One look at the French Chef de Cuisine, Antoine Bonnet, and I was picturing the glorious moments of sunset, the tangled manes of a horse, carefree, and a whisperer on its back, preened and glistening under the rays. No, I'm getting way ahead of myself. The feast he produced for us though was a real spectacle, refined french fare showcasing the authenticity of honestly good ingredients. The 'riding into the sunset' moment has to wait.
Dinner was at Brasserie Les Saveurs at the outskirts of the St. Regis Hotel main lobby, stowed away at the back of the entrance; almost like a secret enclave. Luxe materials drape the room and chandeliers illuminate the velvety interiors of the wide space. I, for one, was enchanted; but refused to judge the book by its covers.
Hence, the speculation began with the amuse bouche. Pan Seared Scallop with Potato Espuma with sesame oil. Brilliant sear on the scallop, the espuma delightfully seasoned, still I was expecting a bit more aeration in it. We trudge on. Dinner begins to look like a magical fairytale waiting to be unveiled.
The next dish that arrived at our tables did not tickle my fancy at all. Salad Nicoise ($36), a pedestrian dish uplifted only by the inclusion of more exquisite ingredients in there that possibly lead to its dismayed performance in my books. Blame me, I'm averse towards anchovies and artichokes.
Thank goodness for the Bouillabaisse Facon Les Saveurs($19)that followed closely. This resonated closely with me, mainly because Provencal French dishes are right up my alley. The rich broth flavored with Pernod (French made anise flavored liquer), saffron and star anise was a luscious shade of red, I greedily lapped up the lot. Snacking on the expertly prepared minuscule buffet of seafood. Served with garlic toasts with a saffron flavored mayonnaise dip, this was a combination delicious on its own and left me bewildered as to how to enjoy them simultaneously.
The Chillax Lobster, aka Le Homard Thermidor($75) was the next to grace the table, its idle posture, a contrast to the tedious work that went on behind the kitchen. Hailing from Brittany, the delicate flesh of the lobster was sauteed with white wine and cognac and served with sauteed spinach and lobster emulsion. Until this day, I dream about the pincers which have been fried in contrast to the rest of it's body. A technique that still managed to yield soft sweet crustacean flesh that was seductively crisp around the ages.
Nothing speaks haute cuisine quite like table side service. A rare and dying art, we were fortunate to be able to embrace that experience; even if it only meant the carving of a gargantuan roasted prime rib rack. On a fashion savvy trolley nonetheless, the chefs approach the table with stark professionalism and nimble fingers, presenting each diner with the Australian Prime Rib ($48), roasted potatoes and tomatoes on the side with either a wine reduction jus or horseradish sauce on the side. I adored the piquancy of the latter and how it complimented the raw flavors of the meat. I kid you not, since my portion was carved out of the middle section of the massive chunk, it leaned towards the rare side, the throbbing bluish red flesh a tad too under done for my liking. Could they have asked for a preference in doneness? Don't know how that's done with tableside service...
Dessert came in the form of chocolate bon bons (which we sneaked into our bellies before the main course even began, naughty...), some laced with alcohol and a variation of subtle flavors, this demonstrated the well-rounded skills of the in-house pastry chefs present in St Regis Hotel. However, our main dessert of Le Gateau A La Banane ($14) (despite it's sweet intentions), left much to be desired. From my guess, it featured an almond financier base, apricot jelly flavored with tea and banana mousse. The banana flavor in the mousse was not robust enough and the ginger as proclaimed in the ice cream was almost non-existent. The mango salsa on the other hand was divine, a titillating balance of sweet and acidity.
Well, that rounds off my last food review in Singapore for the past year. Work beckons for me in Australia and to my dearest foodie friends that I've left behind in Sunny Singapore, Thank You for all the well wishes! I shall be back for the occasional visits (or back for good if things don't work out for me. *Touch wood*). To those longing for a piece of greener grass, head on over to my Aussie version of my blog at SNAP EAT LOVE.
Brasserie Les Saveurs
St Regis Hotel
29 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 65066860
In light of a recent festive occasion (my mother's yearly statistical increase of nagginess level), we chose to bask in the laps of luxury of the Clifford Restaurant located at Fullerton Bay hotel.
Ushered to our tables, I was floored by the beautifully outfitted dining room. Gorgeous woodgrain dining tables and chairs with a lavish touch of red fabric throughout. The lovely table lamps emitting a pale glistening of light that provided the ideal intimate settings for a hearty meal with loved ones; (though I imagine having a male companion would be tons more interesting)
To kickstart the evening, we were treated to baskets of bread served with french butter on the side and a lovely duck rilette served in miniature ceramic pots. I adored the pate and completely broke my 'less-carbs' rule with the delicious tango of flavors between the warm slightly crisp bread and the well balanced pate.
My starter of Hokkaido sea scallop and Boston lobster carpaccio with black truffles vinaigrette ($28++) was a real piece of art work on the plate, unfortunately, failed to deliver in the taste department. The overpowering acidity of the vinaigrette blocking out the sweetness of the fresh scallop and lobster completely, the thinly sliced shards of black truffle lost in translation.
The Chicken Salade Caesar fared much better with the poached chicken slices drizzled in a light dressing stealing the limelight. The foccacia croutons were absolutely addictive in this dish. Note that the portion size was a tad big for a starter so you might want to consider sharing. (be nice...)
For the mains, it was a toss-up between the duck confit and the Wagyu Foie Gras Burger which I eventually leaned towards since we all know the pulsating effects of burgers on my teensie heart. Aged cheddar, caramelised onion jam and a slab of seared foie gras complete with truffle fries. This sounds like an absolutely dream on paper, lamentably, the entire dish just didn't sit well with me. The burger buns which were in all honesty nothing to boast about had been completely soaked through from the tomato slice which sat so unstrategically at the bottom of the burger. The patty lacked seasoning on any level and hence the lavishness of the foie gras forced the make-up of the dish into borderline clunkiness. And if you were hoping for the truffle fries to act as redemption, they weren't. The truffle flavor was way muted and perhaps I've been spoilt by at least double fried potato standards; hence these left much to be desired. I was upset... hence the continuation into dessert.
Tarte tatin for two, was enjoyable. Love the touch of caramel on the plate that elevated the simple dish to a higher level. The Chocolate Moelleux was yet again another flop with a non-existent liquid center, I did love the crust that had emerged on the rich chocolate brownie like cake, but that aside, I was sorely disappointed.
Petit fours were brought to the table at the end of the night. I wish they hadn't since these outsourced beauties did nothing to justify the tummy space they had taken up. The macarons were just wrong; and the kueh lapis was a dried up mess. Pardon my straightforwardness in this post that may come across a bit crude but restaurants like these should serve food befitting of its image. It's a shame how one can dine in such resplendent settings and yet be served such mediocre food.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay
Turn to Tomi Sushi, for a great alternative to Japanese dining specialising in Sushi.
Housed in the maze of top-drawing Japanese eateries on top of Parco @ Milennia Walk, Tomi Sushi throws all inhibitions out the window with it's down-to-earth and value for money set lunch menu. It's popularity during lunch hour clearly evident in the noisy throngs of office workers that had gathered in the restaurant during my recent visit.
Sit at the counter to get a close up view of the action as the nimble fingers of the Japanese chefs go to work pressing little balls of rice together with delicate slices of the fresh fish. Even from a distance, the flurry of activity behind the counters building up a raging appetite between the 4 of us.
Upon placing our orders, the food swiftly made its way to the table. The rows of sushi calling attention to it's fastidious presentation and natural glistening coating on the sliced fish.
Tomi Sushi claims to use 100% Koshihikari Rice (one of the best rice brand in Japan) and also imported sea salt from Japan. The restaurant's dedication to introduce its diners to good quality produce even extending to the soy sauce. A different one for sushi and sashimi, perhaps with contrasting viscosity and richness to compliment the both items.
Sushi Bento ($38) as pictured above was a massive spread of the usual suspects. Offering a little bit of everything, this would surely satisfy any fickle-minded diner. The sushi, especially the commonly misrepresented California roll was executed perfectly here. Additional credit going out to the Koshihikari rice that had a good balance of fundamental sweetness combined with the sourness from the vinegar.
My Gin Teri Set ($24)came withe most delicious piece of gindara teriyaki, cooked to perfection, highlighting the fattiness of the fish.
Nigiri Sakura ($28) arrived with an assortment of sushi as well, each one perfectly crafted to mask just the right dosage of wasabi within to compliment the tightly rolled package. The nigiri was great, each one showcasing fresh and good cuts whether it be fatty salmon belly or the more turgid swordfish.
For such prices, Tomi Sushi does not compromise on the quality of its ingredients, stressing on only the finest since minimal cooking is to be performed. If you are the sort to have the occasional want to indulge your sushi cravings without the fuss of a luxurious ambience, then, Tomi Sushi would be your best bet.
PARCO Marina Bay
3F-04 9 Raffles Boulevard
As some of you have come to hear, The Lawn; which I have visited on many occasions and come to love has opened up a second brunch to cater to the office crowds of a different nature, other than the sciency-geeky bunch (haha). Located along Shenton Way, on the periphery of Singapore’s wheeling and dealing financial district; the Lawn has plans to take the salad diet fads to a whole new level by incorporating a selection of wholesome grilled meats into the picture.
For starters, I stuck with my usual suspects. Grilled prawns, boiled egg, cashews (boy are they generous with these), cherry tomatoes and finally sprinkled with a healthy dose of parmesan cheese. Sitting over a bed of fresh mesclun salad in a ginormous bowl; one can be sure to execute the tossing maneuver without making a mess.
We were presented a foray of grilled meats as well to be put to the taste test. Some of my favourites include the Teriyaki Chicken, pan seared ducked breast and the chicken breast with maple infusion. Vegetarians fret now as the café offers up various options for meat adverse. Take for example the char grilled mixed mushrooms, garlic galore! I couldn’t stop grazing on this one.
The Lawn prides itself on the variety of dressings that are available to choice. So even if you were to dine in everyday, the countless permutations and combinations on the meats, add ons and dressings alone would surely allow a tickling of the taste buds each and every time. And taking that in mind, eating salads daily combined with the visit to the gym could help immensely in working down the size charts. Personally, I take to the Red Island, Wasa-honey, Wafu and MisoSpicy; but should you be bewildered by the choices, stick to the recommended pairings done in-house.
My friend, Li Tian from dairycream.blogspot had her customized bowl of salad; the butter-seared Pacific dory, celery, olives, Beetroot, corn and crunchy granola. Boy did she prove that you don’t have to big to have a voracious appetite. You can read more about her experience here.
End off your meal on a sweet note with the desserts offerings put forth by the Lawn. Tiramisu Hero is available for sale here too.
Be sure to check out the Oreo Cheesecake (Jonathan’s recommendations) from Gobi Desserts .
But better yet. Get a stiff one from the coffee counters; the barista does a pretty mean cappuccino with the coffee blends from Smitten Coffee.
8 Shenton Way, #B1-11, AXA Tower
With Alkaff mansion, its’ redeeming opportunity came shortly after the first (my cousin’s wedding, unfortunately during which the food, fell short of expectation).
Stepping into the grandeur and romantic atmosphere of the mansion, one can’t help but feel the rush of unexpected expectations surmounting.
We kick-started the meal with a Caprese salad amuse bouche. Meh…
The wait drew in the next victim to go under the knife, the Marinated Scottish Salmon ‘Carpaccio’ with Yellow Frisee Salad with Salmon Roe, this dish was light, appropriately seasoned to bring out the savoury goodness of the expertly sliced salmon. A dish definitely worthy of a young chef’s repertoire.
the Handclosed pumpking casoncelli with taleggio cheese fondue and veal jus unfortunately failed to impress. I do confess my deep love for taleggio cheese in any sort of pasta. Unfortunately, this rendition did not cut it. The veal jus failing to gel with the subtle creaminess of the taleggio cheese and the sweetness of the pumpkin puree within; confusion on a plate.
Mains that followed were a feast for a gargantuan carnivorous appetite. First, the US prime beef short ribs with potatoes ‘charlotte’ and chestnuts fondant($42). The short ribs yielding to the slow cooking process like a fat kid to cake, cushiony soft, the individual slabs of flesh yielding to the knife like warm butter. The accompanying chestnut fondant contribute earthy flavors to the tantalizing mix.
The Slow cooked suckling pig ($42) served with celery root and wild berries sauce did not fare as well, to my dismay. The attractive golden sheen of the crackling atop the flesh, winning votes amongst my fellow diners; its mouthwatering bubbling uncovering a hint of charred flavor; however, what lay below was slightly disappointing with the overbearing porky flavor. I must admit the marriage of the celery root and acidity of the berry sauce with the protein definitely helped to cover up some of that.
Lamb Lovers will take to the Oven baked lamb rack ($44) from England with glazed pearl onions and grain mustard sauce. Cooked to pink perfection, this gamey meat yielded with zero contention to the knife. Its assertive flavors only enhanced by the slight sweetness of the mustard sauce drizzled over. Definitely the highlight of the night for me.
Finally, end the meal with the White Chocolate and Coffee ‘Parfait’ with Espresso Sauce and Hazelnut Meringue ($14); the play of flavors, textures and colors on the plate are sure to cause a swirl of emotions. I first met the dish with much contempt, as do I contemplate most plated dishes that appear all ‘dolled-up’ at restaurants; this time it was different, this dish surely impressed with the luxuriously smooth cubes of white chocolate mousse flavored with coffee, the sweet crunch of the hazelnut meringue playing up the perfect match of flavors between nuts and coffee. The Valrhona chocolate cake ($16) with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce was mediocre despite its provocative flashing of the lux ‘V’ branding. The following Alkaff Mansion Tiramisu ($14) ending the night on a low with its lackluster flavoring.
Below are the dinner items from the ‘first chance’ that was granted to Alkaff Mansion. Canapes which I hardly recall the details to, except for the extraordinary foie gras tartlets.
Appetisers, the Marinated Scottish Salmon ‘Tartare’ with Yellow Frisee Salad with Salmon Roe which similar to my latter experience was spot on in terms of seasoning, the minced up form of salmon allowing the marinade’s flavors to shine through better.
Mains: The US prime beef short ribs once again, was miles apart to the tasting portions in terms of gastronomical satisfaction. This could have perhaps used a couple more hours of braising, the flesh slightly tougher than I would have liked it.
As far as consistency goes, Alkaff Mansion has much improvement to be made in this department. Without a doubt, the ambience here is attractive, so much so that people are blindsided to the quality of the food here given its price point. However, if food standards were to continue in the light of the night where second chances were granted, I would be proud to promote Alkaff as the go-to and fail safe destination for an affirmative wedding proposal dinner. But until then, I will only take my chances with that.
Baker & Cook
DB Bistro Moderne
Wild Honey 2
Tarafuku Japanese buffet
Verve Bar and Bistro
Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar
Hansang Korean Charcoal BBQ
Jaan par André
Universal Bar and Restaurant
Little Part 1 Cafe
Belgian Beer Cafe
Rostang at the Atlantis
Almaz by Momo
Le Pain Quotidien
Lime Tree Cafe
Fundamentally-flawed is Lee Sihan. 26 going on 27, she is a dessert enthusiast,
food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef currently working in Sydney.
Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe
follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen