Monday, October 16

Anniversary lunch at Odette

Last weekend, KW and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary with lunch at Odette. Special thanks to my in-laws who babysat the boys while we enjoyed some time out from them.

A week before our reservation, we received an email that after two years, the resutrant had decided to hike up their prices and their Saturday lunch degustation menu went from $128++ to $158++ for their 6-course menu. Initially, this didn’t sit that well with me, but I knew we had to do it. We thoroughly enjoyed Chef Julian Royer’s stint at Jaan so not trying out his namesake restaurant felt like unfinished business.

  

By the end of the meal, I’m extremely glad we didn’t let the price hike cloud our enthusiasm. To be honest, I didn’t see Chef Royer throughout our meal but he should be really proud of his team, who gamely held the fort while he was away. The food was superb, but the icing on the cake was surely the warm affable service lacking at other fine dining establishments. The entire looked really young, like fresh-out-of-school young, but there was a level of maturity and optimism in those whom we encountered and it made me really happy for them that they took such pride in taking care of their customers.

Before the start of any meal, it is customary for the server to check in with their customers on allergies and what-not. I cheekily replied, “I’m allergic to chicken breast” and to my surprise, our server got in on the joke and asked the kitchen to prepare lamb for us instead. I was totally not expecting her to do so nor the kitchen to accommodate but this little gesture is exemplary of their dedication to creating a great customer experience. Ok, back to the food.

As soon as we were given the menus, a darling trio of canapés swopped in for brownie points. Frankly, I can’t quite remember what we had but they were intriguing and if you ran out of conversation starters, this would be a good time to look incredibly pensive as you nibble through the amuse bouche.


After the canapes, we were served Chef Julian Royer’s mushroom tea topped with sabayon and toasted buckwheat. We have had the Mushroom Tea back at Jaan and I remember being blown away by it. Having it a second time round was like catching up with a really dear friend – a harmonious umami blend of the familiar and comforting. 


For a carb-nut like myself, the bread basket is a good indicator of things to come. I really do appreciate restaurants that pay attention to the type of bread they serve. Served with whipped pork lard and salted butter, Odette delivers a trio of truffle brioche, chestnut roll and rye bread, which were all warm and toasty. Oh, my heart sings for that that truffle brioche...


Hokkaido Scallop Tartare 

The first dish of our 6-course lunch was Hokkaido scallop tartare, gingerly layered with kyoho grapes and nashi pear, served alongside scallop roe tartine. It was sweet and briny at the same time, a great way to start. 


Heirloom Beetroot Variation

Next up was the prettiest dish of beetroot in various forms - beetroot sorbet, crumbs, meringue - mixed with thin slices of radish, pomegranate seeds, and buratta. Beetroot is not my thing, but I’m glad Chef didn’t stick to crowd-favourite vegetables.
 

Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg

Next up was the theatrical 55 degrees Pine-Smoked Organic Egg that has won the hearts of many social media users. The sous vide egg is poured into the smoked potato, mousse, chorizo and buckwheat. With a gentle stir, what you have essentially is breakfast taken to gastronomic heights. Still lovely, but I must say the textures and flavours are a little too similar to the Mushroom Tea we had earlier.



Confit Rainbow Trout Charred Kurobuta pork belly

Mmm, confit rainbow trout with charred Kurobuta pork belly. Trout and pork might not be your usual surf-and-turf pairing, but I loved this dish as well. Unctuous and indulgent ultimately held back by modest portions so you wouldn't feel uncomfortably stuffed. The parsley puree was a little sharp but perhaps without it, the dish would have too greasy.


Quercy Lamb Saddle

I’m so so glad we had the lamb, instead of chicken breast for our main. The lamb loin and belly were superb and the dollop of harissa helped soothed the gamey taste without masking it. Serving cous cous with lamb isn’t ground-breaking but it was exactly what we needed as a filler.Ahh, so good!


Palate Cleanser

A snowy white palate cleanser of lemon sorbet and grapefruit slices.


Lemon T’art

A chocolate dessert would have been a decandent end to our meal, and perhaps pushed us over the edge. I loved the lemon tart and basil sorbet for its puckery aromatic fresh flavours.

  


We rounded up the meal with an assortment of Petit Fours, a playful gang of rose lychee lollipop (that reminded me of our local bandung drink), canele, mango and banana choux puffs, and sea salt caramels.

 

With such a delightful experience, I wouldn’t rule out an annual pilgrimage to Odette.

Monday, October 9

Brunch at Autobus, OUE Downtown

One fine Saturday morning, we headed to Autobus for lunch but to my epic  disappointment, they didn't serve their protein bowls on weekends! In place was modest all-day brunch menu peppered with dishes such as - you guess it - Breakfast and Eggs Ben. #groundbreaking

It was a little too late to change our plans (note: hungry totes) so we settled for all that was non-eggy. I do not believe in paying double digits for eggs, thank you very much. I know I being melodramatic, as the food was really more than decent. It's just hard to swallow the disappointment but we got to be objective.

Every dish we had was very competently done and yummy. The two burgers we had - wagyu beef and pulled pork - were perfectly juicy and fresh. We swooped one of the fries for sweet potato fried for a surcharge of $1 and it was worth the buck. The duck toastie was good too though a little on the bread-y side. And even the side dishes were pleasing,  their har cheong gai fresh from the dep fryer, bearing hints of prawn pasta flavour and the kale chips, our way of getting the kids to eat their greens. 

I wish they hold onto their protein bowls during the weekends and not give into the brunch hype.


Monday, October 2

KW's Birthday Meal

It was a good weekend. Not epic by any means, but special because we celebrated KW's birthday. It's funny how times have changed, we used to enjoy restaurant-hunting and eating out, but nowadays a meal at home is much welcomed. The kids can play within eyeshot, zero corkage fees for my father-in-law and we can just chill out till the cows come home.


Speaking of cows, KW made his now-signature Wagyu MB4 steaks. I know it's kinda WTH to make him cook on his birthday, but I wouldn't give up an opportunity to have his steaks. Leading up to lunch, I had been longing for them as long as we took out to thaw (48 hrs, mind you).

I mean just look at that! Ridiculously satisfying. It never fails to amaze me that we used to spend hundreds of dollars at steakhouses, and a treat like this is so much more affordable and attainable!


I made pasta. No, I meant I made fresh pasta. Making it I thought, Why do I do this to myself, I could have just boil some pasta and be done with it. But by the end of the meal, I'm all about fresh pasta.  This is just something incredibly charming about hand-making-kneading-slicing your own pasta. You have to try it. Just channel that inner Italian grandma within you. You can do it!


Inspired by our meal at Redd Wood, I made a black garlic sauce and tossed within basil, Portobello mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. The sweetish, earthy flavours were pretty awesome and unlike anything you've ever had.


My mother-in-law came back from Paris and brought back Pierre Herme macarons and a huge box of chocolate bon bons. Lots of sweets, lots of love.


When I asked KW what cake he wanted, he replied, "Just a simple cheesecake." I was all ready to order one when a foolish thought entered by mind, What if I made one? Hey presto ... Behold this Pistachio Basil and Salted Caramel Cheesecake! It was creamy and super dense, which the birthday boy loved.

I have made many meals in the past but this was surely one of my favourite meals to put together. A lovely meal that has surely inspired more to come!

Monday, September 25

Fantastic Tendon Kohaku, Eat At Seven (Suntec)

Queuing up for tendon at Tendon Kohaku is probably the most Singaporean thing I have done in a while.  But of course, I need to up my kiasu game. Naviety meant we arrived at 11:30am one Saturday afternoon, waited for 30 minutes in the queue and 30 minutes for the food. We had two rambuctious little boys who were surprisingly calm but unsurprisingly figety, and were wincing wih hunger pangs by the end of the hour.


There are like 6 items on the food menu, proving that you don't have to mess with variety if you are confident of doing something right. When our tendons finally arrived, it was as if we had reached the gates of the Promised Land.


The boys shared the Kohaku Tendon while KW opted for the Spicy Kohaku Tendon. Each bowl was brimming and stacked with 10 pieces of tempura that include prawns, squid, chicken, baby corn, portobello mushroom, pumpkin, and a long bean.

I had the Seasonal Tendon, made up of salmon with yuzu flavour, 2 prawns, Japanese green pepper and 6 kinds of mushrooms. I don't even list 6 kinds of mushrooms HAHA... Oh I had the 16 multi grains + Nanatsuboshi Hokkaido rice, which made for a lovely toothsome texture.


Given how long we waited. It's really quite funny that we wolfed down our food in 15 minutes. We actually thought it was worth the 1-hr wait. It's such incredible value and every item was deep-fried to perfection - cooked without turning rubbery. My curiosity has been piqued and I'm wondering if Tendon Ginza Itsuki is just as good if not better!

Friday, September 15

Autobus Cafe, OUE Downtown Gallery


Autobus Cafe is a new multi-concept eatery slash bike retail store within OUE Downtown Gallery. I have been there at least twice now and it feels like quite a treat whenever I head there with friends. The weekday lunch menu is pretty much like Super Simple and Grain Traders; they offer bowls ranging from S$12, $14 to S$16 with additional charges for premium ingredients.

I'm not super adventurous so I found a combination that I like and I will more or less stick with it. Romaine lettuce topped with grilled bell peppers, grilled corn, mushrooms, spicy creamy salmon sashimi chunks, and yogurt cilantro chicken. Yup, I usually go for the two protein option as it feels more celebratory.

Wednesday, September 13

Pumpkins by the Bay

Instead of the usual floral displays, autumn stalwart pumpkins took over Gardens by the Bay. Perhaps in time for Halloween too, there was something candidly quirky about these edible showpieces ... hur hur hur 🎃🎃🎃 There was a little section of succulents called "Aloe in Wonderland;" you got to hand it to the planning folks at Gardens by the Bay for making plants relevant and interesting.

 
  

Monday, September 11

Folklore, Destination Singapore Beach Road

Despite being Singaporean and once upon a time a food blogger, I'm woefully under-educated in the world of Peranakan foo-, I mean, cuisine. My knowledge of Peranakan or Nonya cuisine fall along the lines of kuehs, chap chye and curry chicken. Sacrileges, yeah? Well, not any longer.

Thanks for Chef Damian D'Silva, I have gained an appreciation for Peranakan food and at the end of the meal I was even wondering if there was a kind Peranakan who would teach me how to make all those dishes. HA, who am I kidding? I am probably too careless to carry out all that laborious work by myself. Oh well, at least I know where I can get my fix whenever those Peranakan pangs hit.


Created in 2001, the Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice is one of Chef D'Silva’s signature and it has quite the following. I love love love fried rice. I could eat it everyday if it didn’t go straight to my hips. I took a bit of the Sambal Buah Keluak Fried Rice and all I could think of was, What the devil is it this glorious hideous-looking mess? I can finally see why people call buah keluack "black gold.” Awesome wok hei, a solid knock-out.


The classic Ngoh Hiang (stuffed with water chestnuts, minced pork and prawns) is not unlike anything you would have tasted. Sure, its predictable but it is also crowd pleaser so don’t find your feelings.


The Babi Assam boasted soft fatty wobbly chunks of pork belly braised in sweet tangy tamarind sauce. I like how it wasn't slathered in sauce but caramelized and slick. Eating it would make you feel like you are cheating on your cardiologist. Shh, nobody needs to know.


The Peranakan Chap Chye was another game-changing dish. And by game-changing, I’m referring to the addition of sweet holy pork belly. The usual suspects cabbage., beancurd skin, tung hoon and black fungus gently braised in a pork and prawn stock until they have fully soaked in DAH flavours. Deceptively simple and a must-order.


Ayam Lemak Chilli Padi was one heck of a curry chicken dish. Fiery, aromatic and richly-spiced, it is a lot more complex than it appears. I knew I would pay for it later, but I couldn't help myself from slurping up the gravy.


Oxtail stew is one of those dishes I loved as a kid. But of course, I never had anything like this and I wish I could buy the gravy by the pack. Slow-cooked in more spices than I can count of remember, the oxtail itself yielded easily without losing any of its gelatinous texture. Another stellar dish.


Kueh Kosui has never been my favourite kueh. It always felt a little stodgy and insipid, unlike the cool kids kueh salat and ondeh ondeh. Of course, by now, you would have realised that Folklore does things a little differently here. The Kueh Kosui is commendably soft, with the grated coconut lending some textural contrast.


Another dessert we had was the Kueh Bengkah with vanilla ice cream. The tapioca cake is rather dense but paired with vanilla ice cream and gula melaka, this trio makes for a delightful treat.