Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brasserie Gavroche

Had an amazing dining experience at Brasserie Gavroche, one of the best of this year and the last, since of ourse, this year's just started. We actually wanted to book another restaurant, but it was a blessing God gave us in disguise, as Brasserie Gavroche was great and the food was exceptional. In the hands of chef Frederic Colin, a really charming Frenchman, the food really shone. Charmingly located at 66 Tras street (where Table 66 used to be), Brasserie Gavroche exudes the quintessential charm of a Parisian bistro, replete with photographs on the walls, dim lighting, and even huge menu boards ala those you'd find in Paris. Was pretty charmed with the ambience.
The lovely ambience (right)
We were expertly ushered to our seats, and very soon, some amuse-bouche-like choux cheese and duck fat balls came out, which were really delicious eaten hot, especially the fat, but well, could feel it going to my foodie friend (a friend has affectionately termed it 'tubs' o_0). Couldn't eat too much then.

Whilst waiting for my third dining companion, we ordered a wine. I had done some research and so it was between a Beaune Premier Cru and a Cote-Rotie. The former was out of stock, so we had the Cote-ERotie. By no means a stunner i.e. it's not E Guigal's La Landonne or Mouline, but a humble Rene Rostaing Cote-Rotie Cuvee Terroirs 2008. Smoky bacon on the nose, and the palate was smoky, and yet fragrant in a charming sort of way. Pity that there wasn't much depth or complexity to it though - too young by far. It kind of ended pretty quickly, the finish. (7.5/10) Would love to try other Cote-Roties.

My first course (entree) was the oysters from Brittany, and this was a joy to eat. The waiter informed me that it was from Cancale, Brittany - quite near St Malo (where I was in 2010). This was lovely - sweet, mineral finish, tasting of the sea, simply delicious. (8.5/10)

My friend's French Onion Soupe (forgot to take a photo) was exceptional - very beefy stock.

My main came soon enough, and I ordered the Sea Bream with Ratatouille to be shared with a friend- very provencal. On hindsight I think I should have ordered a meat - I was in a 'fish' mood at the time of ordering but then moved to a 'meat' mood - but hey I've already ordered.....but never mind...this was good, the ratatouille I am told was excellent (by a ratatouille-loving friend of mine) and yeah it tasted really....fresh and healthy and harmonious. The fish was alright, pan-fried to a crisp. (7.5/10)

I also partook of the Sous-Vide Salmon which was quite delicious - delicate flesh, very delicate, and so soft and tender from the sous-vide method. Paired well with a sauce of potatoes and clams - pretty delicious. (8.25/10)

My friend had the pork hotpot - apparently learnt from the chef's father, this was very delicious: pork ribs and sausages in a consomme-like gravy with hints of ginger and herbs, allowing the natural flavours to shine. (8.25/10)

Desserts came, and the two dining companions of mine decided it was a good idea to order 4 desserts for the 3 of us! And i thought i was on a 'diet' of sorts. Tried the Crepes Suzette which was exceptional. This was lovely and just delicious - enough orange and Grand Marnier for the sauce to actually taste 'oraginy', i.e. that the orange flavours really shone through. The crepes were also of lovely texture. Classic rendition. (9/10)

Next up was the Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream / chocolate sauce - classic dessert. The profiteroles, you could taste, were freshly made, and the choux pastry shells were quite delicious. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to be a bit lighter, but this was great. (8/10)

The tarte tartin was again very good: not too sweet, and a very fragrant apple/cinnamon classic combination, with a puff pastry base. (8.5/10)

Lastly, we had the mille-feuille. Could have been much lighter, I feel! Not Sadoharu Aoki by any stretch of the imagination.

We finished off with a flourish with some freshly baked Madelines. Delicious!

Service was extremely excellent. The host, a beautiful French lady in her mid 40s, was quite the charmer, speaking to us effusively about the food and always giving us good recommendations, being honest about the place, and was just a joy to see her being so happy to take good care of customers. That's what service is all about really. The other wait staff were excellent as well, especially the sommelier who came to give us the wine recommendations. We finished by talking with the chef himself telling him how amazing the food was.

Whilst the food was not cheap (the total bill was in excess of $350 including wine and taxes), certainly a keeper. Exceptional food that is so quintessentially French. Amazing dining experience, and highly recommended.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brunch @ Spruce

After service a few of us trooped down to Spruce for brunch- many options available including crab cakes eggs Benedict, tuna tartare, etc. I ordered the British breakfast which came with the usual scrambled eggs, sausages, mushrooms, etc. the mushrooms were delicious - scrambled eggs however were too cooked and not runny enough. Not bad, decent. Coffee at spruce s a fail though. 7/10

My friend's crab cakes eggs Benedict were rather delicious , and so was another friend's tuna tartare- very flavorful.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Porterhouse steak house

Porterhouse is one of the most highly regarded steakhouses in Singapore, with an Argentinian focus to its steak. The chef hails from Argentina as well, and as you know, the Argentinians are well known for their steak. Located at Killiney road, the interior is pretty rustic with lots of old photos and wood.

We went straight for the main courses . G had a US tenderloin while I went for the Australian ribeye - on a budget. The steaks were very good- well seasoned definitely with enough salt and flavor to make it tasty even though the meat is not wagyu or even us black angus. My ribeye was pretty tasty with good marbling and the pieces of fat were just so delicious. Mmmm.

I had a bite of my friend's us tenderloin and it was pretty good - perfectly cooked to pink in the middle with a beefy if delicate texture that is delicate.

The sides were good too - perfectly crisp fries with a hint of truffle oil, and delicious sautéed mushrooms. Went very well with the steak.

We also had chimmichirri as a sauce which is a mixture of oreganos , herbs, peppers, olive oil, vinegar. Delicious and went extremely well with the meat, never overpowering it and in fact complimenting it very well.

Overall: 8.5/10
One of the best and most value for money places for steak considering the quality.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Located just next to cmpb and the Dempsey brasserie is Pamplemousse, which is really well fitted- a thing of beauty. High ceilings , antique paintings , warm lights, and a touch of modern. The ambience alone was a 9/10. So how was the food ?

Pamplemousse offers set lunches and dinners and so we had to have one of those . I had a Salmon Confit with Pamplemousse - it came out looking a bit like the piece of raw salmon that my mother buys from the market. So so only - not much taste to the salmon, that was the problem, and I do like my food robust and tasty (who doesn't!). The little bits of pamplemousse on the side didn't help what was a lesson in mediocrity. (6/10)

Thankfully the main course went much better - a confit de canard , cooked quite expertly. Crispy skin, tasty meat, tender and not too dry on the inside. Maybe a bit too salty but was okay. (7.5/10)

Dessert was a forgettable creme brûlée . Passable but I've had much better (7:10)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Paul, Singapore

When I was in London, one of my all time favorites was Paul, a French boulangerie / patisserie selling delicious pastries and breads. You could find them in many places eg regent street, covent garden, holborn, etc. and guess what, they're in Singapore now!

Yup they've recently opened at level 3 , takashimaya. I went down yesterday night to grab some breads and breakfast and found a snaking queue awaiting me- bought a mirabelle tart, chocolate tart and a rye flour bread. I nibbled on the chocolate tart and it was deliciously yummy quite like those I had in London - fragrant buttery crust and dark chocolate with enough sweetness. Delectable .

Shall return for more of Paul's offerings .