Dinner @ Magic Square [Revisit]

October 18, 2018 in Asian by thywhaleliciousfay

After trying June, July and August menus by the 3 chefs at Magic Square, I thought that was the end of my visits to Magic Square since I tend not to revisit the same restaurant too soon. But my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) really wanted to check out the place. And thus, I agreed to head back again. Ha. However, what I didn’t expect was for the reservation process to be so painful (The previous 3 visits with my siao-on instagram foodie friends were reserved by @abbey_thebolobao).

Following the instruction on Magic Square’s website, I sent our reservation request in mid August via whatsapp for Saturday in late September. However, I was told it’s fully booked. As such, I requested for any Friday (2nd seating) in September but didn’t receive any reply. Slightly frustrated, I resent another text 8 days later with a list of Fridays and Saturdays for October. But I received a text only 3 days later. And in it, I was informed that only the 1st seating was available for October’s Fridays and Saturdays. By now, I was frustrated at the slow and inefficient reservation process. But thankfully, another friend was heading down to Magic Square and helped to make my reservation at the restaurant itself. So yes… With my friend’s help, my IGGF and I managed to snagged a reservation for mid October. But no, we didn’t get our preferred Friday slot. We got a Thursday. 2nd seating of course!

While one should be punctual, one need not reach too early if one is in the 2nd seating because there isn’t any (proper) waiting area. One have to stand around until patrons of the 1st seating clears out. Which is usually around 8.05pm. And once everyone reached, Ken Loon or Gabriel Chan would start off with an opening speech before chef-of-the-month takes over. And it was a great coincidence that chef Abel Su was responsible for October’s menu because of the 3 that I tried, his was my favourite. But for the record, all 3 chefs are great.

Chef Abel started the dinner by sharing October’s menu was a sequel to his July’s menu. “I’m using philosophy of Chinese ingredient through a more contemporary mind set,” he explained. And after the presentation, we started our 9-course menu ($78) with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Chef Abel explained the standard recommendation from the fish mongers was to make fish ball when they bought the cougar pike. As such, he decided to play along with it and created this dish which was fish ball cougar-pike-ball wrapped with milk curd that’s done in the style of tofu. Further topped with cougar pike floss and vinaigrette made with fish bone. Really good.


2) Dish #2 (above) – A cold dish of chicken which was poached, cooked in sake and then shredded. Served with fish maw and goji berry sauce. The chicken was so tender and flavourful. I enjoyed it on its own. Didn’t really like the sauce.

3) Dish #3 (above) – Seared langoustine (tail) on sesame leaf tempura, topped with fresh sesame leaf and aged tangerine peel vinegar.


4) Dish #4 (above) – Boiled cabbage stuffed with chicken breast and its liver, angelica and onions. We were told it was also grilled for its smokiness. Accompanying paste was made with onion. Lots of it. If I didn’t hear wrongly, 15kg worth of onions were used.


5) Dish #5 (above) – Japanese turnip. Sous vide before grilled like a steak. Served with sauce made from roasted chicken skin, and crispy bits of chicken skin.


  

6) Dish #6 (above) – Chicken wings were deboned and stuffed with chestnut, shiitake mushroom and mochi before they are double fried, and glazed with caramel. We were encouraged to use our hands, and it was a delicious messy affair.


7) Dish #7 (above) – Chef Abel mentioned the other parts of the langoustine (head and shell) were used for this dish. Served with pickled radish, mustard green, crumbs and light emulsion. Really good. The langoustine risotto was so rich!


  

8) Dish #8 (above) – Peach gum (cooked in coconut water) layered over with osmanthus-flavoured shaved ice. I didn’t really like this though.


9) Dish #9 (above) – Black sesame tartlette and black sugar ice cream.

Having dined here 4 times now, I could confidently say Magic Square never fail to surprise and deliver. This (October) meal was outstanding. My IGGF and I were gushing over most of the dishes. My favourites were the langoustine dishes and chicken wing. And noting that the 3 chefs rotate and that Magic Square is a year-long project, it’s inevitable (for me) to make comparison; I compared chef Abel’s July and October menus and I could definitely see he is progressing and getting better! I am already looking forward to what he will bring to the table in January 2019. Yes, going to make reservation!

And I am also glad to say Magic Square has improved their reservation system. During our dinner, we were told we could make our reservation online through their instagram page.

I highly recommend one to check out Magic Square.

MAGIC SQUARE 田
5B Portsdown Road, Singapore
8181 0102, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sat : 12:00 – 13:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sat : 18:00 – 22:15 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon, Sun

Dinner @ Wild Rocket [Revisit] // CLOSED

October 9, 2018 in Asian, Mod Sin by thywhaleliciousfay

With my meal at Wild Rocket, it certainly would seem I gone Mod-Sin crazy because it’s my 3rd Mod-Sin restaurant within 2 months. The other 2 restaurants being Restaurant Labyrinth and JL Studio. And the reason behind my visit to Wild Rocket was because they are closing permanently by end October. Now… I am not one who succumbs to dine at the restaurant just because they are closing. But I do like to have another meal if my previous meal at the restaurant was memorable or if the restaurant is high on my to-try list. And in the case for Wild Rocket, it’s the former.

The other pull factor was… When news of the closure came up, many started posting of their memorable dishes at Wild Rocket. In particular, Wild Rocket’s laksa pesto which almost everyone was gushing over. Since I didn’t have that dish in my 2015’s visit and I read that Wild Rocket’s menu would be showcasing current and past favourites (including the laksa pesto), I got my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) to head down with me.

Reservation was made through a 3rd party website, Quandoo. And to secure our reservation, I was required to input my credit card details.

My IGGF and I arrived at the restaurant on a Friday night. But imagine our surprised shocked faces when the staff said our reservation couldn’t be found in the system. After a check against the email confirmation that I received from Quandoo, we realised I booked for Saturday instead of Friday. Oh, my, goodness. But thankfully they had a table for us. Phew.

My IGGF and I decided to go with the 9-courses from the menu (pages 1, 2). And with that, we started our 9-courses ($125) dinner with:-

1) Bread, Complimentary (above)

2) Dish #1 (above) – Bah chor mee; Tuna belly negi toro & glass noodles.


3) Dish #2 (above) – Giam chye ar; Duck & mustard green consomme with foie gras tortellini.

4) Dish #3 with options of:-

(A) Pomelo salad (above) – Thai pomelo salad with tiger prawns & frozen coconut dressing.

(B) Kaki fry (above) – Japanese oyster with tom kha gai coconut galangal sauce.

5) Dish #4 (above) – Char kway tiao; Thinly sliced cuttlefish noodles stir fried with kwong who hing sauce.


6) Dish #5 (above) – Salted egg crab; Spanner & blue swimmer crab with salted duck egg.

7) Dish #6 with options of:-

(A) Hokkien mee (above) – Fresh spaghettini, ebi miso, shio konbu & tiger prawns.

(B) Laksa pesto (above) – Laksa leaf pesto linguine, tiger prawns & quail egg. I’m sorry but this was… Average. We couldn’t quite understand the raves unless it’s no longer as what it was previously.

8) Dish #7 with options of:-

(A) Dish #7 (above) – Snapper amok; Red snapper Filipino laing braised taro leaves & Cambodian amok curry.


(B) Dish #8 (above) – Ter kar chor; Black vinegar iberico pork jowl with pickled cabbage & chestnut puree.


  

9) Dish #8 (above) – Lychee; Lychee sorbet with lychee martini gummy, ginger flower, elderflower.

10) Dish #9 (above) – Chendol; Pandan panna cotta, cocout ice-cream, gula melaka honey comb, azuki.

It was a nice dinner, although it wasn’t impressive enough for me to strongly recommend one to quickly snap up the remaining slots that’s left of October. With that said, I still have to give chef-owner Willin Low the due credit and respect; When he first opened Wild Rocket in 2005, it’s almost like he is the father-of-Mod-Sin-cuisine as he was the pioneer.

And should one miss Wild Rocket after it shut down in end October, one could still head over to Relish. Else, one could even have a taste of chef Willin’s Mod-Sin cuisine overseas. He’s opening a casual dining restaurant (Roketto) this December in Hokkaido, Japan, and a Southeast Asian noodle concept bar in Hualien, Taiwan.

WILD ROCKET
10A Upper Wilkie Road, Hangout Hotel, Level 1, Singapore
6339 9448, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues– Sat : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Tairroir 態芮 (Taipei, Taiwan)

September 26, 2018 in Asian by thywhaleliciousfay

The main intention of my August 2018 to Taiwan was to pray. Within 2.5 days, we covered 17 temples in Taipei and Taichung. But as a foodie, it’s really hard for me to travel without striking a restaurant off my to-try list. Thus, I went to JL Studio and Sushi 27 in Taichung and Kaohsiung respectively. And upon my friend’s recommendation, I decided to try Taïrroir for Taipei.

After working at Guy Savoy and JAAN in Singapore, head chef Kai Ho returned home to open Taïrroir in Taipei, which restaurant’s name plays off Taiwan and terroir.

Reservation was made through email with 1.5 weeks advanced notice. And the day before my dinner, the restaurant sent me another email to re-confirm my reservation

And it was only when I was making my way to Taïrroir that I realised the restaurant is located in the same area as RAW and Nihonryori RyuGin. To be exact, it was in the next building.

Located at the sixth floor, the lift opened directly into the restaurant. And the first thing that caught my eye was the many fluttering copper tiles hanging from the ceiling. 1876 to be exact. Wow. The interior was really chic and modern. There was only 1 menu. And with that, I started my “qiu lu cai” menu (NT$3650) dinner with:-

1) Amuse bouche (above)


2) 碳水豆合物 (above) – Edamame potage, Taiwan beer tofu mousse, “cornmeal” ball.

  

3) Bread, Complimentary (above)

4) 里山里海 (above) – “Bouillabaisse”-guisgan island carabinero, Hokkaido uni, rouille, Chinese yam.

5) 你的冬天, 我的夏天 (above) – Salt-baked summer bamboo shoot, manjimup winter truffle, silver herring tempura.


6) 休息站的回憶, (+ NT$380, supplement) (above) – Pu’er tea silkie egg, “congee”, sweet potato fondant, buckwheat tuile.


7) 寶鮑不說 (above) – Chicken wing stuffed with braised abalone, “li-vert”.

8) 魚啵盪漾 (above) – Le poisson du jour, chick pea, pickled cabbage bouillon.



  

9) 鴿薏精湛 (above) – Pingtung pigeon in 2 ways, pearl barley, aged mandarin peel.

10) Taiwanese noodle, Complimentary (above)


11) 金枝玉葉 (above) – Calamansi sorbet, jin xuan-ai yu jelly, lemon, ilha formosa white wine, “crystal”.

12) 態芮鳳梨酥 (above) – Taïrroir’s pineapple “cake” – Pineapple, baba, camellia oil ice cream, rum and raisin cream. There were 2 options for the desserts. And since Taiwan is synonymous with pineapple tart, I naturally chose the pineapple cake over the other (irwan mango, orange, guava, passion fruit, red dragon fruit).


13) 茶車金金, 茶點甜甜 (above) – Taïrroir mignardises. My eyes lit up when the petite fours push-tray headed my way. Although my heart dropped when the staff said we could choose only 3. 3 per person… Sob!

14) Tea or coffee – I went with tea and was told it was made with red leaves.

I enjoyed my meal at Tairroir very much. In addition to the delectable dishes, service was very professional. As my stomach wasn’t in the best condition that night, I requested for warm water. But halfway through the dinner, I requested for hot water. And at the end of my dinner, when I opted for tea to go with my petit fours, the staff said the tea is best appreciated at 60 degree and asked if that was fine with me. I was surprised when she went on to explain it’s because she noticed I enjoy my water hot. Thumbs up for the attentiveness.

It’s also an interesting read to know that head chef Kai wrote the menu in English before thinking of the Chinese translation. He didn’t do it the other way round because the composition of each dish was French-based.

I definitely recommend Taïrroir, which was also awarded 1 star by Michelin Guide Taipei 2018.

TAIRROIR 態芮
No. 299, Lequn 3rd Road, 6F, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 8501 5500, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30
Value: 8
Service: 8