If you have any comments/suggestions/places you think serve great food, do share with us! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment in the tag board. Thanks and cheers to future gastronomical adventures!
MY TO-GO LIST
Au Jardin (Eaten!)
Au Petit Salut
Buko Nero (Eaten!)
Pasta Brava (Eaten!)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
1 Orchard Boulevard, #01-01/02
Camden Medical Centre
A medical centre would be the one of the last places that comes to mind when one thinks of fine dining restaurants. Yet, sometimes gems can be found in the most unlikely places. Take Le Figue, for example. This relatively new French restaurant is located in a rather obscure location but it definitely holds its own against other bigger players in the local French dining scene in terms of quality and service.
The most economical decision is to go for the set lunch which cost an affordable $28+ for 3 courses. Granted, by way of introduction, set lunches may not be the way to go since ala carte dishes are almost always better than those served in set meals. But I figure it can't be that bad since I like the sound of most of the dishes printed on the menu. The complimentary raisin bread was served warm with butter on the side. I don't like to have bread before my meal since it's a sure way to fill me up.
I had the classic tomato gazpacho to start off. Served with black pepper crouton, confit vine tomato and some cucumber slices, the cold Spanish liquid salad was slightly tangy and sweet. This is perfect for the 365 days of summer in Singapore!
The other appetiser was the snake head fish carpaccio. The portion was generous and scattered with black olive powder, shavings of salad and summer cress, the thinly sliced raw carpaccio was firm and fresh.
My main of seared salmon was my favourite dish of the whole meal. Sitting in a pool of bellpepper coulis and accompanied by cute little balls of vegetables, the salmon was cooked to perfection. The top layer was all crisp skin and firm cooked flesh while the base was raw and had a nice pinkish hue to it. This is really simplicity at its best!
The other choice besides the salmon was the chicken roulade. Stuffed with spinach leaf and paired with onion marmalade, this was quite unique since it's not commonly found elsewhere. I liked the sauteed chickpeas which were not too overcooked to the point of mushiness but still firm yet tender.
Thankfully, the dessert was good enough to not spoil the great meal so far. It's basically chocolate mousse, caramelized macadamia, soft biscotti-like biscuit and blueberry sorbet. Eaten together, the combination worked well. I could taste the smoothness of the sweet mousse and the slightly sourish sorbet while the nuts and biscuits gave a great crunch in every bite.
This is definitely one of the better lunches I've had in a while. The quality was above average, service was impeccable and the price was reasonable. There's really nothing not to like! Who cares if the location is a little inaccessible?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
#08-12, Orchard Central
Sometimes, I feel like I can survive on nothing but Japanese food for the rest of my life. Today is one such day. Ootoya specialises in teishoku (Japanese set meals) or more commonly known as bento boxes to us ignorant Singaporeans. There's also the choice between ordering ala carte or a set which comes with rice, vegetables and miso soup. If you order the latter and happen to love rice, you will be happy to know that you can refill the rice for free. One unique aspect is that the menu also lists the calories of the different dishes which was quite fun to know!
When I saw this on the menu, I knew I wanted it straightaway. The Grated Yam with Tuna ($6++, 164kcal) was a great appetiser. Layers of natto beans, lady fingers, marinated tuna slices and grated yam are topped with a half boiled egg. I love it when the egg yolk just flow all over the dish when I mixed it all up to a gooey mess. Not everyone will like it as this is very much an acquired taste. I suppose you have to like the sticky and slightly pungent natto beans like me to fall in love with this.
The Atka Mackerel ($13++ ala carte, 224kcal) is one of the more popular items on the menu. The portion was extremely generous and definitely more than what I expected. On 1st bite, the charcoal grilled fish was very salty since it's preserved with salt upon capture. But paired with the freshly grated daikon on the side, this is a clear winner! I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed a mackerel more. Even the many embedded bones didn't bother me since they separated from the juicy and firm flesh easily.
The Mixed-Grain Soy Milk Porridge ($12++, 335kcal) sounded so healthy that it's hard to believe that something this healthy can taste so good. Comprising of nine kinds of cereal, vegetables, mushrooms and chicken in soy milk, this whole dish just scream "comfort food". Whoever say that healthy food is boring or bland? What I like best is the 2 pieces of pumpkin simmered in a slightly savoury broth which provided a perfect contrast to the sweet golden fruit.
Coated with subtly sweet toasted soybean flour, the Warabimochi ($7++, 299kcal) had a really soft texture. It's not a true mochi since it's not made with rice but rather, it's made from bracken starch which results in a jelly-like consistency. Though I usually stay clear of milk ice cream, this one made with Hokkaido milk was not half bad.
OCBC cardholders get a complimentary Green Tea Ice Cream in Soya Milk Syrup ($4.50++, 300kcal). I like almost everything about this simple dessert: the ice cream tasted like real maccha and not too sweet, the red beans were plump and tender, and the soy milk added an interesting dimension to the whole dessert. The only fault I had was with the rice dumplings which were too tough and chewy.I have to mention that the green tea served here is fantastic! I don't know what type of tea leaves they use but the smell and taste were really strong in a good way. It's definitely not the diluted type served in other restaurants. I have to go back to try its other dishes before the chef heads back to Japan!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sun With Moon #2
#01-70/71/72, The Central @ Clarke Quay
Mind you, the food here wasn't so great that it warrants a 2nd visit. It was just that we wanted to use the discount vouchers so our simple dinner was settled here.
Since we were there before dinner time, we could only order from the cafe menu which didn't offer a lot of choices. The Salmon, Ikura Spaghetti & SUN Salad set ($12.80++) came within minutes after the waitress took our order as we were the only customers besides a Japanese couple at the next table.
The SUN Salad was very appetising with its slightly tangy and fragrant sesame dressing.
The pasta was average at most. Thankfully, there was no strong buttery taste as the spaghetti was tossed in butter shoyu. The salmon was not overcooked but I didn't like the salmon roe which tasted like cod liver oil.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
#B3-23, ION Orchard
I didn't expect to end my long hiatus from food hunting with a 90 minutes queue for Japanese food. Have you ever done anything this crazy? This must be another 'Donut Factory Syndrome' (no, I wasn't that mad to queue up for donuts). Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to be able to enjoy the food without waiting for a maddening 1 and a half hour! Anyway, the restaurant in question hails from Japan and has outlets in Shanghai, Taiwan and Hong Kong too.
This being our 1st time here, we decided to order the signature items to be on the safe side. I'm not sure whether it's due to the fact that we were starving by now but the Kani & Hotate Cream Croquette ($5.80++) was delicious! The golden bite-sized crispy balls oozing with cream disappeared in a flash. Admittedly, the small chunks of crab meat and scallop could have been more generous though.
Another favourite is the Watami Salad ($7.80++) with a huge dollop of tuna mayonnaise on a bed of colourful vegetables. Now, I really really dislike mayonnaise but there's no way for me to avoid that nasty stuff if I want to try this. Overlooking the presence of the hated mayo, what surprised me was that slices of cooked tuna were used instead of the canned flaked type.
I believe what made the salad so enjoyable was the fragrant sesame dressing. Call me biased since I'm devoted to anything sesame but this really made the salad come alive with a burst of flavours. A friend asked me before why would I pay for a bowl of greens and my answer would be why not, especially if it tastes as good as this!
Usually I wouldn't have ordered any sushi but the Irodori Sushi Grandeur ($10.80++) seemed like a safe bet since it has scallop, seafood salmon and unagi--all my favourites. Presentation was fantastic but the sushi didn't impress me. I'm no rice nor sushi connoisseur but it would be nice if the grains were less dry and more fragrant.
The toppings, which I enjoyed thoroughly, were another story. I could find no fault with the soft eel nor the juicy and plump scallops.
The kitchen was already taking its last order by the time we were ready for desserts. I was hard pressed not to laugh when the Mango & Ichigo Daifuku ($3.80++) was served. Instead of being plump and round like the picture on the menu, the rice cake looked as though it has been flattened by a truck. Looks aside, the taste was excellent with the combination of sweet mango and strawberry and texture was great with the smooth and paper thin mochi skin. I would have ordered more if the kitchen was still open!
Granted, the Kurogoma Ice Cream ($2++) was not a signature item but I just couldn't resist it. Afterall, how wrong could you go with sesame? Watami's version was not the best I've had but it did the job of satisfying my sesame craving for the day.
I suppose the main draw of Watami is the irresistible combination of affordability and good quality food. The menu supposedly changes every few months so there would always be something new to look forward to. They do not take reservations so do go early if you want to avoid the lunch or dinner crowds!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Beard Papa Sweets
#B2-07-9-1, Ngee Ann City
Best known for its cream puffs, Beard Papa definitely needs no introduction. If you have never heard of it, where have you been hiding??!
It's been ages since I had the Cream Puff ($2.20) since I'm not a fan of puff pastry or custard cream. The crispy puff filled with whipped custard cream was alright to me and certainly not good enough to tempt me into another bite.
The Azuki Bean Mochi ($2) was more to my liking. Although the skin was a tad too thick, it was soft and complemented the red bean ice cream nicely.
The range of mochi ice cream is a rather new addition to the other sweets found at Beard Papa. I wouldn't mind trying its other flavours when the craving for the Japanese rice cake hits me. A pity that there's no sesame mochi though!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I haven't been updating with any new posts for almost 3 weeks now. There are many reasons for this:
1. I was so busy with moving into a new home that I haven't got the time or energy or inclination to eat out or source for new eating places. Any free time I had was devoted to cleaning and eating and sleeping!
2. My appetite for the last couples of weeks could only be satisfied with homecooked meals and comfort food. No restaurant, however appealing, could tempt me enough. I guess sometimes the tastebuds just need a break from all the fine food. Fortunately though, I've recovered from this temporary indifference to food hunting!
3. My old camera was giving me trouble (as usual) and I was procrastinating buying a new one since I can't decide between the Panasonic LX3 or Canon G10. Finally, I decide to get the latter and boy, I love my new toy!
Say bye-bye to my old camera who has faithfully been with me for the last 5 years!
Ok dear friends, please date me if you want to meet up and just eat to our hearts' content!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Plaza Market Cafe
80 Bras Basah Road
2F Fairmont Hotel Singapore
Blogger has been giving me some trouble and I haven't been able to upload anything till now. I went to the Plaza Market Cafe for a buffet lunch ($32.90++) almost 2 weeks ago so this is a way long overdue post. Having been to the Merchant Count branch a few times (ever since I was a kid), I'm rather familiar with the type of food served here.
I didn't have any expectations at all when I stepped into the place since it specialises in Straits and Peranakan cuisine--something I have no interest in. My only comfort was that there was also an international cuisine section (supposedly).
Taking photographs at buffets is sort of stressful as people are always waiting to pounce upon the food and I didn't have the luxury of taking multiple shots for the best one. Anyone has any suggestions on how to overcome this problem? Maybe I'll just be the first to arrive next time!
The selection of food was very poor. There's few choices of bread, salads, hot dishes and desserts. If you are looking for a wide variety to choose from, this would be a sore disappointment.
To my disappointment, there wasn't even salmon sashimi! Desserts are always the most important part of a buffet to me. I didn't try the nonya kueh but it seemed to be quite popular as the tray was usually empty when I walked past. Another hot favourite was the durian pengat which I also didn't try since I really can't stand the smell and taste of durian.
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