Dinner @ Cheek By Jowl

December 10, 2017 in Australian

A friend of mine visited Australian restaurant Cheek by Jowl on a few occasions and was raving about his dining experiences on instagram. And if he enjoyed the food much despite being an anti-fine dining person, it meant the food must be satisfying. And when I say anti-fine dining, I meant he’s not one who’s appreciative of small portion served on big plate. And thus, I convinced a(nother) friend to check out 1 Michelin star Cheek by Jowl with me.

Making reservation was a breeze with Chope. Instead, it’s parking that was tricky. But thankfully, my friend and I found a parking lot along Amoy Street within 10 minutes.

We were guided to our table after the staff checked our reservation. And it’s only at the restaurant that I saw they have 6 counter seats too where patrons sat facing the open-kitchen. Upon seated, we were told that we could choose between the 2-courses ($68), 3-courses ($78) and 5-courses ($88). For the 5-courses, the staff further explained it would be a tasting menu by the chef. And from the menu, my friend and I decided to go with the 3-courses ($78) comprised of:-

1) Appetiser #1, Complimentary (above) – Green olive.


2) Appetiser #2, Complimentary (above) – Bread. I really liked the bread which had cheese within. When the staff asked if we wanted seconds, we nodded our heads in unison. Keke.

3) 1st course with options of:-


(A) Roasted quail (above) – With chestnut, mushroom and mint.


(B) Smoked swordfish (above) – With grapes, mountain caviar and kohlrabi juice.

4) 2nd course with options of:-

(A) Suckling pig (above) – With morcilla, apple and cuttlefish.

(B) Barramundi (above) – With leek, bonito butter and caramelised onion.

5) 3rd course with options of:-

(A) Blackberry ice cream, liquorice, coconut (above)

(B) Burnt pear, hay panna cotta (above) – With pear sorbet, salted caramel.

6) Snack/side with options of:-


(A) Oyster smoked tomato ($5 per piece) (above)

There were additional snacks/sides which one could order from the menu. However, unsure of the portion, I decided to get the oyster only. And I honestly wished the staff promote their menu more actively. Because when I looked at photographs shared by others on instagram after my dinner, I realised the portion of the snacks/sides was small. Would have ordered the hasselback potatoes had I knew. Sob!

Do I recommend Cheek by Jowl? For a restaurant with 1 Michelin star, the menu is not crazily priced crazily affordable. The food was good though it didn’t blow us away. Instead, I reckon it’s the restaurant ambience that determine if one enjoyed one’s dining experience. It’s noisy and chilled back. So if one is looking for a not-so-formal place, Cheek by Jowl would fit the bill.

CHEEK BY JOWL
21 Boon Tat Street, Singapore
6221 1911, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

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

Dinner @ Royz Et Vous

October 23, 2017 in European (cafe)

It was another after-work dinner with my colleagues. And with my Muslim colleagues’ recommendation, we were off to Royz Et Vous.

Reservation could be made easily on their website. And reservation is a must. The cafe was fully packed when my colleagues and I arrived on a Wednesday evening. And in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting the cafe to be such a hit. Though I soon understood why (it was so popular) after our dinner.

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

1) Fried mushrooms, $13.90 (above) – Tempura battered wild mushroom served with truffle mayo. This was seriously good! Couldn’t stop reaching out for it.

2) Buffalo wings, $14.90 (above) – Deep fried marinated chicken wings tossed in house made buffalo sauce with a side of sour cream.


3) Wagyu beef burger, $28.90 (above) – 200gm wagyu beef patty cooked to desired doneness with melted cheddar & mozzarella, turkey bacon, coral lettuce, tomatoes, onion pickles, honey mustard sauce on brioche bun accompanied with a side of fries and salad.

4) Herb crusted salmon, $24.90 (above) – Grilled salmon fillet with herb breadcrumbs, fine green beans, roasted vegetables & mango sauce.

5) Fish & chips, $18.90 (above) – Tempura battered New Zealand blue hake & fries served with side salad & tartar sauce.

6) Grilled chicken, $18.90 (above) – Roasted chicken thigh marinated in Asian inspired glaze with beans, roasted potatoes & carrots, turkey bacon cream sauce.

7) Brazen beef, $32.90 (above) – Grilled striploin cooked to desired doneness served with fries, side salad & chilli aioli.

8) Signature prawn & crayfish pasta, $19.90 (above) – Sauteed prawns, crayfish in home-made chilli cream sauce.

9) Mango snowball, $6.90 (above) – Mango sorbet served with berries.

10) Panna cotta, $9.90 (above) – Mango flavoured panna cotta and hazelnut granola.

11) Molten lava cake, $12.90 (above) – Oozy chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream. This was really good. A must order.

12) Mochatto cake, $14.90 (above) – Oozy chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream and a double shot of REV espresso shot.

13) Caffe latte, $5 (above)

Having started to try a few Halal-certified cafes with my colleagues, Royz Et Vous certainly impressed. In fact, I’ll be really honest. It’s actually the first Halal-certified eatery that I would recommend even to non-Muslim for the food. Cosy ambience, delectable food, pretty reasonable prices and friendly staff.

ROYZ ET VOUS
137 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01, Singapore
6293 0270, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Thur : 11:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 6
Fri : 11:00 – 23:00
Value: 6
Sat : 12:00 – 23:00
Service: 7
Sun : 12:00 – 22:00

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

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