Sunday, March 27, 2011

Restaurant Week – Private Affairs

C says:

By the time we got our act together this week to make Restaurant Week bookings, all the good places had been snapped up. And by good places, I mean those that are a bit too rich for our blood, like Ku De Ta. Luckily, cousin L was a bit more diligent, and managed to get a table for the 4 of us at Private Affairs, a restaurant in a little shophouse in Joo Chiat serving Modern European food.

Being a ‘premier’ eatery, the Restaurant Week dinner menu was $55 for 4 courses, with only an option for the main course. We started with the restaurant’s signature starter – cured duck carpaccio with granny smith apple and scallion gel. I thought the duck was sliced a little too thinly to have much substance, but otherwise the dish wasn’t too bad.

The chef also had a special a la carte creation for Restaurant Week – wagyu beef carpaccio. We ordered a portion for all of us to share, and a mouthful of this turned out to be the best bite of the evening. The beef was sliced rustically, not paper thin, so we could actually taste the beefy flavour of the wagyu. It was paired with just the right amount of truffle vinaigrette, rocket and shaved parmesan, creating a perfectly balanced bite where no single element overwhelmed.

Next up was seared foie gras with a buttery piece of brioche. This was a decent portion of foie gras and pretty well seared, but I think it could’ve been seasoned slightly more.

The main course was Kurobuta pork cheek with blood orange jelly, and for $8 more, you could change the main to striploin with truffled mash. We decided to try one each. The pork was nice and tender, with a tasty sauce that had a hint of Asian spices. Between the two, I think the striploin was just slightly more memorable.

The meal ended on a pretty good note, with a nice caramel parfait with malt crumble and a malt tuile. Not mindblowing, just a nice sweet end to the meal.

Overall it was a perfectly decent meal, but portions were pretty small. The boys weren’t particularly satisfied, so we ended up heading to Two Fat Men where we proceeded to stuff our faces with 2 burgers and a plate of grilled pork neck. Maybe it’s the comfort food element, but I actually found our impromptu supper more satisfying than our chi-chi dinner.

So in conclusion, while Private Affairs was pretty good, if I were driving all the way to the East, it’ll be for Two Fat Men instead.

A says:

Very good. But is it worth a trip to Joo Chiat? Nope. Portions are too small and the price is too high. I’d only come back if I lived in the area.

Private Affairs
45 Joo Chiat Place
Tel: 6440-0601
Lunch: Tues to Sat 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
Dinner: Tues to Sun 6.30 pm to 11 pm
Brunch: Sun 11.30 am to 3.30 pm

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Woori Nara

C says:

After hearing and reading good things about Woori Nara’s Volcano Korean fried chicken, we headed to Lorong Kilat to try it for ourselves. We ordered half a Volcano chicken (supposedly their super spicy variety), and a regular yum yum chicken with rice set.

As with all Korean restaurants, this came with a few sides. I guess we’ve been spoiled by the Korean bbq place near our house, cos the sides here were nowhere near as varied nor as tasty as the ones there. Clearly then, the meal wasn’t off to the best of starts.

A’s yum yum chicken set arrived first, and if this was supposed to be mildly spicy, I didn’t have high hopes for the volcano one. The chicken was more sweet than anything else, and even the rice wasn’t hot or fluffy.

The Volcano fried chicken really didn’t live up to my expectations. Sure, there was some heat but only a strange lingering pepperiness rather than any proper heat. The sauce was again just predominantly sweet, and my biggest grouse was that the chicken was just way too battered, so that all I tasted was batter drenched in a sweet sauce, and could barely taste the chicken.

Maybe that’s the style of Korean fried chicken, but if that’s the case I think I’ll pass, and get my Korean fix in the form of grilled meats or a simple kimchi soup nearby.

A says:

I like the sweet chilli sauce that doesn’t really taste killer hot, but leaves a strange stinging in your mouth and tummy when done.

But is it worth a special trip out to try? Er... not really.

Woori Nara
19 Lorong Kilat
Tel: 6464-9282

Octa Hotel

C says:

This quaint little Parisian-style Japanese cafe is a calm respite within Parco at Millennia. We’ve always bypassed it in favour of something else, because they mainly serve sandwiches and desserts and we’ve always been more in the mood for proper meals but this morning we decided it was finally time to try it.

A had the Tri-colour sandwich, which was a triple decker sandwich with an omelette, tomatoes and salad, and served with tortilla chips. This looked quite boring but surprisingly it actually tasted very good – simple and very clean flavours.

The Grilled Bacon sandwich initially called to me, but after reading that it had all sorts of grilled vegetables as well, I decided on the Parisian Dog instead. On hindsight after tasting A’s sandwich, I think this was a mistake. The sausage in the hotdog was good, but the bread was too hard and chewy, and there wasn’t enough cheese. Seeing how well they do their sandwiches, I think the bacon sandwich would’ve been a better bet. Oh well, next time.

I ordered a rather strange dessert that consisted of vanilla ice cream and little rum and raisin cheese balls in a pool of foamy royal milk tea, a bit like affrogato style. The cheese balls were just plain weird but otherwise, this was quite refreshing. A went with a royal milk tea float which was also quite good. Maybe we’ll try their parfaits next time, which we saw at another table and looked good, but HUGE.

Service was extremely polite, to the point where you could almost feel like you’re in Japan.

A says:

I love it! Like a slice of Japanese faux-French cafe food in Singapore. Was the food mind blowing or even above average? No. But the overall experience was great.

Octa Hotel
#P1-39, Parco @ Marina Bay
Tel: 6336-4614
Open daily: 10.30 am to 9.30 pm

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Osia again

C says:

After that very impressive lunch at Osia, we’ve been planning a trip back at dinner, and got our chance when we again persuaded W and M to accompany us on Saturday night.

I’m afraid our experience this time wasn’t quite as awesome as our first visit at lunch. Maybe because we no longer had the element of surprise, or perhaps the price that you pay really does affect your expectations of your dining experience, but the general consensus was that the food may have been good, but it certainly wasn’t worth the price compared to lunch.

A and I started with the Seafood Ice Experience – a selection of 6 flavoured granitas, ranging from blood orange to lychee margarita, and each paired with a different seafood, like oyster, salmon tartare and scallop. This was interesting purely because it was so novel, but taste-wise I’m not sure that I liked any of them enough to order this again.

I’ve been eyeing the green asparagus risotto since I first saw it on the menu. The description just called to me – risotto with asparagus, 62 degree egg, black truffle and parmesan crisp. This wasn’t too bad; the egg was really good and acted like an instant sauce, but I found the risotto a bit too stiff and not oozy enough.

A’s main course was delicious – a sampler of marron (some kind of crayfish), diver scallop and smoked cured cod, served with whipped potato, peas and a crab essence. The crab essence was super flavourful and all the seafood was really well cooked, but $60 for a tiny plateful that can be wolfed down in about 8 bites?!

W’s main course is worth a mention. It was Black Angus beef tenderloin with a blueberry risotto and bone marrow sauce. The beef was perfectly medium rare, and while the risotto seemed a bit disconcertingly sweet, I think it went quite well with the dish as a whole.

M had his valrhona chocolate soup, and the 3 of us shared the macadamia tart and a cheese platter of blue cheese with muscatel grapes and truffled honeycomb. The cheese with the honey was excellent; the macadamia tart was a tad overpowering and curry crumble that came with it was interesting but perhaps just a bit too interesting for me.

Service was still good, but as it was more crowded, we didn’t get as personalised service as we did previously. When we ordered the flatbread, we were slightly disappointed to get the tomato basil dip again, since they only serve one type a week, so what are the odds that we’d get the same one again? Towards the end of dinner, I noticed that the table next to us had the smoked eggplant dip. I was a bit upset – we had 2 orders of flatbread tonight so the least they could do was to give us 2 different dips right? I raised this with the waiter, who apologetically said they had to break out the new dip because they’d run out of the previous one, and nicely offered to let me try a tube of the eggplant one. (For the record, the tomato basil one is much better)

Also, when the grill in the kitchen is in full force, it can get pretty smelly in the restaurant so I’d recommend that you ask for a table further from the kitchen.

A says:

Awesome meal. But is it worth the price? I think not. Seriously, my main was finished in 6 bites. While I would wholeheartedly recommend the set lunch here, the dinner portions are tiny.

OsiaResorts World Sentosa
L2, FestiveWalk
Tel: 6577-6560
Sun-Wed: 12:00pm – 02:30pm, Thurs-Sat: 12:00pm - 03:00pm
Sun-Wed: 6:00pm – 10:00pm, Thurs-Sat: 6:00pm – 10:30pm