Sunday, April 06, 2014

Easter Brunching @ The Knolls, Capella

Life has been throwing me lemons recently so it was a relaxing, wonderful experience to enjoy Sunday Champagne brunch on the tranquil grounds of the Capella.

This Easter, The Knolls rolls out a Mediterranean buffet spread with some special dishes alongside their staples. On the whole, here's what to expect.

The Smoked Salmon Rilette with Caviar & Blini was moreish with its delicately salty and moist salmon rilette, pearls of caviar and fluffy soft blini.

Fish for the Turbot, an outstanding dish featuring premium flatfish known for its firm white flesh and delicate flavour. The accompanying roasted herb veggies were scrumptious.

For something fun, try the Foie Gras Popsicle Dipped in Chocolate. Sounds whimsical but the combination works nicely.

I'm no big oyster fan but I know of several people who will go gaga here. Moohehe. The Knolls serves a variety of oysters from Cadoret, one of France's oldest farms.

Grab a few slices of cold cuts and salami from the Charcuterie board. I added them to my bowl of nachos with guacamole and hummus by the side.

A few live stations, including a grill, were set up just outside the entrance of The Knolls dishing up ice cream, ravioli, wraps and yummy sausages (quite spicy) and pork pieces.

Lamb fans should not miss the Lamb Royale, a large platter of different parts of the Agneau de pré-salé otherwise known as the "salt meadow lamb'. Sourced from France, these lambs graze on pastures with high salinity and iodine content, giving them a distinct taste. 

Also from France were the chickens used in the Salt Baked Yellow Chicken. Corn-fed, free-range chickens (with French passports. moohaha) were encrusted in salt and baked resulting in juicy, flavoursome poultry. There were even 3 flavours to choose from! All were rather Provencal in flavour profile.

If you are wondering if the chef is French seeing that many of the produce are from France, yes he is! I was guessing he would be from the South of France given his lighter touch and liberal use of herbs. My guess (after a few glasses of Champagne) turns out right. Presenting the affable Executive Chef David Senia!

Speaking of Champagne, free-flow Taittinger will be served for Easter brunch.

There was a nice looking spread for desserts but knowing moo...

...this was dessert. Moohehe. I love the cheese cupboard here. Moo favourite was the aged Comte! :D

Ok ok. I did have some "real" desserts including the chocolate tart and these absolutely delicious cookies! And a bit of bread with butter. Siao, you might think but the butter, moore specifically Beurre d'lsigny, is fab fat! Hey maybe these cookies were made with it.

The lively tunes of the four-piece band serenaded guests as the band made its way around tables. A nice touch to the relaxed yet classy brunch vibes here at The Knolls.

Easter Brunch (20 April, 12.30pm) is priced at $228++ per adult with free-flow wines and Champagne; $188++ per adult without alcohol.

Thanks to Leanne Sim of the Capella Singapore for hosting me.

The Knolls
Capella Singapore
Tel: 6591 5046 

Chew On This: A fun egg hunt is available just for Easter. Find three Easter eggs hidden on the grounds of the Capella Singapore and stand to win prizes such as a one night stay in a one-bedroom garden villa, dinner for two at Cassia and a 90-minute signature massage at Auriga Spa!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Dinner with the League at Table @ Pip's

After Cherie's pizza birthday party, we explored the Bukit Timah area- first going to a hipster cafe then milling around Lorong Kilat and stumbling upon this quiet place for dinner.

A staff handed out a pamphlet as we walked by Table @ Pip's. Prices looked pretty reasonable. And the smell of the meats on the grill strategically placed right outside the restaurant got our attention.

Here's what we had.

Pip's Garden Green Salad ($5.90). To find walnuts, rocket leaves and dried cranberries in the salad at this price was great. I was half-expecting iceberg lettuce. Moohehe. Decent though under-salted.

The Escargot Bourguignon ($6.90) was scrumptious and well liked by people at the table. These babies were baked with garlic butter and came placed atop white button mushrooms. Earthy, flavoursome and juicy.

Also good for sharing around the table is Potato Skin ($3.90). These strips of crispy potato skins drizzled with sour cream were fun to eat.

Mooving on to the mains, the Grilled Sirloin Steak ($18.90) was plated with Shimeiji mushrooms, potato au gratin and pea shoots. Steakwise, it lacked flavour.

The Duck Leg Confit ($14.90) fared mooch better with its crispy skin and tender flesh. Ratatouille and orange demi glaze provided some flavour and textural contrast and variation. And yay! No pea shoots! Moohehe.

My cow-loving (different from beef-loving) friends opted for the Chive Salmon Steak ($14.90). I took a small bite and found it moist with the salmon and chive puree pairing well together. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction added a slight sweet-tart balance to the dish.

From the Weekly Specials menu on the table standee, the Seafood Risotto ($24.90) featured a nice mix of prawn, seabass, mussels and squid cooked with creamy risotto grains. Didn't quite take to the raw grassy notes from the pea shoots though. Yes, yes. I hear you. Cows should eat grass. :p

Also on the Weekly Specials menu was the Seabass Arabbiata ($19.90). Ribbons of homemade fettucine were coated in a spicy tomato sauce with a good balance between the heat of the chillis and the tang and sweetness of the tomatoes.  

Dinner was enjoyed with a bottle of Cellier Yvecourt Bordeaux 2009 ($60.50). Juicy red fruits dominated. Simple and easy drinking.

At this mooment, I need to apologise.

I skipped desserts for a bowl of noodles and pork porridge at Bukit Timah Hawker Centre instead. MOOHAHAHA. There's a Durian Chocolate listed on Pip's menu that sounded intriguing though!

It felt somewhat nostalgic and happy to be back roaming that part of Bukit Timah with poly pals just like we did over 10 years ago. :)

Table @ Pip's
17 Lorong Kilat
Tel : 6467 6867

Opens: Daily 11am - 3pm, 6pm-10.30pm

Chew On This: They have BBQ Crocodile Ribs on the menu. Sounds like something to try the next time!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Simple & Good Dumpling Noodles

Moore often than not, it is not a good idea to look at your neighbour's plate after ordering food unless one is prepared to do round two. Moohehe.

I had my Cai Fan in front of me but my colleague's noodles looked so good lah. Trust this cow. Besides grass looking greener on the other side of the fence, noodles also!

So I did the expected and had a round 2 lunch of Sui Kao Min ($3 for large). The thin egg noodles, firm and springy, were deliciously tossed in a mix of shallot oil, chilli paste, a savoury brown sauce and a drop of sesame oil. The Sui Kao aka dumplings were plump with prawns, minced pork and crunchy bits of water chestnuts.

Simple and good fare from this stall manned by two elderly ladies and one elderly man.

Now, maybe I should order a $5 portion the next time...and refrain from coveting my neighbour's dish!

Qing Xiang Wanton Noodle
North Bridge Road Food Centre
Blk 861 North Bridge Road
Opens: Only for lunch

Chew On This: For some odd reason I can't explain, I ordered the noodles using my lousy Cantonese which usually happens only when I'm forced to use it in Hong Kong! #hengnothingwentwrong

Sunday, March 23, 2014

GroXers Brings in Joshu Wagyu

It was a Saturday morning but this cow was lured out of bed by well...another cow. Moohehe. Or moore specifically a deliciously sacrificed one. #youknowiamcannibalisticright 

Brought in from Japan by food distributor GroXers, Joshu wagyu is wagyu beef from Japanese Black cattle raised in Gunma prefecture. Benefiting from the area's green mountains and clear water, Joshu wagyu is known for its succulence, tenderness and rich flavour.

Chef Felix Chong showcased some yummy dishes made from Joshu wagyu at a demonstration held at ToTT.

First up an 'ice cream' of beef tartare. Gone in one mouth, the crisp squid ink wafer cone contrasted delightfully with the creamy, sweet-tangy beef tartare. Moo thinks this is a good canape idea.

Pan Seared Joshu Wagyu Beef with Capsicum & Balsamic Reduction showcased the sweet beefy flavour of the striploin though the capsicum was a tad intense for me. I tried the beef on its own and then went for moore in a stamp of approval. Moohehe.

Flame on! Someone should tell Johnny Storm from Fantastic Four to do this. Blow torching slivers of Joshu wagyu added a smoky touch and brought out some of that luscious oils.

Lightly flamed on the outside and nicely under-cooked, here's the Wagyu Ribeye with Celeriac Puree, Asparagus & Mustard Sauce. :D

If you wanna order up some Joshu Wagyu or Joshu beef, check out GroXers! They even have a 25% discount for first timer shoppers.

Thanks to Yvonne Law of GroXers for hosting me.

Joshu Wagyu
*Available at Groxers and selected meat specialty shops

Chew On This: Order $60 worth of products from Groxers and get 10% off tickets to Fantasia by Escriba (27-29 June)!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Taste Nostalgic Dishes at Man Fu Yuan

Like how the simple ratatouille brought back powerful memories of food critic Anton in the movie Ratatouille, nostalgia can often be a most wonderful flavouring.

Man Fu Yuan at the InterContinental Singapore aims to ignite nostalgia by presenting a slew of old school dishes for a limited time only- 15 March to 31 May 2014. Researched by Chinese Executive Chef Kwan Yiu Kwan and Restaurant Manager Patrick Ng, these dishes are apparently from the 1960s and are influenced by Chinese cuisine in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

My favourite dish of the lot was also the first time that was served that evening. Mixed Beef & Beef Ball Stew ($28) was a simmering claypot with ox tripe, tender beef brisket chunks and handmade beef balls in a rich gravy that almoost did me in by commanding two bowls of rice. Moohehe. The beef balls were delightfully springy and had bits of crunchy chestnut.

Fans of Pig Trotters with Vinegar ($28) can savour the version here which is made of two types of black vinegar- Gold Plum Vinegar and Chan Kong Thye Black Sweet Rice Vinegar. Old ginger flavoured the vinegary brew. Unfortunately, I am not too big a fan of this dish.

Double-boiled Winter Melon with Seafood Soup ($58 for 4 portions) is a classic Cantonese soup. Clean flavours from the melon, dried and fresh scallops, chicken and crab infused the broth. I think Jin Hua ham would have taken this up a notch.

Signature Tea-smoked Pork Belly Char Siew ($28) was a popular favourite at the table. And who could resist it with its smoky, slightly charred exterior and sweet, savoury taste. A good balance between meat and fats resulted in an enjoyable chew.

My heart (and probably arteries) cried when another pork belly dish ensued. But the Hong Kong Styled Pork Belly with Shrimp Paste ($28) is another must try! Savoury and rich with umami, this dish warrants more rice.

This is a scaled down tasting version of Man Fu Yuan Traditional Wanton Noodles ($12 per person). Plump wantons and an egg noodles (brought in from Thailand) simply tossed in lard and dark sauce were simple joys. Dab on some XO sauce for a kick.

Praise the Lard for it is good! Steamed Fish Head in Black Bean Sauce ($28 per piece) had crispy lard dotted around a flavourful black bean sauce. Really who needs fish? Moohaha. The Imperial Chicken ($28 for 1/2 chicken) in the background featured chicken seasoned with Chinese wine and presented with a dish of minced ginger.

For some variety on a plate, this platter had tongue, wings and trotters. Take your pick! :D

Six Treasures Seafood ($88 per person) seemed fit for a wedding banquet with braised abalones, very moreish fried prawns with a cornflour and salted egg yolk batter, a crispy basket of sauteed prawns, scallops, asparagus and fluffy egg white.

When this dish of Steamed Chicken with Chinese Sausage & Mushroom ($26 per portion) arrived, I wished I had a fifth stomach. LOL. The slices of Chinese sausage and mushrooms lent their sweetness and earthiness respectively to the sauce when steamed with the chicken. I didn't take to the smooth floury coating of the chicken though.

Fried Flat Rice Noodles with King Prawn ($18 per person) made me sit up, or want to lie down, depending on how you see it. Moohehe. It had a nice smoky touch though the hor fun was too tangy/sour for moo.

An iced cold glass of Liang Cha helped to cleanse the palate and placate the body of the indulgent feast.

To end the meal, a bowl of Xu Kup aka Hashima was comforting and perfect. Orh Nee would have floored me...literally. Moohehe.

That was one epic meal. Felt almoost like CNY was already here! Anyway, while I wasn't born in the 1960s and can't attest to the nostalgic-ness of these dishes, I am thankful to be able to experience a taste of the past. In fact, some elements in a few of the dishes did bring moo back to grandma's cooking.

Thanks to Teresa and Denise of the InterContinental Singapore for hosting me.

Man Fu Yuan
Level 2
InterContinental Singapore
Tel: 6825 1062 
Opens: 11.45am to 3.30pm; 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Chew On This: Private dining rooms are available for those who might wish to dine and savour nostalgic moments for business entertainment or a cosy dinner with loved ones.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Night Cap at the Auld Alliance

Sometimes at the end of a long day, a drink feels so good. Even if it is just one drink. #alkiewithcontrol

Stepping into library-like The Auld Alliance was crazy. I could feel each of the over 1350 bottles staring at me. Moohehe.

But no, I just had one drink only, opting for the Old Fashioned. Strong. Sweet. Citrus-y.

Then good night! What else you want lah. Moohehe.

Psst..for those into or keen in learning moore about whiskies, the friendly staff here are happy to indulge in liquid education. :P

The Auld Alliance
Rendezvous Hotel Gallery
Tel:  6337 2201 (from 5pm only)

Chew On This: Whiskey fans can opt for selected flights to explore verticals, regions, types etc and even a blind tasting!