Sunday, October 22, 2017

CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Singapore - Didn't Quite Live Up To The Hype

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CUT Marina Bay Sands recently earned a star in the 2017 Michelin Singapore edition and we had elevated expectations of a great steak dinner (hopfully even surpassing that of Morton's in Singapore).

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The Place

We were seated in a semi private enclave with just a single table at one corner of the dining room. I honestly don't know what to make of the decor except that it struck me as rather clinical, unlike that of Peter Luger Steak House in New York, which had a cosy and inviting feel to it.

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Complimentary Bread

There were 3 rounds of complimentary bread; bread sticks, cheese puffs and an assortment of bread from a mobile tray. The sticks were nice - crisp with a strong cheese taste (tasted like goat cheese) while the puffs came across as light, fluffy and mildy cheesey. From the tray I had the pretzel (love the texture - soft, dense yet chewy but extremely salty!) and the onion bread (moist but a touch oily). So much bread to fill you up!

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Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Fuji Apple-Yali Pear Salad, Sesame-Orange Dressing

This looked absolutely delicious with a sumptous fat to meat ratio of ~50%. Coupled with a rich layer of sweet maple glaze, it was a sure fire recipe for nausea. Thank god for the sliced apple and pear salad, though sweet, provided a nice refreshing crunch and much needed moisture. I personally think a tarter apple, ie. Granny Smith's, would work better though. 

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Alaskan King Crab & Shrimp "Louis" Cocktail, Spicy Tomato-Horseradish

This was a half sized portion because the chef split the original portion into 2 for sharing. Although I liked the crustecean combination of king crab and prawn together (with a medley of vegetables thrown in), it wasn't spectacular. I've definitely had better.

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Double Thick Iberico Pork Chop, Rhubarb "Moustarda"

I liked how the surface of the pork chop was crisp (a wee bit to burnt though) while the meat (and fat) retained its tenderness and flavour. The meat was also well seasoned with a faint tartness (probably from the rhubarb). Decent but not as good as Gunther's rendition.

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Hokkaido "Snow", Tomakomai, Filet Mignon

I had high hopes for this small piece (120g) of premium Japanese steak (heck you would too if it cost $245++) but unfortunately it was disappointing to say the least. Although the marbling was very good, the meat was a little too soft for my liking at medium doneness and it lacked the beefiness that I personally like.

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Cavatappi Pasta "Mac & Cheese", White Cheddar

It was our first experience with cavatappi (helical tube/cockscrew shaped pasta) but it wasn't a good one. The dish came across as very oily with a mild white cheddar cheese taste. We gave up after a couple of mouthfuls. Bird Bird definitely does a much better rendition.

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Kaya Baked Alaska

Ironically, the Kaya Baked Alaska was the star of the evening. Reminiscent of a durian shell with its spiky edges, this dessert was essentially coconut cake with pandan ice cream and coconut sorbet encapsulated within a meringue on a crumble base and quickly torched. Deliciously sweet and I love how all the flavours come together to remind me of Kaya. Served with a "side" of coffee crumble.

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Petit Fours

And petit fours to end off our meal. No great shakes.

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Bill

The both of us spent ~$508 for a rather dissatisfying dinner. Service was good but food in general wasn't great and I fail to see how or why CUT was awarded a Michelin star. At this price point, I am way more inclined to stuff myself silly at Gunther's.


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (can get a little noisy and dark)
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 6/10 (7.5/10 for the Kaya Baked Alaska)
Value for money: 4/10

Overall: 6/10

Address: B1-71, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Contact: 6688 8517

Opening Hours:

Sun - Thurs: 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Fri & Sat: 5:30pm - 11:00pm

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

Monday, October 09, 2017

Bird Bird - More Than Just Fried Chicken

Bird Bird moved to the east a couple of months back and I chanced upon it while dropping by Cedele (a few doors down) one afternoon a few months back. I was hooked and made it a point to visit shortly after. Just for the record, I have been there quite a few times for lunch/brunch ever since.

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The Place

Bird Bird occupies a corner unit along Frankel Avenue and parking is limited to the private estate behind (however you are free to park anywhere you like as long as you are able to evade the rather frequent patrols by the traffic wardens). The interior is kept simple with cement screed floors and wooden tables.

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Cornbread Waffles

At $3 a piece, the cornbread waffles were relatively pricey. But by golly, they were worth it. Mildly sweet with a rather significant corn taste and served with smoked maple syrup. Definitely my kind of carbs. Just watch out - they get cold and limp rather fast so eat them while they are hot/warm.

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Black Truffle Mac & Cheese

This was delicious; Al dente macaroni coupled with a light fragrance from the black truffle bits and a not too creamily rich sauce nursing a tinge of zest to keep nausea at bay. Topped with shavings of cheese and croutons for an extra crisp.

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Brown Sugar Bacon Chop

I loved this as well. The thick cut bacon chop was seared and coated with a thin, brittle layer of caramalised sugar; sweet with salty undertones. A little different from the renditions of both Peter Luger and Clinton Street Baking, which do without the evident layer of sugar but equally delicious.

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Signature Fried Chicken

Our order of half chicken consisted of 5 pcs from wing to breast. It looked absolutely mouth watering but unfortunately I found the seasoning a little underwhelming and not thorough enough. The meat was tender, juicy and moist but the skin was a little bland and lacked the oomph I was hoping for (in this respect, Southern Bird @ Marina Bay Sands does a better job). The signature gravy tasted like runny mashed potato gravy. Maybe the other chickens taste better?

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Durian Softie Pie

An absolute crowd pleaser, the toasted milk softie had a light browned taste to it without coming across as too sweet. Topped with a generous scoop of durian pudding, white chocolate, sitting on an almond crust base and drizzled with gula melaka caramel for an added sweetness. Delicious and definitely a great way to end off the meal. 

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Bill

Brunch cost the 2 of us ~ $81, which isn't exactly cheap but I think it's worth the price for the above average quality of food in general. Service is decent but just be aware that the ventilation isn't great so you will walk out of the place smelling like your meal. Weekday lunch sets offer a much better value proposition so it would make better sense to go during lunch (you can even top up $5++ for a durian softie!)

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Truffled Housemade Curly Fries

ps: The truffled housemade curly fries are really addictive; thin and crispy without all the oil (definitely a misperception).


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6.5/10 (can get a little noisy and ventilation isn't great)
Service: 7/10
Food: 7.5/10 (8/10 for the durian softie)
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 7/10

Address: 97 Frankel Avenue

Contact: 6694 8270

Opening Hours:

Tuesdays - Sundays
11.00am - 11.00pm | Last orders at 9.45pm
Closed Mondays

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