Dinner @ Aubergine (Canberra, Australia)

October 14, 2019 in Australian by thywhaleliciousfay

When I was holidaying in Sydney back in 2017, I didn’t think I would return to Sydney. Don’t get me wrong… It’s just that I would visit the other states when I do return to Australia for travels. But I guess the statement ‘You never know what your future holds’ is true. I certainly didn’t expect myself to be out-stationed. *Sheepish grin*

After I settled my accommodation, etc, I began making my plans to travel within Australia. And my first trip out of Sydney was to Canberra! I mean, Canberra was really accessible. Just a 4-hours rail journey. And October couldn’t be a better time to visit because of Floriade! But of course, no trip would be complete without satisfying my craving for good food. Keke. And for my Canberra trip, I made reservation at Aubergine and Courgette. =)

For Aubergine, I was re-directed to a third party online booking system The Fork where I made my reservation 1.5 weeks ahead.

Aubergine wasn’t located in the city centre. The suburb which it was located in was actually nearer to Canberra Railway Station. And from the city, I took bus R6 to reach the restaurant at 6.25pm.

For dinner, Aubergine served a 4-courses meal (AUD105) where one had up to 4 options to choose from for 3 of the 4 courses. And from the dinner menu, I ordered:-


  

1) Snack #1, Complimentary (above) – Beetroot tart, and puff with smoked ocean trout cream. The beetroot tart was a delight to eat; It had various textures which included beetroot puree, beet-vinegar jelly, etc.

2) Snack #2, Complimentary (above) – And I was told the sugar pea was meant to be a refreshing dish. Hmm… Interesting.

  

3) Bread, Complimentary (above)


4) Dish #1 (above) – Hiramasa kingfish, celeriac, creme fraiche & mustard oil. I really enjoyed this refreshing dish. It was brilliant! I especially liked how they played with the textures; The crunchy celariac strips and buckwheat against the kingfish’s chewiness. Glad there’s no option offered for the first course so that every diner would get to enjoy this.

5) Dish #2 (above) – Duck breast, grilled celtuce, lovage, wakame & buttermilk dressing.

6) Dish #3 with options of:-

(A) Potato tart, roasted yeast, black garlic puree & creamed swiss chard. (above) – This potato tart tasted like pizza to me. What sorcery is this! The potato was cooked perfectly through, and was so soft to the bite. I never had a potato tart before cause it’s like carbohydrates on carbohydrates. But I was so glad I decided to be more adventurous care less about putting on weight from eating too much carbohydrates. Keke.

(B) Fillet of hapuka, baby octopus, caramelised cauliflower & sudachi. (above) – And I was told that the fish was cooked skin down and then cooked through in the oven. Now, I am not one to order fish for my main but I was attracted to this dish because of the baby octopus. Ha. But I am glad I ordered this fish dish (because of the baby octopus). Pretty good!

7) Dish #4 with options of:-

(A) Baked cheesecake, lemonade fruit, passionfruit & coconut sorbet (above)


(B) Coffee & caramel delice, frozen chocolate milk, brown butter (above) – The waiting staff went on to explain egg white and cocoa powder were put into a piper and hardened with nitrogen. Thus, creating the melt-in-mouth melt-upon-contact texture of the frozen chocolate milk.

Everything about my dinner at Aubergine was great! I really enjoyed the dishes. To be honest, I didn’t think much of the dining scene in Canberra. But this meal changed my mind. Good food could also be found in Canberra! Not just Sydney and Melbourne! Hee. During my dinner, I even heard the table of diners seated near me exclaim “this is really good” at least twice. Looked like I wasn’t the only one enjoying my meal!

Will I recommend Aubergine? Definitely.

So while it was a 4 courses menu, I ordered additional. Thus explaining the 6 dishes instead of 4. Yes, I finished everything as a solo diner even though the serving were regular portion. Keke. And for my additional main and dessert, I was charged AUD25 and AUD16 respectively. Really reasonable, I say!

And I thought I should share… So while Michelin Guide hasn’t come to Australia, Australia has their Good Food Guide Award where restaurants are awarded hats. The more hats, the better. And for the latest Good Food Guide Award (2019), Aubergine has 2 hats under their belt. I certainly agree with their verdict!

AUBERGINE
18 Barker Street, Griffith, Canberra ACT, Australia
+61 2 6260 8666, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 8
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Whitegrass [Revisit]

August 8, 2018 in Australian by thywhaleliciousfay

After our wonderful dinner at Magic Square, my instagram foodie friends @abbey_thebolobao, @thetravellingcow and @free.the.umami were up for our next food adventure. And we unanimously agreed on Whitegrass. Which was great because I had been interested to return to Whitegrass for their dinner menu since my last enjoyable lunch in 2016. Not to forget that this time, I would be returning to a Michelin-starred Whitegrass.

With that, reservation was made for a weekday. And on the afternoon of our planned dinner, the restaurant called to request our choice of menu. I am wondering if the call came about because we were a big group of 6. And between the 5-course and 7-course menus, we (foodies) naturally went with the former. Keke.

And we started our 7-course ($250) dinner with:-

1) Amuse bouche #1 (above) – Deep fried baby crab with salted egg batter.


2) Amuse bouche #2 (above) – Plated like macaron was sesame biscuit and garocha cheese.

3) Amuse bouche #3 (above) – Yellow and green zucchini tart with lemon gel.


  

4) Bread, Complimentary (above) – And before this was served, @free.the.umami was raving about the lard. I guess the lard must be a new item since I didn’t have that in my previous visit. And I must say the bread was a sight to behold; Served beautifully as a rose. I really enjoyed the sourdough with the lard. Followed by the butter of course. But what’s really good was the sourdough. The staff saw us enjoying the bread very much and gave us additional. Keke.

5) Dish #1 (above) – Ginger milk curd, spring peas and bottarga.

6) Dish #2 (above) – Western Australian marron, fresh curd, wild fennel pollen, pickled watermelon rind, seawater.


7) Dish #3 (above) – Red braised Challans duck, eggplant cream, kanten noodles, water chestnut, Chinese jelly mushrooms. This was so good! Flavourful with many contrasting textures. My favourite dish for the night. A must try.

8) Dish #4 (above) – Smoked eel, potato and celeriac, crispy quinoa. Interesting that it was cooked to a texture similar to risotto.

9) Dish #5 (above) – Butter poached Hokkaido snow crab, golden crab dumpling, water shield, egg drop soup.


10) Dish #6 (above) – Buddha jumps over the wall. Yin-yang scallop ‘cheong fan’ skin, slow roasted iberico pork neck, abalone, shimeji mushroom cap, lotus seeds and shiitake custard in pork rib broth.


11) Dish #7 (above) – Slow roasted Pyrenees lamb neck, seaweed chimichurri, agretti. And we were told the lamb was braised before it was shredded and then pan-roasted.



12) Dessert #1 (above) – Dragon eye blossom honey, Hokkaido milk jelly, burnt honey whip, milk ice cream, dried milk curls.


13) Dessert #2 (above) – Single origin Peruvian chocolate, wood roasted coffee, pedro ximenez prunes, shaved macadamia nuts, frozen chocolate.

14) Petit fours #1 (above) – Snickers, strawberry and watermelon lamington.


  

15) Petit fours #2 (above) – Fortune cookie.

Although it isn’t an apple-to-apple comparison but when I compare our dinner (July 2018) to the lunch that I had 1.5 years ago, Whitegrass certainly has since improved. Not that they were bad previously; They just got better. Truly deserving of their 1 Michelin star. I definitely recommend dining at Whitegrass.

On a totally different note, please pardon the lousy quality of my photographs. The camera of my handphone (iPhone 6S) has been spoilt for a while now and I really should get a new mobile phone but… I’ve been lazy. Oops. Was using a really old Samsung phone which couldn’t take quality photographs in dim setting. Sob. I honestly wish I had better photographs for sharing to do the food (better) justice.

WHITEGRASS
30 Victoria Street, Chijmes, #01-26/27, Singapore
6837 0402, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Wed – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon & Sun

Dinner @ Cheek By Jowl

December 10, 2017 in Australian by thywhaleliciousfay

A friend of mine visited Australian restaurant Cheek by Jowl on a few occasions and was raving about his dining experiences on instagram. And if he enjoyed the food much despite being an anti-fine dining person, it meant the food must be satisfying. And when I say anti-fine dining, I meant he’s not one who’s appreciative of small portion served on big plate. And thus, I convinced a(nother) friend to check out 1 Michelin star Cheek by Jowl with me.

Making reservation was a breeze with Chope. Instead, it’s parking that was tricky. But thankfully, my friend and I found a parking lot along Amoy Street within 10 minutes.

We were guided to our table after the staff checked our reservation. And it’s only at the restaurant that I saw they have 6 counter seats too where patrons sat facing the open-kitchen. Upon seated, we were told that we could choose between the 2-courses ($68), 3-courses ($78) and 5-courses ($88). For the 5-courses, the staff further explained it would be a tasting menu by the chef. And from the menu, my friend and I decided to go with the 3-courses ($78) comprised of:-

1) Appetiser #1, Complimentary (above) – Green olive.


2) Appetiser #2, Complimentary (above) – Bread. I really liked the bread which had cheese within. When the staff asked if we wanted seconds, we nodded our heads in unison. Keke.

3) 1st course with options of:-


(A) Roasted quail (above) – With chestnut, mushroom and mint.


(B) Smoked swordfish (above) – With grapes, mountain caviar and kohlrabi juice.

4) 2nd course with options of:-

(A) Suckling pig (above) – With morcilla, apple and cuttlefish.

(B) Barramundi (above) – With leek, bonito butter and caramelised onion.

5) 3rd course with options of:-

(A) Blackberry ice cream, liquorice, coconut (above)

(B) Burnt pear, hay panna cotta (above) – With pear sorbet, salted caramel.

6) Snack/side with options of:-


(A) Oyster smoked tomato ($5 per piece) (above)

There were additional snacks/sides which one could order from the menu. However, unsure of the portion, I decided to get the oyster only. And I honestly wished the staff promote their menu more actively. Because when I looked at photographs shared by others on instagram after my dinner, I realised the portion of the snacks/sides was small. Would have ordered the hasselback potatoes had I knew. Sob!

Do I recommend Cheek by Jowl? For a restaurant with 1 Michelin star, the menu is not crazily priced crazily affordable. The food was good though it didn’t blow us away. Instead, I reckon it’s the restaurant ambience that determine if one enjoyed one’s dining experience. It’s noisy and chilled back. So if one is looking for a not-so-formal place, Cheek by Jowl would fit the bill.

CHEEK BY JOWL
21 Boon Tat Street, Singapore
6221 1911, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2018.