Portico – Comparing the Signature Menu, SG50 Menu and Daily Set Lunch Menu

26 07 2015

It’s places like Portico that excite the food blogger in me. Rather than blogging about an establishment in town that is already well-covered, food bloggers’ value add to the general public in my view comes from highlighting restaurants that are a little less well known, possibly new establishments or restaurants that are further away from the city centre. Portico fits the bill perfectly…

Housed in the former premises of Hosted on the Patio inside an estate of low-rise commercial buildings, Portico isn’t the most conspicuous of places but is still accessible by public transport (10mins walk from  Labrador Park MRT station), a sufficiently long walk to whip up an appetite.

One of the things I like best about Portico is the laid-back casual ambience, complemented by a warm service staff. It really felt like I was dining at a friend’s place, where I was free to just walk about the spacious restaurant, snapping pictures without feeling like I was disrupting anyone’s meal. With a seating capacity of 100 pax, it’s a perfect venue for large gatherings and celebrating special occasions.

Apart from the daily set lunch ($38++ for 3-courses, also avail on Saturdays), there are two other sets available during lunch time as well; a 5-Course SG50 lunch set priced at $50++ and a 4-course Signature Set Menu priced at $58++.

Alternatively, the ala-carte menu is also reasonably priced with mains starting from $26++ and up. This is made more attractive with an ongoing promotion for diners with the American Express Platinum card , where each order of a main course comes with a complimentary dessert, subject to term and conditions.

As it was our first time here, our party of 4 decided to try the different lunch sets for comparison.

SG50 Set Menu ($50++ for 5 Courses)

While Portico primarily serves European cuisine, the SG50 set menu showcases a fusion of Western dishes with Singapore cuisine influences. For example, our first course comprised of Bak Kut Teh Terrine and Chili Crab Brioche. Was a bit let down by the gelatinous terrine as the Bak Kut Teh flavor was a bit too subtle, especially evident given that the terrine was served cold which masked the flavours even more. We did enjoy the Chili Crab Brioche however, which was reminiscent of a Chili Crab over a Fried Mantou.

The second course was an upscale “Rojak”. The vegetables and fruits came in a vacuum pack which we poured into the bowl of Shrimp Paste Espuma, Peanuts and Crispy Bean Puffs (tau pok). The tau pok was intentionally burnt to achieve a charred smokey flavor that complemented the shrimp paste well but feedback from around the table was mixed regarding the extent of the charring.

Next up was a Smoked Pork Wanton Soup, comprising a Tortellini of Smoke Pork, Konjac noodles and Pork Bone Broth. While many of us might not be familiar with Konjac noodles (one that currently comes to mind is the one used in the Spicy Salivating Chicken Dish at Xi Yan @ Shaw Lido / Craig Road), most should be familiar with Konnyaku Jelly that we would probably have had in our childhood. I like that the texture of Konjac noodles comes across as a little more springy relative to the usual flour-based noodles but taste-wise, this definitely wasn’t as inspiring as the previous two dishes.

For main, we were served a Laksa Risotto, which turned out to be one of my favourite dishes for this lunch. The Risotto was made using 3 different “grains”; Quinoa, Orzo (a short rice-shaped pasta) and Barley, which was served with a side of Laksa Leaf Pesto, Coconut Foam, a Pulau Ubin Sea Bass Fishcake and a perfectly grilled Tiger Prawn. When everything was mixed together, no doubt it reminded me of the rich laksa gravy from Katong. The bean puff (tau pok) was awesome too, much on the crispy side, providing nice juxtaposition texturally.

Last up was the Teh-ramisu. You heard that right, a tiramisu-inspired dish that uses Teh Terik infused Sponge and a Milk Tea Mascarpone Mousse, topped with caramel pearls. It scores well on the novelty factor and S mentioned it had a nice hint of earl grey or ginger as well.

Overall, two thumbs up for the SG50 Set Menu. Creative and very tasty.

Signature Set Menu ($58++ for 4-courses)

The signature menu as its name suggests, offers what’s best on the menu and a quick way for first-time diners to get introduced to Portico. A well-blended smooth mushroom soup was served first, together with a parmesan pastry tuile. I thought it was pleasant but not good enough to be listed as a signature item.

The second course was a Salad of Vine-ripened Tomatoes with Jamon Serrano, Organic Quinoa and Honey Melon Dressing. Again, I found it pleasant but nothing distinct enough to make it stand out from similar salads at other restaurants.

For main, we had the choice between the Chicken Confit and a Pan-seared Pulau Ubin Sea Bass. We opted for the latter and it was served with Roasted Potatoes and Herbed Beurre Blanc sauce (aka French White Butter Sauce). One of the betters ones I have had of late, the skin of the Sea Bass was seared to a nice crisp, the fish meat moist and not overcooked and the fish was really fresh. The Sea Bass used here is shipped daily from a fishery in Pulau Ubin and arrives within two hours of the fish being caught, hence the freshness. This we felt, definitely earned its spot in the signature menu.

Dessert came in the form of a Deconstructed Blackforest, using 70% Varlhona Dark Chocolate Mousse, Hazelnut Soil, Cherry Coulis and Caramel Ice Cream. For dramatic effect, some popping candy was also added which gave the popping echos to the surprise of diners. This was insanely good in my humble opinion, something worth popping by for even without the full meal.

Daily Set Lunch Menu ($38++ for 3-courses)

The daily set lunch menu changes frequently but during this occasion, paled in comparison to both the SG50 and Signature Menu Sets.

From a choice of 4 Salads, we chose one that had Berries, Quinoa and Avocado. A really refreshing starter with the tang form the Raspberries and Pomegranate doing a great job in stimulating our salivary glands.

For mains, we had a choice of the Roasted Duck Leg or the 3 Grain Laksa Risotto. We chose the former since the Laksa Risotto was a compulsory dish in the SG50 menu. As the duck was roasted rather than fried, the meat remained sufficiently moist at the expense of a more crispy duck skin one would normally find in a duck confit dish. However, a rather meh dish overall.

The Cake of the Day was a Blueberry Lavender Cake. This was pretty disappointing as the cake was rather dry and too dense for my liking.

As it was R’s belated birthday, we also ordered a slice of Rainbow Cake, which fared slightly better but honestly, just stick with the Deconstructed Blackforest…

Aesthetically-pleasing and creative dishes that taste good to boot, a laid-back charming setting while staying friendly on the pocket. That pretty much sums up our experience at Portico.

PS: There is an Ultimate Truffle Fries (800g of Truffle Fries with white truffle salt, truffle shavings, shaved aged gruyere and edible golf leaf) on the menu…I got my eye on you.

Portico

Address: 991B Alexandra Road, Singapore 119970

Tel: +65 6276 7337

Website: http://portico.sg/

 





Bedrock Bar & Grill – Best Way to use the Entertainer App

28 06 2015

Whenever someone talks to me about the Entertainer App (a subscription-based food app that offers 1-for-1 main course deals), somehow or another the conversation usually steers toward how using the app for a single meal at Fat Cow (a participating restaurant) will already cover the annual subscription cost of the app. While I’m a fan of their set lunch wagyu donburi and fatty foie gras don, the ala carte steaks/sukiyaki there were quite a disappointment. In its place, I feel that Bedrock Bar & Grill ought to be conferred the title for “best use of the Entertainer App”.

Frankly from the outside, Bedrock looks pretty uninviting, especially with the outdoor seats usually devoid of diners given the ample space indoors. Most people just walk past without so much of a second glance. In my humble opinion, it’s really one of the most underrated steakhouses around.

Complimentary bread here comes in the form of a warmed naan, served with butter and roasted garlic. The roasted garlic is insanely addictive and is semi-soft enough to act as a spread for the bread. I would totally buy it if it didn’t already come free.

Dining here this occasion as a party of 4, our initial inclination was to get 2 set lunches (priced between $38-$58++ and available on weekends) and 2 ala carte mains to get a better sense of what the restaurant had to offer. However, the wait staff advised us against it as the portions here were too large and insurmountable for the likes of us. Upon finding out that we were intending to use the Entertainer app, he recommended just getting 2 ala carte mains (a massive half kilogram porterhouse and a 400g ribeye), while complementing the meal with additional sides and dessert. That, he said, would provide the best deal and it definitely was on hindsight. We were truly appreciative of his sincerity, at the expense of the restaurant earning a smaller bill.

We started with the 500g Australian Grass-fed Porterhouse ($96++). The Porterhouse is a cut similar to a T-Bone Steak and you can think of both of them as a 2-for-1 cut, where you get a segment of tenderloin and striploin separated by a middle bone. The main difference between the Porterhouse and T-Bone is the location of the cut, with the Porterhouse having a larger tenderloin section.

Cooking a Porterhouse is less straightforward as the tenderloin segment tends to be smaller than the striploin, so heat control and timing becomes really important to ensure that the entire steak is evenly cooked. Some segments of the one we had felt slightly over but overall still well executed.

If you prefer a more marbled cut, the ribeye is the way to go. We shared the 400g USDA Prime Ribeye ($96++) and it really stood out for me.

Served with 5 accompany sauces; Red wine sauce, Bearnaise, Chimichurri (wikipedia: green sauce used for grilled meat, originally from Argentina made of finely-chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white vinegar), Whiskey with Mustard Seeds and Chili Oil, my favourites were the Chimichurri since I’m a garlic fan and the Whiskey with Mustard Seeds which had a nice smokey BBQ-sauce feel to it.

While I’m not a Mac & Cheese fan, the one here ($20++) was really satisfying and I can’t recall if I have ever had one that I enjoyed more. The macaroni was al dente, the Gorgonzola sauce had the right consistency and not overly soggy, the layer of Parmesan was crisp and contrasted well with the chewy macaroni and the infusion of truffle oil was icing on the cake, making the dish more aromatic and savoury.

Later that night, I headed to The Disgruntled Chef at Dempsey for dinner and had their highly acclaimed Mac & Cheese as well, but Bedrock still does it better in my book.

The Creamed Spinach ($18++) however, was less memorable.

Portions here are massive. We shared the Apple Crumble for 2 ($26++) between the 4 of us and it was more than sufficient. M loved the streusel but felt that the apples were too tart. Maybe I’m less picky but I thought it was well-executed and the sweetness of the apples was balanced.

For participating restaurants under the Entertainer app, the yardstick of a good restaurant is whether I would return even without a discount. To which I would gladly say yes to Bedrock Bar & Grill.

Bedrock Bar & Grill

Address: 96 Somerset Road, #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard, Singapore 238163

Tel: +65 6238 0054





Operation Dagger – Experimental Cocktails Gone Right

11 03 2015

Food enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice this month. From 7th to 14th March, we have Singapore Cocktail Week, with a host of activities lined up ranging from cocktail workshops, pop up bars and cocktail bar crawls happening throughout the week.

Then, from 14th to 22nd March comes the 10th edition of Singapore Restaurant Week, where diners get the opportunity to try out special set menus at a special fixed price from some of the finest restaurants in town.

To end off the month, from 26th to 29th March, we have Savour 2015, a food festival for gourmands. Its not merely a gourmet food fair, as attendees also get the chance to participate in interesting workshops such as Sake & Beer Masterclasses and partake in hands-on cooking classes with the guidance of industry professionals. There’s even a Gourmet Market, where you can get your hands on white strawberries, cheeses, oysters, wines, sakes etc. It’s definitely going to be a whole day affair for me.

Given that we are in the midst of Cocktail Week, I thought it would be apt to blog about one of the participating bars – Operation Dagger, where I was at during the first day of the two weekend long event.

Some of my friends had previously raved to me about this joint and after today, I can see why. The spirits used for the cocktails have all undergone some form of modification or redistillation processes to infuse certain flavors into the spirits and are subsequently all rebottled into generic brown bottles, giving the effect of a chemistry lab or fragrance lab. That is also the reason why you won’t ever see spirits in their original bottles here. Very hipster indeed.

I managed to try 2 of the cocktails from the concise menu, both of which I found refreshingly creative. The Egg ($25) comprised of salted egg yolk, vanilla, caramel and had been smoked, which is why it is served in a jar, probably to preserve its smoky aroma. I have come across smoked beers in Bamberg, Germany but never smoked cocktails, so this was a first for me. The cocktail carried with it an incense-like scent that was stronger to the smell than to the taste. I thought that the smokiness accentuated the saltiness of the salted egg yolk, adding greater depth and the cocktail’s flavour sort of reminded me of a mild but smoother Bailey’s.

The tiny glass to the right of The Egg is the Hot + Cold ($25), a cocktail flavoured with lavander, coconut and pineapple. The Hot + Cold literally describes the cocktail, where the top foamy layer is warm and smells like freshly baked buttery new year pastries, while the bottom layer is somewhat reminiscent of a pineapple-infused pina colada. My friend G commented it was too weak for her liking (she’s hardcore and loves stiff drinks) but I actually liked the flavours a lot.

No night is complete with just one cocktail so we headed down to Jigger and Pony for their Punch Bowl and man, it definitely packed a punch despite such an innocent look and unassuming name. I suppose that’s just what happens when 600ml of spirits and a whole bottle of prosecco is poured in a bowl.

Happy drinking!

Operation Dagger

7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069791





Mikuni – A Tough to Beat Set Lunch

25 01 2015

Located on the 3rd floor of Raffles City / Fairmont Hotel, Mikuni brings together Teppanyaki, Robatayaki and Sushi, enthralling diners and leading them on a gastronomic adventure across the best of what Japan has to offer. Diners may choose to sit at the general dining area or on any one of the three counters; sushi, teppanyaki or robatayaki to watch the master chefs in action. On this occasion, I chose the sushi counter.

General dining area

Set lunches (11 choices in total) are available daily, with prices starting from $65++ onwards, providing diners with options spanning teppanyaki, robatayaki, tempura and sushi main courses. Spoilt for choice, I chose the Premium Bento Miyabi ($120++), which offered a good mix of the options mentioned. 

Sushi Counter

Starters were simple yet effective and we particularly liked the salad dressing. The thin sheets of seasoned crackers tasted somewhat like Chinese New Year Prawn Rolls.

Next up was three kinds of sashimi; Salmon, Chutoro and Scallops. Not often does one find Chutoro in a set lunch so I was pleasantly surprised.

When the mains arrived, I was totally blown away by the extensive variety and hearty portions afforded onto us.

From top-left clockwise: Kyoto Onion Soup, BBQ Eel on rice, Teppanyaki Prawns with a Golden Cheesy Sauce, a skewer of Grilled Kagoshima Beef, Mixed Tempura.

I was at a loss as to what I liked best amongst the mains, since all were top-class in execution. The draw was really the variety, where I could go back and forth between the different items without ever feeling cloyed or bored with any particular item.

Friend CW seemed to like the Teppanyaki Prawns best, which were garnished with ebiko, slices of asparagus and slathered in a golden buttery sauce.

For dessert, we were given a dense Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Crumble. 

Complimentary Matcha White Chocolate and Red Bean “Kueh” were also served as the bill was presented. A nice touch to end off a perfect weekend lunch.

What we liked about Mikuni was the consistent high quality present in every course. While meals here don’t come cheap, I found it fully justified by its value and utility. It will be tough to find a set lunch as awesome as this one.

Dining discounts are applicable to holders of the FAR card and Amex Platinum card.

Mikuni

80 Bras Basah Road, Fairmont Hotel 3F, Raffles City, Singapore 189560

Tel: +65 6431 6156





The White Rabbit – Church Altar to Bar Counter, where Wine still flows

4 01 2015

Much is to be expected at The White Rabbit, the dishes are competently executed and flavorful, the ambience classic yet not overly sombre despite being housed in a conserved military chapel. It’s also hard not to notice the establishment’s efforts to include whimsical minute details that play to the theme of Alice in Wonderland.

At night, the restaurant is relatively dim, providing an intimate setting and this strongly contrasts with how the restaurant looks in the daytime, where sunlight seeps through the stained glass windows, brightening the entire atmosphere.

The fresh and toasty complimentary bread served was swiftly decimated, a relatively rare occurrence since I usually try to save more stomach space. Instead of getting appetizers, we decided to get some sides to accompany our mains instead but really, the sides were nothing to shout about.

Truffled Mac and Cheese with Mushrooms ($16++)

When Iris mentioned she wanted to get the Grilled Asparagus with Truffled Hollandaise ($18++), groans echoed about the table. $20 for 6-7 strips of vegetables would surely tug at most guys’ heartstrings. Ironically enough, these same guys would probably not bat an eyelid forking out $200 for a bottle of Moet at a club in an attempt to look cool. The absurdity of guy and girl logic…

For mains, we started with the Dorper Lamb Rack ($48++), served with spiced cous-cous, ratatouille, lemongrass basil jus. The Dorper lamb is a common domestic South African breed, very resilient to arid climates. The lamb was executed to faultless perfection, moist and tender with a slight sear on the surface.

Another signature main worth getting is the 36-hour Brandt Short Ribs ($48++), more so if you are a fan of pork ribs and have not tried beef ribs before. You will surely be in for a treat. An interesting touch is the truffle miso glaze that adds a slight crisp to the surface of the rib, providing some texture to the dish. Instead of the usual heavy potato mash, a light smooth parsnip purée and a side of field mushrooms are served on the side instead, a much welcome change that provides some balance.

Prepare also to be mindblown by the 60-hour Braised Magalica Pork Belly ($42++), served with spiced purple cabbage, white beans and miso broth. Just the previous week, I had the 12-hour cooked Pork Belly at Restaurant Ember, which to me sets the yardstick for western-style 烧肉. I wouldn’t say that the White Rabbit does it better but it does come pretty close, in terms of gastronomic enjoyment.

Think of the Tagliatelle ($45++) as a Alaskan King Crab mee pok doused in pork broth and kombu. While it was good, it paled in comparison to the meat mains we had earlier and came across as slightly pricey for a relatively simple pasta dish. Perhaps I would think differently if we had it before the meats, given that the flavours of this dish was lighter and doubles up as a possible appetizer.

The Baked Alaska ($18++) seemed to be one of the signature dishes here, where flaming liqueur is poured over a meringue encased vanilla ice cream cake. My first encounter with it was during national service days, when one of my fellow air force cadets brought us to Xiyan Private Dining along Craig Road, where his parents are shareholders. It has never been one of my favourite desserts taste-wise but as you can imagine, a flaming dessert never fails to excite the crowd.

On a side note, Xiyan has now opened a casual dining outlet at Shaw Centre. Some dishes such as the Salivating Chicken (also available at the Private Dining outlet) were excellent but most of the other dishes came across as fairly mediocre, dashing my high hopes.

If you have preference for a lighter dessert, especially after waves of meat-based mains, do go for the the White Chocolate Mille-Feuille ($18++), a three layered filo-pastry with alternating layers of white chocolate cream. The side of rhubarb sorbet does well to cleanse the palate too!

For chocolate aficionados, you won’t go wrong with the Chocolate Fondant ($18++). I thought that the fondant was more buttery and savory than usual, which was a plus in my view, probably due to its caramel core. Without the menu, it would be almost impossible to guess the flavor of the accompanying ice cream; banana and rum, a splendid combination. In the dim lighting, some might miss out the cute intricacies of this dessert but try looking for the little bunnies made using gold foil, scampering about in the garden-themed plating.

Overall, two thumbs up for our experience at The White Rabbit. The food was near faultless during our visit but there were small hiccups in the service. Given that the restaurant was operating at full house, it took quite some time before anyone attended to me while I stood at the reception. Furthermore, the staff informed me that our reserved table was not ready yet and asked me to proceed to the waiting area, when the rest of my friends were already seated at that table. It’s not that I’m “niao” but these should not be happening in any restaurant that considers itself a fine-dining establishment.

On a side note, The White Rabbit is one of the participating restaurants for The Entertainer App Singapore, that gives 1-for-1 discounts off main courses here.

Last but not least, Happy New Year to all and have a blessed and peaceful 2015!

The White Rabbit

Address: 39C Harding Rd, Singapore 249541

Tel: +65 9721 0536





[Brussels, Belgium] Le Zinneke – Mind-blowing Mussels

20 12 2014

I used to be satisfied with the mussels from Brussel Sprouts back in Singapore but how my eyes have been opened in Belgium at Le Zinneke, one of the most highly rated mussels specialists in Brussels.

The restaurant is a bit further out from the city centre with no nearby subway stops but a tram line does run just outside the restaurant. The restaurant is really cosy, with most of the clientele made up of locals, already a good sign.

I opted for the 3-course set menu that goes for 36.50, where diners can choose a starter, 1kg of mussels in any sauce and a dessert from the ala carte menu. Personally I thought this was a great deal given that the cost of the sum of parts was significantly in excess of the set menu price.

I have been spamming myself with everything authentically Belgian and that includes the shrimp croquettes. Of the numerous ones I have tried this trip, the Homemade Grey Shrimp Croquettes (14.95/ala carte price) here made the most lasting impression, cheesy without being overly heavy.

The Madagascar Shrimps Red Devil Spicy (18.75/ala carte price) had a surprising Asian feel to it, especially since there was sufficient spice for our liking. My American Indian friend whom I was dining with wiped the plate clean, subsequently apologizing that he didn’t leave more sauce for me. Do you remember the last time someone apologized for taking all the sauce? Well I don’t. It was that good…

For the mains, we had 1kg of mussels each, done in two different styles to diversify the risk. Honestly, I can’t remember which styles we got exactly, it’s difficult to given that there are 69 different styles available on the menu. I only remembered that we had one with onions, herbs in a cream base and one that had curry and ginger in a cream base and boy were they good, especially the curry and ginger variant.

The mussels were unexpectedly plump and tender, with a firmness somewhere closer to oyster. Limited chewing required and you can expect a burst of flavor juices on your first bite. I never understood why my friends would say mussels in Belgium is on a whole new level till this meal. Accompany the mussels was a side of fries, twice-cooked as how it is usually done in Belgium.

I was already ready to call it a night and end it off on a high note. I wasn’t expecting dessert to fare nearly as good as the appetizers and mains anyway but was proved wrong. The Tiramisu was awesome, slightly more dense than average, veering somewhere between a cheesecake and a regular tiramisu. I also liked the crumble that topped the dessert, tasted much like digestive biscuits that went really well with the cream cheese. I couldn’t help but finish it in its entirety.

I was less enchanted by the Chocolate Mousse, since I’m not a big fan of dark chocolate. That said, it was smooth and definitely above average in quality.

Ending off my trip to Belgium and Paris, I undoubtedly had my most memorable meal at Le Zinneke among the meals I had there. Definitely a worthwhile trip for both locals and tourists alike.

Le Zinneke

Place de la Patrie 26, 1030 Schaerbeek, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 245 03 22

Website: www.lezinneke.be/





Fat Cow @ Camden Medical Centre – Holy Cow of a Set Lunch

6 10 2014

What I miss most about student life is the ability to partake in unhurried set lunches at “atas” establishments, at a fraction of the price of dinner service. Though even back then, it wasn’t easy to find restaurants that actually had set lunches worth going for, as the less dear set lunch prices usually meant getting certain items that were a poor excuse for a course. That’s what was so amazing with my first lunch visit to Fat Cow, a not so well kept secret of a Japanese Beef atelier. A typical dinner here easily runs into the $150-$300 range per pax, while set lunches are priced extremely reasonably between $26-$48++, which includes a salad, miso soup, chawanmushi, a choice between 12 main courses and dessert. Better yet, the set lunch is also available on Saturdays!

I first heard of Fat Cow from J almost 3 years back, after it had taken over the premises from Le Figue, a reputed French restaurant back in the day. It’s regretable that my first experience had come so late, for this is a gem that one should always keep close to heart.

*If you are planning on dining ala carte here, do download the Entertainer Singapore 2014 App, which contains three 1-for-1 vouchers on Main Courses here. The use of 1 Voucher already saves more than the 1-year subscription cost to the App.

Reception Area / Bar

Below is what a typical set lunch here looks like, with a partially eaten salad and sans the dessert. As mentioned above, there are 12 main courses to choose from for set lunches here, ranging from Tempura Dons, Chirashi, Sushi, Miso Cod, Kurobuta Tonkatsu, Beef Curry but most popular would be the Fat Cow Donburi (below) and the Fat Foa-gura Don.

Set lunch with half eaten salad and sans the dessert

The Fat Cow Donburi ($39++/set) comprised of A3 grade Charcoal-grilled Wagyu laced with truffle oil, with a perfectly poached onsen egg on the side. Freaking orgasmic is all I can say.

The Fat Cow Donburi

I really enjoyed the Fat Foa-gura Don ($43++/set) as well, which was grilled wagyu and glazed foie gras over rice. The beef is served in cubes with slightly more bite compared to the thinly sliced beef from the donburi and I feel that this allowed for a greater realization of how tender the beef actually was. The oily, decadent pieces of foie gras was executed expertly and not overcooked, definitely something I would consider ordering if it was available as a standalone side dish. While I could go at this all day, some might find this dish slightly unctuous. Well, that’s their loss.

Fat Foa-gura Don

Feedback from E was that the Chirashi ($48++/set) was decent as well, though from her facial expression, I could tell that her pleasure points fell short of the ecstasy I was feeling. Lucky for her, we also ordered some ala carte grilled wagyu, so not all was lost that day.

We tried the grilled Grade A3 Sirloin ($120++/150g) from Saga prefecture which is on the northwest part of Kyushu island and the grilled Ohmi Grade A4 Ribeye ($120++/150g) from Shiga prefecture. Unanimously, we all preferred the ribeye because the marbling was evidently better and had a richer flavor compared to the sirloin.

Now some people might ask, why do I pay in excess of $200 for a wagyu steak at those fancy schmancy restaurants when the same wagyu steak only costs $50 at Astons? The reason is because most likely, they aren’t the same. There are 3 things to look for when getting down and dirty with wagyu that might explain this price differential. Firstly, is it a cross-bred wagyu from Australia/US or pure-bred wagyu from Japan? Drilling down even deeper, wagyu really refers to Japanese beef, of which there are multiple breeds from the different prefectures (best known would of course be kobe) and each commands a different premium.

Secondly, assuming it is a purebred Japanese wagyu that we are looking at, the meat is then categorized by 2 grading metrics, one that looks at the yield of the meat (ratio of meat to the total weight of the carcass) and one that looks at the quality (marbling, meat colour, texture, fat colour).

For the yield metric, the beef is categorized either as A, B or C, with A (having the most yield) usually derived from a purebred Japanese wagyu. For the quality metric, the beef is then scored from 1-5, with 5 being the best. In addition, there is also a beef marble score (BMS) that is related to the quality metric, that scores the marbling on a scale from 3-12, where an A5 wagyu would have a BMS of between 8-12, an A4 wagyu would have a BMS of 5-7 and an A3 wagyu would have a BMS of 3-4.

Top: Saga Grade A3 Sirloin ($120++/150g), Bottom: Ohmi Grade A4 Ribeye ($120++/150g)

Ohmi Grade A4 Ribeye

Ohmi Grade A4 Ribeye

To end off our set lunch, we were provided with a scoop of Honeycomb Ice Cream and it was delish. Again, something that I wouldn’t mind ordering ala carte if it wasn’t part of the set lunch.

Given the flawless and reasonably priced set lunch, I can openly say that this has now become my top 2 favourite set lunches locally, the other being Ember (though I haven’t had the chance to revisit after Chef Sebastian left earlier this year).

 Fat Cow

1 Orchard Boulevard, #01-01/02 Camden Medical Centre, Singapore 248649

Tel: +65 6735 0308

Website: http://www.fat-cow.com.sg/








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