Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ristorante Bologna







Ambience

Bologna has a very generic restaurant layout with standard fittings and honestly doesn't come across as an Italian restaurant in my humble opinion. The sole redeeming factor is that one side of it faces the pool, which offers a temporary respite from the usual hustle and bustle. That's provided you manage to snag a table by the window.

Variety

I kid you not. The buffet variety during lunch was limited with about 6-8 cooked dishes, 2 varieties of pizza, a couple of cold appetisers/salads and another 5-6 types of dessert (mainly pastries).

Quality

For the most part, food quality was average at best. The chicken came across as dry and so did the seared tuna. Pizzas fared slightly better with a thin base topped with boring ingredients (ie. vegetarian pizza). Desserts were mundane and I gave up after a few nibbles.

Service

Generally attentive and professional but can be a little too attentive at times. Think someone standing beside your table and observing your every move. Uncomfortable.



Value for money

With a 50% discount, the lunch buffet for 2 cost to the tune of $54, which is cheap by hotel standards. But factor in quality and variety of food and it does come across as relatively expensive. I can't speak for the ala carte menu but the lunch buffet in my humble opinion, is a wash out. Definitely not a place I would patronise again, even @ 50% off.


Final Verdict:
Ambience:7/10
Service:7/10
Food:6/10
Value for money:4/10 (without the 50% discount)
Overall:6/10

Address: 4F Marina Mandarin

Contact: 6845 1111

Opening Hours:

Lunch - Noon to 2.30pm (Mon – Fri)

Dinner - 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Mon - Sat)

Closed on Sunday

Website: http://www.meritushotels.com/en/hotelinformation/marina-mandarin-singapore/dining-entertainment/ristorante-bologna

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Restaurant Ember IV

Fresh from a wonderful lunch memory just a couple of weeks back, we descended upon Ember once again in an attempt to re-live that experience.



Complimentary Bread

Still as aromatic and delish as ever, the complimentary bread came piping hot with a cheesy nuance. Perfect when eaten alone or with butter! It was so good that we had 3 servings this time round. Thank god for being the first customers in the restaurant!



Field Mushroom Soup with Poached Egg and Foie Gras

The soup had a heady fragrance (from the truffle oil) and rich with strong mushroom overtones while the foie gras pieces came across as quivery and mildly sweet sans the gaminess. Nice! But where's the egg?



Pan Roasted Scallop with Parma Ham, Citrus and Tarragon Vinaigrette

The scallops were still a little soft in the center but nicely roasted till a little crisp on the outside. Wrapped around was a thin slice of bacon that provided a nice salty dimension. Pop one whole scallop into your mouth and be rewarded with a myriad of flavours - salty, peppery and topped with a nice roasted taste.



Crispy Duck Leg Confit with New Potatoes, Caramalised Onion - Thyme Jus

Crisp skin coupled with pinkish, melt in the mouth meat that sat on a bed of mushrooms and potatoes - a well executed dish of duck confit. Plus point was that it didn't come across as too greasy, which was psychologically good.



12 Hour Cooked Pork Belly with Savoy Cabbage, Apple Puree and Spiced Calvados Sauce

Sitting on a garden of cabbage and bacon bits, I loved how insanely crispy the pork belly skin was and how tender the meat turned out to be. Served alongside was a caramelized apple ring with green apple puree which acted as a balance to the pork belly's saltiness. Delicious!



Crispy Caramelized Pear Tart with Homemade Baileys Ice Cream

Flaky, buttery pastry crammed with sweet slices of pear, topped with crumble and served with a scoop of mild Baileys ice cream. Absolutely delicious! I reckon I could have seconds if they actually offered it ala carte during lunch.




Warm Valrhona Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

First time I'm trying out Ember's chocolate fondant and I must say that its honestly quite respectable. Nice viscous center oozing out not too sweet molten chocolate that carried a tinge of bitterness in it. Came with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.



Bill

Lunch was great and $50/head isn't too expensive to pay for such a wonderful meal in my humble opinion. Service was great as well. I do wish the restaurant would move to bigger premises though. The current table layout is really quite cramp. But I digress.


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

Address: Hotel 1929, 50 Keong Saik Road

Contact: 63471928

Opening Hours:

Mon-Fri:

Lunch: 11.30am - 2.00pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.00pm

Sat:

Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.00pm(Closed on Sundays)

Website: http://www.hotel1929.com/

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sauce Bar



This is a long overdue post dating back to mid Dec 2011. Tried out a "new" dining concept at the invitation of Sauce Bar (under the Butter Factory group) one Saturday evening. The idea is pretty simple. Have a BBQ sans the mess and the smell. What Sauce will do is provide you a platter of cooked food (ie. chicken, sausages, fish and sides of fries, whipped potato), served on a small BBQ pit with a small flame beneath to keep your food warm. So you get BBQ food and "environment" so to speak, without all the trouble.




The Place

Sitting on a bed of astro turf with a view of the fullerton bay area can be quite a nice experience provided the weather is forgiving. For those who are worried about the tropical heat, there are powerful fans in place to minimize any discomfort. But honestly it still felt a little warm after a while.







The Food

To be honest, I don't think the food tasted like it had been BBQed the traditional charcoal way as the smokiness seemed to be lacking. Quality wise, I would say it hovered around the average mark with none of the food really standing out. I like the concept but it would probably take better food for the concept to fly in my humble opinion. Thanks for the invite!


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

Overall:6.5/10

Address: #01-10/12 Esplanade Mall

Contact: 6837 2959

Opening Hours:

Sun–Thu: 5pm – 1am

Fri–Sat & PH Eve: 5pm – 2am

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

Monday, March 05, 2012

Canton I Part II

It was the wonderful BBQ pork I had on my last visit that tipped the decision to revisit Canton i in favour of another nearby Chinese restaurant.



Interior

I still like Canton i's "modernised" take on traditional dining decor. Just that tables did seem a little too small this time round - signs that I've been growing horizontally?



BBQ Pork

The vote changer. The ever delicious BBQ pork - 50% fat, 50% meat, making for a melt in your mouth treat. Drizzled in nice, not cloyingly sweet yet mildly savoury sauce, it was the pièce de résistance of the evening. And to prove our point, we had another serving of it.



Lychee Wood Smoked Duck

One of Canton i's signature dishes, the smoked duck had a nice crisp to its skin whilst retaining the moisture in its meat. Honestly I don't know the significance of smoking it with lychee wood but overall the duck was good.



Beancurd with Luffa (Loofah) in Abalone Sauce

Loofah or 胜瓜 are vines and what is served is usually the fruit, which is eaten as a vegetable and popular in parts of Asia and Africa. This being the 2nd time I'm eating it, I still can't quite come to terms with the rawness of it but I'm still open to having another go. The beancurd was smooth and silky with a nice savoury taste to it, much better than my previous visit.



Egg White with Scallops & Fish

This dish was quite a disappointment. There was a lingering fishiness to it and definitely nausea inducing. Not my cup of tea.



Long Beans Fried with Minced Pork

Aside from being a little too oily, I loved this dish. The beans were cooked just right - crunchy with a nice burst of moisture and pairing well with the minced meat. There just wasn't enough to go around.



Bill

The total bill for 5 pax (inclusive of 2 bowls of noodles that didn't make it to this writeup and drinks) was almost $230. Rather expensive if you ask me because of the smallish portions but food quality was definitely above average. I will definitely return, if I am in the mood for decadent char siew of course.


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

Overall:7/10

Address: #03-14 ION Orchard

Contact: 65098368

Opening Hours: Daily: 11am – 10pm

Website: http://www.canton-i.com/