[Berlin, Germany] Tim Raue – Asian Fusion Confusion

5 01 2014

Food aside, Tim Raue has the unlikely makings of a Michelin 2-Star restaurant. First off, the entrance of the restaurant does not face the main street but is hidden in a nondescript courtyard (or parking lot, euphemisms aside). I initially wondered if I had accidentally stumbled into a residential premise as I navigated my way in. Secondly, the staff while friendly and professional, are all given standard issue sneakers (think White Converses) to match their formal blazers. Well, hot pink blazers for the gals doesn’t scream formal. Lastly, the ambiance of the restaurant doesn’t scream fine-dining with its rather minimalistic oak decor. That said, I gladly embraced the obvious attempts to downplay the fine-dining aspect of the restaurant and immediately felt more at home.

I was first given a set of complimentary appetizers (Curried Cashews, Pickles in Wasabi Sauce, Japanese Cucumbers, Seaweed wrapped in Daikon) to nibble on while deciding on my courses.

I opted for a 3-Course Lunch, priced at 38 Euros, which was very much a steal and prompted my visit in the first place. Diners are allowed to choose from a list of appetizers, mains and desserts to make up the 3 courses regardless of the category, meaning that you can effectively order 3 mains. Do note that certain items on the menu do require additional supplements of between 8 to 12 Euros.

If 3-Courses isn’t enough or if you want to take the rare opportunity to try more things on the menu, additional courses can be added for 10 Euros each.

For starters, I had the Dim Sum “Partridge, Mache and Black Truffle” which I found pretty disappointing. The dumpling skin was much too thick and doughy in my view, while the black truffle sauce was excruciating savoury and overwhelmed the subtle partridge.

For main, I had the Peking Duck Interpretation (additional supplement of 12 Euros), a signature dish of the restaurant. It came as an ensemble of 3 items to be eaten in succession, starting with the Crispy Duck Breast over Bread Stuffed with Apples and Leek, followed by the Duck Liver Terrine with Leek & Ginger Mousse and ending off with the Duck Consomme with Duck Heart, Stomach and Tongue. In larger portions, this could have been a meal in itself which I would have gladly accepted.

Of the trio, I found the soup to be the most interesting, tasting like a blend of very rich turtle soup and braised duck sauce from Singapore hawker stalls. It was my first time having duck tongue and I thought it was pretty awesome, possessing a texture of smooth duck skin without the ensuing fattiness.

For dessert, I had the Mango, Vanilla & Kardamon. Kardamon is a type of plant similar to Ginger and I believe it was used to make the little meringue balls. Didn’t quite see how it fitted into the overall picture though. Overall, the dessert was pleasant but nothing to shout about. The aesthetics was probably the highlight of the dish.

I was also given a complimentary dessert of Iced Apple with Coriander Cream, which came together with the bill. Oddly, there also seemed to be Shredded Purple Cabbage inside, which I found to be superfluous and should be left at the doner kebap stands.

In one word, the whole experience here was interesting. Interesting is an interesting adjective because it hardly describes whether something had turned out great or bloody horrendous. For me, the food and staff outfits were interesting, with some courses bordering on unusual rather than tasty. Frankly for the price paid, I held greater expectations.

Tim Raue

Rudi-dutschke-str 26

Tel: +49 30 2593 7930

Din Tai Fung (Resorts World Sentosa) – All Din Tai Fungs’ are equal, but some Din Tai Fungs’ are more equal than others

1 11 2011

*This tasting was sponsored by Din Tai Fung

If you think that a meal at Din Tai Fung (DTF) means the usual Pork Xiaolongbao (XLB), Fried Rice and Chicken Soup, think again. In conjunction with their 8th Anniversary, DTF will be launching 6 new dishes and 6 new desserts and drinks to their already extensive repertoire of dishes at all DTF outlets.

For those in the dark, you must know that not all DTFs’ are born equal. At some Din Tai Fung outlets, especially those located at the more up-market locations like Paragon, DTF offers premium items such as their Black Truffle XLB. DTF’s new outlet at Resorts World Sentosa is another example, which plans to cater to the tourist crowd by offering 8 new delectable Asian delights only available at this outlet, in addition to the 12 new items mentioned above.

I will be using pictures provided by DTF but rest assured the pictures are representative of what will be served. Interestingly, I found the plating of today’s dishes nicer than what is shown in the pictures anyways.

Our tasting session started off with a showcase of the 12 new items to be included in all DTF outlets. First off, the Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry.

3 New Dumplings are also being introduced to DTF’s menu., the Fish Dumplings, the Chicken Xiao Long Bao and the Steamed Angled Gourd & Shrimp Dumplings. Of the 3, I was most taken by the Fish Dumplings which were stuffed with sweet Snapper flesh that I found refreshing to the palate. Having been pampered by DTF’s signature Pork XLBs for the longest time, the Chicken XLBs didn’t bring with it as much an “oomph”, as healthier and less oily chicken broth is used instead of the savoury pork broth. For an even healthier choice, the Steamed Angled Gourd & Shrimp Dumplings promises to enhance your skin complexion. Beauty comes at a price though, as its flavour comes across as slightly muted for my liking.

One of my favourite dishes in today’s tasting, the Handmade springy Noodles with Spicy Sesame Sauce. The chili oil hits the spot and the dish manages to pull its own weight despite its apparent lack of ingredients. I believe an extra order of chicken soup on the side would be the perfect accompaniment for those who can’t take the spice and wish use the soup to dilute the chili.

A play on Yong Tau Fu, DTF has also decided to introduce their version of Green Chili stuffed with Marinated Meat. With its origins in Thai cuisine, DTF specially imports the green chilies from Thailand, and it packs an extra punch compared to usual mild green chilies used in Yong Tau Fu.

Having been periodically dropping by Eu Yan Sang to purchase their Hawthorn Roselle Drink whenever I’m down with the flu, I felt that the Roselle Juice from DTF tastes somewhat similar, just slightly less tangy from the absence of hawthorn. Instead of using normal ice, DTF has come up with an ingenious idea to keep its drinks chilled while avoiding the downside of drink dilution – by adding in a frozen iceball made up entirely of whatever drink that was ordered! So when the iceball melts, the concentration of the drinks remain unchanged.

Lemongrass Juice is highly popular Thai drink. While I’m personally not a huge fan of lemongrass, many others at the tasting session felt otherwise. It does remind me a bit of Sugarcane Juice with Lemon though and I’d imagine this would make an awesome drink at East Coast while feasting on BBQ Stingrays and Satay. 

Recently, my mum has been blending random vegetables and fruits and presenting it to me as a drink. With no added sugar and with much too dense a consistency, I’d immediately cringe whenever I hear the roar of the blender in operation. While DTF’s Blended Juice, made from the combination of fresh Pineapples, Celery and Carrots, tastes much better (or much less worse), I believe it’s not something most of us are used to, especially if you like your drinks and juices on the sweet side.

My favourite of the 4 new drinks happened to be the Earl Grey Lemon Tea. Somehow, it possesses a greater depth of flavour compared to the usual lemon teas.

Almond Pudding coated with Black Sesame Dressing. While I’m a fan of almond jelly, I felt that the black sesame didn’t complement the pudding well.

The Mango Pudding however is a different story. The pudding tastes delightful, with generous chunks mango cubes scattered within the jelly.

Now let me touch on the 8 new dishes made available only at the RWS DTF outlet.

The crowd favourite had to be the Nonya Curry Fish Head in Clay Pot ($26++). You know, it does say something when claypots are being drained off its contents by professional food editors. Really quite a remarkable feat that a Chinese restaurant can come up with such an authentic Nonya dish, with a rich aromatic curry rather than the watered down curries common for most fish head curries.

My family is really into fish. Like how most Cantonese families must have their soups in every meal, my family must have fish. When I was younger, Dad always told me how it’s good for eyesight, and I often shrugged it off. Fast forward a decade or so and I’m starting to believe him. My family of 5 all possess near perfect eyesight! (Disclaimer: Genetics might be the real cause). Cod isn’t cheap in Singapore, I believe it costs close to $40/kg at the wet markets, so DTF’s Hong Kong Class Steamed Cod Fillet with Superior Soy Sauce ($21.80++) is rather affordable for its portion. You can hardly ever go wrong with cod, but I found today’s one slightly overdone. Apart from that, it was alright.

Homemade Beancurd & Sea Prawns on Sizzling Hot Plate ($16.80++). DTF makes its own egg tofu from scratch from a central kitchen to ensure freshness and quality control. 

Cantonese Sweet & Sour Pork ($14.80++). 

I found the Beef Sirloin with Aromatic Black Pepper Sauce on Sizzling Hot Plate ($19.80++) too peppery and the beef too lean.

The Crispy Prawns in Creamy Dressing with Plump Lychees & Juicy Peaches ($14.80++) is another dish I’d recommend. The prawns are fried in a tasty light batter but do avoid smearing too much creamy dressing as it might get a bit too cloying. Well, I sense DTF’s efforts in addressing this issue by adding some lemon juice into the prawn batter, which works pretty well.

Crispy Chicken Wings Marinated in Shrimp Paste ($8.80++). Marinated for over 4 hours in DTF’s homemade shrimp paste before being deep fried for 5 minutes, the wings are kept juicy on the inside while crispy on the outside. 

Szechuan Wok Fried Diced Chicken with Sun-dried Chilis and Toasted Cashews ($14.80++).

I had a wonderful time talking to Hoong An, one of the three founders of Hungrygowhere, who so happened to sit next to me for this tasting and coupled with the discovery of a few gems among DTF’s new dish offerings, I truly had a wonderful time.

Thanks to Din Tai Fung for the invitation!

Bon Appetit!

Din Tai Fung (Resorts World Sentosa)

26 Sentosa Gateway, #01-217 Resort World Sentosa

Tel: +65 6686 3656 

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