Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sky on 57 II - Adieu To Our Favourite Chicken Rice

Sky 57 has closed for good (since June 2017) so I thought I would remember the place by doing a writeup on our not too recent weekend lunch experience. 

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The Place

We got a semi private table in one of the partially enclosed corners so it was nice and quiet with a great view of the surroundings.

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Complimentary Bread

We were offered 2 rolls this time round; a baguette and a bun topped with furikake. The latter was interesting but both were merely stop gap measures in staving off our hunger.

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Tomyum Infused Pumpkin Velouté

Relatively spicy (for me at least) but creamy with a touch of sweetness from the pumpkin. Shreds of blue swimmer crab provided an alternative texture. Pretty good.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté

This was as good as I remembered it to be. Mildly sweet yet savoury without coming across as too nauseating. Coupled with a generous serving of crunchy artichoke cubes and crisp, very buttery croutons. One word. Delicious.

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Organic Egg

A wobbly egg with an oozing center served with iberico pork belly, mushrooms, chives, potato espuma, truffle butter and rice krispies; an explosion of texture from creamy to chewy to crispy. Flavours were very good too; mildly savoury, salty and earthy with the smooth finish from the egg yolk. Only small gripe I had was that the rice krispies seemed a wee bit stale.

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JQ’s Signature

JQ's signature foie gras xiao long bao didn't quite live up to it's name in this instance. Although I thought the flavours were good (though a touch muted), unlike our previous visit, the skin was overly dry and juices were a little lacking. A case of inconsistency?

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Singapore "Sakura" Chicken Rice

The chicken rice wasn't in the lunch set and they had to make an exception (thankfully at no extra charge). The breast meat (as per our request) was very tender and moist with minimal fat under the skin whilst the rice came across as fragrant but not too oily. Very good!

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Bill

We didn't quite take to their desserts during our last visit so we skipped it this time round. Service was good and we're really going to miss the chicken rice.


Final Verdict: (CLOSED)

Ambience: 8.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10 (8/10 for the chicken rice)
Value for money: 6/10

Overall: 7.25/10

Address: Sands SkyPark, Tower 1, Level 57

Contact: 6688 8857

Opening Hours:

Breakfast:
Monday - Friday 7:00am - 10:30am
Saturday & Sunday 7:00am - 11:00am

Lunch:
Monday - Friday 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Saturday & Sunday 12:15pm - 2:30pm

High Tea:
Monday - Friday 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Dinner:
Daily 6:00pm - 10:30pm
(Dinner is served exclusively indoors.)

Flight Bar & Lounge
Sunday - Thursday 6:00pm - 2:00am
Friday - Saturday 6:00pm - 3:00am
Last order for bar bites at 1:00am

Website: http://www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/celebrity-chefs/sky-on-57.html (CLOSED)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gunther's Restaurant Part Deux - Excellent Food Generally But Watch Out For The Prices

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A revisit 8 years in the making. And here we were, finally. Somehow we had never really made it to Chef's Gunther Hubreschen's eponymous restaurant because of all the new and "exciting" restaurants that had been popping up ceaselessly in the last decade or so.

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Interior

The restaurant is divided into 2 dining areas and we were seated in the one with windows. Tables are spaced comfortably apart but due to the enclosed nature of the room, private conversations can be challenging unless one speaks in hushed tones (that's assuming the adjourning tables extend the same courtesy as well).

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Daily Specials

On a tray and alive (at least the lobster was). I like how the wait staff goes to every table with this platter and introduces the daily specials (Morton's used to do this until they got acquired by Landry's - shame really). 

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Complimentary Bread & Amuse Bouche

Things got off to a decent start with the complimentary bread; warm and crusty baguette served with a side of salty butter. Would personally prefer a fatter baguette though as that would highlight the contrast between the soft interior and crusty outside. 

Amouse bouche was a singular prawn tempura with a dollop of mayonnaise. The batter came across as light but a little excessive so no great shakes.

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Cold Angel Hair Pasta, Oscietra Caviar

One of Gunther's signature dishes and rightfully so, the decadent Cold Angel Hair Pasta with Oscietra Caviar. Served chilled, the pasta, doused with truffle oil and finely diced porcini mushrooms, came across as aromatic and al dente with a smorgasbord of flavours; savoury with a hint of saltiness and fishiness from the prized caviar. A most excellent dish.

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Daily Special #1

White asparagus was in season so we had it with morel mushrooms. Moist and tender with a rich nutty and earthy flavour from the morel mushrooms; simple yet delicious.

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Daily Special #2

Hokkaido scallops, shaved truffle and angel hair pasta; it sounded absolutely "droolicious". Well it sure would have made for a magical combination if the scallops (huge by the way) had a more robust sweetness to them. The angel hair pasta came across as warm and firm (though a little less al dente than the previous dish of chilled pasta with caviar) while the light butter sauce provided a nice creaminess with a fleeting hint of the earth from the truffle shavings.

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Roasted Rack Of Black Pig, Gratin Potato, Forestiere

Another of Gunther's signature dish, the Roasted Rack of Black Pig was very well done with a good fat to meat ratio; juicily tender and flavourful with just a dash of salt and pepper. Served with a token of mushrooms and tempura long bean on a bed of roasted gooey cheese. Nothing too complicated and absolutely delicious.

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Fine Apple Tart “à la dragée”, Havana Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Yet another of Gunther's signature and with good reason. Suitably sweet apple puree enveloped within a ridiculously crisp and thin shell sprinkled with a generous serving of crushed nuts and served with a scoop of rather strong rum and raisin ice cream. Definitely one of the best rendition of apple tart I've had in recent years.

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Petit Fours

To end off, petit fours to further cram our already bursting tummies. Decent.

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Bill

Food overall came across as grounded; nothing fanciful and generally excellent. Prices are a little dear though, at close to $395 for the both of us. But well worth the money in my humble opinion (if only for a special occasion!). Service was personable and unpretentious so that's another plus. Definitely coming back!

ps: Please note that portion sizes reflected in the pictures above are half portions as the both of us were sharing. So to have an idea of the actual portion size, just double it up.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Food: 8/10 (9/10 for the Cold Angel Hair Pasta, Oscietra Caviar)
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 7.5/10

Address: 36 Purvis Street #01-03

Contact: 6338 8955

Opening Hours:

Mondays – Fridays
12pm – 2:30pm
6:30pm – 10:00pm

Saturdays
6:30pm – 10:00pm

Closed on Sunday

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spago - Wonderful Environment, Decent Food

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We had been itching to try Spago and the opportunity presented itself one Saturday afternoon when we had to drop by Marina Bay Sands (MBS) to settle some business. Spago is Wolfgang Puck's second restaurant @ MBS, with the first being CUT, an upmarket steakhouse. The Los Angeles flagship outlet of Spago had garnered 2 Michelin stars in 2008 and 2009 (Michelin pulled out of LA after that) so our expectations were reasonably high.

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The Place

Taking the lift up to the 57th level brings you to the famed MBS infinity pool, where one of Spago's service staff will walk you to your table within the confines of a beautiful timber decked room with plenty of natural light (that's if you choose not to dine al fresco).

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Complimentary Bread

Served with salted nori butter and unsalted buter, the complimentary baguette and black olive focaccia came across as palatable but nothing to shout about. Somehow the European restaurants (ie. Joel Robuchon) tend to do better bread in my personal experience. 

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Chicken ‘Laksa’ Spring Roll

This local inspired appetiser was rather interesting. Spring roll skin deep fried till crackling crisp and filled with thick rice noodles and chicken - reminiscent of laksa especially when eaten with the dipping sauce.

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Pan Seared Pork Dumplings

The 锅贴 or Gyoza was decent; not overly oily or porky with the skin retaining a light crisp. Simple yet refined.

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Grilled Iberico Pork Secreto

Secreto or the "secret" cut apparently refers to different cuts of the Iberian pig, varying from individual to individual and there exists no common or universal standard to date; a clever marketing ploy to make people pay more. But I digress. The famed acorn fed Iberico pork strips were excellent; tender with a light charring along the exterior. Flavours were wonderful - savoury with a touch of earhiness from the mushrooms and sweetness from the pumpkin and chestnuts. Topped with light and crispy pork skin and deliciously smooth parsnip puree.

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Grilled Angus Beef Burger

Nothing else really caught my attention on the menu so I went with the usually safe burger option. Unfortunately this didn't turn out as well as I would have liked it to. For starters, the patty was a tad too soft for my liking. I appreciate the hand chopped patty with its uneven texture and bits of fat but it had minimal beefiness to it. The buns were crisp along the edges but slathered with ketchup which isn't my default option for buns (butter is!). An average burger overall. Interestingly, the restaurant 56 floors down in the same tower serves a much better burger in my humble opinion.

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Coconut-Passion Fruit Trifle

There wasn't a choice of dessert with the set lunch so the the Coconut-Passion Fruit Trifle it was. Tangy, sweet, smooth and crunchy (due to the rice krispies) all at once. Flavours were light and clean - pretty good. Only small gripe I had was the passionfruit seeds; I know they can be eaten but I'm personally not a fan.

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Chocolate – Coffee Semifreddo

We got greedy and decided to share an additional dessert. Served with caramalised banana balls and banana cake cubes, the asthetically pleasing Chocolate Coffee Semifreddo came across as rather strong on the flavours (a juxtaposition to the previous Coconut Passion Fruit Trifle dessert) with a dominant coffee presence. Decent.

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Bill

Lunch was a pleasant and leisurely affair. Food was decent overall (though not quite up to expectations) and didn't cost us an arm or a leg @ ~$134. Service was very good and so was the ambience. Personally would prefer to dine @ Sky 57 over Spago.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 6.5/10

Overall: 7.25/10

Address: Sands SkyPark, Tower 2 Level 57

Contact: 6688 9955

Opening Hours:

Breakfast
DAILY:7:00am - 10:30am

Lunch
DAILY: 12:00pm - 2:30pm

Dinner
SUN, MON, TUE, WED, THU: 6:00pm - 10:00pm
FRI, SAT: 6:00pm - 11:00pm

Website: https://wolfgangpuck.com/dining/spago-singapore/

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Adrift By David Myers II - Consistently Good Burgers

It was a revisit almost a year in the making. We were fairly impressed with the quality of food at Adrift during our last visit and it took months of procrastination before finally deciding to drop by for lunch again. 

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The Place

To satisfy the inner child in us, we made a note to request for the corner swing-like seats this time round; soaking in the abundance of natural light through huge floor to ceiling windows.

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Amuse Bouche

2 varieties of rice crackers to start us off (down from 3 the previous time) and though one variety came across as crisp but rather bland, the other was similar to a lighter version of keropok. Pretty decent start, especially when consumed with the sour cream like dressing on the side.

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Adrift Wagyu Burger & Fries

I had the signature wagyu burger without the jalapenos and it looked smaller than I remembered it to be (shrinking portions?). However the patty was excellent - lightly charred on the outside yet moist and chewy on the inside with bits of fat. Absolutely delicious, especially when paired with the melted slice of gruyere cheese atop. The bun needs more time on the grill though in my humble opinion. And eschewing greens for carbohydrates this time round, I had the wedges; crisp on the outside, moist on the inside and flavourful.

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Ice Cream Sandwich

Although the ice cream sandwich didn't look like much, it tasted pretty good actually. Smooth chocolate hazelnut ice cream encapsulated by two semi circular chocolate shells and sandwiched between two slices of mildly crumbly biscuit. Not cloyingly sweet. Served with dollops of burbon vanilla cream and sprinkles of candied bacon which gave the dessert an interestingly nice, mildly salty and alcoholic slant. 

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Bill

3 mains and 2 desserts cost us ~ $127, which isn't too dear a price point for the quality of food in my humble opinion (prices seem to have gone north at time of writing though - $28++ for the burger vs $24++). Portion sizes seem to have shrunk as well but I'll be happy to revisit when I'm craving good burger patties (buns need more work).


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7/10 (8/10 for the burger)
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 7.25/10

Address: Marina Bay Sands Hotel Lobby Tower 2

Contact: 6688 5657

Opening Hours:

Breakfast
7am - 10:30am

Brunch
Sat & Sun: 12pm to 3pm

Lunch
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 2:30pm

Dinner
Daily 6pm to 10pm

Bar & Lounge
Daily 12pm to 2am

Website: http://www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/celebrity-chefs/adrift.html

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ninja Cut - A Cut Above The Rest

We were quite a fan of Ninja Bowl @ Duxton so when we found out that there was a sister outlet (Ninja Cut) closer to us at Seah Street, we decided to drop by to give it a shot (as at time of writing, we have been there at least 4 times).

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The Place

Hidden amongst the plethora of shophouses along Seah Street and just a few shops down from the MINT Museum of Toys, Ninja Cut sports a nondescript facade and is easy to miss unless you pay close attention. The interior is rather spartan but comfortable enough. Noise is a pertinent problem here so conversations can be challenging especially when the place is full.

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Oh My Cod

This rather sizeable and sweet slice of cod was nicely pan fried but lacking in silkiness; served with a edamame asparagus combination (a little too salty for my liking and didn't quite seem to jell with the dish), mildly sweet carrots, a wobbly onsen egg and pickled purple slaw. Decent for the price but I'll probably swap out the edamame and asparagus the next time round.

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Whats Your Beef?

I've had this thrice but I personally feel that the beef in one of their brunch items, Ninja's Steak & Eggs, tastes better. The beef here is a wee bit overcooked and a tad too chewy for my liking. However this dish comes with mushrooms, sweet corn, onsen egg and carrots for for that relatively delicious all rounded meal. You can opt to add rice, soba or salad for an additional $2.

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Bill

Everything is priced below $20 so it's quite a good deal for the quality and quantity of food in my humble opinion. There is no GST or service charge which is a plus and you get free, self service iced water. Do note that this place only accepts cash or nets.

ps: my absolute favourite dish @ Ninja Cut

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Oceans Of Mentaiko

Rich, creamy soup base coupled with scallops, prawns, mussels and served with 2 slices of crisp garlic toast; absolutely delicious. Only gripe I have is the miserly and inconsistent amount of soup; it ranges from little (~ 6-8 spoonfuls) to very little (~ 4-6 spoonfuls).


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (rather noisy when crowded)
Service: 7/10
Food: 7/10 (8/10 for the Oceans of Mentaiko)
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 6.875/10

Address: 32 Seah Street

Contact: 66264 7727

Opening Hours:


Monday to Friday - 9:30AM to 9:30PM

Saturday & Sundays - 9:00AM to 6:00PM

Website: https://www.facebook.com/TheNinjaCut

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Fat Cow - Didn't Quite Live Up To The Hype

A couple of us dropped by Fat Cow for lunch one weekday afternoon after hearing so much about their signature wagyu donburi.

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The Place

Located at a corner of Camden Medical Centre, Fatcow took quite a bit of finding as there didn't seem to be any clear signs as to where exactly the place was from the carpark. But we finally found the place and were led into a "private" room for the 8 of us; "private" because it was really just part of the main bar area with a paper thin partition that afforded some visual privacy (no respite from the noise though). 

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Salad, Miso Soup & Chawanmushi

A side of fresh salad, miso soup and chawanmushi came as a side to our set lunch. I personally liked the chawanmushi; smooth and light without coming across as too eggy and served with a slice of scallop, mushroom and prawn.

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The Fat Cow Donburi

And the sole reason why we were here; the namesake Fat Cow Donburi. I ordered my wagyu medium rare but it seemed a touch undercooked even though the flavours were good; salty with a robust beefiness but a little lacking in the juiciness. The wobbly onsen egg imbued the dish with a creamy texture. A good dish but lacked the wow factor in my humble opinion. 

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Ice Cream

A tiny scoop of smooth and creamy caramel ice cream (probably the size of 2 quail eggs) capped off our meal. Inadequate but appreciated nonetheless.

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Bill

The 8 of us racked up a bill of ~$480 and though good, doesn't quite justify the quality and quantity of food honestly. We left the restaurant feeling a little unsatisfied to be honest. Service overall was decent but tea refills need to be more forthcoming, especially at $5++/pax. Will I be back? I highly doubt so, unless someone is picking up the check.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (For the "private room")
Service: 6.5/10
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: #01-01 Camden Medical Centre

Contact: 6735 0308

Opening Hours:

Lunch

Monday to Sunday: 12PM to 3PM (Last order at 2.30PM)

Dinner

Monday to Sunday: 6PM to 11PM (Last order at 10.30PM)

Website: http://www.fat-cow.com.sg/