Dinner @ Restaurant Labyrinth [Revisit]

September 9, 2018 in Asian, Mod Sin

Saw a picture of Labyrinth’s gorgeously-plated lala dish on instagram and was dying to revisit the restaurant since. My previous visit to Labyrinth was in 2015 when the restaurant was at their previous location (Tanjong Pagar) and before they were awarded a Michelin star. So yes… I was excited to try the new menu.

Reservation was made with Chope. And a few days before our dinner, the restaurant emailed us with the menu and requested for us to confirm our reservation. Confirmation of reservation is required cause I missed out their first email, and was sent a reminder email.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) and I were led to our table before starting our $178 dinner menu with:-

  

1) Appetiser (above)


2) Heartland waffle (above) – Local duck liver pate & goji berry jam.


3) “Nasi lemak” cheong fun (above) – Chicken skin, ikan bilis & egg yolk gel.

4) Braised baby abalone (above) – Homemade oyster sauce & fatt choy tart.

5) Ah hua kelong lala clams (above) – XO sambal, deep fried wonton skin & Chinese spinach.


6) Labyrinth rojak (above) – Edible garden herbs, natural stingless bee honey & cempedak sorbet. And for this, 10 different herbs, flowers and sprouts from locally-based Edible Garden City was used.

7) “Ang moh” chicken rice, kin yan abalone mushroom (above) – Home-milled rice flour, grandma’s chili sauce & braised chicken. Presented as a dumpling, I enjoyed this dish.

8) Grandma’s fish maw soup (above) – Yellow tail snapper fish cake, textures of fish maw & tofu puree. When the dish was served, one would noticed the fish cakes were thinly sliced and put beautifully together as a rose. And it’s a pity that the staff poured the broth over the ‘fish cake’ rose, instead of beside. Hmm…


9) Local wild caught crab, sustenir farm strawberry (above) – Signature chili ice cream, egg whites & salted mackerel.

10) Nippon koi farm silver perch (above) – Herbal pepper broth, ulam rajah & textures of black garlis.


  

11) Uncle William’s quail (above) – Satay espuma, muah chee & pearl onion.

12) “Lost grain” fried rice (above) – White bait, dried scallop & local “dashi”.


13) Bean to bar (above) – Artisanal dark chocolate & 8 year aged shaoxing wine.


14) Clam lead snow (above) – Rosella meringue & textures of grapes.

15) Soy bean curd (above) – Bird’s nest & burnt yogurt espuma by Hay Dairies goat milk.

16) Cristal de chine caviar (above) – Kaya ice cream & Sing Hong Loong toast.

17) Petit fours (above) – And it’s a bold move that the macaron was durian flavoured such not everyone could appreciate durian.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy our dining experience. So no, I won’t recommend Restaurant Labyrinth; It’s no surprise that first impressions are very important. And unfortunately for us (or for the restaurant), a really snobbish waiter attended to us for the first half of our meal. He was extremely ‘bo chap’ with the dishes’ introduction; Presentation was brief and he was basically just muttering to himself. My IGGF and I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His I-don’t-care attitude made us feel very unwelcomed.

Halfway through our meal, two other staff stepped in to serve us because the snobbish staff was tied up with other tables. I was glad that happened because they were so much more professional. One in particular stood out with his detailed presentation. In a good way of course since we love to better appreciate the dishes by understanding the story behind.

And food wise… Oddly, I wasn’t too impressed. It just lacked the ‘wow’ factor. I preferred days when they were at their previous location where their dishes leaned towards molecular cuisine.

  

Upon settling the bill, we were given small tokens before we left the Michelin-starred restaurant; A small bottle of chef-owner Han Li Guang’s chicken rice chili and a set of postcards which were used as props for the dishes’ introduction.

RESTAURANT LABYRINTH
8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade Mall, #02-23, Singapore
6223 4098, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Fri : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 23:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Whitegrass [Revisit]

August 8, 2018 in Australian

After our wonderful dinner at Magic Square, my instagram foodie friends @abbey_thebolobao, @thetravellingcow and @free.the.umami were up for our next food adventure. And we unanimously agreed on Whitegrass. Which was great because I had been interested to return to Whitegrass for their dinner menu since my last enjoyable lunch in 2016. Not to forget that this time, I would be returning to a Michelin-starred Whitegrass.

With that, reservation was made for a weekday. And on the afternoon of our planned dinner, the restaurant called to request our choice of menu. I am wondering if the call came about because we were a big group of 6. And between the 5-course and 7-course menus, we (foodies) naturally went with the former. Keke.

And we started our 7-course ($250) dinner with:-

1) Amuse bouche #1 (above) – Deep fried baby crab with salted egg batter.


2) Amuse bouche #2 (above) – Plated like macaron was sesame biscuit and garocha cheese.

3) Amuse bouche #3 (above) – Yellow and green zucchini tart with lemon gel.


  

4) Bread, Complimentary (above) – And before this was served, @free.the.umami was raving about the lard. I guess the lard must be a new item since I didn’t have that in my previous visit. And I must say the bread was a sight to behold; Served beautifully as a rose. I really enjoyed the sourdough with the lard. Followed by the butter of course. But what’s really good was the sourdough. The staff saw us enjoying the bread very much and gave us additional. Keke.

5) Dish #1 (above) – Ginger milk curd, spring peas and bottarga.

6) Dish #2 (above) – Western Australian marron, fresh curd, wild fennel pollen, pickled watermelon rind, seawater.


7) Dish #3 (above) – Red braised Challans duck, eggplant cream, kanten noodles, water chestnut, Chinese jelly mushrooms. This was so good! Flavourful with many contrasting textures. My favourite dish for the night. A must try.

8) Dish #4 (above) – Smoked eel, potato and celeriac, crispy quinoa. Interesting that it was cooked to a texture similar to risotto.

9) Dish #5 (above) – Butter poached Hokkaido snow crab, golden crab dumpling, water shield, egg drop soup.


10) Dish #6 (above) – Buddha jumps over the wall. Yin-yang scallop ‘cheong fan’ skin, slow roasted iberico pork neck, abalone, shimeji mushroom cap, lotus seeds and shiitake custard in pork rib broth.


11) Dish #7 (above) – Slow roasted Pyrenees lamb neck, seaweed chimichurri, agretti. And we were told the lamb was braised before it was shredded and then pan-roasted.



12) Dessert #1 (above) – Dragon eye blossom honey, Hokkaido milk jelly, burnt honey whip, milk ice cream, dried milk curls.


13) Dessert #2 (above) – Single origin Peruvian chocolate, wood roasted coffee, pedro ximenez prunes, shaved macadamia nuts, frozen chocolate.

14) Petit fours #1 (above) – Snickers, strawberry and watermelon lamington.


  

15) Petit fours #2 (above) – Fortune cookie.

Although it isn’t an apple-to-apple comparison but when I compare our dinner (July 2018) to the lunch that I had 1.5 years ago, Whitegrass certainly has since improved. Not that they were bad previously; They just got better. Truly deserving of their 1 Michelin star. I definitely recommend dining at Whitegrass.

On a totally different note, please pardon the lousy quality of my photographs. The camera of my handphone (iPhone 6S) has been spoilt for a while now and I really should get a new mobile phone but… I’ve been lazy. Oops. Was using a really old Samsung phone which couldn’t take quality photographs in dim setting. Sob. I honestly wish I had better photographs for sharing to do the food (better) justice.

WHITEGRASS
30 Victoria Street, Chijmes, #01-26/27, Singapore
6837 0402, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Wed – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon & Sun

Dinner @ Saint Pierre [Revisit]

March 5, 2018 in French

My IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) was excited much when she saw pictures of Michelin-starred Saint Pierre’s alphabet course. But having just dined at Saint Pierre in August 2016, I requested to delay our visit to Saint Pierre as much as possible. I don’t like visiting the same restaurant too soon. And with that, my IGGF assisted to make reservation for December 2017 through phone instead of via Chope.

Upon arrival, we were led to the private room instead of the main dining area. The staff explained a booking was received for a really big group. And because we made our reservation months ahead, the restaurant decided to host the big group in the main dining area and us in the private room instead. While we understood their good intention, we unfortunately didn’t like the arrangement. My IGGF and I somehow felt our private room was treated like a storeroom. Ie, items which were not required in the main dining area were shifted into our private room. Or rather, items which are better removed were left in our private room.

And to add to our disappointment, we learnt the alphabet course was no longer available. When we made our reservation months back, my IGGF specifically enquired if the alphabet course would still be available in December. To which, the staff assured us it would be. But… Sigh.

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

1) Bread, Complimentary (above)

2) Adventure, $248 comprised of:-


  
  

(A) Dish #1 (above) – Appetisers assortment of i) tomato, parmesan, ii) red pepper crisp, smoked eggplant, miso, iii) smoked trout cannelloni, iv) Hokkaido corn, lime oil and v) nasu, sesame.

(B) Dish #2 (above) – New harvest aquitaine oscietra caviar, parsley royale.


(C) Dish #3 (above) – Hay-smoked buri, ponzu, leek, myoga.

(D) Dish #4 (above) – French petit violet artichoke, turmeric.

(E) Dish #5 (above) – Steamed hairy crab, corn, lemongrass.

(F) Dish #6 (above) – Live Hokkaido scallop, almond, curry oil.


(G) Dish #7 (above) – Blue lobster, apple, kabocha pumpkin, beurre de cidre.

(H1) Dish #8 (above) – Altantic cod, miso, oxtail, roots.


(H2) Dish #8 (above) – Altantic cod, miso, oxtail, roots. Since I don’t eat beef (in any form) and oxtail was used in the original broth, mine was slightly altered. Though I have to admit I was disappointed to see the (thus) new presentation of my cod dish hugely similar to the blue lobster’s (dish #7).

(I1) Dish #9 (above) – Ohmi beef, salsify, hazelnut.

(I2) Dish #9 (above) – Again, because I don’t eat beef, mine was replaced. However, it came with much disappointment. The kitchen replaced my beef dish with a vegetable dish! Like what!?! First, it was not a 1-to-1 substitution. Secondly, one could easily see it was carelessly put together with leftovers. Ie, ingredients from previous dishes were used. After taking one bite, I refused to continue with the vegetable dish. Fortunately, the staff who was assigned to our room sensed something was amiss when she overheard I was done with my almost-untouched dish. She got her manager who came into our room and asked if it would be fine for the kitchen to prepare something else. And in less than 5 minutes, the manger returned to say the kitchen was in the midst of preparing sea bass with chestnut truffle. Which honestly, the kitchen should have done that in the first place. It was disappointing to even be served that vegetable dish, honestly.


(J) Dish #10 (above) – Royal pigeon roasted on the bone, wild mushroom, nori.

(K) Dish #11 (above) – Unfiltered strawberry juice, sorbet.

(L) Dish #12 (above) – Blood orange, chocolate, honey tuile. This was really good.

(M) Dish #13 (above) – It’s either they have done away with the dessert trolley or it’s inconvenient to push it into the private room that our petit fours were served on a plate. Assortment included walnut tart, chocolate hazelnut, chocolate royce, yuzu-orange macaron, chocolate macaron, blackberry jelly, peach jelly and vanilla marshmallow.

Compared to my previous dinner at Saint Pierre, it seemed that much has changed. Unfortunately, it was a change for the South. Pretty alarming given that my IGGF and I were dining after Saint Pierre was awarded 1 Michelin star.

Will I recommend Saint Pierre? Well… I ain’t too sure (I would) this time round.

SAINT PIERRE
1 Fullerton Road, One Fullerton, #02-02B, Singapore
6438 0887, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sat : 11:30 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sat : 18:30 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon & Sun

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