Sunday, March 29, 2009

Atlantic Dining Room

I've always been a fan of Chef Edward Voon, ever since his days at Dolce Vita. Hence it was no surprise that I jumped at the chance to dine at Atlantic Dining Room, where he joined barely 3 months ago from the now defunct Aurum as Executive Chef. Chances like this are few and far, especially when the place where Atlantic Dining Room is located, Tower Club, is exclusively for members and their guests only. And to up the exclusivity factor, membership is by invitation only.



Interior

Perched right at the top of Republic Plaza on the 62nd - 64th story penthouse, Atlantic Dining Room boasts high ceilings coupled with a posh and luxe interior with elaborate finishing and plush chairs. One thing to take note of here, all cellular phones must be put to silent mode and there is a very strict smart casual dress code.




Complimentary Bread & Olive Oil Butter

There were 2 varieties of bread, french loaf with olives and focaccia. I didn't think too much of the french loaf but the focaccia was great. Soft with pockets of herbs and sundried tomatoes permeating through, resulting in a tasty and comforting slice of bread. And the best part was, it wasn't oily.
The olive oil butter deserves a writeup all by itself, solely based on its uniqueness. The butter looked exactly like normal butter and sported a similar texture. However, it was made from olive oil, so imagine a butter with an olive oil taste. Very interesting! The butter was also a prelude to the other fascinating items to come in the menu.



Crab Salad with Wasabi Mayonnaise & Nitro

The interesting part about this dish was the black wrap covering the salad, which was a little gelatin like but bears no resemblance to anything that I know. The salad itself had lots of onions which gave it a nice crunch while the crab came across as light and savoury with the wasabi significantly mild.



Mock Caviar

This dish injected a little humour into our dinner. The cover wrote "Best Mock Caviar from Singapore. Produced and packed by Edward Voon." What was actually in the metal container was a jelly like substance that looked like salmon roe with a passion fruit and strawberry centre. There was a tinge of alcohol in the background as well.



Ocean Trout Confit with Liquefied Green Pea, Fruit Sorbet & Olive Oil powder

The trout looked really raw on the outside but slicing through it proved a piece of cake. The meat was smooth, firm and fresh without coming across as raw. A dollop of orange bits were placed on top to counter and fishiness that the trout might have. The fruit sorbet was sweet and had bits of unidentified crispy stuff below while the olive oil powder amazed me with its texture.
A really interesting play of flavours!



Scallop in Laksa Sauce with Crispy Squid Ink

This has got to be one of the best scallops I've eaten in the past year or so. Well seared with a nice smooth texture sans the fishiness. The laksa sauce was frothy, almost like foam and the spiciness kicked only kicked in a few seconds after consumption.



Tempura Prawn & Mushrooms in Shitake Sauce

The highlight of this dish was probably the olive oil, which was injected from a syringe into the Shitake sauce. Lo and behold, it turned into a strand of noodle that was similar to ramen with an olive oil taste to boot! The prawn was huge and sweet but I thought that the batter could have been a little thinner.



Sardine with Risotto & Polenta

What was intriguing about this was the polenta (boiled maize), which came in thin silvery sheets atop the sardine, which incidentally, was a little too soft for my liking. I did like the risotto though - al dente and not too creamy with carrots providing an additional crunch.



Foie Gras with Kurobuta Pork Cheek & Apple Foam

The foie gras was pan seared till crisp on the outside. It certainly wasn't quivery nor near the best I've tried but I must say that it went very well with the apple foam. The pork cheeks were melt in the mouth tender and definitely a nice addition to this already sinfully rich dish.



BBQ Japanese Fish with Smoked Water

Another amazing dish, the fish (not too sure what fish is it) had a firm texture to go along with the nice BBQ taste. Topped with little silvery pearls that were in fact smoked water, I was rendered speechless. You might question how do you smoke water? In all honesty, I have no absolutely no clue. According to Chef Edward, the water is smoked and then solidified to form the pearls. Interestingly, the pearls had a slightly chewy texture with a strong smokey aftertaste.



Garoupa

I only tried a little of this dish but the fish did seem very well seasoned and flavourful. A pity the pasta didn't seem home made and came across as overly salty.



Wagyu Beef

No surprises here, just good old fashioned tender wagyu beef that was well marinated and done up medium rare. I did find it a little too salty though.



Passion Fruit Sorbet with Coconut Cream & Crushed Mint Ice

I'm not a fan of sour stuff so this dessert didn't do it for me. But the coconut cream was nice and light.



Chocolate & Chocolate

Catchy names aside, this dessert was yet another amazing dish. The first chocolate referred to the white chocolate cake while the second chocolate referred to the coarsely grounded bits of chocolate that reminded me of soil. Here's the marvelous part. The white chocolate cake had a moist center with a hint of egg and almond and ever so heart warming. To infuse some excitement, the grounded chocolate was done up to crackle incessantly when placed into your mouth, very much like the fizz pop candy for kids of yesteryear. Very nostalgic!



Bill

I've lost count of the number of times I've used the word amazing in this single blog post alone. The dishes are truly progressive and I'm pretty sure my photos and descriptions do it scant justice. The dollars and cents portion ($400 for 2 pax) is a little on the steep side but I feel that its money well thought and well spent. And I'll certainly be back, especially with one of my favourite chefs at the helm.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:8.5/10
Service:8/10
Food:8.5/10
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:8/10

Address: Penthouse (62nd – 64th Floors), Republic Plaza Tower 1

Contact: 6737 3388

Opening Hours: Daily: 12noon - 2.30pm, 7pm - 10.30pm

Website: http://www.tower-club.com.sg/index1.html



See the glow on my face?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Desire Part II



The last time I stepped into Desire was back in early 2007. More then 2 years later, I was back to renew my acquaintance with this fine dining restaurant, especially after I had heard good things about their new chef.





Exterior & Interior

The place needs no reintroduction but still retains its old world Victorian charm that drew me to it in the first place. The interior does look a little aged as compared to 2 years ago so some restoration is probably in order.



Complimentary Bread

I thought that the onion bread was excellent. Warm and crusty on the outside yet soft and fragrant on the inside. The onion gave it a nice mild flavour and I succumbed to temptation by requesting for seconds.



Tuna Ala Nicoise

Fresh greens topped with grilled tuna, quail eggs, black olives and anchovy dressing. The tuna slices weren't well grilled enough but at least there was no overwhelming raw taste. A decent enough salad.



Foie Gras & Fruit Salad

I personally preferred the foie gras salad even though there were only 2 miserable cubes of foie gras - the sin amongst the forest of healthy fruits and greens. The precious cubes of foie gras were quivery with a nice crisp exterior and the salt granules served to put a lid on the richness of the liver.



Tomato Soup with Cod Fish

This is the first time I'm having cod fish paired with tomato soup and I must say that it was quite interesting as cod fish has quite a strong oily aftertaste. The tomato soup was a little too sharp for my liking and the somehow the flavours were too distinct from each other to be cohesive. Not something I would order again.



Baked Cod Fish

Cod fish is probably one of the few species of fish that I actually like and can consume quite a fair bit of. And Desire's rendition was rather oriental in orientation. Crisp skin topped with mildly sweet cereal flakes amidst soft luscious flesh. The lone stewed mushroom tasted like those right out of a claypot. Very delectable dish to say the least.



Sous Vide Beef Cheeks

Although the beef cheeks were melt in the mouth tender, I didn't really find anything really outstanding about it. The veal jus was a little too weak and failed to bring out the true potential of this dish. Alas!



Mint & Lemongrass Jelly

Sour stuff have never been my cup of tea so I shall reserve my comments on this dessert.



Chocolate Fondant Tart

One tiny flaw marred what would have otherwise been an excellent tart. The crust had a nice oven baked aroma and taste but lacked a little more butter in my humble opinion. The chocolate was lusciously thick and coagulated yet smooth and a joy to bite into. Accompanying alongside was a scoop of smooth hazelnut ice cream that tasted like rocher and didn't melt at an exponential rate.

Lunch cost to the tune of $98 for 2 set lunches ($38++ and $45++ respectively). For $7++, you get a choice of an additional appetiser or soup. Food quality is rather impressive and coupled with good service and ambience, makes for a most enjoyable lunch. If you do intend to do dinner at Desire, watch out for the steep prices.

Final Verdict:
Ambience:8.5/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:7.5/10

Address: The Scarlet Hotel, 33 Erskine Road

Contact: 65113323

Opening Hours: Daily: 6am - 10am, 12noon - 2.30pm, 7pm - 10.30pm

Website: http://www.thescarlethotel.com/

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Chinese Restaurant



It was the usual weekly dinner with my folks again and the venue of choice was The Chinese Restaurant at Raffles Town Club. Apparently this is a members only restaurant so I didn't harbour any hopes of a fantastic meal even though prices aren't exactly the cheapest around.



Interior

In the glossy pages of the club magazine, the restaurant looked like a blast. However reality is harsh and the interior turned out looking more dreary then glam. What was rather amusing was that the restaurant required us (the customers) to switch off our cell phones during our meal. Fortunately, it wasn't strictly enforced though.



Smoked Salmon with Passion Fruit & Vegetable Salad

There were only 2 slices of the smoked salmon, which was quite pathetic if you ask me. And the salmon was way too salty but I guess not having the overwhelmingly raw taste is a plus.



Braised Superior Shark's Fin with Bean Sprout

The broth was a tad too starchy but the fins were relatively generous, though of the mediocre variant. Adding to the woes was the overdose of salt, which made the soup rather heavy.



Braised Seasonal Vegetables with Bean Curd Stick & Conpoy in Chicken Stock

This dish was a major turn off. The spinach wasn't properly washed and I could hear the resounding crunch of sand/sediment with every bite. The bean curd stick tasted like flour but to give it credit, it was well deep fried and topped with shreds of deep fried dried scallops.



Sauteed Scallop & Fresh Prawn in Sichuan Sauce

This was probably the best dish of the evening as the scallops were crunchy and sweet while the prawns fresh but a tad small. The bed of broccoli wasn't over or undercooked but the sichuan sauce came across as mildly spicy and very normal.



Steamed Sea Perch with Chilli

I couldn't quite make out the chilli in this dish. What I could taste was black bean sauce. And lots of it. The meat was firm, a tad too firm actually, from being overcooked.



Braised Vermicelli & Mian Xian with Dried Seafood

This dish was well fried with a discernible wok hei taste and the noodles weren't too soggy. However too much of it rendered me nauseous.



Dou Hua

Soft and silky without any traces of egg, the dou hua left a layer of sediment on my tongue after every mouthful, which served to irritate me to no end.



Bill

I thought $215 for an unsatisfactory meal for 4 was expensive and if given a choice, I would never return, ever again. There is a strict dress code as well, which adds to the annoyance.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7/10
Food:6/10
Value for money:6/10
Overall:6.5/10

Address: Fourth Storey, Whitley Wing, Raffles Town Club

Contact: 6357 3338

Opening Hours:

Mondays - Saturdays
Lunch – 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner – 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Sundays & Public Holidays
Lunch – 10:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner – 6:30pm to 10:30pm

Website: http://www.rafflestownclub.com.sg/03_w&d_chinese.html

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Patisserie Glace



Seems like many people have actually blogged about this up and coming patisserie hidden at the corner of the Notorious Keong Saik Road, Craig Road and Neil Road intersection within Chinatown Plaza - a rather dilapidated private apartment of sorts. Helmed by Master Chef Yamashita who hails from Nara, Japan, this tiny patisserie has been garnering rave reviews in the media and blogosphere alike.



Banana Mille-Feuille ($4.50)

I thought that the mille feuille was a great way to start off as it was light and crisp due to the layer of puff pastry thats sandwiched in between layers of chocolate mousse, sponge and bananas. The chocolate mousse itself was very well balanced and didn't threaten to overwhelm.



Strawberry Hill ($5.20)

Topped with sliced strawberries on layers of light and fluffy sponge sandwiching fresh cream on a wholesome oven baked tart base, the strawberry hill was sublimely good. What's interesting about this cake is that the name really suits it! The cake gets substantially more dense towards the bottom, very much like a hill, where the soil is looser at the top and gradually becomes more compact towards the bottom.



Strawberry Soufflé ($5.30)

The pièce de résistance. Dense yet light on the palate with a tinge of lemony zest and topped with strawberries. Its probably one of the best cheesecakes I've eaten in a long long while.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:/10
Service:/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:7/10

Address: #01-10 Chinatown Plaza, 34 Craig Road

Contact: 6400-0247

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 1100-1800 hrs. Sat, Sun & Public Holidays: 1100-1700 hrs.

Website: http://cakeglace.com/

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Marmalade Pantry



Leisurely lunches have, for most working class people, always been the exception rather then the norm. I attest to that norm personally so it was with much delight that I embraced a rare opportunity to engage in one at Marmalade Pantry - home to the tai tai crowd.






The Place

Marmalade's Orchard outlet is aptly located at the upscale Palais Renaissance, boasting an open concept sitting area smack in the middle of the mall. Wrap leather sofa seats coupled with heavy wooden tables and chairs complete the somewhat "cafeish" look. The clientele here consists mainly of reasonably well heeled executives and of course the tais tais, who spend hours on end sipping their tea/coffee over a slice of cake or dessert. So there I was, like a fish out of water.



Pan-Roasted Red Snapper

I didn't think too much of this dish as it didn't exactly strike me as good. The almond/breadcrumb crust gave it a nice crunchy texture and the fish overall had a zesty tinge to it. But it just wasn't sweet. I'm pretty sure the chickpeas didn't help matters.



The Ultimate Beef Burger

For something to be termed "The Ultimate", it must possess a certain level of quality, something that was sorely lacking in this dish. The beef patty was hard and dry even though there were evident traces of juices within and not to mention, salty. So salty that it overwhelmed any beefy taste that I would have appreciated in any beef burger. It didn't help that the patty was dwarfed by the huge buns that made the whole burger look like the letter 'I' as well. And before I forget, the fries were probably factory cut frozen fries.



Homemade Lemon Tart

I'm not usually a fan of sourish stuff so I reserve my comments on this one save for the fact that I didn't cringe when I took a mouthful of it.



Sticky Date Toffee Pudding

Words elude me as I attempt to describe the sticky date pudding. Would words like amazing fit the bill? Absolutely not. Moist yet compact and spongy, it brought back distinct childhood memories of eating MacDonald's hotcakes with honey syrup, very much like what the serving of ratatouille did to Anton Ego in the movie. The vanilla bean ice cream alongside proved a nice complement.



Bill

The burger aside, I think food quality is generally decent for the price ($83 for 2 mains and 2 desserts) but the piece de resistance would have to be the desserts. Service seems a little inexperienced but still generally decent.



Likes: Desserts
Dislikes: Mains weren't outstanding


Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10 (8.5/10 for the sticky date pudding)
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:6.75/10

Address: #B1-08 Palais Renaissance

Contact: 6734 2700

Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri: 11.30am - 9.30pm

Sat: 10am - 9.30pm

Sun: 10am - 4pm (All day brunch)

Website: http://www.marmaladegroup.com/



A white flower symbolises innocence and purity. What do you think?