Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Lokal @ 136 Neil Road

Second time to The Lokal and first time having dinner there. The place is small and cosy hence, reservation is advisable. Brought colleagues there for dinner as they have yet to try. Visited on a weekday night and the place was rather busy. Liked the friendly vibes from the crew.

outside the restaurant

Besides the dinner menu, one could also order up the specials indicated on the chalkboard. Took our time to peruse over the menu. Service was friendly as usual.

dinner menu

let's see what the Chef is up to
Complimentary tap water is available and served promptly. But they were also having a 1-for-1 Kir Royal, so why not! This is basically a sweet champagne cocktail with Crème de cassis.

Kir Royal

iced lemon mint tea for the teetotaller

If you're very hungry and in a group of say 5 pax or more, then it is rather advisable to order up an appetiser or two. We ordered the truffle oil fat fries and boy, it was good! Chunky, slight crisp on its outerside and fluffy on its insides. Plenty of parmesan, was just how we liked it. Yums! Served with housemade chili and ketchup.

Truffle Oil Fat Fries @$10++

Though the mains took a while to arrive, the portions were pretty generous. Ordered a few mains from the chalkboard menu and also from the regular dinner menu. We tried the half roast chicken, the Cape Grim Sirloin Tagliata, the panfried seabass and grilled pork chop.

The service staff did inform that the pork chop would be served slightly pink when we ordered this dish. Liked that the pork chop came with loads and loads of kale. Superfood ftw! Tried a piece of the boneless pork chop and thought it was less pink than expected. The parts with some fatty bits were the best. Otherwise, its meat was quite lean.

Grilled Pork Chop @$22++
Panfried Seabass @$28++

The panfried seabass originally was to be served with clams. No worries if you can't take clams as substitution is possible at this friendly cafe.  We had ours substituted with carrots.

The size of the roast chicken was quite wow. Everyone thought it was rather large.

Roast Chicken (half) @$26++

The Cape Grim Sirloin Tagliata was served with a snow-caped mountain of Asiago cheese over a bed of watercress greens and in it, was the steak. Quite a nice visual, I must say. Overall lovely taste. First time having cheese and watercress combo and I liked it!

Cape Grim Sirloin Tagliata @$28++
nice steak

And of course, we must have desserts. Something sweet for the finale.Why have one desserts when we can share two? Haha! That was what we did, and am glad that we did!

First up was the chalkboard daily specials menu: The Dark Choc Mousse with Biscotti and Kaya. The kaya  at The Lokal, was definitely different from the kaya that was already imprinted in our mind and taste buds. The version here tasted slightly like a more lemak (creamier version of) butterscotch. The biscotti was very good. Super duper crunchy too. Useful to scoop up those dark choc mousse and some kaya. But the presentation of this dish...somehow reminds me of a Pegasus. Hmmm.

Dark Choc Mousse with Biscotti & Kaya @$10++

Then, the best desserts that night, was the sticky date pudding. Bestest. And loving the $10++ price tag for the desserts (and fat fries too!).

Sticky Date Pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream @$10++

Had tried a few sticky dates pudding in my lifetime and so far, am liking the version at The Lokal. Best eaten with sauce and ice-cream. Recommended!

ps: Note that the main course listed on the chalkboard is not eligible for use with The Entertainer App.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

$100Gourmet June 2016 - Kentaro & Keisuke @ Lewin Terrace

Finally decided to give this a try. The $100Gourmet series is a monthly ongoing affair where an award winning overseas chef will fly in to Singapore to pair up with two Singapore-based restaurants to create a collaborative 6-course meal. Priced at SGD100++ per ticket for Citibank cardmembers.

Took a  look at the menu and decided to go for Chef Kentaro Torii and Chef Keisuke Matsumoto's collab at Lewin Terrace. First time to Lewin Terrace and also a first in trying the creations of the two chefs. Expect Italian and French Japanese fusion from Chefs Kentaro and Keisuke.

valet parking
path leading to Lewin Terrace
Chose the 1.30pm seating and the sun beating down on us. Lucky to have requested for indoor dining in the cool airconditioned comfort.

looking outside
indoor comfort

looking forward to the 6-course gourmet dining from Chef Kentaro and Chef Keisuke
fusion of east-west cutlery

Had their namesake cocktail, the "Lewin Terrace". Sweet and refreshing but first time having a cocktail served in such a glass. Haha!

Lewin Terrace cocktail @$18++ - Sake, Yuzu Ju, Sakura Syrup

First course was the "Hassun" or small selections of amuse bouche. Lewin's Chef de Cuisine, Chef Igarashi was on-hand to explain about our first course. There were 6 small items presented. There's Agu Okinawan Pork Rillettes & Onion Tartine, Amakusa 'Buri' Yellowtail Carpaccio, White Asparagus and Truffle Marmalade, Broad Beans Espuma & Pecorino Romano, Mozarella Pannacotta & Tomato and Kumamoto Shrimp with Provence Herbs. This platter of amuse bouche was crafted by both Chef Kentaro and Chef Keisuke.

Hassun (amuse bouche) - (front) Agu Okinawan Pork Rillettes & Onion Tartine and Amakusa 'Buri' Yellowtail Carpaccio

Since Chef Igarashi didn't say which one to start with, I went with the ones from the bottom row. Particularly enjoyed the yellowtail carpaccio, broad beans espuma and the mozarella pannacotta. The least enjoyed item was the shrimp. It tasted rather peculiar!

White Asparagus with Truffle Marmalade
(left to right) Mozarella Pannacotta & Tomato, Broad Beans Espuma & Pecorino Romano

The broad beans fragrance and flavours were good, with lovely mild pecorino cheese taste towards the end of the mouthful. The pannacotta was lovely with its wobbly 'sticky' texture, combined with salty bits of ham (I think?) and sweet tangy tomato.

Next up, was the Foie-Gras & Corn Velouté. Velouté is a French word and means "a white sauce made from a roux of butter and flour with chicken, veal, or pork stock". This dish was the creation of Chef Keisuke Matsumoto. Served in a large bowl and with a thin layer of custard-looking velouté sitting right at the bottom of the bowl. Kind of zen. 

Foie-Gras & Corn Velouté, with soba seeds
do you wonder how the Foie-Gras & Corn Velouté taste like?
The first mouthful brought on a smile. Now I understand. It was like eating an upside down sweet corn crème brûlée. The foie-gras must have been infused into the pudding, and each bite brings about a smokey, slight savoury and sweet crunchy sensation wrapped in silky creme pudding. What a lovely dish!

After the teasers, now it was time for something more substantial. Chef Kentaro's Tagliolini. When this dish was brought out, our attention fell onto the Kumamoto Noble Scallop with its interestingly, brightly coloured shell. "Natural colours." We were informed. So cool to see bright orange and purple coloured scallops shells!

Tagliolini - Kumamoto Noble Scallop, Mussel, Saffron Sauce, Bottarga and Lemon

The Tagliolini was topped with dried (or was it deepfried? Sorry, my memory is failing...) chopped parsley and rocket leaves for the herbed flavours. If you're expecting a burst of umami flavours... don't. It was a given that the pasta was cooked to the perfect texture. The small mussels were rather cute and lent a somewhat slightly briny flavour to the dish. First time having bottarga too. Bottarga is a delicacy of salted, cured fish roe.'s one of those things that you either like or don't like.

Next, Chef Keisuke Matsumoto himself came to the table to present his creation; the Amakusa Sea Bream with Shiso, Tomato and Purslane. I must say that it is kind of rare to see Purslane used in restaurants. This plate has many components going in it; sharp herby shiso flavour, sweet flavours from leek, carrot puree and tomato, the slightly salty and bitter taste of purslane, and it was a pleasure to enjoy each distinctive taste profile as well as the overall harmony of those flavours. The sea bream seemed to be the blank canvas that drew out the rest of the flavours.

Amakusa Sea Bream

Next, was the highlight of the meal. Chef Kentaro's 'Steak & Chips'. Comprising of a succulent gorgeous-looking Kagoshima Wagyu Sirloin, and potato textures. I think the potato textures referred to potato done two-ways; fried potato squares and creamy mash. Served with two small ravioli-like parcels of cheese and pickled onion.

For this main course, Chef Kentaro himself was there to present his dish, asked us about the food and to put the finishing touch, of drizzling some beef jus over the juicy steak.

Steak & Chips
look at that juicy grilled Kagoshima wagyu steak

Yummy and satisfying. Grilled Kagoshima wagyu, I liked you a lot! Such a charming dish. 

If the Sea Bream dish was like a walk in the park where one could leisurely spot a squirrel, pretty flowers and birds chirping, the Steak & Chips was more like going to an amusement park and head-on straight to the rollercoaster! 

Soon, it was the last course of the meal, the desserts. It was as pretty as a picture. Assembled to resemble  a tree, it felt like summer.

Miyagi Strawberry Two Ways
White Chocolate, White Balsamic Vinegar and Passionfruit (Chef Kentaro's Italian sweets)
Baba Bouchon, Bee Pollen, French Rum (Chef Keisuke's French sweets)

And, we had coffee with our desserts.

coffee @$6++

Overall, quite an interesting experience. Service was good and we enjoyed our food. Thank you to the Chefs and staff of Lewin Terrace. And thanks dear friend for your company.

Lewin Terrace

Address: 21 Lewin Terrace Singapore, Singapore 179290
Contact: 63339905
Business Hours:
Monday to Sunday
Lunch: 12:00pm – 03:00pm (Last order at 02:00pm)
Dinner: 06.30pm – 11:00pm (Last order at 09.30pm)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

RedDot Brewhouse @ Dempsey

Visited recently and discovered that their menu had changed somewhat. There was a special brew called Yuzu Biru in the drinks menu. Was interested to try that but it was unavailable on the day of visit. Also noticed that they do seasonal drinks per month. So for the month of June, it is the Saison, described as a Belgian ale with citrusy spicy pepper flavour, floral aroma, medium bodied and dry finish. Ok, liked all that was described except the spicy pepper flavour.

I liked the Saison, and thankfully the spicy pepper taste, was barely noticeable. As refreshing as the Kölsch but with a stronger finish. It was a mid-week night and the place was not very crowded. For food, we ordered the chicken wings and fish & chips to share. Oops, both deep fried!

Zing Wings
Fish & Chips

The fish and chips had some thick batter and that made the taste a tad doughy but it did fill us up quite a bit. Good for the hungries.

Monster Green Lager
Ended with a Monster Green, which is a spirulina infused lager beer. This drink is synonymous with Reddot. Who says, I didn't have any greens that day?

Expect to spend about $45 per pax.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

[Media Invite] Brownice Italian Bistro @ 53 East Coast Road (Katong)

Brownice has a two shops; one at Sin Ming (Brownice Ice Cream) and the main branch is actually Brownice Italian Bistro at Katong, or more accurately at 53 East Coast Road (near 328 Katong Laksa). Was invited by Tiara to join her for a food tasting at Brownice Italian Bistro, together with Kris, Justin, Ivan and Jennifer.

Brownice Italian Bistro offers Italian vegan food options and, yes vegan ice-cream included! While we know that vegan is not the same vegetarian, but how many of us knows what's the difference? While I have friends on vegetarian diet, there was no personal encounter with vegan friends, yet. Hence, had to seek some answers from Google master to satisfy my curiousity. While both practices meatless diet, vegans do not take dairy product nor eggs but garlic and onions are alright. My vegetarian friend, could consume dairy products and eggs but no to garlic and onions.

alfresco area
indoor dining

Brownice Italian Bistro offers alfresco and indoor dining. Walking into the shop, one would be captivated by the colourful display of housemade ice-creams at the ice-cream counter. Free to sample the flavours.

and more ice-cream

But, it's not time yet for desserts. Let's start proper for dinner. My first ever dining experience of Italian-styled vegan cuisine.

we are about to start, have you chope'd a place?

Here we go, starting with the drinks. A trio of two milkshakes (minus the milk) and a smoothie. Guess which was my favourite.

hazelnut 'milkshake' @$8
Passionfruit Mango Smoothie @$8
Very Chocolate 'Milkshake' @$8

My favourite was the Passionfruit Mango Smoothie, with the passionfruit flavour edging out the mango by quite a bit.

Next up, something not so Italian as we had a side-order of White Truffle Fries. Was pretty impressed by this. The cheese taste was pretty strong and it was so enjoyable. Paired best with a sparkling soda (NC18: though you know I meant cider, or beer. So far, have yet to come across vegan beer or wine in Singapore).

White Truffle Fries @$10
In an Italian bistro, one's supposed to order something Italian, sì?

Tuscan Fennel Orange Salad @$12

Thought the plate of salad was lively and the sharp vinaigrette was pretty appetising. But a tad too much dressing though as the liquid pooled towards the bottom of the plate. After the cold appetiser, let's have a hot one.

Sicilian Arancini @$12
Cute little stuffed risotto rice balls that are coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. Here, not only was it served with a bright tangy tomato sauce, it was drizzled with some balsamic as well. The Italian style would be to have the risotto would still be slightly crunchy (or when I first tasted it, I might think that it was undercooked). The risotto at Brownice Italian Bistro was cooked to a bit softer texture.

My favourite starter, was something simple. The fresh, thick mushroom soup with intense woody mushroom flavours bursting out to you at each mouthful. Delizioso! Bene! But Chef, please hold back a bit on the salt, ya.

Fresh Mushroom Soup @$8

Of course, in Italian food, there is pizza. Nowadays, thin crusts are more favoured than the thick ones. Suspect that it is so that we could eat more of the other things!

someone's gonna pinch one, if you're not looking - Four Seasons Pizza @$18

cured olives, sundried summer tomato (in pic), autumn mushroom, spring artichoke with soy ham
Truffle Porcini Fungi @$19

The pizza that we tasted were good. Liked the cured olives in the four seasons and mushrooms pizza tasted really creamy. One pizza could be shared by 2 pax.

Also tried the mushroom risotto and again, if you liked the mushroom soup, then this risotto would be right up your alley as well. Seemed like quite a big plate to finish on one's own, though. Best to share unless you have a large appetite.

Truffle Mushroom Risotto @$18

If you have a craving for lasagne, then you might want to try Brownice version. Layered with eggplants and tofu crumble served with tomato ragù.

Lasagne @$17 (handmodels cr: jellylovefats and ivanteh-runningman)
eggplant tofu lasagne

And then, it was time for desserts. Their waffles machine was unfortunately down so no waffles for the night. Got ourselves an ice-cream bowl with 4 scoops of ice-cream of our choice. The sampling of flavours were conducted by 3 individuals so it was our duty to bring group approved flavours back to the table.

Brownice Vegan Ice-Cream Bowl @$4 per scoop with additional $1 for premium flavours

The premium flavours require additional top-up of a dollar and these flavours are marked with a 'P' on their flavour tags at the ice-cream counter. Alright, let's see what we had; matcha, dark chocolate, peanut butter and pistachio.

The matcha flavour gave me a surprise when I first tasted it. See if it does the same to you. Would recommend matcha (only if you're game for a slight change and not a matcha purist!) and the pistachio for its really really good for its 'just-like-eating-a-real-pistachio' kind of flavour. Unadulterated goodness. Peanut butter and dark chocolate were equally good. Now I know that vegan ice-cream can be just as creamy, as delicious and satisfying as one with dairy in it.

This had been an interesting introduction to vegan food. Thank you Khai and Brownice Italian Bistro for hosting us, Brownice staff who assisted in our queries and Chefs who came out to speak to us (or rather to see what we were doing with their food!), and Tiara for inviting.

Brownice Italian Bistro

Address: 53 East Coast Road, Singapore
Contact: 6348 2295

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