Dinner @ PepeNero

August 26, 2012 in Italian by thywhaleliciousfay

I called the day before to make a reservation for 8.30pm with no hiccups. This will in fact be my fourth time trying to dine at PepeNero, and I am glad I finally made it (I did not manage to on the first three attempts cause work cropped out last minute. Yeps). Ha.

And deciding on what to order was very difficult because everything on the menu sounded / looked so good! And from the menu, my girlfriend and I ordered:-

1) Roasted octopus with vegetables “caponata” and crispy leeks, $22 (above) – Having ordered the stuffed squid as a main, we ordered this only upon the staff’s recommendation as he mentioned the 2 dishes are different. And the octopus certainly did not disappoint. I am in fact very intrigued by how the chef did it. The octopus, which was slightly sweet to taste, was tender and not chewy.

2) “Carnaroli” risotto in squid ink with seafood ragout, $33 (above) – A must try! The black risotto was served wet (which risotto really should be) and was a pure delight to consume. It was the first of the mains to arrive and my girlfriends and I could not stop. And the seafood used, especially the prawn, were fresh and huge!

3) Linguine with white clams, sea urchin and mullet roe, $26 – They ran out of white clams, and we were given the choice to replace the clams with prawns. But we went “Give us more sea urchin please.” Ha! Of the 4 mains, this will probably rank number 4. It could be I had been having decent / good pasta recently, thus this dish came across as slightly above average, if not decent.

4) Homemade ravioli filled with black cod fish “cooked in cartoccio style” with lobster sauce and broccoli, $32 (above) – We were debating between the duck or the fish, and we decided to go for the latter cause frankly, I have not tried fish filled ravioli. The pasta dough used to wrap the fish was thin, and while it’s slightly salty, that did not stop the 3 of us from finishing everything.

5) 12-hour slow stewed squid stuffed with altamura country bread, clams and prawns with fresh basil and pachino cherry tomatoes, $26 (above) – A must try! Again, the squid meat was tender and soft. In fact, it was so tender that we could just use our spoon to slice the whole squid into slices to expose the stuffed ingredients inside. Wow! But it’s to note that the dish is slightly salty.

6) Ginger creme brulee with chocolate flakes, $12 (above) – This was served in a large, flat bowl. The caramelised sugar was even and thin. Nicely done! Though the ginger was pretty overpowering.

7) Pepenero tiramisu, $12 (above) – This was nice, though not the best I had.

Overall, the 3 ladies enjoyed our dinner totally! Oh yes, we ordered a lot for 3. =p The staff were very professional too. The chef even came up to say hi, and was humble to the extent where he wanted to take our orders when my (silly) girlfriend accidentally raised her hand with the menu. Haha. For $100 per person (we ordered a bottle of white wine too), I will definitely recommend PepeNero.

14 Stanley Road, Singapore
6222 5808, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8

High tea @ Chihuly Lounge

August 25, 2012 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

Having heard about the éclairs which are served during weekend afternoon tea (2.30pm to 5pm) at Chihuly Lounge that’s due to end this weekend, my girlfriend and I hurrily made our way down to check out the different creative variations to the classic choux pastry.

And as the saying goes “Early birds catch the most worms”. The problem of us checking out the éclairs late (when the promotion is about to end) is that we did not get to see the more interesting versions like the gummy bears, etc though it was still a beautiful sight to see many colourful éclairs on our table.

There were 13 creations, of which 1 is a banana spilt (Think ice cream and banana served inside an éclair). However, it was still the classic flavours like the chocolate and hazelnut that left us impressed. The rest were pretty to look at and interesting to try. Note the keyword ‘try’.

And for a buffet that’s priced at $48 per adult, it’s pretty steep as the variety of food is pretty limited. Besides the éclairs (which to us was the highlight as ultimately, it’s the éclairs that attracted my girlfriend and I to Ritz Carlton), there was limited items under the savouries with only some sandwiches, 3 to 4 petit canapés, and meat like prawn kebab.

Overall, the service was good. I was given a new napkin when I accidentally dropped mine. Our plates were cleared promptly, though it will have been a nice initiative if the staff noticed our dirty utensils (from cutting the éclairs)and changed new ones for us to start on our savoury dishes.

With the éclairs promotion coming to an end too, I doubt I will return as their afternoon tea offers limited range of food.

7 Raffles Ave, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Level 1, Singapore
6434 5288, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Fri : 14:30 – 17:00 (8-course high tea)
Value: 6
Sat – Sun : 14:30 – 17:00 (High tea buffet)
Service: 8
Mon – Fri : 17:00 – 20:00 (Dinner)

Dinner @ OChre // CLOSED

August 20, 2012 in Italian by thywhaleliciousfay

It will be my second time back to OChre. Not that they had impressed me on my first trip when they newly opened, but because we were in the area and I could not think of any other place. (^^lll) But I am glad we headed to OChre for dinner as OChre had improved. My second dining experience was not as bad as I last remembered.

The group of 7 (of us) arrived at 6.30pm without making any reservation. The staff seemed as though they wanted to throw the big group of us to the outdoors seats, but we were insistent that we wanted to be seated indoors. So the staff said they could arrange a round table for us, though they warned it may get a little cramp. But their worries were unfounded, as it turned out that the arrangement was perfect! With the round table, we were able to see one another better, as compared to being seated at a long, rectangular table.

And from the menu, my girlfriends and I ordered:-

1) Set dinner, $50 comprised of:-

(A) Angel Hair with Sea Urchin & Avruga Caviar (above) – The portion could pass off as a main course, but the angel hair pasta did not impress. The taste came across as a little flat. What a shame especially when expensive ingredients were used (caviar and sea urchin). And it’s a pity the sea urchin was not served fresh and raw, but overcooked.

(B) Fillet of Sea Bass with Mashed Potato & Baby Vegetable (above) – Dont be deceived by its look. I was not too impressed with the presentation, it being just a fillet put on top a pile of mashed potato. But the sea bass was fresh and juicy. Nice.

(C) Green Tea & Black Sesame Tiramisu with Azuki Compote & Sesame Tuile (above) – The fusion of Japanese and Italian gave the dessert an interestingly yummy twist. Nice!

2) Caesar, $20 (above) – Normal. We ordered this only because we wanted variety in our dishes since there were 7 of us. The waiter recommended this based on its portion for us to share too.

3) Antipasto OChre, $38 (above) – The presentation is almost like our Chinese’s cold platter. Will definitely recommend ordering this for big groups or for anyone who wants a bit of everything! I liked everything about this – Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Parma Ham and Melon, Smoke Salmon and Caviar, Marinated Octopus, Artichoke and Porcini.

4) Sous Vide Baby Chicken “Al Mattone” with Baby Spinach & Mash Potato, $34 (above) – Nice. The skin was slightly crispy with the meat being tender. Do order this if you are looking at ordering a variety of dishes. I would not say order this if you are here to try signature dishes.

5) Ravioli with Sheep Ricotta, Baby Spinach & Truffle Sauce, $28 (above) – Sadly, this fell short of my expectation. We were served 2 gigantic ravioli with the inside being mainly baby spinach. Due to its size, the ravioli lacked the ‘burst in your mouth feeling’ when you bite into it, which is something I prefer my ravioli to be.

6) Prosciutto, $28 (above) – This is a pizza with parma ham, black olives, tomato, baby spinach salad and caprino cheese. I did not really fancy this. Somehow, the combination did not complement. And it’s to note that cured parma ham was used.

7) Calzone, $28 (above) – As described in the menu, it’s a pizza pocket filled with smoked cheese, tomato, ham, olive, wilted spinach and egg. I did not really enjoy this (I had better), especially the crust. It was a little burnt.

Overall, the dining experience was pleasant. We were not blown away by the food, but rather, it was the restaurant’s ‘a little high class yet a little laid back’ ambience that gave the right mood for us since we were there having a birthday dinner celebration. So yes, want to impress a date without going too harsh on the wallet? OChre is the place.

181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #11-03, Singapore
6634 0423, Website
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 6