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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 : European | Japanese | Restaurant | Vegetarian | Fine Dining

Quietly tucked on the rooftop garden of Orchard Central, Joie (pronounced 'Joy') has an interesting concept of specialising in meatless cuisine. When I first heard meatless, I instantaneously thought of vegetarian or even vegan only to realise that is not the case as the restaurant uses dairy products in some of its dishes, especially the desserts.
The meatless dining trend is in fact a lot more popular and prevalent in Europe and Taiwan, which focuses on natural fare prepared with the freshest vegetables, fruits and herbs. Offering a choice of a six-course lunch (S$38.80/++) or the seven-course dinner (S$68.80/++), one can expect contemporary dishes with a Japanese-European touch. Can Executive Chef Sherwin Sim impress us and (make us full) with his meatless cuisine?

Divine | Amuse Bouche

 

 

 
With the amuse bouche served at the chef's selection, we had the sesame soya milk sphere, carrot konnyaku and an interesting pistachio charcoal crumb. The sesame soya milk was delicately wrapped within, by an almost film-like thin bubble that burst with flavours and richness as I popped it into my mouth! In particular, the carrot konnyaku had a lovely rubbery and jelly-like texture. Lastly, the pistachio crumb tasted rather bland though I enjoyed the coarseness of the crumb which contrasted the other two elements served.

Prelude | Mushroom Gratin

 

 
The button mushrooms gratin was served with Tennessee heirloom potato puree and Belgian endive. This dish fondly reminded me of the classic escargot dish generously covered with a rich layer of cheese and tucking in made me realised that button mushrooms made a perfect substitution!

Prelude | Matsutake Cake

 
The steamed Japanese mushroom cake with rosemary gelee, golden enoki, vanilla creme and pistachio crumbs did not quite suit my palate. While the firm texture of the mushroom cake and the pistachio crumbs were good elements on the dish, the overall taste came across rather flat and bland.

Awakening | Spring Vegetable Terrine

 
Quite frankly, I was never a fan of terrine though my last experience at Le Bistrot Du Sommelier was really memorable. While the firm but jelly-like texture of the terrine was palatable, I found the taste to be quite an acquired rendition led by aubergines, carrots, mushrooms and peppers drizzled with pistachio soil crumbs and a garlic-onion emulsion for an added punch of flavours.

Awakening | Cubes of Duo Watermelon

 
I found this to be a much more refreshing choice for my second course. The red and yellow watermelon cubes with feta cheese, mint gelee had its flavours elevated by the refreshing burst of pomegranate seeds before the balsamic reduction harmoniously wraps up the dish.

Elixir | Snow Pear with Napa Cabbage Consomme

 

 
I loved how the dish was presented where we have to pour the double-boiled rich vegetable broth into the cup containing almond flakes and poached baby pear. The subtle yet flavoursome broth was everything you would ask for in a bowl of comfort soup, which fondly reminded me of my mum's cooking!

Crescendo | Wild Rice

 
The sauteed wild rice was served with baby radish, baby carrot and haricot verts. Each mouthful was a complex blend of textures and flavours as the added pine nuts also added a dimension of crunch. The dish tasted raw and clean, which perhaps explains the inspiration and name of the dish! If you are expecting soft or al dente texture for your rice, this would probably not suit your palate as this was slightly on the hard side.

Crescendo | Baby Garden Root Vegetables

 
Beautifully decorated, golden baby beetroot with baby carrots, root vegetables, black truffle flakes and truffle mash, horseradish butter garlic sauce was almost an art piece to marvel. With plenty of ingredients and elements on the dish, it was the horseradish butter garlic sauce which took centerstage with its rich and dominating flavours. Not forgetting the soft carrots and golden and purple baby beetroots air-flown from Holland where the chef prepared via sous-vide provided the sweet touches to impress.

Crescendo | Trio of Spheres

 

 

 
Taking a closer look, you would notice that the chef took extra effort to use edible gold paint to draw a picture involving the trio of spheres which included a fresh wild mushroom with truffle oil and onion in puff pastry, butternut pumpkin risotto ball with curry mayonnaise and crispy duo of mozzarella arancini.
The curry mayonnaise took me by surprise as the bold flavours hit me instantly, in a pleasant way though. You cannot quite go wrong with these delicious golden-brown trios!
Sweet Endings | Chef's Dessert Platter

 

 

 
Everyone was in awe when the gueridon trolley was pushed into our private dining room. We had the privilege of choosing from an assortment of desserts ranging from macaroons, chocolates, cookies to candies! Choosing a fair mix of items, we thought that the desserts rightfully provided us with a sweet ending!
Paired with the desserts is a choice of a drink where one can choose from a range of teas, coffee and mocktails!

Iced Mallow Apple Melody

 
An invigorating blend of mallow flowers, apple and guava juice, it was indeed a refreshing drink to cleanse our palate!

 

 

 
Overall, I love the creativity of the chef and more importantly his efforts in instilling aesthetics into his dishes. Not only did he glorify the natural ingredients comprising mainly the greens, we almost forgot that it was a meatless cuisine even till the end. With six courses, it was certainly more than enough to keep the gents filled not to mention the ladies!
Located on the 12th floor with a rooftop garden, the outdoor seating would definitely be a lovely chill out spot in the evenings!

For the full review, please refer to http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/11/sg-joie-by-dozo-can-meatless-cuisine.html

 
Dining Offers: 試食活動


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

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Categories : Japanese | Seafood | Sushi/Sashimi

While most would be familiar with the stretch of Japanese restaurants along Mohamed Sultan Road, it would be worth paying attention to this inconspicuously located restaurant, Fuku Fine Fugu Kaiseki, which is the first restaurant in Asia outside Japan to serve the exquisite puffer fish all year round!
Before you wonder if you misread that statement, you did not. Most people, myself included, would assume that puffer fish (also known as fugu in Japanese) is poisonous but what many did not realise is that with more than 100 species of fugu out there, there are only 20 species that are edible. Of which, Fuku imports the most prized Tora Fugu (Tiger Puffer Fish) both wild and farmed, twice a week by air from Shiminoseki (the specialty area of fugu).

Under Japanese law, all chefs have to be specially licensed by the government before they can prepare and serve fugu to guests as the fish can be potentially fatal if prepared wrongly. Diners at Fuku can be assured of their safety as all of the air flown fish have to be removed of their internal organs, cleaned and meet the strict regulations by Japanese authorities before they are approved for import into Singapore.
What we learnt also was that there are in fact farmed varieties that are bred without the poisonous organs!
At Fuku, the chefs prepare the prized fish kaiseki style, which is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. It typically refers to a set menu of selected food served on an individual tray to each member at the table or gathering.
Starting from S$150++/person for a six-course meal to S$580++/person for a nine-course wild fugu set which requires a 5-day advance booking, each set promises to impress your dining guests and companions.

Yubiki

 
A popular appetiser for a fugu meal, the skin of the fish is parboiled to become a gelatinous texture similar to cartilage before being served in ponzu sauce, spicy radish and finely chopped chives to enhance the light flavours. For the ladies who crave for their collagen boost, this would be a dish to load up!

Tessa

 
An absolutely gorgeous platter of fugu sashimi was served and you could not help but admire the fine slicing skills of the chef. If not prepared right, it would result in instantaneous death hence this was once regarded as gun-powder.
Interestingly, the paper-thin shavings or usuzukuri ends with a sloping thicker end for an elegant presentation as above where the translucent and intricate arrangements flaunt the exquisiteness of fugu. On its own, the sashimi tasted quite bland though it has an unique elastic texture to its flesh.

 
We were advised to consume it together with specially imported Japanese baby leeks, ponzu sauce with spicy radish and shoyu sauce with wasabi which collectively instilled flavours to the fish. What I enjoyed in particular was the finely grated radish which we recently learnt about its health benefits during our visit to Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. At Fuku, the otherwise standard grated radish was treated with special care as it was allowed to rest with chilli oil, absorbing the heat to impart flavours to the fugu when consumed together with the other condiments.
Like any authentic Japanese restaurant, you could identify instantaneous the quality of its ingredients starting from the shoyu used and more importantly, the wasabi. At Fuku, the wasabi are freshly grated and you could taste the freshness, almost.

Yaki

 
One of the popular techniques in serving the fugu is to grill the marinated collar, with an added hint of salt to crisp the skin and also for additional taste of the sea. A simple pairing with sea salt made the delicate meat within the collar a whole lot more palatable.

Karaage

 
Nobody can ever resist a golden-brown crispy karaage, as portions of fugu were deep fried, giving that much desired crispness on the surface while retaining the juiciness of the flesh on the inside. The juxtaposition in textures between the batter and the flesh made this a clear favourite among the diners!

Tecchiri

 

 

 
After showcasing the various techniques of the chef, there was no better way than to enjoy a hotpot! The broth was prepared very simply with dashi water and a big slab of kelp. Many would be familiar with dashi, which commonly forms the base for miso soups. The fugu bones and assortment of vegetables were then added to the broth.
For those who enjoy their fugu cooked the right way, I would advise against putting it in together with the bones for that augmented the flavours of the broth. Cook the thickly sliced chunks of fugu as and when you are ready to have some in order not to waste the precious protein as leaving it in the broth for an extended period tends to make the flesh rather rubbery.
Zousui

 
There was no wastage to the essence of the broth as rice and egg were added to the rich and sweetened broth from the hotpot and left to simmer, forming a luscious and tasty porridge. Adding the specially imported shreds of seaweed, chives and vinegar, this is the usual staple to conclude an elaborate fugu spread.

Shirako

 
As we enjoyed the Tiger fugu, the filet mignon of puffer fish, it should not be neglected that its distinctive flavours come with its unparalleled concentration of toxins and the shirako is among the most potentially fatal parts of the infamously poisonous fish. Also known as the sperm sac, I was rather sceptical in trying it but curiosity got the better of me and I eventually took a portion, which to my pleasant surprise, was one of the finest delicacies tasted. With a rather elastic texture such as squid on the outer layer, the inside had a lightly mashy feeling which quite honestly one would form either a love or hate relationship though it went well on my palate as the acidity from the lime and salinity from the sea salt balanced the flavours harmoniously.

Hiresake

 

 
With Fuku importing some of the rare sake labels and top Shochu varieties not available anywhere else in Singapore, the Hiresake, which is a hot sake with the Tora fugu fin caught our attention. Apart from the theatrical display where it was set ablaze, there was a distinct taste and aroma to the sake which made it very easy to drink even for the ladies. The fin was specially sun-dried to remove any traces of blood before being grilled, charred and steeped in the hot sake. Infusing the gorgeous bold flavours from the sake into the fin, expect a robust punch of flavours as you crunch through the fin!

Sushi

 

 
While Fuku is a fugu centric Japanese restaurant, there are also non-fugu items such as grilled king crab and beef shabu-shabu. During our visit, the chefs had just launched a series of sushi platters and included uni (sea urchin) and different types of sword, fugu inclusive, of course.

 

 
There are three private tatami rooms which can seat up 8 to 10 persons with two of the rooms being connected by a movable sliding panel. Perfect for a private social gathering or even a dinner with business associates.

 
With a simple traditional Japanese setting decorated by wooden and bamboo features, stepping in for the first time gave a very comforting feeling with warm orange hues to set the atmosphere. Executive Chef, Koji-san (seen in the black uniform) would be at the front of the restaurant to greet his guests upon arrival.
To enjoy the prized fish surely does not come cheap with the kaiseki meals starting from S$150++/person but it was truly an experience and cuisine that would not be available anywhere else in Singapore or Asia for that matter apart from Japan itself. It was surely one of the more memorable meals I have had and given an occasion, I would return for an indulgent meal yet!

For original review, please visit us at http://www.makeyourcaloriescount.com/2014/11/sg-fuku-fine-fugu-kaiseki-1st-in-asia.html

 

 
 
Dining Offers: 試食活動


Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
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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