bones deep-fried. usually sushi bars would serve the sliced sashimi with the fishbones whole, then when you finish the sashimi they would take it away to deep-fry. unkai even did it better by “pengkang” i.e. bbq which was not as convenient as deep-fried but tasted a lot better. 🙂

deep fried aji head & bones

deep fried aji head & bones

deep fried aji head & bones

deep fried aji head & bones

we ate up the deep-fried fish head & bones.

gyu tataki

gyu tataki – S$15

gyu tataki

gyu tataki – S$15

gyu tataki was a recommended dish, it was good & a dish i would order if i come again (not likely though!).

kaisen chirashi don

kaisen chirashi don – S$40

kaisen chirashi don

kaisen chirashi don – S$40

the menu showed kaizen (海鲜) chirashi don as S$40 & aburi (torched or flamed) don as S$50. i asked the server & she confirmed that both had exact same ingredients. i guess one needed to pay for the labour & torch. we decided to order 3 chirashi don.

i would say this was a huge disappointment (which was not unexpected i having seen the website photo). it was a good chirashi of course. the fish were fresh & sweet. they were very thin slices though & w/o any quality sashimi cuts.

compare this with the chirashi don at mikuni which has 2 pieces otoro, botan ebi, uni at S$45 (after 50% feed at raffles discounts). actually there was just nothing to compare! or the S$20 chirashi don set at ginza kuroson.  granted kuroson’s is only for lunch & the sashimi cuts were just as thin. or with the sashimi & unagi don set at sun with moon.

i have not yet tried the chirashi don at flying squirrel & sushi kou, but they are around S$25 & it looks to me the quality would be better than here at tatsu.

salmon skin temaki

salmon skin temaki

the salmon skin temaki was also a recommended dish. it was simple but nice & tasty.

crayfish teppanyaki

crayfish teppanyaki – S$28

crayfish teppanyaki

crayfish teppanyaki – S$28

seafood fried rice

seafood fried rice – S$13

our helper does not take raw fish. so we ordered a seafood fried rice plus a crayfish teppanyaki. these were good restaurant standard. though the japanese preparation with lots of mayo not my favourite.

tenderloin teppanyaki

tenderloin teppanyaki – S$28

aburi salmon maki

aburi salmon maki

my other daughter ordered a beef tenderloin and a aburi salmon maki. tenderloin was 200g size & quite tasty. & the maki was again good standard.

banoffee cake

banoffee cake

we got back home for the banoffee cake which i made for the occasion.

the cake was quite perfect this time, not so sweet with a bit more bananas, very well balanced cake.

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

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