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mycc
This is mycc living in Central. I work in Central. I like to hang out in Chinatown, Raffles Place, Orchard. Japanese, Singaporean, Multi-Cuisine are my favorite cuisines. I also love Hawker Centre, Bakery and Roasted Meat, Desserts and Cakes, Dim Sum.
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Categories : Italian | Restaurant | Desserts and Cakes | Pasta | Pizza

Italian cuisine isn't unfamiliar with most, with the usual favourites like pastas and pizzas. What we might be unfamiliar with, however, would be the proliferating arts culture in Italy, spotting art pieces everywhere as you walk down the streets. While most places have brought in authentic tasting Italian food, Ricciotti brings in a flavour of Italy complete with the arts experience for its newly renovated flagship store along Singapore River.
Unveiling its new installation piece, Ricciotti will have ongoing collaborations with Italian artists from different backgrounds to bring forth an added dimension of the Italian culture to their dining concept. As the art piece was unveiled, we liked the idea of how it was an unfinished piece, with the artist adding on her artistic strokes while we dined.
And now, on to the food itself! Some of the highlights of our meal had to be the classic Italian we've always known.
Linguine al Granchio (crab meat, chili, tomato cream) $25++

 
While I was expecting a spicy kick like our usual chili crabs, this was a tamer version to cater to most who might not have an appetite for the fiery crabs. I liked the balance of tomato cream with just a slight tinge of spiciness, packed with much shredded crabmeat goodness!

Cod Fillet (cod fillet, thyme, sundried tomatoes, sautéed spinach) $31++

 
Not the first thing that comes to my mind for Italian cuisine, this was a surprisingly good dish with the cod fish cooked just right to retain its moisture within. The sundried tomatoes added a nice touch to the combination with a slightly sour tinge, well complemented with the spinach for a good balance.

Grilled Pork Ribs (pork ribs, mixed salad, potatoes) $28++

 
I was skeptical of this initially as it looked pretty dry, only to be pleasantly surprised when I pry the succulent ribs that were off-the-bone tender. The well-marinated ribs were good on its own that we could do even without the usual sauces that piled atop.

9" Al Tartufo Pizza (black truffles, quail eggs, mushrooms) $20++

 
With the truffle craze right now, this is one to look forward to, especially with it being a new addition to the menu post-revamp. Truffle fans would revel in the dominant taste of truffle in this, and of course, biting into the quail egg yolk for some flowy egg porn.

Canella Sweet Pizza (cinnamon sugar with mascarpone and raisins) $14++

 
There's just something about Italian and pizzas and Ricciotti has taken a sweet twist to this typically savoury dough. An interesting combination, this comes in two other flavours - Nutella with chopped hazelnuts and Apples with cinnamon and honey.

Tiramisu (classic Italian recipe with mascarpone cream, espresso and lady finger) $10++

 
A classic dessert, this was one that was rich and creamy though mild on the espresso side. I liked that it wasn't too sweet and textures were just right.

Carrot Cake (moist carrot cake with cinnamon and walnuts, topped with frosting) $7++

 
A simple one done well, it was fluffy without an overpowering cinnamon taste to it. The walnuts added a lovely texture to each mouthful, a light and refreshing treat!
Soffiato (Italian style dark chocolate molten cake with stracciatella gelato) $12++

 

 
An innocent looking chocolate cake, it opened up to a warm molten core that went perfectly well with the classic stracciatella gelato (vanilla with chocolate chips). Moist and dense cake with comforting dark chocolate, it wasn't one to overwhelm on the sweetness and perfect to end your meal on a satisfying note.
*Do note that portions are served in serving plates and are not representative of actual portions served for the prices indicated.
Surrounding the theme of Benvenuti Casa, which means Welcome Home, Ricciotti set out to create a cosy and homely atmosphere perfect for any gatherings. We loved the vibrance of the restaurant and the bustle for a comfortable space to catch up over a hearty meal!
Celebrating its 10th year anniversary with its newly renovated flagship branch, it has re-created the contemporary dining experience complete with arts and cultural aspect of Italy. While the art installation had been one of the features of the opening, we liked that it was a work-in-progress and we'll leave it for you to check out its different look each time!

 
Supplementary Information:
Besides the lovely ambience and authentic taste of Italian, I was personally impressed by their long term goal to give back to society with a viable concrete action in place. With the Food for Good initiative, diners can now dine and do good as receipts will show how you can donate a percentage of your bill to a charity organization - all at the cost of Ricciotti. Supporting CrozzBorderz, diners can logon to the CrozzBorderz's website and select one charity project over the other, if you wish, and also top up payments via your PayPal accounts. Sharing profits for a good cause combined with raising awareness of charity projects for top-ups of donations if you'd wish, it's indeed a win-win meal!
 
Dining Offers: 試食活動


Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Categories : Fusion | Restaurant

When it comes to contemporary cuisine, I always have a lingering question mark of how the chef can transform conventional comfort food into yet another palatable creation. In this case, it was heart. Holding the fort at SET is Chef Erick Chun who endeavours to cook for his guests the way he cooks for his family.
With more than a decade of culinary experience, Chef Erick started his culinary career by helping out at his uncle's chicken rice stall at a humble coffee shop. Passion and interest got the better of him as he refined his skills and grew with kitchen experiences at Tung Lok Signatures, Senso Ristorante & Bar and Feedlot Steakhouse. He is consistently seeking for new ways to improve and experiment with new techniques, which resulted in the contemporary spin to his dishes.

While Chef Erick managed to impress his grandmother with his cooking, can he similarly draw approval from his guests? Let us find out!
The uniqueness of the menu at SET stems from the fact that only set menus are available. That means no ala carte dishes but one would enjoy the flexibility of choosing an item each from a choice of four to five for each course. For lunch menu, SET presently offers a five-course meal at S$28.80/++ while the dinner is offered in the form of a six-course meal at S$38.80/++. The key difference between the sets is the additional side dish, which we later learnt that is a must-try!

Chef Starter | Bacon and Mushroom Cheese Gratin

 
A dish that is almost impossible to resist, fresh toast was served alongside a bowl of bacon and cheese gratin. While this was a simple dish, it was by large a hearty starter with titillating flavours of savouriness from the melted cheese and bacon to match the crispness of the toast.

Cold Dish | Tomato Caprese

 
Quite easily, this was my favourite cold dish amongst the few tried as the fresh mozzarella beautifully rested on a slice of tomato. While it was almost melt-in-your-mouth, the sparingly bits of sea salt had the effect of an added dimension of texture with its grittiness. It not only provided texture but also isolated the freshness of the mozzarella, which was rich yet balanced by a mild level of acidity.

 
If you are looking for an interesting choice for your cold dish, the huai san caparccio could just be your pick. More commonly known as wild yam or Chinese yam, it is an ingredient believed to have medical functions such as improving one's digestive system, lower blood sugar and blood pressure. While the common types of huai san are the processed dried versions, it was rather unusual to try a fresh rendition on this occasion which carried a delectable crunch to each bite. Sliced thinly and uniformly, this has to be a highlight amongst the cold dishes.

Cold Dish | Smoked Duck Breast

 
Another dish which drew contemporary twists was the smoked duck breast. The smoking process was done in house, which left the red meat robust with flavours only to be cleansed by the light dressing with a citrus tangy dressing to harmoniously bring the dish together.

Cold Dish | Salmon Gravlax

 
Interestingly, after trying a Chinese inspired cold dish such as the huai san, we were presented with something from the Scandinavian as gravlax is a classic Nordic dish comprising raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. While this is a dish usually accompanied by some carbohydrates such as bread or potatoes, it was served on its alone, which allowed the brine to distinguish.

Side Dish | Grilled King Oyster Mushroom

 
Available only for the 6-course set menu, I personally felt that this is a must-try! The mushrooms were cooked perfectly, retaining moisture with the right level of firmness. Drizzled with teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise, the supplementing white truffle foam made all the difference. While the teriyaki sauce provided the mild sweetness, the truffle foam added richness in flavours and scent with its distinctive aroma. What I enjoyed about the dish was the slightly charred bits to the mushroom which may or may not go too favourably for those who are critical about their food.

Soup | Mushroom Veloute with Peanut Butter

 
While this photograph does not come across as the most photogenic, it surely compensated with its robust flavours. If you are after some bold tastes, do give this a try as the mushroom soup received a boost in richness with a distinct peanut butter after taste. This surely added some twist to the conventional mushroom soup but as we are all subjective people, much left to be said about how palatable the soup was. While it did not suit my appetite, I felt that it would make a worthy try for the adventurous.

Soup | Roasted pumpkin with Truffle

 
Compared to the mushroom soup, the flavours of this soup was milder though the richness still more than made up for it. It was a pity that the aroma and flavours of the truffle were masked by the pumpkin, which added a desired level of sweetness to the soup.

Soup | Miso Soup with Sake

 
While I enjoyed the presentation of the soup, served just like how sake is typically served to diners at Japanese restaurants, I felt that the salinity of the miso soup masked the essence of sake, letting the latter down. As a result, it came across more like a good shot of miso soup, which ticked all the right boxes such as the depth of the broth, richness and flavours.

Soup | Double-boiled Herbal Chicken

 
Tasting the chicken broth for the first time just made everyone at the dining table reminisce about good old home-cooked soup which our mums or grandmas would tastefully prepare. Double-boiled just like how most authentic Cantonese soups should be, the ingredients rich soup was a clear favourite with just the right balance in sweetness and savouriness.

Mains | Baby Pork Back Ribs

 
One of the signatures on the mains, one could hardly go wrong with the baby back ribs which were tender and fell-off-the-bone. Well marinated, there was a beautiful level of caramelisation that gave the lightly crisp crust coating the surface. On the inside, the meat was succulent and what I was really looking for at this point was some white rice to go with it!

Mains | Roasted Chicken Pullet

 
Elegantly presented, the roasted chicken pullet was in fact a young hen, typically less than a year old, neatly tucked with stuffing on the inside. The roast was spot-on, leaving the inside moist and tender while giving the surface a thin layer of crispness to please. It came with the bold mushroom sauce, largely similar to that of the mushroom soup tried earlier, to complete the dish.

Mains | Roasted Beef Tenderloin

 
Like most of the other dishes served, the red meat was presented elegantly and that was indeed something quite unexpected as such plating would be more common for high-end fine dining restaurants rather than one which offers a casual ambience such as SET. While it was slightly above medium rare, which would be my preference, it was done medium and retained much of that pinkness. It was a beautiful cut which was tender and the brown gravy sent the dish home together with some beautiful roasted cloves which added an additional punch in flavours.

Mains | Grilled Snapper with Salsa

 
Individually portioned like the other mains, I loved the salsa relish that accompanied the grilled snapper! It imparted flavours and caramelised sweetness from the relish to the plainly grilled fish which remained succulent. No outright surprises but it was surely a comfort dish that could not quite possibly go wrong.
Among the mains, we were also served the marinated rack of lamb which I avoided due to allergy issues but it seemed to go quite well with the other diners at the table!
Dessert | Home-made Cake of the Day

 
I found the chocolate-base cake to be quite standard though the desiccated coconut added a different dimension to it. Overall, a simple cake that would go well for most people.

Dessert | Espresso Creme Brulee

 
This fondly reminded me of my first espresso creme brulee tried at JBM and while I was half-expecting the same explosion of espresso shot, I was assured that the rendition here is not quite the same. The distinctly bold flavours of caffeine were infused into the velvety creme brulee which similarly brought joys to the guests. With a cup of long black coffee to go along, this was surely decadence in its simplest form.

Dessert | Poached Pear with Gelato

 
Having watched enough Masterchef series, you would learn that poached pear is one of the simplest looking yet difficult dessert to master. Poached with red wine, I gingerly sliced through the fruit to check its texture and on this occasion, it was spot on. It was soft but not overly mashy, hence retaining the desired level of firmness. While the gelato was decent, it was more of an accompaniment to the fruit that took centrepiece for this dish.

Dessert | Huai San Jello

 
While we were scratching our heads trying to figure out what was the best way to describe this dessert of oriental influence, cheng tng jelly came to mind! Indeed, for the Singaporeans who know their local desserts well, this was a very close resemblance of jellified cheng tng and you would even expect Chinese ingredients such as white fungus, etc.

 
With a large dining hall, I like that the setting is classy yet not overly elaborate, allowing someone in his or her casual wear to still feel comfortable and not out of place. Perfect for a quiet date or even to impress your business associates, SET also offers private dining area at no minimum surcharge.

 
If you are looking to host a small private family event for celebrations or just an intimate evening session, SET surely has something to offer. On the other side of the restaurant, it also has a private dining room for up to 10 pax with a slightly more elaborate decoration such as chandelier lightings.
Overall, I felt that the dining experience at SET was complete, starting from customer service, ambience to the quality of food. For the various price points (S$28.80/++ for lunch and S$38.80/++ for dinner), it was surely value for money for considering each of the courses was calories-worthy, not to mention generous in portion size. If you are in the area, would be worth checking out SET!

For original review, please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/10/sg-set-contemporary-cuisine-affordable.html
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Huai San Jello,Poached Pear with Gelato,Roasted Beef Tenderloin,Roasted Chicken Pullet,Baby Pork Back Ribs,Double-boiled Herbal Chicken,Grilled King Oyster Mushroom,Smoked Duck Breast,Huai San Carpaccio,Tomato Caprese,Bacon and Mushroom Cheese Gratin
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 5

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An artistic flair marking finesse Smile Oct 21, 2014   
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Categories : Italian

What strikes me as a fine chef is one who appreciates his creations and food like an art piece. While conversing with Executive Chef and owner of Trattoria Gallo D'oro, Silvio Morelli, I learnt much insight about his skills and knowledge in culinary arts.
Having received mentorship from Michelin 3* Chefs such as Paul Bocuse and Michel Guerard where Chef Silvio used to spend 16 hours in the kitchen, it is no wonder why he seeks finesse in his culinary skills and more importantly, to impart artistic flair and creativity to his creations.

What intrigued us was that Chef Silvio paints every evening after he is done at his restaurant and displays his collection of paintings on the walls of his restaurant for his guests and diners to enjoy while they tuck in to a hearty meal prepared by the same pair of hands!

 
Before we start the meal, 'Cin!' (which means cheers in Italian!) Interestingly, we learnt that one should only say Cin! once as repeating it (Cin Cin) meant 'Cheers and never to see you again!', so go easy on your Cin!

Amuse Bouche

 
Served on a slice of toast, the diced cherry tomatoes atop a slice of salami was neatly packed before being drizzled with balsamic vinegar to taste. Neatly constructed, it was no surprise in our later courses that Chef Silvio impresses us with his beautifully composed plating.

Antipasti - Crispy scallops with ricotta cheese and white truffle | S$36/++

 
What set this antipasti apart was the harmonious combination of ingredients which elevated the flavours of each component standalone. There was an interesting array of textures and flavours in this dish, starting from the succulent pan-seared firm scallops that shone as the star. Paired with the soft white truffle, we enjoyed the beautiful juxtaposition in textures with the crispy thin wafer that sits atop the luscious ricotta cheese. The subtle bearing of mint on the ricotta cheese delivered hints of freshness and sweetness, which made the cheese very palatable indeed.
Fans of white truffle would embrace the unique aroma which is a divine embodiment of earthy flavours. The introduction of gingered carrots thinly sliced added an additional dimension to enhance the robust flavours of nature and in my personal opinion, laid the foundation to an ingeniously-constructed appetiser to whet one's appetite.
Tomatoes consume with anchovies and croutons | S$14/++

 
If you are a fan of tomato-based broth, this would set you brimming with smiles. The rich broth retained much of the acidity that gave a bold punch of flavours. While Chef Silvio recommended to have our hands dirty and tuck in to the toasted slice to the broth, I personally enjoyed them better when eaten separately. The richness of the ripe tomatoes unfortunately masked the savouriness from the anchovies spread which was undoubtedly delicious on the toast.

Wild pork cold cuts with Lardo di Colonnata | S$26/++

 
One of the highlights includes learning from the various food connoisseurs and Chef himself about the ingredients and dishes served. While many would be familiar with Italian cold cuts, what many would not notice is to enjoy it with some soft and balanced Pilsner beer. Not only does it complement well with the savouriness of salami, the light and crisp beer would be perfect on any hot day!
The various types of cold cuts were neatly arranged and meant to be enjoyed in a clockwise manner, starting with the lightest in terms of flavours before ending with white boar salami which is distinctly stronger and bolder.
Bavettine Pasta with Lobster and White Truffle of Alba | S$48/++

 

 
Like any fine-dining Italian restaurant, the long and flattened pasta was hand made by Chef Silvio and one would expect some al dente pasta lusciously soaked in a tomato-based sauce. Given the relatively small size of the lobster served, it was challenging to nail the cooking time and regrettably, my lobster was slightly over the mark. Regardless, I enjoyed my pasta as the piquant blend of lovely flavours from the ripened tomatoes definitely set the standard.
What made this dish memorable was that when it was served to all three of us at the table, the cloches were removed simultaneously, which made quite a theatrical presence!
Roasted Pork with Potatoes & Rosemary, Tuscany-style | S$32/++

 
There was no way I could ever say no to roasted pork belly, be it the Western style or your classic siew yuk. With the pork very well seasoned through the distinct layers of fat and lean meat, the savoury flavours came across boldly in a palatable fashion. The succulent meat was paired with the velvety mashed potatoes. Drizzled with toasted black sesame seeds, it added some grit to the softness of the mash and collectively as a dish, it certainly made a very satisfying main for the gentlemen and ladies.

 

 

 

 
Chef Silvio took much pride in showcasing his handmade macarons and we could see the reason why upon the first bite. It was almost love at first sight (and first bite). While I dare not claim to be the connoisseur when it comes to macarons, I do know how to appreciate a good one when such comes across. A crisp shell with an inner jam-filling that did not fail to surprise us.

 

 
While we tucked in to our sumptuous dinner, it would be hard not to indulge in the other aspect of art displayed by Chef Silvio as the paintings on the wall were all his masterpieces!

 
Having tried other comparable Italian restaurants such as Burlamacco and Alkaff Mansion recently, I felt that Trattoria Gallo d'Oro is definitely worth a visit to truly experience Chef Silvio's creations. One of the most dynamic Chefs with an friendly disposition, he certainly made every guest felt welcomed at his restaurant. Particular about the careful construction and presentation of his dishes, Chef Silvio pays the highest regard to ingredients and transforms them into masterpieces such as his paintings.
We particularly enjoyed the ambience as the casual setting made it a place where one would feel comfortable knocking some pints over and tucking in a hearty meal!
Will not be long before our next visit, till then!

 
 
Dining Offers: 試食活動


Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Categories : Japanese | Hotel | Sushi/Sashimi | Omakase

Teppei Japanese Restaurant is probably the restaurant that I waited for more than six months for a seating. Tucked away inconspicuously at Orchid Hotel, it is a short two minutes walk away from Tanjong Pagar MRT and many would probably overlook it, well at least I did! Having visited their sister outlet, Hanare couple of months back and leaving on a positive note, we were waiting in anticipation for our turn at tasting their famous omakase.
Omakase is a Japanese phrase that translates to "I'll leave it to you" and is often used at sushi restaurants where diners leave the selection to the chef. As such, it can be quite a challenge to the chef to present a series of plates which typically begins with the lightest fare and concludes with the heaviest and richest dishes. It is also common for the chef to demonstrate as many cooking techniques as possible within the multiple courses to be served which may range from sashimi to grills and stir-fries.

Famous for their affordable omakase, there were only three options to choose from, S$50/++, S$60/++ or S$80/++ and at such rates, it is no wonder that there is a minimum six months queue. 
So...a few months had passed and we finally got to try Teppei, is it worth the wait though?

 

 
As we entered the rather cramped restaurant, the chefs were already busy at work, preparing the dishes! As we settled down, somewhat uncomfortably at our elevated wooden stools, a lady would go around the table to take orders from the diners and we settled for the S$60/++ offering. There was a very homely vibe about the place and how the ladies went around to individually take our orders. Do note that everyone within the group has to order the same offering (i.e. S$50, S$60 or S$80) so make sure you arrange to go with the right makan khakis!

 
Every pair of diners will have a set of condiments to share.

 
The first course was indeed the lightest fare with a vinegar-based salad to whet our appetite. The greens were fresh and finely sliced with good consistency.

 

 
The plate of assorted sashimi was decent with salmon, fatty tuna belly, scallop and swordfish. While the sashimi served were fresh, they were sliced in various forms which resulted in a rather disorganised and inconsistent assembly on the platter.
Quite frankly, I was rather disappointed with the quality of the sashimi given that I had a much better fare at Hanare. Somehow, I felt that the quality was rather pedestrian and failed to impress.

 

 
It was quite interesting to see a box of these mini live crabs in a plastic box placed in front of us and while we were busy digging in to our food, we were served a skewer of these freshly grilled crabs! The texture was simply sublime with a beautiful crunch though there were some sharp edges which might cut one's lips or tongue.

 
This tuna hand roll was one of the highlights among the twenty or so dishes served. A fatty cut was chosen so it was almost melt in your mouth and there were some crispy bits of fried tempura batter added to give that extra crunch. The seaweed wrapping the roll was spot-on with a beautiful crisp that gave a resounding crust with each bite, simply brilliant!

 
The grilled cod portion was also cooked to perfection with a nice crust that had a thin layer of caramelisation while retaining the tenderness of the fish. Once again, there was the issue of inconsistency as my dining companion was served a portion that had at least three large bones while mine was completely deboned.

 
One of the more interesting bites during the meal was this snack and you would probably not guess what it is. Well, it is in fact the crown of a chicken! We were only told what it was after we placed it in our mouths and swallowed and while we were somewhat disgusted by the thought of it, it was surprisingly delicious with an unique texture. It was soft, chewy and slightly elastic with a nice caramelisation that left a mildly saccharine after-taste.

 
We were served this clam soup for us to cleanse our palate halfway through dinner and while the clams were fresh and plush, there was sand in my portion and that somewhat put me off a little. The broth had a punch of salinity only to be balanced by an appropriate level of acidity.

 
The wagyu beef chunks were slightly overcooked and personally I would have preferred it to be prepared medium rare though this was compensated by the savoury sweet marinade that coated the red meat.

 
As we were about 60% through our dinner, we were asked to choose our mains and desserts and this varies according to the menu you had opted for at the start of the meal. While we were almost full by now, we were presented with this broth which had tender pork chunks that were succulent and almost melt-in-your-mouth tender. Despite having a rather high tolerance for salinity, I still found this to be a little salty for my palate.

 
Choosing the sashimi rice main, I thoroughly enjoyed the thick chunks of salmon slices but I found the sea urchin to be rather stale and after a nibble, I had to leave this out in order not to leave an unpleasant bearing on my palate.

 
My dining companion chose the fried rice with sunny side egg and that seemed like a much safer option. The other options were soba and udon, where diners have the option of enjoying it hot or cold. I liked that the fried rice were individually greased and there was just the right amount of wok hei in the stir-fry to impart greater flavours to the dish.

 
For desserts, it was only ice cream and we were given a choice of green tea, calpis, sesame and yuzu. It felt only right that we went for the traditional flavours of green tea and yuzu. While the flavours were inherently rich, it tasted very mass-market and probably not something that was made in-house. Nonetheless, it concluded our meal on a sweet note.
With counter seating that houses about 16 guests, Teppei takes in two rounds of seating every evening starting from 6.30pm and you would be expected to finish your meal by 8.30pm. While there were hits and misses with the food, it would be hard to find another restaurant offering a better value for your money. What turned me off largely was that before the desserts were served, we were already served the bill as it was about time to handover for the second seating. You could not help but notice another group of dutiful followers joining the queue outside ready for their omakase.

 
Teppei also offered one of these rice rolls with deep fried chicken for takeaway at S$8. The rice packed in lots of flavours from the chicken marinade and also locked in the essence of the sauces. By the time we had the karaage few hours later for supper, the chicken lost its crispiness which was expected.
Overall, we felt that it was quite a value-for-money meal but I would beg to differ to conclude that this is the best omakase in town, simply due to the ambience and service which were lacklustre. While there were a few hits and surprises in the chef's offerings, the sashimi was a letdown and most of the dishes were pedestrian. Would I join the queue for another six months wait? Probably not, though it is worth a try for those who want an insight to the omakase experience.

For original review, please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/07/sg-teppei-will-you-queue-6-months-for.html
 
Spending per head: Approximately $70(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 2  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Italian | Restaurant | Pasta | Steaks and Grills

For original review, please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/07/sg-arossa-grill-wine-bar-dressing-up.html

Tucked away quietly in a corner at Scotts Square, Arossa Grill & Wine Bar is quite a rare gem within the busy shopping district of Orchard. Specializing on grills, the philosophy of female Chef Chiaki Watanabe lies in Simplicity. She sources for the freshest seafood and grills from Australia and New Zealand before she works her magic with accumulated culinary experience working in various restaurants in Italy. Led by the in-house sommelier Louis, there is also a selection of more than 120 labels of old and new-world wine in addition to classic cocktails.
Following her roots, Chef Watanabe observes Japanese and to a great extent, Italian traditions closely. It is also imperative for her to introduce pockets of creativity in her dishes while upholding quality. Setting strict benchmarks for herself, she continuously strives to improve and her sheer determination may be witnessed as she is the only lady in her culinary class who remained a chef today. Interestingly, while discussing with Chef Watanabe, we learnt about the dominance of males in Japan's socio-economic position and while the status of women is revolving, it is rare to see a Japanese lady to head a kitchen.

 
Sommelier Louis and Chef Watanabe spontaneously agreed to a picture!

Moscow Mule | S$15, S$18/++

 
There was no better way to break the ice among the diners at the table with a glass of cocktail each. Moscow Mule is a refreshing concoction of ginger juice, lime and vodka and at present there is an ongoing promotion 1-for-1 Happy Hour Session and is valid from Monday to Saturdays, 1800 to 2100hrs!
Other available cocktails include Whiskey Sour and Lime Mojito. Arossa is in the midst of introducing more cocktails so stay tuned for more interesting mixtures coming up!
Complimentary bread

 
Freshly baked by Chef Watanabe, the focaccia and walnut loaves were a delight and warms up the stomach for the food to come. Served warm, the walnut bread had a nice crust on the edges while remaining soft on the inside. The focaccia had a nice level of salinity which suited my palate but the accompanying condiment took things a step higher.

 
This specially prepared dipping sauce to go with the bread is a blend of anchovies, garlic, olives and drizzled with olive oil. Expect an intense burst of savoury flavours when you spread it across your bread but it was so good that the diners were requesting to buy portions of it home!

Calamari | S$21/++

 
The deep fried squid had a nice crispy batter that was perfectly matched by the spicy aioli sauce. Do not worry even if you have a low tolerance for heat because the spiciness was mild and together with the calamansi, it was well neutralised and balanced. I liked that the fresh squid was cooked beautifully to retain a nice chewiness to it.

Lasagne di Melanzane | S$22/++

 
I believe most people have tried various renditions of lasagne but having eggplant as the core ingredient was surely something new for me. Being a huge fan of eggplant, I have had my fair share of disappointment when it comes to preparation techniques from most restaurants but this was firm and moist. It was cooked perfectly and the rich creamy cheese would make most swoon.

Chitarra | S$29/++

 
Chitarra | S$29/++

Chitarra | S$29/++

 
The homemade square-cut pasta reminded me fondly of my experience at Sanpoutei Ramen where they were one of the few places which serves squarish noodles. The fresh sea urchin used was blended into the sauce which was rich, creamy, briny with a slight nutty flavour.
While I enjoy my pasta slightly undercooked, retaining a slightly hard texture, this might not appeal to most who prefer a more al dente touch. So if you are ordering the pasta, it would be recommended to make your orders clear and known to your server.
Guanciale di Manzo | S$37/++

 

 
This Piemonte style beef cheek was braised in red wine and acacia honey. Unlike most savoury preparation methods, this tasted surprisingly good with the tender meat almost melt-in-your-mouth. The slightly saccharine gravy complemented the smooth potato mash, overall a palatable dish. I was told that most of the cuts would be prepared medium-well unless instructed otherwise upon ordering.

 
For different types of meat or seafood served, the sommelier can actually recommend various forms of wine-pairing and for our beef cheek, we had the 2009 Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon to match. It delivered a crisp and grassy flavour that was bold and intense.

Tonno | S$36/++

 
Grilled blue fin tuna with caponata. From my understanding of caponata, it should carry a sweet and sour tinge due to the use of sweetened vinegar but I found that lacking in the dish. I was quite disappointed with this as I had expected more given Arossa's specialisation in grills. It was slightly overcooked which resulted in a slightly stiff texture. Personally, I would prefer my fish bear some tinge of pinkness on the inside while seared beautifully on the surface. The fresh and crisp tomatoes livened the dish with its burst of freshness.

Tiramisu | S$14/++

 
Introduced as one of Arossa's signature desserts, it was with great anticipation that we await the arrival of the tiramisu. All the elements were checked with the velvety mascarpone cheese juxtaposing the coarseness of the cocoa powder though the alcohol level was quite reserved and did not quite shine through. Nonetheless, it was a remarkable dessert that is worth a try when you visit.

 

 

 
Overall, I felt that the ambience is simply sublime. Tucked away at one of the latest buildings to occupy the Orchard district, Arossa within Scotts Square is beautifully decorated with its brick wall layout, illustrating a very rustic look and feel. The service was impeccable and Chef Watanabe would even come out to greet her guests and diners. The open kitchen concept right in the middle of the restaurant is also an interesting feature and while there was hits and misses on the food, it has a comforting aura that makes me want to return after the first visit.
For those working in the area, be sure to check out their lunch set menus starting from S$15 and goes up to S$38/++ for the four-course Executive Lunch. Chef Watanabe also innovates and reviews her menu periodically and with the National Day coming up, she has prepared a special five-course dinner set priced at S$75/++. There is no doubt that the chef pays top attention to the source and quality of her ingredients and while you might notice that most of the cooking have a more Italian influence, there exists elements of Japanese touches especially with the selection of premium ingredients.
Supplementary Information:
It is also worth noting that for diners with the American Express Platinum series credit cards and Palate card, there is an ongoing promotion where there are various discounts for dining arrangements for two, three, four persons up to a group of 10.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Lasagne di Melanzane | S$22/++,Calamari | S$21/++,Moscow Mule | S$15 S$18/++,Tiramisu | S$14/++,Guanciale di Manzo | S$37/++,Chitarra | S$29/++
 
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