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Archive for the ‘Don't Mind Going Back’ Category

Let’s welcome the year of the goat with an exquisite feast from Jade Restaurant!

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The signature yu sheng features homemade champagne jelly with edible gold leaves, symbolizing an abundance of wealth and prosperity, huat ah! Other than adding a touch of luxury, I like that the jelly is slightly bitter and pairs well with the sweet peachy dressing. And I was most impressed by Master Chef Leong’s auspicious calligraphic designs drawn using olive oil and then dusted with cinnamon powder! Not from stencils, wow.

羊年挥春招财鱼生: 三文鱼金薄香槟冻鱼生
Eight Happiness Gold Rush Yu Sheng (from $68++ per person)
champagne jelly, salmon, olive oil, peach sauce

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I’m not crazy over soups but this braised seafood soup won me over, heart and soul. Rich and comforting bowl of goodness! Full of collagen too so this doubles as a beauty treatment from within!

金满福报: 黄焖花胶海鲜鲍鱼汤
Braised Seafood Soup ($38++ per person)
abalone, fish maw, superior golden broth

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The fresh Boston lobster is simply sautéed with a piquant mixture of spiced fragrant salt, dried chilli and ginger flower. I had mine without the crispy chicken floss and it was already so good, oh my. An extravagant crowd-pleaser for sure!

禧龙添满福: 辛辣鸡松波士顿龙虾
Sautéed Boston Lobster ($88++ for a whole 700g lobster)
chicken floss, spiced fragrant salt

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While others had the pork belly stewed on low heat for 90 minutes, I was equally satisfied with the steamed cod with garlic. A light and healthy dish!

和气融融: 家乡焖花腩
Stewed Pork Belly ($18++ per person)
dried oyster, black fungus, yam, mushroom, green chive flower

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Dessert was a trio of almond cream with bird’s nest, nian gao tart and pistachio mochi. Think of the delicate tart as traditional glutinous rice cake with a twist – each buttery tart shell is filled with nian gao made with gula melaka and yam. Very special! I don’t like chewy muah chee at all but the pistachio glutinous rice balls stuffed with chopped pistachio nuts and sesame paste are pillowy soft! I was quite amazed by the texture. Available till March 5, these lunar new year goodies make great gifts for loved ones!

温馨开心团圆: 杏仁茶燕窝开心果麻滋
Almond Cream with Bird’s Nest
pistachio 开心果 “muah chee” glutinous rice ball ($26+ per box of 8), yam paste ‘nian gao’ tart ($28+ per box of 8)

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My special thanks to Joyce and Pearly for hosting dinner! Happy new year and see you again soon!

Jade Restaurant
Ground Floor, Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square
6877 8188

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What used to be 1-TwentySix at East Coast Park is now Cotton, named after a real cotton tree planted outside the restaurant. The cuisine is “Asian fusion” and you can find an interestingly bizarre mixture of sushi, sashimi, pasta and grilled mains on the menu.

Honestly, the meal did not started on a good note. A couple of items (sushi rolls!) which caught my interest were sadly unavailable. And while our appetizer of bonsai salad was pretty, the miso dip for the crudites was extremely salted and we sent it back almost untouched. I just checked the menu online and looks like it has been removed from the menu, oh good.

Bad start aside, everything went well thereafter! The assorted sashimi were very fresh (even better than some Japanese restaurants, I bet) and the chef’s knife skill is apparent in how fine the small cuts on the top of the sashimi were. For something more substantial, K highly recommend either the lamb rack or ribeye steak (or get both!). The former had a tender texture with no gamey flavour and the latter was (I quote K) “a good piece of red meat, period” haha. For me, I was mighty pleased with the pan fried cod fish – generous slab, naturally fatty, my favourite! I must also give credit to the chef for pairing the meat/fish with delicious sides such as tempura corn, deep fried spinach and green pea/pumpkin purée. Definitely no boring mash potato!

I wish dinner ended with a bang (read: killer dessert) but alas, we were served a forgettable almond pudding. That said, we’ll be back again for the mains and hopefully by then, the sushi rolls too!

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Bonsai Salad
no longer available

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Assorted Sashimi Platter of 5 ($35++)
ika (squid), mekajiki (swordfish), tai (seabream), hotate (scallop), saké (salmon)

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Amber Jack Carpaccio ($24++)
truffle and ikura

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Lamb Rack ($38++)
green pea purée and tempura corn

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Ribeye Steak ($35++)
asparagus and pumpkin purée

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Cod Fish ($32++)
deep fried spinach and zucchini

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King Prawn Angel Hair Pasta ($24++)
sakura ebi and garlic

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Almond Pudding ($12++)

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My thanks to Brenda for the kind invitation!

Cotton Singapore
#01-26, Big Splash
902 East Coast Parkway
96563126

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My title above says it all. FUKU serves fugu in fine dining kaiseki style.

And I’m sure you already know this – fugu (a.k.a. puffer fish/blowfish/globefish) is potentially fatal if prepared wrongly! Well, for the love of food, just risk it!

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I joke.

I wasn’t even worried at all.

By Japanese law, chefs have to be specially licensed by the government before they can prepare and serve fugu to guests. Likewise for FUKU’s chefs, who have more than 20 years of experience in Shimonoseki (the specialty area of fugu). All the air-flown fish have to be removed of their internal organs and cleaned, then meet strict regulations by recognized Japanese authorities before they can be imported into Singapore.

Hiresake
hot sake with sun-dried fugu

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There are more than 100 species of fugu but only 20 are edible. FUKU, being the first restaurant in Asia outside Japan to serve such a fine delicacy all year-round, imports the prized Tora Fugu (Tiger Puffer Fish) twice a week by air direct from Shiminoseki. Freshness guaranteed! And as you can already imagine, fugu dining is expensive.

Very expensive.

Tessa
thinly sliced fugu sashimi that was once referred to as gun-powder because of its instantaneous death if not prepared right

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Although there is an a la carte menu, the specialization at FUKU is kaiseki – full course traditional set menus which range from $150++ per person for a 6-course (Ebisu) to $580++ per person for a 9-course Wild Fugu set (Shichi-Fuku). Out of the dishes tried and tested, my favourite were the sashimi and yuniki!

Yubiki
parboiled fugu skin

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The sashimi was beautiful; paper-thin shavings intricately presented on a patterned plate. Some may find it bland but I rather like how clean it tasted. Delicate strips of blanched gelatinous fugu skin were served on the side too. Eat more as they are rich in collagen!

Karaage
fugu is served deep-fried giving a crisp and fragrant texture on the outside while maintaining a meaty fleshy bite inside

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After having fugu sashimi, the “normal” sashimi (though fresh) now seemed too mainstream haha.

Assorted Sashimi
salmon, scallop, tuna, ebi, squid

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The most “fear factor” dish of the night had to be the puffer fish’s milt or sperm sacs! I’ve had shirako thrice so far (Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore) and I can safely conclude that I don’t like it. Too creamy, not for me.

Fugu Shirako
fugu sperm sacs

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Coincidentally, it was a cold evening and the fugu hotpot was most welcome. Thick chunks of flesh and bones along with an assortment of vegetables and tofu were stirred into a boiling pot of broth prepared only with dashi water and a big slab of kombu (kelp). Towards the end, rice and egg were added to the rich and sweetened stock from the hotpot and ta-da, a tasty fugu porridge was produced! A very comforting way to end an elaborate spread!

Tecchiri/Zousui
fugu hotpot

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Don’t miss the real fugu hanging from the ceiling near the entrance!

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My thanks to Melody for hosting such an extravagant dinner!

FUKU Fine Fugu Kaiseki Restaurant
14 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-01
6235-8216

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Shrove Tuesday

Saturday night. Dessert time. K wanted Little Prince. I suggested Shrove Tuesday.

As usual, I get my way hahaha.

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Actually, this place has been on my to-go list for quite some time but due to mixed reviews, I’ve been ignoring it. One waffle and three scoops of gelato later, I’m berating myself for procrastinating!

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The crispy waffle was impressively light – it’s like eating battered air? We didn’t feel full even after it disappeared into our tummies and I like that feeling. That said, I’d give full marks for texture but maybe a fail for taste because it was very bland. Not a major problem to me though since we had gelato! Coconut, roasted peanut, earl grey. Can’t wait to try black sesame next time!

By the way, the two staff were super friendly! If I open a shop, I want to hire them!

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Shrove Tuesday
Block 94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh #01-32
6258 2254

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A modern European restaurant, SELA is quite a hidden gem set in the heart of Singapore along Seah Street, right next to Raffles Hotel. It’s classy yet casual, and we had more hits than misses with the food. A good sign!

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I don’t like squid because of the chewy texture and this didn’t change my mind, oops.

Miso Squid
sweet peas, salmon roe

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Salmon is salmon, but what’s interesting is the presentation – skewered like satay and served on a heated slab of pink Himalayan salt! Apparently the plate of solid salt has the “power” to enhance the character of the food; maybe it’s the psychological effect but I enjoyed this dish a lot!

Salmon Skewers
grape relish, himalayan salt plate

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A must try for any fish (and even non-fish) lover is the miso chilean seabass! Trust me, there is a reason why this is one of the house signatures. Chef baked it perfectly and the cod-like fish had a superb texture – tender soft silky meat and charred crispy bits on the surface. Love the delicate (rather than overwhelming) flavour of miso too.

Baked Miso Chilean Seabass
edamame, sweet peas

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Another signature main is the herb crusted lamb rack, this one for the meat eaters! K polished them off easily, despite the generous servings. Similar to the seabass, the meat was well-marinated and not overcooked nor gamey.

Herb Crusted Lamb Rack
braised red cabbage, banana shallots, lamb jus

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One of the best things about SELA is that the menu changes monthly to factor in seasonal produce and also let Chef have a chance to be creative!

Pan-Seared Salmon
no longer available

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Seems like anything with gula melaka is a winner these days. That said, the creme caramel was very smooth and delectable on its own too.

Gula Melaka Creme Caramel

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Now, I like the rice beer sabayon even more! Not commonly seen elsewhere, the light egg-based cream dessert had a pleasantly strong taste of beer.

Rice Beer Sabayon
fresh berries, vanilla ice cream

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How can we ever resist ice cream? Fig sorbet was my #1 choice, followed very closely by wasabi! The latter sounded weird but it was actually very acceptable, especially the spicy aftertaste!

Ice Cream
vanilla, wasabi, fig, caramel balsamico

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Our thanks to Marie and Ashley for hosting such a big group for dinner!

Restaurant SELA
32 Seah Street
6337 6358

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Previously from Grand Hyatt Tokyo and Joel Robuchon Singapore, the two baker/chef-owners of Pantler, Matthias Phua and Tomoharu Morita, are obviously talented baker “pantlers”, a word which refers to someone in charge of the bread and pantry of a great family in the old days. Their exquisite artisanal pastries and bakes are served in a chic minimalist boutique shop along Telok Ayer Street and I’m happy to report that most of the desserts are very agreeable to my palate (it’s not just the sugar talking)!

Bartlett Pear Tart ($6.80); Mango Passion Panna Cotta ($5.80); Crème Caramel ($5.80)

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Filled with caramel custard and dark chocolate cream, the big and fat banana elcair is a timeless choice! I love the creamy filling with bits of fresh banana but not so much the choux pastry, which I found to be “flat” and a little stale, hmm.

Banana Eclair ($8.50)

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Opera held no surprises for us that evening – ganache of chocolate cream and almond sponge coated with espresso, very safe and reliable interpretation of the French classic. My favourites were the ruby tart and tangy apricot yogurt dome made with Greek yogurt and Moroccan apricot compote, rather unexpected because I tend to fancy richer to lighter cakes (usually anything with chocolate haha). To me, the star of the pretty tart was the pate sucree base, a sweet shortcrust pastry with crisp cookie-like texture. Some excellent baking technique there!

Opera ($8.50); Ruby Tart ($7.50); Apricot Yogurt Dome ($7.50)

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I thought I’d like the orange peel and crumble cake with chocolate but the lingering sweetness was overwhelming. Dark chocolate delice fared much better with a thick bittersweet blanket of 70% roasted dark chocolate on top of a sable breton, i.e. French butter biscuit. Recommended to eat it at room temperature so that the mousse will melt in the mouth!

Orange & Dark Chocolate ($8.50); Dark Chocolate Delice ($7.80)

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Yatsura is one of the signatures at Pantler and rightly so! The entremet has neat contrasting layers of crumbly hazelnut dacquoise, smooth dark chocolate mousse and crunchy hazelnut feuilletine. Delicious.

Yatsura ($8.50)

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Many have raved about Pantler’s Choux Crème and finally I could taste it for myself! Crispy choux pastry, lush vanilla pastry cream (see dissected picture here), and the nougatine made a pleasant crunching noise when chewed. This is a dine-in-only item but I’ve heard that as long as you promise to eat it within 30mins, the kind Pantler folks can be persuaded to let you take it away!

Choux Crème ($5.50)

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Many thanks to Tecks for the kind invitation! Happy New Year!

Pantler
198 Telok Ayer Street
6221 6223

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With 2014 coming to an end, I reckon it’s apt to write about Honey Creme since it is definitely one of the best F&B success stories this year (even my mom knows of it haha). Contrary to popular belief, Honey Creme is not from South Korea! They sell Korean-inspired soft serve ice cream, hence the confusion I think. The brand first opened in Taipei in March 2014 and has since expanded to Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore within a year! Such astounding growth!

Honey Creme Organic Cotton Candy Affogato ($6.20)

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On that crazy I-don’t-care-about-calories night, we tried five varieties and I picked out my favourites easily. The first was unorthodox – soft serve with mixed grains! It was surprisingly very delicious, especially the blended powder of millet, black sweet rice, buckwheat, oats, brown rice, and black sesame! Reminded me of cereal ice cream, yumz. The other one I liked was the theatrical cotton candy affogato. A freshly brewed shot of Nespresso dark coffee sealed the deal and I probably will get the version without the sweet cotton candy next time. The other three flavours of organic honey comb, caramel popcorn and dark chocolate sprinkled with pink Himalayan sea salt were nice (how can velvety soft serve not be?!) but it’s gonna be the mixed grains and affogato that will bring me back.

Honey Creme Organic Honey Comb ($5.50); Honey Creme Caramel Popcorn ($5.50); Honey Creme Organic Mixed Grains ($5.90); Honey Creme Double Flavored Macarons ($3 per piece)

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For a limited time until 31 December, Honey Creme introduces a new limited edition flavour, Honey Creme Irish Cream ($6), just for Christmas. I’ve been told that the soft serve is swirled with sweet caramel and dark chocolate atop a bed of crushed pretzels, topped with bittersweet chocolate beans and crunchy pretzel, and drizzled with a milky smooth Irish Cream formula with hints of coffee and liqueur. The picture looks very cute so I’m going to try that tomorrow before it’s too late, see you there!

Honey Creme Dark Chocolate ($5.50)

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Special thanks to the lovely Ate and Honey Creme teams for letting us beat the queue and hosting such a sinful session!

Honey Creme
#01-37, 313@Somerset
313 Orchard Road
6884 8468

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