Italian

All posts in the Italian category

il Cielo

Published October 8, 2017 by piggie

It was with much pleasure that me and my two dining partners were at Hilton Hotel’s Italian restaurant il Cielo for their Japanese Degustazione Tasting Menu on a Friday evening. We were literally offered the best seat in the restaurant with an awesome view of the pool and ION Sky in the prominent background.

il Cielo, which means ‘The Sky’ in Italian, is located on the top level (Level 24) of Hilton Singapore. They have recently welcome Japanese Chef Yohhei Sasaki of Aomori as their head chef some 4 months ago, and he rejuvenated an entire new menu with a Japanese touch! Chef Sasaki isn’t new to Singapore, having previously helmed Forlino at One Fullerton, and had honed his skill at Michelin stars restaurants in Tuscany and Lombardia, and of course, Tokyo.

To start with, I have to admit I am quite unfamiliar with Italian cuisine apart from pizza, pasta, Gelato, and Tiramisu. From what I know, Italian cuisine doesn’t sell that kind of presentation a glamourous French cuisine does, and at best, we can probably expect Mediterranean ingredients to be used. But Chef Sasaki is able to fusion all that. Being Japanese, he possesses a meticulous aspiration on quality and setting, integrating Japanese ingredients into Italian cooking, and presenting the dishes in very eye-watering manner.We were promptly served bread assortment upon seated, and I believed I tried every single variety there. I must say, although these bread aren’t the spotlight, they tasted absolutely great. The crispiness, fluffiness of respective bread naturally offer a very interesting flavour that I feel, anything better would have to be straight out from the oven. Olive oil was also provided to offer an option to appreciate the bread in typical Italian’s way.

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche is a single, bite-size hors d’œuvre. Over here, there are some macarons, to be savour as it is, or can be dipped into the accompanied sauce for an alternate flavour. Also on the wooden platter are Burrata cheese with cured meat, topped with caviar and roes. This was my first time trying Burrata cheese actually, and I was overwhelmed with its texture, its complexing taste with the cured meat and caviar was absolutely marvellous!

Carpaccio di Kinmedai

Carpaccio di Kinmedai has got to be one of Chef Sasaki’s most notable signatures, comprising Kinmeidai Carpaccio, Seaweed Tuile, Madeira wine dressing, and graced with pink grapefruit snow. Carpaccio is a Venice invention of thinly sliced raw meat or fish usually served as appetiser. Right here, Chef Sasaki uses typical Japanese ingredients to re-create it with a touch of Japanese flair, somewhat refreshing in my humble opinion, and what absolutely memorable was when Chef Sasaki personally sprinkled the pink grapefruit powder in front of us, it created an instant mist that reminiscent the cloud, and with the green seaweed tuile representing the earth, what an awesome impression of heaven and earth!

Spaghetti ai Ricci di Mare

il Cielo’s spaghetti is specially house made, and tasted al dente. Nevertheless, the focus is definitely on the sea urchin, which hailed from Hokkaido. I understand from the chef that the restaurant is also using ingredients from his home town Aomori as well as from Sanriku region, the latter famous for the Japanese serial Amachan (あまちゃん). In addition, the spaghetti is blended with Sardinian bottarga, a type of salted, cured fish roe, as well as a zest of Yuzu. Overall, this is a beautifully fusion Japanese and Italian cuisine at its very best, it’s savoury but not overpowering.

Giapponese Orata Grigliata

The main course is a choice between Giapponese Orata Grigliata (Grilled Japanese Seabream) or Costina di Manzo ‘Toriyama Wagyu A4’. The latter comprises of caramelized Toriyama wagyu A4 short ribs, sauteed saffron risotto, lemon gel, with Italian Parsley sauce, while our chosen grilled seabream came with Portobello mushroom, sauteed Porcini risotto, with green tea crumbles. But whichever option you chose, both courses involve risotto, and again, the Japanese ingredients here seamlessly integrated with Italian risotto in generating a rather unique flavour, at least I can say that for the Giapponese Orata Grigliata I tried. The tender mushrooms are tastefully sauteed yet not excessively salty, while the leek tasted so fresh I could feel the moisture inside was as juicy as I can taste from a freshly pluck. The crispy rice crumbles provides additional dimension to the seabream, which was truly delicious even without the sauce. I need to reiterate, the risotto here is certainly the best I have ever tried, far far better than what I had tried from a certain local celebrity chef here.

La Sfera

To cap a fine evening, dessert was La Sfera (The Sphere), and you think it’s just a perfectly rounded ice cream? It’s actually sorbet. But it ain’t ordinary sorbet, it’s a Lemon sorbet coated in Yuzu sphere and Ricotta Cheese Espuma with Acacia honey gel. First and foremost, it’s visually a flashy interpretation, giving me a static impression of our galaxy surrounding the sun. But most significantly, it was absolutely appetising, suppressing my burp and by then a bloating stomach with its citrus zest.

Our meal was also accompanied by three glasses of Italian wine in 2015 Lunae Colli di Luni Vermentino (Liguria), 2015 Valpolicella, Rio Albo, Ca’ Rugate (Veneto), and 2012 Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Reyna, Michele Chiarlo (Piedmont).

Apart from the bread assortments and the Amuse Bouche, all the courses we tried here are actually Chef Sasaki’s signatures. I have to confess my vocabulary skill ain’t doing sufficient justice to the quality of the food here, in part complemented by the crew’s excellent service. They took the trouble to explain every dishes, but frankly speaking, most of the names are strangers to me and I needed to Google them before I can pen this post, and even then, I probably missed out a lot, and quite humbly, many blog posts you can find on il Cielo (under Chef Sasaki’s tenure) are more well written than yours truly’s. The waitress, as well as Chef Sasaki himself, asked us on the food quality after the meal. Well, what could we say? Terrific! I also understand from the waitress that il Cielo’s bookings have picked up significantly ever since Chef Sasaki’s arrival, and he thrives to revise his menu every couple of months to entice diners to return.

Last but not least, before ending this post, I understand some Italian cuisine evangelist may be critical of such fusion concept of losing authenticity. Well, firstly, il Cielo still serves traditional Italian cuisine. Secondly, evolution is an important aspect in culinary scene, particular for the French, notably at the pinnacle of all cuisines in the world. Even modern day Japanese cuisines are very much modelling after the French, with some innovation of their own. So long as the foundation of the cuisines is retained, anything else should be regarded as creativity. Even Leonardo da Vinci might not be the genius he is if he was restricted by conventionality.

il Cielo
Level 24, 581 Orchard Road
Hilton Hotel
Singapore 238883
Tel: +65 67303395
Website: http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/singapore/hilton-singapore-SINHITW/dining/il-cielo.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hiltonsingapore/
Email: ilcielo@hilton.com

Opening Hours:
Mon~Fri: 12:00hr – 14:15hr, 19:00hr – 22:15hr
Sat: 19:00hr – 22:15hr

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Tino’s Pizza Cafe 堤諾比薩

Published March 22, 2017 by piggie

I only get to know about Tino’s Pizza through Tiong Bahru Plaza’s promotion, and its premise there is well hidden in the new annex area that I would have otherwise probably not getting inside unless I can see any shop that draws my attention.

Initially, I thought it was the franchise from some European country but I was rather surprise to find out its origin. Guess where? Taiwan! So that explains the traditional Chinese name on its sign board. Quite interesting isn’t it? But how good can a Taiwanese Pizza gets?

Me and my dining companion initially intended to share a regular size pizza. Oh, wait. Tino’s Pizza has a very fascinating way in terming the size of their pizzas. They offer their pizzas in either Neapolitan or Roman, which literally means Thick crust and Thin Crust respectively. The fact that the former is sliced into 6 pieces and the latter 8 pieces, as well as more costly for the Roman version, could very well means the latter should be of larger size.

Just then, my dining companion saw a different promotion leaflet on another table, offering personal pizza set meal with a drink (soft drink, iced/hot black tea or Americano) for only S$9.90++ (weekday lunch time only), which of course, let us try two different flavours. That sounds like a good idea! We ordered a Mr. Tino and a Sicily Seafood Pizza each. Oh, by the way, I had their iced black tea while my dining companion a hot Americano, and their black tea was served in a conventional bubble tea plastic cup, sealed of course. First sign of a Taiwanese proprietor. Take note, their black tea is plain tea, no sugar, though I suppose you can add sugar or syrup as you wish, but I couldn’t be bother with that.

Mr. Tino

Mr. Tino, as the name suggests, is their signature pizza. It comprises chicken or beef bacon and pepperoni, oyster mushrooms, capsicums, shredded onions, oregano and black olives. The pizza looks simple, but the ingredients are evenly spread, and I found the taste was remarkable. And if you require some extra cheese or chili flakes, they are readily available on the table.

Sicily Seafood

Sicily Seafood pizza offers an oceanic taste completed with tuna, calamari, shrimps, capsicum, basil, and padano. The highlight is the use of basil in bringing out a mint taste to the pizza, and I thought I found the seafood reasonably fresh too!

Tino’s pizza range is not really plenty, but they do have some interesting flavour, such as what I would call dessert pizza, yes, sweet pizza with honey, fruits, oreo etc. You just have to give them credit for the creativity!

Mad for Garlic

Published August 21, 2015 by piggie

I was brought to Mad for Garlic on the NDP promotion, a buy 1 get 1 free offer for pasta or pizza. You can have a mixture of both, but naturally, the cheaper one will be the one free.

This is my first visit to this Korean-inspired Italian restaurant, and although I have no love or hate relationship with garlic, I must put it straight that contrary to my perception, not all dishes in Mad for Garlic are heavily garlic infused, some actually came without garlic.

Lobster Cream Pasta, $23.50 ++

Lobster Cream Pasta, $23.50 ++

I have to begin with their Lobster Cream Pasta, for reason I shall elaborate shortly afterward. This pasta came with garlic cream sauce along with lobster meat and fish roe. I’m giving it a thumbs up for its creamy texture and rich milky taste I personally favour. And I told my dining buddy, this is probably the second best pasta I ever tasted, and I still miss the pasta we enjoyed together in Cebu’s Eden Resort.

However, my impression was promptly overrun by their Ham & Sausage Pizza. Don’t get me wrong, nothing’s wrong with the pasta, it’s just that this pizza is simply overwhelming!

Ham & Sausage Pizza, $22.50 ++

Ham & Sausage Pizza, $22.50 ++

To be honest, I didn’t carry any expectation over their pizza, and it certainly didn’t look outstanding at all. But it has the right level of crisp, the thickness (or rather, the thin-ness), along with sausage, ham, bacon, onion, mushroom, spicy black pepper, as well as sweet white sauce, which truly made this pizza heavenly! They genuinely understand what makes a pizza great, and by using common ingredients, turned this pizza exceptional. It was so awesome it absolutely overpowered my impression over their otherwise excellent lobster pasta!

2nd Visit

BBQ Chicken Ranch Pizza, $21.50++

BBQ Chicken Ranch Pizza, $21.50++

Our 2nd visit comes over a year later, another 1-for-1 NDP promotion in 2016. This time round, I was determined to try something different, and ordered a BBQ Chicken Ranch Pizza, which came with spicy grilled chicken, cheese, vegetables, and most significantly, hot BBQ sauce. I have to say the grilled chicken was rather tender, it really brings out the flavour of the pizza along with the BBQ sauce, still, one of the better one I have ever tried, but slightly inferior to their Ham & Sausage pizza in my opinion (because I am such a cheese lover!).

Seafood Herb Oil Pasta, $21.50++

Seafood Herb Oil Pasta, $21.50++

Our next order was Seafood Herb Oil Pasta, which included mussels with three herbs, zucchini, spinach, anchovies, and spaghetti in mussel stock and white wine sauce. The taste is rather unique, with a strong flavour of herb, and maybe not for those who can’t take that aroma.

Mad for Garlic
3 Temasek Blvd, #02-300/301
Suntec City Mall
Singapore 038983
Tel: 6238 1930

Opening Hours:
Sun – Thur: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 11.30am – 11:00pm

Savour 2013

Published April 13, 2013 by piggie

Savour EDM_Generic

Appetite_FebMany thanks to Appetite Magazine, I was able to make Savour 2013 this year with a pair of Savour Lounge Passes to interact with the sumptuous gastronomy that many established chefs brought from all over the world and savour them inside air-conditioned lounge with free flow beverages!

First and foremost, I was impressed by the ticket sales, where Savour Pass for many sessions were sold out, particularly for the weekend. However, does these people really knew what they were paying for? A Savour Pass is only valid for entry to the Gourmet Market, where they can view and purchase produces but cannot enter the Gourmet Village, where the main actions really are, and where one can savour the many excellent cuisines offered by renowned chefs as well as taking part in cooking workshops at the Gourmet Auditorium helmed by them. This is clearly specified by the organiser, but I can’t help suspecting many simply didn’t bother to read the (not so) fine print. In my opinion, the Savour Pass is simply not worth buying, at the very least, it shouldn’t cost more than the Savour dollar enclosed.

Having said that, let’s begin our gastronomy adventures!

We arrived at Savour Village around 5.45pm, there were hardly any queue at all, so the privilege of priority queue for Savour Lounge Pass holders was rather redundant. Soon as we entered the village, I suggested a lite drink to start off our gastronomy journey, which my companion gleefully agreed. I had a white Tyrrell’s wine while my friend sipped some Taiwanese Lychee beer. Afterall, given a pair of Savour Lounge Passes, we should utilise it to the optimal 😛 However, we were told, that once we stepped inside Savour Lounge 1, we had to stick to it, and could not venture into Lounge 2, but anyway, the beverages served would be the same across both lounges despite a slightly different theme setting. I guessed it was one way to segregate the crowd. And I probably preferred Lounge 1’s setting anyway.

Bo Innovation
#15 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants
#52 World’s 100 Best Restaurants

X-treme Long Bao ($6)

X-treme Long Bao ($6)

We did not stay long inside the lounge, so as to maximise our time with those heavenly cuisines. We started with Bo Innovation, obviously the star attraction of Savour 2012 & 2013. Michelin 2-Star celebrity chef Alvin Leung, otherwise known as Demon Chef, is excellent in playing along extreme visual stimulation with his devilish dishes such as Dead Garden, Sex in the City, and X-treme Long Bao (right). Chef Alvin did not bring the first two cuisines to Singapore this year, but here’s X-treme Long Bao. I did not try this personally, my friend told me it tasted very different from conventional Xiao Long Bao, however, she could not describe the complex taste in detail, but apparently, she wasn’t very impressed. I play with a little camera trick here, does it looks like cat’s eye? LOL!

Chicken With Rice

Bo Chicken Rice ($10)

Anyway, we also tried their Bo Chicken Rice (a.k.a. Chicken With Rice), partly, we were expecting magical taste from Alvin’s cuisine and we thought this could be a bit filling for our empty tummies, particularly this being our first encounter with molecular food. Secondly, I owed Alvin my inspiration in acquiring this opportunity visiting Savour 2013. This is basically cooked with yellow chicken stock and served with abalone jelly. I was a little disappointed with this to be honest, the jelly certainly did not taste anywhere near an abalone, and the rice just tasted like mixing rice with egg yolk. Not that the presentation was as eye-catching as his other dishes anyway. We were unimpressed.

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, South Africa
#57 World’s 100 Best Restaurants

Seared Scallop, Aerated Scallop and Dill Vichysoisse, Barley and Squid Ink Crumble ($10)

Seared Scallop, Aerated Scallop and Dill Vichysoisse, Barley and Squid Ink Crumble ($10)

Our next venture was the result of a peep from the next table diners’ order, Seared Scallop, Aerated Scallop and Dill Vichysoisse, Barley and Squid Ink Crumble by Margot Janse of The Tasting Room in South Africa.

The seared scallop looked so tantalising that we consented we ought to give it a try! The thinly crust of the seared Hokkaido scallop was a joy to consume, with its internal texture remained tender. And the creamy vichysoisse was a great  combination together with the crispy crumble, offering a diversification to the taste bud one normally expecting from only a plain scallop. It’s a long time since I last tried squid ink in Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan. To bring these two Hokkaido delight together by a South African master was truly wonderful. Needless to say, it’s tasty too! I had tried some African cuisine in Mauritius before. For my companion, it was an eye opener, even though I don’t really regard this as genuine African cuisine.

OSIA, Singapore

Lychee Frozen Martini, King Crab ($8)

Lychee Frozen Martini, King Crab ($8)

Lychee was perhaps my friend’s delight, but king crab is definitely without any doubt. I wasn’t surprise when she ordered this from OSIA, an Australia-Singapore collaboration between chefs Scott Webster and Douglas Tay, who won a few rare accolades. This order fusioned together fried crab meat and lychee martini. As expected, king crab’s meat tasted a bit bland, and it had to depend on the flour skin to spice it up a little, while on the other hand, lychee juice certainly sweetened the frozen martini, the end product was a rather smooth martini shaved ice.

Gunther’s, Singapore
#43 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

Cold Angel Hair Pasta, Oscietra Caviar ($18)

Cold Angel Hair Pasta, Oscietra Caviar ($18)

This is yet another dish apart from Bo Innovation’s Xtreme Long Bao that I can still recall from last year’s Savour, and in my opinion, the best dish I had for the evening! The pasta used here was the thin type, known as Angel Hair, almost as thin as rice vermicelli, in a way, I found that a masterstroke by Chef Gunther Hubrechsen of Gunther’s Singapore, because this thin pasta was able to absorb the fragrant taste of truffle oil thoroughly, and the Oscietra caviar was sweet, bearing a good reminiscence of ocean flavour like that off a fresh salmon. I don’t usually like cold meal, but this chilled cold pasta was here flavoured with truffle and Oscietra Caviar, this is the best pasta I ever tasted! Going for $60 at his restaurant, it’s consider a steal at $18, nevermind if it may or may not be a portion of  the original serving. I wasn’t a fan of foie gras, certainly don’t know how to appreciate it. So this day, I had the privilege to try the two best ingredients of the world, an absolutely perfect match of the best ingredients on land and from sea! Merely a couple of weeks back, I had some Salmon Rillettes with Caviar, but those caviar were almost tasteless comparing to this. Well done, Gunther! On the contrary, my dining companion was quite critical of it, she found the smell of the caviar too strong, something like stink fishy smell, I would rather use the term fresh and oceanic to describe it though.

Wild Honey, UK – 1 Michelin Star
Arbutus, UK – 1 Michelin Star

Squid and Mackerel 'Berger', Salad of Sea Greens, Moroccan Lemon Peel ($12)

Squid and Mackerel ‘Berger’, Salad of Sea Greens, Moroccan Lemon Peel ($12)

Slow Cooked 1824 Beef 'Cottage Pie', Hot Smoked Potato ($14)

Slow Cooked 1824 Beef ‘Cottage Pie’, Hot Smoked Potato ($14)

Arbutus and Wild Honey are two UK restaurants helmed by Anthony Demetre (together with manager Will Smith), each with 1 Michelin Star. We were quite fascinated by how he ‘merged’ squid and mackerel into a ‘burger’ and ordered this dish. My companion was attracted by his Slow Cooked 1824 Beef ‘Cottage Pie’, Hot Smoked Potato as it was recommended in the event festive guide hence she also purchased this. I suppose she’s hungry for some beef, especially in such gourmet event, she probably thought it would be a big miss if she didn’t try some best beef cuisine from world renowned chefs.

Let’s start with the squid and mackerel ‘burger’. It was very different from what shown on the event guide, the presence of seaweed was quite unexpected. I suspect Chef Demetre replaced some green vegetables salad that he had problem acquiring here, but that somehow fell in line with the theme ‘sea green’ in the title of this cuisine. That’s rather secondary, the chief objective was the burger itself. Instead of calling it a burger, I would say it resembled more of a meat patty, a thick one at that. It was basically a mackerel patty filled with squid fragment inside, not a composite. The lemon peel was a little delight, adding a finishing touch by providing a thin citrus sweetness to the salad, but otherwise, the patty tasted a little plain, which honestly, was natural for most mackerel dishes.

As for the beef ‘Cottage Pie’, I was rather bemused by the title, why 1824? I suspect it has something to do with some recipe from Mary Randolph’s cookbook “The Virginia House-Wife” published that year. Randolph, by the way, was Thomas Jefferson’s cousin. My friend complimented that the beef was soft, I don’t know whether she really meant it when she said ‘melt in the mouth’. She’s very stingy on compliments, so I take it that it’s good! However, it must be noted that the end product looked very different from the brochure.

Astrid Y Gaston, Peru
#35 World’s 50 Best Restaurants

Hot 7 Cold Combination: Traditional Fryede Fish with Milk, Chocolate & Andean Grains Chupetes & Jalea de Pescado with Iced Dulce de Leche Lollypops ($18)

Hot & Cold Combination: Traditional Fryede Fish with Milk, Chocolate & Andean Grains Chupetes & Jalea de Pescado with Iced Dulce de Leche Lollypops ($18)

The accompanied dessert

The accompanied dessert

This is interesting! I had tried cuisine from almost all continents in the world, but not South America. Like it or not, I do not see much signature cuisine from North America, which basically referring to US & Canada, who were readily embracing food culture from Europe. So, LATAM’s food culture is really the defining thing, of course, whether one likes it or not, is another matter entirely. I was eager to try out one of the best restaurants in Peru, if not South America. Astrid Y Gaston of Peru was the sole America flag bearer here! We witnessed an event staff enjoying a plate of the Hot & Cold Combination while we were having cuisines from Wild Honey and Arbutus, and decided to add ourselves a little Latin fanfare. It actually came in two portion, hot, and cold. The hot portion was the main course, the cold a dessert. It’s very difficult to translate the ingredients, basically, Jalea de Pescado is a Peruvian cuisine usually meant fish fried with salt, pepper, and onion. Andean Grains are something like those breakfast grains, but usually hardly found in this part of the world. Chupetes is the Spanish word for lollipop, right here, the closest example I can quote, is something like Kellogg’s Coco Pops, not those candy lolly. Simply put, the main dish contained onion pickles, fried potato, and fried red snapper. While the dessert was an ice dulce de leche with Andean grain lollipops.

Chef Emilio Macias’ clever use of sauces and dressing was a midas touch, adding much desired latino heat in his cuisine. The snapper was mildly spicy on the outside, and tender within. The fried potato was quite tastefully done, not a bit of it tasted bland. Whereas the onion pickles had been masked off its strong pungent with the clever use of dressing. Overall, this was a very appeasing entree in general!

Ice Cream & Cookie Co

Ice Cream Cookies

Ice Cream Sandwich ($6)

Up till now, my friend and I decided to call a little break, to walk about for some digestion before we indulge in more cuisines. Otherwise, it would be difficult to savour the goodness with a relatively full tummy. So we had ice latte from a Nescafe kiosk with the coupons inside our given tote bag before proceeding to the Gourmet Market for a bit of shopping. She then came across this Ice Cream & Cookie Co kiosk and attracted by their Ice Cream Sandwich, which comprised of two cookies buffering an ice cream. She had a chocolate cookies with vanilla ice cream, and was told to wait 5 minutes before consuming because it was frozen hard. We waited for more than 15 minutes and still having difficulty cutting the cookies with a steel fork, couldn’t imagine my tooth! Personally, I didn’t find anything special about it, the cookies was rather normal, the ice cream was nice, certainly better than Swensen’s, but nothing exceptional.

When we thought we had enough digestion, we returned to Savour Lounge 1 and stuck there until the event ended. While there, we tried a few other cuisines as we were appreciating wine. I had a few glasses of Tyrrell’s red wine and kept myself busy filling up many contest coupons while she was getting the food.

Mikuni, Singapore

Truffle Kampachi ($14)

Truffle Kampachi ($14)

Almost all renowned chefs struggled to bring their delicacies to Savour as close to their original visual presentation as from their restaurant. But one outstanding visual coup must be that from Mikuni of Fairmount Hotel, Singapore. For this cuisine, Chef Moon Kyung-Soo probably didn’t re-produce the exact form as in his restaurant (usual price $28), he possibly outshone it. Served in a Mikuni tin can, slivers of yellow tail lightly dressed with rice vinegar, truffle essence, light soy, black volcanic salt and garnished with micro-greens, it probably drew more creative juice than most chefs who simply do with plastic plate or disposables. But of course, the importance was, the sashimi was very delicious too! This dish also came with a tiny cup of sake, but my companion wasn’t touching it. For one moment, I thought of finishing it. But my friend cautioned me since I was already drinking red wine, the composite might be rocking. Very well then, it’s not that I was deliberately wasting food.

Stellar@1-Altitude, Singapore

Stellar Grill ($16)

Stellar Grill ($16)

She also had this Stellar Grill from Stellar@1-Altitude, Singapore. It was another recommendation from the event guide, comprised of smoked beef short rib, served with Pommes Gruyere (fried cheese?) and Condiments (sauce?). I am not a beef eater, I guess I was probably too drunk to remember what she commented on this order 😛

JAAN, Singapore
#22 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants

55 Smoked Organic Egg ($10)

55° Smoked Organic Egg ($10)

Yet another recommendation from the event guide, I was not sure whether the rosemary-smoked organic egg was heated at a temperature of 55°, but it was certainly sporting a less appealing presentation than that from the brochure which usually cost $44++. It was served with smoked ratte potatoes, winter mushrooms and chorizon Iberico. I didn’t try that by the way, my companion did.

Sjômagasinet, Sweden
1 Michelin Star

Wagners Seafood Salad with Parmesan Dressing ($12)

Wagners Seafood Salad with Parmesan Dressing ($12)

I love Seafood, but how a Swedish Michelin Star chef interprets it would be interesting. It was indeed exceptional, not so much on the seafood itself, but on the salad instead, which comprised of pine nuts, raisins, bacon, and Permigiano Reggiano (I guess that means Parmesan cheese dressing). The salad gave the seafood a fruity and nutty touch, it was an absolutely accommodating combination, offering seafood dishes a different dimension! However though, my companion expressed a distaste for it, I suspect the seafood was probably fried with garlic, which she really dread.

Chocolate Brioche ($6)

Chocolate Brioche ($6)

We also ordered the Chocolate Brioche from Sjômagasinet, with that, we finished off every single Savour dollar in our possession. This was also a recommended dessert. However, I was forced to finish it in a gulp that I hardly recall the taste of it as it was already 11pm then, the closing hour of Savour. I didn’t even realise it was that late! Pity.. Pity.. But looking at the picture, it must be quite delicious.

To wrap up our culinary journey, I have to confess some cuisines were rather overrated despite their outlook. We had our disagreement over some dishes, but that’s totally natural, given the fact we have different taste for food. But in some cases, we agreed that even dishes from Michelin starred chefs can be off-coloured. On our way home, my companion commented that it was an eye opener, yet she won’t be anticipating next year’s event. I couldn’t help but to agree. Take for example, a recent Hong Kong Michelin Star restaurant opened a new franchise in Singapore, I tried before from their HK outlet but didn’t find it exceptional, despite it currently drawing long queue willing to wait for hours before been served. In fact, some of our much cheaper hawkers’ cooking tasted better to be honest, what they lacked are mainly the presentation. Personally, I have a little regret that some chef didn’t bother to put up pictures of their own cuisines during the event, and that Alain Passard did not make Savour this year. Alain is a 3 Michelin Star chef, and it will be fantastic if we can savour his costly cuisine at discounted rate here. But nevertheless, Savour is still a good experience!

Pontini @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

Published December 6, 2012 by piggie

01_Pontini_SAM_0726Complimentary of Appetite Magazine, I have the honour to patronise one of the best Italian restaurants in Singapore, Pontini @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront. I was given a $100 voucher, and was struggling to decide whether to go for a-la-carte or their Executive Lunch, alas, the value of the later was simply too irresistible..

The ambience at Pontini was rather grand, with the restaurant relatively busy on a quiet weekday afternoon. First and foremost, forget about the famous Squid Ink Tagliolini or whatever memorable entrees you might have tried here previously, there’s a new chef at helm, Italian Chef Daniele Sarno, who introduced a few signature dishes of his own. But because we ordered Executive Lunch, we didn’t get to savour much of those.

I’m not sure what was the difference between their 2-course menu or 3-course menu. Difference being the dessert or soup? But anyway, we went for the 3-course set and tried everything on the buffet table, which basically included the Antipasti Buffet, a main course, dessert buffet, soup, and hot beverage.

Antipasti Buffet Selection

Antipasti Buffet Selection

The Antipasti Buffet Selection was rather sumptuous, with promptly refilled selection of New Zealand mussels, Tiger Prawns, Salmon, Tuna, Italian Cheese, Ham, Prawn Salad, Vegetable Salad, Sauteed Mushrooms, Mutton etc. In fact, it was so filling that I almost mistook it as a main course. I’d love to have more rounds of mussels and Tiger Prawns, if not the need to conserve capacity for my most beloved entree… desserts! Anyway, freshness was without question for the antipasti buffet, and apart from the mushrooms which probably required some level of processing, all other selection could hardly reveal the skill of the chef.

Linguine

Linguine

My main course was a Linguine, a “Genovese” basil pesto, with potato and green beans. It was really a big plate, and please take my words at face value, I really mean the plate, not portion 😛 I deliberately chose this picture above to illustrate how ‘little’ was the portion, but given the filling antipasti buffet before hand, as well as a small loaf of sliced bread on the table, perhaps it was a small relief the linguine came in a manageable portion. Having said that, I am indirectly hinting I wasn’t really impressed by this entree. I was more keen to select Snapper Fillet from the menu, but since my partner opted for that, I thought I should order something else so we could reach out different dishes. I was not sure whether was it because I was already half full, but I found the Linguine tasted bland. The almost tasteless potatoes certainly didn’t help, and personally, I would have prefer more olive oil or garlic and spices, even mushrooms or some minced meat would have helped to bring in more flavour.

Pan-seared Snapper Fillet

Pan-seared Snapper Fillet

My partner’s Snapper Fillet main course was more tasty, the thinly fried crust retained the fresh texture of the fish, but nevertheless, still not quite the finished product I anticipated. It was served in tomato sauce with capers and black olive, it came with the look, I confess, somehow I was wondering, would a slice of lemon or lime instead of the tomato sauce added more appetizing factor? Make no mistake, it’s still nice, but perhaps I really wasn’t into Italian food 😛

Dessert Buffet

Dessert Buffet

06_Pontini_SAM_0736And for me, the Grand Finale… I really think Italians do best in dessert, and many of these here were really the very best I’d ever tried! Brownies, Coconut custard, Pecan custard, Tiramisu, and the Almond yogurt (couldn’t remember their actual names really) at the side, generally with just adequate amount of milk, that won’t cause too much nausea feeling in overdose. In other buffet, I usually could do with just one round of desserts, right here, I done two! And if there’s anything that could really bring me back here, I have to say, these are the ones!

Oh, I just remember I forgot to mention the soup. It wasn’t deliberate, anyway, I only tried the Cauliflower Soup, but that just as well summed up why I forgot it… nothing special.

Pontini
Grand Copthorne Waterfront
392 Havelock Road
Singapore 169663
Tel: 62331133

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Modesto’s @ Vivocity

Published June 7, 2012 by piggie

Many thanks to Vivocity & Modesto’s, I’m having a really hearty meal with my love ones! Even though the meal was largely complimentary, this post will not attempt to exaggerate the standard of the food.

For a start, we were promptly served a basket of bread, with olive oil and some unknown sauce. We didn’t order this, I don’t think it’s an appetiser, because we did order one. Nevertheless, the bread was warm and soft, and the olive oil spiced up a notch on the otherwise plain bread, I must confess I never thought these two would come in pair! I thought the dark sauce tasted like black soy sauce, but I couldn’t be sure.

Alette Di Pollo S$16.50

Alette Di Pollo is a chef’s recommendation not found on their main menu. Simply, it was deep-fried chicken wings and drumlets, marinated with home-made spicy marinade. I was surprise with the portion, I’m not complaining, but it was too much to go along with the other food we ordered, on any other given time, I would be pleased to finish it 🙂 Well, I still finished it, but the taste, of course, would have some discount under an almost full tummy! It would be helpful if there’s some picture for us to gauge the portion, but otherwise, its taste was quite unique, spicy as they claimed, with a right amount of sweetness that made it distinct from the usual KFC!

Fritto Misto S$24

We started with an appetizer in Fritto Misto, an assortment of deep-fried soft-shell crab, squid, silver bream, and prawns, served with tartar sauce. The flour coating were not over-fried so as to provide a soft texture over fresh seafood, we really enjoyed this dish!

Modesto’s is really famous for their traditional wood-fired pizza, of course whether nice or not, it’s subject to individual preference, and I was rather skeptical whether it was genuinely wood-fired, given the difficulty in acquiring fire wood in this part of the world and the long duration required for preparation. Anyway, for first timer especially, do try their pizza!

Salsiccia E Scamorza S$23.50

Modesto’s generally serves Mini (8″) and Regular (12″) size pizza, and Family (20″) size will only be available after 6pm. Salsiccia E Scamorza consists of tomato, mozzarella cheese, scamorza cheese, and pork sausages. I’m a cheese lover, but I got to confess I couldn’t really tell the difference between mozzarella and scamorza cheese. Nevertheless, the cheese was nice and rather generous, though we were puzzled on the pork sausages, which seen more like meat ball to me. For me, it’s sort of a disappointment, I thought I find the meat ball (or rather sausages) over salty, it could well be how it’s done in Italy, but it just ain’t my cup of tea.

Quattro Stagioni S$26.50

In my opinion, the Quattro Stagioni is much better! There’s no mini size for this pizza, but with Cooked Pork Ham, Mixed Seafood, Mushrooms, Black Kalamata Olives, Tomato, and Cheese, Quattro Stagioni offers a distinctive taste on the pizza, as if bringing forth the reminiscence of seasonal passion to a diner! Me and the old folks couldn’t help agreed the ingredients are quite contrasting to what we normally found in Pizza Hut, and to sum it in one word, superb!

3rd visit

DSC01121rAfter 3 long years, I got Modesto’s $20 voucher from Vivocity. Their outlet has since been re-located to Level 3, but still retained a partial view of Sentosa Island.

Alette Di Pollo, S$18++

Alette Di Pollo, S$18++

This time round, I still had Alette Di Pollo (now $18++), still tantalisingly delicious!

Costiera (regular), S$26++

Costiera (regular), S$26++

The only other order I had, was this 12″ Costiera pizza with prawns, squid, and crabsticks. Nothing to brag about the crabsticks, but I found the prawns and squid rather fresh. And the crisp pizza and melted cheese really made this a very enjoyable treat!

Modesto’s can now be found at:

Vivocity: 1 Harbourfront Walk #03-11, Vivocity, Singapore 098585

Tel (63769808)

Orchard Parade Hotel: 1 Tanglin Road #01-09/10, Orchard Parade Hotel, Singapore 247905

Tel (62357808)

Elizabeth Hotel: 24 Mount Elizabeth #01-05, The Elizabeth Hotel, Singapore 228518

Tel (67362808)