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Showing posts from 2008

Braise - Annual Foodie Gathering

Instead of a foodblogger dinner, this year, it was a rather impromptu gathering of foodies, bloggers and non, at Braise, a lovely and modern restaurant located at Palawan Beach on Sentosa Island. That was my first meal there and I loved the glass house look that allowed natural light into the restaurant. Besides, I also had the luxury of enjoying a seaview over lunch so that made my meal extra nice. A soft and warm bread roll with butter was a good start before my cold pasta of capellini with seared hokkaido scallop distracted me for a moment.

A long wait for the main course saw me eating more bread to stave off the hunger. I enjoyed the tasmanian trout that was served half-raw so it was moist and juicy. The zucchini fritter was a suprise to me because instead of cheese that I was expecting, it was stuffed with cooked salmon.

Dessert was a lovely crispy tart of pear and vanilla ice-cream. I enjoyed a similar version with at sister restaurant Ember.

The food was good but nothing too exci…

Guest Chef Philippe Etchebest at Harbour Grill

Two Michelin star Chef Philippe Etchebest was in town recently, hosted at the Harbour Grill at Hilton Hotel. It was with great anticipation that I looked forward to the meal after I decided to just go for it and indulge a little.

The four-course meal gave me an rough idea of Chef Etchebest's cooking, which is all about contrast - texture, taste, colors, etc.

The amuse bouche was freshly picked crab with tomato foam. The sweet and salty foam paired well with the sweet and salty crab.

For the appetizer, I chose the Cod fish brandade, asparagus royal, pink pepper, balsamic and olive oil. It was a rather bland and light dish and I didn't particularly enjoy the asparagus pudding's soft, mushy texture. I was rather disappointed by this to be honest.

The second course was soup. Fresh and raw oysters and scallops topped with a dollop of tartar sauce and parmesan shavings were placed in a shallow dish. It would be mildly cooked by the heat from the pumpkin veloutĂ© as the latte…

Raw Kitchen Bar

This is a new restaurant located within the defunct firestation in Upper Bukit Timah. I was lost for a while because I had drove past the non-discriptive building seeing no sight of life from the main road. So if you are driving, watch out for a building labeled "Spectra" to the right hand side, at the junction where you would turn into Bukit Batok on the left. There is parking available and the restaurant is actually nestled within, out of immediate view.

Raw Kitchen Bar is really a cool-looking old-fashioned house. The menu is really small as you can see from the picture above. I'm not sure if the idea is to keep it small but the above is still only a softlaunch menu. The cuisine is a mix with a bit of everything, so the food did seemed all over the place. Since we were all there for the first time, we asked the friendly hostess for recommendations.

We ordered a margherita pizza ($14) to share because "it is fun to eat", as we were told. It possessed a great bi…

Cugini Ristorante & Bar

Feeling a bit jaded with our current pool of Italian establishments, I am say I am pretty stoked at stumbling upon this Italian restaurant because their specialty is South Italian/Sicilian cuisine so the menu boasts dishes less commonly seen. The two chefs are cousins, hence "Cugini" which means "Cousins" in Italiano.

The Zuppetta di pesce alla Siracusana (S$17) was a Sicilian seafood soup that was most definitely prepared ala minute given the long wait for the dish to appear. It was worth the wait though, as the soup was really tasty and hearty. In it were plenty of fresh seafood such as squid, shrimp, tuna and clam. The soup was rather thick and had bits of olives, capers and whole cherry tomatoes. I found myself thinking it could be a watered down puttanesca pasta sauce.

I found out that the popular Ravioli al tartufo e patate con burro alle noci e granawas served mainly to satisfy the truffle-obsessed Singaporeans. My friend was such a person so we had …

Cova Pasticceria

Chocolate Cake with Chestnuts, originally uploaded by Skinny Epicurean. One particularly hot afternoon led a rather unusual but delicious choice of lunch - fluffy macademia nut pancakes with earl grey and fig icecream at Cedele.

For desserts, we were trying to find a place instead of the fail-safe Canele. So when one of the girls suggested Cova Pasticceria at the Paragon, we unanimously agreed since we have all not been there before.

The chiller counter displayed cakes of all sorts, tempting to the eyes and stomach. I love chestnuts of all sorts so it was not surprising I took little time to decide on the chestnut chocolate torte (S$9++; sorry, I can't remember its sexy Italian equivalent).

Service was very prompt starting with drinks.
"Sparkling or still for you, m'am?" the lady captain in white asked. She was good, made it sound like those were the only options available. But worry not, tap water is available as well, for free.

The cake was served shortly after. …

En Japanese Dining Bar

Facing Mohd Sultan road, En Japanese Dining is a casual izakaya serving a variety of Japanese food best for mass ordering and sharing. We did just that, so we could also try more dishes. To my surprise, all the food was decent if not slightly above average.

Kushimori ($17)
The friends loved the enoki mushrooms with bacon.

Mekajiki sashimi ($12)

Grilled Shiitake ($4)
A little too salty.

Beansprouts with tofu and spam ($?)
This one had hints of mirin.

Chicken cutlet with tartar sauce ($12)
The friends say "can't go wrong with fried food".
Unagi fried rice ($13)
This one had generous amounts of unagi and well coated in a morish brown sauce.
Salmon sushi ($4.80)
The salmon sushi was surprisingly cheap and above expectations as well.

As this restaurant is a izakaya after all, the dishes are suitable for pairing with beer or sake. So naturally there is a wide range of alcohol too, and one can probably find a poison of choice to accompany the meal. En is a good choice to have a…

Carrot Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting, originally uploaded by Skinny Epicurean. I had the honor of baking a birthday cake for my mother's friend. The request was a carrot cake so that was what I made. I skinned my finger while grating the carrots but the cake turned out lovely so the pain was worth it.

The final product was truely rustic - haphazard method of creaming plus the unconventional brown-colored frosting. I loved it!

Au Jardin Les Amis

Au Jardin by Les Amis is a French restaurant set in a old black and white colonial house located in the Botanic Garden. Lunch is served only on Fridays and the menu changes every two weeks. On a particular Friday, the dining room on the second floor was more or less filled with prim and coiffed ladies who lunch. The waiters looked formal in their black suits and right from the beginning, the service was professional and attentive. But well, it felt a little stuffier that what I was looking for in a Friday lunch celebrating the coming of the weekend.

The 4-course menu ($55) came in the form of a pretty greeting card. There were three choices for starters and mains, with two choices for desserts and a mandatory soup. For that particular Friday, we started rolling with an amuse bouche - chilled watermelon juice topped with a cranberry foam, prawn cracker. The latter was freshly fried so it was crispy and the juice cleansed the palate for the rest of the meal.

Grilled scallops with …

The Screening Room

The Screen Room at Ann Siang Road, in addition to just catching movies, has also a whiskey bar, a rooftop bar and a restaurant, which is one gem under the radar. I would not have known if not for the food tasting invitation to try the restaurant's menu, created by the executive Chef Wayne Nish, who has amassed a string of accolades in USA.

We tried many dishes, many, many dishes. The rest of the foodies seemed to enjoy all the various cuts of beef. But I share with you the ones that left the most impression on me.

His cod fish was uniquely done. Taking its cue from Chinese cooking, he uses baby kailan topped with copious amounts of fried shallots to set the stage for the simply steamed cod that had the most silky and smooth flesh.

A enjoyable cheese platter was assembled and served before dessert. As full as I was, I could not stop nibbling on the cheese. Before I knew it, I polished off my favourite, the third one from the left. It reminded me of the Comte cheese that I had …

Le Pont De Vie

To celebrate the October babies birthday (myself and another colleague), I suggested we go try Le Pont De Vie, which means "the bridge of life". I have been there once at the restaurant's previous location at Waterloo Street but since its move to its current location, I have not been there.

The restaurant has taken over a shophouse and feels definitely more cosy because the space is really much smaller. But perhaps its current location is rather off-track, we were the only table during dinner service on a Wednesday evening.

The food remains to be rather safe and conventional take on French bistro fare. But that did not seem to fit with the setting that was more proper and stiff. Anyhow, I tried two appetizers that sounded interesting.

The first was a grilled portabello mushroom with roasted tomato and goat cheese tart ($19). I am partial towards the goat cheese so it was literally a no-brainer when I saw this on the menu. Its presentation was a surprise departure from…

White Truffle Season now

These God-given wonders are in season right now and there was a recent article in the Sunday Times about white truffles that sparked off an insane craving. Now, I am not an expert on truffles but I do know that these mushrooms are highly sought after for its wonderful heady aroma.

Chef Luca from Bonta has created a truffle menu just for the season while it lasts so I hurried down to get a taste of it before it runs out.

After the signature bread made of feta cheese, walnut and sundried tomato, I tried another signature appetizer that was ocean trout with crab meat rolls ($28). Order this, because the sashimi-like trout paired really well with the creamy crab mayo. But it could be wise to share as the dish was slightly heavy due to the rich cream.

My main course was highly anticipated. I ordered off the truffle menu and decided on the handmade angel hair with parmesan cheese sauce and white truffle ($72) to keep things simple and allow myself to savour the fullness of the famed fu…

Buono Pizza Bar and Italian Restaurant

FINALLY there is a half-decent Italian restaurant close to my home. Despite the proximity, somehow I just never got around to Buono until last week, when I suggested the family go there to celebrate my birthday with a meal.

The restaurant is located in the corner of a row of old shophouses, in the midst of landed property. It was very down-to-earth restaurant, with warm, red hues of colors and rustic wooden furniture making up the interior. We decided to start off with a 4-mushroom pizza ($19) to share.

The pizza was delicious. The crust was good - good thickness and a good balance between crunch and chew. The toppings were plentiful - both cheese and the assorted mushrooms. This was one enjoyable pizza and nothing I would complain about.

For the main course, the ravioli with crab meat ($22) sounded good and came recommended. Hmmm, the ravioli skin was a little thick and the crab meat, while impressive because it was substantial and came in chunky bits, was dry. The tomato sa…

Casa Verde

This relatively new restaurant is located near the Visitor's Center at the Botanical Garden. It used to be the Cafe Les Amis but has since been madeover with a new name and new concept that includes an impressive wood-fired oven. In the day time, it operates as before -- order at the counter and self-service. The menu is almost the same as well, covering both local favourites and a few western selections, which now consist of fresh pizzas made to order. Come nightfall, 7:30pm to be exact, the restaurant tranforms into full service Italian trattoria with Chef Oscar from Buko Nero overseeing the food menu. Tata! The answer to anyone's futile efforts in getting a reservation at Buko Nero is right at Casa Verde.
Themenu selection is rather lean, but very comprehensive. There is a very extensive pizza section, and 3 choices each for the antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci courses. There are also cold and hot crostinis plus a soup of the day that the server shared with us at the…

Date and Nut Loaf

I was in the mood for some baking and went to the relatively new Dorie Greenspan recipe book for some ideas. The recipe was decided upon because the call for dates and nuts was somewhat rather appealing, plus the recipe was relatively simple.

Since it was recommended that the loaf be left to sit for a day for the flavours to develop and meld, I decided to do just that. But oh no, I regretted it as soon as the loaf was done because the aroma was just so appetizing! The dome-ing effect was quite severe though and I wonder what I can do differently next time to create a flatter top.

Anyhow, I pressed on, and only this morning did I cut it up to savour it. Hmmmm, the crumbs were fine and overall, somewhat dense. Luckily, I did not stinge on the dates or the nuts so with the interplay of textures and tastes from the different ingredients, the cake did not get too jerlat.