Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Reunion" Dinner @ Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant

I was chatting with some media friends at a recent tasting and apparently it's been turkey season for them for the past two months. Oh dear. Poor birds. Moohehehe.

To talk about CNY would be a stretch but my family had some sort of a "reunion" dinner when Mum and Sis returned from abroad. Sick of "ang moh" food, we decided a Chinese meal would be best.

Having had a good meal at Jade Palace for one late dinner (thanks to HT), I made reservations and we were set.

The Preserved Pork Sausage, Liver Sausage & Chicken Claypot Rice ($48) was good to share between 3-4 people. Note that 30 mins cooking time is required.

Succulent pieces of chicken and awesome liver sausage! The rice was not as charred as some and wasn't splashed with copious lashings of dark soy sauce and oil but it was some how good. I enjoyed its subtle fragrance and the aroma imputed by the sausage.

After finishing off the rice, we were asked if we wanted to make a porridge with the left over bits stuck to the claypot base. Because it was delicious and FOC, we jumped at it. This small bowl was truly comforting.

Another lip-smacking dish was the Crispy Pork Cheek Meat with Salted Egg Yolk ($9.80). Slivers of pork were coated with flour and fried before being stir-fried with salted egg yolk. The resulting pieces had crispy fatty bits and the flavour that was released upon chewing was yummy...especially with rice.

For veg, we had the Sauteed Romaine Lettuce with Preserved Beancurd Sauce ($16). This was simple and crunchy...though I feel it's a bit pricey.

Vino that evening was 1/2 a bottle ta pao-ed from the Christmas fair I was working at. A Bordeaux Rose 2008. Crisp and dry with red berries and a bit of mint on the nose. Paired beautifully with the liver sausage! :D

A seafood corner with tanks brimming with well, seafood, should beckon for another trip. After all, the lobster noodles that a nearby couple ordered looked to have pleased them well.

Jade Palace Seafood Palace Restaurant
583 Orchard Road, #B1-13
Forum the Shopping Mall
Tel: 6732 6628

Chew On This: Feel free to bring your favourite bottle as it's a BYO restaurant (no corkage!). Or choose from their reasonably-priced wine list. Out of 10 tables, 7 were having wines. Cheers!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Good Meal to A Good Start

Hello dear blog! This cow has been busy with work at recent events and as usual for periods like this, I eat and sleep to regain strength and blogging will soon follow... now. Moohehe.

Anyway, Boss set dinner to meet the rest of the team at Pamplemousse. It was a cosy, enjoyable dinner with very good food.

The Prix Fixe Dinner Menu ($48 for choice of main either with a starter or dessert).

It was a simple choice. This cow is not quite a sweet person...but I am savoury. ;P

For my starter, I had the Salmon- citrus marinated salmon, pamplemousse confit, Saikyo miso aioli, croutons. It was tender, smooth flesh with the delicious flavour of salmon and citrus.

The Beef "Bourguignon"- 36-hour braised short ribs, red wine, bacon, mushrooms & pearl onions, kecap manis, mashed potatoes, Guinness froth. All that spelt freakin tasty! Instead of semi-disintergrated cubes of beef, this was a whole slab decent enough to be a 180g steak. It wasn't eat-with-a-spoon tender, but tender enough with a nice bite. A little gelatinous too. I didn't quite decern the kecap manis but I guess that's the idea. The flavours all came together very nicely.

And that's what every team should strive for- synergy.

I like the uncomplicated flavours and hearty portions here. The salmon might be almost good enough to be a main for some!

Pamplemousse Bistro + Bar
7 Dempsey Road
Tel: 6475 0080

Chew On This: For those into set lunches, there's a $32 3-course one here! I will be back to check that out.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Austrian Wine Festival 2010 Media Preview

I really believe Austrian (yes, it's not a typo for Australian) wines are up and coming here in Singapore. Thanks to events like the Austrian Wine Festival, hopefully more people would know of Austrian wines and try them!

This opportunity to try a range of Austrian wines came with a lunch pairing that was equally interesting. The food prepared was diverse- Chinese, Spanish, Indian, French, Mediterranean etc. Perfect to see if the featured range of Austrian wines worked with the diverse variety of food.

A short introduction by Austrian wine evangelist, Michael Thurner of Austria's Fine Brands kicked things off. Check out the traditional leather outfit. Apparently it's never washed and can last a lifetime. Who needs cotton, no?

On to the food!

The first dish was a canapes of Tuna with Avruga Roe by Bistro Soori. Fish and roe means a slight fishy flavour but it was balanced nicely with the spring onions and diced tomatoes.

Next came the Gazpacho Andaluz by Bodega Y Tapas. Personally, I would have preferred the gazpacho (sort of tomato soup) to be either chilled or hot. Room temperature didn't quite do it for me. But flavour-wise, it was an interesting dish.

From Golden Peony came the Steamed Cod Fish in Chinese Herbal Broth. Oh how I loved this! Very nourishing and comforting.

In the foreground of the above photo is Foie Gras Topped with Pan-Seared Quail Breast served on Walnut & Fig Bread and Sauced with Port Wine Brown Sauce Reduction from Angelo's. That's a long way of saying delicious. Smooth and soft, the foie gras' flavour paired nicely with the chopped rosemary and substantial-tasting brown sauce. All sweet, salty and savoury!

In the background of the above same photo is the Mustard Chilly Infused Spatchcock, Chargrilled in Tandoor with Avocado Garbanzo Chat by Song of India. The spatchcock was tender and flavourful with an alluring smokey aroma. Very refined and contemporary touch to Indian flavours.

For a clear shot of this dish, head to Camemberu's post on this same event. Coincidentally, we took clearer shots of different side of this plate. Lol.

This plate consisted of (from left to right) Charcoal Grilled Angus Sirloin by The Steakhouse, Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Greek Potatoes & Rosemary Sauce by Esmirada Group of Restaurants, and Beef Bourguignon by Brasserie WOLF.

My favourite of these 3 was the Beef Bourguignon- hearty and with layers of flavours! The lamb cutlet was also good with a meaty texture and slight fragrance of the lamb. Having liked the meat at The Steakhouse at a previous dinner, I was disappointed with the steak served here. Felt like it was a rush job.

Dessert was the Homemade Apple Strudel Served with Hazelnuts and Warm Vanilla Sauce by Warehouse Bistro. Very pleasant and familiar notes of apple, spices, vanilla and pastry.

Here is the lineup of Austrian wines we had:

- Jurtschitsch Gruner Gruner Veltliner Dechant Alte Reben Kamptal Res 2008
- Tement Sauvignon Blanc Gassnitzberg 2008
- Huber Riesling Berg 2009
- Arachon T.FX.T 2006
- Weninger Blaufrankisch "Alte Reben" 2006
- Markowitsch Rosenberg 2007
- Johanneshof Reinisch Pinot Noir Grillenhugel 2007
- Tschida Samling 88 Trockenbeerenauslese 2005

Rather than saying one must pair XXX dish with XXX wine, I like this whole experimental approach. Seeing how personal taste is, one has to try different wines with different dishes to find out what appeals and works.

My personal take on the featured Austrian wines is that they are very versatile with food. Their fresh acidity and clean minerality is perfect for food pairing. I particularly like the Jurtschitsch Gruner Veltliner 2008 (try it with Chinese stir-fries and even spicy food!), Tement Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (beautifully crisp and balanced) and from the reds- the biggish and bold Arachon T.FX.T 2006 and the elegant and nicely-structured Weninger Blaufrankisch "Alte Reben" 2006.

These are heroes who toiled over hot stoves so that we could have lunch. Thank you, Chefs! It's a pretty amazing feat to gather some of the most established chefs in Singapore under one roof. Partnering restaurants include the likes of Les Amis, Fifty Three, Song of India, Brasserie WOLF, Esmirada, Golden Peony, Angelo's, Bodega Y Tapas among others.

For more info on participating restaurants and Austrian wine-food pairing dinners, check out their facebook page. Over 60 Austrian wines from more than 20 premium wineries will be featured! Vinophiles, catch this before it's gone!

Thanks to Sixth Sense Communications for this Austrian wine experience.

Austrian Wine Festival 2010
15 Oct to 15 November 2010

Chew On This: This is a sign of Austrian accountability. Each bottle with this insignia can be traced back to its exact vintage, vineyard and wine-making process.

Monday, October 11, 2010

YES 93.3FM 美食鉴定团-ing at Southbridge Jazz@7atenine

Here in the second last stop of YES 93.3FM 美食鉴定团's current season, we headed to Southbridge Jazz@7atenine.

For some reason (Southbridge I think), I almost headed to Boat Quay! But it is really in the Esplanade.

Southbridge Jazz@7atenine in the day is bright and offers lunch bites at its al fresco cafe. But I suspect it is at night that Southbridge Jazz@7atenine comes alive. Both indoor and outdoor seating are available and a live jazz band takes the stage indoors! It seems like a nice spot to chill. Dinner can be had here or if it's a post-dinner chillout session, grab some tapas to share and keep greedy ones happy while one sip cocktails, swirl wine or chuck down cold beer.

Here's a glimpse of their new tapas menu that is launching on 15 Oct:

Lamb Ribs ($13.70) were drizzled with sweet chilli mint sauce and though I found them to be on the gamey side, the sauce did a good job of balancing it and making sure that the gaminess was not overpowering. Superbly tender!

Next came the 7 Mushroom Soup ($9.70) which was pure comfort. Warm and with a heady aroma, it had little chewy mushroom bits for a bit of texture. Do remember to stir in the foamed milk though. However, I found it pricey and the burnt sticks of bread didn't help either. At this price, a few drops of truffle oil wouldn't hurt.

Tomato Salad ($9.70) was a medley of st marzano, cherry on vine and momotaro tomatoes with basil pesto, mesclun and balsamic cream. The different varieties of tomatoes made this salad interesting. If I could toss hot sphaghetti or linguini into this and drizzle on EVO, it would be awesome!

Speaking of pasta, the Linguini Prawn ($13.70) arrived. Described on the menu as "wok fried with seafood broth", one cannot help but have Hokkien Mee on one's mind. With curry leaves, the chef tried to inject an Asian feel to the ang moh noodles. Overall, unfortunately this didn't appeal to me much. A case of too subtle flavours and too bland alkaline/sodium bicarbonate-treated prawns.

Then came the moment that this hungry cow was waiting for- a fellow cow on his plate. The Grilled Beef Fillet ($17.70) featured a steak (which was ok) but was outshone by its sauce- a deeply-flavoured beef stew that was very good. In fact, warm bread/buns and even bagel with a bowl of this sauce would make my stomachs very happy.

Last savoury tapas was Saikyo Cod ($15.70). The doneness was good, leaving the fish oily and tender. A healthy and tasty option.

A sweet ending to the tasting session came in the form of Churros ($7.70). Crispy, almost hollow sticks coated with cinnamon sugar and dipped into nutella dip.

A range of cocktails are also available. From Mojitos (not in picture) to Seven Island Tea, Coffeetini and Lychee Martini among others. For those who do not take to strong drinks or prefer a "friendlier" drink, these cocktails would be perfect. Else, for myself and most alkies, I think a stronger alcholic punch is badly missed.

A bunch of happy people at the end of another successful 美食鉴定团!

Thanks to DJs Jiafa and Junli for having this cow at 美食鉴定团.

Southbridge Jazz@7atenine
#01-10/12 Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6338 0789
Opens daily: 5pm till closing

Chew On This: Catch 美食鉴定团 on Wednesday at 6pm to hear my broken Mandarin more about it and win a chance to join us at our last outing for this season!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Comforts of Chaozhou Inn

Ok, this is gonna be one long post with lots of food. Brace yourself.

Anyway, when I received the invitation to try out the food at Chaozhou Inn, I was hesitant. A mix of good and not so good comments about their food from friends and family made me think. But with the personal preference of food, it is often best to try it for oneself.....and with Chaozhou Inn located in the east, geography wins sometimes!

Slices of Pickled Papaya started the meal on a good note. Delightfully firm with a nice crunch, these didn't taste too preserved and their sweet-tangy-salty flavours certainly whet the appetite.

We tried three items off their Dim Sum menu (available till 5pm):

Steamed Spinach Dumpling with Prawn & Dried Scallop ($4.50) had light flavours with a slightly chewy skin. Those used to stronger flavours would be tempted to dunk this dumpling into soy sauce and cut red chilli!

The Braised Pork Belly Bun Chaozhou Style ($3.60 for 3) was decent and I like the thick chunk of pork belly that was tender without being too fatty. Unlike many thin slices of pork belly served in this dish elsewhere, the thicker cut here yielded a better bite and contrast to the soft steamed bun.

As a snack, the Pan Fried Black Sesame Cake ($3.90) was delish! Fragrant with the aroma of black sesame and just nicely sweetened.

Moving along to the other dishes on the menu...

I highly recommend the Double Boiled Old Yellow Melon Soup ($8). This is meant to be an individual portion and is so good I doubt people would share! It was infused with the natural goodness of the melon and the medley of seafood found at the bottom lent their sweetness. Very clear and clean-tasting.

The Braised Platter Chaozhou Style ($10) featured duck wings, breast and giblet. While I didn't take to the duck breast's cottony texture, I totally heart the duck wings. Duck wing duck They were tender and flavourful to nibble on.

Another dish worth ordering- Steamed Pomfret Chaozhou Style ($22). The fish was about 600g and would cost much more at many other places. Very good value for money! Steamed simply, the natural flavours of the pomfret can be appreciated.

You can also enjoy the pomfret in porridge with Pomfret Porridge Chaozhou Style ($12).

For those who have not had jellied pork, this is a dish one should try even if it's just once. Not many places serve this dish and I fear it may be lost down the generations. Young people, dare your friends to try this! The Jellied Pork here is pretty good with its slightly chilled and jelly sensation. Savoury-tasting and even better with the sharp chilli dip.

The veg dish that day was Chao Yang Four Treasure Vegetables ($9). With the sauce coating each morsel, it was all a very smooth affair. But I think I much prefer a more robust flavour.

Oyster Omelette Chaozhou Style ($12) was a simple egg dish that tasted rather clean and healthy. Somehow, the greasy and smokey hawker versions wield more magic.

And finally we came to desserts.

The Yam Paste with Gingko Nut and Pumpkin ($4.90) is a classic Teochew favourite. Here, this does not contain lard. And with that, many would probably give the next few sentences a pass and scroll down. But but but, this was surprisingly better than expected. The sweet flavour of yam was unmistakable and while lard would have made this really potent, I was happy with its clean, healthy yet tasty appeal.

The other dessert, Homemade Soy Beancurd ($4.50 for 2 pax; $7 for 4 pax) aka Tau Hway, was equally appealing with its smooth texture and warm fragrance of soy beans.

All in all, I found the food here more than decent with some dishes to be very good. There seems to be a vein of clarity which allows the natural flavours of the food to shine. Oh and don't be fooled by the classy appearance, prices are really reasonable.

Thanks to Sharon of Fish & Co for hosting me. Yes, Chaozhou Inn is under the Fish & Co group of restaurants.

Chaozhou Inn
Parkway Parade
Tel: 6346 6617

Chew On This: I made a separate visit with my family and will update this post in a bit. But for now I gotta go!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Ben & Jerry's ChunkFest 2010

Nope, that's not me. Though hippie guys seem like a permanent feature at Chunk Fest. Check out Chunk Fest 2008!

Anyway, we all know in Ben & Jerry's land, cows lead a lucky life. Green grass to chew on....and a nearby IR for entertainment! Moohehe.

Nonono, it's really about the ice cream. In fact exclusively for Chunk Fest this year, Ben & Jerry's showcased 12 new flavours. Above is the Pomegranate Sorbet.

And it seemed like there's lots of sweetness (caramel, toffee, duche de leche, maple) in this year's lineup. Good cheer for those with sweet tooth. Thankfully there's also peanut butter in one flavour to give a salty counterpoint.

So what to do with the sugar high after all that ice cream?

Jump around!

Or expand all that energy in a tug-of-war opposite where one has to push instead of pull to win.

Or how about a little shopping? There were quite an array of Ben & Jerry's merchandise available. This pint lock caught my eye. Now you can keep pesky hands off your pint! Moohahaha.

As always, Chunk Fest is about a great day out filled with ice cream, games, fun and moosic. This location at the Promontory @ Marina Bay with the small expanse of open land, bay waters, MBS background and nearby Fullerton, was perfect!

I now leave you with a parting shot of a Ben & Jerry's scoop girl- another of their well-loved brand icon. :)

Thanks to Joycelyn Leong of Bang PR and Ben & Jerry's for inviting and hosting this hungry cow. As always, it's been a pleasure to return to Chunk Fest.

Chunk Fest
4th Sept 2010

Chew On This:
The kind folks of Ben & Jerry's included their limited edition and not-for-sale iPhone cover in the goodie bag. As I don't own an iPhone...yet, I'm happy to give this to someone who can better make use of it. Note that this cover only fits iPhone 3.

Drop a comment here naming one of the 12 flavours featured at this year's Chunk Fest and leave your email address for a chance to win! This draw will close at next Friday midnight and a winner will be picked via an online random generator.

Update: Looks like number 13 is not so unlucky after all! Congrats and you'll be receiving the iPhone cover soon. :)