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Archive for April, 2013

French-American db Bistro Moderne at Marina Bay Sands has become a dear friend. The menu is constantly changing and every few months, I head back for a taste, always excited and full of anticipation. This time round, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of flagship Restaurant Daniel, classic items from Daniel will rotate on the menu every Monday, featuring Boulud Sud’s famous Mediterranean Mezze and showy baked Alaska (look at those flames!!). The former happened to be my favourite starter of the night, mostly cuz I really really have an undying love for hummus (db does a solid garlicky rendition) and herby falafels so that was right up my alley.

I’m glad that the culinary team came up with seafood & vegetable aioli for non-meat, seafood-loving eaters! Think of this as the pescetarian version of meaty charcuterie — a light and clean-tasting platter of olive oil poached cod, tiger prawns, and a selection of fresh vegetables. Very healthy stuff. After that came two delightful starters: sweet white asparagus with black truffle dressing and juicy seared scallop on a bed of luscious pea mousse (you either love peas or hate them haha). I’m not impressed with the mains, and that’s not a very fair statement since the grilled sea bream was all I tried as I skipped the roasted chicken. Not that there’s anything wrong with the fish — I merely found it too simple and underwhelming, so it’s just me being hard to please as usual haha.

IMO, this season’s menu under the direction of new Executive Chef Jonathan Kinsella seems to have stronger Asian and Mediterranean influences, especially the desserts! Durian soufflé, mangosteen sorbet, jackfruit verrine, coconut tapioca.. Intriguing right? I guess they are worthy a try for novelty’s sake but what I really like is the tangy rhubarb tart, so rare in Singapore. And chocolate + banana + peanut will never go wrong so the cutesy Indian tepee-lookalike milk chocolate mousse cake is a no-fail too!

A Very Special Media Dinner
Introducing
Executive Chef Jonathan Kinsella

Seafood & Vegetable Aioli
olive oil poached cod, tiger prawns, market vegetables, garlic aioli

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Boulud Sud’s Mediterranean Mezze
herb falafel, english pea hummus, sheep’s milk ricotta, house made socca chips

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Jumbo White Asparagus
egg mimosa, shaved asparagus & radish, black truffle dressing

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Seared Diver Scallops
english pea mousse, smoked bacon, quail eggs, carrots, lemon chicken jus

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Herb Roasted Organic Spring Chicken “Provencal”
petits farcis, spicy fennel sausage, heirloom tomatoes, natural jus

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Grilled Mediterranean Sea Bream
fennel, orange and olive salata, arugula, orange gremolata

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DBGB’S Signature Baked Alaska
pear & blackcurrant sorbet, almond biscuit

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Durian “Royale” Souffle
mangosteen sorbet

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Rhubarb Tart
white chocolate, rhubarb variations

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Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake
peanut brittle, banana ice cream

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Special thanks to Philicia and Elzena from Marina Bay Sands for inviting and hosting dinner! It’s always such a pleasure to catch up with you ladies : )

db Bistro Moderne
#B1-48, Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Ave
6688 8525

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Senso Ristorante & Bar

I have nothing but praise and more praise for Senso Ristorante!

Excellent service right from the start, our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. Classy and romantic ambience perfect for a date, so why was I there with my girlfriend haha. Fresh and well executed Italian cuisine, it was a flawless meal and I enjoyed every last bite of it.

We started with the complimentary bread basket and a fava beans with eggplant caponata amuse bouche. I skipped the bread as usual but the girlfriend polished off more than her share of the focaccia. Starter of pan-seared tuna and more of that delicious eggplant caponata was thoughtfully served in two individual portions since we were sharing it (more restaurants should learn that neat little trick to win the hearts of diners).

I still look back and think of my roasted cod fondly, so plump and juicy (her comment that “the oil will burst out in your mouth!!” makes me laugh lol), happy sighhh. Note to self: ask for less mash and more puree next time. Her seafood linguine is nice too if you are into pasta (I’m not, unless it’s ravioli/tortellini). Contrary to popular belief, girls do not like to share desserts so we each ordered a tiramisu (never say we girls can’t eat). Smart choice it was, as the tiramisu was too lovely to be shared! And we were surprised with two glasses of sweet dessert wine on the house, so dinner ended on a super sweet note!

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Mediterranean Tuna ($26++)
pan-seared tuna medallions with sesame seeds on eggplant puree and eggplant ‘caponata’

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Cod Fillet ($40++)
gently-roasted cod served on potato mash, eggplant puree and green asparagus

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Linguine ($30++)
pasta with mixed seafood in sardinian vermentino white wine sauce

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Tiramisu ‘Senso’ ($14++)

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Senso Ristorante & Bar
#01-01, 21 Club Street
6224 3534

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Blackball

I quite like Blackball, especially since the fussy me can mix and match the toppings to my liking ($4.90 for 4 toppings, grass jelly included). Even the creamer is served on the side, excellent! Grass jelly is a must here, very good, obviously different from those sold in supermarkets and hawker stalls. I like beans so red beans and kidney beans are a safe bet. Black sugar ice jelly sounds interesting but too sweet, once is enough. I didn’t like 粉圆 when I tried the authentic ones in Taiwan but it seems like an incomplete Blackball experience without those specialty yam/potato balls. So I asked for a recommendation from the staff for the least chewy of them all, and ta-da, in went the golden sweet potato balls. No regrets, these are not too chewy or starchy. Next time I’ll ask for less sugar, and this will be an ideal (and relatively healthier) dessert for a hot sunny day!

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Blackball
#02-27, 112 Katong Mall
112 East Coast Road
6538 3885

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The Patissier

My eat-clean-this-week plan failed yesterday when we celebrated the birthday of a lovely lady in our office with a (as always) delicious cake from The Patissier. So far I’ve tried Passion Fruit Meringue, Empress Dowager, Strawberry Cognac, and this Pianissimo is leading the pack. So light and soft, and not too sweet even though it’s white chocolate (which I don’t like)~

Pianissimo ($43.50, 500g, 6 servings)
the very lightest chocolate fudge sponge cake harmonized with the airiest of Valrhona white chocolate mousse makes every bite of this eggless cake a melt-in-your-mouth delight

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The Patissier
#01-01, 4 Mohd Sultan Road
6737 3369

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Ever since I discovered The Big Sheila late last year, I’ve turned into an extremely boring foodie. Week after week, whenever K asks me where to go for brunch, “The Big Sheila!!” is the only answer he’s getting. There was once when we were nearing our brunch destination (I think it was Loysel’s Toy), I had a sudden change of heart and the poor guy had to make an U-turn. No grumbling at all, so thank you you for being ever so accommodating to my whims and fancies~

If that’s not clear enough, here goes: I’m obsessed with The Big Sheila.

It’s a cheerful gourmet store in Siglap (such an unlikely location), and owner Fleur (who is the Big Sheila) always make us feel most welcome. I’m crazy over her food, especially her arancini balls (must try!!!) and homemade muesli! So much so that she addressed me as “muesli Kaelyn” over the phone when I called to make reservations, haha.

This post is a collection of the food I’ve had at her table over numerous visits. Her menu and daily specials change regularly, and I can’t decide whether to be happy or sad about it. It’s great that there’s always something new to try, but some of my favourites, like the roasted pumpkin salad and stuffed capsicum, have never made a comeback. Of course, there are bound to be hits and misses with the food (skip the bland corn fritters and egg dishes in general) but full credit has to be given for the top-notch presentation — we’ve never been served anything less than colourful and visually appealing food!

To be honest, prices have increased quite a bit since it first opened. True, the menu has changed, but I don’t really understand why my favourite muesli costs $12++ now, compared to $7++ last November, sad. Oh well, nobody likes price hikes, but quality and popularity come at a higher price, I suppose. No matter what, I’m still a big fan so see you again soon, The Big Sheila!

Dahl, Coconut & Pumpkin Pie ($9++)
roasted pumpkin, coconut milk, creamy dahl & crunchy coriander

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Baby Spatch ($22++)
half spring chicken, orange, aioli, French baguette

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Stuffed Capsicum ($10++)
red and yellow bell peppers, sweet onions, mushrooms

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A Ploughman’s ($24++)
piggy terrine with pistachio and prune, baby scotch egg, pickles, chutney, cheese, French baguette

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Golden Corn Fritters ($12++)
sweet corn & spring onion pancakes, roasted roma tomatoes, rocket

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Arancini Balls Version 1 ($14++)
wild mushroom risotto, truffle, prosciutto, rocket, sour cream

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TBS Eggs Benie ($16++)
eggs benedict, toasted brioche, herb hollandaise, prosciutto

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Brunch on a Board ($20++)
roasted pumpkin, race day chicken, tomatoes, olives, prosciutto, French baguette

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TBS Homemade Muesli ($12++)
oats, nuts, raisins, coconut, honey, apple, yogurt, berries

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Arancini Balls Version 2 ($16++)
wild mushroom risotto, rocket, sour cream, tomato vinaigrette

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Brunch Omelette ($18++)
eggs, feta, spinach, chorizo, tomato, French baguette, relish

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Leek & Salmon Brunch Tart ($16++)
leeks, smoked salmon, goats cheese

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Vege-a-licious Stack ($16++)
terrine of layered roasted vegetables, cashew pesto, aioli, French baguette

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Blissed Out Orange & Pistachio ($13++)
orange & pistachio flourless cake

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Island Nectar Mocktail ($16++)
coconut milk, Mexican pineapples, lime, maple, kaffir lime leaves

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The Big Sheila
15 Swan Lake Avenue
6645 4422

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Peach Garden

Wordless Tuesday, because there’s enough negativity in the world today.

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Peach Garden (OCBC Centre)
#33-01 OCBC Centre
65 Chulia Street
6535 7833

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Savour 2013

By the time you read this, Savour 2013 has come to an end. Held at the F1 Pit area, this annual gourmet festival is the biggest in Singapore and is a one-stop venue with an alfresco Gourmet Village featuring over 25 leading chefs and 18 award-winning restaurants Michelin-starred dishes, a Gourmet Market and a Gourmet Auditorium where expert master classes are conducted.

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It must be beginner’s luck (this is my first Savour!), for I was lucky to be invited to the event twice — once on the opening day by Nespresso, and on Saturday by FoodNews to participate in The Great FIJI Water Race (more on that later).

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Nespresso is the official presenting partner of Savour 2013, and it’s apt to reveal the launch of two new espresso capsules for Spring on this occasion — Napoli and Trieste. I can never describe the coffee as well as Nespresso does so check out the interactive website for more info (such as differences in crema, aroma, taste, body etc) on these limited editions!

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Are you curious about the name Trieste? I was, since I’ve never heard of it. I’ve been to Napoli (Naples) before so I know what and where it is. But not Trieste. A quick search on Google shows that Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. Not really a tourist’s kind of place, but it has a rich literary past. Interesting.

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We also attended a mixologist class by Nespresso! When the instructor asked “how many of you here owns a Nespresso machine?”, I think everyone except us raised their hands! We seemed like the gatecrashers, haha.

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Even though I’m not a coffee drinker (just can’t appreciate it), the class turned out to be fun! We created a rose-flavoured cappuccino (bandung and coffee make a surprisingly good combi!), mocha latte with coconut (we like this best!), and an iced mint caipiroska (kind of strange, what did I do wrong hmm), yay! Know which part of the class I enjoyed most? The crushing and slapping of mint leaves to release the oils! So fragrant and left my hands smelling nice~

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Naturally, I was most interested in the Gourmet Village since it’s such a rare chance to see some of the world’s top 100 ranked restaurants gathered together in one venue!

If I have to choose the best dish of the event, it’d definitely take me a long time to decide! The worst dish was easy — Arbutus‘s squid and mackerel ‘burger’, essentially an atas-fied fish cake and way way way too salty omg. I was thankful that I tried the cod fish from Sjömagasinet on Thursday cuz when I went back on Saturday, the Swedish chef has packed up and left for home, phew. Very delicious, simple and good.

The Tasting Room and Mirazur were clearly the most outstanding restaurants imo; their food had wonderful flavours and textures, and I was particularly impressed with the vegetarian dishes! Peruvian food was a first for me, and Chef Emilio’s seafood appetiser and non-oily fried fish won my heart easily. Strong and bold, reminding me of Mexican cuisine. His dessert was too sweet though.

In terms of creativity, I gave full marks to Bo Innovation for its cha chan tang dessert. Execution-wise, I don’t like the kaya marshmallow and condensed milk foam. Mikuni had the best presentation — serving its aromatic truffle kampachi in tin cans, so cute!

My initial intention was to not try any of the food from the local restaurants but plan failed, haha. Hits and misses with Gattopardo — nice risone and cannolo but bland arancini ball. Gunther’s legendary angel hair pasta needed no mention, and its soft serve ice cream was a godsend in the 38°C weather!

Savour

Squid and Mackerel ‘Burger’, Salad of Sea Greens, Moroccan Lemon Peel ($12)

Chef Anthony Demetre
Arbutus, UK

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Cod with Quail Egg ($12)

Chef Ulf Wagner
Sjömagasinet, Sweden

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Seared Scallop, Aerated Scallop, Dill Vichysoisse, Barley and Squid Ink Crumble ($10)

Chef Margot Janse
The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, South Africa

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Beetroot Sponge, Wild Rice, Macadamia Salad, Baobab Yoghurt ($10)

Chef Margot Janse
The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, South Africa

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Hibiscus Soup, Yogurt Sorbet, Red Fruits ($8)

Chef Mauro Colagreco
Mirazur, France

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Red Quinoa Risotto, Wild Mushrooms, Fried Jerusalem Artichoke Skin, Parsley Sponge ($12)

Chef Mauro Colagreco
Mirazur, France

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Causa: Traditional Peruvian Seafood Appetiser with Shrimps, Scallops and Octopus ($12)

Chef Emilio Macias
Astrid y Gaston, Peru

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Jalea de Pescado: Traditional Fried Fish ($18 with dessert below)

Chef Emilio Macias
Astrid y Gaston, Peru

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Iced Dulce de Leche Lollypops: Milk, Chocolate and Andean Grains Chupetes

Chef Emilio Macias
Astrid y Gaston, Peru

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Cha Tang Dessert: Butter Toast Ice Cream, Condensed Milk Foam, Peanut Butter Ice, Kaya Marshmallow, “Ying Yang” Hot Milk Tea and Cold Coffee ($10)

Chef Alvin Leung
Bo Innovation, Hong Kong

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Truffle Kampachi, Black Truffle Soya ($14)

Chef Moon Kyung Soo
Mikuni, Singapore

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Risone ($12), Cannoli ($10)

Chef Lino Sauro
Gattopardo, Singapore

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Cold Angel Hair Pasta ($18)

Chef Gunther Hubrechsen
Gunther’s, Singapore

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Warm Fruit with Ice Cream ($8)

Chef Gunther Hubrechsen
Gunther’s, Singapore

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Now, previously I mentioned that we took part in The Great FIJI Water Race. It’s basically amazing race style, and we had to complete the tasks at different stations to earn points.

The results were announced earlier at 8pm and…

WE WON!!!!!!!!!

Wow, what an amazing and memorable ending to our Savour 2013 experience!

See you soon, Savour 2014!

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My special thanks to the teams from Crowd, Nespresso, and FoodNews for the kind invitations! Especially to Dixie, who made sure I received the invitation and fed us so well!

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