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Mark you calendar food lovers, from 27 April to 16 May 2015, Oscar's will bring you gastronomic journey to around Italy. Be prepared to be bring your palate to travel around Italy with flavours by Executive Chef Michele Mingozzi. This born and bred Italian who discovered his passion for cooking from the kitchen of his beloved grandmother and mother in Ferrara, Northern Italy.
Assorted salami and parma hams (from Ferrara region)
From watching the food and travel channels and visiting lots of Italian restaurants during my study time down under, I can conclude the following sequences of Italian dinner procession. Start with Appetizers / Antipasti, followed by pasta dishes, then proteins (meat or fish) and desserts. Of course the wine with the meal and afterwards is a must.
Mozzarella / Burrata Bar (from Campania region)
We started our dinner with antipasto (appetizers) which include assorted salami and parma hams with Pinzini (from Ferrara region) and Mozzarella / Burrata Bar (from Campania region). Pinzini is a pillow shaped fried pizza dough. It is light and fluffy, which goes well with the fresh and creamy burrata and parma ham. For the firmer cheese such as mozzarella and cheery mozzarella, I had mine with the fresh cherry tomatoes and deep fried stuffed olives also known as Olives all'Ascolana (Marche region). I am not an olive person as I find it too salty, however I can accept this fried stuffed olive. It seems the stuffing reduce the saltiness of the olive. But I still can't have too much of it.
Pinzini (from Ferrara region)
Olives all'Ascolana (Marche region)
While Ciabatta and Foccacia are served with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, I learned a new lesson today. In Italy, they do not eat the bread for appetizer, instead use it to polish off the left over of the sauce from the pasta dish or main meal. However, since we are in Singapore, you just do what the Roman do (in this case, it will be the Uniquely Singaporean way). Dip it in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and eat it whenever you like.
Ciabatta and Assorted Foccacia
In the typical Italian culture, we continue with the pasta. The three selections of pasta that I tried on that night is Home Made Truffle Tagliatelle with Quails Ragout (Emilia Romagna region), Ravioli of Prawns with Cherry Tomato sauce (Emilia Romagna region) and Fried stuffed rice ball (Aracini di Riso – Sicilia region). If you like truffle, the tagliatelle with black truffle here is a must try. For me, it is the case of too much truffle, but some people might like it.
Fried stuffed rice ball (Aracini di Riso – Sicilia region)
This is the first time that I tried the rice ball. Using Arborio rice and pre cooked in the same style as risotto, the rice absorbs the robust stock well. The rice is al dente and packs of flavour. My pick of the night is Prawns ravioli. The prawns fillings between the pasta sheets are fresh and springy. It is well complemented by the cherry tomato sauce. While the dish is Italian, I can't help to fantasize that this dish is of equivalent to our local prawn dumplings.
Fried stuffed rice ball, Home Made Truffle Tagliatelle, Ravioli of Prawns with Cherry Tomato sauce
Now for the proteins. From the four legged, we had Braised Venison Mountain Style with Polenta and Sautéed Mushrooms (Trentino region); and Braised Veal Tongue (Ferrara region). For the venison, it was well braised, however as the meat of venison lacks of fats, I find the meat slightly tough. For those who never tried polenta before, it actually look and feel like mashed potatoes, creamy but with more grit and earthy flavours to it.
Braised Venison Mountain Style (Trentino region)
The braised veal tongue are to die for. One of Chef Michele's comfort food where it looks like it was simply boiled for long hours with simple seasoning, however it just melts on your mouth. Best of all, no gamey smell in it. For beef tongue lovers, you will like this even more. This dish is serve with Italian version of chimichurri sauce, which was refreshing and good to balance out this heavy dish. I had 3 big slices and I have to stopped myself in anticipation for next dishes to come. Kudos to the Chef.
Braised Veal Tongue with Chimichurri sauce
From the sea, we have Baked Sea Bass Fillet (Campania region) and Fritto Misto (Emilia Romagna region). The seabass baked in mediteranean style had simple seasoning. It has a slighly firm texture, yet buttery feels to it. Meanwhile Fritto Misto (deep fried mixed fish and seafood) is just a winner. Lightly battered and seasoned, it gives the mixed fish and seafood a crispy and light texture. It is a good side dish and suitable for all ages.
Baked Sea Bass Fillet (Campania region)
Fritto Misto (Emilia Romagna region)
Come to desserts, we are treated to Chiacchiere (Emilia Romagna region), Balsamic Ice Cream (Lombardia region) and Italian Meringue with Chocolate (Lombardia region). According to Chef Michele, Chiacchiere is one of the most common food eaten during carnival in Italy. Also known as Angel Wings, it made from dough, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It is crispy outer part, yet moist and slightly chewy inside. With powdered sugar, it is just hard to resist. It reminds me of our Chinese twisted pretzel called ma hua (麻花).
Chiacchiere (Emilia Romagna region)
Meanwhile the Balsamic Ice Cream is definitely something unique and a must try. Served with fresh strawberries in syrup, it has a good balance between sweet and sour. Yum Yum. For the Meringue with chocolate sauce, it is sweet with crispy crumbling texture. However, it can be better if they use darker chocolate, so the bitterness can balance the sweetness of the meringue.
Balsamic Ice Cream (Lombardia region)
Italian Meringue with Chocolate (Lombardia region)
Overall, A Taste of Italy edition in Oscar's definitely worth to try. From what I tasted, some of the dishes are unique and not commonly found in Singapore. Combining this with the renowned buffet spread in Oscar's, it is definitely worth your trip here. A taste of Italy will run from 27 April to 16 May 2015 for lunch and dinner in Oscar's. Please note A Taste of Italy dishes available on top of the Oscar's ever popular seafood, cooked food and desserts offerings. Salute and Buon Appetito!!
Thank you to Chef Michele Mingozzi, Oscar's F&B Team and Conrad Centennial Singapore for the wonderful evening.
For the complete review, pricing and details, click here: http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2015/04/oscars-taste-of-italy.html
pasta,cold cuts,cheese,beef,seafood,ice cream
Dining Offers: 試食活動Other Ratings:
My first encounter with Chef Melvin Lim's creation of Ah Hood Burger was during the Ultimate Hawker Festival 2014. It was a combination of Savoury Kong Ba Bao and Salted Egg Yolk Lobster Crab Cake with Curry Mayonnaise. I was impressed by its creativity and the tastiness of its creation.
Flavours at Zhongshan Park
Savoury Kong Ba Bao and Salted Egg Yolk Lobster Crab Cake with Curry Mayonnaise - during UHF 2014
So when we were looking for a place for a friends' gathering, we decided to give Flavours of Zhongshan a try. The Chef had just recently came out with a Semi Buffet Zichar. In case you are confused, it is a combination of buffet spread with some ala minute zichar dishes. It is also a fusion style of cooking where the some of the dishes are the meeting between East and West style of cooking.
Table Setting with the Zichar Menu.
For starters, we decided to attack the buffet counter. The cold seafood selection have salmon sashimi, prawns, scallops and mussels. The sashimi are fresh and decent. Although the sashimi are not the top of the line, it is good enough. The scallops, mussels and prawns are fresh as well. For the papaya salad and glass noodle salad, Little Devil (LD) feels that it has been toned down to suit the common folks. Unlike the original Thai version.
Cold Seafood, Salad and Salmon Sashimi
In the mix salad sections you can choose from the local version of DIY Rojak or the Ceasar Salad, the western version. We tried the local version, we find the Rojak paste is quite tasty. There was even an oven to toast the you tiao. On that day, they have western version of suckling pig. Although the meat is tender, the skin was very disappointing. It has become 'lembek' (Indonesian word soft, chewy and tough).
The pre-cooked dishes are combination of local flavours such as beef rendang, babi pongteh, Bak Kut Teh, steam pork ribs, scallops dumpling and kueh paitee. The one that impressed me the most is the Beef Rendang. It basically melts in your mouth and rich in flavour. So far it is the best dish for the night. The BKT is not far behind, the peppery broth provide a good wake up call for the appetite.
From Top Left Clockwise: Suckling Pig, Beef Rendang, Scallops Dumpling, Kueh Paitee, Bak Kut Teh & B
Now, for the ZiChar part of the meal. For entree, we were served Crispy Beer Marinated Pork Belly, Deep Fried Scallops Tofu with Seaweed Salad and Baked Miso Cod. The pork belly was tender and well flavoured by the beer marinate, however the skin was not crispy, instead it was chewy. The scallops was moist internally, really complement the light and crispy batter. Meanwhile the cod fish was just tasty and cooked just right.
Crispy Beer Marinated Pork Belly, Deep Fried Scallops Tofu with Seaweed Salad and Baked Miso Cod
Next we can choose two out of three for beef, pork and chicken. We decided on Black Pepper Beef and Pork in Red Wine Honey Ginger. The beef was just tender, succulent with a little bit of heat coming from the black pepper sauce. Although the pork was considerably tender but the taste was just quite ordinary for me.
Black Pepper Beef
Pork in Red Wine Honey Ginger
For seafood, we have Butter Cereal Prawn and Fish in Flavours Signature Sauce. The prawns were fresh and the dish was just fragrant. It will be better if the prawns are more crispy, so we can just ate the skin without peeling it. The signature sauce was good, however there was slightly unpleasant taste in the fish.
Butter Cereal Prawns
Fish in Flavours Signature Sauce
Sauteed Kailan with Hae Bee Hiam was the pick for vegetables and Fried Rice with “Stoccafisso” Salted cod to round up the CiZhar dishes. I did not manage to try the vegetables, but from others they commented that the Hae Bee Hiam lacks of punch. The fried rice got a decent wok hei, it has a subtle saltiness from the cod fish.
Sauteed Kailan with Hae Bee Hiam
Fried Rice with “Stoccafisso” Salted cod
Desserts from the buffet with choices of soft serve ice cream, Peranakan desserts & Shots, cakes, French Pastries and Tau Suan. I was totally stuffed, so I end up with only with Durian pengat shot, which was packs with durian flavours and well-balanced with gula melaka; And some fresh fruits. One of our friend commented that the soft serve ice cream tasted more like a full whipped cream instead of ice cream.
From Top Left Clockwise: French and Peranakan Pastries; Fresh fruits, Jelly Shots and Durian Pengat;
The décor of the place is bright with a combination of modern with Peranakan flair. Lots of flower were used to decorate the table or divider between seats.
Normal Table Set Up
Service was very good. The service staff was friendly and attentive. Although we have a bit of mix up during the reservation, the restaurant gracefully corrected the mistake.
Overall, Flavours at Zhongsan Park provide a good spread for its ZiChar semi buffet. While it is good trying to impress customer with ZiChar dishes, but most of the dishes are ordinary and lacks a 'ohm' taste. With the exception for the beef rendang, baked cod fish from amuse bouche and durian pengat shots, the only other memorable thing for me are the friendliness of the service staff. There are lots of room for improvements, I do hope it can be done soon. Cheers!!
For the complete Chubby Botak Koala dining experience, click / copy the link below to your browser: http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2015/04/flavours-at-zhongshan-park.html
beef rendang,babi pongteh,durian pengat,Rojak,Fried Rice Other Ratings:
Saveur - a French restaurant set up by Mr. Dylan Ong, Mr. Joshua Khoo and another business partner with the aim to offer quality yet affordable French cuisine to the masses. After the successful outlet of Savour in Purvis Street and Far East Plaza, these two young entrepreneurs just can't keep still and decided to set up a Italian sibbling for Saveur, thus Concetto was born.
Concetto by Saveur
Little Devil ('LD') and I have tried Saveur, for the price we actually find it quite good. So when the opportunity arises, we decided to tried Concetto. Unlike Saveur that always packed with crowd, we manage to get a seat in Concetto on a Saturday afternoon without any problem.
We started our lunch with Buffalo Mozzarella ($8.90). The Mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, parmesan cheese are served on top of toasted rye bread. Drizzle with good balsamic vinegar, it was a good appetizer, light and refreshing. We wished that there were more of the mozzarella.
Grilled Octopus Caesar Salad ($11.90). This salad is colourful and beautifully presented. Fresh salad, crispy bacon, shaved parmesan cheese binds well with the anchovies base dressing. The octopus are tender, although slightly limited. However the almost powdered eggs really captured our attention and palate. Yum Yum.
Grilled Octopus Caesar Salad
For mains, we have Crab Risotto ($13.90) and Wagyu Tender ($26.90). The risotto is al-dente and creamy. You can feel the robust broth absorbs into the arborio rice. To add to the texture, they also use crispy rice, capsicums, cucumbers and brussel sprouts. The crab meat tartare tasted fresh, but it seems that the flavour of the crab in the risotto seems to be missing.
Using the Wagyu shoulder, the meat is quite lean similar to filet mingon. Low in fat but tender and juicy. Cooked to medium rare and accompany with foie gras with shallots and portobello mushrooms. The beef jus that accompany the dish was just perfect. Delicious.
Foie Gras with Wagyu Tender
Service is good and efficient. The décor of the restaurant is very minimal, however it is bright, spacious and cosy. Rather than charge you for decoration, they decided to pass the savings to the customers by keeping the price low.
Part of the Kitchen
Overall, we really enjoy our meal here. Concetto interpertation of Italian food is more towards simple, modern, nice presentation and pack of punch. Kudos to them for bringing the food people. Cheers!!
For the complete review, click or copy the below link to your browser:
Buffalo Mozzarella,Grilled Octopus Caesar Salad,Crab Risotto,Wagyu Tender
Spending per head: Approximately $38(Lunch)Other Ratings:
GGB Bistro Bar & Cafe ('GGB'), is the F&B establishment owned by the same shareholder of Go Go Bambini. The idea is to provide a place for parents to relax while the kids having their activities in the kids playground next door and for children Birthday parties.
GGB Bistro & Bar
We actually find this place by accident. Looking for something different for lunch, we found this quiet cafe in the middle of Dempsey. From the parking lot, you will not notice that it has any relations with the Go Go Bambini, until you step into the indoor dining area. From here you can see the connecting door to the indoor playground. Even if you need to use the restroom, you need to go through indoor playground section.
For a quick meal, we both decided to go for burger. LD ordered the Mushroom Burger ($16.90), while I ordered Ultimate Pork Burger ($20.90).
While we are waiting for our burgers, we were served thick white bread, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Hmm, this is a positive sign. The appetizer seems sophisticated. The bread is thick and dense in texture, and it works well as a sponge to absorb the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A good appetizer and looking forward for more to come.
Starter - Bread with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
It took about about 10 mins before the burger arrived. Served on a wooden plank, accompany with fries, it was jaw dropping awesome. Nice presentation, very tall and looks appetizing. The bread is crisp and not soggy. The portabello mushroom is thick and juicy. It has a nice flavour and the double fried fries is crispy, yet moist inside.
The pork burger is really the ultimate. You got two stack, where the bottom stack consist of bacon, pork patties, pull pork and cheese. Of course it will be better if you have pork belly, but where can you fit all of it. Each different type of pork has its own unique flavour and the presentation is superb. The top stack consist of tomatoes and fresh greens. This burger is even taller compare to the mushroom burger and I had a hard time holding it and even finishing it. Its gigantic.
Ultimate Pork Burger
Although it was a quiet afternoon, it was really hard to get the attention of the service staff. But not to worry, the design of the place allow you to do some self service. If you need anything, you can get it from the centre bench, including plates, napkins, ketchup, chilli sauce, water and others.
Part of Dining Area, Utensils / Condiments Bench
Overall, GGB Bistro is really a surprise find. While it is common for similar establishment to neglect the food, GGB Bistro excel in this area. The owner really did a good job to hire a great chef to come out with the menu in the bistro. Their burger is comparable to any specialised burger joint in Singapore. Kudos to them and I hope they keep it up. Cheers!
For the complete Chubby Botak Koala experience, click / copy the following link:
For the complete review, follow this link: http://www.chubbybotakkoala.com/2015/02/onya-sayang-paya-lebar-square.html
Onya Sayang at Paya Lebar Square is the second sister restaurant from the Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant that made its name in Beauty World Centre Bukit Timah. While Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant is a family business that cooked all its food in its property, O'nya Sayang provide a more modern bistro casual dining atmosphere. This outlet, in the newly open Paya Lebar square is the second branch after the Tampines Mall outlet.
Kebaya - Wall Decoration
O'nya Sayang is founded and helmed by Executive Chef Zhan Ho, a third generation Peranakan Chef. He basically grew up in the kitchen and learned how to cooked authentic Peranakan cuisine from his mother. Due to certain constrains in operation, O'nya Sayang incorporate modern F&B method such as central kitchen to control the quality and the consistency of its dishes. In line with the current trend, he also created new dishes using traditional ingredients.
Ayam Keluak Fried Rice Set
We started our tasting with Ayam Keluak Fried Rice Set ($14.90). The set come with fried rice, ayam buah keluak dish, achar, sambal and prawn crackers. This is an creative play on from the traditional Peranakan Dish of Ayam Buah Keluak. The rice is al-dente, tasty yet not overpowered by the cut fresh chilli in it. It has a good Wok Hei (breath of the wok) and the ayam buah keluak is tender and succulent.
Bakwan Kepiting Soup
Bakwan Kepiting Soup ($12.90) and Lor Bak Noodles set ($12.90) follow soon. The bakwan kepiting balls are springy and flavourful. The broth is robust, however you can't really taste the crab meat. More like a pork ball instead. The Lor Bak Noodles provide a different option to the normal rice dishes in a Peranakan restaurant. Noodle is thin and springy, goes nicely with the lor bak sauce. The braising sauce was light and not overly sweet. The set also come with Otah, where it has a nice texture and you actually have a good bite of the fish in the otah.
Lor Bak Noodles Set
Babi Pongteh ($13.90), Chap Chye ($10.90), Assam Fish ($16.90) and Seafood Chilli Garam ($15.90) are typical Peranakan traditional dishes. Pork Belly are used in the Babi Ponteh Dish. Bean paste here is very subtle and not overpowering, while the fats from the pork belly is just lovely. The chap chye is all right, the vegetables complements each other and absorbed the braising liquid.
Like most Peranakan dishes, it tasted better with fully white rice. Check out mine, decorated in Goat outlook by Little Miss Bento, who recently published her bento book.
White RIce - Decorated
Seafood Chilli Garam looks like a Peranakan Seafood Combo Hot plate. The Chilli Garam is secret family recipe from Chef Zhan Ho. Looks slightly oily and it packs of spicy punch. You can find ingredients such as prawns, octopus and batang fish. One bite and I quickly reach for my water to put down the fire in my mouth. For Assam fish, red snapper was used. The assam is combination of sweetness and tanginess from the tamarind sauce. Similar taste to Gulai Ikan for Indonesian dish. Its good.
Seafood Chilli Garam
Beef Rendang Bread Bowl set ($12.90), another new idea using traditional ingredients. The beef rendang stuffed into bread bowl produced by a traditional bakery. It is then baked to crisp, with a unique rough texture. The rendang is sweet and tender. It will be better if the chuck of beef contain more fats, so the meat does not look dry. There is a additional curry on the side if you want to dip your bread into it. I like the presentation.
Beef Rendang Bread Bowl set
Check out the beef rendang inside the bowl
Of course the meal won't be completed without the peranakan desserts such as Chendol ($4.90), Chendol Ice Cream ($5.90), Sago Gula Melaka Ice Cream ($5.90) and Ondeh Ondeh 5 pcs ($5.90).
Chendol Ice Cream
The ice cream in the desserts are actually coconut ice cream, sourced by Chef Zhan Ho, which use Thai coconut. The ice cream is creamy like coconut cream but with a well balance sweetness. Meanwhile the Gula Melaka used is the Indonesia version that give more intense flavour but reduced in sweetness. It is nicely complement Chendol and Sago Gula Melaka. Kudos to the Chef that willing to look outside of the box to keep improving its dishes.
Gula Melaka Ice Cream
We actually made a mistake in tasting the ice cream version of the Chendol first. When we get to the traditional version of the chendol, it was just blown away by the ice cream version. For the onde, a warning must be given here. Don't cut it, just pop the whole onde in your mouth. Make sure you close your mouth before you bite it, as it just explode in your mouth. The skin is slightly dry, probably it was displayed all day.
Overall, I really enjoyed our meal here. The traditional and modern Peranakan Cuisine is good, and the ice cream desserts are a must try dish. There is not much different in quality between the dishes we ate here with those cooked in the kitchen premises. I hope Chef Zhan Ho keep pushing the boundaries of Peranakan Cuisine and come out with more modern Peranakan dishes. So if you are in Paya Lebar Square, give this place a try. Cheers!!
Thank you very much to Hannah Chia Food Trail and O'nya Sayang team for the invitation.
Ayam Keluak Fried Rice Set,Lor Bak Noodles Set,Babi Pongteh,Chap Chye,Beef Rendang Bread Bowl set,Chendol Ice Cream,Gula Melaka Ice Cream
Dining Offers: 試食活動Other Ratings: