Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Company Lunch at Petite Menu

Having an office now means bye bye Bukit Batok Mondays! Yay! Moohehe.

It was Nic's last day so boss treated us to lunch at Petit Menu, a restaurant located just a 15-minute walk from office.

They do a set lunch at only $15 for 2 courses! I had to blink a few times.


For my starter, I opted for Textures of Mushroom. A medley of sauteed mushrooms laid atop salad greens and drizzled with thick syrupy aged balsamic. In case fungi heads complain of mushrooms no enough, crispy pieces of tempura mushrooms were also on this plate.


To complete my set lunch, the main of Surf n Turf featured tender chicken thighs and a seafood mousse (reminded moo a bit of fishcake) with crisp skin. Braised beetroots, slightly charred peas, cubes of potatoes and thing shavings of red baby radish completed the dish.  

Since it was a group lunch, we, like moost Asian communities, shared around some other dishes. Yay!


The Onion Rings ($8) with Roasted Garlic Aioli were disappointing. A dull, thick skin around the onion rings diluted any flavour from the onions. The aioli too was lumpy and unappetising.


The Bacon & Leek Soup ($8) on the other hand was scrumptious! It had depth of flavour from the stock and bacon, and boasted a creamy texture contrasted with semi-broken down peas.


The Hawker-style Wings ($9) were also quite nice with flavours that reminded me of BBQ wings from the hawker centre. The only difference was that these were deep fried. Beer! Ok, never mind. Though everyone was in holiday mood, we still had some work to clear after lunch. :p


One item on the menu that caught our attention was the Bak Kut Teh Terrine ($8). It sounded intriguing enough for us to try. But the morsel was too small to really taste much.


The dish that most people at the table ordered as their mains was the Salted Egg Softshell Crab Fettucine ($15). While the first few mouthfuls were quite umami, it soon became too jerlak/cloying. So I'll suggest ordering just one portion and sharing it around the table!  


A colleague ordered the Petite Burger ($18) which looks damn good, no? Like so fun. Can assemble and eat as one likes. Moohehe.

Dessert time.

Surprisingly, for a table of 7, we ordered only 2 desserts.


The Kaya Toast Mille Feuille ($7) looked intriguing. While the green kaya cream on crisp toast dunked into the pool of kopi C sauce was pleasant and brought to mind kopitiam memoories, I am not sure how the blueberries, attap seed tartare and mint espuma contributed to the dish.


The Blackforest ($8) was a deconstructed version with chocolate mousse, brandied cherries, hazelnut soil and caramel ice cream. Pretty rich and tasty.

As the sugar rush hits my head, I think...One tree no matter how strong is just one tree. But together, we can be a forest... Random, I know. But hey it's the holiday season!

Petite Menu is a causal restaurant with a small quirky menu featuring Asian inspired touches to some dishes. At this price, the plating is ridiculous!


Petite Menu
Level 1
Aqueen Lavender Hotel
139 Lavender Street
Tel: 6395 7782 

Chew On This: ALL ALCOHOL ONE FOR ONE FROM 3PM TO 10.30PM.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Moo First Dining Alone Experience in a Restaurant

Dining alone is not unusual. I mean when one needs to have lunch or dinner, food rather than company seems more necessary. While I have dined alone at home, in kopitiams, food courts and canteens, dining alone at a restaurant was something I have not done before. Restaurant dining to me, be it for work or otherwise, was always with company.

While dining at an Italian restaurant one evening, I noticed a guy at one particular table who was eating alone and he seemed to be enjoying every minute of it. I confessed to my dining companion that I had not tried it before and am curious to give it a shot.

My restaurant dining alone virginity was lost recently at L'Entrecote. I've been eyeing this place for the longest time after hearing all about their steak frites. So on a 风和日丽 lovely Friday, this cow sat alone at L'Entrecôte's Suntec City outlet for lunch to experience restaurant dining alone.

Ordering was a breeze as I had already done some homework. Decided on their Classic Set Lunch ($29.90) which seems to offer good value.


A glass of Kir, included in the set lunch, arrived. It had flavours of sweet blackcurrants with a tart ending. Would have been moore refreshing if served colder and with more fizz.

Then it was back to people watching- a trio of friends enjoying their lunch, a group of Caucasian men having a good time with hearty laughter and a few bottles of wine, a couple deep in conversation over desserts...


Very quickly to arrive was my Fresh Walnut Green Salad which was simple. Chilled, crisp greens dressed in a tangy (red wine?) vinaigrette.


Then a staff came over with this plate and ask if I was ready for my steak. Perhaps this cow was grazing too slowly on his greens. Moohehe. But how to turn away a plate of steak and fries lah? Gobbling up the last bits of salad leaves, I was now staring at the Entrecote Steak.

A 200g piece of sirloin. A heap of golden fries (free flow!). A tasty butter and herb sauce. A happy cow (not the one on the plate lah! LOL). Don't expect super tender, melt-in-the-mouth, flavoursome beef here. The steak was meaty with a certain chew/bite and while its flavour was actually quite mild, the sauce made up for it in taste. I wished they didn't trim off the that chewy tendon-y part of the sirloin though.


A glass of L'Entrecôte's house pour (Chateau Petit Freylon 2009) was easy drinking with red and black fruits on the nose and medium acidity and tannins. Two glasses of this made it even moore easy drinking. Quite enjoyable with the steak. :)


After 3 mountains of fries and thanking God I cleared IPPT a week before this meal, the Dessert of the Day appeared at the table. It was a Chocolate Mousse. Rich, creamy, smooth and just nicely sweetened.


Without the "distractions" of a dining companion, the creative and boh liao side of me even made the water marks on the table resemble the Olympic logo. LOL. 

L'Entrecôte offers good value and there's a no-frills simplicity which I like.

So there. My first 2-hour lunch dining alone in a restaurant came to an end. Sure, I had a few looks from other diners but nothing more than a glance. Afterall, I guess it's moore fun to eat a cow than stare at one. Moohaha. 

Dining alone in a restaurant feels different. Not better or worse than with company. But just the feeling of being one with oneself over a quiet meal. And there's an air of confidence about dining on your own.  
Perhaps the other diners who looked my way were also contemplating dining alone one day. Just like I had been inspired by that lone diner at the Italian restaurant earlier. 

PS: This marks the first post featuring photos taken from my new iPhone! :)  


L'Entrecôte
#B1-128
Suntec City (other outlets at Duxton Hill and Pacific Plaza)
Tel: 6690 7569

Chew On This:  Enjoy a glass of beer of house pour red wine at just $5 each in the month of December! Hohoho.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Festive Eats at St Regis Singapore

Tis the season for merry making and indulgence, which almoost cannot be done without good food!

LaBrezza and Brasserie Les Saveurs at the St Regis Singapore presents their festive specials. At a preview dinner, I was grazing on:

LaBrezza


An amuse bouche of Poached Egg with Shaved Black Truffle was warm comfort and signaled the start to good eats.


Looking like a wanton, the Mediterranean Sea Bass Cappellacci were chewy parcels stuffed with seabass. 

Brasserie Les Saveur


Over at Brasserie Les Saveur, the Artichoke & Potato Soup was served with Boston Lobster Tartare, Tarragon Espuma and Crispy Squid Ink Polenta. Creamy, tasty and elegant, this was finished in a flash.


Seafood lovers will be drawn by the platter of Freshly Shucked Oysters, Boston Lobster Tail, King Prawns & Alaskan Crabs. Bibs not included. Moohehe.


For those who like meaty dishes, the Filet Migon En Brioche beckons. Essentially a brioche with a delectable inner filling of tenderloin and foie gras wrapped in proscuitto plus Perigord truffle sauce, this indulgent dish put a smile on moo face. :)   


Brasserie Les Saveur's Christmas Champagne brunch on 25 and 26 December offers the Roasted Muscovy Duck carved from Gueridon Trolley Served with Orange Sauce. Meaty, flavourful with a fine texture and not too fatty, this duck paired nicely with the accompanying orange sauce. Now, if only I had some thin egg noodles..

Festive Takeaways from La Patisserie


Looking to takeaway some log cakes? The St Regis Singapore offers a Red Berries with Pistachio Sponge Log Cake (a low sugar option for the diet conscious) and Chocolate Passion Royal Log Cake. I mooch preferred the latter with its rich chocolate and tangy passion fruit combination. 


Lastly, if this cow was an elf I would steal this Christmas Stollen! Moohaha. Ending the meal with this rich cake studded with dried fruits and perfumed with spices (and I'm guessing brandy), and a strong cup of tea would make the Grinch upset...but everyone else in the perfect moo-d for Christmas!

For moore info on the St Regis Festive Eats, see here.

Moory Christmas!

Thanks to Jackson Sim of St Regis Singapore for the hosting me.

St Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road

Chew On This: For event spaces for lavish year-end festivities, consider the ballrooms and function rooms at the St Regis Singapore. Expect a bespoke experience with epicurean delights by their masterchefs and personalised service by the team's Event Butlers.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Having Bak Kut Teh for Two Days

I was clearing leave so the delighted Miss Tam Chiak lured me over to an industrial estate for some bka kut teh. Though it was for a Channel U filming, she said "Just come and eat lah!"

Later on, I discovered we had to act in a music video too. Moohahaha. Yea, indeed no free lunch in this world. We had to work for bak kut teh. :p

But funny thing is (ok, or maybe not so funny when one have to travel from Loyang to Sin Ming) I remembered the date wrongly and ended up there a day before the actual shoot! Clear leave until brain also on leave. #KNS

Miss Tam Chiak was so nice to come join me for lunch on the day that I had mistakenly thought was the shoot date. So we had bak kut teh for lunch two days in a row!

Anyway, this branch of the famous Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh is run by Lionel Lim, the second generation son of its founder. The Bak Kut Teh ($7) featured sizeable pork ribs that were tender yet retaining a good bite. The soup seemed to be better on the 2nd day I went down. More peppery and robust with clean flavours from the pork ribs, garlic and white pepper.

While the Pork Trotters didn't really impress, the Sliced Pork Belly was awesome! Thinly sliced US "natural" pork belly was cooked in the same Bak Kut Teh soup and topped with Tang O. This pork is from Salmon Creek Farms' pigs raised without hormones, antibiotics and animal proteins. Each sliver of pork belly was surprisingly not greasy and packed a lovely rounded flavour. I would return for this. :)

Now I'm half scared to see the episode when it airs in January 2014. I'm so not TV material lah. Moohehe. T'was fun at least!

Rong Cheng (Sin Ming Road) Bak Kut Teh
Blk 26 Sin Ming Lane #01-114/117
Mid View City
Opens: 7am to 9pm daily     

Chew On This: Have some Chinese tea alongside your Bak Kut Teh! Try their custom made Tie Guan Yin for a satisfying brew. Each sip was fragrant, light and yet with just the right level of tannin to cleanse the palate.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

IHG Christmas Specials!

With Christmas around the corner, the InterContinental Singapore, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre and Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, hotels under the InterContinental Hotels Group, presented their festive offerings this Yuletide season in a media preview.

From Crowne Plaza Singapore, the Baked Turkey with Aromatic Spices ($168+ for 5 kg) was juicy, simple and tasty. Marinated with Javanese peppercorns, it was served with Piri Piri sauce. On its right lay the Snow Crusted Whole Salmon with delicate flesh but do watch out for bones.

Another popular dish for Christmas is ham and Crowne Plaza Singapore's Honey & Pineapple Glazed Gammon Ham ($138+ for 2 kg) was a hit with this cow. Smoky and sweet at the same time, the ham was paired nicely with the tangy red cabbage.

                                     
And for those with a sweet tooth/eye, there's always the perennial log cakes!

Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium had a lovely Pan Seared Scallops on Fennel with a hint of Pernod Cream which is available on the Christmas buffet line up in their restaurant, Melting Pot Cafe. Pity their booth was quite dim and the red light from the warmers made for a tough photo.

Over at its sister hotel, Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, the Tandoori Turkey ($88++) from Tandoor would please those who prefer an Indian touch to their turkey. Boasting rich flavours from its spice rub, this turkey was served with stuffed potatoes, gourmet veggies and a cranberry chilli sauce. 

                                    
Continuing the Asian influence on turkey, InterContinental Singapore's Executive Chef Eric Neo presented his Nyonya Assam Chilli Turkey ($140+ for 5 kg) which was in line with the hotel's Peranakan roots. Marinated for 24 hours before being braised and then baked, this big bird was scrumptious and seemed like the moost popular turkey that evening! 

Dessert fans should also check out their Gula Melaka Chendol Log Cake ($68+ for 1 kg) which had gula melaka sponge, red beans and the green starch jelly enveloped in coconut cream.

It's beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! Moohehe. 

Thanks to IHG for the invitation.

Chew On This: before the season ends!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Limited Time A La Carte Dinner Buffet at Jade

A la carte buffets have their advantage:
- dishes are prepared only upon order
- no warming/chaffing dish used so food does not dry out or over-cook
- no need to even get up from your seat. Moohehe

Only for this month of December, Jade at The Fullerton Hotel offers an a la carte buffet dinner ($58++/adult; $38++/child) with over 38 dishes to tantalise one's taste buds. And judging from a recent dinner there, there are some pretty good eats.


On my visit, they had two Soups of the Day which can change daily. Both the Fan Kok and Mushroom soups turned out well executed with clean, rounded flavours.


Another hit was the Roasted Five-Spiced Crispy Pork Belly which boasted a good balance of alternating layers of fat and meat rubbed with five spice and roasted to achieve a crispy crackling. A dab of mustard was perfect accompaniment. Ok, a bit premature but I had this for dessert too. Moohahaha.


The Steamed Chilean Seabass with Preserved Olives was steamed perfectly with a flavourful mix of chopped olives, spring onions and garlic. The other fish dish on the right was the Pan Fried Halibut Fish Fillet with Crispy Julienne Ginger. Quite an interesting dish, the fried fish somehow reminded me of fish & chips. Might have been the batter. Doused with a light soy sauce, it was scrumptious.


The Steamed Abalone Siew Mai and Steamed Crystal Shrimp Dumplings didn't really make an impression. The former was luxe with the abalone but was quite heavy and meaty. I mooch preferred the Shrimp Wanton in Spicy Vinaigrette with its piquant sauce over a smooth, plump shrimp wanton.


Fried mee sua on the menu caught by attention so I ordered the Wok-fried Wheat Noodles with Yellow Chives and Bean Sprouts in Superior Soya Sauce. Alas, it turned out bland and characterless. 

Beside it was the dish of Stir-Fried Assorted Mushroom with Snow Peas in Truffle Jus- lightly stir-fried with just a subtle hint of truffle oil.


The classic Sautéed Sliced Beef in Spring Onion and Ginger was aromatic and tender. Good for those who enjoy the tenderised Chinese-style beef typically served in Chinese restaurants and cze char stalls.

Crispy and delectable, the Sautéed Live Prawn with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce wasn't exactly spicy. The tasty pumpkin sauce was creamy and buttery.

We also tried the Stewed Lamb Rack with Spicy Flavour in Claypot Style but it was overly gamey. :(


A nice break from the meats and seafood, the Braised Shimeiji Mushroom with Spinach Layer Bean Curd was delicious enough to simply enjoy with a bowl of rice. 


For carbs, the Traditional Fried Rice with Egg was simple with few ingredients but decently done. Also try the Braised Rice Noodles with Seafood in Silken Egg Gravy aka wat tan hor fun. There was a good smokiness to the hor fun and its residual heat made the beaten egg silky. We ordered this dish again and the second one seemed to have the egg cooked through. Not sure if its consistency issues.


Besides another serving of the roast pork for dessert (not kidding!), we opted for 4 items off the dessert selection. Beginning clockwise from the left:
- The Chilled Cream of Mango with Lime Jelly was refreshing with the lime jelly adding a tart edge to the dessert.
- It's gonna be CNY soon so get in the mood with the Pineapple Cookies which were not too sweet and quite fragrant.
- My personal favourite was the Hot Walnut Cream with Black Sesame Dumpling. This was just a warm bowl of comfort!
- For something different, try the Shaved Coconut Ice with Fresh Strawberries. Creamy, sweet but balanced.

Overall, Jade's special dinner a al carte buffet is an enjoyable one with a polished, soothing ambience perfect for both business and casual meals. Food-wise, there were hits and misses for me but hey it's an a la carte buffet so you get to pick and mix and try to your heart's and stomach's content! 

This promotional a la carte dinner buffet is available only until 30 December 2013.

Thanks to Jade and The Fullerton Hotel for hosting me.


Jade
The Fullerton Hotel
Level 1
Tel: 6877 8188

Chew On This: Opt for some of Jade's gourmet specialties such as Roasted Peking Duck with Marinated Orange Peel & Condiments, and Simmered Egg Noodles with Boston Lobster in Spring Onion and Ginger Sauce at an additional supplementary charge.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Makankakis at Whampoa Food Street (Keng) Fish Head Steamboat Eating House

Coming back to Whampoa Food Street (Keng) Fish Head Steamboat Eating House (is that like the longest restaurant name in Singapore or what? Moohehe) always brings memoories of my very first makankakis dinner at their other branch in Rangoon Road.

Their specialty of Fish Steamboat still rocks. Slices of batang fish, soft cabbage, fried yam, ginger and other ingredients happily danced in the soup flavoured with ti po (dried flatfish). The fragrant aroma from the charcoal embers used to heat this pot enhances the experience.


Hae Chor aka Prawn Rolls were delish! Well fried with a crispy skin that enveloped a juicy filling of prawns, pork and waterchestnuts, it was gobbled up in seconds. Too easy. I like that the five spice powder was not too overpowering.


The Sambal Kangkong was competently done with a crunchy bite and that unmistakable sambal balachan hit.


Stir Fried Prawns were meaty but I found their flesh dry. Alas. The style of cooking these prawns reminded me a little of my late paternal grandma's version.


Probably my least favourite dish that evening, the Thai Style Assorted Seafood had a robust taste of lemongrass and assam that somehow didn't quite match the seafood, in my opinion.


But no fear, cos the Prawn Paste Chicken Wings were pretty good! DON'T TRY THESE WITH BEER. Moohehe.


Braised Pig Trotters are always a happy sight. The one here was chunky, tender and nicely braised in a slightly herbal gravy.


I hurriedly picked at a piece of the Venison with Spring Onion and had to run off to the airport, skipping the Fried Mee Sua, and Herbal Jelly.

For the full account of that evening's dinner, including the last two dishes I had to miss, check out my fellow bloggers Superfinefeline, SG Food on Foot and Pinky Piggu who were also there.

That night was the start of a surreal adventure to Bulgaria. Moore about that in a while. :)


Whampoa Food Street (Keng) Fish Head Eating House
556 Balestier Road (other branch at Rangoon Road)
Tel: 6356 7371
Opens: daily 11am to 11pm

Chew On This: BYO allowed so feel free to bring wines, and your own wine glasses!