Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jaan Par Andre

Digital media is highly influential. Glancing through photos, reading illustrative words have a cogent effect on me. i feel what i read, crave what i see. And of course the power of marketing contributes.. i've already lost count of the number of articles i read about Jaan, and the talented Andre Chiang.

Nothing beats self-experiencing.

Jaan's 3-course set lunch priced at $58++ irrefutably speaks extravagance for most people. But with a tipple of the kitchen's hands, it may turn out to be one of the most memorable spend. A panaromic view at 70th storey paired with posh, witty french cuisine... resplendently unforgettable.

The pre-meal nibble was so unexpectedly novel, you would hesitate a moment until the waitress steps forwards to clear your qualms. These elongations are edible! In brown & black they came, Jaan's outrageously thin grissini sticks featured parmesan and squid ink respectively. the former clinches the tastier edge.

I'm a sucker for breads. Whatever bread you throw me with, i'll gladly accept. But onions and walnuts particularly hit the soft spot. I first worked on onion roll's crackling crust and soft interiors... disappointed by the specks of dried onions that didn't quite come through (some restaurants have got impeccably tasty onion loaves). Then olive roll & ciabatta, both passable.

My eyes instantly reacted to this beautiful alignment. Panache de fruit de mer spoke graceful tunes with an assortment of seafood, tapenade de Provence anchovy sauce and pretty colours. Texture variation is its main highlight- from soft squid rings, seabass, silky trout to the transitions of crispy brioche, seasoned potatoes and tiny jelly cubes... all's a play in the mouth. Absolutely loved the presentation.

Foie Gras a la forestiere doubled the captivation. Beaneath that dull, uninviting blackish brown & buckwheat brioche circles laid a delish wild mushroom fricassee with mashy hot foie gras jelly. I really am not an advocater of foie gras but this clever conversion to gelatinous form eradicates the cloying richness (& guilt) and gets me scooping for more.

Main courses just as eye-opening. I tucked into my Gambas aux popcorn like a child in the toys department. Simply enjoyed the delicious gambas wrapped in pancetta robe, so moreish that two just wouldn't suffice. Pancetta packs comparatively less grease then its bacon substitute and best when the chef helms it at such dry, crispy state.

The popcorn was, your normal popcorn unaltered, but what cooped under that pair of popcorn raviolis was the main show. A gentle slit sent some impactful creamy yellow splurting out, then takes me aback with its compatible corn flavour. Also present were those modest crispy shellfish chips, which i crunched up to the very last bit. What an adventure.

Kurobuta never fails in tempting the pork lovers. Joude De Kurobuta Grille was a carnivoriously satisfying dish (portions ignored) of timely chargrilled kurobuta cheek, caramelized baby onions and heady smoked basil oil.

Not even desserts flopped (over) an inch. Chiang encroaches into his very own modernistic styles and ends lunch on a gratifying note. Chocolat -classic Ngyanbo chocolate palet stoked light traces of praline amongst pleasurable cocoa layers. My only grouse had to be the overly aerated Tahiti Vanilla icecream, which melts almost too swiftly.

Nothing gets more novel than his Tarte au Citron. Mini sticks stood around on balls of cream-supports like soliders planted on attacking forts. Those sugar-coated churros + lovely lemon cream were both so delightful to chomp on. And that encircled scoop of grapefruit campari granite refreshingly lifts the dish into perfect sour-sweet equations. Just the way i like it!

Now this is not adulation for an affable (yes, and charming) chef. i was truly fascinated with my meal at Jaan, and the resourceful brain juices of chef Andre Chiang... which made the $58++ worthwhile.

2 Stamford Road
Level 70, Equinox complex
Swissotel the Stamford
6837 3322

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dad's Favourite Things

Hit the pots and pans again for this special occasion. My menu-planning began a week ago but the eventual dishes were only finalized a day before. There's no designated cuisine here, its a convenient mix of everything to suit my theme: Dad's favourite things.

And thanks to a friend's kindness, i had the privilege to work with lavish add-ons like truffle oil & porcini mushrooms, and used a siphon for the first time in my life haha. Also attempted to inject more creativity this time and invested on pricier ingredients.. my apologies if i didn't do justice to any of them!

Photos are pretty lousy as well. The lighting in my house is hardly accentuating and i was clod between cooking on the spot, serving and snapping quick shots ):


Play, Redefined.

Homemade Parmesan, Sundried Tomato & Onion Roll

Amuse Bouche
Marinated Crab Salad, log of Earl Grey, lemon-infused evoo

Cream of Butternut Squash cappuccino, pumpkin seeds, parmesan stick
Hazelnut-crusted Scallop, lobster emulsion, caviar
Scallop & Avocado tartare, tobiko, chives

Breaded Button Mushroom Lollis, citrus aioli

Chilled angel hair, porcini saute, black truffle oil

Panseared Barramundi, bacon buerre blanc, medley of textures, saffron risotto

Fine apple tart, cinnamon, vanilla icecream, crumble

this is my gift to dad. hope the family enjoyed their dinner.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Al Forno East Coast: A Pizza Tale

You can call this place anything but an express. The secret is to wait, and convince yourself that patience a virtue.

It was a busy saturday night for the restaurant; my eyes glued to this adept Italian chap assembling the unceasing inflow of orders. Pure hand-handling of the tamed doughs, a ladle of tomato puree, a handful of shredded mozzarella, grab of sliced ingredients... stashed off into the woodfired oven for 5 minutes and ding ding! he rings the bell for service.

Steaming hot it arrived. The baking time was short, but the waiting wasn't. 45 minutes in exact- the same to get Pizza Hut/Canadian Pizza delivered to your doorstep. Difference is, we're seated less than 2 metres away from the pizza counter. Fresh from the oven literally validates.

When hurried by impatient diners, the man expressed with volume; " I am not machine!"

Hence you pay for human craft with a worthy wait.

While the base is not exactly thin, it is not ordeally thick either. A scent of fresh flour diffuses from it and generous ingredients garnished the appearance. I got my crystal prawns, calamari-quality squid rings, fresh cheese on seafood Pizza Costiera (squid & prawns, $22). And Pizza Primavera (fresh rocket salad & parma ham, $25) sufficiently covered with parma.

Ended with their pick me up Tiramisu slice ($9). which contained a mascarpone body that proclaims 'im light' but gradually showed no mercy in consuming your after-meal capacity.

In no time we transitted to 'im filled', then signed off the lengthy pizza night.

Al Forno East Cost
400 East Coast Road
6348 8781

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Krispy Kreme, MY?

no, its not a mistake. Krispy Kreme really landed on our neighbour's shores.

Sis recently returned from a Malaysia trip with a box of these. That ever-so-familiar white and green. But in there, what's looking like Krispy Kreme isn't exactly Krispy Kreme. The smell: instantly identified as Dunkin' Donuts' classic greasy scent- must have been a similar oil source used. The flavours: Chocolate almond? Cookies & Cream? Seems more like a J.Co's i-wanna-cater-to-southeast asians approach. The taste: no trace of KK's oh-so-melt-in-you-mouthly-soft-and-fluffy traits at all! they really tasted like the average Dunkin' guys (and costs just RM 2.50 each)
In short: quality is appalling.

oh MY, why?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Creamy Big V

Not all beans are created equal. The prestigious one begins with a letter V(anilla) and im its no.1 fan.

My third attempt on homemade,hand-whisked icecream extracts the creamy fragrance out of beans from an entire vanilla pod (Papua New Guinea-born). Skipped the milk, replaced it with single cream for in hope of a richer consistency. Couldn't believe how well the product came out.. texture's actually close to commercial icecream! yippee. I couldn't stop digging into the tub.

say, verrr-nee-larrrr (or lerrr?)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Little Part 1 Cafe

Small suburb cafes are on the rising but few are outliving their expected lifespans. Customers come & go and only reliable characters can overcome the precarious hurdle of survival. Little Part 1 is where i would repeatedly head to.

Not just about its visible home-sweet-home agenda. This tiny hideout in Jasmine Road keeps a infidel fusionized menu that soughts to a full fledge of people. Health-obsessionists, fickle eaters... yada yada. Having a variety also helps keep regulars on track.

Their Mango Udon Roll ($8.90) is one thing i wouldn't skip. Vietnamese rice paper brilliantly bundles the textures of avocado, mango, cucumber, mint & springy udon strands within its silky sheen and goes so wonderfully well with a splash of tangy thai sweet chilli sauce. This is what i call an appetiser.

Tofu Steak ($6.90) covers the oriental side. Oven-baked firm beancurd braised in a thick gravy, laced with japanese mushrooms and wakame.

Little's Fish & Chips' ($15.90) came in a sizeable portion that's no kid's play. On taste wise, their take on the conventional cafe classic was neither mindblowing nor lousy.

Few places offer savoury crepes and even fewer do it well. Right here i get a decent Salmon Crepe Roll ($14.90), enveloped with marinated salmon, sauteed mushrooms, onions & some roe based cream. Mozzarella cheese rounds off by fulfilling its sealing job. Crepe elasticity passed.

For dessert, i heeded the waiter's suggestion of a Warm Apple Crumble with icecream ($7.50). At $1 more i upgraded to a scoop of Mocha Almond gelato, saving myself from any probable Wall's/King's/Magnolia discontent. The whole assemble sat on a thin tart crust, embracing scrummy apple fillings that filled my heart warm and fuzzy~

Liked the thirst-quenchers too. Their icy Matcha Shake is a resplendent shade from the hot sunny weather, anytime. *slurp.
I'm tempted to be an Upper Thomson resident. hah.

Little Part 1 Cafe
15 Jasmine Road
Adelphi Park Estate
6451 7553

The Yogurt Place

The human body is funny. For a long while i thought i've been permanently bewitched by the Froyo frenzy... until one afternoon my tastebuds tingled for fresh (not fro)yogurt. Here's when The Yogurt Place comes to the rescue. Their Plain Greek with a spoonful of roasted hazelnuts is so down-to-earthly comforting... it took minimal effort to lure myself into an upsized Large ($4.80). Which was a damn huge cup of cultured blob.

But no size scares me,
cos i'm a yogurt 桶.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWG: of French Gems & Daring Blends

When it comes to tea, nowhere else rivals the boundless selections at TWG. Lucky me lazed an impeccable afternoon in the heart of Republic Plaza, sipping and nibbling time away.

Their astounding variety is truthfully enough to fascinate any Tea Connoisseurs/Gurus out there, let alone a mere tea drinker like me. That's when decision-making is challenged and names play an crucial role. Imperial Rose, chosen for its aesthetically-appealing title, was a blossoming white tea from the regions of China.

Delighted, was how i tucked into my Smoked Salmon a la Russe ($22). A platter of salt-rubbed salmon silvers, roe & garden dill creme fraiche served with toasted brioche. Bridging between buttery bread and french croissant, the brioche slices nicely escalates the dish's richness.

Variety, depicted Celebration ($28)- decking a selection of 4 finger sandwiches, choice of 1 patisserie (or 2 homemade tea pastries), 3 macarons and a pot of tea. For those pleased by entirety in an order.

The sandwich quad featured centers of smoked salmon, shrimp, crabmeat & foie gras respectively. While i thought the mustard-dubbed bread and fillings were alright, these triangles still failed to pass the critic's harsh criterias. Poor things.

Graceful, best described Singapore Surprise. Splendid Vanilla Bourbon Tea infused custard and strawberry traces unleashed from its unpretentious wrapper.. like a creme brulee in tarted disguise. Very surprising indeed.

Urge, led to the order of Crumble ($10)- one unfortunately average red berry crumble bearing the mild esssence of Sakura! Sakura! Tea. My attention was immediately diverted to its Napoleon Cheesecake Icecream complement... which disappeared within moments.

TWG's macarons undeniably edge over many others on our island (Canele excluded lol). Lemon-Praline-Napoleon Tea Macarons. They tasted almost as fine as they looked, but unparalleled with the Vanilla Bean i had a week ago.

The pace and ambience here sets you in for long leisurely chats and a subsequent reluctance to exit their premises. But when you eventually do, your inner heart says.. ' i must come back.'

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
9 Raffles Place
#01-22 Republic Plaza
6538 1837

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Celebration for Doooooonuts!

Its National Doughnut Day and i can't wait to rattle on my love for donuts. Apparently the Americans honor the first Friday of June each year since 1938 to solicit donations for the Salvation Army. On this day all donut outlets across the United States- small shops to large national franchises- will offer free donuts in exchange for voluntary donations.. how cool is that! Those lucky Americans.

Donuts never left my diet when i was a child. I wasn't fussy about these deepfried dough coated with sugar-fancies, could chomp on them at anytime of the day. Dunkin' Donuts used to be my favourite (before they mysteriously disappeared from our island) for i loved their tiny pop-and-go donut munchies. Four Leaves also had similar Do-Balls, mouthwateringly covered with icing sugar that melts shiokly on the tongue. Even those neighbourhood bakeries' plump old-fashioned sugar rings are hot on my list.

Krispy Kreme Glazed, chocolate & rainbow sprinkles...

Until the KK chaps came along. My first encounter with Krispy Kreme goes way back to Seattle in 2000. Fascination struck me like how Wonka's Chocolate Factory did to Charlie. Their signature Original Glazed, soft fluffy dough under the frailest sweet glaze, simply dissolves in the mouth without a flaw. YUM. Then on, my KK search radar is constantly activated when abroad.

A trip to Korea rekindled the Dunkin' craze. All over Seoul, Dunkin Donuts offered a unexpected range of varieties & flavours that made it impossible to resist. The Malaysian and Thai outlets are slowly slipping off in quality.

Then at Batam, J.Co Donuts caught my eyes like a chic magnet. Their stylish cafe & surprisingly remarkable donuts became my best friends during the trip. Mango, Green Tea, Chocolate Banana, Tiramisu... all decent creations & tadah, they decided to land on our shores for the convenience of Singaporeans.

Ooh, Donut Factory. No one would ever forget the huge donut hoo-hah cum crazy 3-hour queue times during their glorious days. Loved, & still loving their Orange White Chocolate and Spicy Cheese... both sweet and savoury well incorporated over pillowy rings. Thank god they claim imperviousity to the Indonesian competitor.

yikes, this entry is making me (donut)hungry...
Happy National Doughnut Day!
to all donut lovers out there.


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