Sunday, April 24, 2011

Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine



Arranged to meet up with a friend over dinner at Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine (or ITFCC for short), purportedly the crème de la crème of the Imperial Treasure group of restaurants, which of course explains the choice of location - Marina Bay Sands.




Interior & Menu

Situated alongside the celebrity restaurants on the second floor of the Marina Bay Sands shopping arcade, ITFCC's decor is reminiscent of its sister restaurant, Imperial Treasure Cantonese - modern classical with lots of glass and sombre colours.



Roasted Pork

We started off with a well known dish from the Imperial Treasure group - roasted pork, which had a good fat to meat ratio with a crisp top. Unfortunately, it wasn't served warm and that marred the experience quite a bit.



Roasted Duck

Roast goose wasn't in the menu so we had to make do with duck instead. Lean crisp skin coupled with succulent and not too gamy flesh made for a good eat. I still prefer goose though.



Sauteed Prawns with Italian White Truffle Oil

My usual order of scallops was out so the wait staff recommended substituting with prawn balls, which on paper, sounded equally enticing. But in reality, the truffle oil just didn't gel that well with the prawns however huge and crunchy they were.



Four Types of Vegetables with Oyster Sauce

Basically the kitchen chooses what four varieties of vegetables you will be getting based on what's available on that particular day. Served up with slightly starchy oyster sauce. Decent.



Yong Chow Fried Rice

Apart from the plentiful prawns and char siew (BBQ pork), I couldn't find any other reasons to like this dish. Lacking in wok hei and tasting flat throughout, the fried rice looked the part but failed to deliver.



Durian Pudding

A sweet and smooth ending to the meal and probably the highlight of the dinner. At least the quality was consistent with what I had at Imperial Treasure Cantonese.



Bill

We could barely walk after the meal. Heck, we could barely even finish the meal, all at a cost of about $130 for 2. Going by what we ordered, that's not exactly cheap and I certainly wouldn't consider it value for money for the quality of food. Don't get me wrong, the meal wasn't bad. In fact it was above average but personally I just felt it didn't warrant such a price tag. Especially since Imperial Treasure Cantonese @ Crowne Plaza can produce better food at that price point.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:7/10

Address: L2-04 Marina Bay Sands Casino. Access via Bay Level (L1) lifts at UOB and Grand Colonnade North, as well as from Casino.

Contact: 6688 7788

Opening Hours:

Monday to Saturday 11.30am to 10.30pm
Dim Sum Available from 11.30am to 4.00pm

Sunday 11.00am to 11.30pm
Dim Sum Available from 11.00am to 4.00pm

Website: http://www.marinabaysands.com/Shoppin/Shop/Imperial_Treasure_Fine_Chinese_Cuisine.aspx

Friday, April 15, 2011

TGIFridays



Eons ago when I was still in primary school, I remember the existence of TGIFridays and TGIF in Singapore. Both were American styled diners that offered a break from the mundane likes of Swensens. Both eateries eventually folded but fast forward to 2010 and TGIFridays is back in Singapore, apparently under a new management and with its one and only store at The Heeren.





The Place & Menu

Interestingly enough, TGIFridays occupies 2 sections within the Heeren compound - one al fresco dining/pub area on the first floor, just outside the mall and one air conditioned sitting area on the 2nd floor inside the mall. Both spaces are apparently linked by a staircase that features prominently at the entrance of the al fresco area on the ground floor. The decor is typical of any western diner with it's booth seats, wooden chairs and bottles of ketchup/chilli on the tables. Think Swensens or Pizza Hut.



Mushroom Soup

This was one seriously thick mushroom soup, probably due to the addition of potato. Tasty with a hint of peppery aftertaste but I wouldn't really call it mushroom soup due to the lack of a significant mushroom taste. Good for hungry people as it fills you up real fast.




Fried Mac & Cheese

I ordered this with much excitement as I'm just a sucker for anything with macaroni and cheese in the same line. I was secretly hoping that it would turn out like the mind blowing mac and cheese from The White Rabbit, even though that wasn't fried. Alas, it wasn't (duh!). But I still loved it anyways. Very cheesy with a crisp, deep fried flour shell encapsulating a gooey center of mac and cheese. Absolutely lip smacking! Definitely not for the health conscious or the anti junk food crusaders (now you know why I've been growing horizontally).



French Onion Soup

Alright this was another extremely cheesy dish. The layer of cheese atop the soup was simply wonderful - chewy and strong. A pity the same couldn't be said of the soup, which was muted at best.


Jack Daniel's 6oz Striploin

I'm honestly not a big fan of Jack Daniels whiskey but since it's TGIFriday's signature line of food items, we decided to give it a shot by starting off with a medium well striploin. I must say that although the meat did come across as a little too chewy, it had succulent written all over it with a nice crisp along the fatty trimmings. I guess the highlight here was the sauce, which was lightly sweet with a tinge of spice. Something new yet so familiar.



Jack Daniels Chicken

Following the steak, we had the chicken, which was tender and juicy. A pity the sauce didn't quite shine here as somehow the taste of chicken didn't gel quite well with it. But that's just my personal opinion.



Peanut Butter Pie

I loved this dessert. Okay I admit I'm biased towards anything with peanut butter (ie. Reese peanut butter cups). Creamy, smooth with a hint of peanuts on a soft base of peanut crumble - The ultimate peanut butter fan's dream! If you love Reese peanut butter cups, you will love this not so sweet and much larger version.



Bill

The bill stood at $73.70 for a belly bursting lunch for 2 (we had the lunch set. Imagine if it was dinner), which was honestly quite expensive considering the quality of ingredients that went into the meal. I personally thought the food was decent but I'm not so sure that alone justifies the price tag. Service was decent but spotty and at times it was difficult to catch the attention of anyone even though the place was almost empty.



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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #01-K5, 260 Orchard Road, The Heeren

Contact: 67374223

Opening Hours:

Sunday - Thursday : 11am to 12mn

Friday - Saturday : 11am - 2am

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

Sunday, April 10, 2011

DB Bistro Moderne



Michelin starred Daniel Boulud recently opened a branch of his award winning DB Bistro Moderne (originally from New York), at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. This top rated French- American bistro, in the words of Daniel Boulud, aims to provide Singaporeans with a "convivial, delicious and affordable" experience.







The Place & Menu

The place is reminiscent of a typical Parisian bistro with its "sidewalk" seating and striking red booth seats at the corner. Coupled with dark tones and cream backed chairs, the whole setting presented itself as soothing with a tinge of formalness. And tables are spaced far apart enough to ensure privacy during conversation, but get the booth seats if you can or the "sidewalk" seats if you are somewhat of a voyeur or enjoy being gawked at.








Croque Monsieur, Barramundi Grenobloise, Poached Eggs Benedict, Pot De Creme & Crepes

I didn't try any of the above stuff so no comments.




The Original DB Burger

Is it just me or is the size of the patty a little on the large side? Alright, large is a ridiculous understatement. The entire burger looked absolutely lopsided in favour of the beef (no complaints though!) and the buns, nothing more than puny pieces of window dressing. I asked for my patty to be done medium and it honestly looked rare but I attribute that to the sirloin short ribs being braised in red wine. Taste wise, the patty had the makings of a good burger - inherent beefy taste, juicy with bits of fat and a nice mildly uneven texture. It's only pitfall(s)? The absence of any foie gras taste (I see it, but I don't taste it) and the copious amount of salt that went into it. I like salt but trust me, this was salty. Not salty enough to keep me and my continuously refilled glass of iced water from polishing up every last morsel of it though. Ironically, the fries could have done with some salt but I guess the serving of mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup sufficed.



Profiteroles au Cafe

I am quite a fan of this classic French dessert and when I learnt that it was going to be drenched in chocolate syrup, I was sold instantly! And boy oh boy, was it drenched in chocolate. The profiteroles were stuffed with coffee rocky road ice cream, marshmallows, nuts and covered with a thin layer of chocolate. Hot chocolate sauce was then poured slowly over to melt the chocolate and coat the profiteroles were a thick layer of decadent, happiness inducing chocolate syrup. The richness of chocolate coupled with a smooth strong coffee taste - very good. Just don't consume too much as it might prove overwhelming hence the magic number of 3 per serving (I ate 4 and it really got to me).



Bill

On my part, I paid about $62 for a belly bursting brunch in a nice environment, great company and great service. My burger was decent, just too salty but the profiteroles were sinfully good. I'm not sure the burger warrants the hefty price tag of $38++ though, seeing that I can probably get similar quality at Mortons and Spruce at a lower price or a significantly higher value ratio at Smokinn Frogz. However, if you are of the opinion that $38++ is small change, you are more than welcome to indulge in it and for something more luxurious, there is the black truffle variant, which costs a cool $88++ and is available only during dinner.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7/10 (I would have given 7.5 if the burger wasn't that salty)
Value for money:6/10

Overall:7/10

Address: #B1-48 Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Contact: 6688 8525

Opening Hours:

Monday - Friday
Lunch: 12pm - 2.30pm
Dinner : 5:30pm - 10.30pm

Saturday and Sunday
Brunch : 11am - 3pm
Dinner : 5:30pm - 10.30pm

Website: http://danielnyc.com/dbbistroSingapore.html

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Amici



Amici, which means friends in Italian, has been around for quite a while but we've never really gotten down to trying it even though there have been quite a number of favourable reviews circulating around on the internet. That changed when we popped by the Holland Village area to buy some baking supplies and decided to give Amici a shot.



Interior

Finding the place takes some navigation skills as the place around it seems to be under construction which makes it hard to see the place until you actually walk near it. There is a small al fresco area but I wouldn't recommend that especially if you go in the afternoon and with all the construction going on. The seemingly narrow air conditioned interior lets loose a cosy vibe but watch out for the too close for comfort table spacing and the unforgiving air circulation system which will have you smelling of food within minutes.



Complimentary Bread

We got off to a nice start with the warm and crusty complimentary bread that had pockets of what seemed like cranberries. Mildly sweet and comforting.



Carbonara

The carbonara wasn't al dente but on the upside, it didn't come across as too rich which toned down the nausea inducing factor. The plentiful bacon pieces were a plus as well.



Squid Ink Pasta

Apparently a specialty at Amici, the squid ink pasta was the drenched in squid ink variant, not the made from squid ink kind, of which the latter I personally prefer. I could make out a noticeable tartness in the pasta ( I assume they probably tossed the pasta in tomato sauce first before dunking it in squid ink) which did make it more appetising. What caught my attention was the delectable pieces of cod fish that were crisp on the outside and exuded a natural sweetness from within. There was also a generous serving of squid rings which served to up the chewy factor.



Tiramisu

The desserts were certainly the stars of the evening and it started with tiramisu, which had a great sponge to mascarpone ratio. The sponge wasn't overly soaked in coffee but where's the alcohol?! Still very good though and if there's any reason I'll return to Amici, this would be it!



Cappuccino Cake

I'm no big fan of coffee but this dessert surprised me. 5 layers of sponge compacted with a thin layer of wafer in between - firm in texture with a sweet hint of coffee. The ice cream that came alongside didn't gel with me though, seeing that it was literally milk solidified and came across as overpowering.



Bill

Through the use of a voucher, we had the cheaper main course free, which brought our bill to a more manageable $56 for a 2 pax lunch. Reasonable I may say, but I'll probably only be back for the desserts. Service was decent but then again, the place wasn't packed so it's probably not a good gauge.



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10 (Doesn't take into account the poor ventilation system)
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10 (7.5/10 for both cakes)
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:6.75/10

Address: 275 Holland Avenue

Contact: 6469 9989

Opening Hours:

Mon–Thu: 11.30am – 3pm,6pm – 11pm

Fri–Sat: 11.30am – 11.30pm

Sun: 11.30am – 11pm

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