6-course Wagyu OR Seafood Set @ En Grill & Bar on 28May2015

wagyu salad

wagyu salad

saw on groupon a S$38 6-course wagyu set at en grill & bar & decided to go with a friend.

happened that another friend from sydney was in singapore at the time. my friend got his wife to join also, so in the end we had 4pax dinner at en grill on 28.5.2015.^^

i made sure i made the reservations before i bought the groupon deal. 🙂

En Grill & Bar

En Grill & Bar

the last time i came here was in 2008 & my family sat at the bar area. i remember because there were flat screens & i watched safina & ivanovic for the first time & ivanovic won her one & only grand slam at roland garros that year. never been the same since.

today we sat at the restaurant side. 3 of us picked the wagyu set (okinawan wagyu) & 1 the seafood set.

wagyu salad

#1 wagyu salad

6-course wagyu set

#1 wagyu salad

we started with the standard japanese salad with ponzu dressing which i always like. there were like 3 thin slices of wagyu, quite marbled & sweet i guess, not much impact.

wagyu meatball, tataki & misoyaki

wagyu meatball, tataki & misoyaki

#2 wagyu meatball, tataki & misoyaki

very tiny helpings. they supposed to add up i guess.

wagyu meatball

wagyu meatball

wagyu meatball was ok. the crouton went pretty ok with the tomato sauce too.

wagyu tataki

wagyu tataki

wagyu tataki was excellent, marbled & flavourful.

wagyu miso yaki

wagyu miso yaki

the misoyaki? quite odd..didn’t taste anything, like any roast beef.

wagyu foie gras & mini burger

wagyu foie gras & mini burger

#3 wagyu foie gras &mini burger

this was quite excellent!

wagyu foie gras & mini burger

wagyu foie gras & mini burger

liked the roasted sweet potatoes.

wagyu foie gras

wagyu foie gras

the wagyu was well marbled & tasty. not everyone agreed though. 1 friend thought it tasted like satay beef. i didn’t feel that though, & the beef was great for my taste. 🙂

and the grilled onions infused much of the taste, very good. didn’t feel much of the foie gras, maybe we were busy talking.

wagyu mini burger

wagyu mini burger

the wagyu mini burger was excellent!^^

i can have this again. good that it’s so small, i finished all the carbs. haha! 🙂

wagyu roasted sumikyaki

wagyu roasted sumikyaki

#4 wagyu roasted sumiyaki

a slightly thicker slice!

wagyu roasted sumikyaki

wagyu roasted sumikyaki

don’t know about the orange sauce. the wagyu was well marbled & flavourful. i felt the orange sauce diminished it. not that the sauce was not nice, but i rather have the grilled, intense wagyu taste.

wagyu ragu pasta

wagyu ragu pasta

#5 wagyu ragu pasta

it’s more braised beef than ragout tagliatelle. i guess it was ragout sauce + braised beef. well, as good as a braised wagyu could be. very nice pasta really.

sashimi salad with truffle miso

sashimi salad with truffle miso

6-course seafood set

#1 sashimi salad with truffle miso

1 friend had the 6-course seafood set. didn’t ask but it looked like the same salad with cube-cut sashimi maguro, salmon & maybe kajiki (swordfish). looked good.

tako carpaccio, hotate baikinu & oyster salsa

tako carpaccio, hotate bainiku & oyster salsa

#2 tako carpaccio, hotate bainiku &oyster salsa

this looked very appetising. the sliced scallop with plum jelly on cucumber quite interesting.

gindara teriyaki & mini chicken burger

gindara teriyaki & mini chicken burger

#3 gindara teriyaki &mini chicken burger

the friend was very impressed with the chicken mini burger she mentioned several times during dinner & afterwards on FB that it was one of the best burgers she had.^^

gindara (cod)

gindara (cod)

the gindara like some of the wagyu servings was really thin to feel much impact.

eafood mentaiko yaki (prawn, oyster & hotate

seafood mentaiko yaki (prawn, oyster & hotate)

#4 seafood mentaiko yaki (prawn, oyster & hotate)

japanese shellfish grilled in shells not my favourite preparation. for me, oysters should be taken raw, though occasionally breaded oysters can be quite nice, and scallops pan-fried. however, all these looked grilled (& maybe flamed) & may in fact have been grilled with mentaiko then plated on the shells. if so they should be quite tasty & flavourful.

uni angel hair pasta

uni angel hair pasta

#5 uni angel hair pasta

the uni & ikura capellini was excellent. ^^

uni angel hair pasta

uni angel hair pasta

this the only one from my friend’s set i tasted. very flavourful, matching gordon grill’s and other places. i would be quite happy overall to take this seafood set.

cheese cake with yuzu sorbet

cheese cake with yuzu sorbet

#6 cheese cake with yuzu sorbet

both sets came with cheese cake & yuzu sorbet. the yuzu sorbet was superb, just love it!^^

cheese cake was the usual soft textured japanese cheese cake, which i like also. 🙂

overall, it was very good value set for S$38nett. as a great set meal i will certainly do this again.

for the purpose of having a good steak fix, the wagyu set did not really deliver a steak experience, not like what we had at-

i guess that’s not comparing apple for apple.

c.h.e.f andy

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Excellent Yakiniku @ Omakaseya Azmaya on 15Jan2015

wagyu karubi

wagyu karubi

See also update on 23.1.2015.

bought some S$10 for S$20 qoo10 coupons, so went with wife to omakaseya azmaya yakiniku for dinner on 15.1.2015. 🙂 restaurant is tucked away in one corner on level 2 of robertson walk, 11 unity street. restaurant was crowded. service was disorganised & totally ineffective (i basically had to walk in & out of the room to get our orders delivered after waiting for 30mins after ordering with nothing happening). the japanese guy did make some effort to deliver “jap-level” service though the gap was enormous.

omakaseya azmaya yakiniku

omakaseya azmaya yakiniku

yakiniku grill

yakiniku grill

they used a drip grill exactly same as what i had at home. i had not used that lately as we did more of teppanyaki with the hot plate. this was inferior to the recessed smokeless charcoal grill at aburiya. also w/o the powerful ventilation suction, we came out after dinner smelling of bbq all over.

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

wagyu sirloin

fortunately the kagoshima wagyu sirloin was excellent. it was priced at S$65++ for a steak that looked >120g (maybe 150g), so at 50% off, it was really very good c/w (say) kagoshima wagyu sirloin i had recently at mikuni, my favourite restaurant.

wagyu karubi

wagyu karubi

wagyu karubi

wagyu karubi

& the wagyu karubi (beef ribs) was also excellent. the wagyu sirloin thankfully came last so w/o direct comparison, the wagyu karubi was really very good, very marbled & flavourful. just look at the top photo makes one salivate. ^^ if the wagyu sirloin was heavenly then this was 1/2way to heaven. ^^

wagyu karubi + belly pork

wagyu karubi + belly pork

belly pork

belly pork

belly pork

belly pork

belly pork

belly pork

leek

leek

the pork belly was surprising poor & tasteless. this is really odd as the sister restaurant down the road, azmaya (shabu shabu) serves an excellent tasting pork belly. fortunately the leek was an excellent dip & condiment & the pork (S$16) tasted pretty ok with the dip. there wasn’t much on the menu that we liked other than the few meats. we love the complete meal experience at aburiya because it has the kimchi chigae & the bibimen that we like very much. here the meat was superior for the price but no kimchi chigae & my wife was not keen on bibimbab (they did not serve bibimen).

omakaseya azmaya yakiniku

omakaseya azmaya yakiniku

omakaseya azmaya yakiniku

omakaseya azmaya yakiniku

after dinner we learned that we could actually get 50% discounts for all food items at our next visit. while for a complete meal experience i would go back to aburiya, this is a good alternative venue & an excellent place for very good wagyu yakiniku (of comparable standards to the average yakiniku in japan). i should be going back shortly with some friends. c.h.e.f andy

Nice Dinner with Son @ Arossa on 23Dec2014

1/2 dozen oysters

1/2 dozen oysters

arossa @ scotts square

arossa @ scotts square

had a nice, quiet dinner with son at arossa on 23.12.2014. 🙂

was last here with wife on 3.9.2014.

we were given a corner table by the window overlooking scotts road with all the christmas decorations.

son wanted some oysters as starter. we decided to order a wagyu steak each & a lobster ravioli to share.

nice oyster

nice oyster

the oysters were excellent, very sweet, plump & tasty.

lobster blackened spinach ravioli

lobster blackened spinach ravioli

lobster blackened spinach ravioli

lobster blackened spinach ravioli

the lobster blackened spinach ravioli were tops too. 🙂 the restaurant split for us so we had 3 ravioli each. the lobster broth or emulsion was superb.

A5 miyazaki wagyu 150g

A5 miyazaki wagyu 150g

A5 miyazaki wagyu 150g

A5 miyazaki wagyu 150g

the A5 miyazaki wagyu was also top fine dining standard. so what’s missing?

first, it was now 150g instead of 180g. i guess that’s ok. wagyu was good, very tender, good tasting,  presentation was good also, definitely equalled or beat any fine dining restaurant serving good steaks.

but i could tell instantly that the presentation, sauce etc basically everything was different from the japanese presentation the last 2 times – see photos of the kagoshima wagyu on 3.9.2014 & the miyazaki wagyu on 16.8.2014.

& taste-wise somehow it did not have the standout marbled fragrance of a top japanese wagyu cut.

dinner for 2pax was S$143 after 50% palate discounts with amex.

sadly, arossa is closing by end jan2015 & we were told watanabe-san, the grill chef helming the restaurant is returning to japan to start her own restaurant. good for her & all the very best! 🙂

i will probably return before end jan2015 to have a last go.

c.h.e.f andy

Our Favourite Yakiniku @ Aburiya on 6Oct2014

ohmi wagyu beef set

ohmi wagyu beef set – S$39.95

went to aburiya for dinner with wife & daughter on 6.10.2014. 🙂

i had an excellent dinner here last on 19.3.2014. today was just as good! 🙂

yakiniku

yakiniku

aburiya yakiniku

aburiya yakiniku

sake

sake

kimchi chigae

kimchi chigae – S$11.90

kimchi chigae

kimchi chigae – S$11.90

bibimen

bibimen – S$12.90

we ordered our usuals – kimchi chigae & bibimen. i love both these dishes.

kimchi chigae always so tasty, with some slices of thin belly pork. i love the kurobuta kimchi nabe at shirokiya @ cuppage terrace but for a simple small helping of kimchi chigae, aburiya’s is the best.

bibimen is something i come to like because my wife prefers it to bibimbap. now i get to like everything about it, flavours, texture. 🙂

ohmi wagyu beef set

ohmi wagyu beef set – S$39.90

we decided to order the ohmi wagyu beef set (above & top photo). it looked marbled, tasted good, but somehow not quite matching our expectations of the intense marbled flavours of 1 of the 3 best kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) in japan, along with kobe & matsuzaka. somehow the last time we had the cheaper hokkaido wagyu here on 19.3.2014, it left a more lasting impression. maybe it’s better just to order karubi or jo-karubi than to have the tokumori mixed set.

for me tajimaya@vivocity’s wagyu was pricy but good too only if there is amex 50% discount, but they did not have the kimchi chigae & bibimen we liked here, so the enjoyment was not the same. 🙂

 jo karubi negi (prime short ribs with leek)

karubi negi (short ribs with leek) – S$11.90

we had the cheap australian angus karubi negi (short ribs with leek). it was quite ok. anyway we had always liked it before we started trying the wagyu here.

kurobuta & iberia pork set

kurobuta & iberia pork set – S$25

kurobuta & iberia pork set

kurobuta & iberia pork set – S$25

we tried the kurobuta & iberia pork set this time. it was really good. certainly better than the karubi. i think overall our enjoyment of the pork was more than even the ohmi tokumori set, not that the ohmi was poor.

the bill

the bill

the bill came to S$143 nett for 3pax including a bottle of sake. quite ok for a very enjoyable dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Excellent Italian tapas @ Sons Bacaro on 4Oct2014

truflle pesto tagliatelle

truffle pesto tagliatelle – S$12

daughter picked sons bacaro for 6pax family dinner on 4.10.2014. she is far more happening than her old folks. 🙂

it was an excellent choice! food was good. 🙂 dishes were served in small plates, kind of like italian tapas.

the restaurant was by beppe devito. somehow i didn’t really fancy il lido much even with 50% for 2pax palate discounts (never tried it under palate actually) & it was “far away” in sentosa. maybe ought to consider trying some time.

the place was chic as advertised on its website, which also showed menu items & prices. not really buzzy on a saturday evening (same for other chic restaurants on nankin street), a pity but no complaints from us…haha! sons was less than 50% full, and interestingly the other 5 tables looked mostly family like us. 🙂

tagliata di manzo

tagliata di manzo wagyu – S$28

we had the wagyu tagliata. it was good, chargrilled flavourful, tender, medium rare. 🙂

baccala (salt cod) cake with uni sauce

baccala (salt cod) cake with uni sauce – S$15

baccala (salt cod) cake with uni sauce was the best dish of the night.  thin crispy crust was excellent, minced salt cod was excellent, and great uni sauce combination.

i would put the light cream, flavourful truffle pesto tagliatelle (top photo) as my second favourite for the night.  no feel of pesto though – not sure how a strong pesto flavour goes with subtle truffle scent.

roasted cod

roasted cod – S$19

the roasted cod was very good. my wife & i both made very good cod ourselves at home. this though had better grilled flavours.

grilled pork neck salad

grilled kurobuta pork neck, balsamic mushrooms – S$16

the grilled kurobuta pork neck was very good, like a good char siew or the charcoal broiled pork collar at imperial treasure teochew. maybe i should try & reinvent this dish at home again.

pork paccheri

iberico pork truffle paccheri – S$16

i liked the iberico pork truffle paccheri too. very agreeable but i preferred the truffle pesto if asked to choose.

burrata

burrata, asparagus cream – S$16

burrata was fine, nothing like the supreme version in valentino, after all that cost 3x more.

pasta with uni sauce

spaghetti with uni sauce carbonara – S$16

surprising the same uni sauce did not come out good on this carbonara dish. i would not order this.

potato & cheese ravioli

potato & cheese ravioli – S$9

looked like ah bor ling – mochi dumplings..cheese was very strong, not sure if blue cheese. anyway i liked blue cheese, but its not the most popular dish.

italian tapas

italian tapas

we had a S$55 bottle of wine, 2 beers & 1 mojito. dinner for 6pax came to S$260nett, about S$30nett pax excluding drinks, pretty ok. 🙂

service by the western servers were ok,  not too friendly, kind of unsmiling. one server kept filling water to the glasses, a good thing. 🙂

lunch is cheaper. S$10 pasta etc. the street is quite interesting with mad poets gastrobar, platypus gourmet etc. will go back again. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Exquisite Lunch @ HKK London on 26Aug2014

#1 crispy duck salad - pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

we had a fabulous. sublime lunch @ HKK London at worship street on 26.8.2014. to me it was par with the £36 3-course pre-theatre menu at joel robuchon no less. 🙂

it took us a while to decide. our instinct when it came to chinese food, was to go for the cheap, robust, proven good chinese eats like roast duck at goldmine & four seasons. there was this lack of faith, that fine chinese was just the same cheap chinese food repackaged to cost an arm & a leg. 😦

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we went to hkk all the same. hkk is the latest addition by hakkasan group. we took the northern line from king’s cross to moorgate. had the wonderful 4-course £28.50 lunch. 🙂

2 wet days in a row. the day before was raining in cambridge, and this time rain interfered with our plans to go greenwich, well at least we had a superb lunch to make up for the dreary start.

#1 crispy duck salad - pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin, melon, dragon fruits & salad

#1 the crispy duck salad – pulled duck with crispy skin bits in plum sauce, melon & dragon fruits & beautiful salad – was a superb dish. it was substantial too, with quite a good portion of duck meat. to me it was equal to any good appetiser in a top western restaurant.

#2 truffle chicken soup

#2 truffle chicken soup

#2 the truffle chicken soup was simply sublime. it was a wonderful tasting 当归鸡汤 with julienne cordyceps strips, a blended texture yet chinese tasting soup with great truffle flavour. 🙂

#3 wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice

#3 wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice

#3 the 3rd course was a wagyu, japanese yam, cripsy sweet potato & egg fried rice. the braised wagyu was top draw, soft tender braised texture not too sinewy & still bouncy, definitely better than the ox cheek at Joel Robuchon, and different but equal to the braised lamb shoulder at honey & co.

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

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#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbe

#4 the salted cashew nuts, milk & peanut parfait, chocolate, & lime sorbet was also a very good dessert. the parfait under the peanut crust was much like a good ice cream.

in terms of presentation, taste & quality of cooking departments, each dish & the overall experience of this 4-course hkk set lunch was equal to any set lunch or pre-theatre menu in a good fine dining restaurant. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

The Best Teppanyaki at Home on 23Jul2014

wife did a aburiya at home on 23.7.2014

wife did a aburiya at home on 23.7.2014

wife did a aburiya (our favourite yakiniku restaurant) at home on 23.7.2014. 🙂

did not have the charcoal grill so did teppanyaki. it was the best! 🙂

we had so much better quality meat & cost was like 50% c/w aburiya & tajimaya (which was after 33% amex discounts).

my contribution - steamed oysters

my contribution – steamed oysters

my contribution - steamed oysters

my contribution – steamed oysters

my contribution - steamed oysters

my contribution – steamed oysters

my contribution was the steamed oysters, with light soy sauce, olive oil, sliced ginger & chill ipadi. 🙂 very nice. 🙂

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

kagoshima wagyu from isetan

wife bought kagoshima wagyu from isetan at scotts,

large & plump hokkaido scallops

large & plump hokkaido scallops

large & plump pan-seared hokkaido scallops

large & plump hokkaido scallops

we also had the IQF (individual quick freeze) scallops from sheng shiong S$11.95/kg, large & plump.

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & hokkaido scallops

kagoshima wagyu & pan-seared hokkaido scallops

the kagoshima wagyu was fabulous, sweet & flavourful. aussie wagyu is just no comparison. 🙂

quinoa salad

quinoa salad

kagoshima wagyu & quinoa salad

kagoshima wagyu & quinoa salad

wife made nice quinoa salad to go with the meat.

portobello mushrooms

portobello mushrooms

portobello mushrooms & yellow onions

portobello mushrooms & yellow onions

portobello mushrooms & yellow onions were good accompaniment.

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

yakisoba

wife decided to hantam yakisoba, a moment’s inspiration. added mirin, light soy sauce, chopped spring onions, yellow onions & egg. turned out superb, just like the very good ones you get in Japan. 🙂

a quick, easy & simply delicious dinner. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

So Very Nice 4pax Family Dinner @ Mikuni on 23Jun2014

oysters - S$28

oysters – S$28

dinners at mikuni are always so very enjoyable. see recent post on a wonderful mikuni dinner on 31.3.2014.

we were there again on 23.6.2014. this time we ordered the chirashi don, oysters & golden prawns, in addition to the usual.

the oysters were good. at 50% discounts, it was S$14 for 3 pieces. the ones we had recently at chikuwatei was better but more ex – 2 large ones for S$22. 🙂

chirashi don - S$90

chirashi don – S$90

chirashi don - S$90

chirashi don – S$90

the chirashi don was so, so very nice. this must the best in singapore or anywhere for S$45++ after 50% feed at raffles (FAR) discounts. 🙂 needless to say, it was far, far better than sun with moon or chikuwatei. not only there was uni, 2 pieces of chu toro, & a huge botan ebi, all the other cuts like salmon, tai, hamachi, hotate were so sweet & fresh & so very many. 🙂

it was kind of a late discovery for us, as we dined quite a bit at mikuni but we tend to take the cooked food rather than sashimi.

botan ebi - S$42 for 3

botan ebi – S$42 for 3

botan ebi - S$42 for 3 pieces

botan ebi – S$42 for 3

we had the usual botan ebi sashimi (S$42 for 3 pieces) & had the head deep-fried.

sous vide octopus tempura - S$30

sous vide octopus tempura – S$30

& we all loved the sous vide tako kari kari age.

cold sake - S$50

cold sake – S$50

the sake was ex… S$50 & only 25% discount.

golden prawns - S$40

golden prawns – S$40

golden prawns - S$40

golden prawns – S$40

& the golden prawns (basically teppanyaki large prawns with lots of mayo) was really good! each of us had about 5 prawns, so there must be 20 pieces. we took very little mayo but this mayo taste was very good. 🙂

lobster uniyaki - S$48

lobster uniyaki – S$48

lobster uniyaki - S$48

lobster uniyaki – S$48

the lobster uniyaki today was below the usual standard. i had always liked the lobster but somehow this time the lobster meat did not have the usual bouncy fresh texture. couldn’t say it was bad but c/w the golden prawns, it was substantially poorer.

kagoshima wagyu konabe - S$48

kagoshima wagyu konabe – S$48

& the kagoshima wagyu konabe was as good as ever.

the bill came to S$239nett for 4pax (c/w S$205 for 4pax at chikuwatei & such huge guff in quality of food). excluding the sake, it would be S$195nett or S$165++ for 4pax, really good deal. 🙂

i think i gonna go back just for the chirashi don. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Top Quality Lunch @ Les Amis on 1Apr2014

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bread bast=baguette, sour dough, walnut bread

a good friend bought lunch at les amis on 1.4.2014. no april fool haha. 🙂

i must have not stepped into les amis for 5, maybe 10 years? though i did have excellent meals at au jardin (it’s now closed) couple times a year. always thought it was very ex…some months back they introduced this 4-course set lunch. having taken the food, i think it is excellent value-for-money at S$45pax, one of the nest lunches i had. 🙂

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flat brioche with olives & sundried tomatoes

we started with a bread basket of baguette, sour dough & a very good walnut bread PLUS a truly superb bread (brioche texture) with olive, sundried tomatoes? etc. just fabulous! 🙂

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tomato confit on bead of grilled aubergines & filo pastry

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tomato confit on bead of grilled aubergines & filo pastry

#1 & the tomato confit was incredible! 🙂 it was on a bed of grilled aubergine on filo pastry. there are tomato confit & there are tomato confit, but this was just excellent!

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green pea soup

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green pea soup

#2 green pea soup not my favourite, but this was again very good indeed! very smooth & nicely creamy. i may get to like green pea soup a bit more. 🙂

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patagonia toothfish (chilean seabass)

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beautiful red cabbage

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chilean seabass & red cabbage

#3 there was a choice of patagonia toothfish (chilean seabass, my favourite fish, over cod) OR roast pigeon. both of us took the chilean sea bas. it was as good as chilean seabass usually were. the sweet red cabbage was ok but not quite my type – i finished about 40% of it.

while this fish never fails to meet expectations as you need a bad chef to screw this up, the tomato confit way surpassed expectations – most places would get it bad or mediocre.

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walnut apple pie

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chocolate mousee

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#4 the dessert of the day a walnut apple pie? was likewise not my favourite, but again it was superbly done. 🙂 fillings not sickeningly sweet & very good pastry. the chilled chocolate mousse was very good too.

the S$60 lunch menu came with line caught seabass & choice of lobster pasta & australian wagyu etc. i had some doubts on the line-caught thingy being any different from usual & seabass like low down c/w the chilean seabass but the cooking standards here really good i will probably try it.

i was also curious about the 6-course S$120 menu. it said grilled dry aged beef so i asked the waiter (he was very knowledgeable) why this was better than the australian wagyu in the S$60 menu. he said it was OHMI WAGYU! i told him omg! ohmi (a top 3 japanese wagyu) & you don’t write that in your menu? my, my!

i had an excellent degustation at jaan on 20.1.2014 with some friends recently, and we were lucky to trade our pigeon (which was good too) for miyazaki dry-aged wagyu, but this was ohmi, not miyazaki!

i told the waiter this the second time i came across dry-aged japanese wagyu (first was jaan). dry ageing intensifies the flavours & results in substantial weight lost. japanese wagyu is so ex & already very marbled & very intense in flavours i don’t see them served dry aged in japan. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Wonderful Japanese Food @ Mikuni on 31Mar2014

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truffle kampachi

had another wonderful 4pax dinner – great food & company – with my wife & 2 close friends at mikuni on 31.3.2014. 🙂

i ordered the usual “Andy’s kaiseki” items per the mikuni 24.3.2013 blogpost…lol.. with some new additions, namely lobster teppanyaki & teriyaki cod.

#1 we started as usual with the truffle kampachi. this fusion sashimi dish never failed to impress, both presentation and taste, a perfect start to the evening meal.

#2 next up were 2 maki – mikuni maki topped with unagi (eel) & a salmon belly maki. they were ok but not as good as the UN futomaki & the spider maki. i did not take photos.

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#3 next was the botanebi. as usual we had the excellent sashimi (these were large prawns larger than aka ebi & >4x  size of amaebi) & had the prawn heads deep-fried – you could eat up everything basically, it was that good! 🙂 there were 3 prawns per serving @ S$45, so i asked them to make it 4 prawns @ S$60

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tako sous vide

#4 after that we had the sous vide octopus tempura served with a wasabi mayo which we sprinkled with the red chilli powder. this was again very good, the sous vide meat was tender not tough & totally consistent, and contrasting texture with the lightly battered surface.

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lobster teppanyaki

#5 then we had 2 lobster teppanyaki to share among 4pax. 🙂 the preparation was varied somewhat from the last time – instead of uniyaki i.e. with uni (sea urchin) sauce, it was a melted cheese mayo. this was excellent. the cheese could make it “jelak” = easily satiated, otherwise it was just perfect. i ate up everything! 🙂

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teriyaki cod

#6 we ordered the teriyaki cod as well. this was one place where i took my inspiration for my own teriyaki cod, which by my kindly friends acclaims was almost there but i guess the one here was still somewhat better. 🙂

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kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe

#7 lastly, we had 2 orders of kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe to share among 4pax. the beef looked different, more marbled & slightly thinner. taste-wise it was par excellence, as were the ones previously.

with 50% FAR (feed at raffles) discounts for food & 25% on liquor, the bill for 4pax including a S$50 sake was S$284 nett=S$60pax++ after discounts. and for such an excellent meal. no wonders that we keep going back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Wagyu for Dinner

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australian wagyu MBS 6/7 – mushrooms & onions

mmmm was having offer on grain-fed ribeye at S$29.90/kg. i bought some earlier & did 1 of my best pan-grilled ribeye steak, tagliata di manzo for RI buddies 10pax dinner on 24.3.2014.

offer ends on 31.3.2014, so i decided to get some more. it turned out 1.5kg more! it’s quite ok really. i can put most of it in the freezer & eat 1 month later…haha. 🙂

i needed S$50 to get free parking at west coast plaza so i need not rush & try to get to the car before 10mins grace was up, so i picked up a 220g piece of wagyu MBS 6/7 to make the goal past S$50.

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australian wagyu MBS 6/7

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australian wagyu MBS 6/7

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australian wagyu MBS 6/7 – mushrooms & onions

decided to cook the wagyu steak in the evening. for the side i used what was in the fridge – a leftover 1/2 yellow onion, & 1/3 of an open packet of shitake mushrooms (about 50g to 60g) in the chiller.

the technique is quite simple – very high heat (so vegetable oil best as higher smoke temperature than lard or butter or olive oil) & i usually flip once (can add butter at this time if required) or if the first side is not charred enough, i flip a second time. the charring, maillard reaction, gordon ramsay method and heston blumenthal’s video on resting of the meat were discussed in the post tagliata di manzo. 🙂

for the evening, i had a beautifully charred wagyu steak, rare to medium rare. simply heavenly! 🙂

my wife’s friend bought me a torch some weeks back when they came for dinner. i have not tried it out yet. will probably do on some of the grain-fed ribeye later, and experiment on the japanese aburi (烧) & torch recipes.

c.h.e.f andy

Excellent Yakiniku Dinner @ Aburiya on 19Mar2014

hokkaido wagyu jo karubi (prime ribs)

hokkaido wagyu jo karubi (prime short ribs)

had an excellent yakiniku dinner at aburiya on 19.3.2014. 🙂

had not been there for a while..just checked my blog & it was almost a year ago that i had dinner at aburiya on 26.3.2013.

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jo karubi (prime short ribs)

karubi negi (ribs with leeks)

karubi negi

yakiniku

yakiniku

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yakiniku

the prices had gone up slightly. we basically ordered similar food. for this evening the jo karubi (S$15.90) was not that great but the cheaper karubi (S$10.90) was good. we also added hokkaido jo karubi (S$21.90) which was excellent, nicely marbled and very flavourful. they did not have the ohmi wagyu though it was on the menu.

bibimen

bibimen

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kimchi chigae

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kimchi chigae

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ice sake

we always ordered the bibimen & kimchi chigae. both were very good. 🙂

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aburiya

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aburiya

the inside tables were mostly taken up at 7pm. there were still quite many tables available outdoors.

the dinner including sake (S$15) added up to S$105 for 2pax, not cheap but it was very enjoyable. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

The Best Dinner Degustation @ Jaan on 20Jan2014

seafood ceviche

seafood ceviche

of all my reviews thus far, this was the best dinner! 🙂

went to jaan on 20.1.2014 with a friend couple who are very close to my wife.  jaan has been always our favourite degustation restaurant. i had not intended to take photos as i had reviewed jaan when we dine here on 8.5.2013. the prestige menu (summer or winter) usually featured minimum changes, and so i missed out on the 2 amuse bouche photos. the first fingerfood bites platter was somewhat different with chicken samosa etc but the same crackers with humus dip. the second cepes mushroom tea, a very intense tasty soup, was largely the same – still the best soup i had. 🙂

the freshly baked bread basket came. i picked a brioche (a puffy highly enriched bread with nice crust) & a baguette. they did not have the previous truffle bread, which was brioche with truffle infusion.

when the first dish came – #1 a seafood ceviche – i decided to take photos. i had not paid attention to the prestige menu having assumed it had few changes. the ceviche was par excellence! well so many dishes were. 🙂 it was incredible – it had langoustine, caviar on top another prawn, scallop, oyster, ikura & crab meat. i could eat this again! 🙂

beetroot

beetroot “melody”

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toast to go with beetroot “melody”

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55min 60degC organic egg

55min 60degC egg

55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

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55min 60degC rosemary smoked organic egg

roasted foie gras

roasted foie gras

#2 next was a beetroot melody thing – jelly, sorbet, some garnishes including cheese. there was some toast to go with it.

#3 the 55min 60degC  rosemary smoked organic egg with iberico chorizo & proscuito was same as before. i love the texture combination the egg yolk added to the dish & the savoury & slightly salty proscuito made it such a very enjoyable experience. a similar dish was served at au jardin for our recent new year eve dinner on 31.12.2013, and maybe this was something i could try out myself for my home dinners. 🙂

#4 there was no change to the roasted foie gras dish. my wife though preferred the caramelised pan-fried version, anyway she doesn’t take foie gras much these days. 🙂

brill

brill with crayfish foam

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

miyazaki wagyu

dry aged miyazaki wagyu

#5 the brill, an atlantic flatfish in the turbot family, came with crayfish foam. it was beautiful to look at, fine & exquisite in taste, but the texture of the brill was not my favourite.

#6 the menu prestige had pigeon as the second main, however 1 friend did not want pigeon so we asked the chef to substitute & requested for the miyazaki dry aged wagyu which was served on the 5-course menu. thanks to our friend, i tried miyazaki wagyu at jaan for the first time! it was fabulous! we were served a black sesame puree on the side, sounded odd, but tasted perfect with the wagyu.  although it is common for western steak cuts to be wet-aged or dry-aged, i have not seen this done for japanese wagyu. don’t know why but jap wagyu are so expensive, and already the flavour is very intense due to the high marbling, so perhaps not common to incur weight loss & intensify flavour further through ageing? anyway i was not complaining as the aged miyazaki wagyu was just exquisite! 🙂

pre dessert

pre-dessert

choconuts

choconuts

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we had a citrous pre-dessert, which had blood orange etc like a palate cleanser., very nice indeed.

#7 then it was the choconut – different temperatures of chocolates..good but no better than previous versions.

we ended with petit four & coffee/tea. it was such a wonderful dinner! 🙂

the entire degustation comprised 7 courses (4 appetisers, 2 mains & 1 dessert) PLUS 2 amuse bouche & 1 pre-dessert, so it was almost like a 10 course degustation.

every dish was great, many were superlative, and it was indeed an artisan cuisine, very pretty, fine & refine, utterly pleasurable.

c.h.e.f andy

Good Quality Lunch Kaiseki @ Hachi on 17Jan2014

kobachi (amuse bouche)

kobachi (amuse bouche)

had a good quality lunch omakase at hachi with my wife on 17.1.2014. see also the excellent dinner omakase on 9.11.2013. 🙂

omakase is like a chef’s table, no menu but usually follows the course preparations for kaiseki. the chef selects the “freshest” ingredients of the day, checks whether you have dietary restrictions & supposedly dishes out an excellent meal to you…well they usually do..

we ordered the S$68pax lunch omakase & the S$88pax ohmi wagyu omakase.

#1 we had a very good amuse bouche of tofu toped with ikura & yuzu jelly.

sensai platter

sensai platter

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, tai, hamachi)

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, tai, hamachi)

#2 next we had a sensai (前菜) dish = tofu, sweet black beans, tasty egg plant, some vegetables & nice barley miso.

#3 a sashimi platter of shim aji, tai & hamachi followed. they were sweet & fresh, but not comparable with the sashimi in the superb kuriya dining lunch kaiseki we had on 16.11.2013.

miso soup with mochi & chicken

miso soup with mochi & chicken

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tempura

tempura

gohan (rice) set

gohan (rice) set

my wife took the lunch omakase.

#4 a tasty miso flavourful & intense was served, with chicken & kochi.

#5 then came a large oyster sashimi (S$12 ala carte). this was similar to what we had for the dinner omakase & it was very good. 🙂

#6 next was tempura, good quality batter, and #7 the gohan set.

ohmi wagyu tataki

ohmi wagyu tataki

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

wagyu gohan set

wagyu gohan set

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for my ohmi wavy omakase, i had #4 ohmi wagyu tataki. it was good, very sweet & tasty.

#5 i liked the shabu ohmi wagyu as well. its like the korean bulgogi or gyudon sliced beef but good quality & w/o the overpowering teriyaki sauce. 🙂

#6 there was also the grilled ohmi wagyu steak. the wagyu was not very marbled, but still very enjoyable & my wife preferred less marbled wagyu.

#7 the gohan set had wagyu tips, small chopped pieces. a very nice rice indeed. i though maybe i could try this dish at home actually to complete a good meal. 🙂

kuro goma (black sesame) ice cream

kuro goma (black sesame) ice cream

#8 we had the black sesame ice cream – must say i was getting tired of this or the macha ice cream & would have preferred yuzu flavour instead. 🙂

i would still rate kuriya dining’s S$58 kaiseki lunch over hachi’s S$68 omakase but not by much really, so i would go back for both. if one has a fix for ohmi wagyu i guess the wagyu omakase (which i do) is an excellent choice, otherwise the S$20 upgrade to tokusen sashimi at kuriya dining would be the one i go for.

c.h.e.f andy

Fabulous New Year Eve Dinner Degustation @ Au Jardin on 31Dec2013

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

au jardin new year eve degustation menu

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wanted to buy my wife a nice new year eve dinner, and saw the quite attractive menu in au jardin’s website, so decided to make a reservation for 2pax dinner on 31.12.2013.

we had couple of degustation dinners at au jardin many years back (my wife said 10 years ago). they were like 8-course priced at S$200pax  & were really good. i had considered trying the S$150pax table d’hote  (ie prix fixe)menu, but never did. subsequently, the regular menu did not look attractive as it does not today (ie 4-course at S$150pax), so i did not do dinner at au jardin but only occasional lunches (especially the recent maybank 1 for 1 promotion set lunch).

my wife & I generally have the practice not to dine out during public holidays, festive periods, mothers’ day etc as those occasions were very commercilaised & one often ended up paying through the nose (like 50% – 100% more) & getting poor food & poor service. anyhow for this new year eve dinner, au jardin served a 7-course+amuse bouche dinner at $198pax which was no difference in price from 10 years ago & far better menu than the regular S$150pax course menu, so the arrangement suited us fine.

i just wonder why they don’t do such menu regularly, especially when their business had not been good, and they are closing down by 31.3.2014 as a result of huge rental increase (& to me perhaps poor strategy & marketing). sign!

i do not rate au jardin degustation as better than the creative & excellent degustation at Jaan which cost only S$119pax after 50% feed at raffles discount, however one need a change of menu & environment, and most degus restaurants like iggy’s, gunthers etc are far more expensive. others like keystone & saint pierre are a little cheaper but not as fine, and private affairs had closed down.

wife ordered a red. it was expensive, 1/2 bottle for S$85++, but it was a grand cru classe & was really nice though i took maybe 30ml.

amuse bouche - foie gras terrine

amuse bouche – foie gras terrine

blue fin tuna ceviche

blue fin tuna ceviche

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & uni

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

iberico pork cheeks, joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffles

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

dover sole with razor clam & clam emulsion

the 7-course dinner (+amuse bouche) came with 4 appetisers, 1 palate cleanser, 1 main, 1 dessert; as well as coffee & petit fours.

we had a warm bread basket. both the baguette & a raisin bread were good. the amuse bouche was a foie gras terrine with tobiko (flying fish roe) & jelly. this wasn’t exceptional & but still a great start to the evening dinner. 🙂

1st course was blue fin tuna ceviche with tobiko. it was nothing inventive, but very sweet & tasty.

the 2nd course, cold pasta with mud crab, caviar & sea urchin, was heavenly, par excellence. it way surpassed gordon grill’s (no comparison really as gordon grill’s was for a S$48pax lunch) & according to my wife likewise c/w gunther’s. 🙂

the 3rd course was a braised iberico pork cheek, with joselito proscuito, egg confit & winter truffle. sous vide low temperature poached egg is a regular feature in fine dining & i really loved the texture enhancement it gave to the dish, the proscuito was excellent, pork cheek so-so & i had already written about the excellent winter truffle here. 🙂

the 4th course was a lightly breaded dover sole served with razor clam & clam emulsion. the dover sole was ok, tender, i guess considered good in a good restaurant, but really average dish by comparison to other courses. the razor clam was great. 🙂

palate cleanser - watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

palate cleanser – watermelon, sorbet & lime jelly

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

wagyu striploin marbling score 5 rare

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

pistachio cake, green tea soil, raspberry sorbet

next we had the palate cleanser – a watermelon confit with sorbet & lime jelly. it was good.

the grilled wagyu striploin MBS5 rare (top photo & second above) was excellent. this was much better than what i did at home. it was done rare & yet totally charred (for maillard reaction that gave flavour to the beef) & served with carrot & root vegetables and a tiny piece of black garlic. superb! 🙂

for dessert, we had pistachio cake with raspberry sorbet. the cake was bland but when taken together with the slightly sour sorbet, it was good. 🙂

my cappuccino was great. the petit fours though was miserable (same as they served for set lunches). mini macarons were too sweet, chocolate was ok.

overall we had an excellent evening of food, wine & conversation. Jaan’s degustation gave far better value.nevertheless i enjoyed this dinner very much & would come back but regrettably they do not serve this in their regular menu. i may consider trying ala carte or their course menu. not sure for now!

happy new year everyone!

happy new year everyone!

and before signing off, happy new year 2014 to all my friends, readers & everyone!

c.h.e.f. andy

Good Mansard Champagne Dinner @ Halia at Raffles Hotel on 2Dec2013

baked oysters in feta cheese gratin

baked oysters in feta cheese gratin

i have this group of friends who are always in the know when it comes to the finest wine dinner in town. 🙂

we got ourselves a table for 10 at the mansard champagne dinner at halia @ raffles hotel on 2.12.2013. halia looked to occupy the previous seah deli space, with a open bar area at the pavilion outside. the acoustic was very poor as 1 of my “expert” friends noticed right away, and we had to “shout” at each other to be heard as the place was full & echoes were flying off all the hard surfaces – walls & glass windows. the din was like fish market – very happening…haha. 🙂

this the second time my wife & i joined the wine dinners. the last one at fordham & grand was one of the best dinners i had. 🙂

mansard champagne dinner menu

mansard champagne dinner menu

i looked at the halia mansard dinner menu & it looked great too. the concept was communal dining so the courses came in platters for sharing for 2pax. i had been to halia @ botanic gardens once, perhaps twice, likely more than 5 years ago. the experience was good, perhaps not compelling. i did remember it served 1 of the best lamb racks then. but halia standard should be fine. 🙂

the oyster gratin was a good, tasty, competent dish. most of us would prefer freshly shucked oysters or sashimi but if you had to have it baked, this was good. 🙂

spicy prawn salad

spicy prawn salad

the spicy prawn salad was 1 of my favourites. very refreshing. love especially the sharp spiciness that added kick to the dish. prawns & salad were fine but nothing special.

pan-fried foie gras risotto with shredded duck leg

pan-fried foie gras risotto with shredded duck leg

the foie gras risotto with apples & duck leg rillette was great too, the duck imparting some flavours to the risotto, which was nicely done al dente. this was perhaps a finer preparation than that served at jamie’s italian & alfresco gusto but taste-wise i preferred the latter 2 which were creamier & more hearty & intense. certainly it was not the best risotto experience i had. 🙂 a few friends did not like the al dente texture. 1 quipped that it was duck porridge..haha. 🙂

palate cleanser sorbet

lime & lemon sorbet palate cleanser

before getting on the main, we had a very nice lime sorbet palate cleanser.

seared yellow fin ahi tuna loin

seared yellow fin ahi tuna loin

the ahi tuna loin was another competent dish (maguro not quite my favourite sashimi as it is plain in taste, not so sweet like hamachi or kajiki or aji). these were very lightly seared. the japanese aburi (torched) sashimi preparation would be better. the capsicum & white beans garnishing were good & complement the fish rather well.  overall i liked the dish though i had better ahi tuna loin in california & aburi maguro in japanese restaurants. the dish did not win many votes among my companions though, 1 was shaking his head. 🙂

sous vide wagyu rump & polenta

sous vide wagyu rump & polenta

next was the sous vide wagyu. i thought it was rump as most restaurants served this cheaper cut braised in course meals & confirmed with the server that it was so. it was strange that after sous vide (slow vacuum low temp cooking) the beef was still slightly tough & not tender enough, something not usually associated with the tender consistency if anaemic colour that sous vide produced. it was still not a bad dish for a rump cut, perhaps fine preparation & kind of average taste. 🙂

white & dark chocolates

white & dark chocolates

the dessert was fabulous, especially the white chocolate. the caramel honeycomb had an interesting & pleasant after taste. some of us thought of it as “terng chan po piah” the vanishing food with a honeycomb wrapped in po piah skin. 🙂

many of my friends, having been schooled in (or just “spoilt” by) many good wine dinners, didn’t think the food was great. it was ok though for my wife & me. i guess everything is relative & depends on the point of reference. perhaps many other wine dinner were better & this would not rank high. but i didn’t see much difference between this (comparing over all the courses) & what one could get at oso, otto, absinthe or forlino at S$88 even w/o the champagne,  so to me dinner was quite good, & especially fun & enjoyable with the company, though the food at fordham & grand i had last was much better. 🙂

& that’s not the end. there was a lucky draw for a magnum (1500ml) champagne. there were 64 diners so we had 10 in 64 chances, & 1 of our friends took home the magnum, with the few among us trying in vain to coax him to let us do the safe-keeping! hahaha. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy

Excellent Omakase @ Hachi on 9Nov2013

excellent kobachi (小钵) -amuse bouche

excellent kobachi (小钵) -amuse bouche

we had an immensely satisfying omakase dinner for 3pax at hachi on 9.11.2013. 🙂

omakase is like a chef’s table. there is no menu & the chef dishes out the freshest ingredients of the day. generally it is done like a kaiseki course dinner. at hachi we were served a 12-course autumn-theme dinner. the restaurant asked whether we had diet restrictions, as was customary. we of course ate anything & everything..haha. 🙂

the first dish was an excellent kobachi like an amuse bouche. i can’t really remember what it was except for the slice of japanese persimon sticking out. 🙂

sensai (前菜) platter - tofu, ginko nuts, a momiji (maple) flour cake. chestnut etc

sensai (前菜) platter – tofu, ginko nuts, a momiji (maple) flour cake. chestnut etc

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi)

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi)

oyster

raw oyster

sensai (前菜) platter was lovely – tofu, ginko nuts, chestnut & a momiji (maple) flour cake etc befitting the occasion.

next was a dobin mushi (teapot soup) which was simple & nice. didn’t take a photo though!

the sashimi moriawase consisting of shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi was excellent, very fresh & sweet. 🙂

we also had a very large plump juicy oyster. very good indeed!

hamachi kama (fish cheeks)

hamachi kama (fish cheeks)

steamed crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon dish

simmered crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon dish

ohmi wagyu rare

ohmi wagyu rare

hokkaido tomatoes

hokkaido tomatoes

light noodles with tempura batter

light noodles with tempura batter

next up was the hamachi kama (fish cheeks). this was among the best for this evening. i don’t order kama at japanese restaurants because it is usually quite a large helping & not everyone likes it. for this evening though it was excellent, 1 of the best kama i had, very well marinated, sweet (not too sweet) & tasty. we all liked it. 🙂

next was a simmered dish of crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon etc, delicate & tasty.

following that we were served ohmi wagyu (ohmi is 1 of the top 3 kuroge wagyu after matsuzaka & kobe) – the highlight of the evening. it was very flavourful & a nice rare. after that we had hokkaido tomatoes. they were super, sweet & refreshing. these are now served in many restaurants in Hong Kong & Singapore & xiyan served them as a starter dish in their rather expensive course meals.

to round off the meal, we had, in place of the usual gohan set (rice & pickles), a light noodle with some tempura batter. it was very satisfying.  after that we had a nice macha ice cream. 🙂

the price of the omakase was S$118pax. it was very good in quality of cooking & ingredients & also quantity. it was certainly a much better deal c/w the S$138pax kaiseki at kuriya dining & the S$170pax kaiseki at keyaki. c/w mikuni at 50% FAR discounts and Andy’s kaiseki (in jest only la! haha), mikuni was still the better deal. still hachi was an excellent alternative for good japanese kaiseki. will certainly be back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Very Good Dinner @ Fukuichi Level 2 Triple One on 30Oct2013

good bento S$40

good bento S$40

very good friend of mine insisted on buying me birthday dinner. i had many meals already last few days so suggested crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao etc. he would have none of it. he wanted to go nandaman or keyaki. i was not keen for him to spend money at those places (nandaman i didn’t want to go at all, and i would only go for nice sunday brunch mini kaiseki at keyaki &  very occasionally for kaiseki dinner depending on what was served on the menu). i told him if he was buying me dinner he should at least listen to what i wanted, but he just waived away & said when i made those suggestions, it was to be discounted & not to be listened to..hahaha. 🙂 anyway the compromise was fukuichi. 🙂
Fukuichi was located at level 2 of triple one. we arranged to meet at 8pm on 30.10.2013 as he had to finish a phone conference. i was having repeated problems with my dell pc even though it was only 1.5yrs into a 3yr warranty & the motherboard had already changed once. i had to make 3 factory image restore and wasted away hours. that was the last straw & i decided to get a mac. i arrived 20mins early & walked over to epicentre @ 313 just across the road. good side trip & i kind of decided on which mac i wanted. 🙂
fukuichi @ triple one level 2

fukuichi @ triple one level 2

fukuichi @ triple one level 2

fukuichi @ triple one level 2

kobachi - complimentary chopped tuna appetizer

kobachi – complimentary chopped tuna appetizer

salad with ponzu dressing

salad with ponzu dressing

bento (sashimi, sushi, maki)

bento (sashimi, sushi, maki)

kani tofu

kani tofu S$6

hoba beef S$38

beef hobayaki S$38

hoba beef

beef hobayaki S$38

we decided to order a bento each. my friend was not satisfied & insisted to order a sake (he was evidently in greater birthday mood than i & took 90% of the sake as i told him he would)  & beef hobayaki S$38. i ordered a S$6 kani tofu to share as i read about it & wanted to try.

we were served a complimentary kobachi to get started – a small dish with chopped tuna. this was tasty, a good appetizer. the bento also came with a salad, simple cut cabbage that was very refreshing & enjoyable with the ponzu dressing. the kani tofu (basically pitan tofu with crabmeat) was good, tasty though i thought the one with tobiko at hokkaido sushi was better.

the bento was good quality. the sashimi (maguro, ika, sake) were all very sweet. the sushi & maki were competent. the pan-fried salmon was good, very tasty. the tempura were above average. 🙂

the beef (aussie) hobayaki(朴叶烧) with shitake mushrooms was quite good. i first came across this preparation at takayama. the local hida beef (飞弹牛) was an excellent wagyu, and was served on a magnolia leaf (朴叶). i would rate this beef as equal to that served at dozo, not as good quality as that served at the clan. 🙂

in all, a very enjoyable dinner. though we meet often, we had very good chat before calling it quits for the night.

c.h.e.f andy

Average Kaiseki Dinner @ Greenview-Tateyama Ryokan on 10Oct2013

kaiseki dinner @ greenview-tateyama ryokan

kaiseki dinner @ greenview-tateyama ryokan

we stayed at almont hotel (hokke group) in kyoto to break journey, and arrived at greenview tateyama ryokan just few minutes walk from the tateyama train station (& cable car station).

was looking forward to kaiseki dinner having booked a menu with 2 wagyu items. as it turned out though this was still among the better dinners we had over the alpine route lodges, it was just very average & a far cry from the very good kaiseki we were accustomed to in japan.

wagyu beef & scallop

wagyu beef & scallop

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

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we had grilled wagyu & scallops. i thought they were both quite ok (though we had far better in every ryokan we been to previously, especially in all the ryokans in tohoku, and also in hokkaido, takayama, arashiyama, hakone, kawaguchiko). the cold beef came with jelly – seemed like a fusion western treatment. just ok.

the sashimi moriawase included maguro, tai & a seaweed wrapped fish, which seemed to be a common dish in this region, as was the local apples. the sashimi though was not great & was in fact inferior to the far cheaper ryokan (or maybe mingshuku senjusou) which we stayed the following night.

ikura with radish strips & crabstick

ikura with radish strips & crabstick

prawn on mountain yam

prawn on mountain yam

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soba & fish with miso

soba & fish with miso

fish with miso

fish with miso

gohan (rice) set with pickles

gohan (rice) set with pickles

nice fruits

nice fruits

the ikura was ok, non descript.  so was the prawn with mountain yam.  the oyster gratin with some yam was ok, quite good.  the soba again carbo we could do without. the fish with miso was ok. the rice & pickles which often included a miso paste in this region was ok. the dessert was quite nice – the persimon, and japan grapes (which flesh come out easily from the skin & are sweet & with kind of alcohol feel) were great & refreshing.

& here there was a decent good yu 湯 (japanese for hot water ie onsen baths), which was the other important ingredient for staying in a ryokan.

the service was very good. we had missed the birthday special as we booked late (past the promotion date) so they took a photo for us during dinner & gave us a print next day. good gesture & memory i supposed & the effort well appreciated of course. these days though all our phone cameras & photos & e-copies were quite fine. 🙂 also we had to forward our big luggage to matsumoto (japan’s efficient luggage forwarding was legendary & we were bringing only a backpack each up the mountains). the lady was very helpful & photocopied our matsumoto hotel booking & filled up the forwarding address form for us & let us checked before dispatching the luggage when we checked out the next day. so service-wise it was good, not better than those at many japanese ryokans we came to be accustomed to, but good nevertheless. 🙂

over the next few nights, we came to the conclusion that for good stay & kaiseki it would be better to break journey at unazuki, toyama & at omachi onsen, though the good ryokans would be more expensive (but 25000yen here for a room with attached bath & 2 mealsfor 2pax was not exactly cheap for the food we had relative to many other ryokans we had been to. the kaiseki here was really much below expectation).  the alpine route could be traversed in 1 day & unless one was doing serious trekking & mountain climbing there was no need to stay at tateyam, midagahara or morodou.

c.h.e.f andy

Wagyu Yakiniku & Sukiyaki Dinner @ Moritaya at Kyoto Station Isetan L11 on 9.10.2013

wagyu sukiyaki

wagyu sukiyaki

wagyu sukiyaki

wagyu sukiyaki

gozanbo at L15 granvia hotel at kyoto station has been our favourite place for wagyu lunch. this time on route to tateyama alpine route from kansai, we found another excellent wagyu restaurant – moritaya. 🙂

we decided to share a sukiyaki. there were 4 grades. we ordered the 3rd grade (2nd cheapest), a 200g portion at 6250yen (the usual 150g portion was 5000yen). we also ordered 2 portions of wagyu sirloin yakiniku at 2415yen per portion.

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

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wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

wagyu yakiniku

the yakiniku sirloin was excellent, very marbled & flavourful. purely on the meat taste & texture, it was much better than what we had at gozanbo for lunch. we loved it! 🙂 (i guess this cooking method common in ryokans also was not exactly the korean yakiniku style but i have not found out the name yet).

sukiyaki condiments

sukiyaki condiments

wagyu sukiyaki

wagyu sukiyaki

the sukiyaki was again superb. just on price comparison, it was much better than what our other favourite place, chinya at asakusa tokyo. there were 3 very large pieces of meat, the first piece much higher quality & marbling than the other 2 (they served the same way also in chinya).  it came with the usual jap glass noodles, tofu & leeks etc.

it was such an excellent dinner & we could not have enough. we stopped at kyoto & went back again on our return journey from kamikochi & ordered the same items.

(if i have to make a comparison, gozanbo is located within granvia hotel & a more expensive place. the courses have a slight fusion flavour with good western soup & cold dishes prepared by very good teppanyaki chefs, and came with dessert & coffee. but to get the same quality of beef one would pay quite a bit more).

subsequently, we had a very good yakiniku dinner at gyukaku at matsumoto on 13.10.2013 at <1/2 this price, but of course the quality of wagyu cut was no comparison.

c.h.e.f andy