Dinner @ Sushi Kimura [Revisit]

November 11, 2018 in Japanese

My first meal at Sushi Kimura was in 2017. That’s when they were still in their first month of operation and before they were awarded 1 Michelin star. So when my siao-on instagram foodie friends (who are also big fans of chef-owner Tomoo Kimura) suggested heading to Sushi Kimura for dinner, I was up for it. One could also say I was curious; From the photographs which others posted of Sushi Kimura on instagram, the food was looking better with time.

Being a group of 5 and only wanting head chef Tomoo san, our first preferred date for dinner was not available. So yes, one should plan in advanced if coming in big group and wish to have head chef Tomoo san.

Though not late for our dinner appointment, I was the last in our group to reach the restaurant. And of course my ‘siao on’-sters had already placed order since we dined together often enough to know we would all be going for the omakase menu (I am assuming they ordered Oribe, $330). And with that, we started our dinner with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Salmon roe (ikura), tofu skin (yuba) and dashi jelly.


2) Dish #2 (above, left) – Steamed egg (chawanmushi) with Hokkaido hairy crab and Hokkaido sweet corn.

  

3) Dish #3 (above) – Abalone (awabi) with sauce made with its liver. And to clean up the remaining liver sauce properly, we were given a spoonful of sushi rice (shari). However, I didn’t know we would be given rice and had scarped clean whatever that’s left of the sauce with my fork. Oops. But thankfully head chef Tomoo san given me additional sauce. Yeah! Haha.


    

4) Dish #4 (above) – Autumn’s seasonal vegetables with sashimi assortment of grouper, blue marlin (kajiki), giant clam (ishigakigai) and spotted prawn (botan ebi). It was a funny lame moment when I went “so pretty” as head chef Tomoo san placed the ishigakigai on my plate and my friend responded with “imagine if a guy say you are as pretty as an ishigakigai.” (^^|||)

5) Dish #5 (above) – Binchotan grilled sanma, green pepper and edamame.


6) Dish #6 (above) – Salmon roe in sac (sujiko), violet sea urchin (murasaki uni) from Yoichi, short spine urchin (bafun uni) from Hamanaka and crisp seaweed.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Mozuku seaweed, jellyfish, Hokkaido swimmer crab in sweet vinegar sauce.

  
  
  
  
  

8) Dish #8 (above) – Nigiri sushi assortment of 3 year old yellow tail (inada), striped jack (shima aji), striped bonnito (hagatsuo), marinated tuna (akami zuke), ‘binchotan coal’ seared premium tuna belly (aburi otoro), unicorn leatherjacket (usuba-hagi) with its liver, pacific saury (sanma), barracuda (kamas), salmon roe in sac (sujiko) and cuttlefish (ika). It’s also to note of the pieces served, 3 were ordered as extra pieces (sanma, sujiko and ika). And I really enjoyed the aburi otoroo. It’s interesting how head chef Tomoo san used a few thinly sliced otoroo instead of a thick slice. Yum.

  

9) Dish #9 (above) – Instead of the signature rice bowl, we were given hand roll. And for the cut of tuna, we were told it’s from the flesh right by the red muscle (chiai-gishi maguro).

10) Dish #10 (above) – Soup.

11) Dish #11 (above) – Egg omelette (tamago).

12) Dish #12 (above) – Homemade red bean paste and rice cake (mochi) which we were to eat with the wafer biscuit (monaka), grape and musk melon.

It was a great dinner at 1 Michelin star Sushi Kimura. Noting beat the fun company of my siao-on instagram foodie friends. In fact, I was a little apologetic to the other customers because we were slightly noisy whilst communicating among ourselves and with the very friendly head chef Tomoo san.

And with the few extra items ordered, dinner came up to a total of $380 (per head).

SUSHI KIMURA 鮨来村
390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, #01-07, Singapore
6734 3520, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tue – Sun : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

Lunch @ JAAN [Revisit]

November 7, 2018 in European

My siao-on instagram foodie friends suggested heading to JAAN a few times before, but I wasn’t keen (then) because memory of my not-too-pleasant dinner in mid 2017 was still etched in my mind. But when they mentioned JAAN’s head chef Kirk Westaway has further revamped the menu to reflect his British roots, I decided to take a chance. So yes, we went to JAAN together for a Saturday lunch.

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

1) Signatures (6 course menu), $158 comprised of:-


  

(A) Canapé (above) – Fish & chip tartlet, beetroot meringue with smoked eel, Devonshire cheddar cheese & buckwheat pancake, and chicken curry.


  

(B) Roast potato, truffle soup (above) – With mini loaf.


  

(C) Dark rye sourdough, Complimentary (above) – Served with Devonshire butter.

(D) Heirloom beetroot (above) – With trout caviar and golden beetroot sorbet.


  

(E) Majestic oyster (above) – With caviar.


  

(F) Eggs in an egg… (above)

(G) Line caught brill (above) – With artichoke.

(H) Salt marsh lamb (above) – With aubergine. And because I don’t take beef, the beef dish from the menu was replaced with lamb.


(I) Palate cleanser, Complimentary – Lemon and cucumber sorbet.


(J) Gariguette strawberry (above) – With mascarpone. I liked this a lot.

(K) Coffee, Complimentary (above) – And I opted for latte.

(L) Petit fours (above)


  

2) English garden, $30 (above) – Thankfully 1 of us (not me, for the record) did our homework prior to lunch; When it’s realised the ‘English garden’ dish was not on our menu, we requested to order it as a-la carte. Comprised of 30 different types of vegetables (raw and cooked) and herbs, we were told to pour the herbal dashi (stored very aptly in a flower pot) onto the vegetables, mix everything before tucking in. Really good. And it’s through our interaction with chef Kirk that we later learnt that this dish was intentionally not included in the lunch service as it may be too filling.

Were we happy with our lunch? Did lunch change my impression of JAAN? A big yes! I was very impressed.

So the thing is… After chef Julien Royer left to set up Odette in June 2015, chef Kirk had very big shoes to fill when he took over JAAN. And I guess his biggest hurdle was to escape from chef Julien’s shadow. I mean, in all honesty, customers who dined when JAAN was under chef Julien’s helm would compare. Yes? Ie, is there any difference, what did chef Kirk do better, or… Gasp. What chef Kirk isn’t doing as good.

I wasn’t too sure if chef Kirk managed to find his own identity when I dined in June 2017. But with this lunch, I could very confidently say chef Kirk has definitely achieved that. I liked how the menu at JAAN has since evolved to showcase his British roots now. And as taken from JAAN’s website, chef Kirk applied the philosophy ‘Reinventing British’ where the menu now embodied a seasonal philosophy to showcase British dining in a modern and refreshing light.

I definitely recommend Michelin-starred JAAN. But noting out of the 3 times that I dined at JAAN and it was always the lunch that impressed me, I would thus recommend one to go for their lunch menu before deciding if one should also try the dinner menu. Yeps. And my review of lunch was based on the Summer menu. If one really wants to try these dishes, do head down soon before they transit into the Autumn/Winter menu.

JAAN
2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Equinox Complex, Level 70, Singapore
6837 3322, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8

Lunch @ 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana (Hong Kong)

November 3, 2018 in Italian

The first meal which my friend and I had in Hong Kong was… *Drum roll* Yes! Italian cuisine at 3 Michelin stars 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana. And to secure our lunch reservation in August, my friend emailed the restaurant in May since the restaurant accepted reservation up to 3 months in advance. Proper Kiasu planning is the key in securing our restaurant reservation. Keke.

My friend and I touched down in Hong Kong in mid morning, and immediately headed to the restaurant for our lunch. Coming out from exit H of Central MTR station, we went up to level 2 of the building that’s directly beside the exit where 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana was located at.


Interior (Picture Credit: Link)

Upon seated, we were given the set menu (pages 1, 2) and a-la carte menu (pages 1, 2, 3). My friend and I were pretty quick with our order-taking because prior to our visit, we had already decided to order the degustation menu. Keke. And with that, we started our degustation 8½ (HKD1680) lunch with:-


1) Bread platter, Complimentary (above)


2) Amuse bouche, Complimentary (above) – Lorenzini melon and Mangalica black hundok Ham.

3) Sourdough bread, Complimentary (above) – Was surprised when we were presented with more bread. But no complaints since I love bread!

4) Marinated tuna tartare (above) – Citrus and tofu emulsion, royal oscietra caviar.


5) Warm blue lobster (above) – Broccolini emulsion, lobster jus.


  

6) Homemade tagliolini (above) – Butter, parmesan and “melanosporum” black truffle fondue. Our friends were raving about the pasta and I could finally vouch that the raves are true, now that I tried it for myself. It was so good! The texture of the homemade tagliolini was nothing quite like any homemade pasta I tried, and I absolutely loved it. Simply divine with the sliced truffle and truffle fondue. If I live in Hong Kong, I could totally visualise myself returning (many times) just for this dish.

7) Main with options of:-

(A) Baby lamb from Aveyron (above) – Aromatic herbs, black olive, barley and vegetables. When this was served, I couldn’t help but feel the plating was themed ‘garden’. No? And it’s a first to see such a small lamb rib. It just screamed ‘cute’ to me. Keke.

(B) Short rib & beef tenderloin (above) – Whipped potato, red wine and plum sauce.

8) Dessert with options of:-


  

(A) Grand cru chocolate (above) – Baked chocolate cream, cocoa nougatine and sorbet.

(B) Strawberry (above) – Fresh strawberry, sorbet and vanilla cream.

9) Petit fours, Complimentary (above)

10) Coffee, Complimentary (above) – Went with coffee instead of tea.

11) Chocolate, Complimentary (above) – And just as we thought we came to the end of our lunch with the petit fours and coffee, the staff brought a box of chocolates. And since I love my chocolates and I am bad at choosing, I requested 1 of every flavour. Haha. Greedy me.

It was an enjoyable lunch with great food! And I really liked the ambience of the place too. Although 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana was a fine-dining restaurant where one was required to be dressed appropriately, the atmosphere was comfortable. Ie, not tensed and stuffy. And I also credit that to the approachable, smilely staff who gave such impeccable service.

My friend and I were also in luck to have chef-owner Umberto Bombana in the house during the day of our meal; He’s not always around since he also opened branches of 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Shanghai (2012), Beijing (2013) and Macau (2015). And during our lunch, I kept seeing head chef Bombana. At least 5 times? I suspect the layout/floor plan of the restaurant must be a donut/loop because I only saw him heading back to the kitchen but not of him coming out of the kitchen. Haha. And he reminded me of a gentle polar bear. Don’t ask me why!

Do I recommend Michelin-starred 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana? That’s for sure!

8½ OTTO E MEZZO BOMBANA
18 Chater Road, Landmark Alexandra, Shop 202, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2537 8859, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat: 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun