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.

Sweets @ KOI Dessert Bar (Sydney, Australia)

July 3, 2017 in Australian by thywhaleliciousfay

It was by luck that I chanced upon photographs of MasterChef Australia’s Reynold Poernomo’s desserts on instagram. Located in Sydney? Oh my. There’s no way I was going to allow myself to not visit his shop. And with that, I immediately pinned it on my Google map. Keke.

It was on a weekday that my colleague and I arrived at KOI Dessert Bar at 12.15pm. And we were their first dine-in customers for cakes and coffee. Or maybe there were customers before us, just that they packed the cakes on the go. And from the display shelf, my colleague and I ordered:-


1) Berry cheesecake, AUD9.50 (above) – Vanilla cream cheese mousse, berry coulis and baked lemon cheesecake.


2) Chocolate delight, AUD12 (above) – Almond sable, 55% dark chocolate excellence mousse, passion fruit curd, brownies with dark chocolate ganache and raspbrry.

3) Watermelon, AUD12 (above) – Lychee creme, watermelon, chia seed, strawberry. Honestly, I didn’t like this. I mean… It’s after all just lychee creme layered over chia seed.

And KOI Dessert Bar is divided into 2 sections; Cafe at level 1 and restaurant at level 2. I looked up their website prior to my Sydney trip and learnt that level 2 opens for dining service in the evening. But for that, one would need to make advanced reservation. Wanting to try the plated desserts which was only available during dinner service and at their restaurant on level 2, I did just that. Hee.

I was required to select between set dinner menu and set dessert menu when I was making my reservation on their online booking system. I chose the latter since it’s all about the desserts that I was after. I mean… Chef Reynold is also nicked as the ‘dessert whiz’.

And for my 6pm appointment, I waited by the stairs for the staff to check my reservation and to lead me to my table at level 2. After reconfirming my order for the set dessert from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), I commenced my meal with:-

1) Set dessert menu, AUD65 comprised of:-


  

(A) Lemongrab (above) – Lemon curd, lemon jam with lemon sorbet, herbal lemon meringue and lemon balm.


(B) Autumn forest (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.

(C) Tea (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.


(D) Coconut (above) – Coconut and yogurt with chocolate, almond sand, passionfruit curd, mango and kaffir lime dust.

2) Moss, AUD20 (above) – Pistachio mousse with caramel gel, dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime yogurt and green apples. Knowing that this was a signature dish of chef Reynold, I (went crazy and) ordered it from the a-la carte menu too.

Unfortunately, the cakes and plated desserts failed to impress. Was it a case of me heading down with too high expectations? Probably. Would I recommend KOI Dessert Bar? Well… The sweets were good, but not to the extent that it blew me away. And these were pretty pricey too. So for their price tags, I would recommend checking out other patisserie instead. In my short trip to Sydney, I ironically had better desserts elsewhere.

But of course, I had my fan-girl moment when my colleague and I visited in the afternoon and we got to see chef Reynold in person.

KOI DESSERT BAR
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9212 1230, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Sun : 10:00 – 22:00 (Cakes)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sun : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon