Feeds:
Posts
Comments

I was happy to be back at il Cielo for an exclusive one-night-only Etruscan Dinner Affair last month as part of the Gusto Italiano promotion. The six-course menu featured quintessential Tuscan dishes crafted by new chef at helm, Riccardo Catarsi, with handpicked wines paired by the in-house sommelier, Stephanie Rigourd. Interesting fact of the day: Etruscans are the first major civilization in Tuscany!

Highlights of the menu for me include the 47°C salmon served in a herb-infused glass (very smokey! I love smokey stuff!); deconstructed classic Tuscan fish stew Cacciucco (commonly known as the native dish of Tuscany) with a briny concentrated sauce and skewer of tender sustainable seafood; and the chocolate dessert symphony which I’ve already raved about on Instagram!

In retrospect, il Cielo scores points for 1. being daring and bold (pigeon was on the menu!) and more importantly 2. taking pride in the food they serve. There were two meat courses on the original menu which I don’t take so chef had to change them. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the seafood dishes he prepared were not from the ala carte menu (no one told me, I just checked the online menu when drafting this post), which is usually not the case with other tastings. I can only guess that chef wanted to showcase something different from the same old same old and it worked – the burnt prawn with basil sorbet turned out to be my favourite so thank you for being creative, chef!

2014_09_24

47°C Cooked Salmon
sherry vinegar jelly, saffron dust

IMG_6964

Burnt Prawn
basil sorbet, bean puree
paired with Isole e Olena Chardonnay 2011

IMG_6983

Cacciucco
chef riccado’s interpretation of classic tuscan fish & tomato stew
paired with Isole e Olena Chardonnay 2011

IMG_6989

Stuffed Ravioli
squacquerone cheese & galbanti’s ricotta, beef cheek cream, morels
paired with Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2011/Isole e Olena Cepparello 2009

IMG_6994

Chitarra Spaghetti
assorted seafood (mussels, prawns)

IMG_7000

3-way Pigeon Opera
piccione e frutti rossi, fennel red berries
paired with Isole e Olena Syrah 2006/Isole e Olena Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

IMG_7007

Tuscan-style Dessert Symphony
amedei cioccolate composition
paired with Isole e Olena Vin Santo 2004

IMG_7021

Cheers to TGIF tomorrow, everyone! :)

IMG_7001

Many thanks to Cindy and Stephanie for the kind invitation!

il Cielo Restaurant & Bar
Level 24, Hilton Singapore
581 Orchard Road
6730 3395

The Beast

BFF and I have an inside joke that The Beast is highly recommended for those who are going through a breakup and just want to eat/drink like there’s no tomorrow. Because not only do they offer comfort soul food, the portions are incredibly hearty and generous too. Plus the bar boasts one of the largest variety bourbons in the country, and has an extensive selection of American craft beers and bourbon+rye specialty cocktails. Jokes aside, I think this place is perfect for any occasion, happy or sad!

2014_09_18

I unabashedly professed my love for the freshly-baked cornbread on Instagram yesterday – “This is the best one I’ve ever tried! So soft yet dense, like a castella cake! Of cuz, I can easily count the number of times I had cornbread in my life using one hand so I’m not the best judge. Can only say I REALLY LIKE THIS” – and yes, I’m still standing by my words!

Cornbread ($6++)
maple syrup, butter

IMG_6772

We were really pleased with the crab cakes – 0% fillers, 100% crab meat! Well seasoned and deliciously paired with the refreshing sweet corn salsa on the side.

Maryland Crab Cake ($16++)
sweet corn salsa, honey mustard

IMG_6713

The tomato soup was packed with intense flavour, a result of roasting the tomatoes I suppose. Anyway, K was totally blown away by the simple and unassuming grilled cheese sandwich! Lightly browned bread, gooey melty cheese, this is the amazing grilled cheese sandwich in the movie Chef!

Roasted Tomato Soup ($10++)
grilled pimento cheese made in-house

IMG_6735

Fries are great pub grub but that’s too boring. Why not deep fried some green beans for a crunchy (and healthy?) snack? Very addictive and the seasoning reminded us of sweet potato fries!

Jack & the Beast Stalk ($12++)
deep fried green beans, secret seasoning

IMG_6741

Okie, enough raving for now. Both soft shell crab and pulled pork sliders were admittedly average and rather forgettable to us.

Soft Shell Crab Sliders ($16++)
lemon, honey mustard, dill mayo, mixed salad, toasted buns

Pulled Pork Sliders ($16++)
slaw, bbq sauce, toasted buns

IMG_6743

Most value for money dish for the night had to be the DIY catfish tacos! On the wooden platter was a heaping amount of fried catfish with hard corn taco shells and various condiments. An icon of Southern cooking, the white fish had a firm and moist texture. I’m definitely ordering this again!

Catfish Tacos ($24++)
cabbage, sweet corn salsa, cajun remoulade, sour cream, lime wedges

IMG_6768

The gravy was too heavy and creamy, otherwise this was a competent dish (I think K wished that it was a full-sized portion of the grilled cheese sandwich instead haha).

Char-grilled Rib-eye Steak ($36++)
8oz rib-eye, bourbon mushroom gravy, fries

IMG_6778

Grits are small coarse broken grains of corn and commonly eaten in Southern United States. Cooked grits are sort of like polenta – creamy, smooth and lacks crunch. It did get pretty monotonous after awhile, especially after all the shrimps were gone.

Shrimp & Grits ($24++)
garlicky shrimp sauce

IMG_6784

Two of my food blogger friends told me that the mudpie here is not good but I beg to differ actually! True, it was unbreakable as a rock initially when served but after letting it thaw (while we attacked the other dessert haha), we polished off the whole solid block of ice cream! Love the combination of crumbly cookie crust layered with rich chocolatey ice cream~

Mississippi Mudpie ($14++)
oreo crust, vanilla bean & triple chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge

IMG_6792

My favourite pecan pie is from PS Cafe but the homemade version here is not bad too! Huge slice with lots of sweet crunchy pecans and topped with a lovely scoop of fig ice cream – the perfect finishing touch!

Bourbon Pecan Pie ($12++)
fig & honey ice cream

IMG_6797

Special thanks to Jamie, see you again soon!

The Beast
17 Jalan Klapa
6295 0017

The Boiler

Out of nowhere we discovered The Boiler, a Southern American-inspired seafood joint located within the Tai Seng industrial area. We were there on a Tuesday night and the place – despite newly opened a couple of months ago – was absolutely packed, well done! A good sign of things food to come.

IMG_6632

The menu centers around a wide array of fresh live seafood cooked with homemade sauce options: “The Works” (mild, medium or ragin’ hot), “Garlic Butter” and “Peppa’ Butter“. All of them were tasty but since I’m usually in love with garlic butter, no prize for guessing which sauce was most finger-licking good to me haha.

IMG_6650

Because one was not enough, we shared two Boston lobsters ($75++ each) *bliss* Large and heavy, firm and succulent, I only wish we had a third one *wistful thinking* Also, I read somewhere that a lobster with long antennae is an indication that it has been fresh caught. The ones we had were fresh indeed!

IMG_6669

Nowadays, seafood restaurants (think Crab in da Bag etc) seem to like throwing assorted seafood into a bag and then dumping them again onto the table for everyone to dig in. I can understand why though – it’s a great show, it’s fun, it’s messy, so why not right? :)

IMG_6655

For a taste of all the crustaceans offered by The Boiler, get the specially customised Boiler’s Bombdiggity Bag ($139++ for 4 pax) which contains a party of air-flow Dungeness crab, prawns, mussels, clams, corn, chorizos and a side serving of fried buns (comparable to Momma Kong’s!) to mop up whichever sauce you choose. I thought I’d be partial to the crab but no, I kept reaching for the prawns – exceptionally toothsome, sweet and juicy!

IMG_6660

Starters and sides are not neglected, what with interesting items such as lobsicle ($15.90++ for half, $28.90++ for full) and chicks & waffles ($9.90++). The former is the first and only in Singapore (even trademarked!) – whole lobster on a stick, dipped and fried in the chef’s secret batter. Not impressed though, it was dry and tough so just stick to the real thing! The standout was surprisingly the fish & chips ($12.90++)! Ultra soft moist meat sealed within a crispy golden shell, very enjoyable.

IMG_6676

Chocolate molten lava cake was sold out so the alternative was CBD, i.e. crispy banana & durian ($7.90++). Decent end to a (more than) satisfactory feast!

IMG_6695

Thank you, Carrie, for the kind invitation!

The Boiler
18 Howard Rd
#01-06, Novelty Bizcentre
6635 1285

Anti:dote‘s all-new afternoon tea is like no other.

Amidst a chic setting, the charming experience takes place at Anti:dote Lounge, an adjoining posh space linked to the main bar space at Anti:dote and the lobby of Fairmont Singapore. It’s classy, one-of-a-kind and I’m so glad that I don’t have to eat my words that Anti:dote “easily has both style and substance”.

IMG_6616

Priced at S$38++ per person and available daily from 3-5pm, The Anti:dote Tea set is replete with an accompaniment of black truffle scrambled eggs while The Oriental Tea set is served with classic dim sum such as har gau (shrimp dumpling), chive dumpling and scallop siew mai. All afternoon tea sets are complemented with an extensive menu of TWG teas.

IMG_6579

I’m perplexed as to why would anyone choose dim sum (please, just go Crystal Jade or something) over the delish black truffle scrambled eggs, simply because the latter was too delicious! Extremely creamy and a perfect match with the crispy toasted soldiers on the side. Presentation was a cross between cute (egg shell!) and sophisticated (black truffle!!) haha.

IMG_6563

After the “starter” came the star – an exquisite white leather-clad jewellery drawer-chest filled with a medley of sweet and savoury surprises.

IMG_6581

Get your camera phones ready when unveiling each layer of beautifully presented treats! Instagram/Facebook/Twitter-worthy, guaranteed.

IMG_6589

The top platform showcased a selection of saccharine pleasures – girly and pretty strawberry gateau with raspberry lychee pearls, apple almond crumbles, earl grey eclairs (my favourite!), potent rum baba, handmade truffles, huge and juicy chocolate-dipped strawberries, lemon macarons and decadent karukera chocolate mirror tarts (another favourite! Don’t ask me to choose ha).

IMG_6595

Five different types of gourmet finger sandwiches were elegantly laid out in the first drawer. I knew that I’d like the smoked salmon with creme fraiche and caviar but I didn’t expect it to be that good – very smokey and not too salty! I love the mini boston lobster roll with herb mayonnaise too but thought the cucumber dill salad sandwich with cream cheese was boring. Prosciutto with onion jam and aged cheddar and coronation curried chicken tarts were all K’s and he was more than happy to eat my share.

IMG_6598

If you think the petite items served at the afternoon tea will leave you hungry, then the second drawer of carbs heavyweights is for you! Freshly baked moist lemon basil pound cakes and warm raisin and candied ginger scones with homemade strawberry jam, devonshire clotted cream and tangy lemon curd await. Necessary “fillers”, I call them.

2014_09_14

To complete the whole experience, a couple of sugared butter cookies were packed and left in the last drawer as take-home goodies! A thoughtful gesture by the team of chefs who crafted the afternoon tea menu, seeing those cookies at home a few days later brought back lovely memories of the afternoon spent at Anti:dote!

IMG_6613

Many thanks to Ruth for a most enjoyable afternoon!

Anti:dote
Level 1, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
6431 5315

Epicurean Market 2014

One weekend a month ago (i.e. 12-14 September 2014), your Instagram feed (if you have been following the foodies’ accounts like I do) would have been bombarded with lots of drool-worthy food porn pictures taken at the Epicurean Market, the 2nd annual food and wine fair held at Marina Bay Sands.

Among the celebrity chefs’ line-up, I was most impressed with acclaimed Los Angeles-based chef David Myers’ dishes. His coconut and green papaya shooter was a brilliant explosion of flavours – my favourite out of the numerous items tried and tested over those two days. The prawns, passionfruit and salted plum creme fraiche was refreshing and even the complimentary caramel-sweet soy popcorn was amazing. I can’t wait for his brand new restaurant concept to open in MBS next year!

2014_09_12

Other memorable bites included:

Soft shell crab salad with ginger flower dressing (delicious and most value for money at $5 only, cheap thrill!!) and buri-oh ceviche with black truffle vinaigrette (so good, reminded me of Mikuni’s truffle kampachi) from Sky on 57;

Nahm yaa gai noodles with chicken and wild ginger sauce (K was so satisfied by this) and the incredibly rich and pungent durian ice cream with sesame wafers from Chef David Thompson. We have been to his Bangkok restaurant Nahm (currently #1 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants) twice and are looking forward to the opening of his upcoming restaurant Long Chim at MBS;

Pulled pork sandwich (admittedly not the best so K will have to continue hunting for a really solid one) and the creamy yet light shrimp and crab louis from CUT by Wolfgang Puck;

And because a meal at Waku Ghin is too freaking expensive, we spent most of our dollars at chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s booth. The signature marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar was gorgeous but way too tiny and 67% more costly than last year, sheesh; sauteed queensland spinner crab with black pepper sauce was nice but nothing too special; carpaccio of petuna ocean trout with bitter salad was so tender and fresh! Since I’m resigned to never stepping into Waku Ghin in the near future, I consoled myself with three petite desserts from the pastry team – matcha coffee cake, dark chocolate mousse and mont blanc #sugarhigh

2014_09_122

It’s not all food and no fun at the Epicurean Market! We also participated in the Great FIJI Water Race, organized by FIJI Water, the “Official Still Water” partner for the event. We won the race last year and bummer, didn’t win this time. Still, there was plenty of laughter as we raced around the hall completing challenges (such as celebrity chef spotting and coffee art design) to earn points. Will try again next year!

2014_09_123

Special thanks to Marina Bay Sands for the media passes and the FoodNews team for the invitation to participate in the Great FIJI Water Race!

Shortly after our visit to Milk and Honey Gelato, we went back again for (a lot) more!

IMG_6343

The unassuming display holds a wide array of gelato, meticulously crafted and freshly made daily. Choose away!

IMG_6341

Waffles are, of course, on the menu (I’d be shocked if any ice cream/gelato place doesn’t offer it, what with the hype now). Disappointed that the supposedly “brownie-like” dark chocolate waffle embedded with melting chocolate bits (sounds so awesome, right?!) was unavailable so we had the signature plain “quaffles” – 4 x handmade quarter waffles ($3.80). Decent but not the prettiest around and not the best I’ve tried (my waffle allegiance is currently pledged to another) so I’ll just stick to gelato!

IMG_6358

Seven scoops at one go – definitely a first for me! Oh well, at least these were well worth the calories with well calibrated texture, body and aftertaste:

1. White Mac (white chocolate + toasted macadamia) –> still my favourite!
2. Salty Malty (horlicks + sea salt) –> still K’s favourite! We are 专一, they are consistent, win win!
3. Mao Shan Wang (durian) –> intensely pungent, polarizing yet popular, must try for durian lovers!
4. Yuzu –> subtly flavored, light and refreshing~
5. Choc-a-Baby –> skip this only if you are not into dark chocolate (not me, for sure!)…
6. Passionfruit Mango –> too sweet for me, I prefer tangy and tart~
7. Lychee Malibu –> they were running a contest to name this flavour when we visited. Just saw from their FB page that the official name is now Malychee! Kind of cheesy, haha. Anyway, I usually don’t like lychee ice cream/gelato but this was quite good (must be the Malibu rum talking hehe)

IMG_6366

We also tried the shy green nut (i.e. pistachio) milkshake! Three generous scoops of blended gelato with milk resulted in a thick, rich and oh-so-creamy shake. Omg it’s like drinking a glass of melted ice cream – super sinful but so good!

IMG_6378

Judging from the wall of thank you notes, we are obviously not the only ones smitten with Milk and Honey! Our thanks to Gary and the team for having us over!

IMG_6342

Milk and Honey Gelato
Block 86, Bedok North Street 4, #01-179
9838 0687

Our bosses decided to take us out for lunch a couple of days ago and as usual, the resident food blogger was tasked to recommend a place that can accommodate eight hungry folks. Common Man Coffee Roasters was shortlisted and it turned out to be a great choice (self-praise haha) as several ladies in the office have been wanting to try this hippy cafe!

I felt really happy (it’s a foodie thing; I like to see people well-fed and satisfied) that everyone seemed so pleased with their selections, from the turkish/full breakfast to grilled “chilli” chicken with crushed avocado salsa. My crab salad was outstanding too, a lovely plate of fresh white meat tossed with pomegranate and caper crumbs in a yuzu mango mint dressing on a bed of wild rocket, romaine and endive. My idea of a healthy yet hearty lunch.

Capture

Common Man Coffee Roasters
22 Martin Road, #01-00
6836 4695

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,007 other followers