Sunday, January 27, 2013

[Closed] Satsuma (さつま) Shochu Dining Bar @ Gallery Hotel, Nanson Road

Located at 1 Nanson Road, this restaurant was our chosen venue to celebrate a friend's birthday. As it was our first visit, we were kind of lost. Went in to the hotel, and followed the sign to the restaurant. Was a bit confused when the sign pointed us out of the hotel. Nevertheless, we made a right turn, and saw Mimigar (but it was closed that day) and shortly after, found Satsuma (さつま).

Level 1 dining area looks quite small. Since we had made reservation for 8 pax, we were informed that our table is at Level 2. Climbed up the metal stairways to Level 2, and we were then showed to the private dining area. Not exactly private since everyone can still see us and vice-versa. Birthday boy said he felt as if we were sitting in a cage. Hahaa!

our dining room, with a clear view of yakitori chef
chirp chirp

That aside, it was kind of cosy. One has to take off the shoes prior to entering the room. The staff will hide/stow away your shoes, and it will reappear when you're ready to leave.


Two bowls of otoshi, consisting of raw vege (cabbage leaves, and vege sticks of cucumber, carrot and turnip) were already placed on our table.

vegetable munchies
miso, after much dipping and dabbing

Extensive list of sake and shochu, but we had none. Chose hot roasted tea instead.

roasted tea (refillable)

For starters, we had the Salmon and Avocado Tartare (@$20++) from the cold dishes (冷たい) selection.

salmon & avocado tartare
raw food: salmon tartare on cabbage

I think the waitress suggested raw oysters (probably seasonal items?), so we had that as well.

small sized raw oysters (@$10++ for 3 slivers)
Quite yums, the raw oysters. Slurps.

Then our platter of Sashimi Moriawase (large @$69++) arrived. Consisting of ebi, hotate, sake, akami, tako, mekajiki and hamachi. Liked the flowers too. Nice visuals.

Sashimi Moriawase (刺し身盛り合わせ)

Tried the akami, hamachi and hotate. Liked the scallops best as it was sweet~

hamachi (はまち)
akami (赤身)
hotate (帆立)

Then, the grilled items (炭焼き) began to arrive.

Japanese mackerel with plum and chicken thigh with leek (3 portions = 6 sticks)
tebasaki (3 portions shown)

Chicken thigh with leek was tender and succulent.

chicken thigh with leek (ねぎま) @$6++ per portion (2 sticks)

The Japanese mackerel with plum received very favourable feedback from birthday boy. It has quite the smokey taste with deep char on its outer skin, adequately salted and oozes with fish oil.

Japanese mackerel with plum (秋刀魚梅巻) @$9++ per portion (2 sticks)

By this time, I was beginning to feel quite full. Nevertheless, one can never be too full for chicken wings!

tebasaki/chicken wings (手羽先) @$7++ per portion (2 sticks)

Oily, lovely, tiny salted wings. Oh, devoured in minutes and you'd probably make such a nice snack to have with beer or shochu.

Next, beef rib-eye. Think it was by default done medium (to medium well), and should be eaten as soon as it was served. Tender with a slight chew and kind of juicy. Lightly salted. However, when it was left out for a little while longer, the meat became slightly tougher and more dry.

rib-eye (バーベ牛) @$14++ per portion (2 sticks)

By this time, I am convinced that those vegetable sticks that we had earlier, really did a good job in filling up the stomach!

spicy cod roe (mentaiko) spaghetti (明太子スパゲティー) @$15++
wickedly salty

When we thought we could eat no more, the last plate arrived. Nicely done, and good hint of smokey flavour.

grilled squid/ika sugata salted (烏賊すがた / 塩) @$9++

Glad that the restaurant allowed us to bring our own cake, and we ended the night with Antoinette's Le Royale.

Happy Birthday, Reuben!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

La Barra @ Star Vista, Buona Vista

Located at Level 2 of Star Vista, and it looked like a good place to start my maiden Colombian food experience.

cosy interior

The menu focuses on empanadas and arepas, and thus, that was what we ordered.

beef empanadas (@$10++)

For a small eater, empanadas sounds good. Three choices (chicken, beef or cheese) for its filling but one order can only be that one choice. So if you chose beef, all 3 pieces will be beef. There goes the plan to taste all three! I understand from the service staff that these lovely fritters were handmade by the lady boss.

Served piping hot, and with two sauces; Aji (salsa made from tomatoes, chili and corriander) and a greenish sauce, probably avocado mix.

golden corn fritters
filled with strips of beef

The fritter's skin tasted of slight sweetness as one chewed along. The beef filling was good, savoury tasty but yet, mild.

Aji sauce
avocado sauce?

Had the misconception that the Aji sauce would be spicy, but it was not. Gave a somewhat 'green' (probably from the corriander) taste when eaten with the fritters.

Did someone ask for a drink? Haha, of course. Ordered the ladies drink, a Redd's lime flavoured beer. Liked that it was served out in a glass with salted rim.

beer (@$12++)
Redd's beer, served and ready to be enjoyed

My friend had the Arepa Burger.

Arepa Burger (@$18++), served with plantains
onions, tomato, cheese, beef patty and vege sandwiched between arepa
nicely textured, tasty beef patty

 Not quite used to the arepa. Maybe we left it out for a tad too long while we talked. It was a bit hardened when we got to it. Liked the beef patty, the cheese and everything else in the burger. Nice combo, that tasted just right. Have this with a glass of slightly sweet red wine. Yums.

red wine (@$12++)

The Arepa Burger was served with a side of plantain, which is deep fried banana, lightly salted. Tasted kind of like deep fried tapioca, though.

deep fried plantain

How about some Colombian coffee to end the meal? My friend had the espresso. Tiny tiny cup, cute.

Juan Valdez, signature Colombian coffee

Service was earnest and friendly. Would like to come back sometime, to try the dessert and coffee.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier @ Raffles City

Was at Raffles City B1, so went over to Tiong Bahru Bakery after lunch to check-out their breads. Well, curiosity got the better of me, so bought home some of their much raved about pastries.

$15+ worth of baked goods

What's in the bag? Kouign Amann (since it is like one of the much raved item), chocolate croissant, a brioche ('coz been looking for one) and a pandan flan (now, this was what caught my eye!).

kouign amann (@$3.50)

round and round it goes, the layers
buttery and very sweet

Hmmm, kouign amann felt like a candy to me. Very sticky, sweet and buttery. Like a treat that one can have, once in a while.

Chocolate croissant was of a large size, and it probably should, since a piece of that, is the same price as a plate of chicken rice.

chocolate croissant (@$3.20)
can you find the chocolate?

The croissant was fragrant after toasting it, but could do with a few more bits of chocolate. It's like a plain croissant that once in a while (make it rare!), you'd stumble onto an accidental choco bit.

natural brioche (@$2.50)

Popped the brioche into a toaster oven for a few minutes prior to serving, and one gets a soft, fluffy buttery roll. Yums. Ate mine with some jam and emmental cheese. Nice.

brioche, the inside story
found this in my fridge!
add some sweetness
topped with emmental cheese

The very truth that attracted me to the bakery that day (besides curiosity about Monsieur Gontran Cherrier's recipe), was this bright yellow looking pie. Turned out to be a pandan flan. It looked huge amongst its neighbouring treats. And packed in a nice yellow box too!

cheery looking box
flaky pastries for crust

pandan flan

The flan smells like tofu and tasted like kaya. Hahaha, that'd how I'd think it was, for me. The pandan fragrance was very faint, and it doesn't have the strong pandan taste. It's texture was softer than it looked. Very likeable!

soft, with just the right sweetness

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