Tuesday, December 01, 2009

938LIVE Foodies Eat-Out @ Equinox!

After last year's eat-out at Goodwood Park Hotel, this year the 938LIVE deejays and foodies gathered at Equinox.

I've stumbled into the Equinox complex once while finding my way to breakfast (which by the way is on the 2nd floor). Silly me. Breakfast can't be possibly on the 70th floor.

But dinner was. And here it comes with a bonus- the stunning city view!

The interior is dim with an orange glow while large clear glass windows cleverly show off the city as a backdrop.

Dinner was set in a private area with drapping curtains for privacy from the surrounding tables. The thing that caught my attention at the table layout was the wine glass. To be more correct, wine glasses. The small white wine glass, round Burgundy glass and tall Bordeaux glass could just as well hint that wine would accompany dinner. While certainly not a must, I find dinners with wines to be more enjoyable and fun. A bit of alcohol does wonders.

More on the wines later. It's a foodies eat-out. Not wine-rs! Let's move on to the food then.

Nothing like a bit of carbs to start those jaws moving. But the star was definitely the butter olive oil whipped cheese dip! Creamy, light and savoury, it was quite THE spread.

Nova Scotia Lobster Tartar with Salt Cured Tasmanian Salmon, Smokey Ancho Chili Gazpacho with Avocado Ice Cream. Quite a long-ish name for the starter. This was a medley of different flavours and textures- soft acidity from the gazpacho, creamy smoothness from the avocado ice cream and saltiness from the cured salmon. I didn't taste much from the lobster though. Overall, a rather interesting and gentle dish.

Light Soup from sweet Buttered Corn on the Cob, Pepper Popped Black Rice and Basil Cream. This was my favourite dish of the night! Warm, creamy corn soup. A slightly foamed basil cream lent its greenish-herbal touch to the natural sweetness of the corn. And for texture, the popped black rice was nice to bite into.

Pan-fried Foie Gras de Canard with Vanilla Sweet Potato Puree, Caramelized Baby Bananas with La Mauny Plantation Rum. The accompanying sweetish sides, especially the caramelized bananas, worked well to balance out the rich foie gras. But a pity the foie gras didn't have that crisp crust. Alas.

Palate cleanser.

Smoked Full-blooded Black Angus Tenderloin, Braised Five Spices Wagyu Beef Cheeks and Shemeji Mushrooms. For a Western dinner, I thought five spices were a little edgy. I like it more in ngoh hiang and roasted duck than braised beef cheeks. Me thinks beef cheeks work best in a red wine reduction ala French.

The tenderloin had a cottony texture which is often associated with this cut of meat. Tastewise was subtle. I think a tastier cut like hanger steak, ribeye or sirloin would work better. But that's just me.

Lastly, dessert was Manjari Chocolate Coconut Etnao with Malibu Sabayon, Pink Guava and Lilikoi Sorbet. This was very RICH. The chocolate was robust and full-bodied. In fact, a little too full. It needed something equally strong to balance it.

But I am happy ending any meal with chocolate. :)

Oops. I nearly forgot about the wines.

We had a white, rose and red to accompany dinner.

My favourite was the white- a Pouilly Fume 2005. This Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France was minerally, a bit smokey and well-structured.

The rose was also from France (I forgot to take a picture of its label). Its aroma was mainly of strawberries with a bit of raspberries. It was dry and lean. Perfect for a slab of pan-fried salmon! I drool think about it.

The red was Cloudy Bay's Pinot Noir 2008. Very fresh, young and fruity.

The Equinox is helmed by Chef Hugh Styles, who has worked in Michelin-starred establishments in Germany. His inspiration seems to be drawn from local flavours. One example is the use of five-spice powder in braised beef cheeks.

Judging from the camera's affection for him, he could probably consider a modeling job should he decide to hang up his apron and don on Armani or Gucci.

But for now, he'll be on the 70th floor of the Swissotel The Stamford dishing up food that seeks to please.

Thanks to Eugene Loh, Melanie Oliveiro and Janice Teo of 938LIVE, and Belladonnah Lim, Melissa Choo and Elissa Ong of Swissotel The Stamford for putting this dinner together and for hosting us.

As always, it was a pleasure to meet (and eat) with fellow 938LIVE Foodie Lunch Pick folks:

Irene Jansen, Culinary Adventures
Hoong An, HungryGoWhere
Julia Khoo, Aroma Cookery
Leslie Tay, ieatishootipost

Till the next time!

Equinox Restaurant
70th Floor
Swissotel The Stamford
Tel: 6837 3322

Chew On This: The Equinox complex is an all-in-one dining and entertainment complex which also includes Jaan, New Asia, Introbar, Equinox Restaurant, City Space and the Private Dining Rooms. This takes one seamlessly from cocktails to dinner to drinks at the bar before ending off with a bit of clubbing....all at one sky-high location!

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