Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sage, The Restaurant Part IV

Mention beef rump to anyone in Singapore and chances are, you would invite blank stares or a pertinent look of disgust. Long overshadowed by the more illustrious cuts like the ribeye or striploin, the rump is actually quite tasty as well and value for money to boot - a proposition that the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has put forth. And it has organised a tasting session in Singapore to showcase and promote the best of alternative cuts for both beef and lamb. The venue of choice was Sage, The Restaurant, with the talented Jusman So at the helm.



Roast Beef Carpaccio

Seared and then roasted to a perfect medium rare, the beef carpaccio was thinly sliced and very sublime. A lingering of natural beefiness coupled with a smattering of salt, black pepper and grated parmesan rounded up the taste perfect moment. And no surprise that it was a rump cut.



Lamb Shoulder

I was so transfixed by the sight of this dainty looking dish that I almost forgot to take a snap of it. Fibrous and tender without the overpowering lamb taste that I personally dislike, the lamb shoulder was very good and the smoked bacon definitely helped to provide a salty dimension to this dish. The mildly shriveled looking cherry tomatoes provided a nice explosion of red.



Beef Au Gratin

I felt a nice warm feeling radiating throughout as I ate the beef au gratin. It was almost homely. Generous beef chunks coupled with mushrooms, root vegetables and potatoes, baked together with Parmesan cheese and beautifully browned in the oven. Very tasty except that I found it a tad too salty for my liking.



Leg of Lamb

This dish was a little more gamy than the lamb shoulder dish I had earlier, but still very bearable. The skin had a little crisp to it which was excellent when eaten with the drool worthy layer of fat beneath it while the meat was tender yet firm. I personally liked the accompanying potato mousse, which was very smooth and creamy without being too heavy.



Lavender Pudding

My last experience with a lavender based dessert was at Ember and that honestly didn't turn out too well so I was actually quite doubtful about this dessert. My initial skepticism gave way to surprise as the pudding (essentially bread and butter pudding) was spongy yet firm and a little sweet to boot. Soaked up in a pineapple milk foam with a scoop of coconut sorbet sitting atop, I could make out faint traces of lavender. Very nice!

To end, it was a wonderful meal and I would like to thank the MLA and Cuisine and Wine Asia for graciously extending the invitation to me.



Address: No. 7 Mohamed Sultan Road

Contact: 6333 8726

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 12noon – 2:30pm (Wednesday to Friday)

Dinner: 6:30pm – 10:30pm (Tuesday to Sunday)

Closed on Mondays & Public Holidays

Website: http://www.sagerestaurants.com.sg/

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

B Bakery



Hidden in the lively district of Arab street, which is touted as an alternative to the hip Dempsey enclave, is a small cafe that goes by the name of B Bakery. We were attracted by the somewhat cosy facade it portrayed and decided to drop in for dinner.




Interior & Menu

The air conditioned interior is smallish but rather simple and homely. For those who prefer the open spaces, there is a small al fresco sitting area just outside the cafe along the side of a road, which allows you to soak you in the vibrancy of the area. Do note that it can get quite warm though.



Rosemary Chicken

Apparently one of the highlights of B Bakery, the rosemary chicken was honestly quite decent. The meat was tender and juicy with a strong hint of rosemary, which definitely helped to accentuate the taste. The only thing that bugged me was the pool of oil the chicken was sitting in. Yes, it's olive oil but somehow there is still a nagging doubt about the health implications somewhere at the back of my head.



Penne, Prawns, Tomato Sauce Cream, Vodka

The penne was al dente with the tomato base lightly tart. I counted 9 average sized prawns which was really quite generous but on the flipside, they weren't exactly fresh.



Chocolate Fudge

Plain old chocolate fudge. Sweet but not very rich and topped with a petite, poor excuse of a macaron. Void of any characteristics worth mentioning. Palatable though.



Tiramisu

A teetotaler version of one of my favourite desserts, the tiramisu carried a rather strong coffee presence in between alternating layers of rather dry sponge and light mascarpone. Decent but not really my cup of tea.



Bill

Dinner for 2 stood at $45, which stood somewhere in the overlapping pricing zones of reasonable and expensive. Quality of food is decent but I wouldn't make the trip down just to eat here. Service was acceptable but a little spotty at times.



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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: 15 Bussorah Street

Contact: 6293 9010

Opening Hours:

Mon–Wed: 9.30am – 6pm

Thu–Sat: 9.30am – 9.30pm

(Closed on Sun & PH)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine III



We were a little weary of always having to travel to Changi Airport to eat at Imperial Treasure Cantonese so decided to give the other outlet at Great World City a shot, seeing that it was nearer to us.



Interior

Located in a corner on the 2nd floor of Great World City, it honestly didn't ooze as much finesse as its cousin in Changi in my humble opinion. And being a Sunday afternoon, it was packed so reservations are highly recommended.



Roasted Pork

What was to have been the highlight of our meal fell short of expectations with an overdose of fat meat. It was literally 50% fat, 50% meat. Sure, the skin was crisp with nary a hint of salt but did seem a little too thick for my liking. Portions were ridiculously tiny as well.



Shark Bone Soup with Fish Maw

Aside from the crunchy pieces of fish maw, I couldn't find any reason to like this soup. It was a little too coagulated which left an uncomfortable residue on the tongue and it lacked any oomph. So disappointing that I gave up after a few mouthfuls.



Deep Fried Beancurd Skin

The beancurd skin was light and crisp with a nice smooth filling of prawn paste. However, it was drenched in oil which did come across as quite a turn off honestly.



Roasted Goose

I was eagerly anticipating this dish as my previous experiences with it had been nothing short of excellent. Alas, it wasn't as good as we envisioned it to be. To be fair, the roast goose here was meaty with a thin layer of crisp skin sans the overwhelming foul taste. However, the meat was a little too dry, which marred the experience a little.



Steamed Minced Pork Dumpling

It's the first time I'm having xiao long bao at Imperial Treasure and I must say that its really quite decent. Smooth and silky skin enveloping a generous amount of stock and a pork filling that was fairly mild on the hog taste. Just watch out for the high salt content.



Deep Fried Pig's Intestines

I am a big fan of deep fried pig intestines so naturally I was delighted to see it on the menu. However delight turned to disappointment when I realised that the intestines were a little too oily and tasteless. The crisp exterior did nothing to salvage this dish.



BBQ Pork Pastry

Flaky but lacking the buttery goodness that I personally like. The char siew filling wasn't sweet or starchy though.



Bo Lo Bao

Another disappointment, the bo lo bao had a crusty top with a chewy and soft base. However, the fragrance was sorely lacking and the char siew filling was rather bland.



Claypot Goose Web

The claypot goose web was the only dish which I thought was comparable to what I had at the Changi Airport outlet previously. Done up Thai style, the vermicelli was very flavourful with a rather heavy dose of Szechuan and black pepper for good measure. Not recommended if you are allergic to too much oil and salt though.



Fried Kailan

How bad can stir fried vegetables get? Flavoured with a light touch of salt without being overcooked. Nice and simple.




Steamed Custard Bun

Soft and fluffy bun coupled with salty sweet custard egg yolk filling - very good. Pity about the lack of yolk sediment though.



Durian Pudding

Too coagulated was the first thing that hit me as I sampled a spoonful of what I had expected to be a delightful ending to our lunch. The whole pudding felt stiff and overly sweet. Thankfully the durian taste was still quite prominent. Palatable but not very nice.



Bill

A rather disappointing lunch cost us just shy of $285 for 5 pax, which was definitely not worth the money in my humble opinion. The disparity between the food quality at the Changi Airport outlet and the Great World City outlet is just too huge to ignore and I really wonder why. Nonetheless, moving forward, I'll definitely be giving Imperial Treasure Great World City a miss.



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

Overall:6.625/10

Address: #02-06 Great World City

Contact: 6732 2232

Opening Hours: Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Clifford



Clifford Pier, which used to be a landing point for immigrants and sea passengers in its heyday, has seen a huge transformation in recent times into what is now known as the Fullerton Bay Hotel. In it houses Clifford, a swanky French American restaurant that is aptly named after this iconic Singapore landmark.




Interior & Menu

The hotel is beautiful, with vast sea views through windows that seem to stretch on forever. And the restaurant itself is no exception. Designed by Andre Fu, who is apparently one of Asia's highly sought after architect, the interior boasts high columns and ceilings, tall drapery and classic wood furnishing. In two words, awe inspiring. Throw in views of the sea and you are all set for a wonderful atmosphere.





Complimentary Bread

Imagine my surprise when our complimentary bread came with a small dish of pork rillette. Though not as moist or exquisite as Aronia De Takazawa's Okinawan pork rendition, it was still much appreciated, especially with the warm, crusty and chewy baguette. Very good start.



Roasted Cod Fish, Saffron - Chorizo Risotto, Parmesan Emulsion

A couple of the folks ordered this but I didn't get to try so I'll reserve my comments. I understand it was good though.




3Hr Homemade Duck Confit

You get a choice of either truffle mashed potatoes or pommes sarladaise (potatoes sauteed in duck fat and garlic). I chose the former although it is said that the latter goes best with duck confit. No regrets though as the mashed potato was very smooth with a nice truffle taste and fragrance at the top layer. The duck confit was of the crisp variant and I must say I enjoyed it quite a fair bit. Crispy roasted skin and tender meat without the excessive salt. But as you know, duck confit is essentially duck cooked in its own fat, so watch out for the oil.



Truffle Fries

At $9 a pop (we ordered 2), this is some seriously expensive fries for its portion size (imagine a packet of small fries from MacDonalds). But hey, anything with truffle is nice (I'm biased!) and the fries went like hotcakes (proves my point). It definitely helped that the fries were fresh and not reeking of rancid oil.




Dessert Sample

There is a grand total of 5 desserts on the menu and if you are hard pressed to pick one or are dying to try everything, just go for the dessert sample, which includes a sample of everything - namely, Dark Chocolate Fondant, Passion Fruit Rum Baba, Sugar Crusted Profiteroles, Creme Brulee and Lemon Tart.
The chocolate fondant had a nice crisp shell that crumbled under pressure from a spoon, revealing a rather thin and not too viscous filling of molten chocolate. However, the chocolate was surprisingly quite rich and overall, I thought it was quite good.
This is honestly my first time eating rum baba (a small yeast cake soaked in rum) and I liked it quite a fair bit. Soft, moist and rather sourish(from the infusion of passion fruit) with a very strong rum taste. Served up with mango tartar and yogurt sorbert, with the latter being sublimely smooth and good.
I like my profiteroles drenched in molten chocolate sauce and this one met that criteria, well almost. The pastry held up well against the chocolate sauce and didn't come across as limp. Quite good.
Beautifully torched on the surface, coupled with a smooth and creamy texture, the creme brulee had nothing going against it. Well, maybe except for the less than generous use of vanilla beans.
Last but not least, the lemon tart, which was surprisingly quite good to me, given that I am not exactly a big fan of sour stuff. The tart base was nice and crumbly with a wholesome baked taste attached to it but more importantly (to me at least), the tartness of the lemon filling was pleasantly mild.



Petit Fours

A nice simple gesture to end off our meal. But how are we suppose to split 2 pieces of cookies and marshmallows between the 5 of us?



Bill

With 2 bottles of still water, the bill for the 5 of us came up to about $318, which isn't too expensive if you ask me. Especially when the food is decent and the ambience, great. Service could have been better as the wait staff did seem a little withdrawn and cold though executing their duties perfectly. I would love to be back, especially for dinner. And yes, they do serve ice water. ;)



Final Verdict:
Ambience:8.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:7.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:7.5/10

Address: The Fullerton Bay Hotel

Contact: 6597 5288

Opening Hours: Daily: 6.30am–11am, 12pm–2.30pm, 3pm–5.30pm, 6.30pm–11pm

Website: http://www.fullertonbayhotel.com/dining-en.html

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Stevo's Salads - A Pictorial

Was invited to a tasting at a small family owned Australian cafe along Thomson Road, so popped by one evening to check out the food. Honestly I thought the food was pretty average but palatable. Prices seem to be a little on the high side for the quality of food and quite frankly, I think Kenny Rogers does a better rendition of chicken at that price point. However Stevo's does offer a nice chill out area in the Upper Thomson area coupled with friendly staff so that might just be a selling point.







ps: Sorry for the rather poor photos as the alleyway where we were seated was quite dim and I try not to use my flash.



Address: 215R Upper Thomson Road

Contact: 6554 063

Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Closed on Mondays)

Website: http://www.stevos-saladsnsuch.com/