Stellar @ 1-Altitude – Wine Lust Sunday Brunches

19 03 2014

Following its popularity since its debut in December 2013, Stellar @ 1-Altitude has decided to continue hosting its Wine Lust Sunday Brunches into 2014. This is pleasant news because from what I have seen so far, they seem to be doing it right. The brunch buffet features a good mix of International cuisines, ranging from Japanese Sushi, a meat carving station, cold cuts, western brunch items and most importantly, a free flow of red/white/sparking wine. Adding to that, wine aficionados will also be glad to know that a tasting table of up to 10 wines (different from those on free-flow) will also be set up by a different wine supplier each week, allowing for wine tastings and bottle sales during the course of the brunch. And if you didn’t already know, at 62 floors above ground level, the view from Stellar is simply breathtaking too. How many restaurants can actually boost looking down towards Ku De Ta @ Marina Bay Sands?

At $110++ per pax, Wine Lust is competitively priced against other Sunday alcoholic brunch buffets such as The Line @ Shangri-La Hotel ($138++), Equinox @ Swissotel ($148++) and Clifford @ Fullerton Bay Hotel ($148++). Two reasons might explain this price discount. Firstly, Wine Lust does not offer Champagne but personally, a good non-Champagne sparkling wine offers equal, if not higher utility. Secondly, Wine Lust offers less variety in menu options, doing away with the ubiquitous raw seafood lineup. What Wine Lust offers however, is something unique and what I find to be the key differentiating factor going for it; a larger proportion of live cooking stations and made to order items.

Do not make the fatal mistake of underestimating the menu. While the entire list of food items is categorically displayed on a single page, by the end of the meal, it is likely that you will still end up having trouble standing up, as the individual items listed can become pretty substantial when summed and secondly, since many of the items are made to order, the quality and taste follows that of ala carte and you will likely finish up the entire serving because wasting good food is a sin.

Wine Tasting Table

According to the retailer, the wines were “boutique” Western Australian wines, with prices in the general range of $30-$40

One of the items I found particularly good was the made to order Salmon Benedict. The saltiness of the smoked salmon was controlled and perfect for my tastes. The poached yolk was flowy and the hollandaise as rich and creamy as it gets.

Salami & Salad Bar

Another brunch item worth getting is the French Toast with Caramelized Bananas. It might potentially be one of the best renditions you ever laid your taste buds on with its crisp exterior and airy interior that doesn’t fill you up too badly.

Omelette & French Toast cooking station

I had no complaints with the Sushi section either and found it quite a few notches higher than the usual hotel buffet, possibly because the sushi is made in small batches to ensure that the stock of sushi displayed is always fresh.

One of the highlights of the buffet was the Claypot Chicken Rice. Just like how they do it in traditional dim sum restaurants where you see the staff pushing a cart of fresh dim sum up and down the restaurant for diners to order, the same thing is done with the Claypot Chicken Rice here, where it is pushed around on a trolley whenever a fresh batch is made. To give it a little twist, the rice is served in a piece of lettuce with Tomato Belacan and Cucumber Relish on the side. I was advised to pair it with the Sauvignon Blanc and man did it make a difference. The Claypot Rice tasted a whole lot more fragrant with a hint of sweetness that I did not get in the absence of the white wine.

The mini tacos were also made to order, so they arrived crisp but both CJ and myself found it a little too sourish from the sauce used.

The biggest disappointment for the brunch was the carving station. While the meats (Spatchcock Chicken aka Roast Chicken, Roasted Pork Belly, Rosemary Roast Lamb Leg, Roast Duck) scored high aesthetically with the meats and duck skin glistening from the lighting, they were awfully dry and lacked flavor.

Hopes that the made to order Wagyu Rump would redeem the meat section were quickly dashed as I found the beef extremely sinewy and difficult to cut. Of the two options of sauces (mushroom or red wine), I much preferred the red wine sauce since it complemented the beef way better than the bland mushroom sauce.

Pastas are also made to order, with the option of Carbonara and Aglio Olio. We chose to share the latter since we were pretty stuffed and found it pretty mediocre. Would have loved a stronger garlic flavor and more olive oil, since it came across as a little dry. That said, I was pretty surprised when the chef came over and asked if we would like to have truffle shavings with our pasta, which may cost in the range of $10-$20 per gram in local restaurants. No points for guessing our answer nor our enthusiasm.

The dessert lineup was decent as well, featuring Lamingtons Drive (a type of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and rolled over coconut), Lemon Coconut Cake, Orange Carrot Cake, Chocolate Tartlets, Hazelnut Praline Cake, White Chocolate Raspberry Cake, Strawberry Crumble and Anzac Cookies (an oat cookie). My favourites were the Strawberry Crumble, which is served warm and the Hazelnut Praline Cake (which looks like a chocolate cake in the middle of the dish).

No wine brunch is complete without a cheese platter.

With more hits than misses, I thoroughly enjoyed myself with the entire brunch experience. Service was great and so was the food and ambience. Unbuckling my belt upon reaching home never felt better…

Special thanks to Shasi and Stellar @ 1-Altitude for the invitation.

Stellar @ 1-Altitude

1 Raffles Place, Level 62, Singapore 048616

Tel: +65 6438 0410

Website: www.1-altitude.com

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Forlino II – A Peek into their Restaurant Week Menu

23 03 2012

Forlino was named after its former head chef Osvaldo Forlino. After leaving Forlino, he has since set up 2 Italian establishments over the past 2 years, No Menu Singapore and Osvaldo Ristorante, both of which I’m dying to try. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and just focus on Forlino for today.

I was here just over a year ago and fondly remembered that the food was palatable, though the experience was not impressionable enough to lure me back till now. Accompanying me for this Restaurant Week Lunch, priced at $40++, were fellow food bloggers Christine from Crunchy Bottoms, Jing Wen from The Dirty Stall and Issie. I’m relatively easy to please but I can’t say the same for my fellow guests, who are definitely more discerning when it comes to their nom noms.

When I saw Stuzzicappetito as the first course, my mind drew a blank. Had no idea whatsoever what that meant. Googling it after I got home, I discovered that it is the Italian equivalent of an appetizer, and means to tease the appetite. We were given a warm bread roll each with cheese shavings. Crunchy Bottoms bakes her own bread from time to time and postulated that the bread we got was machine-made, which is a bummer. The cheese was awesome though, tasted like a mild cheddar though I reckon it’s probably a type of cheese whose name is long and unpronounceable.

Anyway just some side info on cheddar cheese since I’m on the topic. Have you ever come across the terms “mild”, “tasty” or “vintage” no your cheese packets and wondered what the different styles of cheddar actually mean? Well, these terms refer to how long the cheeses have been aged with mild being the youngest and vintage being the oldest and carrying the most pungent flavours.

My favourite course of this meal was the Tagliolini with Spanner Crab, Sweet Peas and Tarragon Cream. The Tagliolini was cooked towards the softer side, with a light tomato base sauce (which I assume the crab was cooked in) whose tanginess was downplayed by the green tarragon sauce. The portions were large enough to qualify as mains and I was adequately satiated by the end of the course to retire for the day. Then again, the pasta was so good that I was quietly anticipating what was to come next.

Crunchy Bottom’s Mediterranean Seabass Fillet with Braised Artichoke and Apricot Sauce was very well executed in my view. The fish was fresh and moist, going well with the foamy apricot sauce, which was only subtly creamy so as not to musk the natural sweetness of the fish.

I was rather disappointed with the Crispy Duck Leg Confit with Vin Santo Sauce. For duck confits, it is usually the case where either the duck skin is pure decadence or the meat is moist and succulent. You seldom get the best of both worlds. In this case however, the duck confit failed on both accounts. The skin was moderately soggy and the duck meat was stringy and excessively salty. Vin Santo is a type of sweet dessert wine and together with the lentils, they helped to alleviate the saltiness somewhat. I guess I was going through this course with a very unsatisfied look, like I just scored a B+ on a test. B+ is an Asian F 😀

For desserts, we had the Amaretti & Duck Chocolate Pudding, Vanilla and Wild Berry Compote. Amaretti means Macaroons or Cookies in Italian, which I guess is what was sprinkled on the top of the chocolate pudding. The pudding wasn’t very smooth, as I could still see air bubbles like pimples scarring the surface of the pudding. Taste-wise, I didn’t really enjoy it and felt that the berry compote was not the ideal complement for the pudding. My tastebuds might be part of the minority though, since accounts from my friends who have visited Forlino for restaurant week paint a very different picture.

I’d say Forlino might be a little overrated. They do a decent job with their pastas and possibly foie gras dishes, but they should leave the duck confits to the French.

Forlino

1 Fullerton Road, #02-06

Tel: +65 6877 6995





Le Saint Julien – French at its Finest

23 03 2012

We all have meal spending thresholds. Most people will try to stick within the range of $5-$10 for daily routine meals, $10-$25 for gathering-type meals and perhaps $25-$40 for celebratory occasions. This is probably the reason why I have trouble sometimes finding lunch kakis’ when I want to go out for a nice lunch out of the blue.

I guess it’s because of this blog and my routine uploads of food pictures on facebook that leave many people assuming that my meal spending threshold is non-existent but sadly, that is purely a myth. That is why Restaurant Week is so important to me. While not every participating restaurant offers a huge discount off their usual set meal prices, some do take the effort to cater to the humbler than usual crowd and Le Saint Julien is one of the latter.

Before today, I would never dream of dining at Le Saint Julien without a reason to celebrate. An ala carte meal without wine would probably set you back $150-$200! Prices of their 3-Course Set Lunches and 6-Course Set Dinners are slightly more palatable at $46++ and $168++, though I would still think think twice if it were just a regular meal to catch up with friends. After lunch today however, I have to admit my propensity to spend at Saint Julien has been elevated somewhat.

There’s a nice lounge and bar area to have an aperitif should you arrive ahead of your guests. I was browsing through Saint Julien’s website when I came across their wine outlook, where I saw the phrase “$60 for 750ml”. At the back of my mind, I was like “Wa, that’s super reasonable for a fine dining restaurant!”. Then reality struck, it was the corkage charges…

Walking into the main dining area, what you see is sleek furnishings and a high ceiling. This is important so that it doesn’t get too noisy as the crowd starts streaming in. Ms Edith Lai, wife of Chef Julien Bompard, whizzes around the restaurant ensuring everything is in order. She has after all been in the hospitality industry for much of her career and given the level of professionalism and training of her wait staff, we know we are in good hands.

Diners aren’t given much flexibility for the Restaurant Week 3-Course Set Lunch Menu. Appetizers and Desserts are fixed, while there are 2 choices for Mains. An extra course can be ordered at an additional price of $26-$32++, depending on which additional course (Foie Gras, Lobster Bisque or Escargot) is chosen. I decided against it as I have already overkilled my dining budget for this and next week.

We started off the meal with the Slow Cooked Egg with Foie Gras Emulsion, Mushrooms and Black Truffle Oil. Initially, I thought the Foie Gras Emulsion was the white liquid in the cup but it was actually the thin layer of brown paste coating the brioche and it totally blew me away. The white liquid is actually just the whites of the Slow Cooked Egg. I wasn’t paying attention when the wait staff explained it to us, but I’m certain this is no normal soft boiled egg as the yolk is semi-solid while the whites are extremely delicate and runny. Typically for soft boiled eggs, it would be the reverse. I could definitely detect the traces of truffle oil in the egg cup as well, which is an added treat.

We are lucky that Aries chose the Roasted Daurade Fish with “Arbois” Wine and Avruga Caviar Sauce as her main, as it makes for a lovely picture. Daurade is more commonly known as Sea Bream or Tai, a mild tasting fish. I would say that on its own, it is unspectacular, but with the creamy gravy, we swooned. This just highlights the importance of synergizing different elements of a dish. Just fyi, Arbois is a type of white grape found in France and is considered one of the less acidic grape types. I haven’t really heard of it before because it’s a minor grape, compared to the ubiquitous Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.

For the rest of us, we opted for the Braised Pork Belly with Sauerkraut in Filo Pastry, served with Apple Calvados Sauce instead. We all wondered how Chef Julien managed to transfer the pork filled filo pastry onto the plate, as the pastry crust was paper thin, shattering upon light proding. The pork belly was savoury and flavourful, balanced well by the sour zing from the Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) at the base of the pastry, as well as the mildly sweet apple brandy sauce.

The Parfait with Banana, Chocolate and Pralines came with slightly disjointed elements, especially the Chocolate Almond flavoured (for want of a better word I shall just use) biscuit, whose presence I thought was totally unnecessary. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the Parfait which was banana flavoured. The caramelized banana was nice, tasted more alcoholic than sweet (perhaps soaked in alcohol before caramelizing?), but still just an accessory adorning the main attraction (the parfait).

Despite being a discounted Restaurant Week lunch, this experience was definitely memorable enough to justify adding Le Saint Julien to my list of favourite restaurants. After all, if $47 bucks got me all this, just think what a $168 set dinner will get me?

Le Saint Julien

3 Fullerton Road, The Fullerton Water Boat House

Tel: +65 6534 5947





Pierside @ One Fullerton

28 12 2011

There is a sheer abundance of discount coupon websites nowadays like Groupon, deal.com.sg, VoucherWow etc, and while I used to be intrigued by them initially, the novelty has worn off somewhat. Apart from the more common holiday and spa coupons, some of these websites do offer coupons for restaurant meals as well, often including a glowing excerpt of the restaurant and a brief overview of its dining concept on its website. Using such a website, my friend C had purchased $170 of food credits at Pierside (using $100) and invited me along. Personally though, I have never trusted these excerpts, I mean, why would a restaurant offer a discount unless it’s not doing well enough the draw in a crowd? Hence, despite a very promising menu (avail on their online website), I kept expectations in check just in case.

We were first served a complimentary amuse bouche of marinated fish. While it looked rather dry, it tasted surprisingly good, with a taste and texture resembling unagi in a light kabayaki dressing, though springier.

As excessively greedy individuals, we figured getting a Plateau De Fruits De Mer ($60++) consisting half a Maine Lobster, 3 Rock Oysters, Prawn Cocktail, Tuna Tataki, Cured Salmon, Baby Octopus, New Zealand Green Shell Mussels, Venus Clams & Brown Spotted Shrimp provided more flexibility and utility than any other appetizer on the menu. Sadly, we found the platter slightly underwhelming, pulled down by the stale deep fried shrimps that had been left to air for too long, the lackluster tuna tataki and salmon as well as the tasteless lobster lacking its natural sweetness. However, I did enjoy the Rock Oysters which starts off briny before a gentle sweet undertone hits you, as well as the fresh prawns.

The Pan Roasted Foie Gras on Toasted Brioche, Aged Port & Prune ($28++) turned our moods around as the portion was pretty generous, not to mention it’s also one of the better ones I have had. Forget about the Brioche and just savour the wobbly livers in its unadulterated glory. Eating the pineapple at punctuated intervals does help to relieve the unctuous nature of the foie gras too.

The Char Grilled Organic Pork Rack with Fava Beans, Compressed Granny Smith & Green Mustard Grain ($38++) fared averagely as some portions of the pork was a little to lean for my liking but I like how the poached sweet apple (under the round piece of meat)  goes well with the pork. The round piece of fried meat (which the server said was a roulade though it doesn’t look it) was bad, way overfried and utterly dry. We left that untouched after an initial bite.

From what I read on Hungrygowhere, the Oven Roasted Miso Cod with Minted Pea Puree($33++) seems to be a popular item here. It’s not bad but I would have preferred if more miso marinate was used as the flavours comes across as slightly too mild, especially since the sweet miso flavours was retained almost entirely on the cod surface and failed to infuse into the cod flesh. If you read food blogs often enough, you might have come across a Miso Cod that is most highly acclaimed in Singapore. The one I’m thinking of is the Miso Cod at Restaurant Ember, currently my favourite restaurant for a set lunch. Coincidentally, I’m going to be lunching there tomorrow, ready to be spoiled once more. Yay!

I was too full for desserts, partially because I had downed 2 pots of their herbal camomile tea as I was having a sore throat. Overall, I guess what you pay is what you get. While I would not rate the food as stellar, the full view of MBS makes up somewhat for it.

Bon Appetit!

Pierside Kitchen & Bar

1 Fullerton Road, #01-01 One Fullerton

Tel: +65 6438 0400





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





Stellar @ 1-Altitude – A New Star?

29 08 2011

*This dinner was sponsored by Stellar @ 1-Altitude

I was pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation to a tasting session to Stellar @ 1-Altitude last week. This was my first time dining there and I was glad that several other food bloggers were invited as well. It’s always interesting to find out what makes food bloggers tick and their impetus for starting their food blogs in the first place.

1-Altitude is the latest venture by the One Rochester Group, which also operates its flagship gastrobar One Rochester, Coast @ 1-TwentySix and patisserie 1 Caramel (if you haven’t already found out, I hate to break the sad news to you but the outlet between Cathay and Plaza Singapura has relocated to One Rochester quite recently). Perched on level 62 of OUB Centre, be astounded by the panoramic and breathtaking 360 degree view of the Singapore CBD/Marina Bay skyline.

1-Altitude actually manages levels 61 to 63 of OUB centre, with each level catering for different functions and crowds. On level 61, 1-Altitude runs 282 and Citygolf, a sports bar and indoor golf simulator. On level 62 is the fine dining restaurant arm of 1-Altitude, Stellar. Lastly located on the top level is 1-Altitude Gallery and Bar, which is the World’s highest rooftop bar at 282m.

Stellar is helmed by Group Executive Chef Christopher Miller, who in addition to being Stellar’s head chef, also runs his own Thai eatery Sweet Salty Spicy around the Bukit Timah area. He tells us that while Stellar’s modern cuisine carries with it a high level of sophistication, Stellar aims at providing diners with a fun dining experience rather than evoking stifling and rigid fine dining rules.

While Chef Miller specializes in Modern European cuisine, Stellar’s menu isn’t limited as such. There’s food here that caters to most palates, from Japanese, fresh seafood like Sashimi and Oysters, Grilled meats, and even a Charcuterie section (cured meats) but Chef Miller made it clear that Stellar doesn’t serve fusion food.

Our tasting session started off with Stellar’s Twice Baked Gruyere Souffle. For traditionalists who believe that souffles should only be left for dessert, I bid them to try this rendition. The gruyere souffle is served alongside additional servings of 2 different melted cheese sauces (gruyere and blue cheese), meant for those who want an extra cheesy kick. The cheese sauces complemented the souffle as much, if not more, than the typical vanilla sauce to a chocolate souffle. I believe that I would have no qualms eating this for breakfast, brunch, lunch, high tea, dinner or supper 😀

The Seared Hokkaido Scallops and Octopus was a pretty sight. The octopus is cooked in a sous vide style, adding a softer texture to the normally elastic rubbery bite.

The Sashimi: Omakase Taster is an assorted tray of fresh Tuna Belly, Salmon, Tai, Hamachi, Swordfish, Scallops, Ikura, Caviar, and Surf Clams. Typically, “omakase” means entrusting your meal in the chef’s hands such that he would normally bring out the freshest or seasonal ingredients to whip up your meal. Therefore, its probable that one might not get the same types of sashimi everytime, but that’s just my guess. I found the quality and freshness of the seafood laudable given that Stellar isn’t a full fledged Japanese restaurant. After all, who can complain about Tuna Belly?

The Sushi(Spicy Tuna, Swordfish, Lobster and Salmon) was done delightfully well too. I especially liked the Swordfish Sushi (2nd row from top). In addition to the inner sushi fillings of diced swordfish, the sushi was also topped with a slice of creamy swordfish smeared with a rich mayo sauce which was subsequently seared. Really yummy.

There was a small side of lightly seared Ocean Trout and Swordfish Tataki which I found so-so.

There’s so much variety within the Charcuterie Taster that it’s hard to keep track. Apart from the 2 different types of Jamon hams (can’t remember their exact names though), there’s also a fowl terrine which I found too bitter and strong-tasting for my liking, cured sausages of duck and pork which were so-so, and a creamy foie gras parfait which was my favourite mini-item of this Charcuterie Taster.

Transiting to Mains, I harboured ambivalent feelings towards the Truffled Risotto with Poached Maine Lobster. While I liked the texture of the risotto and fresh sweetness of the lobster, I found the use of Truffle oil excessive which threatened to overwhelm the dish’s naturally mild flavours.

The Slow Roasted Suckling Pig with Iberico jamon and Fig Stuffing was pretty decent but objectively speaking, I’m just too much a fan of fat meats to be that reliable.

The Grain Fed ‘Tomahawk’ Rib Eye served with Bone Marrow is sourced from Australian cattle, which according to Chef Miller is what Australian cattle are good for (US cattle are better for their sirloin according to him). If I recall correctly, this Rib Eye was dry aged for 120 days, which is quite long. Just to recap on the similarities and differences between wet aging and dry aging, both types of aging carries with it the same purpose; to allow the beef to become more tender by allowing its natural enzymes to break down the proteins within the beef. The main difference is that for dry aging, the beef (usually of higher quality) is hung and allowed to air while for wet aging, the beef is sealed in a vacuumed plastic bag (hence retaining more water and tasting a bit more bloody). Another tidbit of info regarding food aging that I found out from Chef Miller is that aging of egg whites (for 2 weeks!) is crucial in making a light and airy souffle!

Utterly seduced by the Chocoloate Seduction, I loved every aspect of this creation, from the velvety chocolate ganache to the crunchy praline base, not to mention the Moist Chocolate Cake (much like a chocolate lava cake) at the background. I just think that while 1 chocolate cake is good, 2 is always better.

Topped with Coconut Ice Cream, I’m not an ardent fan of the Tropical Vodka Trifle, which while still passable by usual standards, was dwarfed by the other desserts.

Whenever I used to visit 1-Caramel, I never fail to order the Strawberry Shortcake which is airy and not too cloying. I was simply beaming when I saw it present among the Trio Fraise, which also comprised of Champagne Jelly and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

The Tropical Teaser comprised of a citrus cheesecake and Lemon Sorbet, effective as a last dessert for cleansing the palate after such a heavy meal.

While there was a mix of hits and misses, I generally enjoyed my dining experience at Stellar. After our dinner, we took a short stroll up to the rooftop bar and gallery. Having been to a few rooftop bars in Singapore like Helipad, Orgo and New Asia Bar, I believe that 1-Altitude’s ambience and view is the best of these few. Of course, I won’t be as hasty to say that it’s the best rooftop bar in Singapore, as I haven’t been to LeVel 33 or Ku De Ta etc yet.

Many thanks to the One-Rochester Group and Stellar @ 1-Altitude for their kind and gracious invitation.

Bon Appetit!

Stellar @ 1-Altitude

1 Raffles Place, Level 62 OUB Centre

Tel: +65 6438 0410





The Moomba – The Start of Summer Hols!

17 04 2011

Finals are finally over! It’s been so long since I last had time for a nice slow-paced 2 hour lunch so I was really looking forward to this, especially since The Moomba has been a consistent recipient of multiple dining awards. Located at boat quay, The Moomba is a popular lunch spot for the executives working around Raffles Place.

Despite our supposed cultural diversity, Australian restaurants seems to be much lacking in Singapore, with the few well-known ones being Osia, Uluru Aussie Bar & Steakhouse, Salt Grill & Sky Bar and The Moomba, of which I have yet to try any as of yet before this visit to The Moomba, so this was going to be a real educational experience for me. The severe lack in Aussie eateries locally is probably why I know nuts about Australian cuisine. To me it’s no different from American, with meals consist mainly of just steaks and mash right? Well of course not, there is much diversity in Aussie Cuisine which I was about to find out.

The Moomba offers a 2-Course Set Lunch @ $38++ and 3-Course Set Lunch @ $42++, where you choose 1 appetizer, 1 main and 1 dessert off the ala carte menu (sans either the appetizer or dessert for the 2-Course). Of course, everyone opted for the 3-course. Given that mains cost around $30 plus and appetizers and desserts costs around $20 each, I would be rather reluctant coming here for an ala-carte dinner given the premium I’d be paying.

For appetizers, I had the Bacon Wrapped Crayfish on Wilted Spinach and Poached Egg.  Despite being a signature dish,  I found it rather dry and unremarkable. The egg was overpoached too.

Didn’t get the chance to sample the Iberico Ham with Brie but the piece of Deep Fried Brie looks tempting.

J had a generous portion of 6 Freshly Shucked Oysters.

My favourite appetizer was the Squid Cakes served with Thai Styled Mango Salad. Similar to crab cakes, it had a tantalizing and robust flavour that makes you want to keep going on and on.

For mains, the Confit of Duck on Garlic Mash Potato, Savoy Cabbage, Corn Kernal, Caramelized Fig and Smoked Duck Breast was slightly underwhelming. Perhaps the Australian-styled Duck Confit differs from the usual French, but I found this one disappointing because the skin just wasn’t crisp.

On the other hand, I thought the Grilled Grass -fed Beef Steak wth Roasted Potatoes, Sauteed Sugar Peas, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Roasted Garlic Oil and Red Wine Jus was well executed, though it still falls short of specialized steakhouses like Bedrock Grill & Bar.

Char Grilled Kangaroo Loin with Apple Soya Glaze on Roasted Pumpkin, Portobello and Sauteed Sugar Peas. My first time having kangaroo and it’s quite similar to beef in texture, though the meat has less fat and hence chewier. It’s not bad and J enjoyed it much.

I was quite fond of the Braised Lamb Shoulder with Tomatoes, Olives, Capsicum on Grilled Marquez Sausage, Lyonnaise Potato. The pungent smell of lamb was clearly absent which was much appreciated.

For my own main, I enjoyed the Grilled New Zealand King Salmon Fillet on Japanese Pumpkin Mash with a warm Aubergine and Tomato Relish, which presented itself as fatty but not cloying.

Warm Chocolate Puddig with Black Doris Plum and Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

Pavlova with Raspberry Sorbet. The picture doesn’t do justice to the actual size of the dessert. It’s really too huge for one person to stomach alone. With raspberry sorbet atop a meringue base, it’s a nice pairing of sweet and sour.

Lemon Tart served with Feijoa Ice Cream and creme anglaise. I didn’t really fancy it but M thought it was awesome. Feijoa is a fruit from the myrtle family, and alternative names for it include pineapple guava and guavasteen, so let’s just think of it as Guava ice cream and leave it as that for simplicity’s sake.

I had the Pecan Pie with Butterscotch and Vanilla Ice Cream. The Vanilla Ice Cream was really good, rich and flavourful, going well with the nutty pie. Would have enjoyed it more if it was a chocolate pecan pie though.

While the dishes here weren’t bad, I felt that none were mind-blowing enough to warrant a special visit, and given that it doesn’t have the ambience of a fine dining restaurant, I find their set lunch prices a little on the steep side.

Bon Appetit!

THE MOOMBA

52 CIRCULAR ROAD

TEL: +65 6438 0141








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