Brunch @ High Society

August 5, 2015 in European (cafe)

My girlfriends and I were off to Marina Bay Sands as one (of my girlfriends) wanted to visit the exhibition on DreamWorks Animation. And thus, we decided to check out High Society before going for the exhibition. Well, that was the only café that came up in our Google search for ‘cafes in MBS’. And thus, reservation was made for 8 for a Sunday since we were a big group.

However, the restaurant was pretty empty during the course of our lunch. Although I always say it doesn’t hurt to be a little kiasu. Ha!

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), we ordered:-

1) Seasonal set menu, $68 comprised of:-

(A) Choice of starter (above) – And between ‘feta cheese & tomato brushcetta’ and ‘poached scallops salad’, we went with the former (since we were getting a salad from the a-la carte menu). Balsamic glaze, toasted baguette.

(B) Soup of the day (above) – We were told the soup of the day was tomato and chicken. However, this tasted like minestrone soup. Canned minestrone soup.

(C) Choice of main (above) – Between ‘norwegian poached salmon’ and ‘pork ribs’, we went with the former. Mashed potato, market vegetables, mushroom cream sauce. Unfortunately, this fared worse than what one could easily pull off at home. We certainly were not impressed.

(D) Desserts (above) – With a choice of cupcake, we went with raspberry red velvet cupcake. Otherwise priced at $6 each if bought a-la carte. And this was too dry.

(E) Drink -With a choice of a glass of red wine, white wine, tea or coffee, we went with peppermint tea.

2) Truffle aioli fries, $12 (above) – Truffle oil, parmesan, mayonnaise.

3) Crab cesar salad, $23 (above) – Romaine lettuce, anchovies dressing, herbs, croutons, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan. At $23, this was hugely overpriced. And the crab was not fresh as there was a strong fishy taste.

4) Seared foie gras, $26 (above) – Caramelised apple in cognac, butter. Did not really like this. I guess some stuff are better when it’s treated less. Or less treated. Foie gras are better pan-seared. The caramelised apple made the entire dish too soggy.

5) Breakfast galore, $23 (above) – Bacon, ham, veal sausages, cherry tomatoes, house salad, toast, scrambled eggs.

6) Duck confit, $28 (above) – Mashed potato, market vegetables, mushroom cream sauce. Well… On the same duck leg, certain portion were moist while certain portion was dry. However, this was consistently salty.

7) Seafood laksa, $27 (above) – Scallops, baby tiger prawns, spiced laksa sauce. I could only say this was overpriced. We had actually expected more.

8) Blueberry cheese cake, $9 (above)

9) Casanova, $12 (above) – And of all the dishes we tried, this would be my favourite. Made mostly of dark chocolate mousse.

Will I recommend High Society? I am sorry but no. A strong no, in fact. We were very disappointed. While much effort were put into the (posh) interior decoration, the food just failed to deliver. I won’t say the food was horrible or inedible. Rather, the food was way overpriced. When I dine out, I at least expect to be getting our money worth. They could have fared better in presentation / plating and quality of the food. One could easily pull together the dishes at home and yet fare better than what was served at High Society. I kid not.

Service was bad too. We were not informed by the staff that water was chargeable. We only reaalised it when when we were paying and saw it on the receipt. And of course, it was then did it finally made sense to me as to why the staff was going through the hassle of topping up our glasses with those small pots instead from a big jug. And although the restaurant was pretty empty, it was very difficult to get the attention of the staff. Even with the buttons on the table which we could press to call for the service staff.

The only consolation my girlfriends and I had was that we had some Groupon coupon to use. Unfortunately, we did not save much cause we couldn’t use the coupon to offset the set menu.

2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #B2-47/48, Singapore
6688 7522, Website, Facebook
Overall: 5.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon – Thur : 10:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 10:00 – 01:00
Value: 5
Sun : 10:00 – 22:00
Service: 5

Dinner @ Hide Yamamoto // CLOSED

December 5, 2014 in Japanese

Craving for Japanese food, I was really excited when my girlfriend could check out Hide Yamamoto with me. =) Reservation was made 1 week in advance for 2 for a weekday evening. And of the 5 seating areas available (sushi, teppanyaki, robatayaki, ramen & dining and bar), I requested for sushi counter seats.

Getting to Atrium 2 can be slightly tricky. To get to the restaurant at Atrium 2, one would need to take the escalator to level 1 after stepping out of Exit D of Bayfront MRT station. Follow the arrows of ‘celebrity restaurants’ and one will see the lift lobby on the right hand side. Take the lift up to level 2.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we could see the robatayaki counter behind the glass shop front. And to get to the sushi counter, the staff led us past the dining area, the teppanyaki counter and through a short corridor. The short journey to the secluded sushi counter made us feel like we were being led to VIP seats. Ha.

Although we were seated at the sushi counter, we could order anything from the menu. Just that if we were to order a dish from the teppanyaki menu, we won’t get to see the (teppanyaki) chef in action. Duh.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), we ordered:-

1) Seasonal tasting course, $168 comprised of:-

(A) Homemade soba noodle with caviar (above)

(B) Seasonal 7 kinds of appetizers from sushi counter (above)

(C) Chawanmushi (above) – Truffle egg flan with fresh sea urchin and snow crab. Upon served, the staff told us to mix it well before eating as the crab was right at the bottom. And just as we were about to tuck in, our friendly (sushi) chef Alfred told us to be careful cause it was going to be hot. And indeed, the bowl was hot. Haha. This was really good. Can’t think of a better combination with my favourite uni, crab and truffle.

(D) Today’s recommend seafood (above) – We were not informed of the seafood of the day when we placed our order, and I was a little shocked when oyster was served. I still have not gotten over my phobia of oysters yet, you see. But thankfully my girlfriend and I were sharing 1 tasting menu and a few a-la carte items, so we only had 1 oyster to worry, which I gladly let my girlfriend have it to herself.

(E) Grilled wagyu beef sirloin (above) – With truffle flavoured vegetables from robata grilled.

(F) Soy ramen (above) – With the option of choosing between tempura-chazuke and soy ramen, we went with the latter. Although I was starting to feel really full, I managed to finish this as it was pretty good. Soup was rich while the pork just melted in the mouth. So good.

(G) Dessert (above) – Being able to choose one dessert from the menu, we opted for seasonal fruits. And we were given melon and grapes.

2) Blue fin tuna sushi, $13 per piece (above)

3) Medium fatty tuna sushi, $20 per piece (above)

4) Sea urchin sushi, $20 per piece (above)

5) Botan shrimp sushi, $13 per piece (above) – Seriously, this was so (damn) good.

6) Abalone sushi, $20 per piece (above)

7) Whole young chicken stuffed with truffle rice butter and soy flavor, $68 (above) – Besides the visible thin slices of truffle, it was quite hard to detect the truffle taste in the rice. But the chicken meat was moist and tasty. And for this, we were also given fork, spoon, knife and… A small bowl of water for people like me who prefer to use (our) hands. Ha!

8) Chocolate affogato, $19 (above) – Almond flakes, dark chocolate ice cream, caramelized almonds, crystallized cashew nuts, sweetened black bean, black sugar sauce, crispy puff.

9) Cold sake, $80 (360ml)Bijoubu junrei.

It was an enjoyable dinner. While everything tasted good, it was the sushi which stood out for us. Now, I am not exactly a sushi person. I prefer sashimi over sushi since I try to skip on my carb(ohydrates). Haha. But the sushi prepared by chef Alfred Liew were so good. Especially the botan shrimp sushi. I kid not when I say my girlfriend and I were left speechless after every bite of our sushi-s. We would be nodding our heads and going “Mmm!!!” That good.

So in light of their well-executed sushi, I would strongly recommend coming for Hide Yamamoto’s weekday lunch if one can. They have really affordable lunch set menu with options of $48, $68 and $88 for the nigiri sushi.

And we were taken good care of by sushi chef Alfred Liew. He often checked on us although we were too shy to make conversations. Haha. I mean, to sit counter seats, it’s also to interact with the chefs. Right? And it was very nice of chef Alfred as he advised us not to order too much (else we wouldn’t be able to finish the food) when we were ordering additional orders for sushi through him. And he was correct. It was a good thing we heeded his advise and not go for third round of sushi cause when the chicken came, we were so full!

Hide Yamamoto, it’s definitely a restaurant I will recommend. With a bottle of sake, my girlfriend and I spent $260 (after service charge and GST) each which we felt was reasonable for the wonderful dining experience we had.

10 Bayfront Ave, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Atrium 2, #02-05, Singapore
6688 7098, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8

Dinner @ Waku Ghin

November 28, 2014 in Japanese

Waku Ghin has been on my list of restaurants-to-try ever since celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda chose to open his second in Singapore in 2010. Taken from their website, Waku Ghin was derived from two Japanese words. Waku means to arise like water pouring forth from a hot spring, and Ghin to mean silver. Also chef Tetsuya’s favourite colour.

For this dinner, my newly made friend (waves to @felhuang) assisted to make reservation. =) And we were lucky to be slotted for the following week. Others had to wait 2 to 3 weeks.

Credit card was required to confirm the booking. After the phone call, the staff proceeded to send an email where we needed to return the confirmation form via email or fax. Not taking beef, it was also at this stage where we highlighted our dietary restriction. Do be careful of the cancellation fee though. $400 (which is also the full cost of the 10-courses degustation meal) is charged for no show or for cancellation after 6pm one day prior to booking. So I say, even if sick also must turn up!

There’re 2 seatings. One at 5.30pm, and the second at 8pm. We went for the earlier one.

Overlooking the casino, Waku Ghin was located right at the end of the long corridor. And the staff was smart to have used that to their advantage. They must have figured we were heading to Waku Ghin after we walked past a certain point of the corridor. So it was magical as they pulled the door open for us when we were 5 steps away from the entrance.

We waited at the bar for a short while before we were led to 1 of the 4 private dining rooms. Also know as the chef’s kitchen.

We knew we were in very good hands of the staff as they pulled the chairs for us, provided hooks to hang our bags, etc. And we kick started our seafood omakase with the chef showing us a tray of ingredients which was to be used for dinner.

And with that, we started our dinner:-

1) Carpaccio of tuna with bitter salad (above) – Served with ponzu dressing, this was refreshing. (Although I noticed the other couple in the same room as us were served fresh oysters)

2) Marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and oscietra caviar (above) – Using kita murasaki uni, this is the dish which most, if not everyone, come for. So beautiful visually. And to tuck in, we were told to use the mother of pearl spoon. Of which I was not surprised that Waku Ghin paid attention to details such as using pearl spoon, which was to avoid oxidation so as not to alter the taste of these delicate, high quality caviars! But eating this dish sure was a challenge. I was struggling not to let any of the precious balls drop out as I tried to get a bit of the 3 ingredients onto my spoon. Ha!

3) Grilled kinme from Shizuoka prefecture with puree of capscium (above) – This was good, although if I had to choose, this was my least favourite of the entire meal.

4) Puree of potato with soft poached egg, white truffle and oscietra caviar (above) – This would be a seasonal item. It being the white truffle season, I am so glad the chef decided to pair it with egg and a spoonful of caviar that’s hidden under the shaved truffles. So good!

5) Tasmanian abalone with aonori (above)

6) Braised Canadian lobster with tarragon (above) – And a lot of effort was put into this dish. Our chef started works on this after our 3rd dish, only for it to be ready as the 6th dish. Not that we are complaining. I enjoyed watching the chef in action. It was not just a dining experience where we tucked into the food. It was also watching a performance as the chef made every (elaborated) move with an intention. We were also given bread to soak the broth. My friend thought there was a little too much garlic, but the broth worked out well for me.

7) Charcoal-grilled Tasmanian petuna ocean trout with marinated witlof (above) – Our 7th dish was supposed to be a beef dish. But because we don’t take beef, our dish was replaced with ocean trout. Our chef did mention (at the start of the dinner) that the ocean trout could be served raw (carpaccio) or grilled. But we left it to his good hands to decide which was better, and the seared ocean trout certainly did not disappoint.

8) Somen with myoga and junsai (above, top most) – For this course, we were given the option to choose between noodle, rice or have a small portion of both. And of course we went with small portion of both. Ha!

9) Consomme with rice and snapper (above) – I liked how light the clear soup was. Really good. And I felt it was brilliant that they fed us with the warm porridge after the cold noodle.

10) Gyokuro (above) – And to end the savoury portion of our dinner, the chef did a tea ceremony where gyokuro tea leaves were brewed before us. Don’t underestimate this small cup. Gyokuro is a rare and expensive tea from Kyoto!

We were then led to the lounge area where we enjoyed our desserts. Service was so good that they even carried our bags for us. I felt guilty cause my bag was really heavy with my laptop in it. Oops. And I really felt it was a good idea to house us at a separate area where we could sink into the sofa as we had our cakes and petits fours! We were given the window seats where we were even in time to catch the 15 minutes long Wonderfull (a light and laser show) at 8pm. Although the show was nothing much, but it was still a value-added to the entire dining experience. Ha.

11) Musk melon (above) – Fruits would be 1 of the 2 types of dessert served.

12) Montblanc (above) – Cake being the second type of dessert, we were given mont blanc. Actually this was a request we made during reservation. And it was really good. I seriously loved this. Even the chestnut was infused with alcohol. Other signature cakes of Waku Ghin’s include ghin cheesecake (a light lemon curd cheesecake).

13) Petits fours (above) – Raspberry macaron, orange chocolate gateau (not too sure if this is the right word), meringue with hazelnut, yuzu jelly and raspberry bon bon. If one is too full, these petits fours can also be packed in a box. But the variety of these would differ if one have the petits four at the restaurant and bringing them home.

14) Coffee or tea (above) – I opted for latte.

15) White truffle floating island, $60 (above) – Having read about this dish and knowing that it’s only available during the truffle season, we just had to order 1 portion as a-la carte to share. And yes, it’s a truffle-everything dish where even the ice cream was truffle!

I won’t lie. $400 (before GST and service charge) per person for the omakase is a big amount to splurge for a meal. It took me 4 years of pondering before I came. Ha. Food was definitely good. But what set Waku Ghin apart from other fine dining restaurants was the experience. It was not just a dinner of great food, top notch service, with attention paid to the smallest details like giving us wet chopsticks so that the rice won’t stick to our chopsticks (although we did not have any rice dishes). Rather, we were also watching a performance where the chef carried intention in every moves he made. The way he stirred the sauce in the pot, etc. Although it’s to note that the chef was not always at the counter since some of the dishes were prepared in the kitchen.

And for fans of fine dining, it’s almost like “What’s fine dining if you have not tried Waku Ghin?” (^^lll)

But good news is that Waku Ghin has a bar menu (pages 1, 2) where one can enjoy drinks with food that’s more affordable. Easier on the wallet in the sense where one can order food by dishes rather than having to order an entire set (as with our dinner). There’s a ‘sea urchin set on vinegared rice with caviar’ ($90) that sounds interesting.

So yes, Waku Ghin certainly delivered. It’s definitely a place worth coming if one wishes to splurge. Like seriously splurge. And since I am no high roller, I am satisfied with this one visit. =)

10 Bayfront Ave, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Atrium 2, #02-01, Singapore
6688 8507, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 17:00 & 20:00 (Dinner Seating)
Ambience: 9
Mon – Sun : 17:30 – 02:00 (Bar)
Value: 8
Service: 9

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

UPDATE 3: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Singapore 2018.