Dinner @ Nouri

September 22, 2017 in European

When I first learnt about chef Ivan Brehm, it was when he was (still) the head chef at The Kitchen at Bacchanalia. However, I dragged my visit to the restaurant (then) because I saw chocolate pasta on the menu and was honestly quite put off by it. And before I could visit the restaurant, chef Ivan announced his departure in December 2016. So when chef Ivan announced he has since teamed up with serial restaurateur Loh Lik Peng (who heads Unlisted Collection) to open Nouri, I knew I couldn’t miss it this time.

Reservation was made for weekday dinner via Chope. And to secure the reservation, I was required to provide my credit card details. However, I missed the follow-up email which was sent separately by Nouri as it went into my spam folder. I only realised it when the staff called and informed me so.

Upon entering, one would step into the bar first. My friend and I were seated at the bar before we were led to the dining area.


And it was exciting that we sat at the high counter table made with travertino. One of my favourite stones for finishes. Keke. With 5 and 7 courses priced at $140 and $170 respectively, my friend and I decided to go with 7 courses.

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


  

1) Bread and broth (above) – Rye sourdough, silken cheese and vegetable broth. Head chef Ivan mentioned the broth would taste like double-boiled soup but is actually extraction of 7 vegetables from their farm in Cameron Highlands. And we were told to ‘break’ the bread, having it with the dipping sauce which consistency is similar to tofu, and end off with the warm vegetable broth.

2) Snacks (above) – Blinidli with cultured coconut and caviar, gherkin with tarhana and pickled peppercorn, and black rice cracker with miso-uni-lavender emulsion, orange and bottarga.


3) Tomato and oat (above) – Hatiku farm berries, burrata pugliese, oat broth, petai leaf. When head chef Ivan introduced this dish to us, he again mentioned that vegetables from their farm in Cameron Highlands was used. And it was by this dish that I realised every dish had a story. Head chef Ivan mentioned milk was added to provide us that similar sense of comfort when babies would be fed with milk before they sleep. But it’s weird that this dish was named ‘tomato and oat’ when the main ingredients seemed to be tomato and burrata. And I really loved the burrata. It’s a good thing my friend was trying to eat less diary items so that I could have more. Keke.


4) King crab cheong fun (above) – Alaskan king crab, empress chives, soy emulsion. If I have to choose my favourite dish, this would be it. And the staff shared that the silky thin cheong fun is all handmade in the kitchen. Seriously awesome.

5) Acaraje and vatapa (above) – Afro-Brazilian fritter, turmeric and coconut sauce, bread and salted prawn vatapa.

  

6) Mushroom (above) – Maitake mushroom, black trumpet and black truffle puree, mushroom broth, Szechuan oil. And head chef Ivan personally poured the miso soup into our bowls. And one would need to mix everything up to get the familiar sight of black soup.

7) Main with options of:-


(A) Chicken and fennel two ways (above) – Chicken karaage with dandelion powder and pickled burdock, and butter poached chicken breast with dandelion puree, fennel, anise and pickled fennel flower. The poached chicken breast was brilliantly done. Its texture was really soft, smooth and tender.


(B) Raymond’s grouper two ways (above) – I am one who don’t normally order fish for my choice of main. But because there were only 3 options (chicken, beef and fish), I went with the fish for variety since my friend ordered the chicken. But this didn’t disappoint. For one of the very few times, I would actually recommend the fish! My friend and I agreed the accompanying black pepper sauce gave the fish a different dimension.

5) Pre-dessert (above) – Nasturtium marshmallow, candied orange.

6) Milli vanilli (above) – Banana and rum foam, Tahitian vanilla ice-cream, buckwheat crumble and calamansi.


7) Big red robe (above) – Different textures of plum, mirabelle plum fluid gel, chocolate petit ecolier, oolong tea.


  

8) Surprise, Complimentary (above) – And as we were waiting for our bill, the staff came up to us with a box and said “If you can open it, the sweet within is yours.” Challenge? I am up for any challenge! But this was certainly not for the impatient. My friend was plucking hard in hope that the box will budge under force. Haha. I shall not give away the fun too. The only hint that I will share, which is also what the staff gave me, is to keep sliding.

Nouri is definitely one restaurant I would recommend. Every dish simply wow-ed us. And that’s quite a rarity from my friend who only eats European cuisine for me! And one can sense head chef Ivan’s sincerity and enthusiasm for he would introduce every dish personally. It’s only when there’s more than 1 group to be served at the same time that the staff would assist him. And let me say, the introduction of the dishes weren’t short. Head chef Ivan would also elaborate the inspiration or philosophy behind the respective dishes.

Love the food. Love the ambience. And love the service too. Can’t wait to see what’s up head chef Ivan’s sleeve when he next revamp/update the menu.

RESTAURANT NOURI
72 Amoy Street, Singapore
6221 4148, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Kamoshita

June 15, 2017 in Japanese

One can say I was trying to find and try more oden places in Singapore. Thus the visit to Kamoshita. In fact, I’ve gone back twice. During my first visit, my friend and I ordered the omakase course which was frankly a let down. But I decided to head back despite the disappointment because the dishes ordered by the other customers (from the a-la carte menu) looked really good. We couldn’t order additional dishes then because we were required to order the same priced omakase course. Ie, We couldn’t order a $60 and a $100 omakase course each. Neither could I order the omakase course while my friend go a-la carte. So yes, we were too full during our first visit to order anything more.

Reservation for both dinners were made over the phone. And Kamoshita must have a database of customers’ information because they were able to mention my name after obtaining my contact number when I called the second time to make reservation. Nice.

As requested, we were given counter seats. Yeah! And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), my friend and I ordered:-

1) Omakase course, $60 comprised of:-

(A) Starter (above) – Boiled edamame.

(B) 3 kinds of appetizer (above)


(C) Bagna cauda (above) – Assortment of vegetables served with dipping sauce.

(D) Marinated seafood (above) – Sweet soy sauce soaked tuna with ikura.

(E) 3 kinds of Japanese flavour cheese (above) – Cream cheese soaked in miso, crab butter cheese cracker and smoked radish stuffed with cream cheese.



  

(F) 3 kinds of premium oden (above) – Prawn cake, tomato and half boiled egg.


(G) Fried dish (above)


(H) Cold inaniwa udon (above)

2) Avocado, $6 (above) – It’s my first to see avocado on oden menu. I didn’t even realise it was on the menu until the staff prepared the dish for a group of customers. And I must say it was quite a sight to see 6 halved avocados floating in the pot. So when I returned on my second trip, I just had to order it. I thought it would taste weird, but it was surprisingly tasty.

3) Tofu, $5 (above)


4) Lettuce & Iberian pork belly, $7 (above)


5) Potato salad from oden potato, $8 (above) – Another dish that was ordered because of my first trip where a slightly drunk customer raved about how good the potato salad was to her friends as she placed order for it. So yes, I ordered it out of curiosity. And she was right. It’s really good. Drizzled with yoke, I loved the texture and the addition of sprouts and bacon. A must order.

6) Rice yeast marinated salmon, $12 (above)


7) Ham cutlet stuffed with blue cheese, $12 (above) – Give this a miss.

8) Iberian pork spare rib dressed with spicy sauce, $12 (above) – This was really good. The meat was so tender that we easily removed it from the bone. My friend especially liked the sauce.

9) Kabayaki-grilled eel, $39 (above) – Wouldn’t recommend this too. This was average. Save the stomach space for other dishes.

10) Marinated salmon & sake lees soup, $15 (above)


  

11) Sea urchin, ikura & tuna masu bowl, $28 (above)

12) Inaniwa udon with oden soup, $8 (above)

  

13) Clay pot steamed rice with sea bream, $29 (above) – It’s written on menu that this would take 40 to 50 minutes. Thus, one should order this right at the start of the meal. And we liked this. We were also surprised at the nice packaging when we requested to pack our unfinished rice.

14) Green tea & red bean shave ice, $8 (above)

15) Home made cream pudding, $8 (above)

Would I recommend Kamoshita? I would. Honestly, there ain’t many Japanese restaurants that focus solely on oden in Singapore. So I was glad Kamoshita is one such restaurant. And I am even more glad that they served delectable dishes. And I am not referring to just the oden items. But yes… Just refrain from ordering the omakase course. Though the $89 and $100 omakase courses may be better than our $60′s.

In fact, if one is going to visit Kamoshita for dinner, do also order their miso grilled Iberian pork collar ($22). My friend and I didn’t get to try this. But the benefit of sitting at the counter was that we got to watch the staff preparing other customers’ dishes. And the smell of the grilled pork collar was divine. It’s a pity my friend and I were again too full to order and try it for ourselves.

KAMOSHITA
5 Neil Road, Singapore
6221 3950, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 00:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 8
Service: 7

Dinner @ Wangdaebak Pocha 왕대박 포차

April 3, 2017 in Korean

For someone (ahem, me) who loves my Korean food as much as Japanese and French, I certainly have been neglecting my appetite for Korean cuisine. My last eat out for Korean food was in… September 2016! Gasp.

And because of that, when my friends suggested Italian for a recent meet up, I counter-proposed with Korean. And I am thankful they were up for it! 1 clique cannot have more than 1 picky eater. Luckily I am the only one. Haha.

As taken from Wangdaebak POCHA’s website, it’s opened by the same owners of Wangdaebak Korean BBQ. And POCHA is an abbreviation of Korean words that translates to ‘Korean street food wagon’.

Reservation was made for a Saturday dinner. However, the problematic issue about dining in Telok Ayer area on weekends was the parking. It’s very difficult! My friend took almost 30 minutes to find a lot, although my other friend was luckier; Parked within 10 minutes.

The interior decor of Wangdaebak POCHA was designed to reminisce the Korean street scene back in 70’s and 80’s. It was also after our dinner that I realised (from their Facebook page) that one could also borrow Korean games to play.

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

1) Corn in mayonnaise, Complimentary (above) – This only came complimentary with the order of certain dishes.

2) Kimchi soup, $17 (small) (above) – There’s pork, tofu, glass noodle in the soup too.

3) Honey soya chicken, $22 (above) – Crispy fried chicken in honey soya sauce. I wasn’t too pleased to see shoestring fries occupying half of the served plate. But that said, I thought the chicken was not too bad. Though I wish they were more generous with the pickled radish cubes (not pictured).

4) Spicy pork knuckle, $43 (above) – Homemade pork knuckle with special spicy sauce. This was really spicy. Even for my friends who take spicy food. But because it was oddly addictive, I was washing the sauce off the pork knuckle with my soup before consuming in order to save my tongue from the spiciness. Haha.


5) Spicy pork belly with baby octopus, $39 (above) – This should cook in less than 10 minutes. Am mentioning this because my friends and I were so engrossed in our conversation and eating the other dishes that it took us almost 20 minutes to realise our gas stove’s canister was low on gas. Haha. It suddenly dawned on us that something was amiss because our neighbouring tables ordered the same dish and they were already halfway tucking into their cooked pork belly and baby octopus while our dish refused to be cooked despite mixing it continuously. And I enjoyed this dish. Been watching quite a fair bit of Korean cooking shows and I was craving for baby octopus. So yeah!


6) Ham & pork spicy noodle soup, $39 (above) – And it’s written on the menu that soup refill (second time) is at $3 and extra noodle at $3.

I enjoyed my time much at Wangdaebak Pocha. The set up of the eatery created an ideal ambience for catching up with friends over food and drinks. And for the lucky few who works in the area, lunch menu (pages 1, 2, 3) is available.

However, as Wangdaebak Pocha is for diners to experience the olden days of Korean street scene, do note there’s no grilled items. For BBQ, one would have to head to Wangdaebak Korean BBQ. Which is a good thing cause one wouldn’t leave the eatery reeking of smoke.

WANGDAEBAK POCHA
93 Amoy Street, Singapore
6220 0322, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Tue : 17:30 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Wed – Sat : 17:30 – 01:00 (Dinner)
Service: 7
Sun : 17:30 – 23:00 (Dinner)