Latteria Mozzarella Bar – For Cheese Lovers

19 12 2012

Compared to the Chinese, the Italians sure love to complicate things. When ordering bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), we state whether we want mee pok or mee kia, but when an Italian guy orders pasta, he will state whether he wants linguine, spaghetti, tagliatelle, penne or fettuccine and so on. Growing up, I have encountered so many instances where I have felt lost and bewildered staring at the menu of an Italian restaurant, wondering what the words meant.

Pompous as many Singaporeans are, I strutted in confidently to Latteria Mozzarella Bar, smirking that the days of being an “unseasoned” diner was now long behind me. However, a glance at the menu knocked me off my high horse immediately. To think there are over 10 different variants of mozzarella coming in differing shapes, size and density, each with a unique name! Lucky for me, a glossary was provided on the menu to explain each one.

Latteria Mozzarella Bar is a relatively new place just over a year old if I’m not mistaken but the local food scene is evolving so fast  that one can hardly distinguish the definition of new anymore.

Choice of indoor and outdoor seating is available and my party chose the rustic indoor seats given our affinity with air conditioning. Based on observation though, outdoor seats tend to be more popular, especially with the expat crowd, which forms a major clientele for Latteria.

The good thing about Latteria is that food portions are ideal for sharing.

We started off with a Fresh Burrata ($30++). Burrata means “Buttered” in Italian, and is one of my favourite appetizers for Italian meals. It’s made such that a shell of mozzarella encases a rich core of mozzarella and cream. The one here was very decent with a density that was just right, complementing the sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves well.

The Nodini Pugliesi, Parma Prosciutto ($22++) is also worth trying. Nodini Pugliesi (hiding under the parma ham) are little marshmallow-sized balls of mozzarella that are more dense that Burrata and given the mild-tasting nature of mozzarella, it helps to buffer against the saltiness of parma ham well.

Despite being an Italian joint, I actually found most the meat mains a lot more stellar than the risottos and pastas, the Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks, Chickpeas & Red Wine Casserole ($30++) being such an example. Devoid of gaminess and a fork tender texture sealed the deal. Portions were super generous as we got 2 shanks.

The Linguine Vongole ($25++) was the best pasta dish of our meal. The white wine sauce is a little different here from the usual renditions as some cheese had been added to the white wine base, giving an extra dimension of creamy flavours in addition to the bittersweet flavours of clams.

I would recommend avoiding the Oregano Risotto ($25++), which I think is really yellow due to the use of pumpkin squash. It was really bland, not sweet nor cheesy and if not for the gravy from the lamb shank which I paired the risotto with, it would have been highly unpalatable.

What surprised me most was the Tagliata-style Sirloin ($35++). Done perfectly to medium rare, the quality of the sirloin far exceeded what I had expected given the price range, with visible light marbling and tasty oils oozing with each bite.

The Truffle and Smoked Mozzarella Risotto ($25++) was another let down, as it lacked cheesiness and was bland as well.

When the Porcini and burrata pasta bake ($25++) arrived, my friends jested that it looked like baked pasta from pasta mania. They weren’t that far off though, as the quality of the cheese was probably the main distinguishing factor.

Similar to the Pasta Bake, but way most aesthetically pleasing was the Mac & Cheese ($25++), which was served in a hollowed out pumpkin.

The Tiramisu ($15++) is definitely meant to be shared. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it can easily satisfy dessert cravings for 3-4 pax easily. Taste-wise, it’s rather run of the mill, but with brownie points awarded for the very smooth mascarpone.

As many hits as there were misses, Latteria failed to leave much of an impression apart from the laudable meat dishes.

Latteria Mozzarella Bar

40 Duxton Hill

Tel: +65 6866 1988

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Bistro Soori – Where French Meets Japanese

3 07 2012

Bistro Soori. Don’t be mistaken, it’s no Korean joint. It serves up an array of fusion dishes, drawing mainly from French and Japanese influences. I would describe its furnishing as chic, modern yet homely, reminiscent of a showroom at a condominium launch.

Marinated Angel Hair Pasta with Avruga & Seaweed ($17++). The pasta is coated lightly with a creamy sauce, with a little brininess coming from the caviar and seaweed. My main gripe is that the portion is quite tiny.

The reasons I love French cuisine is because the food is rich (and artery clogging). So if you are into French as well, I’m assuming that animal fats isn’t an issue for you and even if it is, I’d still insist you try the Slow Roasted Pork Belly, Pumpkin, Frisse, Pumpkin Seed, Yuzu Gastrique ($18++).

There’s a lot of bombastic terms in this dish name so let’s break it down a little into bite-sized pieces. Frisse is the name of the type of lettuce used (the frizzy kind) while “Gastrique is caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar, used as a flavoring for sauces. Nowadays, the term is frequently used to refer to any thus-flavored sauce itself, e.g. citrus gastrique, mango gastrique” (Source: Wikipedia).

This is definitely one of the best pork belly dishes I have had in recent memory and I loath how it is available only in starter-sized portions. The best thing about this dish is the fats. It doesn’t come across as the soft and wobbly kind but rather, gives off a firmer mildly crisp finish when you bite into it, which implodes with a concentrated accumulation of flavor.

I like the Cured Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Braised Red Cabbage, Grain Mustard, Golden Raisin, Pear ($33++). I love how the core of the tender tenderloin manages to retain a light pink hue. I love it even more that the curing process was executed well, with a subtle salty flavour being infused evenly throughout the meat. Most of the time, one encounters a cured meat that leaves you cringing from the excessive salt used but this one is different, leaving sufficient breathing room to appreciate the accompanying condiments as well.

Throw in the words uni and scallops (foie gras too!) in any dish and you’d be sure to pique my interest. Not that I’m complaining but somehow, I have noticed that sea urchin (aka uni) has been making guest appearances in modern french cuisine, such as the Uni Tagliolini at Pamplemousse, a restaurant in Dempsey that specializes in contemporary French.

That said, I wasn’t impressed with the Uni, Scallop, Prawn, Risotto, Yuzu, Thai Basil ($35++). The rice was considerably overcooked in my opinion, hence the texture failed to retain a slight firmness and bite and was on the mushy side instead. In addition, I didn’t think that the citrus yuzu was a good complement to the savoury seafood and it’s distinct flavour musked the more delicate flavours from the uni. No complaints about the execution of the seafood components though!

My favourite dish of the night was the Brown Butter Maine Lobster, Tomato, Tamarind, Thai Basil, Fennel ($42++). I wasn’t harbouring high expectations initially since I perceive Maine Lobster as a cheap lobster species. It was so easily available when I was at Canada and the States last summer, being sold in a Brooklyn flea market in “lobster buns” going at US$12 a pop, and the amount lobster meat given was really generous. Based on my estimation, I got about half a lobster in 1 hot dog sized bun. I even managed to get cooked live whole Maine lobsters in Granville, Vancouver during Canada’s National Day for C$14. Crazy affordable.

For the ones at Bistro Soori, it’s awesome not just because the lightly charred lobster flesh is fresh and springy, but also because of the tamarind butter sauce. Everything just tastes so good in butter, but add in crab shells to simmer with, what you get is a very concentrated crab bisque that really complements the sweetness of the maine lobster. Friend J ate a huge chunk of lobster in one mouthful and after that, gave a look of despondence. That was the end of her portion, a portion she had failed to thoroughly enjoy.

Duck Leg Confit, Fried Apple Puree, Fig, Parma Ham ($39++). The deboned duck thigh was a little too dry for my liking but taste-wise it was ok, especially with a dab of sweet apple puree followed by a dab of the vinaigrette, a good mix of sweet, savoury and tangy.

2 minutes before serving the Pandan Souffle with Strawberry Compote ($14++), the wait staff in charge of our table walked over and told me, “you might want to get your camera ready, the souffle will start sinking after half a minute”. I was quite pleased he bothered to show such care and concern, thumbs up for the service!

It is no wonder this is Bistro Soori’s most prized dessert. The souffle is light as air but as the wait staff said, it sank rather quickly. No matter, we polished it off in a matter of seconds anyway.

The Araguani Dark Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Sauce with Vanilla Ice Cream ($14++) was a run of the mill chocolate fondant.

My least favourite dessert was the Almond Milk Panna Cotta, Blueberry Gastrique, Lemon Grass Syrup ($14++). The panna cotta was a little lumpy and not as rich as I would have liked.

Overall, truly a wonderful experience, from the service, food to ambience.

Bistro Soori

2 Teck Lim Road

Tel: +65 6438 3802





Hanayoshi – A Lesson on Wagyu that I didn’t get to Eat

26 06 2012

It has been almost a year since I last met up with E but as they always say, better late than never. It was a friendship fostered in the days when revelry was the in thing, where both of us had the luxury of time and energy to groove on the mambo dance floor, a hobby that we used to share.

I picked Hanayoshi as our dinner spot. After all, online reviews were promising and the ability to survive in the competitive dining district of Tanjong Pagar/Outram already says quite a bit in itself. It was surprisingly quiet on this Saturday night though, with only 2 other tables being occupied excluding E and myself.

A word of advice from me. Make reservations to sit at the counter on the ground floor rather than on the 2nd floor. Firstly, you get a great view of the chef’s masterful cutting techniques and will probably get the chance to interact with the master during the meal, but most importantly, you also get to avoid the cramped 2nd level. The tables are packed so awfully close to one another in an enclosed area such that private conversations aren’t at all private. So there goes all the socially inappropriate jokes you could have cracked during the course of the meal, making one feel constipated holding so much crap in.

“Age” literally means deep-fried while “dashi” is a japanese soup stock, often made by simmering ingredients such as kelp, fish parts or mushrooms. Put together, an Agedashi Tofu simply refers to Fried Tofu in Dashi Sauce. No complaints about the ones here, but no glowing comments either. It’s just too standard fare that you already know what to expect.

We shared a serving of the Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab too which was decent but not amazing, as the crab meat tasted a bit flat, while the seasoning was on the salty side.

I really wanted to try the Wagyu and Sashimi Set but found out that they do not serve set meals during dinner. Dang, it would have been quite a steal for $42++. Yea, there’s the option of ordering a grilled piece of Wagyu but at $90 (if I recall correctly), it’s not quite as tempting. Why the stark difference in price you ask? Well, not all Wagyu are equal, some are more equal than others and I postulate that the $90 ones are just a tad more equal. So lesson to learn is not to swoon straight away when you see the words Wagyu and probe a little deeper into its marble score. Wagyu originated from Japan and just like every other Asian country, Asians love competition, scores and grades. As such, Wagyu is scored with a number between 1 to 12 based on factors such as the extent of marbling and colour of the meat, with 12 being the most premium. As a general guide, scores of 6 and above are already considered to be relatively good cuts of Wagyu. For the $90 cut of Wagyu here, the menu states it scores a 12. Time to swoon folks.

However, still being a student does have its limitations and I had to rein myself in, ordering the Chirashi ($45++) instead. Quite a good spread of fresh seafood like salmon, tuna, kingfish, swordfish, shrimp, uni and ikura but missing my favourite scallops :(

E got herself the Udon Noodles in Hotpot and commented she could make it at home. There wasn’t any reason to doubt her. After all, she’s one of the 2 co-founders of Strictly Pancakes, Singapore’s first dedicated pancake cafe. Go support her shop if you can! Simple as it might seem, I have had some hotpots that would be difficult to replicate at home given the flavourful stock used. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say that this is one of them as it fades into mediocrity.

Given all the hype from the online community, I admit I expected better. The Chirashi is also giving me an Aoki craving.

Hanayoshi

21 Duxton Road

Tel: +65 6225 5567





The Plain – For that Simple Unpretentious Brunch

24 01 2012

A cafe’s name often speaks volumes about its history and concept. For The Plain, it seems that the owners named it as such after much thought. Location seems to be the main driver behind this decision, with The Plain’s location near Duxton Plain Park. Concept was the other driving factor, with the owner’s intention of setting up a cafe that is as plain as possible; simple and easily understood without the gimmicks. A minimalistic cafe where one could come in for a casual cuppa, coffee or sandwich.

There’s just so few brunch places around nowadays that eludes the super chillax uncommercialized feel like The Plain does. I’d be lying if I said cafes like Wild Honey, Epicurious and Spruce are like that too. Somehow, they come across as trendier, with a see and be seen vibe to it, where you actually end up dressing up for a simple brunch. On the other hand, I’d be entirely comfortable dropping by The Plain in my shorts and flip flops.

There’s nothing distinctly special about the food here. The food menu is quite limited and the items can be easily prepared at home. For example, the Darling’s Eggs ($12), “Poached Egg with Ham, Cheese and Roma Tomatoes on Sourdough Toast”, can be easily replicated. Seriously, poaching eggs isn’t that difficult! Normally, it’s the Hollandaise Sauce that comes along with it that’s the problem but The Plain keeps it simple by using melted cheese instead.

My personal preference veers to the Dean’s Breakfast ($11), “Poached Eggs with Melted Cheese & Vegemite on Sourdough Toast”. This is my first time eating vegemite, a yeast extract that is supposedly nutritious. I thought it went rather well with the toasted sourdough, intensifying the flavour of the melted cheese. My only quibble was that the eggs were noticeably over-poached so the yolk was solid instead of runny. That definitely can be worked on.

HH and JH shared an Iced Chocolate but I didn’t get to try it.

Iced Chocolate ($5.50)

The Plain does their coffees well. T got a Cappuccino (butter cookies on the side were made by T’s gf and meant for decorative purposes only and not served with the coffee) which he said was pretty good.

For myself, I got a Latte which was quite fragrant and smooth with the right thickness (“gao-ness”).

While I normally emphasize on the food, I think The Plain is just one of the few places where I can bear to leave critical food-related judgements behind (not that there are many) and soak in the ambience instead. It does help that the staff are super approachable and really treat their customers as they would their friends.

PS: Currently, I’m embarking on a pet project to identify Singapore’s best 5 brunch places so you’d probably see more brunch posts coming up shortly.

Bon Appetit!

The Plain

50 Craig Road

Tel: +65 6225 4387





L’Entrecote – You don’t need Wagyu for good Steak

22 12 2011

One problem I find when dining out is that sometimes there are just too many choices available on the menu that I’m left overly spoilt for choice, not knowing what exactly does the restaurant specialize in. Often, I resort to simply asking the restaurant staff for their personal recommendations to facilitate my decision making process. If this is what frustrates you often, L’Entrecote might just be the place for you!

The dining concept at L’Entrecote is simple. They offer you the best of what they do – the Entrecote Steak ($29++), drizzled in a fiercely guarded secret butter-based sauce with a free-flow of Crisp Golden Shoestring Fries & Salad and complemented with a complimentary glass of their hand picked red wine. The only decision left to the diner is whether or not to order any appetizers and/or desserts.

We ordered our steaks medium rare and it was done as such. While the steak wasn’t marbled, it is cooked in a fashion that enables you to enjoy it lean, with a texture resembling that of a slab of lightly seared tuna. The steak is served as 2 portions, possibly to allow the 2nd portion to be kept warmed before it is finally served, so what is seen below is just the 1st portion (about 60% of the actual amount of steak)

So for that affordable steak meal, do try out L’Entrecote. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Bon Appetit!

L’Entrecote

36 Duxton Hill

Tel: +65 6238 5700





Pasta Brava – Hearty Italian at Mass Market Prices

13 12 2011

Sherwin’s, Sophie’s and Annie’s birthdays were long overdue and due to the 101 reasons that kept everyone busy over the past month, we didn’t get a chance to celebrate during the school term. And since school’s finally out, I had tasked myself with finding an appropriate place for a casual birthday lunch.

You know for large group gatherings, an appropriate lunch venue requires affordability, accessibility and of course, a minimum standard of quality, and finding such an ideal lunch spot is indeed a tall task. Faced with such a situation, I humbly suggested Pasta Brava, a restaurant on my to-go list which I had yet to try.

Located within walking distance from Tanjong Pagar Mrt, Pasta Brava serves hearty authentic Italian fare at very very reasonable prices about $25ish to $35ish a person for a generously portioned main. It has cemented its position and credibility in the Singapore food scene after garnering numerous accolades and awards over the past decade which are conspicuously framed up on the wall of the reception area.

The pastas here are pretty heavy so while I’m an advocate of having a complete meal consisting appetizer, main and dessert, you you might want to consider skipping the appetizers unless you are planning on sharing the mains. And instead of having desserts here, you can also consider strolling around the Ann Siang or Duxton area to try the various highly acclaimed patisseries such as k ki, Bonheur Patisserie and Flor Patisserie.

In descending order starting from my favourite pasta, I enjoyed the Spaghetti Della Pescatrice, “Spaghetti with Seafood in Squid Ink Sauce” ($23++) the most. Some of my friends found the briny squid ink sauce a little too salty but I thought it was awesome with the subtle bittersweet clam juices infused into the pasta.

One of the better risottos I have had, the Risotto Al Funghi Porcini, “Arborio Rice cooked with Porcini Mushrooms, White Wine & Parmesan Cheese” ($23++) is something I would recommend ordering here. Don’t attempt to finish this alone though as the cheesiness gets to you after awhile. The Porcini Mushrooms adds a texture akin to smooth fresh scallops to the dish which I find extra inviting,

I have a particular fondness of clams. I think it’s because of the fond memories I have about my trip to Gold Coast when I was younger where I picked up live clams off the beach and boiled them back in the hotel to eat. Subjectivity aside, there was consensus that the Spaghetti Alle Vongole In Bianco, “Spaghetti with Fresh Clams, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Wine and Parsley” ($19++) was one of the favourites of the meal.

Spaghetti Anacapri Al Cartoccio, “Spaghetti with Crayfish, Garlic, Herbs & Tomato Sauce served in Parchment Paper” ($23++). I’m not sure if it’s because of the effect of sealing it in parchment paper that stops the white wine from vapourizing but I detected a stronger than usual wine taste which I quite enjoyed (then again, no description of wine is mentioned for this dish so I might just have imagined things).

Agnolotti Farciti Al Salmone, “Round-shaped Pasta filled with Fresh Salmon, served with Tomato and Cream Sauce” ($22.50++). Agnolotti is a type of ravioli, and the difference in naming convention arises mainly from the initial place of origin, with Agnolotti originating from Northern Italy and Ravioli from the Coastal South. The difference in locale also results in a difference in terms of stuffing used, where fish, vegetables and cheese was commonly used for Ravioli while meat was used as a stuffing for Agnolotti.

The Fettuccine Alla Carbonara, “Fettuccine with Bacon, Onion, Egg Yolk, White Wine & Cream Sauce” ($20++) is decent but too heavy for my liking. The pasta was also a little on the soft side.

While the Linguini Regina Del Mare, “Linguini with Clams, Prawns, Scallops, Squid, Crayfish, Garlic & Tomato Sauce” ($23++) looks like the Spaghetti Cartoccio (above), the tomato sauce comes across as less flavourful.

There’s no end to good food around the Tanjong Pagar and Outram area but Pasta Brava has left a deep enough impression to warrant future revisits.

Bon Appetit!

Pasta Brava

11 Craig Road

Tel: +65 6227 7550





Table 66 – Sous Vide Love

14 06 2010

Love is patient, love is kind.

Love is not jealous, it does not brag and it is not proud.

Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not become angry easily.

Love does not remember the wrongs done against it.

Love is not happy with evil, but happy with truth.

Love bears all things, belives all things,

hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. 

Love is Table 66.

 

Helming Table 66 is Chef Vincent, the former executive chef of Desire @ The Scarlet Hotel. Having heard great things about Desire but haven’t had the opportunity to try it out, I was expectant that this would turn out to be a nice prelude to a meal there. On the other hand, given the raving reviews from the online foodie community, the tables might have turned with Table 66 giving Desire a run for their money. 

I like what is quoted from their website, “An Epicurean Experience without the Extravagence”. I’m so glad that Table 66 doesn’t disguise itself as just another fine dining outlet but choosing instead to focus on serving up delectable yumyums without the hefty pricetag.

Set lunches start from an affordable $22++ for a 2-course and $26++ for a 3-course. An additional $3++ is charged should one opt for a meat dish instead of a pasta as the main.  

One of the best complementary breads I have had, this Onion bread came straight out of the oven still piping hot and crisp with a wafting discernable oniony frangrance. If something free tasted so good, I knew that I was in for a treat for items that I was actually paying for.

The actual meal started off with a stellar Sous Vide Egg & Asparagus with Hollandaise & Parmesan Biscuit. From what I have read online, Sous Vide involves cooking foods(primarily meats) under low temperatures of around 60 degrees celsius in a vacuum pack to ensure that the juices remain sealed within the meat, leaving the meat tender. I loved the Sous Vide egg. The whites were semi-solid and yolk runny, somewhat like a quarter boiled egg except that the whites were more evenly cooked. My ravings for egg stops here because what really entralled me was the appetizingly creamy Hollandaise. Without a doubt, best Hollandaise ever! The Asparagus was a nice pairing for the runny egg but I felt that the Parmesan Biscuit was there more for decorative purposes.

I couldn’t get the hang of the overly tangy and acidic Spicy Lemon Dressing in my Salmon Sashimi & Avacado Salad. Definitely sticking to the Sous Vide Egg next time!

A deceptively simple dish was the Salmon Fillet. While it looks ordinary, I was deeply impressed by the mastery of heat control which resulted in a thicker than normal crisp browning surface without any hint of overcooking. Lesson learnt, do not judge a fish by it’s colour. Is that a Portobello mushroom I spy lurking at a corner? 

Chef Vincent has made a Sous Vide fan out of me. His rendition of the Sous Vide Lamb Shank on Garlic Pomme Puree & in its own Jus was my most incredible brush with Lamb Shank. I kid you not when I say that my knife cut through the meat as though it was butter. Void of any gamey taste, and with the fats and meat still left wholely intact by extended periods of cooking under low temperatures, scrumptious! And did I mention the to-die-for buttery Pomme Puree aka Potato Mash on the side? This was truly heaven on a plate.

Dessert of the Day happened to be Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. It turned out more like a brownie but who’s complaining? And see the yummy specks of vanilla beans? A boost to my already sky-rocketing endorphin and serotonin levels.

Though not as good as the Chocolate cake, I would still have polished off this enticing Cheesecake with Berry Compote any other day but as fate might have it, portions in Table 66 are so absolutely generous that I was stuffed to the brim. I hate wasting food, and isn’t there an old chinese saying that if you waste food, your future girlfriend will have many pimples?

I’m glad that my virgin acquaintance with Sous Vide came from Table 66. I’m sure it sets a high enough benchmark to compare Sous Vide cooking from other restaurants in the future.

That said, I had a blast and plans for a Table 66 Part II is definitely in the works!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

TABLE 66

66 TRAS STREET

TEL: +65 6225 6690





Otto Ristorante

10 04 2010

We all deserve that occasional pampering once in a while. For that pupose, there are spas, medicure & pedicures, massages, facials and there is Otto

Otto’s lunch set menu($35++) varies weekly, which is great because it not only shows off the full extent of the chef’s abilities but at the same time gives him flexibility in cooking as well. One will never bore at what Otto has to offer.

Though touted as Italian Fine Dining, I felt that the low ceilings and confined space allowed for too many decibels which made my dining experience there a little less than private. Then again, the service mannerisms, furnishings and food were able to hit the mark of a fine dining venue.

Amuse Bouche came in the form of a Gratinated Cauliflower. A palate teaser to whet the appetite…

Choice of Appetizer (Roast Beef with Tuna Sauce “tannata” or Classic Caeser Salad with Garlic Croutons and shaved Parmesan Cheese or Cauliflower Soup

The Roast Beef with Tuna Sauce could hardly be called an appetizer. The portion was huge! Not that I’m complaining. Easily my favourite dish from the meal, I was entralled by the hedonistic pleasures derived from popping these streaks of thinly sliced beef in my mouth. The capers also gave the beef a savoury kick.

Despite throwing in strips of fried egg, it proved to be nothing more than an accessory for aesthetic appeal and I found the Caeser Salad boring, unable to detect the presence of Parmesan. The only thing worth mention was the crispy and flavourful Garlic Croutons.

Choice of Main (Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cheese & Walnut Sauce or Pork Loin Scaloppini with Marsala Wine Sauce and Vegetable Ratatouille or Confit Grouper Fillet with Cauliflower Veloute)

I am used to the chinese style of steaming or frying grouper till its flesh is tender so eating grouper cooked in this style was a first for me. The thick slab of Grouper confit was surprisingly firm and I thought the Cauliflower Veloute(similar to a soft mash) paired nicely and did well to make this dish a little more exciting. Still, Grouper won’t be replacing Cod as my perennial choice of fish anytime soon.

You can give it a long and fancy name but at the end of the day, it’s just a Pork Chop and it didn’t wow me.

Choice of Dessert (Pear & Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Sauce or Otto’s Ice Cream or Sherbet)

I thought this was going to be a typical chocolate fondant. Instead, what arrived was a warm and crisp Pear Cake whose texture and taste reminded me of a Carrot Cake with a mild Vanilla Sauce drizzled at it’s base. It didn’t matter at all that I couldn’t really taste the chocolate. This was oomphalicous regardless!

Otto’s Ice Cream on the other hand was just erm ice cream…good old comfort food.

I like pampering and I like Otto, do you?

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

OTTO RISTORANTE

28 MAXWELL ROAD, #01-02 RED DOT TRAFFIC BUILDING

TEL: +65 6227 6819





Cafe 2000 @ M Hotel

19 03 2010

It confounds me as to why there are 2 international buffet outlets located within M Hotel. Having had an unpleasant experience at The Buffet on the 2nd Level of M Hotel, I was slightly apprehensive about what Cafe 2000 could bring to the table.

Cafe 2000′s Weekday Semi-Buffet Dinners are priced at $40++ which is rather reasonable considering you get access to the buffet line as well as a separate choice of main.

It isn’t chichi and doesn’t pretend to be. Functioning on an open kitchen concept, the ambience exudes mellow vibes and the restarant is not cluttered with unnecessary props. Casual leisurely dining is the name of the game here. 

The bread bar was ok, with a fair variety of breadsticks and bread but leaving bread out in the open to weather the harsh humidity is a definite no no for me since I disdain cold stale bread. The salad bar is surprisingly decent. However, it was separated into 2 different sections and I only discovered the 2nd one only after my meal. sighz…

What’s a buffet without fresh seafood and sashimi? The oysters were pretty fresh for a buffet and the prawns managed to retain it’s natural sweetness. The sashimi was alright too but the shoyu tasted a bit strange(immensely salty compared to what I am used to).

 

For cooked dishes, there was Sweet Corn and Pork Rib Soup, Potato and Leek Soup, Thin Crusted Pizza, Chicken Satay, Buttered Fish, Roast Beef and a Pasta Station where they cook your pasta on request. Though there was a limited choice of cooked dishes, they were all well executed except for the Tomato Based Pasta which I found too tangy and the Potato Soup which I found too starchy.

Choice of main course is cooked and served separately from the rest of the buffet food. I chose the Lamb Shank Braised in Red Wine Gravy, served with Greenpea Mash and Vegetable & Mushroom Ragout as my main. The meat though not tough, didn’t fall under the tender category either and it was slightly bland, reminding me of the one I had at Borshch Steakhouse last year. For some reason, the mass cooked dishes in the buffet was better.

 Desserts, glorious desserts! Shelves and shelves of petite tartlets, kuehs, cakes, purees and fondue…all vying for my undivided attention in unison! I had to make my choices wisely, with my tummy quickly running out of room. Sticking to mainly chocolate and coffee based cakes, I fancied the Cappuccino Cake and especially the Durian Puree which was fresh, thick and bittersweet, one serving was not nearly enough.

   

I found the service near impeccable and my dad mentioned that the last time he was there, his napkin was always neatly folded back on the table whenever he returned from the buffet line. This my dears is what I call service.

Buffet aside, Cafe 2000 is actually more famous for it’s Chicken Pies and Curry Puffs. It’s supposed to be $4/piece but I ordered it after 8pm so it came to $2.80/piece. The Chicken Pie is touted as one of the best in Singapore and I agree. Unlike the conventional ones, no potatoes are used, only generous amounts of carrot, mushroom and chicken and it’s x-factor lies in it’s gravy(can I call it that?), creamy and tantalizing. SHIOK!

Yummy food, unpretentious ambience and service, will I come again? If not for the buffet then definitely for the Chicken Pies.

Bon Appetit!

 

CAFE 2000

81 ANSON ROAD, LOBBY LEVEL M HOTEL

TEL: +65 6500 6112








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