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

Dinner @ Iggy’s [Revisit]

July 24, 2017 in European by thywhaleliciousfay

Having seen many food posts of Iggy’s bar menu on instagram (yes, the power of social media), reservation was made for a Friday evening. And we gave 3 weeks’ notice, but that’s only because my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend)’s and my schedules kept clashing. To secure our reservation, the restaurant requested for my credit card details.

And it was very timely that my IGGF and I were to have dinner on the immediate night after Michelin Guide Singapore announced Iggy’s was awarded 1 Michelin star for 2017. Hee.

Located in Hilton Hotel, it’s a 8 to 10 minutes walk from Orchard MRT station. It being a revisit, I noticed Iggy’s has changed their entrance from being centre of the wall to the side with their recent renovation. And in my opinion, I felt that was a good move because with their old entrance, it was difficult to locate the door when there’re events in the ballrooms as people would crowd in the lobby and block the view of Iggy’s entrance. Yes, Iggy’s shared the floor with a few ballrooms.

My IGGF and I arrived punctually at 7pm. However, the staff accidentally seated us at the main dining area although I mentioned in my email that we were making reservation for their gastro-bar menu. As the dinner menu (pages 1, 2) differed from the bar menu, we were re-led to the bar counter.

And from the bar menu, my IGGF and I ordered:-


1) Eggs & eggs (2 pcs), $39 (above) – 63C egg, truffle potato “espuma” and kaluga queen caviar.


  

2) Pintoxos, (4 pcs), $26 (above) – Pickled kohada “escalivada” on toast.


  

3) Sardine on ohba leaf, Complimentary (above) – Sardine from Scotland, topped with ponzu sauce and salmon roe (ikura). We were surprised when head chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive personally presented this. “On the house,” he said. Awww. Such a lovely gesture! And this was so good. My IGGF and I agreed this should be put on the menu.


  

4) Croquette (4 pcs), Complimentary (above) – And it’s stated on the menu that the croquette, which cost $16, were made with jamon iberico filling. As we really wanted to try this, my IGGF and I enquired if it was possible to do 2 pieces without the jamon iberico since my IGGF don’t take pork. Unfortunately, the waiting staff checked with the kitchen and informed us that it was not possible as the filling were pre-made. However, imagine our confused but happy faces when the staff came up with croquette and informed us that the kitchen had specially prepared 2 pieces with mushroom filling and 2 pieces with shrimp filling. We were further surprised to learn that it was (again) on the house when we were making payment. Although we didn’t get to try the original flavour, I certainly recommend ordering this! Fried to perfection; Crisp exterior with creamy interior.


5) Ceviche, $28 (above) – Oyster, finger lime, shallots and lemon snow.

6) Tomato Garden, $18 (above) – Heirloom tomato, cucumber and basil.

  

7) Fish tacos, $22 (above) – Mackerel, chipotle emulsion, avocado mousse, skate and sambal, red onions.

8) 2017 Iggy’s burger (2 pcs) (above) – Toriyama wagyu, onion & epoisse, amelia tomato. Now… It’s probably a known fact that I don’t take beef. But having heard much about their burger, I really wanted to try. And we were definitely 2 very happy and satisfied diners because we were informed the kitchen could do 1 pork burger (above, left) and 1 beef burger (above, right) for us. Yeah! And this was so good. We were each raving about our burgers. The pork fillet was thick and juicy. But what I really loved about it was the steamed brioche bun used. So soft and fluffy!

9) Capellini, $34 (above) – Sakura ebi, lobster oil and kombu, sorrel. In 2 serving sizes ($26 and $34), we went with the bigger portion of course. Keke.

10) Watermelon, $10 (above) – Palette of scented compressed watermelon. I won’t deny we were a little disappointed to see a very simple plating of 4 watermelon cubes on our respective plates. But it become an interesting experience when we were told the pieces were flavoured with mint, shiso, basil and gin lime respectively and my IGGF and I tried to identify the flavour to each piece.

11) French toast, $14 (above) – Bourbon ice cream.


12) Petit fours, Complimentary (above) – Green tea macaron, coconut truffle, kiwi bon bon and white-chocolate-soursop popsicle.

My IGGF and I were very impressed with dinner. Although we were only having the bar menu, our dining experience certainly wasn’t any less stellar than the dinner menu’s. Every dish was so good! If it wasn’t for our dietary restriction (of no beef and pork), we probably would have gone on to try every dish on the menu!

Iggy’s? I would definitely recommend them. And if one can’t make it in the evening, one could consider their lunch menu (pages 1, 2) instead!

IGGY’S
581 Orchard Road, The Hilton Hotel, Level 3, Singapore
6732 2234, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sat : 12:00 – 13:30 (Lunch Seating)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sat : 19:00 – 21:30 (Dinner Seating)
Value: 8
* Closed on Mon, Sun
Service: 8

Dinner @ 999.99 Five Nines

April 24, 2017 in European by thywhaleliciousfay

“Can we go to 999.99?”, my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) suggested when we were arranging our next meet up. And 999.99 actually rang a bell. I think I saw others posting it on their instagram feeds, but it didn’t interest me then because of the restaurant’s name. I mean… 999.99?

“They said the Japanese chef is handsome,” she continued. Hahahaha.
Having an eye-candy chef is always a bonus. And with that, I proceeded to make reservation for us.

However, the time slots available for the Friday we wanted on Chope were 6.30pm and 7.45pm. Since 6.30pm was too rushed for me, we went with 7.45pm.

Taken from their website, the restaurant’s name was derived from the purity of gold. They strive to ensure every diner’s experience meet the gold standard of quality and service.

My IGGF and I met at the restaurant at 7.30pm, and were assigned counter seats. And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Chef’s “omakase” sampler course, $99 comprised of:-

(A) Organic farm egg with sherry cream (above) – With caviar, sea urchin, lemon juice, chive, shio konbu, edible flowers.

(B) Yellowtail sashimi & karasumi (above) – With white soy sauce dressing, julianne black daikon, shiso sprouts, chive, kizami nori, wakame salt.

(C) Black cod meuniere (above) – With brussels sprout, dill powder.

(D) Roasted lamb loin with sauce navarin (above) – With eggplant caviar, dried eggplant chip, mix herbs, trumpet tapenade, juniper berry caramel.

(E) Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (above) – Cacao nib, mix nuts praline, milk meringue, coffee jelly, cream dulce de leche.

2) Shabu-shabu of snow crab & ikura, $22 (above)


3) Lobster gratin, $32 (above) – This was a very cheesy dish. But what really surprised me was the amount of lobster meat. It was very generous. I actually reckoned we were served more than 1 lobster’s worth.


4) Truffle cream risotto with foie gras, $22 (above) – The foie gras was too small. Too small.

5) Cold cappellini with sea urchin & ikura, $32 (above) – The waiting staff were busy when our dish was ready to be served. In fact, it took them so long that head chef Takashi Ohkawa personally served us our dish instead. Close up of eye candy! Unfortunately, because the dish took longer than it should to reach us, it had turned warm. There were even drops of condensation on the plate. We would have enjoyed the cold pasta better if it was colder.

6) Ruby grapefruits panna cotta & mango sorbet, $10 (above)


7) Green tea tiramisu with caramel popcorn, $10 (above) – It was a weird combination. The popcorn was no longer crunchy, and the popcorn certainly didn’t complement the tiramisu. I enjoyed the tiramisu better on its own. Although I wouldn’t really call it a tiramisu because of the lack of ladyfingers.

Did I nearly miss out on a good restaurant because of my bias-ness against the restaurant’s name? Yes! My bad. Am so glad my IGGF suggested checking out 999.99. But I say go easy on their desserts. Of the 3, we enjoyed our omakase course’s dessert the best. Instead, go for the savoury dishes which impressed us much.

999.99 FIVE NINES
29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
6221 7098, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 12:00 – 17:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Thur, Sun : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Fri – Sat : 18:00 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Service: 7