Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wild Rocket omakase

C says:

First off, I think it's a travesty that Michelin completely ignored Wild Rocket. The Singapore guide doesn't feature the chef who pioneered Modern Singaporean cuisine? Madness, I say. The omakase dinner we had last night was one of the most interesting, creative and downright delicious meals we've had in a while.


First course, and probably best dish of the evening, was their take on chwee kueh - scallop carpaccio with chai poh and truffle konbu. A big flavour punch in the face, and the best way to start the meal.


Next was a play on rojak, with the hae kor in the form of a light ice cream. 


Char kway teow came next. We were asked to guess what the noodles were made from. I said squid, which was close. It was ribbons of cuttlefish. Quite genius, because the flavour of the cuttlefish also echoed the flavour of hum (cockles) that would normally be in char kway teow. Every element came together perfectly to form a truly char kway teow flavoured dish, even down to the lard bits. Very well thought out dish.


Next up was an uni laksa risotto. I think this has evolved from Wild Rocket's early days of laksa pesto spaghetti. The laksa flavour is much more refined, and all the elements that make up a good laksa are perfectly balanced.


The crab cake, comprising both spanner crab and blue swimmer crab, on a bed of salted egg yolk sauce was probably the most predictable dish of the evening, but nonetheless still very tasty. 


When Chef presented the next dish, he said it was home made green curry served with beef. The texture of the meat was excellent. There's a surprise to this dish, but I'll hold my tongue so that I don't spoil it for others. 


The Singapore fried noodle dish was a hokkien mee, with a wonderfully cooked prawn on top of angel hair pasta cooked with an intense prawn stock.


We were still a bit hungry (greedy), so they added an extra dish - Iberico pork char siew with quinoa and preserved vegetable. And because Chef usually has his char siew with rice, it was served with Vietnamese rice paper. 


After a palate-cleansing guava sorbet, dessert was a riff on mango sticky rice, with the mango and sweet coconut rice served inside a chocolate tart shell. Again, a really well-balanced dish.

This was a really fun, playful and unpredictable dinner. We'll definitely make it a point to come here more often, so although they're more than deserving of at least one star, part of me is actually glad that they're not in the guide. Then it won't be overrun with starchasers who won't appreciate a good meal if you hit them on the head with it. Hmph.

A says:

Best meal I've had in a while. So inventive. 

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dstllry

C says:

Tried Dstllry's new omakase dinner - 11 courses for a very reasonable $120. They also have a 6-8 course for $65, and a 8-10 course for $95. The higher priced courses may also have more premium items, besides just more courses. 



First two courses were samplers that were quite Japanese inspired, with items like negitoro, foie with unagi, cubes of their signature barachirashi, and uni tempura. 


Then came possibly the best dish of the evening - a giant-headed carabinero prawn, with sakura ebi and caviar. The prawn was served sashimi style, but the head was lightly grilled, resulting in the head juices solidifying ever so slightly. The red purée isn't sambal chilli, that's the head juice from the prawn. Insane.


Onsen tamago with shaved truffle, ponzu and wanton crisps was also very good. 


The bouillabaisse-inspired broth was surprisingly light, with a nice meaty Hokkaido scallop inside. The mussels were a tad rubbery though.


Next up was their take on katsu curry, with ramen in the curry sauce. Quite a sizeable portion, and we're only halfway...


Mozambique lobster grilled with mentaiko, with mentaiko pasta. This was really tasty, particularly the pasta. Getting quite full...


Pan-seared seabass with tomato salsa. After the heaviness of the previous 2 dishes, I was glad to have a relatively lighter dish. 


Alas, only a brief respite. Next up was chilli fried rice with seared beef. Both very flavourful, but we're rapidly hitting a wall...


OMG! More carbs! This time, a cha soba soup with tempura prawn and soft shell crab. By then I'd given up. Plus the tempura was quite oily, which didn't help. 


Dessert was home-made vanilla ice cream with yam paste (orh ni). I found the yam paste a little on the floury side, as though the flour hadn't quite been cooked out.

For the first time in a very long while, an omakase got the better of atetoomuch. I think the dishes were mostly very tasty, but not enough thought has gone into the progression of the meal. Having 4 carb dishes is just too much, and with a large proportion of the proteins being fried or seared, everything felt a bit oily and heavy after a while.

We gave the chef our feedback, and he admitted that they're still finding the right balance. With some tweaks on the portion sizes and the flow of the menu, they could have a good thing going here. 

A says:

Great value. The quantity defeated even me. I think they need to cut down at least 1 carb, probably the soba and soft shell crab which was a bit too oily.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Uncle Ho Tuckshop

C says:

The photo of Anthony Bourdain dining with President Obama in Hanoi has sparked worldwide interest in Bun Cha, the dish that they were having. In Singapore, a recent article featured the few places you can try authentic Hanoi Bun Cha.

One is Uncle Ho Tuckshop, conveniently (for us) located at 100 Pasir Panjang. It's a year old, and specializes in Hanoi dishes. 


The Bun Cha is served with a bowl of dipping broth containing pork balls, grilled pork belly, carrots and pickles. Adding minced garlic and sliced chilli adds depth and flavour to the sweet-sour broth. It's meant to be eaten like soba, with the vermicelli dipped into the broth and slurped.


Hanoi style Pho is also different from the more common southern style from Saigon. The latter is sweeter, whereas the Hanoi style has no sugar, and is cleaner and meatier. I definitely prefer Hanoi style; A prefers the sweeter Saigon style.

It may have taken us a year, and a viral photo of the American president, to even be aware of let alone try Uncle Ho Tuckshop, but we're definitely planning to make up for lost time.

A says:

Having tried the Hanoi style Pho, I think I prefer the southern style, but the Bun Cha rocks. Will definitely be back for it.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Winter Feast at Nude Seafood

C says:

Nude Seafood's Winter Feast was one of the best, and certainly one of the most enjoyable, meals we've had this year. We had 9 amazing courses, cooked and served by an amazing group of people who have so much passion and love for what they do.


We started out with their take on the Thai snack "ma haw", prepared with Angus short rib, passionfruit and pineapple jam and served on a tapioca chip. 


Next up was an insanely flavourful Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with ikura, raspberry purée and a chili jam. The flavours went together perfectly and the scallops were amazingly sweet.


Then came the foie gras and mushroom ravioli in a potato consommé. The clear consommé had strong yet clean flavours of potato; overall a very comforting and moreish dish.


Root vegetables with smoked eel and mentaiko again packed a ton of flavour. There was a brightness from the blood orange sabayon that prevented the dish from being too heavy.


A meat dish came next - lamb rack with sauerkraut, pearl couscous, lotus root crisps and wolfberry yogurt. The chargrilled lamb tasted quite strongly of satay, which wasn't quite what we were expecting. Again the sauerkraut added a tart balance to an otherwise quite rich dish.


 
The two main courses came next - land and sea, so to speak. Sea in the form of kibinago, a Japanese herring, with sprouts and an amazing smoked potato purée. Land was Poussin, a French chicken which had been deboned, then stuffed with chestnuts, cabbage and bone marrow. 

Until this dish, portion sizes were manageable, with each dish just nice for sharing. But the Poussin completely felled us. Even for atetoomuch, it was seriously a LOT to finish. Super tasty though.


The first of two desserts was Eggnog served in festive eggshells - a light foam of rum and cinnamon. 


By this time we were dying, and were happy to split the normal-sized pecan pie with salted caramel ice cream and home made marshmallow. To our horror, when we were about halfway through, they brought another portion, saying we were meant to have one pie each. We were almost expecting them to say they were joking, but nope, they were serious...

Despite being so full we were about to explode, we had an incredible evening. The team at Nude poured their heart and soul into creating and cooking the meal, and it really showed. 

We're looking forward to more amazing meals in the new year from the great people at Nude. Cheers.

A says:

O.M.G. So full. Gonna sleep. For the next year. Seriously, one of the best meals I've had all 2015.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Kite

C says:

The folks behind SPR MRKT and Koskos have opened Kite on Craig Road, a cocktails and small plates concept. On weekdays (Tuesdays to Fridays) they offer  selected items from their main menu as part of a lunch set - $25 for 3 dishes and $30 for 4 dishes. 


We had the somen with sautéed prawns and lup cheong oil. The prawns were fresh and perfectly cooked, and the aroma and flavour of the lup cheong oil really came through. 


This is one of our favourite dishes here - Saba Rillette. They used slightly vinegared mackerel to make the rillette, and the balance of the tartness is perfect. 


They had a festive menu with a pork dish that called to me, with Mangalica pork jowl, porcini mushrooms and smoked quail's egg. The pork was deliciously fatty, and the dish was appropriately comforting and festive, but I still prefer their regular Spanish Pork dish (which we'll have next time and write about).


And we come to possibly their best dish - Uncle William's Quail, with barley risotto and mushrooms. The quail is cooked perfectly, and is ridiculously flavourful and tender. 


Although it's not available at lunch time, I have to give a shout out to their super addictive bar bite - chicken skins with maple glaze. Unlike typical fried chicken skins (which, don't get me wrong, I also love), these are elevated to the next level. They're thin, crisp and delicate, with a maple syrup glaze that makes it both sweet and salty. I could polish off bowls of this.

We predict coming here pretty often indeed. For starters, they're business as usual over the Christmas holidays so we hope to be back fairly soon. 

A says:

Exceptional value for money set lunch. $25 gets you an awesome amount of flavour. I approve. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cheng's 27

C says:

Cheng's 27 is the new generation of Hainanese curry rice at the corner of Yong Siak Street at Tiong Bahru. I like how they didn't overdo the renovations and overly hipster the place. Instead, they just spruced it up and made it much more welcoming. 

That's pretty much how I'd describe the whole meal. From the moment we walked in, we were treated like old friends/regulars, when it was actually our first visit. 


The crispy pork curry rice was good - the curry could have been more potent (A found it perfectly fine, I just like more spice and heat generally), but I loved the pork chop. Lots of flavour.


It was a toss up between the steamed pork and the crispy chicken with ginger. We went with the steamed pork - lovely tender pork belly drenched in a garlicky black vinegar sauce. My only bugbear is a personal one - there was a lingering scent of coriander in the dish that I just couldn't ignore. 


The home-made omelette, aka foo yong egg, was particularly well executed. It looked like a fairly generic omelette but it was light and fluffy, and the onions inside were cooked just right - no more harshness but not soft and mushy either. 


We also tried their signature gula melaka chiffon cake and a mini chocolate eclair. The eclair was ok, but I really loved the chiffon cake. Light and airy, yet really moist from the gula melaka and organic coconut oil.


They also let us sample their home made kaya, which impressed us so much that we bought a jar to go. The texture is so light, it's almost like a mousse, and there's a perfect pandan to gula melaka ratio. There's also a hint of a floral/fruity fragrance which I can't identify, but it adds a nice brightness. 

The food may not be the cheapest, and it doesn't exactly help that the menu on the table doesn't state prices, but the food is great and the owners really make you feel at home and welcome. It's rare to see store owners in Singapore who take such pride in what they're offering. For that, and simply because the food is great, they get our support.

A says:

A bit pricey, but definitely worth it for the good food and great service.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Meat Smith

C says:

We had an unexpectedly good dinner at Meat Smith, a smokehouse on Telok Ayer Street. Their menu is quite limited - no more than 10 choices each for appetizers and mains, but what they do, they do really well.


The starters were very good. The sliced beef tongue had an unexpected heat from the Szechuan aioli, and while I normally don't really like peanuts as a garnish, these worked very well. 

The smoked burrata, which was a special for the day, was excellent. It was served with slices of prosciutto and cubes of compressed melon. The burrata was creamy and smokey, and the melon had a very interesting texture and a very intense melon flavour.


The brisket burger with rocket on a soft brioche bun was also very good. Nothing fancy, just very flavourful. 

 
We had a half slab of pork ribs, which you can order either dry or wet. Because I don't like ribs slathered in sauce, we opted for dry. These were fall-off-the-bone tender, with a smokey spice rub. There's a range of sauces at the table to accompany them; our favourite was the Honey BBQ sauce. 

The menu isn't too varied, so if there aren't any specials then it may be hard to come here very often, but definitely worth going back at some point.

A says:

The meat is indeed well smithed.