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 @ Kok Sen Restaurant

September 30, 2018 in Chinese by thywhaleliciousfay

My girlfriends and I have been so busy that we celebrate one another’s birthday 2 months late. Our latest trend. Haha. So although my birthday was in August, we only managed to find time in September to celebrate. Keke. And because we were a big group of 7, I suggested heading to a zi char restaurant for us to order many dishes. Yeah!

It’s also the fact that we were dining as a big group that it was a must to make reservation at the popular and famous Kok Sen. However, it proved to be a real challenge to to even get through the line. Despite calling thrice, no one picked up my call. And since I was in the area for brunch, I popped by the restaurant and made reservation for dinner on Sunday.

On the day of our dinner, my girlfriends and I arrived at the restaurant at 6.30pm. And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Sambal squid, $23 (medium) (above)

2) Prawn paste chicken, $26 (medium) (above) – With a whole chicken used, this was unexpectedly bad; Very dry. My girlfriends and I were shocked the dish was executed so poorly because prawn paste chicken is almost a ‘will order’ dish at zi char restaurants. So we honestly expected more, especially from Kok Sen since it’s even read from Michelin Singapore website that Kok Sen marinate the chopped chicken overnight in a secret prawn paste batter blended by the chef and freshly fried to order. We certainly tasted no prawn paste. My girlfriends and I joked that the main chefs must be busy with the signature dishes and left this dish to be cooked by the junior staff.

3) Claypot yong tau foo, $23 (medium) (above) – We ordered this as it’s strongly recommended by one of my girlfriends who dined at Kok Sen before. It’s also a signature dish of Kok Sen. And this was different from our usual yong tau foo. For the paste, Kok Sen used a mixture of squid, prawn and fish. And they are very generous with the paste stuffing, which was also what that introduced the firmness to the soggy vegetable pieces like eggplant. Do come early to try this dish as I read the dish (does) sell out before closing.

4) Black bean sauces fish head, $23 (medium) (above) – Stir-fried with bitter gourd, this was really good. I liked the sauce a lot.

5) Crispy noodle surface with shrimp omelette, $19 (medium) (above)


  

6) Big prawns hor fun, $36 (medium) – A must order since this was the other famous dish at Kok Sen besides the claypot yong tau foo. And this was seriously good. The sauce… Wow. My girlfriends and I concluded we could only satisfy our craving at Kok Sen should we crave for this rendition of hor fun. We haven’t tried something similar at anywhere else.

Our dining experience at Kok Sen Restaurant was superb. Highly recommended. We came for the food and it didn’t disappoint. My girlfriends and I were raving over every dish with the exception of the prawn paste chicken of course. Keke.

And in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much of the service especially after our bad experience with J.B. Ah Meng‘s staff. But the service at Kok Sen Restaurant surpassed my expectation; My girlfriends got me cake but at 8.30pm, cafes in the area were closed for us to proceed with ‘Part 2′ after our meal. Since it was 2 slices of cake (bought from Keong Saik Bakery before our dinner), we decided to have it at the restaurant. All while silently praying that we won’t get chased out. And because we required new set of utensils to share the cake among ourselves, we requested for extra forks. And that’s when the staff surprised us by passing us disposable plates and forks. Wow. That honestly touched us.

But one shouldn’t expect much of the ambience. There was no air-conditioning although we didn’t sweat much because of the fans.

KOK SEN RESTAURANT
30-32 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
6223 2005
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 5
Tues – Sun : 17:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon

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