Dinner @ Cure

June 15, 2018 in European by thywhaleliciousfay

When Cure opened in mid-2015, it was trending a lot on instagram. Not surprising since new restaurants often receive a lot of attention. But after reading mixed reviews, I decided to wait it out. However, it accidentally went off my radar till I recently saw pictures of their peach dessert in (late) April; Shaped like a giant opalescent pearl, one would crack the sugar shell to reveal the peach compote, granite and sorbet within. I was super intrigued. Maybe even mesmerised? I immediately made reservation for two.

But unfortunately for me, the instagram picture of the dessert was a latergram. And because Cure updates their menu regularly (not the whole menu but some dishes), the peach dessert was no longer available by the time I dined in (early) May. Sob.

After working in Michelin-starred restaurants across Dublin, London and New York, chef-owner Andrew Walsh brought his wealth of experience to start Esquina in 2011 before opening Cure in 2015. The restaurant name being inspired by the Latin word ‘curare’ which meant ‘to take care of’.

My friend and I arrived at Cure on a weekday evening. And from the menu, we decided to go with the 5-courses ($120) comprised of:-

1) Bread, Complimentary (above)

  
  

2) Canapés, Complimentary (above) – Wasabi spring pea tart, smoked eel parfait and seaweed (nori) on chickpea panisse, ‘Linzer cookie’ but with a twist of chicken liver mousse and raspberry jam sandwiched between parmesan sable, and marinated trout roe on charcoal rice cracker.

3) Appetiser with options of:-


(A) Beetroot (above) – With horseradish, cashew.


(B) Scallop (above) – With kohlrabi, almond.


  

(C) Foie gras torchon (+ $15, supplement) (above) – With kampot pepper, milk bread. I really enjoyed this. And because the toasted bread was also good on its own, I ended up with insufficient bread to spread the rich and creamy foie gras on. A must try.

4) Main with options of:-

(A) Steamed snapper (above) – With fennel, garlic leaf.I am usually a ‘red meat’ person when it comes to choosing my main. But between fish, gnocchi and beef, fish was the obvious option. And thankfully it didn’t disappoint. The steamed snapper was good! It makes me really happy when the fish dishes are executed really well.


  

(B) Roasted aged squab (for two) (+ $15 per person, supplement) (above) – With white asparagus, black truffle. The pigeon was a little too bloody for our liking. When my friend and I enquired on its degree of done-ness when our plates were cleared, the staff replied “Well raw”. Hmm… I guess he meant ‘raw’, or even ‘blue raw’. The pigeon thigh, on the other hand was ‘well done’, and we loved it. We were also served a white asparagus tart with almond and cured yolk, but we didn’t really like it. I wasn’t sure how the tart complemented the pigeon too.

5) Dessert with options of:-

(A) Chocolate (above) – With spring herbs, praline.

(B) Earl grey tea (above) – With plum, thyme. I really liked this. A refreshing dessert of earl grey panna cotta, plum and malt ice cream.

6) Petit fours, Complimentary (above) – Chocolate macron and ice cream biscuit.

Although I was sad I missed out on the peach dessert, I enjoyed myself nonetheless. While there were hits and misses for the food, the few hits (foie gras torchon and earl grey tea dessert) that we had were good enough for me to recommend Cure. But of course, if one really wants to try the 2 ‘must try’ dishes, I say “head down soon” in case chef-owner Andrew plans to replace them next from the menu. Gasp.

CURE SINGAPORE
21 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
6221 2189, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Wed – Fri : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ MUME (Taipei, Taiwan)

January 24, 2018 in European by thywhaleliciousfay

In my September 2017 trip to Taiwan, I managed to make reservation for RAW, Le Mout and MUME. However, I had to cancel our reservation at MUME due to unforeseen circumstance. Sob. So when I was planning for my January 2018 trip, I knew it was time to make (it) up to myself. Keke

Currently ranked 43 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 by S. Pellegrino, reservation was made on MUME’s website. It’s a straightforward process. After choosing the party size and date, one would be informed of the offered menu (which is normally a-la carte) before going on to select the seating slots of either 6pm or 8.30pm. For the former, one would need to return the table at 8pm. And to secure the reservation, one would need to input one’s credit card details.

I made reservation for a weekday dinner 3 weeks in advanced, and decided to go with the earlier slot of 6pm.

Unlike the reservation process which was a breeze, identifying the restaurant’s shopfront was a little difficult. The name of the restaurant was craved faintly on the marble. So one can’t see the engravement from far. But thankfully I googled up the place prior to our dinner, so my Mom and I didn’t end up walking past the unit instead since I knew how the shopfront looked. And to enter, press the (black) button on one’s right.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3), my Mom and I ordered:-


  

1) Seasonal tartlets (2 pcs), NT220 (above)

2) Country sourdough, NT180 (above) – Smoked beef fat butter was stated on the menu. However, as we don’t take beef, we were given cultured butter and sea salt instead. And my Mom and I seriously loved the bread. Well-browned crispy and crackling crust with the inside being soft with attractive big air pockets. We finished the loaf easily.


  

3) Liver brulee, NT350 (above) – Chicken liver parfait, seasonal herbs. This was really good. The chicken liver parfait was creamy, thick and smooth. I enjoyed this with the sourdough. Keke. We were told Shaoxing wine was also used for the brulee layer. A must order.

4) MUME salad, NT480 (above) – 20+ types seasonal vegetables, fermented black beans. We were told the vegetables were all locally grown. Now… When a restaurant pegged their (restaurant) name to a dish, I would interpret it as the restaurant’s signature dish. However, I felt this was just passable. Wasn’t impressed.


5) Burnt cabbage, NT580 (above) – Smoked salmon roe, pine nuts, oyster emulsion. Cooked with direct heat for 1 hour, the staff told us not to eat the outermost charred layer. And the texture of this ‘burnt cabbage’ was intriguing. It’s like a cross between pickled and fermented.

6) Crispy amadai, NT1080 (above) – Aromatic broth, engawa, parsley and lemon thyme.



7) Pork neck, NT980 (above) – Clam sauce, baby cabbage, dill. Didn’t really like this.


8) Custard apple, NT330 (above) – Caramelized puff pastry, creme fraiche ice cream. My mom and I really enjoyed this bold combination of (cold) passionfruit ice cream and warm apple.

9) Frost lemon pie, NT330 (above) – Gordon’s gin, suze, lemon.

It was a pleasant dining experience at MUME. The set-up of the restaurant was suitable for friends to catch-up over food (small and big groups alike) and for couples to go on romantic dates. Food was generally good, though I must really mention the service.

Service was top notch! Our cups of water was never once left empty by the friendly staff. Although we didn’t finish 1 or 2 of the dishes (because our stomachs were bursting nearing to the end of our meal), the staff could pick up from our body language that we were done with our dishes and cleared our dishes without us requesting them to. So it was nice because my Mom and I didn’t have to wait very long for our next dish noting that they served the dishes in sequence. Ie, appetisers followed by mains, etc.

If one is thinking of checking out MUME, I would definitely say “Please do!”

MUME
No. 28, Siwei Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 2700 0901, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 7
Service: 8

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

Dinner @ Nouri

September 22, 2017 in European by thywhaleliciousfay

When I first learnt about chef Ivan Brehm, it was when he was (still) the head chef at The Kitchen at Bacchanalia. However, I dragged my visit to the restaurant (then) because I saw chocolate pasta on the menu and was honestly quite put off by it. And before I could visit the restaurant, chef Ivan announced his departure in December 2016. So when chef Ivan announced he has since teamed up with serial restaurateur Loh Lik Peng (who heads Unlisted Collection) to open Nouri, I knew I couldn’t miss it this time.

Reservation was made for weekday dinner via Chope. And to secure the reservation, I was required to provide my credit card details. However, I missed the follow-up email which was sent separately by Nouri as it went into my spam folder. I only realised it when the staff called and informed me so.

Upon entering, one would step into the bar first. My friend and I were seated at the bar before we were led to the dining area.


And it was exciting that we sat at the high counter table made with travertino. One of my favourite stones for finishes. Keke. With 5 and 7 courses priced at $140 and $170 respectively, my friend and I decided to go with 7 courses.

And so, from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-


  

1) Bread and broth (above) – Rye sourdough, silken cheese and vegetable broth. Head chef Ivan mentioned the broth would taste like double-boiled soup but is actually extraction of 7 vegetables from their farm in Cameron Highlands. And we were told to ‘break’ the bread, having it with the dipping sauce which consistency is similar to tofu, and end off with the warm vegetable broth.

2) Snacks (above) – Blinidli with cultured coconut and caviar, gherkin with tarhana and pickled peppercorn, and black rice cracker with miso-uni-lavender emulsion, orange and bottarga.


3) Tomato and oat (above) – Hatiku farm berries, burrata pugliese, oat broth, petai leaf. When head chef Ivan introduced this dish to us, he again mentioned that vegetables from their farm in Cameron Highlands was used. And it was by this dish that I realised every dish had a story. Head chef Ivan mentioned milk was added to provide us that similar sense of comfort when babies would be fed with milk before they sleep. But it’s weird that this dish was named ‘tomato and oat’ when the main ingredients seemed to be tomato and burrata. And I really loved the burrata. It’s a good thing my friend was trying to eat less diary items so that I could have more. Keke.


4) King crab cheong fun (above) – Alaskan king crab, empress chives, soy emulsion. If I have to choose my favourite dish, this would be it. And the staff shared that the silky thin cheong fun is all handmade in the kitchen. Seriously awesome.

5) Acaraje and vatapa (above) – Afro-Brazilian fritter, turmeric and coconut sauce, bread and salted prawn vatapa.

  

6) Mushroom (above) – Maitake mushroom, black trumpet and black truffle puree, mushroom broth, Szechuan oil. And head chef Ivan personally poured the miso soup into our bowls. And one would need to mix everything up to get the familiar sight of black soup.

7) Main with options of:-


(A) Chicken and fennel two ways (above) – Chicken karaage with dandelion powder and pickled burdock, and butter poached chicken breast with dandelion puree, fennel, anise and pickled fennel flower. The poached chicken breast was brilliantly done. Its texture was really soft, smooth and tender.


(B) Raymond’s grouper two ways (above) – I am one who don’t normally order fish for my choice of main. But because there were only 3 options (chicken, beef and fish), I went with the fish for variety since my friend ordered the chicken. But this didn’t disappoint. For one of the very few times, I would actually recommend the fish! My friend and I agreed the accompanying black pepper sauce gave the fish a different dimension.

5) Pre-dessert (above) – Nasturtium marshmallow, candied orange.

6) Milli vanilli (above) – Banana and rum foam, Tahitian vanilla ice-cream, buckwheat crumble and calamansi.


7) Big red robe (above) – Different textures of plum, mirabelle plum fluid gel, chocolate petit ecolier, oolong tea.


  

8) Surprise, Complimentary (above) – And as we were waiting for our bill, the staff came up to us with a box and said “If you can open it, the sweet within is yours.” Challenge? I am up for any challenge! But this was certainly not for the impatient. My friend was plucking hard in hope that the box will budge under force. Haha. I shall not give away the fun too. The only hint that I will share, which is also what the staff gave me, is to keep sliding.

Nouri is definitely one restaurant I would recommend. Every dish simply wow-ed us. And that’s quite a rarity from my friend who only eats European cuisine for me! And one can sense head chef Ivan’s sincerity and enthusiasm for he would introduce every dish personally. It’s only when there’s more than 1 group to be served at the same time that the staff would assist him. And let me say, the introduction of the dishes weren’t short. Head chef Ivan would also elaborate the inspiration or philosophy behind the respective dishes.

Love the food. Love the ambience. And love the service too. Can’t wait to see what’s up head chef Ivan’s sleeve when he next revamp/update the menu.

RESTAURANT NOURI
72 Amoy Street, Singapore
6221 4148, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun