Friday, October 23, 2015
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Chef Ratha and his Black Sheep cafe is one of the favourite places I seek out when I need a comforting, nice French meal, without having to fuss with what one usually fusses about when one goes to eat at a French restaurant.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Au Petit Salut is one of the kingpins of the local French culinary scene for a long time. I have reviewed this once before, and have eaten there many, many times...mostly very happy with the food and service. I recently went back for an event, and sampled their fare.
Nice place...sitting in a colonial bungalow, by the Dempsey area. Very nice, plentiful parking slots. Within, a charming ambience.
The evening was hosted by The Hour Glass and DeBethune, who makes some of the most interesting watches in the market. With a banquet of perhaps 30 pax, I was impressed with the swiftness of the service, and the quality of the cooking...but I am letting the cat out of the bag.
First the amuse...
Norweigian King crab, served cold with avocado puree, radishes and tomato espuma. Delectable. The crab was delicate, sweet flavoured. Nice.
A second starter of winter vegetable volute was then served
Tasted like a kind of pumpkin soup, rich creamy. The light taste of the pumpkin shone through the soup.
The main course was a 400 day grain fed Wagyu ribeye, sauteed mushrooms and pommes mouseline
I found my cut of the ribeye had a sinew running through it...and kind of spoils the experience for me. But otherwise, the meat was quite nice. Smooth, rich, almost creamy wagyu, cooked medium rare and seared outside. The mushrooms were very nice, as was the whipped potato.
For desserts, I had creme brule
Chocholate flavoured. This made the grade, but was nothing special. The chocholate a bit thick and heavy.
Other than the cut of beef which a bit off side for me...I did check with my friend who sat opposite me who also had the beef, and he declared his cut perfect, I think Au Petit manage to retain a position amongst the top French restaurants in Singapore.
40C Harding Road
40C Harding Road
Monday, October 1, 2012
They say the French are the master chefs of the world. While I do not fully agree, as I subsribe to the multi master cuisines of the world...amongst them the French and Italians, but also Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian. But I do agree, the French know their food (and wine!), and it is often a delight to eat at an established French kitchen.
The Bistro du Sommelier has moved several times over its life. And I have always managed not to eat there until today, when some Australian friends who were visiting wanted French.
Quaint place, methinks. Upstairs a nice bar, which also doubles as a canteen like eating place. And downstairs, a nice restaurant. Located just a few doors from the Substation at Armenian Street, this little bistro has made its name amongst the local culinary scene for a while.
Only beef is available as mains during lunch, which served us fine...3 rather big lads can devour quite a bit of meat. So we decided on the 1.2kg steak to be shared amongst us. But first the starters...
The special for the day was baked figs topped with blue cheese
I always fancied figs as something eaten with cheese, but usually dried. This was fresh figs, baked with melted blue cheese on top. Very nice. The figs were a bit tart, ever so slightly acidic and sour on a base tast of sweet. The cheese was, of course, pungent, fragrant and creamy. I must say I rather liked it more than I thought I would have reading the menu.
We also had some absolutely gorgeous duck rilette.
This one is realy good. I mean really, seriously good. Spread on a nice crusty piece of bread that only the French can manage (is there a pun in the French word for bread = pain?)...marvellous. If it were up to me, I would order one serving per person.
And the piece de resistance...arrived after 45 minutes for medium rare...we were puzzled...the waitress, sweet and knowledgable as she was, could not answer us why it would take that long...other than to offer that the meat needed time to rest...
Anyway...looks gorgeous, smelled wonderful
The meat was tender, full flavoured. The sauteed onions provided a sweetness that I would have preferred not, but it was fine. Back to the meat...very very good. Beefy flavours, tender...I already said that, but this was really almost fork tender...very nice on the palate. Beautiful.
But the meat was fat...don't get me wrong, fat gives flavour. But I think perhaps this cut was a bit too much fat....we trimmed it away and figured perhaps 200g of fat...take away another 150g of bone, and we had just about 900g of meat to be shared. Quite enough for the 3 of us. I would have been delighted if the waitress whisked away the fat and toasted it into a crisp lard....but she didn't offer, and we didn't ask...and all the better for our cholesterol levels.
I sound like I didn't really enjoy the beef, but believe me, I really did. Very good steak.
But the dessert blew me away...
prunes, preserved in liqueur, served with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream and more liqueur poured over for good measure. The liqueur was wonderful...beautiful aroma, nice sweetness, but well tempered.
The prunes were pitted, but these were easy to remove as the flesh was so soft, and wonderfully soaked with the liqueur, it was a pleasure to swirl around with the tongue, and spit out the pit. Excellent dessert.
I didn't taste, but one of the trio ordered a profiterole...looked authentic...huge.
Truly a nice, relaxed atmosphere, almost like a French bistro in perhaps one of the quieter Arrondisment in Paris. Almost all the staff were French, and were many of the clients...lending more credibility to the atmosphere. Lovely place. Definitely worth visiting again.
Le Bistrot du Sommelier
Mon to Sat 12-3pm, and 6-11pm
53 Armenian St
Le Bistrot du Sommelier
Mon to Sat 12-3pm, and 6-11pm
Thursday, July 19, 2012
New places are sometimes interesting...the excitement of trying out a new place, with its promise of satisfying cuisine. One of my makan buddies noticed this new place sprouting out in Goldhill Square and thought it might be fun to try it out. So off we went, to the French inspired restaurant.
With the space for only 4 tables next to what seemed like a bakery, Kitchenette seems to be quite interesting. Freshly baked bread smells heavenly. We were ushered upstairs, to a rather spacious dining area, seating perhaps 40 easily.
The waitress told us the interesting space next door...combining a bar, an Italian styled cafe, a Thai restaurant is also owned by the same people. But at Kitchenette, the menu is French inspired. We began immediately...with a duck pate, a plate of French sausage and some Ceasar Salad.
The breads were, of course heavenly...very nicely made. And with the duck pate which was also expertly made, made a very nice starter.
The sausage was a bit less interesting...this was a huge sausage, sliced and plated with picked cucumbers and pearl onions. I found this to be quite ordinary, and can be easily surpassed by the offerings in many other delicatessens in the city.
The Ceasar's Salad with chicken was rather good, though. The vegetables were fresh, crunchy. The chicken nicely done...skinless breast meat, lightly steamed and then grilled. Nice shreds of cheese and a tasty, but light dressing.
On to the mains...I did not taste all the mains, but to give an idea of the variety, I show the photographs of the other mains eaten by my friends. First the steak
Looks nice. Ordered well done, and served to be what seemed to me to be well done.
The oxtail stew came in a small cup
Smelled good, the meat looked like it fell off the bone.
I had the braised lamb shank...a huge serving
The lamb was ultra tender...the meat fell from the bone at the slightest prod with the fork. Taste-wise it was mild. The braising liquid was not heavily spiced, and perhaps a touch of salt might highlight the taste a bit...though truth be told, I rather prefer it to be a touch light, so the quality of the meat can be savoured. And savoured it was...the meat was excellent. The serving a bit large.
Then came desserts, by which time, I was full, having eaten the leg of lamb...but we shared a chocholate tart and a tiramisu
The pastry was a bit hard, but the chocolate was rich, smothering within. Went well with the small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The tiramisu was rather delicious...home made style, served in a glass. Rich, well rounded taste, and a fitting end to a nice meal.
The wait staff were very friendly and nice, and best of all, the prices are rather affordable, with mains hovering around $20.
1 Goldhill Plaza #01-11
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Les Amis at Shaw...a veritable name in French cuisine in Singapore. I have been eating here since its inception when Justin Quek and Ignatius Chan were at the helm. Excellent excellent restaurant then. It want through a phase where the cuisine was a bit shakey, especially in the face of competition rising in the early 2000s. But recently, several tastings at the restaurant has restored my faith and love for their cuisine.
The evening's wine
When Parmigiani Fleurier asked Watchonista to organize a dinner event for collectors in Singapore to re-introduce the brand and celebrate their new partnership with The Hour Glass, Watchonista asked me to help and we decided to hold it at Les Amis.
Total of 24 guests. Private room upstairs. Dedicated wait staff. Dealing with Eileen Eng, the Guest Relations Manager was a delight...fast, responsive, and informative.
My photographs, purchased by Parmigiani Fleurier on the walls.
The wines proposed had some favourites like the Domaine Dujac Morey St-Denis, the Chablis Premier Cru from Daniel Dampt & Fils and the well loved Oremus Tokaji Aszu. But the Bruno Paillard NV Champagne proposed was unknown to me. I went with the sommalier suggestion for the champagne and it turned out brilliant.
But I am getting ahead of myself...the amuse bouche
Not sure what it was...the waiter did not explain when he served...I spoke to the head waiter later and asked for the dishes to be announced...which they duly complied.
The white was a Premier Cru chablis...very elegant on the nose, and elegant on the palate, dry, but a fine finish.
The first course asparagus
While not the Konig Asparagus I had in Germany, these were German, and quite large samples. Nicely cooked, marinated...and with a serving of uni, chips and Gribiche sauce. The uni was a tad little, and I hardly tasted the delicacy....wished it was larger. But the asparagus was fine.
Next an excellent pasta dish
Homemade pasta with Japanese shrimps and black truffle infused stock. The truffle was light and delicate, only a hint to perfume the sauce, but not overpowering. The Japanese shrimps were a delight...with the shells on, they were crisp and crunchy, and had a beautiful flavour. Very good with the pasta.
For my mains, I had the char grilled black Angus beef tenderloin with mushrooms, broccolini and pommes rissolees
A nice size piece of beef. Often in the high end French restaurants, the serving sizes follow the haute cuisine portions...very small. But this serving of beef was substantial. Beautifully cooked...medium rare as I requested, though the outside was not exactly charred. But really nice piece of beef. Went extremely well with the red selected. The red was the star of the evening.
Some of the guests preferrred fish, which looked beautiful, with some broth...I did not sample any.
And for desserts, a chocolate delice with rhubarb and elderflower ice cream
Superb. The delice was a rich dark chocolate with shards of crisp chocholate embedded for a more interesting texture. The ice cream was soft, rich, creamy, and was melting away as most of the guests were busy admiring the watches which was brought out on trays.
And the magnificent Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos by Oremus. Dark, a bit moody, but rich, sweet and delightful.
Truly an excellent meal. I was a little sad to know that two days after our dinner, the chef de cuisine Armin Leigteb was leaving to return to his native Austria...and I hope the Group's Executive Chef Galvin Lim who will take the helm from June will retain the excellent cuisine which is now synonymous with the Les Amis name. Gives me an excuse to return to sample Galvin's cuisine later.
1 Scotts Road, #02-16 Shaw Centre