Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Roundup of 2013

2013, where do I even start?

It has certainly been a momentous year, this 2013, and in terms of the foodie in me's gastronomic journey certainly one to remember.

Here's where I rank the top things I have eaten in 2013 (with the caveat being that they must be new dishes or something that I've never eaten before 2013).
In Singapore, and in no particular order:

1. Oceans of seafood's chutoro don and sushi- maybe the memory's fresh in the mind but the bluefin chutoro was par excellence 
2. Cugini's Sea Urchin pasta - perfectly al dente and oh so tasty 
3. Moosehead - the burratina and lamb rump were brilliant, and a special mention goes out to the grilled octopus and asparagus. 
4. The Sushi Bar - chirashi don from a place that used to be manageable but has recently become such a crowded place :( sigh 
5. Burnt Ends - the kingfish collar, leek with truffles, and the beef were all amazing 
6. The Cheese Ark - shoutout goes to the Alisia Victoria amongst all the wonderful cheeses that they have there 
7. Naked Finn - the grilled African lobster made me fall in love with it.

The dish that I ate most frequently is, no surprises for guessing, Barachirashi from Teppei. (Which reminds me that I should make a call for a reservation soon).

Oh well: and for the best things that I ate all year, most of it would have to be from my trip in late August to UK and Spain where I just ate my way through 13 stars. While not all of them were sublime, there were many "wow" moments, and these are some of the dishes that I enjoyed:
1. Foie gras with "salt and pepper" from Restaurant Akelare (San Sebastian, 3 Michelin stars)
2. Poached oyster from Cinc Sentits (Barcelona, 1 Michelin star)
3. Cheesecake from Bar La Vina (San Sebastian)
4. Pigeon from Cinc Sentits (Barcelona, 1 Michelin star)
5. Passionfruit Sorbet from the Ledbury (London, 2 Michelin stars)
6. Pigeon from Restaurant Akelare (San Sebastian, 3 Michelin stars)
7. Lobster with garden vegetables from Restaurant Azermundi (Bilbao, 3 Michelin Stars)
8. Squid and squid ink from Restaurant Azermundi (Bilbao, 3 Michelin stars)
9. Scallop from Hedone (London, 1 star)
10. Oxtail ravioli from Restaurant Azermundi (Bilbao, 3 michelin stars)

Onward we go into 2014, and may God be always there in our lives as we walk with Him, amen. May He bless you, with himself. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oceans of Seafood @ Pasarbella

An old friend of mine, J, wanted to go for this 1 for 1 oyster promotion at Oceans of Seafood, Pasarbella - basically the deal is that you pay $35 which entitles you to free flow of alcohol (warm sake, Sapporo, sparkling wine) and also allows you to order 1 for 1 oysters from their Oyster Bar. 

We ordered some Fanny Bays from Canada and some Taylor Bays from the USA to start with. The Taylor bays were pretty good - sweet and with a slight metallic taste that I love about oysters. The Fanny bays were okay - not much flavour it must be said. (They were 21 bucks for 6 which meant 21 for 12 when the promotion kicks in). (7/10 for the Taylor and 6/10 for the Fannys)

We also ordered some Holland oysters which were really huge but surprisingly I found them to be the best of the lot- they had that metallic taste that I do like about oysters and a succulent texture that provided good mouthfeel.  (8.5/10)

Arguably the surprise of the day was the Chutoro promotion that we spotted whilst dining at the Japanese section - Chutoro nigiri was $3 for one, and so was the Negitoro handroll. We ordered both and I enjoyed the Chutoro nigiri so much that I kept ordering - the piece of fish that they put on the rice was just delicious, it was really huge as can be seen from the photos, and just a delight to the tongue, delicious! Full of the tuna fish flavours. (8.5/10) We devoured about five or six each of those. In fact I may even like Chutoro more than Otoro.

I needed dinner, so I ordered the Toro Don which came with four pieces of Chutoro and some Otoro Negitoro. This was again delicious, succulent and sweet Chutoro can't be beat. I normally don't like negitoro but this was good - with enough tuna flavours which made things delicious. The rice was good too. it was just that, at $25, I am wondering whether it was more worth it to buy the toro nigiri only (I would have been able to order 8 nigiri for the same price). (8.5/10)

(ps: I don't really know how to "rate" chirashis because it's really just the fish and the rice right. The rice could have been more vinegarish - that's how I like it such as the one from Hakumai).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Morsi and Sorsi

Ironically one of the most satisfying meals I had in the Christmas week was at Morsi and Sorsi, which is a new one-month old eatery located next to the Rotesserie at Telok Ayer Street. It looks pretty much like a deli with counter seats around a bar, with not much in terms of ambience save for some outdoor al fresco seats. The menu for instance came on a plastic sheet. But hey, don't be deceived by its looks for the food was really good and authentic.

It was a long time since I had the opportunity to catch up with T who works just across the street at capital square and so he did the ordering- beef cheeks and crabmeat vodka spaghetti to share. 

The crabmeat spaghetti was excellent - big chunks of spaghetti in a tomato vodka base with spaghetti, although the spaghetti was a tad overlooked and nothing like the delicious version at Cugini. the flavours though were authentic, accentuated by hints of Italian parsley and other herbs. Very fresh tasting (7/10).

I was very impressed with the braised Wagyu beef cheeks which was just sublime- a huge chunk of meat that was fork-flakingly tender and which was accompanied by creamy mash that incorporated much butter, garnished with carrots. The beef cheeks had an intense beefy flavour that one doesn't often find in beef cheeks nowadays (most places only provide you with the tenderness but the deep beefy flavours are somewhat lacking.) (8.25/10) Hearty primal food.

The best thing about this place was the price: the huge slab of wagyu beef cheeks was only $20, a steal at these days of inflated pricing all around.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chirashi at Hakumai

Save for the rather high prices, I was quite happy with my chirashi don at Hakumai (International Plaza) which came with scallops, some sort of fish roe, the usual hamachi, salmon, ikura, hirame (was certainly too tender to be engawa), etc all over some lovely vinegarish rice which is just the way I like my sushi rice. (8/10)

Honestly speaking though, I wasn't too fond of the Truffle Chawanmushi which was a bit too much and the musky flavours of truffle just don't seem right paired with the floral flavors of a good Chawanmushi. I did particularly like the accompanying soup though, redolent with eggs and prawn flavour. (5/10)

Overall the fish here is certainly very fresh but at $38++ it remains slightly high to be eating on a regular basis considering that Teppei is just around the corner.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ikkousha, Tanjong Pagar

Ikkousha has opened a new outlet in Tanjong pagar plaza - wow the area around Tanjong pagar road is rapidly becoming ramen central, since there's now Ikkousha along with Tonkotsu king, Kagoshima and Tori King. Lovely and I'm not complaining since my office's nearby.

The place was really spacious and airy and filled with Japanese waiters for some authenticity. 
I had the Tonkotsu Ramen - which came with a thick pork soup which had pork bones simmering for ages to produce such a rich and thick stock. Quite robust and delicious although the stock from Keisuke was probably nicer. The noodles were good - pretty yellow - and the egg was well done too. Special mention goes to the pork slices which were tender and juicy. overall a very competent effort: 8/10

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sea Urchin Pasta from Cugini

It's been a while since I visited Cugini which was some years ago, when I was still in university, and it's nice to know that the place still retains its charm of being a homely friendly Italian place which serves really authentic food.  You know the place is authentic when even the waitresses are Italian.
I ordered the special of sea urchin pasta which was excellent. The first thing I notice was the lovely al dente texture of the pasta. Most places in Singapore feature pasta that's too soft, but the one here was perfect- al dente and with a firm bite. It was a joy to eat, paired with the umami from the sea urchin which coated the spaghetti nicely, with just enough sauce to do the trick.

Excellent and I will certainly come back to try some of the other pastas. (8.5/10)