Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Lunch to Crave for

Taking over a committee is never easy and I've been busy with the Deli Aprecio Club. Lots of admin work, planning, coordinating and organising with new inclusion of members and committee members. Thankfully, the current main com members have been supportive. :) I apologise for the long wait for this post as I struggle to squeeze time out for this. It's only week 3 of the new school year and my hooves are already well-seasoned.

Now back to the post with thehungrycow reporting from Dempsey Road. Dempsey is fast becoming the next 'hot' spot on the island. Look out, One Rochester!

With its lush green surroundings, small clusters of quaint bungalows and small winding road, Dempsey (aka Tanglin Village) has lots to offer especially for people who enjoy eating with a bit of fresh air, sunshine and in a place steeped in colonial history.

With this in mind and the fact that my family enjoyed the meal at Au Petit Salut the last time, we headed to their new place at Dempsey to celebrate my parents' birthdays. My dad's one comes just three days after my mum's.

The ever-popular three-course set lunch ($25) per person still attracts throngs and the beautiful lush surroundings beckon the weary soul. We joined in the throngs without much hesitation.

The beauty of having four people choosing different selections for each of the three courses means that more than 1/2 of the lunch menu there will be blogged about.

To start off with erm, starters, Sis had a very healthy dose of veggies in her Mixed Green Salad with Herbs and Raspberries Dressing. Certainly adds to the whole greenery effect with an almost calming presence.

Dad had the Vitello Tonato, thinly sliced roasted veal in a light tuna sauce. This description on the menu intrigued me a bit. The flavours of the veal cut by the sharp bitterness of rocket and the fragrance of olive oil made it interesting. The aftertaste of tuna though was a little too fishy for my liking.

We had this the last time and it was still as good. Mum's Half Dozen Burgundy Snails with Tomato and Garlic Butter were plump and juicy. Each one, soaked in the delicious garlic butter in individual wells, was a delight. I couldn't resist asking for more bread to mop up the sinful liquid.

For myself, I decided on the Salmon Tartare Seasoned with Lemon and Olive Oil Served with Mixed Green Salad. This whole dish had a very 'fresh' taste to it. Simple and clean flavours.

For mains, Sis ordered the Seared Escolar Fish Served with Saffron and Clams Risotto, Rocket Salad. The fish was a tad too dry probably due to too long a time in the pan, which was a pity. I have a hunch that the white flesh of the thick Escolar steak could have offered more.

Dad's US Pork Shoulder Stewed with Bacon, Onions, Red Wine and Polenta sounded really good on the menu. But my jaws dropped when it was served. The word 'shoulder' prompted me to expect a big chunk of meat, not the small cubes that were on his plate. Taste-wise, this was a let down for me. There was none of the distinct, salty bacon-y flavour. Instead, the dish had a stronger hint of celery.

Mum had the Pan-seared "Onglet" Beef Served with Confit Shallots and French Fries. The beef was remarkably tender and flavourful. I like the confit shallots which provided an aromatic touch. What was disappointing for the second time here were the French fries. With the French and their pride in everything French, the fries here sucks. Limp, lifeless sticks of potato embodied everything that a true French fry ought NOT to be. Soggy imposters! Blasphemy! I would most likely ask for a substitution for them the next time I order the "Onglet" beef.

My main course was the Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks, Carrots, Mushrooms and Parlsey Potatoes. For a $3 top-up on the set lunch price, these cheeks are more than worth it. A big, succulent chunk of meat that had turned into an amazing beauty with its muscular strands exuding an almost gelatinous texture. It was so tender, no knife was needed here. The red wine and beef combination was spot on. Tasty tasty tasty.

For desserts, the special that day was Lychee de something something something. Pardon me, I'm no good with French names despite my own name being one. Such irony.

This turned out to be a lemon sorbet with fresh lychees. The lychees here seemed really different from the normal lychee that you and I know of. Its flesh was firmer and of a light brownish shade. It had hints of duku langsat. Its sweetness balanced off by the sourish passion fruit seeds. The lemon sorbet was just average, I thought.

Like the Beef Cheeks, the Warm Apple, Pear, Banana and Pineapple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream would require you to add an additional $3 to the set lunch. The medley of cinamon-spiced stewed/baked fruits was warm and sweet. Together with the crumble and vanilla ice cream, it was good. But I felt that the fruits could be cooked longer, rendering them softer.

I'm begining to appreciate creme brulee and so jumped at this one. The Creme Brulee Infused with Madagascar Vanilla Beans had a nicely burnt sugar top that added a burnt caramel flavour to the custard below. Digging into the custard revealed black spots of vanilla beans that lent their characteristic sweet fragrance.

The Choux Buns Filled with Vanilla Ice Cream with Warm Chocolate Sauce, Sliced Almonds turned out to be boring. Perhaps I've not learnt how to appreciate it.

Looking back at this meal... It's lunches like this where there's no rush, no hurry, no fuss but with the joys of being with loved ones and good food plus the added touch of being away from all the hustle and bustle of life, that I so crave for especially now.

Au Petit Salut
40C Harding Road (Minden Cluster)
Tel: 6475 1976
*Reservations recommended

Chew On This: The original place at Chip Bee Gardens has been converted to a more casual Bistro Petit Salut, where the popular $22 set lunch is still being served.


Jazon said...

Nice posh place but if the quality of food is bad, i am turn off 50% already. hopefully the service is good. Just wanna say that this wednesday i wun be able to make it for the tea cermony, cause i going back home. just update me next time if got any activity ok? Cheers.. (MSN/e-mail:

The Hungry Cow said...

The food here is actually more than decent. I was probably in a nit-picking mood when I typed the entry so don't get me wrong.

Service is excellent as always.

I've added your email to our mailing list. Thanks.

And I still have no idea who you are!!! Haha.