Most Wonderfully Sumptuous Amarone Wine Dinner @ American Club on 29Nov2014

hors d'oeuvre (outside the main)

hors d’oeuvre (outside the main)

wife had an invitation for 2 to a zyme amarone wine dinner at amercian club on 29.11.2014, so i tagged along. 🙂

not that i even heard of amarone before (apparently it is quite well known), anyway it turned out to be quite an incredibly sumptuous wine dinner – the best i had! ^^

wine was so good (even for me) & food was just simply superb! 🙂

there was cocktail & hors d’oeuvre of prawn roll on sugar cane, oyster fritters, dumplings.

this was an american club wine dinner event, & the company which invited my wife piggyback on the event & reserve a private table of 10 – excellent decision!

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Saturday, November 29
The 2nd Floor
Cocktail Reception at 7:00 p.m.
Dinner at 7:30 p.m.
Member: $128
Guest: $148
5-Course Menu by Chefs Gary & Kelvin
Wine and food pairing by Matthew, Wine Director
Maximum of 50 attendees
— at The American Club, Singapore.

bread basket

bread basket

there was a good bread basket of roll, baguette etc.

scallop - amuse bouche

grilled scallop – amuse bouche

& a grilled scallop as amuse bouche to start the dinner. it was very well done, felt like sous vide consistency. 🙂

incredible zyme amarone wine dinner - the best i had

incredible zyme amarone wine dinner – the best i had

uni on tuna tartar, guacamole with pine nuts

#1 uni on tuna tartare, guacamole with pine nuts

uni on tuna tartar, guacamole with pine nuts

#1 uni on tuna tartare, guacamole with pine nuts

for the 1st course, we had uni on tuna tartar, guacamole with pine nuts. uni was great, tuna tartare a bit lacking in taste, guacamole was good.

first red was a ripasso 2009, apparently not meeting the 5 year requirement to be an amarone? anyhow, i like this wine.

2 ricotta & grana padona cheese ravioli with truffle & wolf berries, excellent sauce

#2 – 2 ricotta & grana padona cheese ravioli with truffle & wolfberries, excellent sauce

2 ricotta & grana padona cheese ravioli with truffle & wolf berries, excellent sauce

#2 – 2 ricotta & grana padona cheese ravioli with truffle & wolfberries, excellent sauce

2nd course was ricotta & grana padona cheese ravioli with a huge dollop of truffle & wolfberries. ravioli was good. truffle was very good. the shellfish sauce reduction was exquisite. 🙂

2nd red was a kairos 2008. it was a bit more full bodied & tannic. it’s a better wine but i liked the first one better.

suckling pig - crackling skin on foie gras mousse, pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squidink pasta

$3 suckling pig – crackling skin on foie gras mousse, pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squidink pasta

suckling pig - pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squidink pasta

#3 suckling pig – pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squidink pasta

suckling pig - crackling skin on foie gras moussesuckling pig - crackling skin on foie gras mousse, pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squidink pasta

#3 suckling pig – crackling skin on foie gras moussesuckling pig – crackling skin on foie gras mousse, pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squidink pasta

3rd course was suckling pig – crackling skin on a foie gras mousse, pork & mushroom tempura in deep-fried squid ink pasta nest. crackling skin was wonderful & the meat portions very tasty. most of us though would still prefer the chinese style suckling pig. 🙂

3rd red was a classico. it was a bit sweeter than the second. i liked this better.

really superb lamb - no gamey taste, very tender & flavourful

#4 really superb lamb – no gamey taste, very tender & flavourful

& the lychee wood smoked lamb rack with herbal crust was really superb, the best i had – no gamey taste, very tender & flavourful…i am inspired to do my own again, but maybe not the pistachio crusted rack of lamb recipe, but a herb crusted one (thinking how to do the marinade).

this last wine harlequin was the best, even for me who don’t know wine. really wonderful taste.

the great wines - 3 amarone

the great wines – 3 amarone

i couldn’t really finish my wine, though they were very good indeed. i did finish off the harlequin, apparently S$300+ bottle. 🙂

4 cheese platter

#5 4 italian cheese platter

4 cheese platter

#5 4 italian cheese platter

we had the 4 cheese platter, a bit unusual not to have dessert. usually in restaurant set meals, cheese is served before dessert as an option order. i liked especially the blue.

throughout dinner, we were treated to some expert discussion of amarone (in addition to the brief by zyme wine distributor rep) & especially whisky by a connoisseur diner on our table.

for this top quality food & wine, i would certainly be happy even if i were a paying guest.

c.h.e.f andy

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Cheap & Authentic Italian @ la Botte Stresa on 29Aug2014

€9 funghi pasta

€9 funghi pasta

we went to villa taranto & mottarone cable car on the second day, and decided to go to la botte (which was like 50m from hotel elena) for dinner. we got our hotel to book 2pax table for us on 29.8.2014 7pm.

we were there at 6.55pm. there was a queue about 10pax including us. the others did not have reservations. the restaurant was filled up quickly.

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

la botte stresa

€9 mixed cold meats (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef)

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

€9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese

we ordered the €9 cold meat platter (goose, wild boar, deer, beef) & the €9 beef carpaccio with truffle melted cheese.

the cold meat platter was a monstrous serving. the meats were good but it’s something i would like just 2 or 3 slices so it was not a good idea for 2pax unless you did not want to try other starters. also it killed the tastebuds for other more subtle dishes like the fungi pasta. it was very generous for €9 & would be great for like 4pax.

the beef carpaccio did not look great but the taste was excellent with the truffle scented melted cheese. it was better than the usual more classy looking ones with rockets & extra virgin olive oil & balsamic. 🙂

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

€15 tagliata di manzo

the €9 creamy fungi pasta was good, but i felt the cold meat platter aftertaste killed off my appreciation of this more subtle dish.

the tagliata di manzi was kind of ordinary but good for €15, and so much arugula. we had to cancel 1 order of lamb ravioli as we had too much food already & would not really enjoyed it.

my son was also eyeing the guy next to us who was having nice grilled lamb chops. certainly there were several items on the menu we would be happy to come again to try. for me personally it was important to bypass the cold meat next time & enjoy some of the other great dishes here.

the service was indifferent to impatient, not outright rude but they didn’t really need us…it’s no different from any nazi chefs in Singapore where people go just to have the food, in fact probably slightly better. 🙂 the table wine was undrinkable, better to pay for better wine or just pay for bottled water.

the dinner cost about €50 including a 500ml carafe of table wine.

c.h.e.f andy

Superb Lunch Kaiseki @ Kuriya Dining on 16Nov2013

tokusen (特选) sashimi moriawase

tokusen (特选) sashimi moriawase=chutoro, akaebi, mirugai, uni wrapped with tai

had a most enjoyable lunch kaiseki at kuriya dining @ great world city with my wife on saturday 16.11.2013. they served an excellent daily S$58 lunch kaiseki (there was also a S$48 option which has sushi instead of sashimi). 🙂

this lunch was even better than the S$138 kaiseki dinner on 4.6.2013 i had here! the only caveat is that as the menu changes monthly, some months’ menu maybe more attractive than others, so it makes sense to check the website menu. for this day everything was par excellence!

kuriya dining november lunch kaiseki menu

november lunch kaiseki menu

sensai (前菜)=fish liver, chestnut, pumpkin jelly, reef squid, mushroom

sensai (前菜)=fish liver, chestnut, pumpkin jelly, reef squid, mushroom

angler fish liver

angler fish liver

chutoro

chutoro,mirugai(geoduck) in foreground

sashimi =maguro, kampachi, sake

sashimi moriawase =maguro, kampachi, sake

akaebi (red prawn) head

akaebi (red prawn) head

grilled prawn & fish with superb truffle sauce

grilled prawn & fish with superb truffle sauce

simmered cod in plum sauce

simmered cod in plum sauce

the first course, sensai (前菜) consisted of angler fish liver, chestnut, pumpkin jelly, reef squid, mushroom. angler fish (ugliest in the world?) liver was such a fine sublime dish, simply delish! the other items – bigfin reef squid etc were all good too. 🙂

the sashimi moriawase (maguron, sake, kampachi) was very good, sweet & fresh. for 1 set we topped up S$20 for the sashimi & got an exquisite tokusen (特选) sashimi moriawase with chutoro, akaebi, mirugai, uni wrapped with tai (top photo). this was super good value upgrade. the akaebi was the size of botan ebi (or bigger for this one) but not as sweet. we asked for the head to be deepfried. it was excellent every time. perhaps next time we would ask for aburi (torched) chutoro. 🙂

the grilled prawn & fish were good if ordinary but the truffle sauce was super.

the simmered cod with plum sauce was another par excellence dish. sweet, firm cod with slight sour sauce, the best! 🙂

ikura sake chirashi don set

chirashi don set (ikura, sake, tai)

dessert=macaron,fruits & vanilla ice cream

dessert=macaron,fruits & vanilla ice cream

& after so many quality dishes we got a very nice chirashi don (with loads of ikura, sake & tai) to finish off. this lunch was so gooood!

i always wonder why japanese cuisine had such a wide menu & yet almost no dessert, like only fruits & ice cream & maybe jelly…my impression is all japanese dessert are tea dessert of the red bean kind, and the best dessert in tokyo, shinjuku etc are all the western dessert which the japanese do so well, maybe better than most western places.

anyhow we had a good combination of western dessert – a macaron with vanilla ice cream (instead of jam), fruits & 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream).

this an excellent lunch menu that i would return for everytime. c/w keyaki’s weekend S$60pax brunch mini kaiseki, i would consider both the S$58pax menu & the upgrade S$78pax menu at kuriya dining a much better offering. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Best Value Top Quality Lunch @ Au Jardin on 14Nov2013

mud crab potato salad, caviar & truffle

mud crab potato salad, caviar & truffle

NB=i also had the maybank 1 for 1 set lunch at bistro du vin @ 1 scotts road a few day later. 🙂

had 1 of the best value lunch with top quality food & good servings at au jardin on 14.11.2013. 🙂

had a few degustation dinners at au jardin quite many years ago. they were the best. 🙂 the set lunches were more affordable, and though i didn’t go often, i enjoyed them at full prices when i did. so 50% discount would be a real steal! 🙂

menu decouverte

menu decouverte

grilled angus ribeye & gratin potatoes

grilled angus ribeye & gratin potatoes

macha with citrus mousse & ice cream

chocolate fondant

chocolate fondant

we decided to order 2 menu decouverte (discovery) & 2 menu tradition. i chose the latter as i do rather good beef myself at home so tried lamb saddle instead.

the mud crab truffle (top photo) looked fabulous with huge truffle servings & judging from my friends’ exclamations, jolly good! i tried a piece of truffle, but didn’t feel it had much flavour though.

winter truffle = the price of gold!

white winter truffle = the price of gold!

anyhow the server told us this white winter truffle was the best c/w other seasons, and it was actually white but oxidised & shrank in the fridge as time passed, so they had to use up quickly enough. this was supposedly the price of gold=priciest food in the world. sure didn’t feel like it for this serving size. 🙂

both my friends picked the grilled ribeye, medium & medium well. sure looked good!

the chocolate fondant (lava cake) & macha mousse & ice cream looked wonderful too.

menu tradition

menu tradition

braised escargot, quill eggs, chorizo, truffle

braised escargot, quill eggs, chorizo, truffle

panfried red snapper, tomberry tomatoes

panfried red snapper, tomberry tomatoes

grilled lamb saddle, olive puree

grilled lamb saddle, olive puree

frozen expresso bombe

frozen expresso bombe

popcorn caramelsauce ice crea

popcorn caramelsauce ice crea

petit four

petit four

for menu tradition, both of us took the braised escagot with chorizo. escagot was good but not my favourite, more gentle & fine c/w canned top shells. i not much into the herb esacarot style but like the gratin version at dozo, so thought i tried out the braised version. i loved the chorizo, very “pang”=fragrant.

for the mains, my friend’s panfried red snapper looked fabulous, beautifully pan seared to golden. my lamb saddle was par excellence, best i tried! 🙂 quite interesting the miniature tomberries!

dessert were great too. mine was caramel sauce & ice cream with popcorn, my friend had the bombe, which was frozen chocolate cake with curd drizzled over & milk froth.

the petit four (means little oven) macarons was not great, far too sweet, though the yellow ones with lemon flavour combined well in taste & moderated the sweetness. 🙂

the price of lunch with maybank 1 for 1 promo was S$22.50++pax for menu tradition & S$32.5++pax for menu decouverte, nothing less than a steal! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Majestic’s Excellent 8-course WGS (World Gourmet Summit) dinner on 19Apr2013

black turffle on hokkaido scallop with gourd

black truffle on hokkaido scallop with gourd

looked at Majestic’s 8-course WGS (World Gourmet Summit) dinner menu on its website & decided to go for this dinner. 🙂 WGS dinners have been around for many years. was never quite motivated to try them as I always believe (& still do) that good food begins with taste, and presentation & creativity (including fusion & molecular discoveries & adventures) are superlative to good taste & superfluous to bad ones; and have always felt it is paying lots of $ to get average (or poor) food & service..

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Majestic’s excellent 8-course WGS (World Gourmet Summit) menu ending 26apr2013

Majestic is our favourite Chinese fine dining restaurant so we are confident with the quality of its cooking (not to say bias..haha..). this 8-course WGS dinner menu is S$99++pax c/w several hundred $ for other WGS dinners & there is a 10% Citibank credit card discount, so it looked reasonable to give it a try & we were happy we did. 🙂

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The lobster soup with a yasai (veg) tempura was a great start. The lobster meat were plump, sweet & tender. The soup was very smooth & tasty – the intense hae mee (prawn noodle) type stock, not the foam cappuccino bisque served at most western fine dining. the tempura batter was good.

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the braised abalone and lotus roots with a minced oyster filling in batter & brocoli in brown sauce was a superb dish. 🙂 Chinese dried abalones in brown sauce are always soooo good. the abalone was smaller than the 5-head ones at Xin Cuisine, probably 8 or 10-heads but still good size. the lotus root with minced oyster though was par excellence, very good indeed! 🙂 next item on the menu (top photo) was plump, sweet,nicely seared hokkaido scallop sitting on a marrow gourd with a sprinkling of tobiko (flying fish roe), and it had an amazingly large black truffle topping it! I love the fragrance truffle & truffle oil add to dishes (especially cold Japanese noodle topped with caviar & some truffle oil at Gordon Grill) but never believe in paying stratospheric prices for them.

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the 4th dish was 1 of the best caramelised (I think honey vinegared) pork rib I had. you can the glaze, glistening..not sure how it is done – whether baked or deep (or shallow) fried & braised. the plating was good with the green tea powder donning some chinese character (京?). 🙂

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teochew steamed promfet topped with pigskin

next was the teochew steamed promfet – as good as any good teochew restaurant, not sure the plating & pigskin topping (odd choice) was an effort in fine dining presentation? whatever –  the taste still a good robust steamed teochew promfet dish. 🙂

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we were expecting panfried wagyu MBS6 – I guess maybe that was too much of an expectation for the price? haha. 🙂 what we got was panfried wagyu guotie (锅贴)..when reading menu I was thinking a panfried wagyu + a pot sticker yum yum..it was not to be..the minced wagyu was very tasty & the dough was good..not quite the same but well can’t have the best of everything, 🙂

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the 2 desserts were I guess another effort at creativity & fine dining.. don’t know what to make of the cherry pie thingy..the puff pastry was excellent, lovely swans too, the filling a bit sweet & not my thing, like a sticky date pudding? maybe.

the ice dessert  I consider a 败笔 (point of failure) of an otherwise outstanding menu..the usual aloe vera sorbet at Majestic is so good no need the trouble to invent something fancy..not that it was bad really, but it was much ado about nothing – an ice jelly in a hawker centre would be more shiok!

overall it was an outstanding & enjoyable dinner. the WGS menu promotion is until 26apr2013. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy