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Serenity @ Vivocity
In the recent food tasting session, we (Chubby Botak Koala + other food bloggers) sampled a tapas size of Spanish Suckling Pig. As it was tapas size, it left you with a sensation of wanting more. So we decided to organise a suckling pig theme makan session.
Serenity - Table Setting
Serenity got our pick, due to their location and reputation. Thanks to Running Man for booking and putting a down payment for the whole pig, so we all can reap the benefit.
Cochinillo Asado - Spanish style roasted suckling pig (whole) with brown sauce and tomato jam
Au Jus from roasting
Cochinillo Asado ($338) Spanish style roasted suckling pig - whole. Good for 5 to 8 pax. Served with the au jus from the pig, brown sauce, tomato jam and potatoes. The suckling pig are roasted as whole and served as a whole. Like other traditional Spanish restaurant ritual, the suckling pig will be cut using saucer to show the crispiness of the skin and the tenderness of the meat. Normally, the saucer dispose by breaking it on the floor. In Serenity, the guest will be invited to break the plate in the bin with a stone in the middle. A nice ritual.
Cochinillo Asado - Cut using saucer
Cochinillo Asado - Ready to Served
The fate of the saucer
The skin is the paper thin crispy skin and flavourful. The meat are juicy and succulent. The best way to eat the meat dipped in au jus (broth from roasting) and brown sauce. As Serenity uses European Suckling Pig, there was a hint of boar taint in the pig.
My 1st Serving
While we waited for Cochinillo Asado to be ready, we started with some tapas. Pulpo a la Gallega ($19.80). Grilled Spanish Octopus (directly imported) garnished with paprika, flake salt and extra virgin olive oil on a bed of potato. It is thingly sliced, tender and a little springy. Meanwhile Chipirones Fritos Con Aioli ($18.80). Fried Baby Squid With Aioli sauce was crispy but over coated with the batter. Tasted a bit more chewy compare to the grill calamari.
Pulpo a la Gallega - Grilled Spanish Octopus
Chipirones Fritos Con Aioli - Fried Baby Squid With Aioli sauce
Salteado De Coles De Bruselas Con Jamon Serrano ($18.80). Sautéed Brussels Sprout With Serrano Ham. One of the vegetable that I missed from my time in Australia. Looks like a miniature cabbage, it has a strong bitter taste. By the cooking with Serrano Ham, the bitterness was reduce substantially. A good dish indeed.
Salteado De Coles De Bruselas Con Jamon Serrano Sautéed Brussels Sprout With Serrano Ham
After we finished with the suckling pig, we had Paella Valenciana (Valencian Paella - $53). The flavour of the Paella rice is very robust, derived from the stock used. The Spanish Chorizo intensified the flavour in the dish compare to the mild flavour of the seafood. I find the rice is a bit overcooked, as Paella rice was supposed to be al-dente texture instead of soft.
Paella Valenciana - Valencian Paella
Since we all have stuffed ourself silly with the main and tapas, we decided to order the Churros ($10.80) to try. It is part crispy, chewy or doughy and the chocolate sauce was thin but without a solid chocolate flavour in it. Lucky we only order one, and the dessert is definitely not worth the price. Give this dish a miss.
The décor of Serenity is similar to the traditional houses in Spain, as been shown in the food and travel channel (I have not been to Spain yet). Service is very lacklustre. While we received a cheerful welcome by the receptionist, it was followed with grumpy, uptight and uninterested service style by the manager inside. However it turned for the better, when the suckling pig came out. He mellowed down and very informative about the suckling pig and its ritual. Well, I just chalked it down to him having a bad day.
Part of the dining area
Overall, it was definitely an experience to remember. It was a great fun with great company. For a pig lover, a Spanish Style Sucking Pig is a must try as it has a different texture compare to the Cantonese Suckling Pig. Cheers!! Aclamaciones!!
Cochinillo Asado - Spanish style roasted suckling pig,Pulpo a la Gallega - Grilled Spanish Octopus,Chipirones Fritos Con Aioli - Fried Baby Squid With Aioli sauce,Salteado De Coles De Bruselas Con Jamon Serrano Sautéed Brussels Sprout With Serrano Ham Other Ratings:
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Photo Credit: Conrad Centennial Singapore
Latin America, one of the continents that is hardly to be in our travel destinations. While we can found the cuisines from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil easily in Singapore now; Aruba, Chile, Columbia, Guatemala & Peru cuisines can be considered alien to most of us.
Fortunately from 5th November to 4th December 2015, all the cuisines from the countries mentioned above can be sample without the need to travel to the other side of the planet. In charge of entertaining our palate, is Executive Sous Chef Rodrigo Martinez, born in Chile, has worked around Latin America before making a pit stop in Conrad Centennial Singapore.
Executive Sous Chef Rodrigo Martinez
Some of the dishes that I like during the night: Taco, one of the popular dish from Mexico. It has beef fillings, beans, onions, guacamole, chipotle mayonnaise and coriander. The version of the tortilla is the non-crispy version. When you are eating taco, please just use your hands. Squeeze the lime, roll the taco and just put it in your mouth. You will find the gorgeous explosion of flavours in your mouth. The beef is succulent, the rest of ingredients are fresh and the chipotle mayo just bind all the ingredients well. Yum Yum.
Mini dishes of Peruvian Ceviche (Peru) and Mango Papaya Salad (Aruba). I saw ceviche dishes many times on travel channel, so I definitely won't miss it this time around. In short it is raw fish cured with citrus juice. It tasted fresh, tangy and the purple onion provide a hint of sweetness to the dish. The Mango papaya salad easily stands out as Caribbean dish. The combination of prawns, mango, papaya and coriander is just delectable and refreshing. It works well as an appetizer.
From the carving stations, this dish Huachinango en Costra de Sal, Tequila y Hoja de Plantano (Mexico) is a must try. It is a red snapper wrapped in banana leaf and baked in salt crust seasoned with tequila. One of my personal favourite style of cooking fish, the salt crust act as a seasoning and also maintain the moist in the fish while cooking it. So the meat will remain tender and juicy. The banana leaf and tequila just add a different flavours to the dish.
Huachinango en Costra de Sal, Tequila y Hoja de Plantano
Huachinango en Costra de Sal, Tequila y Hoja de Plantano (OPEN SESAME!!)
Mariscos al Pil Pil – Seafood cooked in chilli and garlic (Chile). This dish was proven to be the favorite dish this evening. Perfectly cooked tiger prawn, it was fresh, springy and succulent. The chilli and garlic was there to add flavours, elevate the flavour of the prawns. This was considered the popular dish of the night because it always runs out. So it is a must-try dish. Thumbs up!
Mariscos al Pil Pil – Seafood cooked in chilli and garlic
Asparragus Peruanos – Peruvian asparagus with egg sauce (Peru). The white asparagus was coated in egg sauce and baked until it has a crispy crust on top. The asparagus was crunchy and sweet, while the egg sauce gave a creaminess feel to the dish.
Asparragus Peruanos – Peruvian asparagus with egg sauce
For desserts, Churros with Chocolate Sauce (Cuba) and Dulce Tres Leches – Three milk cake (Columbia) got my pick. The churros on the night was a little bit salty, but with the combination of the chocolate sauce was just heavenly. Solid, good quality chocolate was used, by itself it was also lovely. The three milk cake, consist of condensed milk, cream and whole milk. This cake is just moist, light and fluffy. Delicious.
Churros with Chocolate Sauce
Dulce Tres Leches – Three milk cake
If you prefer something more of street food style of desserts, you can try their shave iced. Similar to our version of Ice Kacang kosong, it just consist of shaved iced and different type of syrups. Its popularly known as Raspado in Mexico and Columbia.
Shaved Iced - known as Raspado in Mexico and Columbia.
As a food blogger, it is always our hobby to find new cuisine to try. This experience with the Latin America cuisine in Oscar's this time around was a great experience. I finally able to try exquisite like ceviche, and as well as dishes from Chille, Peru and other Latin America Countries. So if you are as curious as I am about Latin American cuisine, come and visit Oscar's from 5th November until 4th December for Savouring Latin America. Please note ever popular Oscar's buffet line up are still available.
Thank you very much to Conrad Centennial Team for the tasting invitation.
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1 Tyrwhitt Bistro & Bar
A new gastropub has joined the line up of the hippest area near Jalan Besar. During the day, 1 Tyrwhitt Bistro & Bar ('1T') provide a good lunch option as the menu are reasonably priced. In the evening, it provide a good place to chill out and hang out with friends.
Part of the Bar area
Part of the dining area
The décor of this place followed the modern chic industrial type. Although the lighting was pretty dim in the evening, it can easily turn into kids friendly private function location during the day. As a bistro and bar, the food line up consist of pizzas, pastas, burgers, and other typical gastropub food.
One of the signature dishes here are the 12” pizzas, which are handcrafted and baked to a perfect crisp. The most popular one here is Black Truffle Egg Pizza ($23.80). The toppings consist of wild mixed mushroom, mozarella & parmesan cheese. Topped with egg and drizzled with aromatic truffle oil. Though I was late to the tasting, luckily the group left me with a slice of this pizza. While the pizza is no longer hot, the aroma of truffle still linger that goes with the thin and crisp crust. Yum Yum.
A slice of Black Truffle Egg Pizza
Meat Lovers Pizza
We also tried 2 other type of pizza: Meat Lovers Pizza ($19.80) and Cheese Lovers Pizza ($19.80). Both pizzas have thin and crisp crust. For me, meat lovers mean that whole surface of the pizza must be covered with meat which was not the case here. Although it is tasty, I did not get a meatgasm when I bit into this pizza. Meanwhile, the Cheese Lovers Pizza is definitely a must try for cheese lovers. While most pizzaria will stop at 4 types of cheeses, 1T uses 5 types of Italian cheeses: mozzarella, scamorza, gorgonzola blue cheese, taleggio and feta cheese. So watch out for the pungent aroma from the blue cheese.
Cheese Lovers Pizza
Aglio e Olio pasta ($16.80). This traditional garlic flavoured pasta cooked with tiger prawns and mushrooms. The pasta is al dente, while the mushroom and prawns provide a simple and clean flavour to the dish. Watch out for the chilli padi lurking in the dish, ready to whack your tastebuds. Those chilli lovers will definitely embrace this dish.
Aglio e Olio pasta
Seafood Marinara Pasta ($17.80). A combination of seafood simmered in a fragrant tomato sauce and served over pasta. While the seafood taste fresh like the ocean, it seems the seafood in tomato sauce with the pasta do not gel together. Meanwhile their Carbonara Bacon Pasta ($16.80) is rich, creamy. The combination of bacon and cheese is just so comforting.
Carbonara Bacon Pasta
As a gastropub, a delicious bar food is a must have. Crispy Mid Wings ($10) at 1T will give you the finger-licking experience and goes down well with your beer. It actually remind me of the McWings. The skin is crispy and the meat is juicy. A good companion with a glass of beer.
Crispy Mid Wings
The heartiest items on the menu are their Grilled Salmon ($20.80), Chicken Chop ($16.80) and Pork Chop ($16.80). Portions for the salmon and chicken chop are very generous and perfectly executed. The grilled salmon basked in lemon butter sauce, which has the tanginess to balance the fatty salmon. Meanwhile the chicken chop accompanied with savoury brown sauce. The chicken skin was crispy, while the meat remain succulent.
The most memorable food for the night is the Pork Chop. Perfectly cooked, with a hint of pinkness in the middle part of the meat. In a bite, you can feel the pork just melts in your mouth. The flavour full brown gravy provide a perfect companion to the dish.
For desserts, 1T kept it simple, down to three items only. We tried two out of three of their homemade desserts, Tiramisu ($8.80) and Panna Cota ($8.80). The tiramisu is soft, moist and packs of coffee liquor. While the panna cotta is light, smooth and well balance with the strawberry coulis.
Overall, for a New Kid on the Block, the food in 1T are good. They keep their menu manageable, reasonably priced and focus on serving the best items only. My pick from all the items are the Pork Chop, Black Truffle Egg Pizza and Tiramisu. There are some dishes that need a little fine-tuning, but definitely a place to go for lunch and chill out. So if you are around Jalan Besar, give this place a try. Cheers!!
Thanks to Paul & Karen from 1 Tyrwhitt team and Elle (Artic Star) for tasting invitation.
Pork Chop,Panna Cota,Tiramisu,Grilled Salmon,Carbonara Bacon Pasta,Black Truffle Egg Pizza
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Long Ji Crab Bee Hoon
Crab Bee Hoon is one of the dish that LD and I totally have a soft spot for. Dunno how, LD found this new place Long Ji and we fell in love with their Crab Bee Hoon (Long Ji Bee Hoon Crab $55/kg). From the look, it will not win the prettiest crab dish contest, however, who cares as long as it tasted fantastic. The broth / gravy is robust and packs with the freshness and sweetness of the crabs. The bee hoon is covered with Wok Hei, slightly al dente yet manage to soak up the beautiful gravy. For this dish, it is important to use female crab, as the roe adds flavour to this dish together with fried shallots and pork lard. The crabs are good in size and fresh. So definitely worthy to be the signature dish of Long Ji.
Long Ji Crab Bee Hoon - Check out the Roe
For this dish, Chef Mac Kong (who can be mistaken for a member of Taiwanese Boy Band) will only use one crab for each servings. So if you ordered 2 crabs, you will get 2 servings of Crab Bee Hoon. At our last visit, we ordered 2 crabs and end up have to packed one of the dish. To my surprise, it even tasted better the next day. The Chef also gave us some extra broth and packed them in different container. What a great service!!
Black Pepper Crab
If this version of the crab dish is not to your liking, you can try their black pepper crab. Using the male Sri Langkan crab, stir fried and coated with Malaysia version of black pepper crab. It has a nice black pepper aroma to it, but not as spicy as the Singapore version. We still prefer the Crab Bee Hoon way of cooking.
Fermented Pork Belly
Fermented Pork Belly
To accompany the crabs, we suggest you also try their Fermented Pork Belly ($20 / medium). Crispy, well seasoned and moist internally, and provide you with a good porkgasm experience. Of course if you prefer the chicken version, their Shrimp Paste Chicken ($10 / small) is also pretty good, however we found the seasoning did not penetrate beyond the skin. So the meat can be a bit lacklustre compare to the pork.
Shrimp Paste Chicken
For Fish Head Curry Lovers, their Curry Fish Head ($25) is an absolute mind blower. They use chilli padi in the curry, it will literally blow you head off. The curry gravy was thick, robust and well absorbed into the fish. If you are looking for a “rice thief” dish here, this is definitely the one.
Crispy Fried Baby Squid in Rojak Sauce ($12). This a good dish to open up your appetite. The squid is deep fried till crispy, and the rojak sauce is not overly sweet, unlike the regular caramel sauce. Not only a good starter, but a good dish to go with your beer.
Crispy Fried Baby Squid in Rojak Sauce
Romaine Lettuce Stir Fried with Fermented Beancurd ($8 / small). A good vegetable dish, with a touch of Cantonese cooking of the fermented beancurd. Panfried Salted Egg Pork Ribs ($15 / small) might be a dish you want to avoid. We find the meat over-tenderised, it does not tasted like pork. Though we are a fan of salted egg dishes, but this might not be right dish.
Romaine Lettuce Stir Fried with Fermented Beancurd
Panfried Salted Egg Pork Ribs
Service here is friendly, but don't expect restaurant standard. As Chef Mac Kong and cooked almost each of the dish personally, be prepare for the food to come at a slower pace. Called ahead to book the crabs, and reservation is recommended everyday. Expect a longer waiting time on the weekend and they only accept cash payment only.
Overall, we personally found a new place to enjoy our Crab Bee Hoon dish. Totally delicious and value for money. There are some hits and misses, however if you are not sure, you can ask the chef for recommendation. We have been there a few times this year and we will probably visit it some more before the end of the year. Cheers!!
Romaine Lettuce Stir Fried with Fermented Beancurd,Crispy Fried Baby Squid in Rojak Sauce,Shrimp Paste Chicken,Fermented Pork Belly,Black Pepper Crab,Curry Fish Head,Long Ji Crab Bee Hoon Other Ratings:
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Alkaff Mansion Ristorante
Alkaff Mansion, this grand old dame was originally build in 1918 by Yemeni Alkaff family of spice traders as a weekend retreat bungalow. Located on top of Telok Blangah Hill, it is set up to provide an exquisite dining location. In 2010, LHN Culinary Concepts took over the property and Alkaff Mansion Ristorante ('AMR') is born.
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - The Garden
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - Bar 1918
The team behind the transformation of Alkaff Mansion are Miss Jilly Wang, the owner and director of LHN Culinary Concepts and Executive Chef Simone Depalmas. Currently, AMR is divided into different section: Bar 1918 for drinks and chill out; Terrace for evening under the stars; The Grand Marquee to host celebration of all sizes which can host up to 600 guests; and The Main Dining area in the mansion, which consist of 2 floors for intimate fine dining for lunch and dinner.
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - Level 1
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - Level 2
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - Level 2
Starting from June 2015, AMR introduce Italian BBQ Night (Every Wednesday and Thursday, from 6pm) if the weathers permit. Italian BBQ Night will be hosted at the Terrace. I suggest that you come about 6.30 pm to enjoy the beautiful sunset through Telok Blangah Hill. Once you are seated, you will be teased with the aroma of sizzling meat or seafood coming from the BBQ and be serenade by Italian duet who set the mood like you are in Italy.
Alkaff Mansion Ristorante - Terrace for Italian BBQ Night
Executive Chef Simone Depalmas ready with the BBQ
We started our tasting with the meat platter, consist of roasted French baby chicken, pork belly, lamb rack and tender cut of beef steak. The chicken was slow roasted on rotisserie on the BBQ, resulting in tender and succulent bird. Perfectly cooked and even the breast meat is moist.
Meat platter, consist of roasted French baby chicken, pork belly, lamb rack and tender cut of beef
The same applied to pork belly, lamb rack and beef steak. Nicely cooked, tender and succulent. For those who does not like gamy taste in your lamb at all, you might want to skip the lamb here. But for us, the lamb is really tender and basically melted in your mouth and they are so good that we ordered it for 3 rounds.
Don't be surprised if you feel the meat seasoning on the light side. According to Chef Simone, in Italian BBQ, they do not or only lightly seasoned the meat, so we can taste the actual flavour of the meat. LD and I just enjoyed our meat with lemon and sea salt.
Octopus & Prawn
Tiger prawns, squid, octopus, Mediterranean Tuna and seasonal white fish are the seafood line up for the BBQ. Though we are not a tuna fans, it was grilled to perfection, where the middle section still maintain its pinkishness. The white fish has a firm texture which was good for BBQ. The prawns, octopus and squid is definitely our favourite.
Mediterranean Tuna & White Fish
The squid is springy and tender. One thing that we notice with the octopus is that the suckers on the tentacles can be slightly chewy after grilling. However, it can easily be scrape off with the knife, so the octopus will be springy yet tender.
To accompany your meat and seafood, there is a buffet line for the side dishes. Roasted potatoes, grilled eggplant and capsicums, vegetables salad and bread. Although it is limited, it is sufficient to accompany the BBQ. In typical Italian fashion, the bread are served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Some of the Side Dishes: Grilled vegetables, Pasta Salad and Roasted Potatoes
For cocktail lovers, don't miss out on Alkaff Potion when you dine here. Using curry leaf, fresh lime, chilli padi, brown sugar and rum this cocktail not only refreshing it will definitely give you a bit of kick as well. Uniquely Alkaff!!
Overall, Italian BBQ Night at Alkaff Mansion really provide you with a unique Italian garden dining experience. The food is fresh, simple and nicely executed by Chef Simone. So if you are looking for a place to dine on Wednesday and Thursday night, give AMR Italian BBQ Night a try. Ciao!! Cheers!!
Accolades won by Alkaff Mansion Ristorante
Thank you very much Alkaff Mansion Ristorante and H3(Cube) for the tasting invitation.
Italian BBQ Night (Every Wednesday & Thursday, 6PM onwards):
$68++ per adult
$34++ per child (Ages 5 to 12)*
Children below 5 must be accompanied by at least one adult per child.
Last Order at 9PM
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