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madamechewy
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Splendid 4 course afternoon tea Smile Feb 28, 2014   
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Categories : Bars/Lounges | Hotel | High Tea

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/02/28/afternoon-tea-mandarin-orientals-axis-bar-and-lounge/

Bestie and I regard taking tea as an enjoyable social ritual. I wanted to relax after a long day of meetings, while she wanted to try whether Singapore’s Mandarin Oriental afternoon tea is on par with Hong Kong’s. A valid reason to splurge a little on quality high tea, kekeke!

As the pianist sets the mood, indulge in an excellent 4 course afternoon tea. Chill in comfy sofas, in a chic, stylish setting. Sit by the floor-to ceiling windows and watch the world go by. Admire the view over Marina Bay. Don’t expect stunning views of Singapore’s skyline though, as Axis Bar is only on the 4th level.

As expected, service is impeccable and friendly. I love the consistency of Mandarin Oriental’s high service standards.

Afternoon tea is available daily, from 3pm to 5pm. Priced at $42++ per person and $80++ for two, it consists of a single tea selection (refillable) and 4 courses of dainty treats (non-refillable). Currently, there is a 15% discount with Citibank, UOB and Amex credit cards.

Apart from TWG, Parisan brand Mariage Freres is also available; a refreshing change from the usual tea labels I have encountered in Singapore so far. M’s choice was the alluring Earl Grey French Blue, a black tea with fragrance of rare bergamot and royal blue cornflowers. I had A L’Opera, a green tea with subtle fragrance of red berries and precious spices. Notice the teapots are rather small? It’s enough to fill one cup, which ensures no over-steeping.

We started off with a glass of Golden Apple and Lemon Jelly.

Warm Dried Cranberry and Golden Raisin Scones arrived swiftly, accompanied with lashings of clotted cream, lemon curd and orange marmalade. These are incredibly good scones which left us yearning for more. By the way, I forgot to take photos before digging in, so one scone is missing.

The other portion of the second course came in a lovely floral three-tiered stand. A visual treat!

On the first tier, we have smooth, intense Chocolate cremeux with morello cherries , delicate Mascarpone rose and lychee mini gateau, and Strawberry tuxedo. What a creative name for something so simple. These fresh strawberries have perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess, undoubtedly the best I have ever tried so far.

On the middle tier, sits:

- Heart shaped Fresh berry and ricotta cheese tart. Unlike the usual dense and cheesy cheese tarts, this rendition is superbly light and subtly sweet, thanks to the ricotta cheese, which has a light texture with a sweet flavor reminiscent of milk.

- Raspberry pate a choux with Golden Cherry. This could have been better if there was more raspberry cream in the choux pastry.

-Hazelnut plantar “terrazzo” pot – hazelnut mousse skillfully layered with sponge cake, with a cute little mint leaves “planted” on top.

The bottom tier consists of familiar savory savories: Mini Turkey ham & cheddar sandwich, Smoked salmon canapés, Smoked duck wrap with arugula & garlic aioli, and petite tuna salad sandwich.

The 3rd and fourth courses arrived at the same time- a basket of savory pastries fresh from the oven and a platter of canapés. While the buttery Ratatouille Puffs and Mushroom Chicken Pies tasted lovely, the lack of filling was disappointing.

Here’s final course, canapés with a touch of luxe…
Wafu prawn compression with caviar…
Smoke chicken & grape salad in mini cone…
and Caesar Salad in tart.

I was rather perturbed by the lack of sequence of how sweets and savories were served, but the food was so good, it’s not important after all. The menu changes every month, so I will definitely revisit. If you are looking an afternoon tea experience which tantalizes your taste buds, search no further. M’s verdict is that this high tea is comparable to Hong Kong’s and I feel its slight better than Bangkok’s (Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Author’s Lounge afternoon tea is considered the best in the city of smiles).

Reservations recommended to avoid disappointment; even though it was a weekday, most tables were occupied.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Scones,afternoon tea
 
Date of Visit: Feb 26, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $42(Tea)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 5

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Mikuni Degustation Dinner Smile Aug 13, 2014   
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Categories : Japanese | Hotel | Sushi/Sashimi | Japanese BBQ/Teppanyaki | Fine Dining

For pictures and full review, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2014/08/13/mikuni-degustation-dinner/

Embark on a gastronomical adventure at Mikuni, an exquisite Japanese restaurant offering an array of set lunches, degustation dinners, plus Teppanyaki, Sushi and Robantayaki live stations, each helmed by a master chef. Dinner at Mikuni is a multi-sensory experience. Every aspect scored; well-executed sensational fresh produce, professional and unpretentious service, as well as the dramatic posh ambiance.

Executive Chef Moon incorporates a touch of modernity into traditional favorites. I’d recommend sampling one of the degustation menus, each carefully thought out by the chefs. Hubby ordered the Mikuni Grand Tasting Tour Course ($220) which has been updated, but I’ll still share it in this post to give you an idea how fantastic it is. Because I’m a fussy eater, I picked from the ala carte menu instead. The first half of this blog post will feature Mikuni Grand Tasting Course, followed by ala carte dishes and desserts.
Once seated, detach yourself from the hectic world outside and get into the mood with a relaxing lavender infused hot towel. Nibble on paper-thin spiced prawn crackers while browsing through the lengthy menu.

Otoushi (appetizer) was presented in a polished fashion. On the left, Kyoto Pumpkin layered atop heavenly smooth Egg custard adorned with Caviar and gold foil. The second item was Kumamoto Oyster and Hokkaido Uni, drizzled with Shiso Ponzu, which cut through the richness of this seafood combination.

Although I don’t know how to appreciate sashimi, I loved the pretty tiered presentation to the max. Remarkably fresh Toro, Hirame with Monk Fish Liver and Yellow tail.

Our first encounter with Nodoguro (Blackthroat seaperch/Akamustu) was a delight. Grilled to perfection, its flesh was tasty, tender and had a good amount of fat. Japanese Yam with Red Miso, chestnuts, sweet potato and Myoga (Japanese ginger) accentuated pristine flavor of the Nodoguro.

Making a statement was the tempura course- wrapped Tenshi Prawn, Hokkaido Uni, Shiso with grilled Salmon roe. Beautiful flavors, extraordinary presentation.

Exuding a grand aroma, the Hoba Miso Yaki Kagoshima Wagyu arrived on a Magnolia leaf, heated with charcoal. When the miso bubbles and thicken, stir the beautifully marbled beef with accompanying mushroom and leek. Our server informed that is best enjoyed with fluffy hot rice which was not included in the set dinner; fortunately I had an ala carte portion ($5). This combination is superb!

A bowl of heart-warming comfort, the cha soba married well with hot bonito broth. Slices of flavorsome slow cook Duck breast complete the dish.

Now, for the ala carte dishes! Every portion is substantial, meant for 2 persons.
A lovely delicate broth of Ariake Clams, the Kyushu Asari Clear Soup ($28) warmed my digestive system for more to come.

From the Robayataki live station, the Alaskan King Crab ($75) will satisfy the most discerning palates. The crustacean was simply seasoned to let its freshness take centre-stage. It’s sweet succulent flesh carried a hint of charcoal flavor and detaches effortlessly from the shell.

Teppanyaki Prawns doused in Golden Sauce ($40) which taste like mayo and egg. Personally, the golden sauce was not quite my cup of tea, simply because I dislike creamy savory food. Despite the bursts of ebiko in between bites, I found the sauce too rich and cloying. Do note that picture features only half a portion. Our server was so kind to make this arrangement because I was being greedy and ordered too much for my own good.
Mushrooms in Garlic butter ($28) were OK. I would’ve preferred more pronounced flavors though.
With complements from Chef Moon, this aesthetically presented morsel was nothing short of amazing. Didn’t quite catch the all the details; I believe its Wagyu smoked with apple wood. Our taste buds revel in the savory juices of the melt-in-the-mouth Wagyu.

Dessert included in the Mikuni Grand Tasting Tour Course was Japanese traditional Anmitsu, Black Bean, Vanilla ice cream and Fruits Espuma. Best enjoyed mixed together.

My Orange Sensation ($28) was more outstanding- a refreshing palate cleanser consisting of orange cream and marmalade, orange black sesame biscuit and blood orange sorbet.

A lineup of Petite fours to complete our tummy bursting meal- white chocolate almond (light grey pebbles), dark chocolate almond (dark grey pebbles), dried orange coated with sugar and chocolate, raspberry cookies, black tea cookies, yuzu citrus marshmallow and sesame seed cookies.

My verdict of Mikuni? Marvelous and not to be missed! Amex Platinum and Far Card members can enjoy 50% off the total bill (2 diners only)
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: May 17, 2014 

Celebration:  紀念日 

Spending per head: Approximately $138(Dinner)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 5

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Summer High Tea Smile Nov 30, 2013   
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Categories : Multi-Cuisine | Hotel | High Tea | Buffet

For full reviews and pictures of all the food+ desserts, pls visit:
http://madamechewy.com/2013/08/26/chihuly-lounge-afternoon-tea-buffet-summer-2013/

Ritz Carlton’s Chihuly Lounge is undeniably one of Singapore’s top enticing afternoon tea destination. The grandeur of the surroundings is matched by the glamor of the afternoon tea offerings. Chihuly Lounge never fails to amaze with their unusual and creative spread, which are sensationally executed. New varieties are presented with every change in season. In Summer 2013, one can look forward to inspiring savories and gorgeous cakes.

The buffet cost $52++ per pax which includes one beverage. You can have unlimited servings of teas, coffees and chocolate drinks with a $10 top up. I had strawberry yoghurt tea, which was pleasantly tart.

 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Cantonese/Hong Kong | Hotel | Dim Sum | Seafood | Fine Dining

For pictures of the ambiance, the full dim sum buffet menu and service review, pls visit:

http://madamechewy.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/yan-ting-part-1/

For pictures and full review of the 28 dishes gobbled up, pls visit:

http://madamechewy.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/yan-ting-part-2/

Yan Ting, located on the second level of St Regis Hotel, is well known for serving the best dim sum in Singapore. The award winning establishment is one of the more authentic Cantonese restaurants providing diners with top notch fine dining experience. This is the to visit if you are looking to impress, or to savor dim sum delicacies.

Yan Ting’s divine dim sum and exquisite dishes were mind-blowing; we thoroughly enjoyed the food as well as the grandeur ambience.

Yan ting has ceased serving shark fin soup since July 2012 and replaced it with double boiled abalone with chicken soup.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : French | Hotel | Restaurant | Steaks and Grills | Fine Dining

For pictures and full review, pls visit:

http://madamechewy.com/2014/02/13/jaan-degustation-lunch/

Located on the 70th floor of Swissotel’s Equinox Complex, Jaan boasts spectacular views of Singapore’s skyline. Book EARLY to avoid disappointment, as this intimate artisanal French restaurant only has 40 seats. That doesn’t mean you have to cramp, no worries. There is lots of space between tables, giving adequate privacy. Excellent place for romantic meals!

Décor is minimalist and neat, with muted colors and crisp white table linens. Suspended from the ceiling, a free-form chandelier made from Murano crystal and silver spans the entire length of the restaurant.

Jaan’s kitchen is helmed by young (early 30s) and talented Julien Royer, who previously was chef de cuisine of Brassier les Saveurs at St Regis Singapore. He was born into a family of farmers and now displays his passion for seasonal ingredients in their pure and organic state on Jaan’s plates

Service staff are knowledgeable and courteous, yet keeping a distance to let Hubby and myself have personal space. I took some time to take pictures of the food and the manager kept encouraging me to eat some dishes quickly because they won’t taste as good when cold. Explanation of the food was rather quick; you have to listen very attentively.

The food was nothing short of amazing, indeed the epitome of French fine dining. Hubby and I were extremely pleased and look forward to our upcoming dinner in May. This blog post covers both the 3 course (amuse bouche, starter, mains, dessert, hot beverage and chocolates) and 5 course (amuse bouche, 2 starters, 2 mains, pre-dessert, dessert, Mignardises, hot beverage) set lunch, priced at $68++ and $118++ respectively. On both visits, we were lucky enough to get seats by the window.

I highly recommend going for the 5 course set lunch, as the former is not filling. Now, prepare yourself for a theatrical journey of mouth-watering food!

Amuse bouche at Jaan is very, very generous. I was very amused indeed. Most places serve only 1 item, but at Jaan, 5 items are dished out.

There’s Smoked Eel topped with Teriyaki Jelly, to-die-for Crispy Baked Chicken Skin baked to cracker-like crispiness, Fried Potato Cantal Cheese Ball (I forgot to take a close up of this)….

….Paper-thin Buckwheat chips with home-made Chef Julien’s Hummus…..

…and finally Wild Mushroom Tea poured from a presser, into a glass cup with walnuts and grilled Portobello mushrooms. Fragrant and full of earthy flavor, this warm cup of mushroom soup warms up the digestive system for more to come.

Scottish Salmon Tartar with Horseradish, Pickled kohlrabi (turnip cabbage), Aquitaine Caviar. Tartar is an acquired taste, Hubby loved it but it’s not my cup of tea, so I requested for something else.

The Aquitaine caviar is quite the star. It’s imported from France and originated from a Siberian sturgeon species; the salty aftertaste lasted for quite some time.

Because I dislike Tartar, the waiter offered to swap it for Foie gras, which I don’t like either. Finally I settled for Jaan’s Garden, which was beautifully plated with an artistic flair. Flavor-wise, it was mild and natural.

While the waiter was approaching our table with the bread basket, in my heart I was going “ah…decisions, decisions”. He told us we can have as many as we like. Wee! The truffle brioche was bursting with flavor while I can’t help myself from having multiple mini baguettes, simply because it went so well with the Bordier butter and salt. Bordier butter has a nutty aroma, fresh milky taste and is amazingly smooth.

I love dramatic entrances. Jaan’s signature 55’ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg arrived with much finesse, and a strong scent of rosemary. Organic eggs are cooked for 55 minutes at 64 degrees; the result is runny, silky texture with creamy translucence. A single egg is gently tipped into a glass bowl with smoked rattes, autumn mushrooms, chorizo iberico and buckwheat. Awesome!

The mains were nice, but didn’t impress us as much compared to the amuse bouche and starters. Portions are rather small which is why I don’t recommend the 3 course set lunch, where you can only choose 1 main. For the 5 course set lunch, you get 2 main courses.

Line caught John Dory, Romaneso textures, Coquillages (lobster and mussels), crayfish bisque. John Dory is considered a delicacy, with delicate white flesh and a firm, flaky texture. However it was not the fish that caught my attention, but a peculiar vegetable- the Romanesco. It’s bright green, tastes somewhat like cauliflower, but more nutty and with fractured texture. Interesting!

Beautifully tender and aromatic Venison Saddle drizzled with Grand Veneur, blood orange, celeriac.

Pre-dessert sorbet cleanser (5 course set lunch only)

Choconuts 4th consists of Tonka bean ice cream, sticky chewy carambar, Tanariva chocolate shards and gianduja. Conservative (you can’t go wrong with chocolate and nuts) and not all that exciting, save for the crackly pops in the chocolate bits.

Hot beverages and chocolates which are included in the 3 course set lunch.

Spectacular Mignardises rounds off the 5 course degustation lunch. This is the most impressive Petit fours I’ve encountered! Marshmallow, chocolate-coated nuts, lime mint sorbet sticks and rosemary infused ice cream lollipop- good sweets are instant gratification!

Although pricy, Jaan is certainly worthy of a special occasion dining!
 
Recommended Dish(es):  55' smoked rosemary organic egg,Mignardises,amuse bouche set
 
Spending per head: Approximately $138(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 5  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 5  |  
Price
 4

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