Lawry’s The Prime Rib – Prime Rib Dinner with an OMG Freaking Awesome Creme Brulee!

28 03 2011

Before it shifted over to Mandarin Gallery, Lawry’s used to be housed within Paragon. Back then, I was throughly intrigued by its tasteful decor, which resonated a sense of class and elegance. Of course, these  same vibes do emanate from the new outlet as well. Without so much as a glance at the menu, one would still know that this was a place patronised exclusively by the upper echelons of society…and occasionally by foodies with 1-for-1 main course vouchers here to celebrate a birthday.

Contrary to popular belief, Lawry’s isn’t that unaffordable, especially so during lunch where there’s a 1-for-1 main course promotion going on for DBS cardholders (so you can possibly do lunch here at less than $30) and high tea where there’s a $15/pax high tea set which includes one sweet and savoury course each in addition to coffee or teas (there’s a pretty good tea selection).

Today being my virgin visit to Lawry’s, the signature Roast Prime Rib was in order. Coming in a variety of cuts catering to individual appetites, the smallest cut (for dinner)  would be the California Cut ($62.90++), followed by the English Cut ($72.90++), the Lawry’s Cut ($82.90++), the “Diamond Jim Brandy” Cut ($106.90++) and lastly, a behemoth Beef Bowl Cut ($154.90++). If I’m not mistaken, there’s a smaller cut that’s available during lunch called the Singapore Cut.

C and myself both went for the Lawry’s Cut and I’d say that I severely overestimated my appetite once again, which has been a major issue ever since I stopped exercising regularly 3 years ago. The Prime Rib Dinner is inclusive of the Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad, Yorkshire Pudding and Idaho Mashed Potatoes with an option to make it a set dinner which we did. The add-on includes a glass of wine, dessert and coffee/tea at an additional $20 odd.

We were served with a decent tray of complimentary bread, of which I especially enjoyed the white bread which was infused with cheese.

I guess it’s just theatrics that the waitress came over and tossed our salad in a silver spinning bowl but the salad turned out great nonetheless! Love their croutons.

Not sure where I read it from but I think the reason why Lawry’s rib roast is so tender and juicy is because they age their meats. This allows some time for the enzymes within the meat to start breaking down the protein fibres which makes for a more tender texture. Like I said earlier, do opt for a smaller cut like the English or California Cut if you are getting a set dinner. Uncommon in Singapore, this is actually the first time I’m having Yorkshire Pudding, though I think it’s nothing more than a fried batter of flour, eggs and milk and so resembles a thinner, crispier French Toast. The mash was decent as well, going well with the thick brown gravy.

For desserts, the English Trifle was unspectacular, tasting much like a really soft Strawberry sponge cake. It wasn’t not bad, but just felt a little cheap coming from a supposed chichi restaurant. Because it was C’s birthday, we were given an additional English Trifle on the house and had pictures taken by the staff as well, which they printed out and handed to us at the end of the meal. A very nice touch there.

On the other hand, I had the most OMG freaking awesome Creme Brulee ever in my life! The type where the consistency is just right (sadly I have seen too many a creme brulee which reminds me more of a chawanmushi), with the sweetness held in check by the berries. It’s the only time I was left yearning for more after devouring the entire dessert myself.

For tea, I selected the Pink Rose Bud. I’m a flower tea person 🙂

Ended the meal with some luscious Hazelnut Chocolates. I’m a happy man.

I really have to commend on the level of service here, where apart from treating us like royalty throughout the meal, managed to do so in a sincere and authentic fashion. Definitely one of my best experiences ever, sans the overeating.

Bon Appetit!

 

LAWRY’S THE PRIME RIB

333A ORCHARD ROAD, #04-01/31 MANDARIN GALLERY

TEL: +65 6836 3333

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Novus Restaurant, Bar, Cafe & Courtyard – Service Faux Pas

22 02 2011

In contemplating what constitutes an affordable set lunch, Novus (with its $28/$38++ 2/3 Course Set Lunch) would definitely not be one of the few places that comes to mind, especially when more established players such as Gunthers, The French Kitchen and Au Petit Salut charge at similar if not cheaper rates. Yet, located just opposite SMU, it was one of the few restaurants I could afford to dine at without being (too) late for my next appointment…a project meeting during recess week sighs.

Window view from inside Novus. Nice clouds 🙂

With a cuisine that borders on the contemporary, would Novus prove itself to be an avant-garde in French cuisine or simply all sizzle and no steak?

Located within Singapore Museum, Novus is separated into 2 dining segments; the Restaurant & Bar for fine dining and the Cafe & Courtyard for casual dining. I was initially led into the cafe when I asked one of the waiters if that was Novus but quickly realised the mistake upon seeing a menu consisting mainly of sandwiches and pastas.

While the Cafe & Courtyard had an open concept with the optimal use of natural sun as lighting, the Restaurant & Bar had a more private feel to it. After settling down inside the restaurant, my friend Raina and I were only given the set lunch menu after probing the staff, who had previously provided us with simply the ala carte menu. When passing us the menus, somehow the waiter had a nonchalant and unapologetic look that severely irritated me, and it didn’t help that service remained crappy throughout the meal as I will describe in vivid detail later.

Raina and I had the 3-Course Set Lunch at $38++. I thought that the selection of mains available was pretty decent, ranging from angus beef cheeks, duck confit, snow cod and trio of berkshire pork belly, pork cheek & pata negra ham just to name a few.

We were first served a basket of complimentary bread which I found so-so.

For our complimentary amuse bouche, we were served Heart of Palm with Grape in a Vinaigrette dressing. A bit too acidic for me since I hadn’t had my breakfast then.

For appetizer, the Foie Gras Lassi V2.0 was a combination of goose liver parfait and yoghurt. Something interesting about Novus is that it provides a small information card along with the courses as they are served (very much aligned with the museum theme which has information stands for each exhibit) and it went as such: “The goose liver is marinated with port wine, Sherry, Madeira and Brandy. It is then combined with shallots, thyme, butter and eggs and slow poached to create a goose liver parfait”. While the combination was good, I would have preferred if there was a greater accentuation of the foie gras, as the lassi overwhelmed it somewhat.

When I saw the Norwegian Salmon treated like a Salad, it totally reminded me of the Tuna Carpaccio Salad I had at The Lighthouse @ Fullerton Hotel just a few months back, think it’s because the same black serving platter is used. For this dish, the Salmon was cooked sous vide, meaning it was cooked under low temperatures over an extended period in a vacuum, thus allowing the salmon proteins to remain intact and keeping the fish tender. As such, the Salmon tasted much like sashimi which I found very gratifying.

For Mains, I would highly recommend the Hickory Smoked Black Angus Beef Cheek. The beef cheeks were tender as butter and went amazing well with the mushroom creme. The portion was also rather generous. My only grouse is that it wasn’t served warm enough. The Triple Cooked French Fries that came along with it was really tasty as well.

As for the Crisp Duck Leg Confit, the portion was rather miserable though it could be due to the fact that it was deboned and hence looked unsubstantial. The duck meat was moist and tender, better than most of the duck confits I have come across for this aspect though this came at the expense of a skin that was not as crisp.

For Desserts, the Fruit Jelly sounded novel with the description “Assorted Berries & Fruits in Champagne Jelly & Elderflower Sorbet”. Unfortunately, it was really unpalatable and I gave up after 3 small spoonfuls. The jelly was really sour with an aftertaste of wine gone bad and the Elderflower Sorbet was exceedingly too sweet for one to bear.

Chocolate Test had the description “50% souffle, 68% Mousse, 80% Sorbet”. No idea what that meant, perhaps that’s the optimal proportion in which we are to eat them together for each mouthful? Unlike the fruit jelly, this was really outstanding. I dare say it’s even more enjoyable than the chocolate souffle at Laurent Bernard’s Chocolatier, which is the benchmark to beat in my opinion.

While the food was a mix of hits and misses, I’d like to reiterate on the dismal service standards here as mentioned earlier. First, menus not distributed properly. Second, waiter didn’t bother to write down our orders and had to come back amidst the meal to reconfirm our dessert orders. Third, request for warm water was ignored and cold water was served instead which we quickly corrected. Fourth, friend’s cup remained empty for a really long duration. Fifth, diners (not exclusive to ourselves) were left unattended with no staff in sight over quite a few occasions and during the few times where staff were present, they often missed out our desperate cries for attention. Sixth, my query on what sauce was used for the Salmon Salad was dismissed quickly with a “Basil” which was definitely erroneous as it sure didn’t taste like it. Seventh, the waiter stood by using eye power instead of pulling out the chair for my dining partner or me, and not offering an extra chair to put our bags (I was lugging 2 bags and a laptop). Not that I’m being a snob or fussy pot (much), but there’s just a basic level of service you’d expect to be accorded with when dining at a “fine dining” venue which was evidently lacking here today.

Ok, just to add some balance to my critical comments, a plus point for service is that Novus gave out a free muffin each to every diner, in a nice box with a Thank You note inside. Ate the muffin for supper at home, it’s not too bad with a pleasant fruit-cakey taste.

On hindsight, food was ok. I definitely wouldn’t mind paying $28++ for a 2 course if I could leave out the fruit jelly.

Bon Appetit!

NOVUS RESTAURANT, BAR, CAFE & COURTYARD

93 STAMFORD ROAD, #01-02 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE

TEL: +65 6336 8770





The Lighthouse at Fullerton – Tira(I Miss U)

2 01 2011

I find that there’s one common misconception among Singaporeans, in that most Singaporeans think that Fine Dining must be expensive, with meals costing unfathomable amounts. Today, I would like to point out that this is not necessarily so.

First, let’s identify what fine dining really is. Fine dining is made up of 3 elements; a fine dining menu featuring foods of high quality, a fine dining customer service where staff are trained to answer any queries about food and make your dining experience a pleasant one, and lastly a fine dining ambience where attention is paid to details in the furnishings and restaurant layout. While all these elements inevitably add up to higher operating costs, it should be made known that exorbitant pricing of the menu is not a necessary element in fine dining.

Take for example my recent visit to The Lighthouse @ Fullerton Hotel. It fulfils all the aspects that make up a fine dining restaurant, amassing some food and service awards in the process. Yet, with the UOB Chef Creations Menu available for the 3-Course Lunch and 4-Course Dinner at $68++ and $128++ for 2 Pax respectively, it would be erroneous to suggest that this price range (especially the lunch which comes up to $40 a pax after the ++) is too far off our once-in-a-while-pampering-ourselves-with-a-fine-dining-meal budgets.

Of course, if your pockets aren’t too shallow and a wider variety of appetizers, mains and desserts is preferred, you might want to opt for the Daily Set Lunch here available at $38 for 2 Course and $56++ for 3-Course. Not wanting to bust my post-Xmas and New Year spending too much more than I already did, little J and myself opted for the UOB Chef Creations Menu.

In navigating the way to The Lighthouse, although it is addressed on the 8th Floor, upon reaching the 8th Floor, you have to take another lift there that specially brings you to the restaurant. I’m just wondering what would happen should that lift break down since it seems to be the only way to access The Lighthouse.

With a breathtaking panoramic view of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer, I’d imagine this would be a great place for celebrating special occasions for loved ones.

The sitting capacity isn’t large, probably able to house 30-35 people at most but this just adds to the exclusiveness and allure that is The Lighthouse.

Amuse Bouche was an overly concentrated shot glass of Tomato Soup with Squid.

The meal officially started off with the Tuna Carpaccio, Fine Herbs Salad, Mullut Bottarga (also known as Mullet Roe). Taste-wise, nothing really outstanding but I really loved the garden-concept plating.

The Main was a Homemade Garganelli Pasta, Wild Boar & Porcini Mushroom Ragout with Black Norcia Truffle. Little J loved this dish from start to finish. On the other hand, I found the cheesiness to be slightly overpowering at the start but soon grew attuned to it and rather enjoyed the cheesy sauce at the end. I felt my pasta was slightly undercooked as I could still spot uncooked flour at the core of my pasta.

For Dessert, the Classic Venetian Style Tiramisu was served and boy was it the most incredible Tiramisu I have ever laid my taste buds on! This one had an utterly thick and consistently smooth creamy texture which would never fail to enthrall.

With lots of love, peace and joy, here’s wishing all A Happy New Year!

Bon Appetit!

THE LIGHTHOUSE

1 FULLERTON SQUARE, LEVEL 8 FULLERTON HOTEL

TEL: +65 6877 8933





Tatsuya Japanese Restaurant @ Goodwood Park Hotel – Affordable Lunch Bento Sets!

29 12 2010

Barely a month ago, I patronised Aoki in what I felt was one of my most memorable meals this year. Rival Tatsuya Japanese Restaurant lies a 5 minute stroll away, and I was hoping that I would get a meal there comparable to the one I had at Aoki.

Dinner at Tatsuya doesn’t come cheap. A pair of ala-carte Tuna Belly Sushi will set you back by $30. Even the most basic of sushi like the Salmon or Tuna Sushi costs an exceeding $10 per pair.

Lucky for budget conscious students like me, the set lunches here are a different story and a viable option within my spending threshold.

News of the affordable lunch bento sets at Tatsuya seems to have gotten around and it proves to be a popular lunch spot for the well informed. Reservations are highly recommended and if you want to get the full blown Japanese dining experience, request for a counter seat so you can marvel at the culinary skills of the Chefs as they artfully craft their sushi masterpieces.

While Tatsuya is considered a fine-dining Japanese Restaurant, the layout isn’t exactly posh. The aisle for the counter seats are rather cramped and only allows one person to walk through at a time but if claustrophobia is an issue, dining al fresco is also available though there isn’t much of a view. Unlike Aoki where you get undisrupted viewing pleasure of the Chefs at work while sitting at the counter seats, the refrigerations units used to store the Sashimi here is quite a visual hindrance for those who are vertically-challenged.

My lunch kaki today was ex-JC classmate Shiwei. It’s weird that we only became closer after school’s out, I think food might have been a contributing factor. So there you go, no 1 perk of being a foodie; you get to rekindle friendships as you meet up for lunches!

Shiwei had the Sashimi Unagyu Bento($30.90), comprising of Chawanmushi, Sashimi(Salmon, Tuna & Yellowtail), Tempura, Unagi over Rice, Miso Soup and Fruits. Special mention goes to the smooth Yuzu Flavoured Chawanmushi, which held a mildly sweet citrus flavour. The Tempura was good too with a light crisp batter.

I had the Sushi, Yakizakana Bento($28.90), comprising of Chawanmushi, Potato Salad, Tamago, Assorted Sushi, Grilled Cod with Mentaiko, Miso Soup and Fruits. The Sushi was fresh and compact. I really hate it when my sushi starts falling apart after I grab it and dip it in Light Sauce but this problem was not evident here so I was quite pleased. I found the Grilled Cod pretty addictive, bearing a tasty smokey flavour made savoury by the Mentaiko.

Overall, Tatsuya serves a set lunch which is definitely worth visiting but personally, I rather top up a few more dollars for Aoki because the ambience is more elegant, the quality and variety of sashimi given in the set lunches are better and they include a trio of desserts within their set lunch as well.

Bon Appetit!

TATSUYA JAPANESE RESTAURANT

22 SCOTTS ROAD, GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL

TEL: +65 6887 4598





Aoki – Mazechirashi Heaven

28 11 2010

I took up some Japanese language classes earlier this year and managed to pickup some important Japanese phrases, for instance how to ask a girl or guy but most preferably a girl for her phone number and how to say “your welcome” (allows u to stun a Singaporean waiter who says “Arigato” to you as you are leaving a Japanese Restaurant).

Anyway, Aoki means “Blue Tree” in Japanese according to answers.com, so it’s odd why the chinese words say “Green Tree”. There are 3 scripts in the Japanese language, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji(looks like Chinese Characters). So perhaps in Kanji, that actually means “Blue Tree” but that’s just my guess.

From Aoki’s layout and ambience, you would hardly guess that this is a fine dining establishment. The entrance to the restaurant is inconspicuous and unassuming, looking somewhat like an entrance to a lavatory or kitchen, but don’t be fooled. Gastronomic pleasures lie within.

Stepping into Aoki, you would notice that the interior designs are minimalistic yet cosy. I particularly liked the sheets of cloth dangling from the ceiling, very pretty…

If you make reservations which you should (my last attempt as a walk-in customer failed), opt for counter seats. You will get to see the master chefs at work, dexterously and adroitly moulding sushi and cutting sashimi. Once in a while, you even get to see some pyrotechnics! Ok, pyrotechnics is just a euphemism for searing but the use of a blow torch still fascinates most nonetheless.

I was right in front of the action as the chef masterfully seared the pieces of Tuna Belly Sushi. Omg, as you witness the fats of the tuna belly starting to bubble and sizzle, you just lament at how eating an Omakase Lunch Set($100++) is totally out of your budget.

There’s a $3++ charge for Otoshi. Typically, it’s a starter that is served alongside when one orders an alcoholic beverage. For Aoki, this is instilled as a cover charge, probably for the tea and oshibori(hot towels) that are provided before and after the meal, in addition to the dish of Cold Spinach. The hot towels reminded me of the ones you would get on an airplane, and in this scenario, our destination would be gastronomic paradise.

For lunch, do order the sets instead of ala-carte because it is definitely of more value. I ordered the Mazechirashi($35++) which also comes with Salad, Miso Soup, Pickles and a trio of Desserts.

The Chirashi served here is really orgasmic. A variety of Sashimi, ranging from Tuna (Maguro), Tuna Belly (Chutoro rather than Ootoro though), Uni (Sea Urchin), Hotate (Scallop), Ikura (Salmon Roe), Ika (Squid), Ebi (Shrimp), Tamago (Sweet Egg), and I think there might have been Aji (Skip Jack) and Tai (Sea Bream) as well. I’m usually not a fan of Tuna, because I find that it carries a distinctive metallic taste (maybe from the blood) which I don’t really fancy, plus Maguro is too lean compared to Salmon Sashimi. However, the Tuna in this Chirashi is different somehow. Very palatable and fresh and there was no metallic taste, plus it was fatty as well! Each time your chopsticks dive into this treasure trove of a chirashi, you never know what you are going to get and this keeps one in suspense and silent anticipation throughout the meal. Anyway, I prefer to eat my Uni by itself to enjoy the full extent of each small piece rather than mixing it with rice where its taste becomes indiscernible.

One special feature about Aoki is that they provide hon-Wasabi, meaning Wasabi that is freshly grated compared to most eateries that provide Wasabi sold in commercial tubes or made from Wasabi powder. Since I’m not a true wasabi lover, the difference to me was that hon-wasabi has a milder tone compared to the tubed wasabi which has other ingredients such as mustard inside as well while S felt that the hon-wasabi had a fruitier flavour compared to the tubed wasabi.

If you find the Tamago good, you can buy it as a side for $6++ as well which is just what I did.

Nothing too fancy about the Salad. Just one with a light vinaigrette dressing.

The Miso Soup here is especially flavourful because it is simmered with prawn heads and it really make the soup richer and sweeter.

The Trio of Desserts comprised of a slab of White Wine Jelly, a Scoop of Milk Ice Cream and a Cup of Custard with Mango Sauce. It’s really hard for me to choose a favourite dessert because they are all just soooooo good. I’m really impressed. The last time I had liquor in a jelly was at a friend’s birthday party where half of the agar agar was made from vodka instead of water and I felt that this White Wine Jelly was really innovative. The thing I love about these desserts is that they are all pleasantly light and sweet, and wasn’t heavy or cloying enough to make me feel like downing litres of tea or water after being already stuffed to the brim.

For the Shokado($38++), you get Sashimi, Nimono(Steamed Vegetables), Tempura, Miso Soup, Rice and the same trio of Desserts as in the Mazechirashi. This was what S ordered and I didn’t want to deprive him of his yumyums, (I was too engrossed in my chirashi anyway).

Sashimi looks good. Quite a variety there, there was a clam I could not identify in the left foreground.

Damn you Aoki! Where else am I going to eat Japanese food without feeling unsatisfied now?

Ok we shall answer this question sometime soon after paying a visit to Tatsuya @ Goodwood Park Hotel.

But I shall make this official, Aoki is currently my favourite Jap restaurant in Singapore.

Bon Appetit!

AOKI

1 SCOTTS ROAD, #02-17 SHAW CENTRE

TEL: +65 6333 8015





Gordon Grill – Respite in the Comfort of Food

21 11 2010

Recently, a friend stumped me with the simple question of why do I love food so much? And I answer back with a question of my own: “Why not?”. Eating is just one of the many joys in life, containing both a tangible and intangible aspect. Tangible in the sense that it is material, it has a form, a texture, a taste and smell. The intangible aspect comes in the dining experience, just like the feeling you get seeing a baby smile or gazing into the eyes of a lover, some dining experiences can evoke similar feelings, where the ambience, the aromas, the company and the soothing background music is just perfect…

The best thing about having eating as a hobby is that no matter how busy  my schedule gets, even in the midst of exams or an important presentation, I would still be able to spare some time for a nice meal (and consequently feel guilty afterwards). In a world where it is so hard to derive meaning for one’s existence, I take respite in the comfort of food…

Goodwood Park Hotel brings back fond memories for me as I used to frequently patronise the high tea buffet there as a child. Growing up in my teenage years, the trips to their high tea buffets were replaced by visits to the delightful Chinese cuisine of Min Jiang and Thai Village, both housed within the hotel premises. Somehow or another, Gordon Grill was never part of the agenda…till now.

Gordon Grill currently offers a UOB Chef Creation lunch and dinner set menus priced at $68++ and $128++ respectively for 2 pax (promotion ends 14 January), as well as the Big-on-Small Lunch Set Menu priced at $48/58++ for 3/4 Course.

I had some doubts about the quality of the UOB Chefs Creation menu because it was priced at a significant discount compared to the normal lunch set menu but I would soon find out that I was just being overly paranoid, a trait inherited from my paternal side no doubt. Anyway, you have to request for the UOB Creations menu specifically as it is separate from the main menu. After a quick perusal of the menus, we decided to have one pair of UOB sets and one daily set.

Complimentary Bread was a choice of Focaccia, Rye Bread and Onion Bread. They were all served at room temperature and tasted rather stale. Boo…

For the UOB Chef Creations set, it comes as a 3-Course set with Appetizer, Main and Dessert.

For Appetizers, M had the Cold Japanese Noodles, Seaweed, King Crab and Farm Caviar.

I was pleasantly surprised by the portion size of the Salad of Jumbo Quail, Foie Gras, Raspberry and Walnut Dressing. It seriously looks generous enough to be a main! I have always associated quail to be a scrawny chicken which somehow costs more and my last encounter with it at Bistro Petit Salut wasn’t very memorable. Too many tiny bones, troublesome to eat and not much meat. Discriminations aside, the quail here is really tasty! It’s like a miniature yummy duck confit. Regrettably, the foie gras didn’t create a similar impact. It was undercooked, had a large irritating tendon that hampered my cutting, and had a weird aftertaste (maybe not as fresh as it should be?). Hopefully this is just a one off incident.

Moving on to the Mains, M had the Baked Barramundi with a Light Shellfish Risotto and Tomato Vinaigrette. While I appreciated the freshness of the fish which boasted a gentle sweetness evident upon the use of very subtle flavourings, it was a touch too bland for my personal liking though I enjoyed the risotto with toppings of clams, scallops, prawns and a tangy tomato vinaigrette.

The other choice of Main was the Grilled Yorkshire Pork Loin with Potato Fondant and Puy Lentil Ragout. In my opinion, a good way to distinguish a well-executed pork loin would be to see whether it is enjoyable to eat without any accompanying condiments. Few have passed this test but I’m glad this one did. The pork was tender and its cooking was perfectly timed, served with an almost indiscernible pinkish hue.

D was head over heels for the Pistachio Creme Brulee with Vanilla Ice Cream. It was slightly denser than average but it was really good with just the right amount of sweetness. The Vanilla Ice Cream was kind of superfluous but who’s complaining right?

The only other choice of Dessert for the UOB Set Menu is the Coconut Panna Cotta with Tropical Fruit Minestrone. It didn’t leave much of an impression on me but I did enjoy the sherbet! On a random note, I just found this out today; the difference between a sherbet and a sorbet. A sorbet is diary-free while a typical sherbet has 1-2% milk and sorbet has a generally softer texture.

That’s it for the UOB Lunch Set Menu and proceeding on to the 4-Course Big-on-Small Lunch Set Menu.

The Big-on-Small Set Lunch is really good for those who love variety. You get a choice of 3 Appetizers, 3 Soups, 1 Main and 2 Desserts!

For Appetizers, I chose the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio with Celeriac Remoulade and Parmesan Cheese Shavings which I thought was so-so. The Celeriac (a type of celery) was hiding within the ball of beef and I felt that its presence was unnecessary for I’m a carnivore of sorts (or at least when it comes to wagyu :p). On the other hand, I thought the Parmesan cheese was somehow quite compatible with the beef!

My 2nd Mini-Appetizer was the Braised Escargots with Red Wine Jus, Garlic Puree and Melted Parsley Butter. It’s pretty good, though I still preferred the one I had at Au Petit Salut just a few weeks back. I think it’s probably because the snails here is slightly chewier and there is also a tinge of spiciness (I prefer the classic garlic and butter style).

My third Appetizer was the Hokkaido Scallops with Spanish Ham, Green Asparagus and Black Truffle Dressing. How I do love scallops!

For the 3 Choices of Soup,

I had the Mushroom Cappuccino (which I passed to D).

French Onion Soup which I passed to M

but I kept the Lobster Bisque to myself. There were 2 small chunks of lobster but it was kind of squishy rather than fresh and crunchy, and the soup was very flavourful though lacking in smoothness. Anyway, I don’t see how a reasonable person would be able to eat and drink so much. The soups were generally decent but nothing particularly fantastic.

For Main, I had the US Beef Fillet (done Medium Rare) and Braised Cheek in Bordelaise Sauce and Seasonal Mushrooms. Is it even possible for an established joint such as Gordon Grill to get the timing wrong? Well-executed steak and smooth buttery mash, but I thought the cubes of beef cheeks were slightly dry.

For Desserts, I opted for the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart with a light Orange Ice Cream and the Arctic Roll of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Marinated Red Berries. I preferred the Arctic Roll compared to the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart because after such a heavy meal, sometimes I just like to end off on a gentle note, instead of a rich decadent dessert.

Normally, the age old adage of “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” holds true but it wasn’t the case today. My initial perception that the UOB Chef Creations was just a ploy by Gordon Grill to serve “cheaper” quality ingredients was unfounded as much of the choices in the UOB menu were actually found on the lunch set menu as well. When I think of it, where else could I get foie gras, quail, pork loin and a dessert for under $68++ for 2 pax? My verdict is that the UOB Chef’s Creations is good value for those who want a sample of what Gordon Grill has to offer.

I mentioned in the 2nd paragraph that it’s hard to derive life’s meaning but I think I just might have gotten an eureka moment while writing this post.

“The meaning of life is in its pursuit”;

meaning the discovery of one’s life meaning is the very meaning of life itself. So don’t despair that life is aimless at the moment, use it as a driving force rather than a stumbling block…and if life gives you lemons, go make yourself some lemon sponge pudding. Lemonade you can get at a 7-11.

Bon Appetit!

GORDON GRILL

22 SCOTTS ROAD, GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL

TEL: +65 6730 1744





Forlino – POSB/DBS 1-For-1 Gourmet Set Menu

18 09 2010

Though the Chinese saying goes 福无双至, 祸不单行, I don’t totally subscribe to that belief. After all, good things do come in pairs occasionally and one classic example would be Forlino’s 1-for-1 DBS/POSB Promotion for their Gourmet($98++) and Degustation($148++) Set Menus.

I feel so spoilt. Dining at One Fullerton without any special occasion on a school night with next week’s mid term tests looming ever so closer is definitely the life! Just idly gazing at the Marina Bay skyline, Singapore Flyer and Singapore F1 Circuit, a 2.5 hour dinner whisked by unknowingly.

Ever since Chef Osvaldo Forlino left Forlino last year, inevitably there has been some speculation about declining standards at Forlino. However, based on it’s recent list of dining awards, it seems that Forlino’s pace and contributions to the local dining scene hasn’t slowed down one bit.

For a fine dining restaurant, I found Forlino’s service to be less intrusive (and correspondingly less attentive) to the other fine dining restaurants I have been to recently, which suits me just fine since the ambience of such restaurants often tends to be too eerily silent and stifling.

Amuse Bouche for today was the Beetroot Flan with some cheese I can’t recall. This eggy and slightly cheesy beetroot custard wasn’t something I particularly fancied.

The complimentary warm bread served here was slightly thicker and chewier than the norm, lightly glazed and salted. Not something to waste too much stomach space on with the impending feast.

For Starters, the Pan Seared Goose Liver with Amaretto and Pumpkin Cream. Amaretto is an Italian sweet Almond-flavoured Liqueur and is apparently able to bring out the flavour of the fatty Foie Gras but I wasn’t able to detect much of it over the pumpkin cream. The Foie Gras wasn’t very memorable but generally tasty nonetheless.

The Pasta Course comprised of the Homemade Spaghetti with Black Cod, Baby Artichokes and Mint. I’m wasn’t really accustomed to Mint based pastas but it grew on me as I was nearing the end of the dish. The homemade spaghetti was somewhat firmer that what I’m used to, whose texture resembled that of the Chinese Ee Mee(Ee Mian). I would have enjoyed it better if they could be a little bit more generous with the cod or maybe changed the cod to scallops instead.

Main was a choice of either Wagyu Beef Cheek Braised with Marsala Wine and Herb Mashed Potatoes or Halibut Fillet with Orange, Green Asparagus & Martini Vermouth Sauce. C and myself both opted for the Wagyu. Needless to say, the beef was really tender and marbled, with the mash velvety and flavourful. I did find the gravy slightly on the salty side though.

In my previous post on Raw Kitchen Bar, I mentioned that Chocolate Lava cakes are so common nowadays and it’s terribly difficult to pinpoint one that is really outstanding. Well, my prayers have been answered with Forlino’s reply of the Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with Banana Gelato and Rum Sauce. This was the best Chocolate Lava Cake I have ever eaten! What is so appealing is the nice contrast between the crisp outer layer and the moist molten inner one, unlike some lava cakes which are moist throughout. The consistency, richness, volume and denseness of the chocolate lava was perfect, and paired well with Banana Ice Cream and Crumble.

Petit Fours & Coffee to end off what I felt to be an awesome meal.

In case you are thinking of popping by, The DBS/POSB 1-for-1 Promo for Forlino’s Gourmet & Degustation Set Menus ends on 31 October 2010.

Bon Appetit!

FORLINO

1 FULLERTON ROAD, #02-06 ONE FULLERTON

TEL: +65 6877 6995








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