[Prague, Czech Republic] Alcron – Degustation Delight

22 02 2014

Its been about a month since I departed Europe for my sunny little island home (to finish up my last semester of SMU life) and I guess it’s about time I posted about Alcron, a 1-Star Michelin restaurant in Prague where I indulged for a final time as closure to my unforgettable exchange program.

The first week of term in SMU had already commenced then but as my schoolmates were hard at work, here I was dinnering at this chichi 24-seater restaurant, still living in my bubble I call “post-exchange”.

Just 6 tables (24 seats) for the entire restaurant

Located in the posh Radisson Blu Hotel, Alcron specializes in seafood, though there is a selection of meat dishes on the menu as well. Here, diners are invited to create their own degustation meals, ranging from 3-courses (CZK 1100 / c.40 Euros) to 7-courses (CZK 1900 / c.70 Euros) by selecting items from a short menu. This leaves lots of room for flexibility so if you are a dessert person, you may simply choose to spam dessert courses if that’s the way you like it.

As one of the most highly rated restaurants in Prague, you can expect service to be top-notch without being over-intrusive. During my meal, the staff left me to my own devices while I dined but kept an observant lookout from the entrance of the restaurant in case any diners required further assistance.

I was utterly smitten with the restaurant straight from the start, when I was presented with a complimentary Bread Basket that had about 6 types of breads to choose from. What’s best is that the breads are all freshly toasted before they are brought to each table, made possible because of the small capacity of 6 tables. I thoroughly enjoyed the round bread ball encrusted with Parmigiano Cheese and even opted for a second serving. That says a lot because I usually avoid overloading on bread, so as to better appreciate the higher-value courses served later. An interesting assortment of butter flavored with Seaweed, Chili and Lemon was also served alongside the bread.

The complimentary amuse bouche was Escargot with Garlic Chips. Was quite fond of the garlic chips which reminded me of the prawn crackers that my family fries at home for Chinese New Year.

I opted for a 5-Course dinner initially but was so taken by the initial 4 courses that I later decided to top-up with an additional course.

The dishes on the menu are categorized as either cold or hot dishes and are listed in the order of their suggested consumption. I much prefer warm dishes for dinner so I only chose a sole cold dish, which was the Ceviche of Scottish divers Scallops with cucumber, cucumber jelly, fried lotus root, chili and hazelnut dust. A dish with very light flavors to whet the appetite.

I liked the interplay of sweet vs savoury, crunchy vs crispy from the different elements in the Crayfish Bisque. It didn’t bore because every now and then, I would bite into pieces of sweet crunchy sweet corn, while at other times, I would scoop up pieces of crispy savory popcorn. Bursting the poached yolk also made the bisque considerable smoother and more palatable.

While I’m a die hard foie gras fan, I felt that the Pan-fried Duck Foie Gras Escalope with pumpkin chutney, marinated pumpkin and Tonka bean foam was underwhelming. The marinated pumpkin tasted somewhat like pickles and didn’t complement the foie gras well in my view, given that it was too sharp and acidic.

The Venison Loin Sous-vide with gingerbread ball, chestnuts truffle-puree, apple and celery ragout, chocolate and cranberry infusion brought the meal back on track. Special credit has to go to the chestnut truffle puree for its harmonious matrimony with the venison.

With just a dessert left to go, I thought that it would be a waste not to try the Anjou Pigeon breast, Confit and Liver with braised shallot and blackberries. Pigeon isn’t exactly easy to find in Singapore after all. Texture-wise, it was pretty similar to duck, albeit slightly leaner.

I ended the meal with the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with pear and walnuts. It was a pretty light dessert and not very sweet, much like a mild-tasting yoghurt. Perfect given that I was bursting from the insides.

As I called for the bill, a last complimentary dessert course showed up in the form of a Chocolate Praline that I popped into my mouth straight away, a Coconut Macaron and a home-made Chocolate-coated Vanilla Ice Cream (like a Magnum Mini). I actually liked these better than the Panna Cotta.

Personally, I would consider this the 2nd most enjoyable meal I had during the 5-month duration whilst on exchange. Prices weren’t terribly expensive compared to other Michelin Starred Restaurants since it was in Eastern Europe. Perfect ending to a perfect exchange.

Alcron

Štěpánská 624/40, 110 00 Praha 1-Nové Město, Czech Republic

Tel: +420 222 820 410

Website: www.alcron.cz

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[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





[Budapest, Hungary] – Foie Gras Paradise and Restaurant Recommendations

15 12 2013

My recent trip to Budapest was by far the most relaxing week of my exchange. For one, I discovered the joys of solo traveling, doing whatever I wanted at my own pace. Waking up at noon with no one to nag about opportunity costs, spending hours at the various thermal baths, dining without feeling guilty about any budget limitations of travel companions, soaking in the festive cheer at the Christmas markets, empowering the Hungarian economy at low-stake casinos and ending the night at the ruin bars with fellow hostel mates. I started feeling like a bum towards the end of the trip but suitably rejuvenated to start studying for the imminent exams.

What’s great about Budapest is that it’s in Eastern Europe, meaning that food is relatively cheap and dining at the best restaurants in town is actually economically possible.

Fun Fact #1: Hungary’s currency is the Forint and current conversion is about 300Ft per Euro.

View of the Chain Bridge from the Buda-side

Given that I had a fair bit of time to spend here, I visited a couple of reputed restaurants and would recommend the ones below:

Borkonyha WineKitchen

Sas utca 3, Budapest 1051, Hungary

Tel: +36 1 266 0835

I patronized Borkonyha WineKitchen on my first night. Expectations ran high given that it held the top spot on TripAdvisor. It’s a fairly classy place and the staff was very professional without being overly smothering. The cuisine is French-Hungarian Fusion, though I would say the French aspect stands out more, given that my perception of Hungarian cuisine is perhaps more rugged and hearty than the fine-dining portions you will find here. Cellar was well stocked with local wines.

Borkonyha WineKitchen

I was really enchanted by the Foie Gras served here, evenly cooked with a very crispy seared surface (way more crispy than any other pan-seared foie gras that I have tried). The classic apple sauce complemented the liver well too.

Borkonyha WineKitchen – Crispy Duck Liver with Apple in Vanilla & Beetroot Sauce (3,350 Ft)

For main, I had the Mangalica Variations, or deep fried Pork Tongue, Pork Loin and Black Pudding (aka Blood Pudding). Didn’t really take to the fried balls of Blood Pudding since it’s a little too salty but I did like the Loin for its moist tenderness and Pork Tongue, which had a texture that reminded me a little of Tripe.

Borkonyha WineKitchen – Mangalica Variations (3,750 Ft)

Kispiac Bisztro

Hold utca 13, Budapest, Hungary

Tel: +36 1 269 4231

Kispiac Bisztro, as its name suggest, operates as a bistro, meaning that the setting is somewhat more casual than Borkonyha and can get slightly rowdy during meal times, especially since the restaurant is a small-scaled establishment. Hungarian cuisine does seem quite similar to French somehow, with items such as Braised Pork Cheeks, Crispy Roasted Pork, Roasted Duck and Foie Gras gracing the menu. Never before have I seen Foie Gras as a main so I just had to have it. It was great when I had it (since it was only my 2nd dinner then) but the novelty of affordable Foie Gras wore off several meals (with much Foie Gras dishes) later, given the unctuousness.

Kispiac Bisztro – First time having Foie Gras as a main

Hungarikum Bisztro

Steindl Imre utca 13, Budapest 1051, Hungary

Tel: +36 1 797 7177

Another bistro worth visiting is Hungarikum Bisztro. To make our lives easier, they have a 3-course menu (3,600Ft) that includes Hungarian specialties such as Goulash Soup with Noodles, Crispy Duck Leg with Braised Cabbage and Onion Potatoes, and Cinnamon Flavored Apple Pie with Vanilla Sauce. I opted for the ala carte since I wanted some warm chicken broth for my recovering cold.

For main, the Crispy Duck Leg was fantastic, with plus points for the skin and modest use of salt on the meat. I personally find most duck confits a little on the salty side so this one worked well.

Hungarikum Bisztro – Crispy Duck Leg with Onion Potatoes and Braised Cabbage (2,100 Ft)

Onyx Restaurant

Vörösmarty tér 7-8, Budapest 1051, Hungary

Tel: +36 30 508 0622

There are 2 Michelin-starred restaurants in Budapest, Onyx being one of  them. Their 3-Course set lunch is pretty affordable at approx 5,990Ft (20 Euros) but a number of options on the menu require additional top-ups. In all, I spent about 40 Euros for lunch, including a glass of wine, still water, a 2,500Ft top-up for a Foie Gras starter and taxes.

Onyx – One of the two Michelin restaurants in Budapest

Onyx – Chichi Interior

Lunch kicked off to a perfect start with the Bread Basket, which held about 11 or 12 assorted flavours of pastries and bread that was served freshly toasted. An unlikely buttery cabbage pastry totally blew my mind.

Onyx – Amazing Bread Basket

Another great aspect about Onyx is that it doesn’t scrimp on its set lunch menu. For example, the lunch menu starter which I had, the Goose Liver, Grape, Loaf is also found on the restaurant’s dinner ala carte menu (at 6,000Ft) and tasting menu. It’s something I would definitely recommend as a starter, where you get two variations of Foie Gras with contrasting flavours.

Onyx – Goose Liver, Grape, Loaf

Onyx – Chicken Oyster, Squid, Prawn, Bouillabaisse Sauce. (prawns were orgasmic, the rest so-so)

While resting in between meals, you might also want to consider checking out the Central Market Hall, especially if you want to stock up on canned foie gras or caviar produced locally. The market is pretty much like a really clean European version of Singapore’s wet markets and locals do come here for their weekly grocery shopping. Some local delicacies can also be found from the food stalls at the market’s 2nd storey.

Budapest Central Market Hall

Fun fact #2: Hungary is the second largest producer of Foie Gras after France, which is really impressive given the size of the country. That probably explains why Foie Gras was so readily found in markets, restaurants and bistros around town, even the less high-end ones. Never thought I would say this, but I am officially stuffed with foie gras. Laying off it for at least a month or two.





[Hong Kong] Caprice – A Michelin 3-Star French Luncheon

3 08 2012

Located at The Four Seasons Hotel, Caprice is one of the 2 French restaurants in Hong Kong that have been awarded the prestigious Michelin 3-stars (the other being Atelier de Joel Robuchon).

Few can dispute that Caprice is undeserving of such an honour, not after setting foot into the restaurant. Greeted by a team that is attentive and well versed with the restaurant’s offerings, one is led into opulent settings where Swarovski chandeliers hang overhead. As one enters the restaurant, the first thing that catches the eye is the open kitchen with the chefs all hard at work and as you look around towards the windows, you catch a gorgeous view of the Victoria Harbour. It does seem that Caprice spares no expense in ensuring that the ambience is right for that special occasion.

If one should decide to dress up for a meal, this would be the time to do so. Nothing is going to be much fancier than this.

Given the posh setting and accolades, it is no surprise that meals here don’t come cheap. The more “affordable” set lunches are priced at 460/520 HKD for 2 or 3-course meals respectively while dinners can work up to easily 3 times that price without wine.

We were served an “Anchovy Cake” as our amuse bouche, which tasted much like warm fish keropok. It’s tasty but I expected something a little more sophisticated.

Of the 4 varieties of bread (from top left anti-clockwise – Olive, Baguette, Sourdough and Sesame), it was clear that the Sesame was our favourite. It’s done very much like a croissant, just much airier. Not wanting to stuff myself prematurely, I was the only one on my table who had the discipline to stop at 1, while my counterparts were so taken by this that they downed an average of 5 each!

We were also given Bordier Butter (salted and unsalted) to go with our bread, a premium French hand-churned butter that is considered by many to be the finest in the world.

My friends Joyce and Randall had the Rockfish Consomme, Saffron Infusion & Fish Rillette for appetizer. The taste of the broth seems so surreal to me now as I merely sampled a mouthful of its umami goodness. I was distraught after I tasted it, realizing that my appetizer didn’t even come close in terms of execution and flavour. The Fish Rillette was just so-so compared to the consomme, tasting like a crabcake mash.

Kenneth had the Marinated Salmon, Avruga & Lime Caviar, Tarama, Bottarga & Salmon Roe. Personally, I thought it was just an over-glorified piece of Cured Salmon that was no doubt tasty but overly simplistic.

I had the Paimpol White Bean Veloute & Duck Foie Gras Tartine. The word veloute stems from the french adjective velour, which means “velvety” but this white bean veloute was far too heavy and starchy to be described as such. Served on the side was the Duck Foie Gras Tartine, comprising mainly of white beans with slivers of foie gras terrine on a thin toast. While it had an appetizing sourish zing to it, I couldn’t appreciate its pairing with the veloute.

While there were 7 choices of mains to choose from, it so happened that all 4 of us chose the Free-ranged Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras, Mushrooms & Spinach in Civet Sauce, which sounded the most authentically french and hardest to replicate amongst the other choices. It was a good call indeed as this turned out to be the star of the meal.

I have had bad experiences with foie gras stuffings, such as the DB Burger from DB Bistro Moderne where the foie gras stuffing turned out tasteless and dry but the stuffing for the quail wasn’t like this at all. There was no pungent aftertaste and its flavours managed to infuse into the tender juicy quail meat that had been cooked perfectly to a light pink hue. The civet sauce tasted similar to a red wine sauce you would get off a coq au vin, but perhaps been thickened slightly with the addition of blood.

For wine, we requested a bottle of semi-dry red to go along with our quail and the sommelier suggested the Chateau Rollan de By, 2006 (780 HKD). It’s from Medoc, a wine growing region in Bordeaux and made up of a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon & Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot. I found it very drinkable with a medium fruity body which indeed complemented the quail.

For desserts, I had the Saint Honore of Chocolate Trio & Cinnamon in Spiced Mexican Sauce, comprising 3 chocolate profiteroles & varying degrees of chocolate mousses on a filo pastry which is then finished with an extra layer of chocolate sauce. So much chocolate must have made this dessert cloying right? Wrong, the chocolate mousses were really light and there was sufficient pastry to soak up all the chocolate sauce.

Joyce and Randall both got the Cherry Marmalade & Sandalwood Cream with Griotte Sorbet, very much a sandalwood panna cotta topped with Cherry Sorbet and Marmalade.

Kenneth had the Caprice Cheese Cellar, a very generous platter of 4 types of cheese. I wasn’t paying much attention when the server was going through the cheeses as I was desperately trying to take some quick snaps of the other desserts that had meltable features but 1 cheese did catch my attention – giraffe cheese. It wasn’t my cup of tea though, as I prefer milder cheeses.

We ended off the meal with coffee, tea and petite fours (Strawberry Macaroon, Banana Chocolate, Irish Dark Chocolate) at 4pm. Time had whisked by so quickly but the staff didn’t seem annoyed that we had unknowingly stayed past lunch hour.

Good food, chichi settings and superb service. If there’s only 1 thing more I could ask for, it’s probably a little more creativity.

Caprice

8 Finance Street, Central, Four Seasons Hotel

Tel: +852 3196 8888





[Hong Kong] Tim Ho Wan – Michelin 1-Star Dim Sum

1 08 2012

For many, a trip to Hong Kong is never complete without a visit to Tim Ho Wan, one of the cheapest 1-star Michelin restaurants you will ever find. I was admittedly skeptical when my friends told me I would not spend more than S$15 here but I soon discovered they were spot on. And believe me, I don’t hold back when I get clearance to fill up a food order sheet.

I heard that the flagship outlet in Mongkok serves the best dim sum amongst its 3 outlets (the other 2 are at Hong Kong Station and Sham Shui Po) so if you don’t mind the 1-hour wait (as the joint at Mongkok only seats around 30 people), it’s the place to be.

There’s around 20 items on the menu, of which I tried 14 of them during this visit. I will cut to the chase and tell you what are the must orders here!

To put it simply, while most items are of commendable quality, only 3 items really stand out to me.

The first is the Barbeque Pork Buns (17 HKD). Think of it as a Bo Luo Bao (菠蘿包) with fatty char siew fillings. The sugary glaze atop the deep fried bun, paired with the savoury char siew is a match made in heaven. It’s so freaking awesome, it should be patented and why hasn’t anyone copied it back in Singapore yet?

When Neo chose the red pill over the blue pill in The Matrix, he made a revelation as the veils were lifted from his eyes. That’s how I felt as I sipped at my first mouthful of Tim Ho Wan’s Century Egg with Shredded Pork Congee (16 HKD). It’s so damn insanely good. The silky congee is made even smoother with the creamy texture of the century egg and as you slurp down the congee, you end with a most interesting finish of rich salted eye yolk.

Last but not least is the Prawn Chee Cheong Fan (22 HKD). The Cheong Fan skins should be ambassadors for SK-II, showcasing a pearly and elastic texture.

Most of the other items I tried such as the Har Kow (24 HKD), Siew Mai (24 HKD), Chinese Steamed Sponge Cake 馬拉糕 (12 HKD) were pretty decent as well, with the Fried Carrot Cake (12 HKD) being a popular item amongst my friends.

Other dishes like the Spring Rolls (22 HKD), Fried Beef Dumplings (18 HKD), Beef Balls in Beancurd Skin (16 HKD) were quite meh and the Pig Organ Chee Cheong Fan (18 HKD) had lingering stench of organs that had not been washed throughly.

No dim sum restaurant I know of gets everything right and Tim Ho Wan is no different. But of the ones they do get right, what you get there is a little glimpse of heaven.

Tim Ho Wan

8 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok, Kowloon

Tel: +852 2332 2896





[New York] Bouley – Skipping out New York’s Restaurant Week for this!

20 07 2011

Restaurant Week 2011 for New York is held between 12th to 25th July, but instead of going for discounted set meals (US$24.07 for lunch and US$35 for dinner) offered at some restaurants, I figured that this week would divert some attention away from the many Michelin Star restaurants not participating in restaurant week and provide the opportunity for successful last minute reservations. That’s how I stumbled upon Bouley, a French Michelin 1-Star fine dining restaurant.

On a side note, given the success of Singapore’s Restaurant Week in March 2011, a 2nd installment will be held here in October this year, making it a bi-annual affair.

Unlike the chichi restaurants in Singapore and those I visited in London, the dress code for fine dining in New York is more strictly enforced, so even in the heat of summer where temperatures soar as high as Singapore’s, formal jackets are still required for gentlemen dining at Bouley.

My group of 5 was seated at a dimly lit side of the restaurant so the photos are kind of grainy and dark even after some editing 😦

From start till finish, service was top notch and bordering on stifling but after getting some awesome food in our tumtums as the meal started, we immediately abandoned our unusually reticent selves in unending ravings.

Bouley offers ala-carte lunch as well as a 5-Course Tasting Menu (US$55). Given that a 2 course ala-carte meal here already costs more than the Tasting Menu, almost everyone in the restaurant opted for the tasting menu.

Can’t remember the exact constituents to the complimentary amuse bouche but there was definitely Celery Sorbet, Beetroot, Avocado with Cherry Sauce. A truly refreshing dish with great complementary natural flavours. Even my friends who usually avoid celery proclaimed that this was good and cleaned out their bowls.

Amuse Bouche

All except one of my friends ordered the trio of sashimi as their starting course. Kampachi is a Hawaiian Yellowtail best known as Almaco Jack which tastes and looks almost exactly like the Tuna. My favourite sashimi though was the white flesh from the Striped Amberjack which had a much fattier and creamier texture.

1st Course: Carpaccio of Kampachi, Young Big Eye Tuna and Striped Amberjack (Mediterranean style)

This was prepared with the Flan (custard) at the base, with the dashi (soup stock) poured over it. While we often use Sri Lankan crabs for our local Singapore dishes, the Dungeness Crab, named after the the town of Dungeness in Washington, is most often used in the Pacific Northwest which includes areas such as Vancouver, Seattle and Alaska.

2nd Course: Porcini Flan, Alaska Live Dungeness Crab & Black Truffle Dashi

2nd Course: Wild Alaskan Salmon with a Rainbow of Early Baby Beets & Macadamia Nut Dressing

2nd Course: Black Cod marinated with Pistachio Miso, Organic Buckwheat & Ginger Aromatic Sauce

B ordered the chicken which she gave positive feedback on. I thought it was good, but not great. Pain D’Epices is a type of bread or cake so I’m not really sure how the dressing for this dish is made. B thought that the dressing tasted like a mere pumpkin puree sauce though. Chanterelles are a type of mushroom commonly used in French Cuisine and had a notable earthly flavour.

3rd Course: All Natural Pennsylvania Chicken, Spring Carrot Ravioli, Chanterelles & Pain D'Epices Dressing

3rd Course: Organic Long Island Duck Roasted with White Truffle Honey with Puree of Organic Dates and White Turnips

I think most of us got fooled that this was Kobe beef given the name of the dish but judging from the extent of marbling, I highly doubt it. Still, everyone found it very tender and tasty, going well with the Gnocchi which acted as a staple for this dish.

3rd Course: Slow Braised Kobe Style Beef Cheeks with Blue Kale Gnocchi

This really reminded me of the Honeydew and Rock Melon Sago dessert that we get in Chinese restaurants, especially after the Ricotta Sorbet started melting and replacing what would have been the Coconut Milk.

4th Course: California Organic Orange Flesh Melon Soup with Fresh Ricotta Sorbet

My friends called this “Heaven on a Plate”, nuff said.

Hot Valrhona Chocolate Souffle 2011 with White Coffee Cloud and Chocolate Sorbet

Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear with Valrhona Chocolate, Biscuit Breton, Hot Toffee Sauce, Lemon Verbena and Tahitian Ice Cream

Petit Fours

Gems such as Bouley are best left for special occasions when you want everything to be perfect, but since perfection is relative, never should meals here be an everyday affair.

Bon Appetit!

Bouley

163 Duane Street, New York

Tel: 212 964 2525





[London] Rhodes W1 – A Modern Take on French

22 05 2011

I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to secure an online booking for lunch at Rhodes W1, especially when it was a 5-Course Spring Tasting Menu at just 25.50GBP. I can’t remember which website I used to make the reservation but I discovered that one of the more dominant reservations sites within the UK would be Toptable. It’s a restaruant booking website (very much like diningcity) which frequently offers diners specially priced set menus, and 50% off restaurant bill deals for diners who choose to make their reservations via toptable for selected restaurants. Why doesn’t Singapore have such a website?!

Awarded 1 Michelin star, Rhodes W1 came across to me as being excessively posh, with a chandelier overhanging each and every table and Molten Brown liquid soap & hand lotion and nicely folded cloth towels in the toilet! (and yes, in case you are wondering, I did what normal kiasu Singaporeans would do and spammed some hand lotion before leaving). Despite being labelled a contemporary French eatery, I believe that much of what Rhodes W1 conjures up derive influences from an eclectic mix of different cuisines.

I’m more of a focaccia person that a ciabatta.

Courgette (Zucchini) Mousse, Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Balsamic Jelly. I liked how the palate cleansing balsamic blended well with the creamy mousse.

Braised Octopus Carpaccio, Chorizo Croquette, Fennel and Lemon. Nothing mind-blowing about the octopus but I did like the Croquette which was well fried though I couldn’t really discern the taste of chorizo from the potato.

As G doesn’t take Octopus, the chef obligingly replaced it with a Pigeon Pate, which ironically I found more tasty and substantial.

I just had a Guinea Fowl Confit at Bistro Du Vinlast week which wasn’t exactly spectacular and concluded that Guinea Fowl is just a lesser poultry, short on taste and texture compared to duck or chicken. However I was proved wrong after tasting the Slowed Cooked Guinea Fowl, Baby Leeks, St George’s Mushrooms & Foie Gras Emulsion today. The cylindrical pieces of meat came from the breast and was stuffed with what I gathered was egg, sunflower seeds and some other ingredients. As for the rectangular piece, it consisted of the thigh portions. Both were succulent and juicy.

Pina Colada. Coconut mousse atop pineapple sorbet.

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Ice Cream. A sweet ending to the stellar meal.

The bill arrived in an envelope labelled “The Damage”. Very cutesey…I like.

Bon Appetit!

Marble Arch
London W1H 7DL, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7616 5930








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