Sunday, May 26, 2019

[Tasting] Rookery @ Capital Tower

Rookery is a cafe and bar located right in the CDB area. Founded by 3 individuals – Daniel, Michelle and Sue-shan, this casual joint with a cosy vibe, consolidates their respective love for whisky & beer, wine and coffee into one place.

Was invited to a tasting there recently and coincidentally, it was Ladies Night (Wed). For the blokes, not to worry as Rookery has got ya covered as well. Happy Hour (HH) runs daily till 8pm! After scanning through the drins' menu, it was observed that the price difference (for selected beers and wines) during HH is between $3 to $5. A pint of Asahi for just $9.90? Yes, please!

Ladies Night on Wed @ Rookery
Live band on selected days (not Wed!)

For the tasting, we got to try the brunch items, some tapas and dinner items.


What's brunch without eggs? How do you like yours? Poached or scrambled? Whichever way that you choose, Rookery has it. I'm with the scrambled eggs camp, for sure.

Smashed Avocado on Toast

Smashed Avocado Toast @$15

The smashed avocado toast came with perfectly poached egg topped with furikake, sitting gently on top of the toasted sourdough bread lavished with guacamole of tomatoes and corn.

runny yolk

Signature Scramble

Signature Scramble with Smoked Salmon @$20

Wow. Loved the way the scrambled eggs are cooked and presented here. So inviting and can't wait till all the photo taking are over to sink my teeth into that delicious mound of eggy pillow.

If you are not adverse to pork, don't waste time and just go get the Signature Scramble with Glazed Bacon Chop. But why stop at one though? Heck, order another one of those deliciously thick, satisfying sweet glazed savoury bacon chop. Regrets are only when one haven't had enough!

Signature Scramble with Glazed Bacon Chop (yums!)

Fried Chicken Sandwich

That's a misnomer as the fried chicken sandwich is one part fried chicken and one part glazed bacon chop. One could have two yummy meats in one bun!

Fried Chicken Sandwich @$21

Best of both worlds: Fried Chicken Thigh and Glazed Bacon Chop

Succulent double meat with honey mustard mayo, gouda cheese and lined with crisps lettuce and tangy sliced tomatoes.

Fuel up with this power combo!

Marmite Mushroom Toast

Marmite Mushroom Toast @$16

Ahhh, you do not prefer meat? Not to worry, as the marmite mushroom toast makes a delectable brunch item too. High in flavours, yet lighter on the tummy. Perfectly toasted crispy baguette, loaded with earthy savoury flavours. Pretty yummy!

Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa

Oh, you'd prefer something lighter without the bread and meat? Then, the roasted cauliflower & quinoa dish would be perfect for you.

Crunchy, sweet cauliflower in sesame dressing served with grilled halloumi cheese. Good flavours and quite filling.

Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa @$17


Grilled Mackerel @$24

Listed under 'Seasonal Specials', the Grilled Mackerel is served with baby potatoes (underneath), garlic and tomatoes in white wine stew. The baby potatoes were a tad under-cooked.

Scallops @$22

Five (5) Hokkaido scallops seared to perfection with its balanced bouncy, firm chew that exalted the sweetness of the seafood. Served with plenty of seaweed and miso butter sauce. Oily? Yes, but it was too darn delicious! We used up all the toast provided to scoop up the sauce because it was simply divine. And then, we broke off some parts of the sandwiches and the marmite mushroom toast to finish off till the last drop of the seaweed and miso butter. So satisfying. Yes, we'll worry about the calories later!

The flavours of the sauce are strong but it was so good with an alcoholic drink.


Meatballs @$17

Beef meatballs in tomato based sauce, with parmesan and herbed breadcrumbs served with toast (yes, I 'used' these toast for the seaweed & miso butter too!)

Surprisingly, the meatballs had less of a 'beefy' taste. Texture was dense and firm. The tomato sauce was lighter than expected.

Gambas al Ajillo

Tiger prawns (halved), grilled and loaded on garlic and chili oil. Fragrant and reminiscent of the zichar steamed prawns with garlic. The prawns were cooked just right and loved the colours of this dish!

Gambas al Ajillo @$18

US Kurobuta Bone-in Pork Chop

US Kurobuta Bone-in Pork Chop @$29

The pork chop is of a thinner cut and served medium with a side of curly fries and mesclun salad. Enjoyable, tender meat with light seasonings of salt and pepper.

Crabmeat Pasta 

For those who loved their noodles, we tried two variations; the Crabmeat Pasta in tomato cream based sauce and the dry tossed Sakura Ebi Capellini in kombu and decorated with furikake and chives.

Crabmeat Pasta @$24

The blue swimmer meat was cooked into the slightly sweet tomato cream sauce and liked that the tagliatelle was not too al-dente.

Sakura Ebi Capellini

Sakura Ebi Capellini @$14

I'd go for the Sakura Ebi Capellini for its stronger flavours and overall umami-ness of the dish. Perhaps, this preference could also be due to the cocktails that I was imbibing...

Signature Cocktails @$13 (Happy Hour) / $17

Elderflower Mojito (rum, mint, lime, elderflower liquor, brown sugar)
Tokyo Martini (vodka, choya umeshu, dry vermouth, sour plum)

The Elderflower Mojito was refreshing and not too sweet. Lovely to have this for brunch as well. The Tokyo Martini tasted predominantly of umeshu.

Thank you Ivan for the invite and Jereme Liang and Rookery for hosting the tasting. It was a good introduction to Rookery and its delectable array of dishes available for brunch, lunch and dinner. Not forgetting the happy hour cocktails and drinks!

Rookery @ Capital Tower

Address: 168, #01-08 Robinson Rd, Capital Tower, 068912
Contact: 6327 9369
Business Hours:
Mondays to Fridays - 8am to 11pm
Closed on weekends (Sat and Sun)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

[Tasting] Discover the Joys of Dry-Aged Beef @ Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar

If you've been to Ginett recently, you may have noticed the Dry-Ager fridge taking up residence in the dining area. As a meat-atarian, I am excited as this new addition by Executive Chef Sylvain Royer is bound to raise the flavour of the steak up multiple notches! And, there is no better way than to experience it, ourselves.

Dry-Ager fridge

Googled and in accordance to Wiki, that aging of the meat is the process of utilizing the beef's natural enzymes in breaking down its connective tissues, with the aim of tenderizing the meat.

Then, there's dry aging and wet aging. In dry-aging, the primal and sub-primal cuts of the meat; typically strip loins, rib eyes, and sirloin, are placed in a refrigerator unit. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavour, as well as the tenderization of the meat texture. Sounds good. However, dry-aging is a more expensive endeavor and takes a longer time when compared to its wet-aging counterpart.

beautiful aging

All these talks about the sciences makes one hungry! Let's eat! Coincidentally, we were there on an Oysters Frenzy night, which happens on every Thursday. How does $1 per piece for Fine de Claire, sounds? Yes, please!

Oysters Fine de Claire 12 pcs

let's enjoy
Domaine Raimbault Sancerre, Loire Valley (Sauvignon Blanc) @$14

I asked Ginett's resident sommelier, Ms Justine Le Merle for wine recommendations with the oysters and was happy with the Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley, with its gorgeous yellow hue, moderate flavours of a balanced mineral and citrussy notes. Said to be ideal to be paired with starters and seafood and I do agree. Thank you Justine!

Oh, speaking of wine, how could one not think about the cheese? Ginett has increased its range of  French imported AOC cheese such as the creamy and nutty Saint-Félicien from Rhône-Alpes, the pyramid-shaped Pouligny-Saint-Pierre made exclusively using unpasteurised whole goat's milk from the Loire Valley in central France, or the earthy Tomme de Savoie, the oldest of all Savoie cheese. Hmm, so many types, which ones to try first? I think I need a cheese sommelier!

cheese cabinet

As our party of 4 has limited stomach space, we decided to forgo the cheese for this round. Nevertheless, here's the link to previous visit and the cheeses that we had tried. My favourite was the Brillat Savarin.

while waiting for the mains...

For main course, we'd be focusing on the tasting platter of Angus ribeyes; consisting of the natural Australian 30-36 months Pasture Fed Angus Beef and the 270 days Grain Fed Australian Black Angus MB3+ Rib Eye that had underwent a 3-weeks and a 6-weeks dry-aging process.

Black Angus steaks (top left to right): Australian 30-36 months Pasture Fed Angus Beef Rib Eye, Dry aged 3 weeks and 6 weeks were both Australian Black Angus MB3+ Rib Eye
Currently, the menu states that the Australian 30-36 months Pasture Fed Angus Beef Rib Eye is priced at $36++ for 250g and the Australian Black Angus MB3+ goes for $48++ for 250g.

For each order of the steak, diners would get a choice of one side and one sauce: Sauce: Béarnaise, pepper, blue cheese. Since we are having 3, we got to try all the sauces. I was wondering about the pepper sauce though, as pepper sauce is less common in restaurants serving steaks? Might be wrong but that was the impression when it first arrived.

Let's talk a bit about the sides. One could choose creamy spinach, mesclun salad, mashed potatoes, ratatouille, mushroom fricassée, and potato wedges. We chose creamy spinach, ratatouille and mushroom fricassée. Creamy spinach has become the defacto choice (along the lines of creamy kale), ratatouille because we need to fulfill the vegetable quotient and mushrooms because one can't go wrong with mushrooms!

creamy spinach
mushrooms fricassée

All sides were good but all of us loved the creamy spinach!

Australian 30-36 months Pasture Fed Angus Beef  

We tasted the steaks starting from the natural free range, antibiotic & hormone free Australian Angus ribeye and it has a good mild beefy flavour, firm chewy texture yet still tender. It felt like the meat was rather lean.

Next, the 3-weeks Dry Aged Australian Black Angus MB3+ Rib Eye which had a more tender texture as compared to the non-aged beef. Its flavour was more apparent when compared to the non-aged version. I loved the char on the 3-weeks and the 6-weeks dry aged ribeye and, it gave the meat an elevated smokey flavour.

Dry aged 3 weeks Australian Black Angus MB3+ Rib Eye

However, I felt that the difference between the 6-weeks and the 3-weeks was more in the flavour compartment. The 6-weeks aged meat was tastier but I could not tell if there was any differences in texture between the 3-weeks version.

Dry aged 6 weeks Australian Black Angus MB3+ Rib Eye

For the 3-weeks and 6-weeks aged beef, there was no funky smell whatsoever and it was an overall pleasant experience with an enhanced and pronounced flavour in comparison to its non-aged counterpart.

Our host, Jasmine shared that her favourite main would be the Scottish Salmon, so we gave that a try as well. A beautiful slab of salmon with skin-on, served ontop a bed of creamy spinach. Double yums.

Scottish Salmon @$32++

For dessert, we ordered three out of the nine stated in the menu. Had always wanted to try the traditional dessert, Baba au Rhum so that made it into our list. Next, we had Jasmine's favourite which was the Chocolate Tart and finally, for our finale, we selected Paris Brest.

Baba au Rhum @$14++

So what is Baba au Rhum?  According to Wiki, it is a small yeast cake saturated in syrup made with typically, rum and served with cream. Orhhhh. The version here is soaked in vanilla infused rum syrup and the yeast cake tasted like a fluffy bread. Overall, the dessert was light and refreshing. So interesting.

Chocolate Tart @$12++

The 70% cacao chocolate tart shall satisfy any chocolate cravings that one might have. Rich, creamy, just the right amount of bitter and sweetness, that's best paired with a cup of coffee/tea. The pecan ice-cream was so good and it took its time to melt even in our sweltering heat. Bravo!

For me, the best dessert would be the Paris Brest. A mega choux filled with creamy, luxurious hazelnut praline cream. Absolutely, heavenly.

Paris Brest @$18++
hazelnut praline cream (cross-section view of Paris Brest)

Having dined at Ginett on a couple of occasions, it is advisable to make your reservations to avoid disappointment as the place is usually crowded after 6.45pm, even on a weekday.

Thank you Natasha, Jasmine and Ginett for having us. Justine, it was nice meeting you and thank you to you and team for taking care of us that night.

Dinner with Hence, Alvin and Melissa.

Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar 

Address: 200 Middle Rd, Singapore 188980
Contact: 6809 7989
Business Hours:
Daily 7.00am to 11.30pm

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Big Sake Bar @ 302 Beach Rd (The Concourse Skyline)

Big Sake Bar is a contemporary Japanese izakaya'esque place that serves contemporary fusion Japanese, and plenty of sake. The place is located at The Concourse Skyline and is within walking distance from Sultan Gate. Its taxi drop-off point is somewhat disorientating and somehow I ended up at the Concourse instead. Just keep to the same side and walk further towards Sultan Gate and one will see a row of dining places, inclusive of Big Sake Bar.

internal decor of old school Japanese posters

Overall, the place feels a bit smallish but cosy. Be greeted upon entrance and it could accommodate groups of 8 pax as per our party size. On the other end from our table, there is space for another 4 pax.

table for 4
We ordered a bottle of Nabeshima "Pink Label" which is of the Tokubetsu Hanjozo variant. From Saga, Kyushu with ABV 15%. The sake is clear and has a clean dry mouthfeel, with aromas of grain. Tasty and easy to drink.

Nabeshima "Pink Label" 720ml @$88+

Plus, the sake cups were so cute! I liked my deep blue cup with a 3D koi in it.

there's a koi in my sake (cup)

For starters, we got the izakaya favourite of tako wasabi, which was essentially chopped raw octopus with wasabi. For the uninitiated, this dish is rather slimey and strongly flavoured but goes well with the drinks.

tako wasabi, served with seaweed sheets @$8+

Agedashi Tofu @$8+
Nitako @$12+

The agedashi tofu was different from what I'm used to have. The tofu here is thinly sliced before being battered and deep fried. So cool, and looked lovely when plated. Tasted soft too. 

The nitako is said to be boiled octopus in special sauce. However, there were more chopped cucumber and tomatoes in there, than the octopus so I'll skip this one and have the tako wasabi instead.

Tamago Mentaiyaki @$10+
For a dish with a bit more luxury, we opted for the Hotate Foie Gras from the Chef's Special section. Whoa, foie gras and scallop for just $18? Yaassss! Give me more! But alas, we exercised restrained and managed to share this amongst the many of us.

Hotate Foie Gras ホタテのフォアグラ @$18+

What's a Japanese meal without sashimi? Why, it is an incomplete one! And hence, we had the Hirame Uni Sashimi. Seems like this is not in its online menu though.

Hirame Uni Sashimi @$40+

Hirame is a type of flounder and sliced thinly for sashimi with an almost translucent flesh. Clean, firm and slightly bouncy chew and has a mild flavour. Paired with creamy uni for an immediate elevated contrast in texture as well as flavour!

For the non-drinkers, we had green tea in jugs as well. Its price is based on per head. But one could have unlimited refills.

green tea @$2+ per head

But what about our main dish? The highlights at Big Sake Bar would be its kushiyaki, I'd think. Large chunks of meat on skewers? A resounding yes! For the kushiyaki platter, one could opt for either 6 or the 9 sticks with different pricing. However, it would be an omakase style where the chef decides on the items to be served.

Kushiyaki platter - 9 kinds of grilled skewers 串焼き @$30+ per plate

For our 9 sticks platter, there were about 7 meat skewers and two vegetables. My favourites (surprisingly comprised of vegetable skewers!) were the shitake mushrooms, brinjal and the butabara (pork belly) skewers. So good. Expect a heavy hand in seasoning but it all tasted so good with the sake.

Each stick of the butabara 豚バラ is priced at $4.50+ so we had a repeat of those to satisfy the meat cravings.

Speaking of meat cravings, we also had a plate of grilled pork jowl (pork cheek). The texture was kind of firm yet crunchy crisp. Not like a cracker but in the meat-kind of context.

Pork Cheek @$16+

If you prefer something warm and soothing but does not want to load up on the carbs, why not have the Yasai Takiawase. A bowl of comforting stewed vegetable. There were pumpkin, carrot, daikon, brinjal and shitake mushrooms. So good and the awesome taste!

Yasai Takiawase @$9+

By this time, our belly are full and the alcohol kicking in, so to end our night, let's share some delicious warm soup.

soup of the day @$10+

All in all, we spent about $52 per pax for an evening of relaxed vibes, in good company and good food. The food is reasonably priced and at the moment, there is no GST, only 10% service charge.

Thank you Ivan for making the reservation. An enjoyable evening with the boys; Hoong An, Alvin, Hence and the girls; Tracy and Elle.

Big Sake Bar

Address: 302 Beach Rd, #01-02, Singapore 199600
Contact: 62912700, 96567105
Business Hours:
Mondays to Saturdays - 5:00pm - 12midnight
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays

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