Pizzeria Mozza – Affordable for MBS Standards

9 01 2013

A visit to Marina Bay Sands always puts me in a dilemma. On one hand, a meal at the handful of celebrity and fine dining restaurants would surely bust my budget. On the other, paying over $10 for a food court meal isn’t an enticing option either. However, an optimal compromise would be Pizzeria Mozza, a reasonably priced Italian joint that has the backing of Mario Batali, who has appeared on Iron Chef America on multiple occasions.

Despite being a Wednesday, the restaurant filled up quickly and without reservations, one can only be resigned to counter seats, that’s if you are even fortunate enough to get one.

For a pre-theatre meal for 2 pax, a single portion of appetizer, main and dessert is just nice in my opinion, especially if you are thinking of getting a pizza as a main.

The Prawns Al Forno with Potato & Salsa Romesco ($19++) was a good choice for a starter, featuring 2 grilled prawns atop slices of roasted potatoes smeared with Salsa Romesco, which tasted very much like a meat based pasta sauce.

For our pizza main, we ordered the Burrata, Slow-roasted Tomato & Sicilian Oregano Pizza ($30++). The flavour of the tomatoes was pretty concentrated and the tang was a little overwhelming at first bite. After a while however, we quickly got accustomed to the strong flavours and also discovered the function of the burrata in neutralizing the tartness of the tomatoes. On the whole, I think it was a decent attempt, though I would have preferred a thinner outer crust.

For desserts, we got a serving of Gelato – Chocolate Malt, Vanilla & Olive Oil ($17++). Nothing out of the norm for the chocolate malt and the vanilla but this was definitely a first for the olive oil and I know of no other places that serves it. The taste was rather interesting, a little on the savoury side especially with the light sprinkling of salt flakes which was easily detectable.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is the best pizzeria in Singapore but based on the 2 meals I have had here, I would say that the quality of both the food and service is pretty consistent.

Pizzeria Mozza

2 Bayfront Avenue

Tel: +65 6688 8522

Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant @ Gardens By The Bay – Birth of the Kopi Crab

16 11 2012

While Gardens by the Bay is considered a national attraction, there’s now another reason to visit; the birth of the kopi crab. 10 years down the road, would it become an embodiment of Singapore cuisine, where the chili and black pepper crab now stand? I was about to find out.

Helmed by Chef Yong Bing Ngen, who also runs fine dining restaurants Jing @ One Fullerton and Majestic Restaurant @ New Majestic Hotel, Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant is the humblest of the three. Do not mistake it for a typical seafood restaurant you would find at East Coast Park though, as the experience I had here was definitely more up-market, as evident from the ambience. The tables are spaced well apart and you will never have to strain your voices just to be heard.

As with most Chinese Seafood restaurants in Singapore, the menu is extremely extensive, though the signatures do revolve around Seafood. The cuisine style is interesting because there’s a mix of the usual tried and tested fare, with avant garde dishes for the more adventurous.

Our Soup of the Day ($18++/small) was a homely Turnip soup with pork ribs. No doubt it had been simmered for a long time, given the sweet flavourful stock.

One of the deterrents to ordering steamed live prawns is the hassle of having to deshell them yourself. Of course, that’s not the only reason why I loved the Steamed live prawns (Market price: ~$70 per kg) here, which were skilfully sliced through the middle for easier access to the springy fresh without the need to dirty your hands. I enjoyed how the minced garlic was not too pungent, doing well to complement the delicately sweet prawns.

The highlight of the night was the Live crabs in Bay’s signature “Kopi” sauce (Market price: ~$56 per kg). From what I understand, Majestic Bay is the only restaurant that currently offers kopi crab, which was conceptualized as a result of Chef Yong’s love for coffee. 3 types of coffee beans; Arabica, Brazilian and White are used to produce an optimal aromatic flavour that engulfs the entire restaurant whenever this dish is brought out from the kitchen. To best describe that aroma, it would be Garrett’s Caramel Popcorn! As a finishing touch, a shot of coffee liquor is doused on the crab and ignited, releasing even more aromatics. Apple Jam and butter are also used to thicken and balance out the flavour of the sauce, so that the bitter taste of coffee isn’t too overwhelming. The result is surprisingly positive and such novelty is worth a try. That said, my preference still gravitates toward a decent butter crab or salted egg crab.

We also had the Sautéed Wild Mushrooms with Asparagus and Minced Garlic ($18++/small).

The Baked Rice and Assorted Seafood in Chef’s Recipe Sauce ($68++/small) was my favourite dish of the meal. It was a play on Macau’s Portuguese Baked Rice, albeit a more extravagant version. It reminded me much of a Spanish Paella fused with Japanese Curry, adorned with baby abalone, scallops, mussels, live prawns, squid and potatoes. The rice was extra fragrant as it was fried before the baking process. I usually don’t help myself to seconds but I made an exception this time. In fact, everyone at the table did. I was just super thankful that the portion size is really generous, easily satisfying the 6 of us.

We ended off with the Sweet’s Temptation ($20++), a dessert platter for 4 comprising Black Glutinous Rice Balls rolled in Coconut & stuffed with Yam Paste, Mochi stuffed with Cream, Strawberry & Mango, Deep Fried Red Bean Pancakes and Salted Egg Custard Buns. Personally, I was not impressed. The Black Glutinous Rice Balls was filled with an utterly dense yam paste, which I found much too heavy as a dessert. The Mochi was decent. The Red Bean Pancake was my favourite of the lot, with just the right amount of filling for the filo pastry used. While I am a fan of Salted Egg Custard Buns, the ones here are much too stingy on the custard filling and you won’t get to that climatic moment where all the custard oozes out when you make your first tear into the bun.

Overall, I was pleased with the entire experience and would definitely consider a revisit, especially given the food quality and reasonable prices. There’s a dim sum menu available for lunch as well, which features a Chili Crab Man Tou that I have been hearing good things about, where the crab meat and chili sauce is stuffed into the bun. Say nay to dirty hands!

Special thanks to Janice and FoodNews for hosting this dinner tasting!

Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant

18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-10 Garden’s By The Bay (Flower Dome)

Tel: +65 6604 6604

Rocks Urban Grill + Bar @ The Sail – No Smooth Sailing

6 12 2011

Rocks Urban Grill & Bar is the latest addition to the Emmanual Stroobant Group, which features reputable restaurants such as Saint Pierre, The French Kitchen and Picotin in Singapore. However sad to say, I find Rocks falling way short of its sister restaurants which is rather surprising since friend LZ did provide positive feedback on his last visit here.

Currently, there’s a festive 3-Course Set Lunch menu priced at $49++ and since my party was not provided with the usual weekly $39++ set lunch menu,  I’m guessing the festive set lunch menu might have replaced it for the time being. Personally, I was quite disappointed with the choices made available in the festive set, as they seem to feature cheaper and less popular alternatives compared to what is usually made available on the weekly set lunches, yet being priced at a premium. In the end, we decided to just go ala carte.

Served atop a hot pebble, the Sizzling Beef Maki ($18++) was more a feast for the eyes than the palate. The beef was slightly on the chewy side (though the extent of chewiness/rareness also depends on how long you leave it on the hot stone), and stuffed with what I believe to be Spinach, Mustard sauce and Parmesan cheese. Dipping it into the side of Soy (like how you would for sushi) is optional in my view because the soy simply overpowers everything, though eating the beef maki au naturale doesn’t result in a symphonic harmony of contrasting flavours either. In short, not recommended…

While it might seem aesthetically appealing, I suggest avoiding the Braised Lamb Shank with Rosemary, Thyme & Garlic ($33++). As far as I remember, this is definitely the most gamey and pungent lamb dish I have ever come across and I had quite a bit of trouble wolfing it down. This is definitely one of the areas Rocks should look into.

The meal started going uphill from here though I was already left with a bad taste in my mouth. While GR and CC liked the Grilled Baramundi ($30++), I thought it was merely pleasant. Enjoyable to eat, but not the best in town. The searing of the skin could have been made slightly crispier.

The Duck Confit ($33++) is done competently here. My only grouse is that the meat is slightly on the dry side but the duck skin and fat is simply marvelous and flavourful. Needless to say, duck confits are salty so a dessert is definitely in order after eating this.

We got the Baked Apple, Toffee Ice Cream with Double Cream & Brandy Snap ($14++) at GR’s request since he’s a huge apple fan and apple crumbles are his kryptonite. I think he quite enjoyed this but since I’m not much of a baked fruit kind of person, I thought the concept behind this dish is good and zingy with the combination of concentrated apple goodness and sour cream, but shall still prefer to stick to safer and more boring options such as cheesecake and chocolate fondants in future.

My favourite dish for the meal was the Cheesecake with Red Berry Sherbet & Apricot Chutney ($16++). I knew this had to be good seeing the specks of fragrant vanilla beans scattered throughout the cheesecake. The Sherbet is good too, and has a hint of yoghurty flavour despite sherbets supposedly having low dairy contents.

While I wasn’t impressed by their lunch, I concede that my negative experience could be partially because I failed to try what Rocks is known for, which is their Beef.

Bon Appetit!

Rocks Urban Grill + Bar

2 Marina Boulevard , #02-01/02 The Sail @ Marina Bay

Tel: +65 6438 4404

DB Bistro Moderne – A Winning Gamble in MBS

20 02 2011

If you are looking for “atas”, posh and excessively ostentatious, DB Bistro Moderne will probably not be the place for you. It really is simply a bistro, which according to the dictionary means, “a small informal restaurant serving wine”. Yet, such a phrase definitely doesn’t do justice in describing DB Bistro Moderne, the latest of Daniel Boulud’s (of famed New York 3-Michelin Star restaurant Daniel) creations.

While DB Bistro Moderne supposedly serves French American fusion (easily detected from the furnishings), apart from their Burgers, I find it quite difficult to see where the American influence fits in within the menu. As for the ambience, the feeling I get here is casual and cosy, the staff are polite, attentive and more than able to answer any queries about the food. Lunch Sets are available for $38/$48 for 2/3 Course but this time I was here for dinner (mid terms finally ended today yay!). My friends and I got here before 6.30pm on a Friday night and there were only counter seats available for those without reservations, so do make a reservation to avoid being turned away.

And here, Chef Boulud in the flesh!

Dinner started off with a few variants of warm complimentary bread.

We shared a Tarte Flambee($16) which resembled a thin-crusted pizza. Topped with Fromage Blanc (a creamy soft cheese), finely diced bacon (aka lardons) and onions, we found this to be a really pleasant appetizer.

For our other starter, we had the Foie Gras Terrine($26). Normally, I’d prefer foie gras to be pan fried rather than to be made into a terrine but this one here really got me thinking. Creamy, dense and slightly briny, I could just eat it alone but it goes even better when eaten with the brioche and who can forget about the mildly sweet quince (fruit related to apple and pear) which also complemented it really well.

For Main, the Barramundi Grenobloise($35) was really awesome. The skin of this Asian Seabass was pan-fried till a nice shade of crisp golden brown and the meat had a very delicate and simple flavour which was paired nicely with a brown butter sauce. While I usually stay away from cauliflower, DB Bistro Moderne does a fine job converting my dislikes into likes.

Although it was a tough decision, I felt that the Coq Au Vin($31) edged out the Barramundi slightly to become my favourite dish of the night. Coq Au Vin is a tradition french classic of chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, onions and pork belly and the one here was served with a side of noodles, albeit of a French nature. What I loved most about this dish was the gravy and the chicken skin. Even as I ate, I could not figure out how to best describe the gravy. There were just so many flavours interacting and complementing with each other simultaneously that it’s almost impossible to decipher the individual constituents or describe the resulting flavourful amalgam.  My only grouse was that the chicken meat could be a tad more tender but apart from that, it truly was an amazing dish.

Chef Boulud was seriously being overindulgent in creating the Original DB Burger($38), tucking a thick sirloin patty filled with Braised Short Ribs and Foie Gras between 2 halves of a parmesan bun (whose interior was brushed with some wasabi). While the idea is a novel one, I found it to be more style than substance. The short ribs was unsensational and foie gras overcooked and almost tasteless.

For Desserts, I was attracted to the sound of Coffee Rocky Road Ice Cream present in the Profiteroles Au Cafe($15). I liked it how the waiter started pouring hot chocolate sauce on the profiteroles only upon serving such that the ice cream would not melt so quickly. Apart from that, this was run of the mill with the coffee rocky road proving to be just a slight deviation from the norm.

The Clafoutis Tout Chocolat($15) or more commonly known Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake came served with Chocolate Sorbet and Vanilla Ice Cream. The chocolate cake was topped with some berry jam glaze which I thought was a nice touch. Didn’t care so much for the chocolate sorbet as I did the full flavoured vanilla ice cream. However somehow, flourless chocolate cakes don’t give me the same oomph I get from “floured” ones.

My dinner experience here was truly remarkable and I can’t wait for a revisit.

Bon Appetit!



TEL: +65 6688 8525

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