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.

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

Dinner @ Kitcho 吉兆割烹壽司 (Taipei, Taiwan)

February 26, 2018 in Japanese

Common phrases that I get from my foodie friends include “You must eat seafood in Taiwan” and “Taiwan is the next best place to eat sushi after Japan.”

So with that, I started my hunt for a sushi restaurant to dine at in Taiwan. But without the luxury of time to research, I decided to go with what was trending on my instagram feed. Yes, Kitcho. And it was a good thing Kitcho could accept my reservation request through their Facebook page.

Two days prior to my dinner, I received a whatsapp text to re-confirm my reservation.

Arriving punctually at 8.30pm, I occupied the last empty seat at the counter. With no (physical) menu, the staff (verbally) informed me of the menu choices; NT3000 and NT3500 courses, or omakase which ranges from NT4000 to NT7000. The staff continued to explain the exact amount for omakase will only be known at end of the meal.

I did a quick conversion (in my mind) and went with omakase cause it really wasn’t too expensive (compared to Singapore’s dinner omakase). And after stating my dietary restrict (no beef), I started my omakase dinner with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Gingko nuts.

2) Dish #2 (above) – Flatfish (鰈魚).

3) Dish #3 (above) – Geoduck clam (mirugai).

4) Dish #4 (above) – Striped jack (shima-aji).

5) Dish #5 (above) – Japanese spotted prawn (botan-ebi).

6) Dish #6 (above) – Hairy crab topped with caviar.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Red sea urchin (aka uni) from Kyushu. I wanted to ask chef the reason for serving the sea urchin on wood instead of plate since the wood didn’t serve as a spoon, but my poor grasp of Chinese held me back.

8) Dish #8 (above) – Rock fish.

9) Dish #9 (above) – Hand-roll with minced tuna.


10) Dish #10 (above) – Sushi assortment of 愛魚女, big-eye snapper (kinmedai), baby snapper topped with chicken egg which was prepared with vinegar and sugar, and flounder (hirame).

11) Dish #11 (above) – Abalone served with sauce made with its liver.


12) Dish #12 (above) – Continued sushi assortment of lean tuna (akami), arctic surf clam (hokkigai), fin of flatfish (鰈魚的鰭邊), gizzard shad (kohada), premium tuna belly (otoro), sea urchin and egg omelette (tamago).

13) Dish #13 (above) – Chef asked if I was full and I shook my head. So he made me a special dish of caviar, minced tuna sandwiched between wafers. Wished he used something else besides wafers since I don’t like how it stick to the lips. Ha. But that aside, this was such a treat!

14) Dish #14 (above) – Fish tempura.

15) Dish #15 (above) – Clam soup.

16) Dish #16 (above) – Fruits and pumpkin pudding.

My omakase meal came up to NT6600. I reckon the special (item 13) jacked up the cost by quite a bit. So was I happy with my dining experience at Kitcho? Well… I wouldn’t say I was unhappy, but neither would I say I was extremely happy. It was a mediocre experience.

First being my poor grasp of Chinese. And that’s in no way the restaurant’s fault, of course. I had much difficulty understanding the chef. So that probably robbed me (much) of the full pleasure in knowing and enjoying what I ate. Secondly, I wasn’t exactly blown away by the food. Yes, it was good. But somehow, it wasn’t any different from my dining experience at other (equally reputable) sushi-ya. I admit, I’m stricter because it’s an overseas meal.

So if one is traveling to Taiwan, has only 1 slot for Japanese cuisine, and is looking for the sushi-ya, Kitcho may not make the cut. At least for me personally. It was a good dining experience, but not special. And knowing that I’ll be back to Taiwan again, I won’t stop hunting for that sushi-ya which impresses and is worth using our limited meal slots for when traveling in Taiwan.

That said, I am very appreciative that the staff responded to my messages when I enquired the names of (a few of) the fishes after dinner. Yes, I sent them my pictures via whatsapp. Keke.

KITCHO 吉兆割烹壽司
No. 48, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 2771 1020, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

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

Dinner @ RyuGin 祥雲龍吟 (Taipei, Taiwan)

February 21, 2018 in Japanese

After having just visited Taiwan in September 2017, it was an impromptu decision to return (so soon again) in January 2018. But no matter how impromptu a trip may be, I always have my list of restaurants-to-try ready. Keke. And for my second (short) trip to Taiwan, I decided to check out MUME and RyuGin (for restaurants which require reservation).

Reservation request was sent by dropping the restaurant a message on their ‘contact us’ page with 1.5 months advanced notice given. And within 2 working days, I received a response via email. To secure our reservation, we were required to pay a deposit where the amount was 50% of our selected menu. Noting that we had to order the same menu, I chose the 10-courses regular menu (NT6500) over the 7-courses short menu (NT4200).


RyuGin is located in the same building as RAW, but at level 5. Upon entering the restaurant, my Mom and I were brought to the (waiting) lounge where we were served tea before the staff led us to our table.

Having pre-selected our dinner menu, we started our 10-courses dinner (NT6500) with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Caviar, little silver fish, skin tofu, mizuna.


2) Dish #2 (above) – Eel, tomato. Tomato was super sweet, and eel was fresh and firm. I liked how the savory sauce pulled the entire ensemble together. I could easily do at least 5 of these. So, so good!

3) Dish #3 (above) – Clam, sweet potato leaves, lemon. I felt it was ingenious that fat, juicy clams were served on a crunchy deep fried sweet-potato-leaf-cracker cause it introduced different textures into the dish. Pretty good.

4) Dish #4 (above) – Threadfin, bamboo, burdock, snap beans.

5) Dish #5 (above) – Squid, sweet shrimp, fatty tuna, hairtail.

6) Dish #6 (above) – Tile fish, crown daisy, mullet roe.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Abalone, sea urchin.


8) Dish #8 (above) – Squab, rosemary. The skin was beautifully executed; Very thin and crispy, and most importantly, tastefully seasoned. And to keep the ‘smoked rosemary’ going, a small piece of charcoal was placed beneath the rib bone.

9) Dish #9 (above) – What’s supposed to be clam, green onion and tomato on koshi-hikari rice as mentioned on our menu, we were served tilefish tempura instead because of my Mom’s preference not to have shellfish (her skin may flare). And it was amazing! When the staff brought the pot to our table to mix it in front of us, we could hear the distinct crackling sound (of the fried tempura batter). It was music to our ears. I liked how I would bite into the crunchy bits of the batter and into the softer but firm texture of the fish. A must try!

10) Dish #10 (above) – Sanbokan.

11) Dish #11 (above) – Leicha powder, strawberry.

12) Dish #12, Complimentary (above) – A little something for us to bring back.

And because my Mom and I had (Taiwanese) desserts an hour before our dinner, we were feeling pretty stuffed by the time we reached our main course of rice. And one could tell how much we must have enjoyed the dish when my Mom couldn’t resist asking if the restaurant would pack our remaining rice. But for only 2 small bowls that we ate in the restaurant, it was disappointing that we were only given 1 small takeaway box cause I dined at other kaiseki restaurants and they would pack 1 portion for each diner.


Extra disappointing because the tilefish tempura was truly amazing and I wanted more. The batter remained crunchy even 24 hours later even thought it’s mixed into the rice.

I would recommend RyuGin if I do not need to take into consideration of the cost; Food was undeniably good but at a high price. I am fine with green tea being chargeable, but I was slightly put off to know that it was non-refillable. But! Their 十四代 sake-pairing menu sounded like a good deal. If I wasn’t paying for 2, I would most likely have gone for that.

No. 301, Le Qun 3rd Road, 5F, Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 8501 5808, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

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