Monday, November 25, 2013

Salt Grill & Sky Bar

Restaurant week was upon us again and we finally had the opportunity to try out Salt Grill & Sky Bar for lunch during the weekend. Having stayed at Hilton Sydney and dined at Luke Mangan's Glass Brasserie slightly over a year back, we were excited as to how his restaurant would fare in Singapore.

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The Place & Restaurant Week Menu

Perched on the 55th floor of the iconic Ion shopping mall along Orchard Road, Salt offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area through floor to ceiling windows that culminate in an arced top that allows natural sunlight to flow in, which makes the place a lot cheerier. I personally like the expanse of space that the restaurant offers, just perfect for that lazy weekend brunch.

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Complimentary Bread

The complimentary raisin bread wasn't anything to shout about but it was decent - warm and crusty with a lingering aroma.

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Truffle Fries

This was an additional side and boy oh boy, was it sinfully delicious. Hot crispy fries topped with a generous serving of grated Parmesan cheese and doused with truffle oil. What's not to like?

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Crab Omelette, Enoki Mushroom and Herb Salad, Miso Mustard Broth

The omelette was stuffed with shreds of crab meat and topped with enoki, fried shallots and parsley whilst sitting prettily in a pool of miso mustard broth. What was nice about this dish was the oriental feel from the shallots and parsley coupled with the salty tinge from the miso broth and of course the creaminess of the omelette.

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Pan Fried Gnocchi, Corn, Asparagus, Zucchini, Parmesan, Thyme, Truffle, Verjuice Dressing

This is honestly the first time I'm trying out a seemingly vegetarian gnocchi dish and it was surprisingly tasty. The corn provided a natural sweetness whilst the shaved Parmesan topped it off with a nice cheesy aftertaste and fragrance. Overall a rather light dish and only gripe I had was that the gnocchi did come across as a tad too soft for my liking.
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Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin, Mash, Pumpkin, Grains and Seeds, Red Wine Jus

Contrary to what I had requested for, the beef came almost well done instead of medium well. However the meat was still relatively juicy and tender but lacked the beefy goodness that I personally like. Grains and seeds added a nice crunchy texture to the dish with the pumpkin puree providing a touch of sweetness.

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Warm Hazelnut Cake, Hazelnut Biscotti, Praline Ice Cream

And finally, the finale - an excellent warm hazelnut cake that looked uncannily like Bengawan Solo's banana cake, just alot crustier and drier with hints of hazelnut. When paired with the toffee sauce, biscuit crumbs and of course a scoop of ice cream, it was comfortingly good and ended the meal on a relatively positive note. 

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It being Restaurant Week, prices are $40++/pax for lunch with the truffle fries contributing $13++ to the bill for a total of almost $110 for 2 pax. Pretty reasonable in my humble opinion but at this price point, I still prefer Ember's food. However Salt has the distinct advantage of ambience and a great view to boot. I will probably return for lunch in the not so near future.

Final Verdict:

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

Overall: 7.5/10

Address: #55-01 & #56-01, ION Orchard

Contact: 6592 5118

Opening Hours:

Lunch: 11.00 – 14.00 (Last Order)
Dinner: 18.00 – 22.00 (Last Order)

Brunch (Weekend)
11:30-14:00 (Last order)

All day menu: 14:00-18:00


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Imperial Treasure Windows Of Hong Kong

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It is with much trepidation that I have decided to blog about my favourite eatery in town - Imperial Treasure Windows of Hong Kong or ITWHK for short. But it's probably already an open secret, judging by the ever increasing crowd size everytime I drop by for dinner. I'm still delusional though and am crossing my fingers that the crowds don't continue growing.

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The Place

Nestled on the ground floor of TripleOneSomerset (former PUB building) in between the Imperail Treasure Bakery and the Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant (which isn't that great in my humble opinion), ITWHK offers an open, rather expansive seating area that doesn't feel cluttered or claustrophobic. Think al fresco dining with air conditioning. Really great for a nice quiet dinner on a weekday night (parking is expensive though so watch it). How the place works is this. You order at the counter, take a number tag to your choice of seat and your food will be delivered to you shortly.

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We started off with the 奶油猪仔包, loosely translated as "cream piglet bun" and a perennial favourite of mine whenever I visit Tsui Wah in Hong Kong or Shanghai. This is essentially a toasted bun lathered with butter and condensed milk - sinfully crisp and delicious. Though ITWHK's rendition pales a little in comparison to that of Tsui Wah's, it is definitely worth a try, especially when consumed whilst hot!

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Meat Platter

Our meat platter consisted of roast duck, roast pork and BBQ pork. To be honest, they were all very decent. In particular, the BBQ pork stood out - tender meat with bits of chewy fat and a nice, mildly sweet glace. The roast duck had a crisp skin and didn't come across as too gamy whilst the roast pork spotted mildly crackling skin with a good proportion of fats. Only gripe I had was that the duck was a little dry while the roast pork lacked adequate salt and the oomph factor.

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I can be quite a sucker for 河粉 so I'm probably biased on this. Rice noodles with a tinge of wok hei drowned in a smooth, not too starchy egg gravy and topped with a generous amount of bean sprouts and reasonably sized, crunchy prawns. Good! There is a slight issue of consistency though as on a subsequent visit, the gravy was a wee bit too starchy for my liking.

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Above average food, great environment (to have a peaceful dinner) at wallet friendly prices. What's not to like? Well, maybe the sad reality that the place is going to be more crowded in the near future.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 7/10

Address: TripleOne Somerset #01-K1/24/25 & Asia Square Tower 1, #02-03/04/05

Contact: 6732 8798 & 6636 1811

Opening Hours: 8.00am to 8.30pm daily


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Hide Yamamoto

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We were craving for Japanese food after an afternoon musical at the Mastercard Theatres @ Marina Bay Sands so popped by Hide Yamamoto for an early dinner on a Saturday evening.

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The Place

There are a total of 4 seating areas within Hide Yamamoto - Sushi bar, Teppanyaki counter, Robata counter and the Ramen & Dining area. We opted for the Ramen & Dining area as it would allow us  to order from all the counters. Not too sure if you are entitled to the same flexibility if you sit at one of the specialised areas. Do note that tables are spaced quite close to each other (unless you manage to snag the red velvet booth seat) so private conversations can pose quite a challenge.

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Grilled Hokkaido Scallop

At $35++ a pop, I was desperately hoping for more than the solitary scallop to start us off. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. However the lone scallop that made it to our table was huge, boasting a natural sweetness that was complemented by the mild saltiness from the roe that came alongside. The accompanying side salad had seaweed strips in it and came across as zesty.

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Tuna Sushi Combination

The tuna combination consisted of 3 slices of tuna (Fatty, medium and normal) apparently flown in straight from Tsukiji in Tokyo and served atop blocks of sushi rice. Goes without saying that the tuna was fresh and the rice lightly tart without coming across as too loose or sticky. Only thing that I didn't like was the heavy handedness of the wasabi layer wedged between the tuna and the rice. And of course the price tag ($50++).

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Kurobuta Collar

Weighing in at 150g, the kurobuta collar was from the Teppanyaki counter and came across as sufficiently tender without the overwhelming pork taste. A sesame based dipping sauce completed the picture.

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Soy Seafood Ramen

If I may, the soy based seafood ramen was very good with the broth light yet refreshingly tasty probably due in part to the addition of sweet corn. The ramen itself was springy (apparently the ramen is made in house from a 110 year old recipe) and full of bite whilst the seafood was fresh. 
Portions are slightly smaller than your average ramen bowl though.

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Soy Cha Shu Ramen

 The cha shu ramen's broth was comparatively heavier than that of the seafood ramen but the noodles were excellent as well. Cha shu pieces were tender and overall portion size was just right to keep nausea at bay. I am definitely sticking to the seafood ramen the next time round.

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A pretty satisfying dinner for 2 cost us in excess of $200, which is honestly a little on the high side. Service was good and food quality was definitely above average but I wouldn't rate it as excellent overall. I'll probably be back again, if only for the ramen.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Value for money: 6.5/10

Overall: 7/10

Address: #02-05 Marina Bay Sands

Contact: 6688 7098

Opening Hours

12pm – 3pm | 6pm - 11pm