Dinner @ Restaurant Ards

December 27, 2017 in Asian

“That place don’t allow smoking,” my friend replied when I texted to say we’ll be heading to a restaurant in Marina Bay. So in the end, for my friend’s (smoking break) need, I scrambled to find us another venue. And since we often ate Japanese and French cuisines, I thought it would be interesting to have Chinese Asian for a change. Just a few days ago, I chanced upon Restaurant Ards on instagram where Ards is an acronym for ‘Asia, roots, distinct, singular’.

And thus, with reservation made via Chope, my friend and I arrived at the restaurant on a weekday at 8.30pm. Restaurant Ards being a fairly new restaurant, it was only occupied on the ground level although the restaurant spanned across 2 storeys. And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Piquant illustration, $188 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser, Complimentary (above)

(B) Touch of asia (above) – First dish of our 15-courses meal was thinly sliced (almost) raw carrot. Served nachos-style with fillings within.


(C) Soy bean skewer (above) – Skewered housemade soy bean tofu served hot on a charcoal grill with crispy black moss.

(D) Origin pickle (above) – Pickled pumpkin garnished with mint and dill.

  

(E) Fragrance osmanthus (above) – And our next dish of oysters was served in a grand manner. To the extent that my friend, who normally don’t take picture of food, couldn’t resist but reach out for his phone too. Keke. After putting the steamer down on our table, chef-owner Ace Tan went on to pour osmanthus tea into the steamer to ‘trigger’ the dry ice. So yes, it was a very bubbly dish. It took almost 3 minutes before the oysters were visible. And placed on the oyster was cream cheese twigs, while beneath it was osmanthus jelly.


(F) 21″ egg tart (above) – Egg custard with mentaiko fish roe in homemade butter crust, topped with (raw) corn kernels, corn crackers and cured mullet roe.

(G) Mum’s chicken soup (above) – A very comforting dish made with chicken essence (extracted from herb-stuffed chicken after extended period of steaming), winter melon, fish maw and chicken-vegetable floss. My friend and I wished the portion was bigger cause it was really good.

(H) Tea mantou and ginseng honey butter (above)

(I) Ear of the sea (above) – 18-hours slow braised abalone served with noodles. I enjoyed this.

(J) 33 ingredients (above) – And we were told the rice ball was made with 20 types of grains. With the remaining 13 ingredients comprised of mushrooms and others. Haha. Chef Ace lost me halfway through his long introduction. I need to work on my memory. The rice’s round shape reminded me much of the days when my late uncle would shape the (Hainanese chicken) rice into balls during Lunar New Year eve’s dinner. But of course, the texture and taste of the ones served at Restaurants Ards leaned towards that of a rice dumpling instead.


(K) Fish on fish? (above) – My friend and I were shown the wine-steamed clams before it was taken back for plating. Our dinner took place on a day when the chefs decided to experiment a different way of cooking the fish. Ie, sous-vide. And unfortunately for us, the fish served on the fish-shaped plate was too raw. You know… It’s tough to slice through under-cooked fish. Unsure, my friend and I enquired with the staff, to which chef Ace came up and offered to further cook the fish. But we turned him down citing that we would enjoy the fish if it’s meant to be eaten that way. Coincidentally or not, my friend and I had really bad stomachaches after the dinner.

(L) Art of beef (above) – And since I don’t consume beef (due to religious reason), my dish was replaced with scallop. I was glad my scallop also had the charcoal-powder crust as what’s done with the beef. And yes, my friend ate his wagyu too soon for me to snap a picture. Sob. Though he did share that the beef wasn’t impressive. And interesting enough, as we were sharing our feedback towards the end of our meal, chef Ace mentioned they were still in the midst of determining which beef grade would be best suited for their preparation method.


(M) Coconut kafflr ice (above)

(N) Desserts’ heritage (above) – And this was Restaurant Ards’ take on local dessert cheng tng (清汤); Barley cooked in syrup with water chestnuts, bird’s nest and grated almonds. And I was surprised to find out that it was a warm dessert as I tucked into it.


(O) Tropical fruits basket (above)

(P) Our childhood memories (above) – Mango and passionfruit jelly with pomelo was chef-owner Ace’s while coffee jelly with cream cheese was chef-owner David Lee’s.

Our dining experience was an interesting one at a progressive Asian restaurant. Restaurant Ards was a good alternative to hotel’s Chinese restaurants for fine dining. Sorry, Asian and Chinese cuisines are almost the same to me. However, our dining experience at Restaurants Ards was only good as an one-time experience as the food was not ‘wow’ enough for us to return. But despite that, I won’t totally rule them out.

Noting that Restaurant Ards is still works in progress, I would give them more time to iron out the teething problems. And I really hope it works out well for chef-owners Ace and David. After interacting with chef Ace during our dinner, I could sense his passion and sincerity. I really applaud their courage in bravely pursing their dreams of wanting to showcase Asian cultures and to bring a unique dining experience though creative natural cooking techniques and Asian ingredients.

RESTAURANT ARDS
76 Duxton Road, Singapore
6913 7258, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tue – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Lunch @ Ginza Sushi Ichi [Revisit]

December 5, 2017 in Japanese

After a satisfying meal at Shinji, it got me craving for more sushi. And because I am one who don’t like returning to the same eatery (too soon), I decided on 1 Michelin-starred Sushi Ichi. I mean, my last meal at Sushi Ichi was in 2014; Before they relocated and before they were awarded Michelin star. So yes, it was time to return to Sushi Ichi. =)

Through Chope, I made reservation for weekend lunch. And I thought I should also add that it was a solo affair. I guess I was reminiscing much of my solo Tokyo trips. Kekeke. Having had chef Yukinori Kawakami on my previous meal at Sushi Ichi, I made a request for him again.

With Sushi Ichi located in Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, it was easily accessible. Just a mere 5 minutes walk from Orchard MRT station!

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

1) Lunch omakase, $250 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above) – Sweet shrimp (ama-ebi), mixed mushroom with chrysanthemum, and octopus braised in soya sauce.


(B) Assorted sashimi (2) (above) – Jack fish and shell fish.

(C) Dish #1 (above) – Japanese belt fish served with chestnut tempura. I always thought belt fish had many bones cause of the one I previously had, but the one served at Sushi Ichi had none. Such a joy to eat! And the chestnut was very sweet. I enjoyed it very much!

(D) Dish #2 (above) – Striped jack (shima-aji), shabu shabu.

  
  
  
  
  

(E) Nigiri sushi (8 pieces) (above) – Assortment of grouper (kue), big-eye snapper (kinmedai), marinated tuna, baby white shrimp (shiro-ebi), seared premium fatty tuna (otoro aburi) and sea eel (anago), egg omlette (tamago), and rice bowl with sea urchin and salmon roe. Since I don’t count the number of sushi during my meal, it’s only when I am writing up my review that I realised the egg omelette and rice bowl formed part of the 8 nigiri sushi. Hmm…

(F) Roll sushi (above) – It was only from watching chef Kawakami san make the roll sushi that I realised red vinegar was used to season nigiri sushi’s sushi rice (shari) while white vinegar was used for the roll sushi’s. Interesting.

(G) Miso soup (above) – Soup with yam.

(H) Dessert (above)

While I was having my lunch, I couldn’t help but drool over what my neighbours were having. They had dishes like abalone, crab, etc. So when I was making payment, I enquired about the different menus. And the staff explained the quality of ingredients varied according to price. So for the lunch options, the premium ingredient in $100 Tubaki, $150 Botan and Lunch Omakase ($240) courses were lean tuna (akami), medium fatty tuna (chutoro) and premium fatty tuna (otoro) respectively. And for me who was eyeing my neighbour’s dishes, I would need to get the Dinner Omakase course at $430.

Would I recommend Sushi Ichi? Well… Honestly, it didn’t give me the ‘wow’ factor. But at least one would assured that Sushi Ichi won’t let one down (too much).

GINZA SUSHI ICHI
320 Orchard Road, Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, #01-04, Singapore
6235 5514, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Sun : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Service: 8
 
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant

September 26, 2017 in Chinese

When 2 people happened to recommend Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck over a course of 2 weeks, that was a sign that I had better check out the restaurant. And the opportunity came when my colleagues and I were to arrange a get-together, and the cuisine had to be Chinese for the uncle colleague in the group. Keke. Thus, with everyone’s consensus, reservation was made for 5 for a weekday dinner.

Located conveniently in Paragon, one need not worry about finding parking lot if one chose to drove. Instead, one just need to worry about the expensive parking fee. zZZz.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), my colleagues and I ordered:-


1) Fried century egg with shrimp paste, $12 (above) – This was like the Chinese’s version of scotch egg. Pretty good.


2) Chinese yam with blueberries sauce, $12 (above) – Served as a cold dish, this unfortunately tasted weird. We couldn’t make out of the unique combination.

3) Fried squid with pepper & salt, $12 (above)


4) Barbecue pork with honey sauce, $27 (medium) (above)

5) Stewed pork collar & lettuce with shrimp sauce in claypot, $20 (small) (above)


  

6) Braised spinach beancurd with assorted mushrooms, $20 (small) (above)

7) Steamed turbot fish with superior soy sauce, $15/100g (above)

8) Beijing style roasted duck, $88 (whole):-

  
  

(A) Style #1 (above) – Wrapped with pancake. Advanced order is required for this dish. And unknown to me, the chef actually stationed himself near our table to skin the roasted duck. I didn’t know because the action took place behind me. Sob! And it’s weird that we specially came for the duck dish but we were not too impressed by it. Uncle colleague said the meat texture felt slightly powdery.

(B) Style #2 (above) – And we chose to have the remaining meat fried with e-fu noodles.


  

9) Double boiled fish maw soup with shark’s cartilage, $30 (above) – One of my must orders at Chinese restaurant is double boiled soup. And I went with the fish maw soup as it’s also the restaurant’s signature dish. And the soup was thick and rich with a generous amount of ingredients. Really good. Strongly recommended.

10) Double boiled hashima with lotus seed, $10 (above)

Although we weren’t impressed by every dishes, it was a satisfying dinner for us at Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant. Though I would strongly encourage one to look at the ‘advanced order menu’ before making reservation; There were a few dishes (like the charcoal grilled quail and crispy chicken stuffed with glutinous rice) which interested me but we couldn’t order as advanced order was required. Sob.

IMPERIAL TREASURE SUPER PEKING DUCK RESTAURANT
2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #03-05, Singapore
6732 7838, Website
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 14:45 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Sat : 11:00 – 14:45 (Lunch)
Value: 7
Sun : 10:30 – 14:45 (Lunch)
Service: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)