Archive for March, 2010

The French Kitchen

The French Kitchen

The French Kitchen is located at Central Mall, not far away from Saint Pierre. I have made a reservation about a week ago and finally made my way here.  I would say that the restaurant itself is quite cosy and simple. I  would probably miss the restaurant even if I walked past it. It was rather quiet when I visit the restaurant and in fact the whole of building of Central Mall was quiet, a little strange though.

    

                                                                                     The Interior

The Interior is quite cosy and decor is simple.

 

                                                                                 The Menu

 

Although the ‘Restaurant Week” promotion had ended tentatively on 28 March 2010, The 3 course set lunch which is priced at $36++ still applies. Well, I can enjoy French food without burning a hole in my pockets.

 

4 Slices of Wholemeal Bread being served with butter and  salmon rilettes. First thing : The bread wasn’t warm but they requested to warm it up for me. However, I felt that it was a little dry so I gladly declined.  The  salmon rilettes is a salmon spread which I love it. There wasn’t a strong fishy smell of salmon which I dislike and it was smooth and a little creamy.

 

                                                   Complimentary amuse bouche

 

Cod croquette with  artichoke soup , parmesan crisp and  homemade brioche .  A small and cute fried ball which looks like fried potato balls. Indeed, it taste like some mashed potatoes to me. I like the artichoke soup, simple and pleasant to the taste-bud. However, the brioche was dry, a little disappointing.

 

                                                                        Mixed Salad

 

Well, this salad is definately not found anywhere in the menu. As I was was allergic to the walnut vinegrette dressing and dislike goat’s cheese, the chef was happy to prepare this mixed salad especially for me. I really appreciate it! I always like to have a salad as a starter to start off my meal.

I am definately not a soup or cheese person thus the Highly recommended Lobster Bisque and Gratinated Scallop is out. For those who are first-timer here, I would suggest you to go for the Lobster Bisque which is very popular and strongly recommended by it’s customers.

The mixed salad is quite simple- Some romaine lettuce, mixed greens and rocket leaves with some asparagus spears and sun-dried tomatoes. It may look simple but I like it’s simplicity, a refreshing start.

 

 Pan-Seared Cod Fish with atichoke puree, bouchot mussels Jus emulsion

 

This looks like a piece of art… everything is arranged neatly on the plate. It looks so exquisite and pretty to even touch and eat it. When this dish is served to me, I can smell the strong flavour of seafood, tempting me to try it. There were 2 cute mussels being offered and they were cooked till just the correct texture that I like.

The cod fish had a layer of crispy crust. It was the most crispy crust that I have ever had ( not breadcrumbs or battered). The fish itself is quite tasteless though… but at least the meat is tender. The artichoke puree is able to ”mask”  the un-flavoured fish.

The braised cabbage is actually my favourite! It was braised till the correct texture that I like , soft and not soggy. It was so flavoursome! I want more more more!

 

         Champagne Sabayon with pear marmalade and forest berries ice-cream

 

Dessert was a choice of The Champagne Sabayon or The Milk Chocolate Tart. I had the former which I feel it was pretty good. The Sabayon was served warm , they baked it in the oven to solidify the top layer. There was a scoop of forest berries ice-cream which was not too sweet.

I prefer the ice-cream to be served separately from the Sabayon as the hot temperature of would cause the ice-cream to melt faster. I want to savour it slowlyyy.

The Champagne Sabayon is like a milk custard but it not as heavy as custard. It was very smooth and creamy… some crispy biscuits/ sable to go with. There were some strawberries, blueberries and mixed fruits in in. Too bad, I couldn’t taste much of the Champage. Anyway, I still like this dessert as it I like anything that is Fruity!

The service here is friendly and attentive. To sum it up, there were some hits & misses here. TFK is one of the places that I would not mind going back (if my wallet permits).

The French Kitchen

Blk 7 Central Mall #01-03

Magazine Road

The Vines Seafood & Steak Restaurant

The Vines Seafood & Steak Restaurant

  

The Vines Seafood & Steak Restaurant is located at Upper Thomson road, not far away from Novena Square and opposite a Church. I have long heard their name as their BBQ pork ribs are one of the best ard, their prices are also cheaper compared to the other Western Food.

                                                                                Shop Front

Their dishes had a little Hainanese flavour to it. One must try is the Hainanese Oxtail Stew which is only available on weekends. They have set lunch and the menu changes everday! Thus, you would not get bored eating the same food. The main courses are priced at $12 & above and just add $3.50 to enjoy a soup, dessert and drink. There are only 3 types of fish available- The dory, Salmon and Ikan Kurau(Threadfin).

 

                                                                  The Italian Gelato Menu

 

They would advise you not to over-order your food and please keep that in mind. The portion is here quite huge and listen to your tummy before you proceed with your orders. Initially I have sat my eyes for the Italian Gelato (menu placed on the table) but I had to skip that as I was too full for it. Luckily, I followed his words and did not order that.

                                                                                   Garlic Bread

2 slices of garlic bread was served immediately when I placed my order. The garlic bread was warm and fragrant with the aroma of garlic and butter. The crust was also very crispy. It’s great for nibbling while waiting for the soup to be served.

                                                                             Seafood Chowder

 

The soup was served together with the garlic bread. I am not a fan of soup thus I wouldn’t give any comments on this seafood chowder. The only thing I felt was the soup was just ”ok”. It wasn’t too starchy and there were some prawns in it.

   

                                        Pan-fried doryfish with curry cream sauce

 

This was my choice of mains. There was actually 1 fillet of doryfish but they cut in into 2, serving it with carrots, white carrots and long beans. Apparently the fish was served with curry cream sauce thus I pressume the carrot stew goes well with the curry sauce.

The fish is quite fresh and tender and has a crispy outer layer. The crispy layer seemed to ”soak” up the curry sauce…. shiok!

                                                            Another shot of the Pan-fried Dory

 

The curry sauce was quite fragrant, not too spicy and rich. The vegetables were crunchy and I must admit they served  a generous portion for that. They topped the dish with 2 stalks of ”dou miao”.

 

                                                                       Sweet Potato Pie

 

The dessert of the day was The Sweet Potato Pie. I thought the pie was served warm but it was served chilled instead. It was not very sweet but I couldn’t taste much of the sweet potato. The base was a little too thick though.

To sum it up, The Vines Seafood & Steak Restaurant is one of the restaurant that serves the most resonable set lunch. Even their mains were not too expensive and portions are huge. You wouldn’t burn a hole in your pockets. The food here is generally good and they seemed to be full house almost everyday for lunch and dinner. The service here is friendly and efficent too. I wouldn’t mind coming back again for the other dishes on the extensive menu.

The Vines Seafood & Steak Restaurant

275 Upper Thomson Road

 

The Handburger

The Handburger

 

 

For these few days, I suddenly feel an urge to bite into a juicy burger, with a soft and fluffy bun and juciy patty. I think it might be due to a sudden interest of ”burger addiction” or ” burger crazed”.

The Handburger opened another outlet at the 313 Somerset with the original shop at Raffles City. The Raffles city outlet is undergoing renovations and would only be back in August. Thus, if you want to have burgers @ The Handburger, please head to 313@ Somerset instead.

 

                                                                               The Menu

 

The decor of the restaurant resembles a japanese restaurant- wooden seats and a counter. The interior is not very huge.  You can see the chefs baking the little burger buns when you walk past the restaurant.

The menu is printed in a form of ”ordering board”. There are different types of burgers available (with pictures shown and explanation of the toppings ), milkshakes, desserts and sides.  All burgers would come either with fries/ chilled tomato.

 

Like Fish & Co, they have a wooden pan laying on the table, to present and display the food right in front of you. I like the idea as it creates a ”funky” and ”cheeky” style of serving the food.

 

                                                                            Chilled Tomato

 

This strange looking item is actually the chilled tomato. I have  mistaken it for mashed potatoes instead. Actually it looks something like a scoop of ice-cream to me rather than a tomato.

The tomato is chilled and they stuffed some coslaw in it. I slowly cut the tomato open and I could see some colourful shreds of cabbage and carrots…. a surprise indeed. The tomato is quite firm and not mushy. The sauce which comes with the tomato was a little tangy and sweet. I love tomatoes hence my review may be bias… but this is really good. They sprinked with some sesame seeds to top it.

                                                                              The interior

 

  

                                               Stuffed Potobello Burger

There are 2 types of ‘vegetarian ‘ burgers being offered- The stuffed Portobello burger and The Vegetable Kiakage burger.

I had the Stuffed Portobello Burger as it was highly recommended by the waitress.

The burger arrived in less than 5 mins.

The portobello mushroom is  topped with a ”spead” that is made of mixed spinach, walnuts, parmesan cheese and tofu, topped with breadcrumbs and served with home-made tomato herb sauce.

Initially, I wanted to request them to remove the walnuts but they told me it was impossible as the walnuts have been mixed in the spread . It was like  spinach spread, with bits of walnuts (but I can’t really taste it) and hint of cheese spread on top of a juicy portobello mushroom. The breadcrumbs added a layer of crispyness. I like the tomato herb sauce that comes with the portobello mushroom.

The disappointment would be the burger bun itself. The burger that was being offered with the portobello mushroom burger was the Spinach & Parmesan cheese burger but I requested to change it to Sun-dried tomatoes with olive oil burger bun. The burger bun was very dry, flat and burnt, resulting in a rough texture and bitter aftertaste. I think they wanted to toast the bun to make it crispy and flaky but it was just too dry for me.

The service here is friendly and efficient. I like the chilled tomato and would even come back for the chilled tomato alone.

The Handburger

B2 313@ Somerset

Burger Shack

Burger Shack

 

Many burger joints had been opening up it was seemed like it a ”burger craze” is evolving around the food coummunity.

 Burger Shack had taken over Melavdos at the King’s Arcade and they were popular with the students here, especially when the students pop by to grab a burger and spent their time in the cafe. They must have faced some competition as Relish and Mad Jack Cafe is just within the nearby vicintiy. However, I feel that they be able to make it as their prices are quite reasonable and the food is of certain standard.

 

                                                                                    The Menu

 

The menu is written on a blackboard. They have 4 choices for the burger patty- Chicken, Beef, Pork and Vegetarian. Some popular sides such as Nachos, fries, calamari and desserts are also available. The fries and nachos are very popular with the students.

                                                                                             Their Philosophy

 

 

                               Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger ($6.20)

 

I had the Grilled Portobello mushroom burger as I am not a fan of chicken or Pork and due to religious reasons, I do not take beef/ beef products. The grilled portobello mushroom is sandwiched between the soft sesame bun and topped with caramelised onions and served with onion relish dressing. You can also choose to top-up extra sides such as fried eggs, bacon or caramelised onions and they cost $1.50 each. I chose to top up my burger with grilled jalapeno peppers and requested for extra sauce.

There were 2 small portobello mushrooms, lettuces and onion relish laying on top of 2 soft sesame buns. I like the texture of the buns, very soft and light. The dressing was not too bad, not too creamy. The Jalapeno peppers wasn’t to my liking. It taste something like marinated green chilli in white vingear, sourish and spicy. The caramelised onions were soooo delicious. I think I would be able to finish the burger with just the caramelised onions and the dressing itself.

The service here is friendly and effiicient. Simply order your food at the counter and wait for your burgers to be served!  I would consider this burger joint as a funky and hype place. The burgers were not too expensive and also quite decent.

Burger Shack

King’s Arcade

Ember

Ember

    

My much awaited lunch date with Ember was finally fufilled. Outside  Hotel 1929 lies the notorious red-light district of Keong Saik Road; inside, the mood is more serene as the diners persue the electic mod- Euro menu from the talented Sebastian Ng. The food is consistently good and imaginative. Like the food, the decor is neither fussy nor pretentious.

                                                                                              Set Lunch Menu

 

The 3 course set lunch menu is popular with the business executives. There are several options for the appetitizers and mains. There are specials of the day that are not found in the menu as well.  Top up additional $6 for the foie gras.

                                                                  Complimentary Bread

 

I was a little amazed that the speed that they served this bread. The warm and crusty bread was presented to me almost immediately after placing my order. The warm and crusty bread is no doubt a sun-dried tomato bread. However, this is one of the best bread that I had tried so far. The crispy crust of the bread just got me hooked. Great for some nibbling while waiting for the appetitizer.

 

                               Crispy tofu with shimeji mushrooms and bonito flakes

 

Folks, this is not some simple and common tofu that that you can find in local restaurants or kopitiam. Well, I was a little skeptical about trying this tofu. What makes does this tofu stands out from the other appetitizers and being so popular with the patrons.

The tofu was deep-fried till the outer layer is crispy and the interior is warm and soft. There were strips of stiitake mushrooms embedded in the tofu itself. The tofu is really crispy and they topped it with bonito flakes and crispy shimeji mushrooms. The foie gras sauce which was serve along tasted a little salty in the beginning but towards the end, it complement very well with the tofu. Now I finally understood why this tofu is so ”legendary”.

 

 

Chilean Seabass with smoked bacon ragout and mushrooms, truffle-yuzu butter sauce

 

This was clearly a winner. However, most people would opt for the marinated miso cod which was ever popular. The chilean seabass was the best fish that I had this year. The top layer is crusty, with hint of craked black pepper while the fish meat is soooo tender and juicy. I savoured it slowly and the fish meat just melts in my mouth in every bite. I like the accompanying truffle- yuzu butter sauce while was not heavy and creamy. The smoked bacon was very crispy and had a smoky flavour while the mushrooms were fragrant. Those who love bacon would definately love this! There are very generous with the bacon bits though. However, it was a little too much for me to finish it .

 

                                                                Warm Valhorna Chocolate Cake

 

I wasn’t impressed with this warm valhorna chocolate cake. The warm chocolate cake was served with the chocolate lava flowing out thus I did not have the opportunity to ”poke” it. The vanilla bean ice-cream was almost tasteless thus I did not like it. The warm chocolate cake was not even warm and  it just lack the ”oomph” factor that I was looking for.

There were some hits and misses here. Apparently Ember fare well in their mains and appetitizers and not the desserts. The staff who served me speaks too fast and I couldn’t catch what she is saying and thus  had to repeat over to me again. 

The restaurant is not very big and it was almost full at around 1230pm thus it is strongly recommended to make reservations. One thing that I find it a little disturbing is the noise level which is too noisy.

Ember

30 Keong Saik Road

Hotel 1929

Cafe 26 Mustard Salad Dressing

It all started when Augsta, the Director of Vrescano Pte Ltd emailed me and offered to provide me with some samples of Mustard dressing. My perception of Mustard dressing is Dijion mustard , which goes well with beef and burgers and definately not my ”type” of dressing.

                                                                          Tangy Salad Dressing

 

I was interested to try out this new product which Agusta brought in from Perth. The Mustard dressing is very popular in Perth and the brand, Cafe 26 was voted to be the top-pick of salad dressing. The Dressings are 99% fat free therefore it is very healthy. (Organic)

There are a few flavours to the Mustard dressing and namely:

Original

Caesar Salad

– Tangy Salad

Classic Red dressing

-Classic dressing

 

Personally, I felt that all dressings taste almost alike. While some dressing like the Original and the Classic dressing tend to be on the sweeter side.

My personal preference would be the Classic Red Dressing as it was a little tangy and not too sweet. It goes well with salad as well as for dippings too. 

 Agusta is trying to introduce the product to the market, he first distribute it to some cafes such as Munch (but now they made their own dressing) and now he is doing wholesale. There is no retail shop thus pre-ordering is required. You may request for some samples to try it out first. Simply email your request to Agusta.

If you are interested to find out more information  or order the salad dressings, please email Agusta . The email address is agusta@vrescano.com.sg.

Mobile: 96281609

Join the Facebook page : http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Singapore/Vrescano/345894372828?ref=ts

Dome

Dome Cafe

 

It was a Sunday and Dome at Shaw Centre was so packed ! I did a take-away here as I was told that the cafe is running full-house and need to wait . Well, I can even save on the 10% svc charge.

  

                                        Vegetarian Tortilla Wrap ($10.50)

 

There are 3 choices for the tortilla wraps- Chicken, Vegetarian or Salmon. The tortilla are made from green spinach and it was lightly toasted till crispy.

The torilla wrap were wrapped with roasted eggplants, capsicums and zucchini. I  felt that the skin is a little too thick and other than that, it was nothing much to comment about.

The service here was pretty efficient, considering it a busy period when I visit them.

Dome Cafe

L4 SHaw Centre