Friday, June 14, 2019

[Tasting] 51 Soho @ 51 Telok Ayer Street

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Conveniently located just 2 minutes away from Telok Ayer MRT Station (DT18), 51 Soho is an all day dining venue that transforms itself into a drinking destination with delicious food once the sun begins to set. I was impressed by its beautiful bling bling custom built bar that spans the length of its interior.

exterior
Happy Hour

bar

Happy Hour is from 5pm to 8pm and there is a current on-going promotion where SGD28 will get you not one but two Happy Hour drinks and four charcoal BBQ skewers!

may the spirit be with you
more reasons to cheer!

The specialty drinks would be their "51 Soho Specials" menu. A clever mix of Chinese spirits and ingredients. We tried two types from this special menu; "Bamboo Dream" and the restaurant's namesake "51 Soho".

51 Soho Specials - 51 Soho and Bamboo Dreams

My favourite of the two would be the "51 Soho" which was concocted of plum wine, rose and decorated with lychee. While Bamboo Dreams was refreshing from the sweet fermented glutinous rice wine, osmanthus oolong tea, yuzu, vanilla and passionfruit, the 51 Soho would be its mature cousin with a mellow but still refreshing taste topped with the sweet lychee fragrance. As the alcohol level in these two cups were rather mild, I think one pax could easily finish 3 out of the 9 cups. Usually sold in 9s/12s @$88/$100 respectively.

Thank you Rain for preparing the drinks!

pour me a 51 Soho

Let's order some food to accompany the drinks. For skewers, we tried the chicken heart, chicken meat, padron peppers with halloumi cheese and pork meat skewers. The marinade for the skewers were similar to the Xinjiang BBQ skewers (新疆烤串) as there were cumin seeds, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.


chicken heart (@$6), chicken meat (@$7.50),padron peppers with halloumi cheese (@$8) and pork meat skewers (@$7.50)
padron peppers with halloumi cheese

The Padron Peppers with Halloumi cheese was interesting and overall, the skewers were tasty! But we were still hungry. Let's move on to the mains.

The Buffalo Pork had an interesting name and we learnt that it was because its sauce was fashioned after Buffalo Wings. There's sauteed brussels sprouts in there and it was delicious when dabbed with a bit of those blue cheese sauce.

Buffalo Pork @$25
Our Spicy Pasta @$24

The very first bite of Spicy Pasta would have revealed itself the two major components of the sauce. Tabasco and peppercorn. Such interesting combo where tangy spicy meets ma-la (麻辣). Like hello East and West! Though oily, it was delicious! Loved the spice level and the numbing ma-la. The prawns were done well too with a rather crunchy texture that's reflective of a cooked-just-right crustaceans.

Salmon & Pearl

For a dish that is comparatively lighter, that has to be the Salmon & Pearl. Aptly named because the couscous resembled small pearls with its round shiny exterior. Broth made of sour vegetables, which coated the pearl couscous with its luxurious sheen, pop buckwheat for an interesting texture, diced pickled cucumbers and those pretty little micro vegetables.

The salmon was rather good with a moist flaky flesh and crisp skin. No other seasoning beyond salt and pepper. Natural flavours of the fish that paired really well with the sour vegetable and pearl couscous. Very interesting explosion of textures that harmonizes itself in due time.

My favourite dish for the night was the Lobster Rice Stew. I could never had guessed its flavour profile just by looking at its description alone.


Lobster Stew Rice @$38

But once that first spoonful of those perfectly cooked grains was taken, one could not help to exclaim such amazing flavours that's utterly delicious! Imagine butter crab sauce that's deeply imbibed into the very soul of those mixed grains of black rice, barley and sorghum. Super yummy with its rich, creamy butter sauce that's full of umami and touched with a hint of heat from the chopped red chili padis.

The grilled mushrooms, perfectly pan-roasted half lobster and those lovely garlic stems added to the flavour landscape of this dish. This is a must-order.

Thank you Kris for the invite, 51 Soho for hosting the tasting and Eugene for feeding us. Kudos to the team and looking forward to more deliciousness to come!

51 Soho

Address: 51 Telok Ayer St, #01-01, Singapore 048441
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/51soho/
Contact: 9755 1058
Reservationhttps://www.chope.co/singapore-restaurants/restaurant/51-soho
Business Hours:
Mon to Fri: 8am to 11pm
Sat:            10am to 11pm
Sun:           10am to 10pm

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Come Join Michelin-Starred Chef Roland Durand @ Ginett from 18-20 June

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For 3-nights only from 18-20 June, Chef Roland Durand brings classic French bistronomy to Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar. Chef Durand who is here in Singapore for the first time, is best known as the chef-patron of Michelin-starred Le Passiflore in Paris, and holds prestigious awards including winning the Grand Prix Culinaire Internationale Auguste Escoffier and Meuilleur Ouvrier de France competitions.

Chef Roland Durand (image credit: Hotel G)


Chef Durand has created a classic French menu with subtle Asian influences that will be available a-la-carte or in a three-course set dinner (@$69++). And specially for the wine lovers, the Ginett team has collaborated with Chef Durand to curate an optional wine pairing (additional $35++) for the set dinner.

Look forward to dishes such as Ravioles D’escargots (@$21++), an update on the traditional escargot appetiser, which Chef Durand presents his in delicate handmade ravioli parcels and served in a savoury sweet fine herb broth instead of the usual butter and garlic. For cold starters, one could opt for the Tartare De Crevettes Tigrées et d’Avocat (@$25++), a tartare of tiger shrimp and avocado, served with a summery Piquant tomato coulis that is scented with coconut milk.

Ravioles D’escargots (image credit: Hotel G)


Indulge in hearty mains which features time-honoured recipes like the Cabillaud Rôti Au Chorizo (@$35++), a dish of tender Atlantic cod roasted with chorizo, paired with champignons bouquet and an oyster and seaweed emulsion, or the Carre D’agneau Rôti Au Cumin (@$40++) which is a flavourful, charcoal grilled cumin-marinated lamb rack, Ratte potato gnocchi, and finished with a punchy tamarind chutney.

Carre D’agneau Rôti Au Cumin (image credit: Hotel G)

For dessert, one could enjoy Chef Durand's signature marvelous rice pudding made with almond milk with a swirl of pumpkin marmalade, Le Merveilleux Riz Au Lait A L’angelique De Roland (@$14++) or the Sablé Aux Fraises Et À La Rhubarbe which is a strawberry and rhubarb with orange coulis (@$14++).

Sablé Aux Fraises Et À La Rhubarbe (image credit: Hotel G)

Do not miss this opportunity to try the culinary delights of Chef Durand and team Ginett. Make your reservations now via this link.

Bon Appétit~

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Don Lechón @ Grandlink Square 511 Guillemard Rd

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It all originated from having a theme of "suckling pig" and then to choose a place that has it for our monthly dinner gathering. Hence, Don Lechón came up as an option plus its online review was really good, so we just got to try it for ourselves. Thank you Ivan, Kris and Alvin for suggesting the theme, the place and for making the reservations, respectively.

Don Lechón is on the left side of Grandlink Square's main entrance and you'll walk pass a Vietnamese place before reaching Don Lechón. It's a good sign when you see the signage of a hog in tuxedo smiling right back at you. Lechón is a Spanish word referring to a roasted suckling pig.

Signage

There are outdoor seats and there are indoor seats. The place was bustling! We opted for indoor seats within the cool confines of the air-conditioned area. The order counter is a small area and there was already a queue formed.

queuing to order

The menu is simple and all are stated on the menu board. Prior to that we already had a good idea of what we wanted to try (from online reviews!). Payment is by cash. The boss himself, Mr Krisanto Bibal was manning the counter with the help of two other lovely ladies, and can also be seen serving the customers. We queued for about 20 to 30 minutes to order.

After ordering and making payment, you'll receive a number tag and food will be served to your table. There are only a few types of canned drinks and bottled mineral water available and all are priced the same at $1.80. The drinks are located in a fridge just right outside the order counter entrance. There's also a cabinet for mugs and a small container for ice-cubes. So please help yourself.

colourful mugs

As there were just 5 of us this time round, we opted for 3 items from the rice set meals and added extra orders of two rice and ala-carte order of half a kilo of chopped lechon.

We tried the Lechon Sisig, Bopis and Lechon Sinigang. These seemed to be the perennial favourites of a typical Filipino meal, yes?

Lechon Sisig @$9.50
Sisig Lechon

Sisig is said to be a Kapampangan dish, typically made from parts of pig head and chicken liver, but nowadays sisig is more of a cooking process rather than a dish. Hence, sisig can be anything. The typical seasoning of a lechon sisig dish would be calamansi juice, soy sauce, onion and chillies and with chopped lechon tossed in. Garnished with a sunny side up.

The size of the Lechon Sinigang pot really surprised us. Is this meant for 1 pax? Wow! Served piping hot, this huge serving of appetising sour and savoury soup was enjoyed by the five of us and yet, we couldn't finish it all. The sour taste of the sinigang is often associated with tamarind. In comparison, to paksiw, which is another type of stew but uses vinegar instead of tamarind.

Lechon Sinigang @$11.50

In the soup, there were sliced brinjals, kang kong (water spinach), radish and thick cut lechon (about 5 pieces). The sourness hits you well enough to keep awake and overall, this tangy soup was really appetising. The version here seemed thicker than other sinigang that I've tasted though.


Lechon Sinigang


There was one item that I insisted to try, and that was the Bopis. The rest were unsure and perhaps with a tad of fear factor? Only $5.50 per set, this was a really affordable tasty meal. You could also opt for the ala-carte and it has two sizes. I found that the smaller portion will do as a side dish to share. Even with the 5 of us, we could barely finish this portion that came as a rice set meal.

Bopis @$5.50

Bopis is a piquant Filipino dish of chopped pork lungs and heart sautéed in tomatoes, chilies and onions. Loved the springy texture and the overall appetising taste of the dish. Not too funky and just delicious with that mouthful of steamed rice.

The heavyweights of the meal would have to be the much awaited lechón. Simple, expertly roasted, well seasoned lechon, chopped in a thick cut manner.

Chopped Lechon @$20 per half kilo

The skin was a clear winner. Crackling and crispy. Sink your teeth into those luscious fatty meat and be swayed by its tender flavorful flesh. Breathtakingly good.

Served with a brown sauce of unknown origins. Ok, it was because I didn't ask what sauce it was. Had tried it with the sauce but for me I'd prefer it without, as the meat itself was already that good!

It was a good introduction to Filipino cuisine at Don Lechón and am glad I was able to share it with Alvin (@o_oican), Ivan (@ivan_teh_runningman), Kris (@msginginly) and Tiara (@tiara_star).


Don Lechón 

Address: 511 Guillemard Rd, Singapore 399849
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pg/DonLechonSingapore
Contact: 9778 9737
Business Hours:
Daily - 5pm to 11pm



Wednesday, June 5, 2019

[Tasting] June 2019 Dinner @ Grissini

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Grissini is located within Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel and is a cosy contemporary Italian grill restaurant. Head Chef of Grissini, Mirko Vinci is from the Puglia (pronounced as ˈpu lyɑ without the 'g' sound) region in Southern Italy and he brings forth a solid, down-to-earth homely flavours of Southern Italy with a twist. There are new items in the May 2019 menu and we were invited to have a bite.

Grissini

I asked the waitstaff on his recommendation from the cocktail menu and he suggested the Strawberry Mojito. Interesting as I have not come across this in any drinks menu before.

drinks menu from Tempo

Was a tad disappointed when the drink was served. Its presentation was unlike the one as illustrated in the menu. Strawberry Mojito is made the same way as the regular mojito (rum, lime, brown sugar) but without the leaves as those were replaced by the strawberries. Tasted more like strawberry soda which is refreshing in our hot humid Singapore weather.

Strawberry Mojito @$18
The Devil's Blend @$20

The Devil's Blend cocktail was the most interestingly presented. Concocted of vodka, rum, gin and triple sec, lemon and mango juices and ginger ale, this was a more potent drink. Strawberry Mojito was child's play in comparison.

If you prefer bitters, the maybe you'd like "Yum Cha". Made of honey chamomile tea, Jim Beam, lemon and bitters. For the older taste buds.

Yum Cha @$20

With drinks on hand, we are set to commence on dinner. First was the amuse bouche of Sour Cream Panna Cotta, Oscietra Caviar and Chives. Served on a spoon, and meant to be eaten all at once.

We probably will not find this in the menu as this was one of the surprises that Chef Mirko and his team might delight you with when you dine at Grissini.

Sour Cream Panna Cotta, Oscietra Caviar, Chives

The Sour Cream Panna Cotta with Oscietra Caviar and Chives was a full-bodied flavour that's creamy and dense, much like a soft cheese but with a light tangy edge and finishes off well with the fragrance of savoury chives.

Next up, we had the Tuna Tartare. This dish had surprised me with its bold and strong flavours which I had not quite expected. Chopped raw tuna marinated with soy sauce on top of a thick luxurious spread of creamy avocado and topped with sliced avocado and crispy bread croutons. Those tiny tomatoes at the side were not to be missed, for its intense sweet tangy flavours were bursting for showtime!

Lovely appetizer and I will strongly recommend the Tuna Tartare to be shared, unless you had the intention to do a two-course meal.

Tuna Tartare @$24

Then, onwards to pasta. Do you know Tonnarelli? I certainly don't know it by this name but if you were to say spaghetti, then it would become familiar again. Tonnarelli is the pasta from Lazio that is similar to the one that we know by its more popular Abruzzese name, spaghetti alla chitarra.

Chef Mirko had paired the black ink tonnarelli with wild Mediterranean langoustine, juicy succulent sweet prawns, softly sweet and gentle edgy tomato sauce, combined with lemon zest and cherry tomato. Its result was superb. I enjoyed this dish with tremendous gusto even when the stomach had become full from the earlier starter.

Black Ink Tonnarelli with Wild Mediterranean Langoustine @$38


If your preference is for more subtle flavours, then the Seabream Fillet will allow one to slowly relish and discover the fresh natural taste of its ingredients.

Seabream Fillet with Sicilian caponata in white wine, cream and parsley sauce @$38


Let's rewind a bit. I had to Google up on Sicilian caponata and Wiki says "it is a Sicilian eggplant (aubergine) dish consisting of a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, with capers in a sweet and sour sauce." Oooh, now I understand better.

The overall texture of the caponata were very much like green peppers where it had a bit of vegetable crunch. Certainly interesting and tasted of an appetizing light sourish tang. There was beetroot on the plate and one gets an earthy sweet flavour from it. It was as though the sea and the land had met. The seabream fillet itself was well cooked with firm meat. The fish natural sweetness shone through and this was a lighter dish overall.

Ended our meal with two chocolate dessert. These were not in the menu, hence interested diners could enquire if the kitchen has them on that day.

Started our sweet trail with Chocolate Bonet. Bonnet means hat, so does this mean it is a dessert that is shaped like a hat? Such a curious name. This dessert is a typical sweets from Piedmont, Northern Italy and is believed to have been in existence since the 13th century. Its original recipe did not contain cocoa and chocolate was only added in later into the kitchens of wealthy families.

Chocolate Bonet

It tasted like a chocolate flan/pudding with an aftertaste of almond. The Chocolate Bonet was lightly sweet with slight bitterness from the chocolate, soft and reminiscent of softer agar-agar. Cut a piece and dust it with those biscuit crumbs (was it amaretti biscuit or macaroons?) and it was a level-up enjoyment in the mouth. I thought I was too full but ended up finishing the entire plate of this Chocolate Bonet. Surprisingly, it was more enjoyable with each subsequent bites! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Have you tried Chocolate Salami? Never came across it till yesterday. Again, Chef Mirko likes to tease us by introducing items that may be common elsewhere but yet to be seen in restaurant menus. Chocolate salami is not a meat product and its aptly named because of its appearance. It does really resemble a salami!

Originated in Portugal and Chocolate Salami gained popularity across Europe. The Italian version is spelled as Salame. Its main ingredients are cocoa, broken cookies, nuts, butter, and eggs. I think Chef Mirko might have added coffee to his version.

Chocolate Salame

Its texture was something I'd describe it as compact powdery texture much like a shortbread but rich in cocoa instead of butter. Maybe like a lightly compacted injeolmi (bean powder) chocolate roll? Loved the whiff of coffee and the lightness of this piece when placed on the tongue. Easy to eat and goes well with coffee/tea.

Grissini is a cosy place to gather with your loved ones. Its ambiance is suitable for business dining or intimate gatherings. Private dining is available in the beautiful Bellissima Private Room as well.

Be delighted with new discovery of items in its updated menu, and be surprised by off-menu items prepared by Chef Mirko and his talented team.

Once again, thank you Gilbert for the invite and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel for hosting the dinner tasting.


Grissini @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Location: G/F Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, 392 Havelock Rd, 169663
Websitehttp://www.celebrateatgcw.com/aspx/grissini.aspx
Contact: 6233 1100
Business Hours:
Daily - 12.00pm to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10.30pm




Saturday, June 1, 2019

[Tasting] The Quarters Experience @ Icon Village

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The Quarters Experience brings forth the signature dishes cultivated out of the passion of Chef Chung Deming, who cleverly utilizes straits ingredients and ever willing to share his culture and heritage through food.

For just $60++ per person with a minimum of 2 pax, one could participate in this journey of Singapore inspired cuisine extravaganza at The Quarters Bistro and Grill - a cosy restaurant located within Icon Village at Tanjong Pagar. The Quarters Experience is available for dinner only and preferably to reserve 2 days in advance and features a 6-course menu.

The Quarters

The Quarters Experience began guests seated at the dining table, eagerly awaiting for the first dish. 

where the East and the West meets

Salted Egg Tebasaki


Salted Egg Tebasaki - Signature Salted Egg Aoili with Chargrilled Mid-Wing

Loved the smoky flavour of the grill in this first item, and the well seasoned wings. Makes one wants to grab a beer with this.

Chawanmushi


Chawanmushi - Chincalok infused steamed Egg with Ikura

The chawanmushi is the most subtle dish in the Quarters Experience. With only a hint of chincalok to tease the palate. The egg texture was smoothly firm and the ikura provided the contrast in texture with sudden spike in flavour.


Ooh La La!


Literally, a lala (clam) dish. Good play and very local. Served in a deep plate with Signature Chili Crab Sauce with Venus clams and croutons.

Ooh La La!

First impression, was that the chili crab sauce was a tad watery. The croutons were crispy and I'd spoon up a good spoonful of sauce, croutons and clams to eat at one go. Satisfying and strangely addictive. Can't seem to put the spoon down!


Fwah!


What? We are getting foie gras on kaya toast with scrambled egg?! Fwah!!!

The above was my exact sentiment. A piece of luxury in our ordinary favourite breakfast toast? Oh yes!

But foie gras with its rich, slightly gamey flavour on something sweet. Will it be weird? That was the other thought that ran in my mind.

Fwah!

It looked impressive when served. Loved the soft creamy scrambled egg on top of the foie gras. Was a happy person after the first bite. Foie gras on kaya toast with scrambled eggs was a hit for me. The rich savoury of the foie and the thinly spread sweet kaya paired well. More please!

yums!

Kueh Pie Tee


Kueh Pie Tee wasn't in The Quarters Experience menu, yet Chef brought it out for us to try. If you are trying to find out what's that secret twist in this kueh pie tee, "There's no twist in this dish." He said. This dish was about traditional flavours executed well in Chef Chung's bistro.

Kueh Pie Tee

Packed to the brim with ingredients, and a balanced flavour. Nice.

Rendang


Next up, was the main course of Wagyu Beef cubes with Heirloom Rendang sauce and Buah Keluak Fried Rice.

Rendang


Truly Asian dish, and enjoyed the deep flavours of the buah keluak fried rice. Am not a buah keluak person but this fried rice, I really really liked! Fried with enough fire, and the rice was well coated. The heirloom rendang played an important role, and it is a familiar tangy appetizing flavour which in my opinion, elevated the overall profile of the dish. Wagyu cubes were nicely tender with an enjoyable chew.


Duriancanboleh


Chef Chung first made a name for himself with "Duriancanboleh" which is his version of durian creme brulee. Watch as Chef torches the dessert right in front of you.


preparing the dessert

Duriancanboleh

sweet endings

If you are expecting the pungentness of the durian, there wasn't any. Instead, while the distinctive durian flavour is still there, it was a rather mellowed down version. I understand that even people who were initially adverse to trying durian, could take this version after they've tried it at The Quarters. For myself, am liking it. Durian creme brulee? Can! Boleh!


Come make your reservations today to enjoy modern Singapore cuisine at The Quarters!

Ala-Carte Dishes

Nasi Lemak Burger


Have you tried The Quarters version of Nasi Lemak Burger? Deep fried chicken thigh patty, topped with a pretty sunny side up and sandwiched between two grilled rice patties. Served with crispy ikan bilis and julienned cucumbers. The sambal's buried underneath the chicken patty.

Nasi Lemak Burger @$15


Ayam Buah Keluak Pasta


If you are a noodles person, then this is the pasta version where the noodles are tossed in the delightfully dark buah keluak sauce. Served with wagyu slices, done medium rare.

Wagyu Beef Buah Keluak Pasta @$24

The buah keluak taste in this dish is stronger when compared to the buah keluak fried rice (Rendang - The Quarters Experience).


Shio Bak


For the meatatarians, shio bak in Hokkien means roast pork. Done with ultra thin skin, the crackling was as expected with the meat remaining tender even with a higher ratio of lean to fats. Reasonably priced for the thick slices of meat. Good for sharing!

Shio Bak @$14


Thank you Ivan for the invite and Chef Chung for sharing your passion with us.

The Quarters Bistro and Grill

Location: 16 Enggor St, #01-09 Icon Village, Singapore 079717
Contact: 6834 4174
Email: info@thequarters.sg
Business Hours:
Mon - 10am to 4pm
Tues to Sat - 10am to 10pm
Closed on Sundays

 
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