Dinner @ Shelter in the Woods

April 13, 2013 in European, French by thywhaleliciousfay

“There’s this new place at Greenwood which starts with a M. Let’s go there”, my girlfriend said over the phone. A quick search showed that there’re four new restaurants. However, none started with a M. Hmm…

And the venue being Greenwood, parking can be a little tricky as there’re limited carpark lots. Especially so when one is arriving at 8pm. And for those walking in, it can be a long walk if you get off the wrong bus stop.

Most of the restaurants were pretty empty on a Thursday night. All except for Shelter in the Woods which was really packed. Further intrigued by the décor of the restaurant, we decided to walk in.

We were offered counter seats as all of the tables were occupied. Yes, all! Once we were seated, the bartender immediately greeted us with a wide smile, promptly gave us the menu and introduced us to the specials.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Pan seared foie gras, confit grapes and fresh apple, $20 (above) – With only a piece served, this is definitely not enough for more than two to share simply because the foie gras was so good! The foie gras, which melted in my mouth, went very well with the sauce.

2) Tarte flambee, $10 (above) – This french pizza of onion, bacon and cheese sure is addictive. I finished more than half of it. The crust which was very thin, was light yet not flaky as what one will expect from a crust that’s so thin. A must try.

3) Minute clam’s mariniere and purple artichoke barigoule, $23 (above) – This was recommended by the staff when we wanted to order one more appetizer. This was not too bad, though service wise, I thought it was a little weird we were not given spoon to scoop the gravy / soup.

4) Crispy skin suckling pig marinated with “aromates”, $35 (above) – This is the highlight of our dinner!!! So good! A must try. The meat was so tender and juicy. The skin, which was slightly crispy, was not easy to be further sliced into smaller pieces. But hey! The kitchen had already sliced the meat into biteable sizes. So what I did was to eat the meat on its own, leaving just enough meat to go into my mouth with the entire piece of skin. Pure bliss. And there’s something special about the mash potato. It’s as though cheese was mixed with it. The mash was silky and creamy.

5) Profiteroles, $12 (above) – This dessert was one of the specials. This was average.

6) Lemon tart with meringue, $9 – The second highlight of our dinner. So good! A must try. And because the meringue was in small droplets instead of one big scoop / swirl on the tart, every mouthful had the meringue melting in my mouth.

I definitely recommend Shelter in the Woods. And please remember to call to make reservation before coming. We were very lucky to be able to walk in. Our counter seats were just beside their phone, and for most of the incoming calls, we overheard the staff having had to politely reject people as they were full house. Wow. For a restaurant that’s only turning 3 months on 15th April, this place sure is doing well. And that’s fully understandable as the food is good with a really enthusiastic and friendly team of staff with a good sense of humour.

22 Greenwood Avenue, Singapore
6466 6225, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Sat – Sun : 11:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 10:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8

Dinner @ Restaurant Andre // CLOSED

March 17, 2013 in European, French by thywhaleliciousfay

This would be my second visit to Andre. And the reason I decided to head back was because Andre has made it to S. Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013! So yes, in a way, I was also curious to see if there was (going to be) any difference between Andre just opening its door in 2010 and after Andre became internationally famous / recognised.

I called to make a reservation but was informed by a voice message to make reservation via email. And with that, I dropped them an email two weeks in advance for a Tuesday night.

My girlfriend and I arrived at 8pm sharp and were greeted by two ladies at the entrance. Everything was very professional, which was a little intimidating for me especially when I was not able to easily understand her heavy accent despite her being a local. “Will you ladies be comfortable climbing the stairs in heels?” “No problem”, I said before we were led up to the second storey.

After we took our seats, a non-local gentleman took over and explained that the menu is a set menu based on chef Andre Chiang’s octaphilosphy. We must have looked young for he asked if we wanted to know more about the pricing, etc.

After checking if we had any allergies or food restriction, dinner started excitedly for us!

1) Snacks (above) – We were presented with three dishes which the staff introduced as snacks. The three dishes being :-
  (A) Snack #1 – Edible soil (made of chocolate and garlic), mushroom chip, potato and fish & chip.
  (B) Snack #2 – Lobster salad and popcorn.
  (C) Snack #3 – Chicken masala.

2) Pure (above) – For a dish which used no salt or pepper, this was simply tasty. The meat (sashimi, mussel) were sweet while I could not get enough of the soup.

3) Salt (above) – An ocean inspired dish comprising caviar, seaweed, oyster, etc accompanied with the sweetness of apple. I had not quite gotten over my phobia of oyster (after eating too many at an oyster buffet) but the bed of small pieces of oyster which was hidden at the bottom was fresh and had no fishy smell. In fact, I enjoyed every mouthful. The different elements had different textures which created very interesting bites. And the dish succeed cause I really felt like I tasted ocean while savouring this.

4) Artisan (above) – “And after being in the ocean, it’s back to the land”, as the staff presented the duck tongue on eggplant which came served on a clay plate designed by chef Andre.

5) South (above) – And to depict generosity, the dish came in two plates. One comprised of tomato sorbet with tomato, flounder, white peach while the other was cold risotto with amberjack.

6) Texture (above) – And as how the staff very correctly presented, “Playing with texture with traditional food.” There were blue lobster, caviar and potato gnocchi. I especially loved the lobster bits where were so fresh, juicy and sweet!

7) Unique (above) – Japanese fish with French vegetable. The fish, which was served curled, had minced meat in the centre. Superb!

8) Memory (above) – The staff presented this being a dish which chef Andre first created back in 1997. Foie gras jelly with black truffle. My two favourites. It’s almost like chawamushi with the custard topped with a layer of black truffle coulis, but far better of course. Yum!

9) Terroir (above) – By now, my girlfriend and I were so full. But the staff assured us that this was the last for the savoury and cheered us on “You can do it!” Ha. However, while my girlfriend finished everything, the pigeon which was medium rare was a little too bloody for me.

10) Palate cleanser – We were served shaved ice of red berry with honey ice cream. This was refreshing and certainly made us hungry for desserts! Round 2? Bring it on!

11) Desserts (above) – Desserts was a spread! Chef Andre is currently onto his fourth interpretation of the Snickers bar. Simply awesome. Chef Andre should really consider showcasing all his past interpretations in an one-time special. =)

I really enjoyed my dining experience at Andre. Despite the hefty price at $350, I say it’s money well spent. And this time round, I finally got to exchange words with chef Andre although I did not say much. Shyness sank in, you see. Haha. And despite his fame, chef Andre has no air around him and comes across as being very down-to-earth. It’s nice he made the effort of coming up with topics when we went quiet (and almost shared an awkward silence). Why travel overseas to Michelin starred restaurants when there’s Andre in Singapore? A must visit.

41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore
6534 8880, Website, Facebook
Overall: 9
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sun : 19:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 9
Service: 9
* Closed on Mon & PHs

UPDATE 1: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Singapore 2016.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.

Dinner @ OKB // CLOSED

March 9, 2013 in Asian, European by thywhaleliciousfay

I was randomly surfing the net, trying to find out what are the new places to check out when I chanced upon OKB. And the article grabbed my interest with their description of OKB being ‘quality food at affordable prices’. Thus, curious to check OKB out, I suggested it as the venue for my next meet up with my girlfriend. I did put into consideration that their menu is not extensive, thus a good place to check out in pair and not in a big group.

But it was not easy finding the place. I got slightly lost. Though my girlfriend found the place with ease. It really depends on which bus stop you get off from. Along the long stretch of shophouses, they are located directly in front of the traffic light, just round the bend.

We were seated at the first table, in front of the huge cupboard which shelves empty cups and bottles.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Haloumi & tomatoes – golden haloumi, lime leaf marinated tomatoes, $9 with housepour wine pairing, $7 (above) – Haolumi is white cheese from Cyprus, traditionally made with sheep milk. It’s a first for us and my girlfriend totally enjoyed it.

2) Seared scallops – U.S. sea scallops, buak keluak oil, $10 with housepour wine pairing, $8 (above) – We were served two big perfectly cooked scallops which were sweet. But I felt the greens could do with a little more dressing.

3) Chicken – seared breast, laksa leaf beurre blanc, starfruit pickle, $14 with housepour wine pairing, $8 (above) – The chicken breast was surprisingly not dry but very juicy. And it was a very interesting combination of having the chicken with the starfruit pickle, which was surprisingly good together too.

4) Fish – turmeric & fill catfish, Vietnamese pesto, rice vermicelli, $14 (above) – The fish, which was served with a nicely browned exterior, was sweet and juicy. The portion of the rice vermicelli was pretty generous, so much so that the dish could pass off as a fish pasta rather than a fish main.

5) Pork – baby back ribs, mustard sauce, gingered mustard greens, $16 (above) – The pork ribs were slightly charred on the exterior. The gingered mustard greens gave the fork-tender meat a real zing. I attempted having the greens on its own, but I was too adventurous by taking a half-fork worth cause I had to down with lots of water thereafter. Ha.

6) Foccacia, $3 (above) – Oddly, this was served after our mains. It tasted as though the bread was toasted on the same grill after the pork. Thus, I did not particularly enjoy the charred smell on the bread.

7) Chicken liver pate, $4 (above) – We did not start on the chicken liver immediately, and five minutes after it was served, a thick layer of fats had hardened on the surface. The chicken liver pate was not as smooth as how we preferred it to be.

8) Chilli crab rillettes, $5 (above) – This was spicy! But it’s probably because I cant take food that’s too spicy. It’s an interesting flavour, but because it was too spicy for me, I could not taste the chilli crab flavour properly. Though I did see bits of crab meat inside.

9) Sticky date pudding, $7 (above) – They had run out of the desserts on the menu, and thus we went with the special. And this was the highlight for me! I was totally sold. It was so good! My friend, who did not like sticky date pudding, changed her mind after trying this. The pudding was sticky and moist. A must try!

10) Scone, Complimentary (above) – This came as a surprise after we paid the bill and were ready to leave. The scone with cranberry bits was so good! There’re those bad scones which leave an after taste of baking powder in our mouths or those which are dry. But this had none of those.

We had a enjoyable dining experience. The staff always had a smile on their faces and were helpful. The place was packed that night with many big groups. But when one group left, the staff immediately pulled an additional table over cause they knew we ordered a fair bit for our (one) small table. =) So while I will not recommend the wine pairing which was average, I am definitely looking forward to checking them out in the day when their bakery is open.

1 Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore
6220 4711, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 15:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 5
Tues – Fri : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Sat : 12:30 – 15:30 (Lunch)
Service: 6
Sat : 18:30 – 23:30 (Dinner)
* Closed on Sun