Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cassia Part II - A Pictorial














I must say standards of dim sum at Cassia have gone up since my last visit 2 years back. And I'll definitely be back to do another review on it.


Final Verdict:
Ambience:8/10
Service:7.5/10
Food:7/10
Value for money:6.5/10
Overall:7.25/10

Address: 1 The Knolls, Sentosa

Contact: 6591 5050

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 12pm - 2.30pm

Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.30pm

Website: http://www.capellasingapore.com/cassia-restaurant.php

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gattopardo

The initial plan was for Pizzeria Mozza but apparently the place is so popular that I couldn't get reservations even though I called in slightly over a week earlier. Still sticking to our initial theme of Italian food, we decided to head for Gattopardo instead, which happens to be under the Garibaldi group.




Interior & Menu

Gattopardo is located at Fort Canning Hotel, a rather swanky looking hotel that sits at the top of, where else but Fort Canning Park? Probably not the most central place to get to if you don't drive and even if you do, road signs are misleading. There are a couple of carparks around Fort Canning but please do park at the hotel's basement carpark to save on the hassle.

The restaurant itself looks rather inviting with its simplistic layout and dim lighting. There is even a seafood counter where you get to take a look at the day's seafood, all laid out on mountains of ice behind acrylic covers (sashimi anyone?), very much like a Japanese restaurant. As there were quite a number of us, we managed to snag the private room, which can comfortably seat 10.



Complimentary Bread

We had multiple servings of the bread as it was honestly quite addictive, especially the thin and long wafer like biscuit. Crackling crispy and heavily salted with a tinge of spiciness, I was guilty of eating at least 6 slices of it. We were demanding refills of the bread so often that our waiter must have felt intimidated.



Grilled Calamari

The grilled calamari was a recommendation from the chef who manned the seafood counter (who incidentally was also a friend of someone at my table that evening). I have got to give it to him. This was an excellent recommendation and everyone around the table agreed in unison that the calamari was nicely grilled with a smokey, savoury aftertaste and a nice chewy texture.



Mozzarella di Bufala e Cuore di Bue

Nice and light but nothing too outstanding in my humble opinion. And $25 did seem a little too expensive for 4 slices of quivery cheese.



Gattopardo

This was the namesake pizza of the restaurant and was essentially white garlic focaccia with smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, onion and potatoes - all in all it sounded like a smashing combination. Alas, reality is often harsh and the pizza tasted nothing more than your typical cheese prata with onions. Oh and yes, with a lingering hint of fishiness from god knows where.



Arrotolata

Divided up into small segments, the Arrotolata (Smoked mozzarella, suckling pig, porcini mushrooms, grape sauce & rucola salad) was another one of those pizzas that looked good on paper but came out as average in reality (like the Gattopardo). The crust was a little chewy and crisp with little bits of pork stuffed in between so no complaints about the crust. However taste wise, the pizza lacked the oomph and the harmonious blend of distinct flavours I was looking for. Sadly, the whole thing just tasted like bread with cheese. Also, the grape sauce wasn't evident and I had to resort to asking for a side serving of the grape jam.



Stretto

I only had a small slice of the Stretto (mozzarella, tomato sauce, spicy pork and prawns) so I shall reserve my comments save for the fact that the tomato sauce made for a nice break from the cheese based Arrotolata and Gattopardo. But still not anything near great.



Tiramisu

I was impressed by the huge portion of tiramisu which doesn't seem to be the norm at Italian restaurants nowadays. The mascarpone cheese was light but the sponge fingers did seem a little too "waterlogged". And I couldn't make out any alcohol taste. A teetotaler version or is it just my numbed tastebuds? Would have appreciated if the tiramisu was served a little more chilled as well as that would have enhanced the eating experience.



Bill

The 8 of us had a rather unsatisfying dinner to the tune of $422 (with a 10% discount). That works out to be an average of about $53 a head. Not too expensive but I don't think the quality of food corresponds to the price tag (save for the grilled calamari). Service was decent but that's hardly enough reason to make me go back.


Final Verdict:
Ambience:7.5/10
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:6/10

Overall:6.75/10

Address: Hotel Fort Canning, 11 Canning Walk

Contact: 6338 5498

Opening Hours: Daily: 12pm–3pm, 6.30pm–10.30pm

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

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Peony Jade Part III

Had dinner with a couple of friends at Peony Jade @ Clarke Quay one weekday evening to celebrate the mundaneness of working life (how ironic!).



Honey Char Siew

We started off with the honey char siew, which was definitely nothing near the best I've had but still passable with little charred bits along the edges. The meat could have been more fibrous and the sauce, a little richer though.



HK Kailan

Stir fried with garlic, this was one weird kailan. The initial taste was one of sheer bitterness but subsequent bites yielded slightly different tastes. The funny thing was, the more you eat, the more it normalises. And I wasn't the only one who thought so. Strange indeed.



Golden Mushroom Beancurd

One of my two personal favourites of the dinner, the smooth beancurd was savoury with tons of golden mushroom atop and soaked in a not too starchy gravy. Simple yet satisfying.



Smoking Duck

Apparently one of Peony Jade's signature dish and also one of the flops that evening, the smoking duck was just too dry and gamy for my liking. The smoking was also quite uneven and I could taste strong hints of tea in some parts while other parts were just gamy. I did like the semi sweet clam shaped mantous that came alongside though but I did think that they could have done with a little more moisture.



Salty Yolk Prawns

The salty yolk prawns were as good as I remembered them to be - de-shelled, fresh, crunchy and ladled with a creamy and rich sauce that carried a little curry tinge towards the end. However the gravy honestly did seem a little more watery than before. Signs of cost cutting?



Bill

With a 15% discount, dinner for the 6 of us cost about $212, which isn't very expensive but quality seemed to have dipped somewhat. I wonder if Peony Jade's other outlet @ Keppel Club is any better?



Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10 (A little noisy)
Service:7/10
Food:6.5/10 (7/10 for the beancurd & prawns)
Value for money:6.5/10

Overall:6.75/10

Address: Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road #02-02

Contact: 63380138/63380305

Opening Hours: 11am to 3.00pm (Lunch) and 6pm to 11pm (Dinner)

Website: http://www.peonyjade.com/

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Zanotti Part II



More than 2 years have passed and I have returned once again to Zanotti for it's wonderful tiramisu and not to mention cheap set lunches (by Singapore Italian restaurant standards). Believe it or not, I have yet to find a tiramisu in Singapore that can rival that of Zanotti's (personal opinion).




Exterior & Interior

Nothing much about the restaurant (both inside and outside) has changed and the place is still very strict about their smart casual dress code. This time round however, there were no "special" set menus in place and the place looked a lot brighter and cheerier due to sunlight flittering through the huge windows. And being lunch time on a weekday, there was a sizable well heeled office crowd.




Complimentary Bread Basket & Bruschetta

I don't remember much about the bread basket because I was probably more focused on the bruschetta, which came in 2 tiny portions. The tomatoes were fresh and crunchy but the base did seem a little too soggy for my liking. A great start nonetheless.





Appetiser Platter

The appetiser platter was a delightful mix of various bite sized portions, featuring the likes of foie gras, buffalo mozzarella, veal etc. The foie gras was pleasantly smooth and drizzled with a soothingly sweet raspberry compote whereas the buffalo mozzarella had a nice semi firm texture without coming across as too heady. Interestingly, the portion of octopus had a mild tomato taste, very much like canned sardines. I thought the veal with tuna sauce was great too - thinly sliced without the tuna sauce being too fishy or overwhelming.



French Onion Soup

Light but seriously lacking the killer punch I was looking for. Very decent nonetheless , with a small piece of cheese bread soaked in it.



Caesar Salad

Fresh crunchy lettuce coupled with milk croutons, Parmesan cheese and bacon bits. What's not to like? Especially if you are the sort of person who must have vegetables in every meal.



Homemade Pasta with Crustacean

For one of our mains, we went with the homemade pasta with crustacean, which wasn't really al dente and reminiscent of very fine mee pok (flat egg noodles). I liked the mild tomato based sauce as well as the fresh seafood though. All in all, a very heartwarming dish that brings back memories of home. Weird isn't it? Considering that it's an Italian restaurant.



Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

Our other main was the chicken stuffed with spinach and cheese - one of my perennial favourites. The chicken meat was tender with a layer of gooey cheese spread over a crunchy chopped spinach stuffing. Add a lightly roasted crisp skin to the equation and viola! an excellent dish is served.



Creme Caramel

The creme caramel honestly wasn't a big deal. Smooth with a mild taste of honey, it tasted like pudding. On hindsight, maybe the profiteroles would have fared better.



Tiramisu

You don't get to choose the tiramisu as part of your set lunch and ordering it ala carte will cost you more than what a 3 course set lunch would (insane don't you think?). But it's worth every single cent. Served up in 3 lumps instead of the usual cake like structure, the tiramisu had a wonderful sponge to mascarpone ratio with a richness so sublime that it didn't come across as overwhelming. And the taste just lingers on.... I would have ordered another one if not for the fact that it was nearing the end of lunch service and we were probably the only ones left in the restaurant.



Bill

Zanotti's set lunch is a steal at a mere 300 baht (≈SGD13) for 2 courses (no dessert) and 330 (≈SGD14.50) baht for 3 courses. By contrast, the tiramisu is 350 baht (≈SGD15.50), which isn't cheap even by Singapore standards. If the price of the tiramisu is anything to go by, dinner definitely won't be cheap (I spent about SGD145/pax for a Valentines Day dinner during my previous visit). Remember to make your reservations!


Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7/10
Food:7/10 (8.5/10 for the tiramisu)
Value for money:8/10 (For the set lunch)
Overall:7.25/10

Address: 21/2 1st Floor, Saladaeng Colonnade Condominium, Silom Rd., Silom Bangrak, Bangkok 10500

Contact: +66 2 636-0002

Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30 – 14:30 Dinner 18:00 – 22:30

Website: http://www.zanotti-ristorante.com/