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
* Closed on Mon & Sun
Service: 8

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.

Lunch @ Shinji by Kanesaka (Carlton Hotel)

November 5, 2017 in Japanese

Craving for good sushi, I decided to join my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) in one of her (super) regular visits to 1 Michelin star Shinji where she gets her dosage of head chef Oshino san’s sushi. And with this visit, it was also my first to dine at Shinji’s new space after their relocation to Carlton Hotel from Raffles Hotel.

My IGGF always assist with the reservation at Shinji. And what seem to be a first, I was told there’s 2 seatings for head chef Oshino san. Gasp. We were only able to secure the 1st seating at 12pm. Of which, we were required to vacate by 1.20pm for the second seating. So even before our actual lunch date, I had made up my mind to go for their sushi course once knowing that we had less than 1.5 hours. And it’s pretty seldom of me since I normally opt for omakase cause I like to have variety. Ie, not just sushi. Keke.

And at Shinji’s new space, head chef Oshino san now stood separately from the other chefs. Upon arrival, the staff clad in kimono led me down a long passage, walking by what seemed to be the main dining area where most customers were attended by the other chefs, to finally reach a room that’s small but big enough to contain a L-shaped counter for 8 and a table for 4. And yes, it’s in this room that head chef Oshino san stood alone behind the counter.

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

1) Setsugetsuka sushi course set (yuki), $180 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above)

(B) Sushi #1 (above) – Striped jack (shima aji) sushi.

(C) Sushi #2 (above) – Spanish macakarel (sawara) sushi.

(D) Sushi #3 (above) – Medium fatty tuna (chutoro) sushi.

(E) Sushi #4 (above) – Premium fatty tuna (otoro) sushi. Shimofuri cut.

(F) Sushi #5 (above) – Jack mackerel (aji) sushi.

(G) Sushi #6 (above) – Lean tuna (akami) sushi.

(H) Sushi #7 (above) – Sea urchin sushi.

(I) Sushi #8 (above) – Tiger prawn (kuruma-ebi) sushi.

(J) Sushi #9 (above) – Needlefish (sayori) sushi.

(K) Sushi #10 (above) – Bonito (katsuo) sushi.

(L) Sushi #11 (above) – Leather jacket fish (kawahagi) sushi.

(M) Sushi #12 (above) – Mackerel (saba) sushi.

(N) Sushi #13 (above) – Slightly torched Japanese barracuda (kamasu) sushi.

(O) Sushi #14 (above) – Black throat sea perch (nodoguro) sushi.

(P) Sushi #15 (above) – Sea eel (anago) sushi.

(Q) Soup (above) – Clear soup with minced tuna ball.

(R) Rolled sushi (above) – Rolled sushi with filling of minced tuna and spring onion (negitoro), rolled omelette (tamago) and pickled radish.

(S) Dessert (above) – Japanese rice cake (mochi) in yam pudding. It’s almost like the Japanese version of our Chinese dessert yam paste (orh nee/芋泥).


2) Sea urchin rice, $50 (above) – It was of much coincidence that my IGGF’s colleagues were lunching at Shinji too. They were getting the sea urchin rice as an additional a-la carte order and I decided to get 1 for myself too. Keke. And it was so good. I didn’t notice but my IGGF said 2 types of sea urchin was used. And we agreed the portion seemed bigger than usual. It was almost to the brim of the bowl.

Honestly and seriously… Shinji doesn’t disappoint. It’s one of the restaurants that’s consistently good. In my (humblest) opinion, Shinji serves the best nigiri sushi in Singapore. I especially love the sushi rice (shari) which is perfect. One could taste the vinegar yet it’s not too overpowering such that it outshine the sushi topping (neta).

Do I recommend Shinji? Definitely, without a doubt. It’s crazy how price-friendly the menu is at Shinji too. One could opt for $75 sushi course which comprised of 9-pieces nigiri sushi, maki sushi, soup and dessert. I know some non-Michelin starred sushi-ya don’t even offer any set courses cheaper than Shinji’s!

But be very punctual if one is slotted for the first seating. Else, try to make reservation for the second slot. I would reckon one definitely need to go with the second seating as I personally felt that omakase course require at least 1.5 hour for a comfortably paced meal. My IGGF and I could tell head chef Oshino san was rushing towards the second half of our lunch. And because I was also taking a little longer since I had additional order, we offered to shift to the table so that the staff could prepare for the second seating.

SHINJI BY KANESAKA
76 Bras Basah Rd, Carlton Hotel, Lobby Floor, Singapore
6338 6131, Website
Overall: 8.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 9
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

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