Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Immanuel French Kitchen

C says:

Chef Immanuel Tee, who used to be head chef at Keystone Restaurant in the CBD, has opened a very different (and dare I say, much more welcoming) dining concept - a pared-down French hawker stall within a "high-end" coffee shop in the Alexandra Village cluster. Located within the Salut coffee shop and sharing space with other similar concepts like Two Wings, Mien by the Travelling C.O.W and SeaSalt, Immanuel French Kitchen may have a small menu but every item on it is executed perfectly.


We almost never order chicken main courses at restaurants (besides fried chicken and chicken wings in every shape or form), since they're usually the most predictable item on the menu, and it's pretty easy to do a decent chicken dish at home. The Sous Vide Chicken Breast here, however, is possibly the tastiest, most tender version of a chicken breast dish I've had in a very long time. Because of the sous vide preparation, the chicken is ridiculously tender and moist, but there's still lots of flavour from the sear right before serving. The rigatoni gratin that's served alongside is also pretty tasty - I just wish there was more of it.


The Pork Belly with onsen tamago and potato foam was also very good. The pork belly was slow braised, almost kong bak-like, and the light potato foam sauce was addictive. Given the choice, I'd still go for the chicken though, since I'm not a huge fan of super soft, slow braised pork belly.


The duck rillettes starter was tasty, but to me it was slightly underseasoned. It needed a tiny sprinkling of salt to bring out all the flavours.

Main courses are no more than $15, which is a great deal given how good the food is. It's only been open for slightly more than a month, but Chef Immanuel seems to have garnered a small following there already (including A and his colleagues). Yes, it may not be the most accessible location, but for good food at great value, this is definitely worth a (re)visit.

A says:

Great food for a great price. Restaurant quality food. If only parking wasn't so hard. Given it's close to our home, we'll definitely be back for more.

Immanuel French Kitchen
Block 119, Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-40, Salut coffee shop
Tel: 9297-3285
Tues - Sun: 12 noon to 10 pm daily
Closed Mondays

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On The Table

C says:

On The Table recently opened along Pasir Panjang Road, a few doors down from Fatboys. Staffed mainly by youngsters, it serves simple but pretty well executed fare in a comfortable setting, at quite reasonable prices.



I didn't have high expectations for their spicy honey wings (though I had to order them anyway), and was very pleasantly surprised. Only the mid-joint was used (yay), it wasn't overly battered, it was tender and juicy, and the paprika spice with honey drizzled on top made for a surprisingly good combination.


For our mains, we had a crab linguine and duck confit. The duck was tasty but perhaps a bit on the tough side. The accompanying mash was good (W, yours is better though), and the orange sauce again complemented the duck well.

The linguine was simple but again, well prepared, with a good balance of flavours.


They have a good selection of home-made ice creams, which we had with a waffle. The salted caramel ice cream was more of a burnt caramel, but pretty good anyway. A was a bit disappointed with the waffle - it was too old school for his liking.

The flat white we ordered was surprisingly strong and full bodied. Service was good, albeit a tad slow in churning out the waffle. Overall, I'm glad there's finally a decent coffee joint near home.

A says:

Great coffee. Unexpectedly good food. The only letdown was the very ordinary waffle and ice cream. But if you live around the area, this is highly recommended.

On The Table
118 Pasir Panjang Road
Tues - Fri: 8 am - 10 pm
Sat & Sun: 10 am - 10 pm
Closed Mondays


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Gyoza Ya

C says:

I must admit I had my misgivings when we stepped into Gyoza Ya at the new Robinsons Orchard. Since it's a home-grown concept by the Akashi group, I assumed it was just a novelty restaurant without much substance. I was very pleased to be proven wrong - the food was simple but very tasty.


We tried the pork gyoza and the vegetable ones. Needless to say, the pork ones were far superior, with a sweet, flavourful filling. The vegetable filling was decent but a bit mushy and lacklustre compared to the pork.


By far the most interesting dish was the Jyajya Men - their Japanese take on zhajiang mien. After mixing up the cucumber, leeks, noodles and miso-based minced pork, you can season it further to your liking with more miso and vinegar. When you're down to the last few mouthfuls, they will give you a soft boiled egg to crack into the bowl and some hot sobayu, and you mix it up with more miso to form a noodle soup of sorts.

Given the limited menu, I don't recommend coming here if you're ravenous. It's good for a light bite if you're not very hungry.

A says:

Surprisingly good. Given the lack of dining options in the area, this makes it to the top of the list.

Gyoza Ya
260 Orchard Road
B1-02 Robinsons Orchard
Tel: 6737-5881

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Wolf

C says:

I regret taking so long to visit Wolf. When they first opened, I'd read about them offering pig's brain croquettes but when we finally decided to visit, they were no longer on the menu. When asked why, they said they tweaked their menu since their opening, as they felt that Singapore diners weren't ready for a true nose to tail experience yet. Odd, given how we aren't strangers to offal and other nasty bits in the form of kway chap.

They've expanded their menu to offer more variety and options for less adventurous diners, but we made a point to stick to an ode to the pig, and I'm so glad we did.


The Crispy Pig's Ears with an endive salad and creamy mustard dressing were a revelation. Our previous experiences with pig's ears have been, while not negative, just very underwhelming. Mainly cartilege, I've always found them to be all crunchy texture and not much else.

Here, the ears are lightly breaded and deep fried, and the result is a super light cross between bacon and chicken skin. The slightly bitter endive and rocket salad toned down the richness somewhat.


No brains, so we ordered the Pig's Head and Trotter Brawn, which was a terrine-like cold preparation with different textured meat from the head and trotter encased in aspic. Despite the name, this was actually a very light and refreshing dish.


Their main course specialties are their pork chops. Simply grilled and cooked only till medium, they have a selection of 5 different breeds with different characteristics. We picked the Nagano, based on the description of fat level and tenderness. The meat was definitely unlike any store bought pork. It was juicy, sweet and delicate, and the bits nearer the bone in particular were full of flavour. We're definitely planning to make our way through the other breeds.


The best dish for me by far was the Grilled Iberian Spare Ribs. This, to me, is how ribs ought to be. Not ultra tender and slathered in BBQ sauce such that you're pretty much just eating pulled pork. Good ribs need some bite to them so I can gnaw them off the bone, and only need a simple seasoning and a good char. This ticked every box. Glam food this certainly wasn't - my hands were dirty and I had oil on my face, but I couldn't have been happier.


The reference to Fergus Henderson's St John Restaurant continues to the dessert menu, with classic British offerings like Eton Mess and Blancmange. We went with a Rhubarb Trifle and a Pear Tart Tatin. The trifle had an amazing chantilly cream, and the rhubarb puree was tart yet fragrant. Very refreshing.

Service was excellent, and the ambience isn't too stuffy but not very hipster/poseur either. Pig's brains or not, we'll definitely be back.

A says:

Blew me away. The pig ears were amazing. The ribs are hard to eat and make you look like a slob gnawing on the bones in a nice restaurant, but it's worth it. Super tasty. In fact, I think it may be better than the signature pork chops. We'll definitely be back to try different chops and report back. Plus, the desserts are very good too.

Highly recommended.

Wolf
18 Gemmill Lane
Tel: 6557-2224
Mon - Fri & Eve of PH: 11.30 am - 3 pm; 6 pm till 10.30 pm
Sat: 6 pm - 11.30 pm
Closed Sundays
http://theprivegroup.com.sg/index.php/wolf/


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Element on Tras

C says:

Element on Tras, at Amara Hotel, is an annexe of sorts to Element, which is the hotel's buffet restaurant. At Element on Tras, you can order a la carte from the Chinese, Thai and Spanish sections of the restaurant.

The Spanish kitchen is helmed by Basque chef Mikel Badiola, who used to cook at Martin Berasategui in San Sebastien. We only tried the tapas rather than the main courses, but those were more than enough to impress.



Definite must-haves are the mushroom brochette, and the bacalao bechemal stuffed in piquillo peppers. The flavours were strong but not overly assertive, and overall just very refined.



The tortilla was quite a substantial portion, and while I appreciate that it was well executed, with a nice still-runny centre, I found it slightly underseasoned, and it needed the sauce from the bacalao. The grilled octopus with potatoes and pimenton was simple but very good.


The Basque fish soup was a winner for me. The flavours were again restrained but still very complex, and there were generous portions of perfectly cooked, moist codfish inside. I would be happen to return just for this dish.

The menu is still quite limited, and we've probably ordered most of the highlights of the tapas/pinxtos section, but there's still the main courses to be explored.

A says:

I went in with very high expectations so perhaps it's not fair when I wasn't impressed. Honestly speaking though, the food is still very good food. And I must mention the amazing service.

Having tried the buffet as well, I would say ala carte is the recommended option here.

Element on Tras
100 Tras Street
Tel: 6879 2607
Sunday – Thursday / Public Holiday: 11am - 1am
Friday, Saturday, Eve of Public Holiday: 11am - 2am


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sweet Spot Deli

C says:

Sweet Spot, Marina Bay Sands' pastry shop, has opened a NY-inspired deli selling bagels and cured meat sandwiches.


Their sandwiches come in a variety of options, with pastrami and/or corned beef, and sauerkraut or coleslaw. You can get a full portion, or a half. We ordered 2 halves, one with sauerkraut and one with coleslaw.

For a non-sandwich eater, I found these very good. The bread was buttery and grilled, the meats were tasty and the combination of ingredients was just right. I preferred the sauerkraut as it added a tart balance to the sweetish Russian dressing.


A also tried the smoked salmon bagel which in comparison wasn't as good. The smoked salmon was good but proportions were a bit off, and the bagel overpowered everything else. Much better deconstructed; the cream cheese here has a nice light texture.

Not sure how long it'll last, since it was pretty deserted on a Friday evening, but I'm sure A will want to come back at least a few more times.

A says:

Best deli-style sandwiches in Singapore. Awesome, awesome, awesome. The staff were super friendly too. Approved.

Sweet Spot Deli
#01-30 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Tel: 6688-8584
Sun - Thurs: 8am to 11pm
Fri, Sat and PH: 8am to 12 mn


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lady M at One Fullerton

C says:

Lady M has opened its second outlet at One Fullerton, offering a wider selection of its signature mille crepes (like matcha) and other dessert creations.


We tried the banana mille feuille, and one of their other signature creations, the Checkers, which has alternating squares of vanilla and chocolate sponge cake bound together with a light pastry cream, and coated with a thick chocolate ganache.

The banana mille feuille was ok - it was more cream/custard than I expected, with only a small square of puff pastry and a thin outer layer acting as the feuille. The Checkers, on the other hand, was superb. Light, airy, with just enough cream and chocolate to not be overpowering. Possibly my new favourite cake.

The ambience at One Fullerton is also much more conducive to chilling than at Marina Square, with its harsh fluorescent lighting and openness to wandering passersby.

A says:

As much as I like mille crepes, I must say the Checkers cake is even better. Win!

Lady M Fullerton
#01-10, One Fullerton
Tel: 6820-0830
Open daily: 10 am - 10 pm
www.ladym.com.sg