Sunday, 25 December 2011

Brasserie Les Saveurs - Christmas Day Brunch

I celebrated Christmas Day by having brunch at the very swanky Brasserie Les Saveurs at St. Regis Hotel in Tanglin Road.  I have read great reviews about their champagne brunches and hence booked myself a table as early as 2 months back in preparation for Christmas.  I absolutely fell in love with the interior of the place.  It had a very warm yet classy feel to the ambience.  Check out the photo below taken from our table.
Our table all had the Champagne Brunch with free flowing Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut (SGD 188).  They also had a Non-Alcoholic Brunch (SGD 158) available, but since it's  holiday season, there's absolutely no excuse to refuse getting tipsy in the afternoon.
The Champagne: Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut
The brunch comes with a Seafood on Ice Buffet.  The variety of fresh seafood was absolutely breath taking.  I loved the oysters. lobster tail, and abalone.  The seafood were all fresh, fresh, fresh.  This seafood buffet already made this trip worthwhile!
Seafood on Ice Buffet - Oysters Galore
Seafood on Ice Buffet -Alaskan King Crab Legs, Lobster Tail, Mussels, and Prawns
Seafood on Ice Buffet - Sashimi Station
There were also several Passed Around Appetizers which were offered by the chef on each table.  I was only able to take a photograph of 2 of the appetizers.  There were some hits and misses with the appetizers but overall they had very delectable choices.  And I do enjoy the novelty of having someone come over your table to offer a bite size dish.
Passed Around Appetizer - Truffle Risotto
Passed Around Appetizer - Asparagus and Mushrooms
The rest of the entrees were served as part of a degustation menu.  The first of the degustation menu was L'Oeuf au Caviar, which is egg with French caviar served with finger toast.  The presentation was very pretty.  Taste wise, it was nice and light -- like a fancy scrambled egg seasoned or salted with the caviar.
L'Oeuf au Caviar
Next up was Le Foie Gras.  The foie gras was served with a pumpkin puree and root vegetables on the side.  I thought the foie gras could have used more  salt and searing as the outer layer was still a bit soft in my opinion.  Foie gras of course is still foie gras, so still a very enjoyable dish.
Le Foie Gras
The soup served was Le Marron, made of chestnut, pancetta, croutons, and chives.  This was a very nice and creamy savory soup without the heaviness.  Finished this up in a few gulps.
Le Marron
Le Saint Pierre was a poached dory with zucchini and tomatoes.  The colors on the plate were beautiful, though taste wise I thought this was the most forgettable dish of the menu.
Le Saint Pierre
The main course was La Viande, where you have a choice of Turkey, Lamb or Beef served with vegetables and winter black truffle.  I had the Turkey, though at this point I was so full that I could not enjoy this anymore.  So I will not comment any further on the taste as I was too full to really savor this dish.
La Viande - Turkey
No matter how unbelievably full I get, I always have room for dessert.  And boy did the Dessert Buffet look absolutely appetizing!  The whole table looked like  sugar wonderland, enough to make a child (or adult) giddy with excitement.  I wanted to try out each and every single dessert, but unfortunately my stomach capacity would not allow me to do so.  I had a try of the Lemon Meringue Angel and the Chocolate Souffle.  The Lemon Meringue had black berries in the center which added more depth to the dessert.  The Chocolate Souffle was really delicious -- it had cinnamon and nutmeg to add a festive twist to this divine dish.
The Dessert Buffet
Lemon Meringue Angel
Chocolate Souffle
I was very happy with our visit to Brasserie Les Saveurs this Christmas.  The brunch was on the pricey side, but the quality of the food (especially the seafood and dessert buffet) were more than enough to compensate for the price.  If I find myself spending Christmas in Singapore again next year, I will definitely be eating Christmas Day brunch here again.

Brasserie Les Saveurs
29 Tanglin Road
The St. Regis Hotel
Tel #: 6506 6888

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Goose Station - Degustation Experience in Manila (Manila Series)

I have been wanting to try out The Goose Station's degustation menu for quite some time now, so I was more than happy to oblige when a friend invited me for a pre-holiday dinner there.  We had the Signature Menu, which is a 7-course degustation menu that costs Php 2,500 or SGD 74.

You will have to forgive the quality of the photos below as I left my camera and had to take these with a friend's iPhone.

The first course is called Snacks, composed of Foie Gras Cone, The Chip, Jamon Croqueta, and Mais con Yelo.  I thought the Foie Gras Cone was excellent and I loved the texture of the foie gras mousse paired with the crispy cone.  The rest of the snacks sadly were disappointingly ordinary.
Foie Gras Cone
(R to L) The Chip, Jamon Croqueta, Mais con Yelo
Next up is the Caviar Surprise with Alaskan King Crab, White Asparagus Flan, Prawn Jelly, and Avruga Caviar.  This was a pleasant and light dish.  Quite liked the texture and overall flavor.
Caviar Surprise
Next course was the Eggs Benedict.  This was a poached egg with hollandaise sauce, truffle oil, and bacon tuile.  I normally love anything with truffle, but this dish was an overkill.  I thought there were too many rich and heavy elements.  Perhaps a simple poached egg with truffle oil would have been better suited.  
Eggs Benedict
The only greens for the night was the Carrot and Beet Salad.  The photo below does not do justice, but I thought this dish was superb.  Absolutely loved the use of goat cheese with the rest of the salad.  I also thought the dressing had the perfect amount of acidity.
Carrot and Beet Salad
The Fideua Negra or squid ink noodle had nicely roasted scallops on the side.  I enjoyed this dish and thought the flavors were distinct but not too overwhelming.  
Fideua Negra
Last entree for the night was the 24 Hour USDA Short Rib Steak.  I would have expected extreme tenderness from the meat since this was slow cooked, however in my opinion this was rather forgettable.  The only thing commendable about this dish was the truffle mashed potatoes.
24 Hour USDA Short Rib Steak
For dessert, our table ordered each of the 4 choices in the menu- Strawberry Sorbet, Chocolate Candy Bar, Cheesecake, and Lemon Meringue.  The cheesecake in our opinion was the best of the group.  It was nice and light with loads of fresh berries.  The rest were all okay but nothing worth raving about.
Strawberry Sorbet
Chocolate Candy Bar wit Raspberry
Lemon Meringue
There were a few hits and misses in The Goose Station's degustation menu.  I would recommend the foie gras cone, carrot & beet salad, and fideua negra.  Seeing that only a handful were worth re-trying, I would suggest ordering ala carte instead as I think forking out that cash for the entire degustation menu may not be the best use of your money.

The Goose Station
W Tower 1117, 39th Street
Bonifacio Global City 1634
Taguig City, Philippines
Tel #: +632 5569068

Soderno - Weekend Food Market (Manila Series)

While in Manila visiting family, I visited the newest weekend food market Soderno located in Madrigal Avenue in Alabang.  Some interesting cheap finds in this place, but most of the fare are deep fried so this is not one for health-conscious folks.

We tried out Bagwang Bagnet with Rice (Php 165 or SGD 4.90).  This is supposed to be an ultra thin version of bagnet, which is a regional dish of crispy pork belly found in one of the northern provinces of the Philippines.  This rendition sad to say looked and sounded better than it tasted.  Nothing great about this and the strip of pork belly was not nearly as crispy as it looked.  I would rather have eaten a nicely fried piece of bacon instead.
Bagwang Bagnet with Rice (Php 165 or SGD 4.90)
I also had some Manang's Chicken - 2 pcs Chicken with Rice (Php 136 or SGD 4.00).  This is a twice cooked chicken, very similar to Bonchon Chicken in Singapore.  I liked the addition of sesame seeds which I thought brought additional texture and flavor.  I hear the chicken wings are even better since you get more portion of that ultra crunchy skin.
Manang's Chicken - 2 pcs Chicken with Rice (Php 136 or SGD 4.00)
Last in our list of fried goodies was Odyang's Okoy (Php 25 per piece or SGD 0.75 per piece).  Okoy is a fried shrimp and potato fritter.  I thought this was very tasty, and the stuffing of shrimp was generous as well.  Thought this was a nice take on this dish.
Odyang's Okoy (Php 25 per piece or SGD 0.75 per piece)
For those around the Alabang area, Soderno is a nice inexpensive alternative to the usual restaurants around the area.  Though the place is much smaller than your usual weekend markets, there are still quite a variety of food stalls to choose from.

Madrigal Avenue, Alabang
(Right Beside Molito Mall)
Only open on weekends

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Restaurant 101 -Culinary Arts Showcase (Manila Series)

Enderun Colleges has one of the leading culinary programs in Manila, and so I was very curious to try out the Restaurant 101 located in the campus.  My family and I headed over there for lunch during my holiday in Manila.  The place is a delightful restaurant that showcases the creations of the Enderun faculty and serves as a training ground for its students who help out as part of the wait staff.

For appetizers, we ordered Gratinated Oysters (Php 180 or SGD 5.40).  These were baked oysters with cheese and spinach.  Really loved how the toasted cheese and butter complemented the fresh oysters.  Absolutely delicious!
Gratinated Oysters (Php 180 or SGD 5.40)
My sister had the Mushroom Cappuccino (Php 260 or SGD 7.70).  Had a sip out of this and thought this was really nicely done.  Not overly creamy and the mushroom had a pleasing distinct taste.
Mushroom Cappuccino (Php 260 or SGD 7.70)
My dad had the Crab Bisque (Php 240 or SGD 7.10).  Cannot comment on the taste as I didn't get to try it out.  My dad seemed to like it but could not finish the whole bowl as I guess it was a little on the heavy side.
Crab Bisque (Php 250 or SGD 7.10)
I had the 101 Caesar Salad (Php 300 or SGD 8.90).  I thought it was presented beautifully.  This had whole strips of parmesan and anchovy on a bed of extremely crunchy and sweet lettuce.  There was also a poached egg in the middle which added depth to the greens.  This is one of the better caesar salads I've had.  The dressing was savory without being too overwhelming which is normally the pitfall of caesar salads.  I really enjoyed this, and I can see myself going back here for this salad alone!
101 Caesar Salad (Php 300 or SGD 8.90)
For mains, I had the 101 Truffle Pasta (Php 420 or SGD 12.50).  I thought it was rather cute and playful that they used macaroni for this.  It had chunks of ham and gruyere cheese as toppings.  I thought however that they could have used less gruyere cubes.  The gruyere made it a little too heavy and tiring to finish, and it overpowered the truffle flavor of the pasta.
101 Truffle Pasta (Php 420 or SGD 12.50)
My sister and dad both had the Braised Sea Bass (Php 880 or SGD 26.10).  The sauce was a coconut cream sauce with calamansi (Asian version of lime).  Had a bite of this as well and thought the combination of coconut and sea bass was surprisingly good.  The vegetable roll on the side was a visually appealing addition to the dish but unfortunately did not add anything taste-wise.  A simpler side of greens may have been better suited.
Braised Sea Bass (Php 880 or SGD 26.10)
My mom had the Pan-seared Red Snapper (Php 480 or SGD 14.30).  My mom thought the sauce had a nice hint of curry.  Didn't get to taste this, so I don't have any personal comments.  
Pan-seared Red Snapper (Php 480 or SGD 14.30)
My husband ordered a 2-course Market Menu (Php 780 or SGD 23.20).  The first course was a Prawn Appetizer (didn't really get the exact name of this) and the second course was a Pan-Seared Hanger Steak.  Serving size was very generous, and quality was not bad at all for Php 780.
Prawn Appetizer - Part of 2-course Menu
Pan-Seared Hanger Steak - Part of 2-course Menu
(Php 780 or SGD 23.20 for the entire 2-course Menu)
For dessert we had the Louis XV (Php 280 or SGD 8.30) which was a chocolate crisp with delectable ganache and praline.  Highly recommended for chocolate lovers like me.  Very much enjoyed the crispy base with the sinfully good hazelnut chocolate.
Louis XV (Php 280 or SGD 8.30)
My first visit to 101 Restaurant was overall a very pleasant experience.  There were some impressive dishes, and I could definitely see myself coming back for the oysters, caesar salad, and Louis XV dessert.  The other steaks and poultry dishes in the menu look interesting and would be worth a try in the future.  Service was pretty good, considering that half the wait staff were students.  They apparently have very affordable lunch set menus during weekdays which makes this ideal for the office crowd around the McKinley Hill area.

101 Restaurant
Enderun Colleges
1100 Campus Avenue
McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio
Taguig City
Tel #: +632 856 5000 local 101

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Iggy's - East meets West in Fine Dining

Out of the many exceptional restaurants in Singapore, so far it is only Iggy's at the Hilton Hotel which has made it to the list of S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants.  So I was ecstatic to be trying this out for the first time during my birthday dinner celebration with the husband.

For dinner, they only serve a degustation menu worth SGD 250.00.  This is an 8 course meal served with 2 complementary dishes/ amuse bouche at the start.  I would best describe Iggy's cuisine as Asian Fusion as you will see a lot of Japanese and Chinese elements in the menu.

We were served with our first Amuse Bouche, which were different types of sushi-like creations.  Instead of rice, the center was filled with what seemed like a salty meringue.  I could not really tell what it was but thought it was a unique twist to your typical sushi. 
Amuse Bouche 1- Sushi
The second Amuse Bouche was an oyster plate with different greens and watermelon.  I thought this tasted rather ordinary after the first amuse bouche.
Amuse Bouche 2 - Oyster Plate
The first of the degustation menu was the Eel, Avruga, Yuzu, Silver.  I only understood eel and silver and have no idea what the rest of the ingredients in the menu were.  I thought our waiter could have done a better job of explaining this dish.  That being said, I though this was very well executed - there was a perfect balance between the subtle texture and flavor of the eel mousse and distinct aromatic flavor of the hickory wood that was used to smoke the dish.  I finished this up in seconds!
Eel, Avruga, Yuzu, Silver
The next dish was Chlorophyll, Sea and Soil.  This was a combination of different sea and land/ soil plants.  There was a pureed edamame at the base topped with seeds, sea grapes, and other greens I could not identify.  The waiter explained that this was made without any seasoning and all the flavors were inherent to the plants itself.  I was afraid this would taste too "organic", but I was surprised that this dish was actually genius.  The land/ soil plants which are normally on the bland side were flavored by the salty sea plants.  The seeds added a nutty texture which made every spoonful of this dish enjoyable.
Chlorophyll, Sea and Soil
Next was the Kinmedai, Seasonal Vegetables, Sudachi.  This was a snapper on a bed of vegetables and citrus sauce topped with thin slices of chorizo.  I liked the quality and taste of the individual ingredients used in this dish, but I didn't necessarily think they formed one cohesive dish.
Kinmedai, Seasonal Vegetables, Sudachi
The last seafood dish was the Sea Urchin, Cauliflower, Abalone, Shiso.  I thought the sea urchin was extremely fresh.  I also loved the texture that the abalone brought to this.  Overall a very pleasant flavor.
Sea Urchin, Cauliflower, Abalone, Shiso
We were then served the Alba White truffles, Tajarin, Poultry Jus, Parmesan.  The strong aroma of white truffle gave me a warm and cozy feeling.  I am in love with anything laced with white truffle.  The pasta was very simple mixed with only butter and parmesan, which really put the scent and flavor of the truffle as the star of the show.
Alba White Truffles, Tajarin, Poultry Jus, Parmesan
The last of the savory dishes was the Pigeon, Hickory, Beetroot, Lentils.  I thought the pigeon was a little tough.  The beetroot puree was too bitter for my taste.  This was forgettable, and I was honestly expecting a more smashing hit for the last entree.
Pigeon, Hickory, Beetroot, Lentils
The first dessert was Cantaloupe, Raspberry, Peppermint.  The plate looked exquisite with all the edible flowers floating around.  The yogurt was just amazing with all the fruity flavors.  I thought this dessert was outstanding.
Cantaloupe, Raspberry, Peppermint
The last dessert was Popcorn, Walnut, Orange, Caramel Corn.  This was also very creative and playful.  Loved the use of caramel popcorn and frozen orange pulp which really hit the spot for me.
Popcorn, Walnut, Orange, Caramel Corn
We were served After-Dinner Sweets which I thought looked pretty in a wooden box.  Lovely accompaniment to the coffee I had at the end of the meal.
After-Dinner Sweets
At Iggy's, I believe subtlety is the name of the game.  Flavors were never overpowering.  I may not have agreed with all the dishes, but I commend the creativity and thought process behind creating this degustation menu which was original and imaginative.  Definitely satisfied my curiosity as to why this was hailed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.  However, service was a little on the "average" side I might say.  Wait staff was attentive, but very far from the exceptional service you would expect from a fine dining establishment.

581 Orchard
The Hilton Level 3
Tel #: 6732 2234