Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waterfall Cafe

Had an invitation from the good folks at Shangri-La to try out their revamped dining outlet, Waterfall Cafe, on a weekday evening. Helmed by Chef Stephane Cocu, who has had stints with several Michelin star restaurants in France and the United States, the eatery promises healthy yet creative dishes inspired by Mediterranean flavours.


Interior

Located at the recently renovated garden wing of the hotel, Waterfall Cafe boasts lush greenery and a koi pond at it's entrance, opening up into a rather homely interior with an open concept dessert counter and comfortable sofa like seats. The place honestly looks more like an upclass coffee house than a restaurant.


Complimentary Bread & Cheese Puffs/Cheese Sticks

The complimentary bread was nothing to shout about but the cheese puffs and sticks (more like slices really) deviated from the norm of just serving bread and thus deserves a mention. The puffs were slightly hardened with a nice lingering taste of cheese whilst the sticks were reminiscent of curry puff sans the spiciness. Pretty good stuff I must say. 


Seabass Carpaccio

The seabass was firm but any taste of the fish was overwhelmed by the sprinkled ground pepper and the tartness of the orange slices. A little underwhelming honestly.


Watermelon Salad

I am a fan of watermelon so what's not to like about fresh, crunchy prawns (with a tinge of balsamic vinegar sprinkled over the greens) coupled with sweet and juicy watermelon? But honestly, this is a really simple dish that can be whipped up at home.


Seared Sea Scallops in Hazelnut Crust

Scallops coated with grounded hazelnut. An interesting combination if I may say. I personally liked how the whole thing worked out with the nutty flavours and crunch complementing the sweetness of the scallop. What I didn't appreciate was that the scallops were a little too soft in the middle and should have been sliced a tad thinner.


The Socca

Apparently one of Waterfall Cafe's signature dish, the Socca is essentially a flat pancake made from chickpea flour. Other than the hint of spices, I couldn't quite make out the fuss behind this dish. Maybe its just me.


Iberico Pork Chop

The famed Iberico pork was fragrant but a little too overcooked for my liking. Read. Tough. I liked the savoury flavour attached to it but the concentration of salt did seem to shoot up along the bones. Thankfully there was the bed of sweet corn, which helped to keep the balance in check.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Strawberry Confit

This dessert was very smooth, almost like thickened cream and bounded by strawberry confit. So much so that I couldn't taste the coconut. Definitely not my cup of tea.

Lemon Curd Tart

I found the lemon tart a little too sticky for my liking but appreciated the tartness of it in alleviating the nausea from sweet desserts overload. 

Lychee Soup

Although this was probably the healthiest of all the desserts, with all the fruits, the "soup" struck me as a tad too artificially candied for my liking. I gave up after the second mouthful.

Trio of Chocolate Mousse

Now this dessert was right up my alley. Smooth mousse coupled with bits of crumble and lightly bitter sans the overwhelming sweetness that usually plagues chocolate desserts.

Fig Tart with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream

The fig tart, thought crusty, lacked the oven baked taste that I personally prefer. And it didn't help matters that I have a mild dislike for fig and that the vanilla ice cream was..... normal.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
This looked almost like the ubiquitous chocolate fondant but it wasn't. It was a very rich, flourless chocolate cake with a very soft texture and no molten center. Nice but can't say I prefer this over a chocolate fondant though. 

All in all the meal had a few highlights but food quality generally waded in the average to slightly above average zone in my humble opinion. I did like the ambience though and that, together with a couple of the dishes, might just entice me back for a revisit. 

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Shangri-La for their invite.


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

Overall: 7/10

Address: Level One, Garden Wing, Shangri-La Hotel

Contact: 6213 4138

Opening Hours:

Breakfast
6.30am - 11am

Light Snacks
11am - 12noon
3pm - 6pm

Brunch
12noon - 4pm (Sunday)

Lunch
12noon - 3pm

Dinner
6pm - 10.30pm (Monday to Saturday)

Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila/dining/restaurants/waterfall-cafe/

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Other Eats, Perth

Kailis Fish Market



Chocolateria San Churro



Barchetta



Sayers Food



Viet Hoa



Settlers Tavern


Sunday, October 07, 2012

Ciao Italia, Perth

Braved the drizzle and the crowds to have dinner at Ciao Italia, a tiny Italian restaurant located within South Perth.



The Menu & Place

The wait for our table was approximately 75 minutes and it was a relief to finally be in the restaurant as opposed to standing outside in the cold. Or not. The place was packed to the brim and tables were almost ridiculously close to each other. Think Hong Kong. One rather (un)interesting observation I made was that the bulk of the customers during my visit were from Singapore or Malaysia. And I wonder why.


Fettuccine Carbonara

We started off with a rather rich and creamy version of the classic carbonara which didn't threaten to overwhelm. Bacon slices were plentiful but the fettuccine could have been a little more al dente. I've definitely had better, but this was very decent.

Calzone

The calzone was honestly quite good - relatively thin crust coupled with generous ingredients and oozy cheese. My absolute favourite of the evening. Portions are huge so please share.


Spaghetti Marinara

And finally, a tomato based pasta to round up our mains. Easy on the tastebuds, the marinara was nice without being overly tart or watery. It helped that the seafood was fresh and the spaghetti, al dente. I personally would have preferred a more robust sauce though.

Tiramisu

Although this was touted as a must try dessert, I wasn't too taken by it as the mascarpone was a little too watery for my liking. And the alcohol taste was almost non existent. Average at best in my humble opinion.


Chocolate Profiteroles

I was used to liquid chocolate drenching the profiteroles but this was the hardened/chilled chocolate version. It was decent but the profiteroles tasted really limp and obviously the focus was more on the chocolate than anything else. If I wanted chocolate for dessert, I would probably go for this. But if I wanted profiteroles, this would be off by a mile.


Bill

Dinner for the 4 of us amounted to AUD 109.50 or about SGD 142. Not too pricey by Aussie standards but food quality hovered around the slightly above average mark. Service was good but the place was really too packed for my liking and the wait was horrendous (no reservations). I am still unable to fathom the crowds unless this is the best Italian place that Perth has to offer?


Final Verdict:
Ambience:5/10 (horribly cramp)
Service:7.5/10
Food:6.5/10
Value for money:7/10

Overall:6.5/10

Address: 273 Mill Point Road, South Perth, Cnr Douglas Ave.

Contact: 9368 5500

Opening Hours: 5pm - 10pm (Tuesday to Saturday)

Website: http://www.ciaoitalia.com.au/