Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mooing at Ruth's Chris Steak House

In the recent months, a number of new steak houses have sprouted up in town. Looks like we do love our beef. See my mardi gras friends above? LOL.

After a mad day at work, I was eagerly looking forward to the dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House- an American brand of New Orleans steak house that started nearly 50 years ago! The Singapore's restaurant is its first in Southeast Asia.

We started with Sizzlin' Blue Crab Cakes ($35 for 2) which had a nice flamed/roasted "crust" and flaky chunks of meaty crab. The natural sweetness of the crab was enhanced by the lemon butter and just a touch of seasoning. Excellent!

The Barbecued Shrimp ($35) was also very good. Think succulent, meaty prawns sauteed in a creamy sauce of white wine, butter, garlic and spices. The sauce got mopped up by the bread and deservedly so.

For a salad option, try Ruth's Chop Salad ($23). This salad mama has moore than 10 ingredients including baby spinach, red onions, mushrooms, blue cheese, bacon, eggs and heart of palm in a lemon basil dressing! A whole load of textures and flavours. I love biting into the tiny cubes of blue cheese. :)

Next came the soups.

While I found the Lobster Bisque ($28) to be average and lacking in depth and well...lobster, the Seafood Gumbo Soup (shown above) fared better with its warm, hearty appeal and comforting mound of rice.

Oei! Where's the beef?!

Okok, I hear you. Moohahaha.

At Ruth's Chris, when the steaks make their appearance, you will hear and smell them before your eyes even get excited. The reason? Steaks are served sizzling on a 260ºC heated plate containing melted butter. 

People who prefer a lean, tender cut of meat should go for the Petite Fillet (230g; $85). It had the usual soft, cottony texture as with most tenderloin steaks, and a mild beef taste.

The Ribeye (340g; $85) was tender, juicy and had more flavour than the Petite Filet. Generally being a ribeye fan, I thought this would be my preferred cut prior to tasting...

But truth be told, it was the New York Strip (340g; $85) that stole my heart. It was a tad tougher than the Ribeye but had a more satisfying bite and chew. Its flavours bolder and moore memoorable than both the Petite Filet and Ribeye.

All 3 steaks above are USDA Prime (the top 2% of America's beef!) and are broiled in a custom-made broiler at 980ºC. Ouch! This cow wouldn't want to be in there. Moohehe. Personally, I found the steaks to have a relatively gentle flavour instead of big, robust beefiness. They were also simply seasoned with salt and pepper and laid on plates with chopped parsley and melted butter, which was a good thing to better appreciate the natural flavours of the beef.

We had a glass of Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red 2006 ($400/bottle) from Napa Valley, California, with our steaks. This enjoyable relatively youthful Bordeaux blend exhibited red fruits and black berries with a small touch of smoke and spices. Nice acid and rounded tannins.

Mooving on to the sides:

The Steak Fries ($18) are ang moh sized potato wedges with rosemary, roasted garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. I think moost marker pens would be ashamed of their size when placed next to this big boy.

Fresh Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce ($23) showed why the correct term to use when counting asparagus is "spears". Large but thankfully tender, they were a nice intermission between bites of steaks.

The table was inching on to desserts but I felt I needed to fill a void. LOL. I know right? My mum says she has one son but brought up two. Moohahaha. The size of the Baked Potato ($20) might look ordinary in the above photo but we had to SHARE it. While others were tucking into cakes, this cow was happily polishing this giant spud off. I can't resist baked potato + sour cream + bacon bits + chives lah.

Some people say there's always an extra stomach or space for desserts. I don't know but for those without 4 stomachs, better make space! :p

The Cheesecake ($25) is one of the best I have tried. Nothing fancy or exotic but just a very well made crust (oh the resistant crunch and savoury, buttery, flavour!) and a lovely, creamy, rich yet balanced cream cheese. The portion is also quite big and can be easily shared between 4 people or 2 hungry ones. 

I was mooing in lala land that night....happy cows in the fields....happy cows on 260ºC heated plates.

Thanks for Chi Tran of MSL Singapore for the invitation and for hosting me.

Ruth's Chris Steak House
Level 4
Marina Mandarin Hotel
Tel: 6336 9093
Opens: 11.30am-3pm; 5.30pm-11pm

Chew On This: Looking to chew on some USDA Prime steaks over a private business dinner or for a birthday bash? Ask about their private room. On the night I was there, a boisterous group of people were clearly having a good time....with cases of Dom Perignon.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Dinner that Came About from Buying a Sous Vide Temperature Control

Sous vide is a common method of cooking in many restaurants serving European cuisine. Meaning "under vacuum" in French, sous vide is essentially cooking food in a sealed, vacuumed environment (often food-safe plastic bags) placed in a water bath with low cooking temperature.

Food cooked this way takes a longer time (think h-o-u-r-s) but the results are consistent, and meats/fish better retain their juices and moisture. For a chef, it also means food storage and preparation can be better managed.

I first learnt moore about sous vide cooking from my first account I handled for work- the now defunct Table 66. Chef Vincent Teng is a sous vide enthusiast and widely uses it for a large portion of his menu. From eggs to duck legs, watermelon to momotaro tomatoes- one man to sous vide them all. Moohahaha.

So when I heard that my friend Ewan bought a sous vide temperature control unit online and was experimenting with this method of cooking, I kinda guessed that he would sooner or later hold a dinner to share his new-found obsession. 

True enough a date was fixed and the guinea pigs rounded up- all 6 of us. At the back of our minds loomed the memoory of a $70 pork sukiyaki experience at the same place by the same guy many years ago...

Anyway, for his sous vide apparatus (moost use science-y words cos of our science-y roots), the clever guy hooked up the temperature control unit to the rice cooker and turned it into his sous vide machine. No need to spend $600+ on a sous vide machine.

Here's the USA Iberico pork flanked by baby carrots and boiled potatoes. The pork, sous vide at about 58°C for more than 4 hours before being seared, was beautiful- luscious meaty texture with a nice fat marbling, juicy, sweet. Very rich tasting.

We also had a balsamic sauce though I much preferred the au naturel or a dab of mustard. The bowl of miso corn was delish but I think with the richness of the pork, people at the table were kinda scared at more butter being used. LOL.

Ewan also made sous vide eggs benny over toasted baguette and Serrano ham (more pork!). As much as I really remembered taking a photo, I can't argue with the camera. :(

But I got a shot of the Momofuku-inspired kong bak pau! The pork (again!) belly was sous vide and served with Hoisin-tasting bean sauce and Japanese cucumbers.

See the resemblance to the ones on David Chang's book? Moohehe.

A Prosecco and a Brazilian Pinot Noir for the evening.

Dessert came in the form of a homemade avocado, coconut and gula melaka ice ream sandwiched between cream crackers.

That was one rich meal! Thankfully it was a Friday so the cow-lories can go some way in replenishing what's lost in the crazy week. TGIF indeed and thanks to our host for the (sous vide) dinner!

Chew On This: Cos it's a lot economical and sometimes more fun to eat in. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hokkaido Specials at Triple Three

Singaporeans clearly love their buffets and when that is combined with a Japanese theme, it is no doubt going to be popular.

This hungry cow trotted down to Triple Three (which also happens to be the very first entry of this blog more than 6 years ago!) one weekday evening to check out their spread.

The seafood on ice proved to be a draw with king crabs, prawns, scallops and shells. I say pick out the king crab flesh and dunk it into hot ramen. Moohehe.

Assorted sashimi- I especially loved the Hokkaido scallops. :)

On that evening, a whole tuna was also filleted live. Clearly size does matter for some. LOL.

A teppanyaki station offered everything from prawns, beef (moo!), lamb (meh), vegetables and salmon. The salmon was perfectly cooked with a slightly crisp exterior and moist, raw-ish insides. 

A station offering fried goodies served up delicious croquettes....and deep-fried fish sperm. Guess which one is the latter? Moohaha. Unfortunately the fish sperm didn't quite appeal to me with its thick batter and hard, dry erm sperm. Yes, it's complex I know.

Thankfully this bowl of thinly-sliced Japanese piggy that were blanched in a light stock and served with peas over rice was simple joy. I don't like the peas but that's just me. The super tender and flavourful pork with rice was just so comforting.  

While I didn't enjoy the two items I took from the robatayaki section, the roast meats from the opposite counter were moovelous. Think juicy, robust honey-glazed ham, and a succulent roasted Japanese wagyu. A dab of mustard and horseradish balanced the meats nicely.

Go for the Hokkaido potatoes with Japanese butter. Simple but oh so goood.

Also on the above plate were 4 types of salt! I'm no salt-ologist but there were the Persian Blue Salt, Hawaiian Black Salt, Vanilla Salt and Pink Himalayan Salt. The vanilla salt would make a lovely sprinkling over butter and chocolate cookies.

Desserts and fruits rounded up the meal. Hokkaido-style treats such as Sea of Ohkotsk Salt Ice Cream and Dorayaki (pancakes) were available.

This Hokkaido buffet promotion is only available for dinner ($138++) from 17 to 31 October 2012 so catch it before it flies by- faster than one can say Irasshaimase!

Thanks to Ruth and Crystal of Mandarin Orchard for the invitation.

Triple Three
333 Orchard Road
Level 5 Mandarin Orchard Singapore
Tel: 6831 6288 

Chew On This: Try some Hokkaido specials for mocktail and cocktail. Or head to their bar next door for some pretty good happy hours deal before dinner!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Quick & Satisfying Vietnamese Meal

It was about 9pm++ and the weather was a little chilly. A hungry stomach made it worse. Then I perked up at the prospect of having a hot bowl of pho. :)

But before pho, we had salad first....because since there is no cooking involved, it should arrive faster at the table. Moohahaha.

The Mango Salad ($7.50) was a tad dry-ish but crunchy and appetising with thinly sliced onions, green mangoes, chopped peanuts, chilli, fried shallots, fish sauce and ginger flower. The ginger flower gave it a nice distinct flavour.

Arriving just minutes later was the Sugar Cane Prawn ($9.90). The lightly-fried prawn patty was akin to a cross between otah and fishcake. I love chewing on the sugar cane after eating the prawn patty. It certainly makes a nice snack.

Before I finished chewing on the sugar cane, the Special Beef Noodle Soup ($9.90) appeared. Its light, clean beefy broth enhanced by a dash of fish sauce, a squeeze of Thai lime and a few slices of chilli, made for great slurping. The sliced beef and boiled brisket/shin had a nice natural bite and were flavourful. The beef balls were also yummy.

Affordably priced and tasty Vietnamese food. Yay!

Madam Saigon
#01-26 Millenia Walk
Tel: 6338 3831
Opens: 11.30am to 10pm

Chew On This: For an executive set lunch option.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Super Brunch- Smiling from start to end

To celebrate my first year on the job, I brought my family to the Super Brunch ($188++/pax) last October. I kept it a secret from them and just told them not to eat breakfast that morning and leave the car at home. LOL.

Known as the moother of all brunches, this highly-popular mega brunch is organised by the Ritz-Carlton once every 6 months.

The word "super" in the Super Brunch meant almost everything was bigger and moore indulgent. Hey the brunch offerings spread from Chihuly Lounge across the lobby to Greenhouse!

Tuna anyone?

Or how about over 90 varieties of farmhouse cheeses! I was mooing over these babies. :p

 Breads galore. My dad loves his loti. Moohehe.

 At that Super Brunch, there were a few participating chefs from other well-established restaurants. Here's Chef Francois Mermilliod of Absinthe. I was happy to meet the friendly chef again after the De Dietrich Celebrity Chefs Charity Cookathon. Hello to also Chefs Diego Chiarini and Janice Wong!

 Freeflow Moet & Chandon Brut and Rose vintage Champagnes + cocktails + selected wines made this a very very happy brunch. ;)

 See what I mean? Moohehe.

 Even mum & dad were infected!

Oh mooving back to the food...we had..

 Roast spatchcock.

 Braised abalone with truffle oil.

Foie gras.

 Wanton soup Ravioli with consomme.

And an amazing seafood on ice featuring oysters, Boston lobsters, king crabs etc, a whole roasted leg of wagyu and moore. I wonder where those photos went to...moost be the champagne I say!

Doing this post brings back awesome moomeries from a year ago. That also means I've now hit 2 years on the job by God's grace! Thank you Jesus for blessing me with a job and the means to be able to bless my family with this Super Brunch. Fortunately my family only has 4 members. Moohehe.

I felt poorer yet a lot richer after this. Mooney well spent! :)

 Clearly lost in conviviality.

Super Brunch
Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore
Tel: 6434 5288 
Chew On This: Catch the next Super Brunch ($198++) on 21 October with three chefs showcasing the best of Asia – Chef Fok Kai Yee from Summer Pavilion, Chef Jarrett Wrisley from Soul Food Mahanakorn in Bangkok and Chef Susan Teo from Blue Ginger restaurant!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Affordable, Casual Dining at Poulet

My friends were in the queue so herd instinct guided this cow to join them in the queue. Moohehe. It was Saturday evening and Poulet was full-house with a queue to boot!

After queueing almoost 45 minutes, we were happy to be seated. Hallelujah! Orders were placed quickly as we had decided on what to order while in the queue.

The soups rushed to the aide of hungry bellies. The Country Side Mushroom Soup ($5.80) was intense, rich and creamy while the French Onion Soup ($5.80) had a good depth of flavours from caramelised onions and red wine.

Next came the Saucisson ($6.80)- tasty garlic and pork sausages with a snappy skin. The mustard and homemade black mission fig marmalade were very good condiments for the sausages.

And we couldn't have not ordered the Poulet Roti ($28.80 for whole bird). The namesake dish of the eatery is French for "chicken" after all. Apparently brined for a whole day before being roasted, the chicken was a pretty decent roast chicken. The breast part was sufficiently tender and with good flavour. Below the chicken was a mushroom and Chardonnay sauce that was creamy with a hint of citrus and white wine. I also like the baby spinach that later wilted in the residual heat.

The other main we tried was the Oxtail be Bourguignon ($15.80). The meat was very tender and the sauce had a rich flavour with nice depth. I am suspecting there's wine in here too. :p

For dessert, the Tiramisu ($7.80), which was served in a glass jar, was very enjoyable. Mascarpone cheese, sponge fingers soaked in espresso and rum syrup. It was rather light and a bit airy and I reckon very dangerous....one could polish this off if not careful but I have good friends. LOL.

201 Victoria Street
Level 4, Bugis+
Tel: 6509 9411
Opens: Daily 10am to 10pm

Chew On This: Their Caramelised Apple in Puffy Tart ($7.80) looks good and takes 20 minutes to prepare but unfortunately I might have to leave it to the next visit to try. They forgot about mine. :(