Monthly Archives: February 2014

Fleur de Sel

Of the 2 choices given to her, LC chose Fleur de Sel for our lunch date. I was quite excited as I remembered enjoying myself when I dined there last year.

We both had the 3-course Executive Lunch Set ($38++).

Starter – choice of La Boeuf, L’oeuf or La Courgette. Or in English, beef tartare, poached egg or zucchini soup

It was a tough call for me between the first 2 choices but I went with the poached egg since I had already set my heart on the beef for the main course. The poached egg came with sautéed mushrooms, parma ham and chicken jus. It was a bit of a letdown; it was bland and the various parts did not quite come together as a dish.

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LC had the zucchini soup. It was fancily presented with the server pouring the soup at the table into the soup plate of tomato, olives and croutons. LC’s face cringed up a little on her first spoonful, which incited me to have a taste. I do agree with her that it was a little weird; it tasted like a sweet creamy fruit soup, with hardly any hint of zucchini. I was not sure what to make of it but she finished her soup anyway.

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Main course – choice of Les Crevettes, Le Risotto or Le Plat de Cote. Or in English, poached prawns and squids in fish soup, pumpkin risotto and slow cooked beef short rib

Service that day was terribly disappointing. Our main course took at least 40min to arrive after the starters. The servers remain friendly and responsive to our (many) chasers but we were really not sure what caused the delay. Bearing in mind this was lunch time on a weekday and part of their set lunch menu, the long wait is frankly not quite acceptable.

We both had the beef short rib and although I won’t go to the extent of saying it made the wait worth it, it was darn good. The beef was “melt-in-your-mouth” tender. It was good enough on its own and I hardly took notes on the accompanying chips, spinach and mashed potato. It may be too small a portion for a big eater though.

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Desserts – Les Framboises or L’ananas. Or in English, raspberry parfait or Sarawak pineapple with ice cream

We shared both desserts.

The raspberry parfait had layers of cake, cream and strawberries, with marinated berries and coulis. It was a good mix of sweetness and sourness and tasted alright.

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Again, LC’s face cringed up when she took a bite of the Sarawak pineapple and she purred: “Very very sweet; take a small bite first.”. So I did. A small bite wasn’t too bad. It is like the solid form of the pineapple filling of CNY tarts. The sweetness was toned down when eaten with the milky vanilla ice cream, and with the tiny not-so-ripe crunchy pineapple bits and rum coriander piled on, it was quite an interesting mix of flavours and textures.

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Minus the long wait, lunch was enjoyable (even some of the “misses” were ok in an interesting sorta way). It would probably remain in my “Tras Street Eats” list.

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64 Tras Street
Open (Mon-Sat) 12nn-2pm I 6:30-10pm
http://www.fleurdesel.com.sg/

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Crab in da Bag

R and I were told about this (relatively) new seafood place at Big Splash where the seafood is poured on the table for diners to enjoy. “Oh, the mess!”, the Virgo in me thought; but “We should go!”, says the hubby. So off we went, for an early wedding anniversary celebration.

Crab in da Bag has a very casual and vibrant vibe and the servers were friendly and enthusiastic with their occassional bursts of “AHOY!”.

As we were first timers, the server gave us a good rundown of how things work and suggested complementary menu combis. The basic idea is to pick 1. the seafood, 2. the seasoning and spice level (mild/medium/hot), and 3. the add-ons of potato, corn or rice. There are also other appetizers, sides and a wide selection of drinks.

After ordering, we were equipped with our “tools” for the meal.

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And started off with moscato in a plastic cup. I felt like I was at a picnic with aircon!

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We chose the crinkled cauliflower ($8++) as our appetizer. They were slightly crunchy and the tops had a chargrilled flavour (kinda tasted like seaweed). Eat them fast as they get soggy when cold.

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The seafood came served in plastic bags – possibly the kind used when you buy kois for the pond. At the table, the server would knot up and shake the bag, cut it open and serve directly.

Squid ($18++)

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We chose this with the Ultimate Curry which is their signature curry mix with curry leaves and chilli padi, on medium spice. I really liked this! The curry had the right balance of spice, sweetness and sourness, a perfect blend with the flavours of the sea. The server recommended the rice or potato with the curry which we skipped (and regretted; the potato with the curry would have been super!).

Sri Lankan Crab ($50++)

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For the crab, we had it with their house signature Caboodle Mix (local and Lousiana spices, garlic and butter) plus corn. The crab was huge and the meat firm and fresh, with lotsa roe – R was “high-cholesterolly” excited. The seasoning was flavourful with a strong garlicky flavour which I really like! Definitely try this.

Overall, a satisfying seafood meal. This was the aftermath:

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We definitely need to find a few seafoody friends to go back to have their Caboodle Boil ($299++) which is a titanic pot of a mix of seafood (pre-order required), poured directly on the table for 5-6 people to share. You can check out the menu here: http://crabindabag.com/menu/food-menu/

Big Splash, East Coast Parkway
Open daily (except Mon) 4-11pm
http://crabindabag.com/slideshow/home/

Hide Yamamoto

My uni friend suggested lunch at Hide Yamamoto at MBS. I thought it would be a hugely exorbitant affair but their weekday set lunch menus are really good value for money. There were various sets available (Teppan, Sushi, Robata). We chose the “Lunch of Your Choice” which is a 3-course lunch with a few choices for each course plus the dessert of the day ($38++).

I had “Three Kinds of Appetizers” for the first course – marinated sliced bamboo, green shoots and seaweed. It was a nice mix of colour and variation from sweet crunch to lightly flavoured fibrous to salty squish.

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The second course was salmon and tuna sashimi and lightly seared swordfish. It was quite a generous serving for a set lunch. The sashimi was really fresh (check out the vibrant colors! #nofilter) and the seared sashimi added good variety.

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Next up, I chose the mini salmon don with ikura. It was a small bowl but quite sufficient given the other courses. Once again, thumbs up for freshness.

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Dessert was blood orange and kiwi sorbet served on a bed of crushed cornflakes. I like the added crunch and the unique choices (rather than the usual matcha or chocolate) but they were a tad too sour for me (though my friends always tell me that I have a rather low threshold for sourness). I think most people would like it.

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I would definitely recommended Hide Yamamoto for their set lunch. It would be an impressive place to bring a client or treat a special friend!

MBS, Casino Side, #02-05
Open daily 12pm – 3pm | 6pm – 11pm
www.hideyamamoto.com/menu.html

Bam!

R decided on an early V day dinner date on Wed (to avoid the crazy prices and crowd). I countered his original suggestion with Bam! since I heard good things about this 3-month-old tapas place.

Firstly, a special mention for the impeccable service (and there isn’t even service charge!). The servers were friendly and attentive, without being intrusive. They were knowledgeable about the dishes and able to rattle off quick precise answers to my questions about ingredients. One of the servers also offered a bling bling (always a bonus!:)) bag hook and he hovered around to ensure that my bag would hang securely. Every plate and cutlery was cleared away after each dish – I guess so that the taste of the dishes would not cross taint. I was quite touched by the effort and attention to detail at Bam!.

On to the food, which was equally impressive! I love texture and layered taste in food and Bam! is chock-full of such surprises.

Sakura Ebi Omelette with Melon and All-i-oli ($23+)

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The crispy and salty sakura ebi nicely broke the monotony of the fluffy omelette and the all-i-oli bound the dish together with warm creaminess. To add further “excitement”, slices of melon were served on the side and you can introduce some fruity sweetness and crunch if you like. Real clever.

Kampong Egg with Baby Sotong and Chorizo ($14+)

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When it was first served, the fried baby squids were perked prettily on a bed of onion puree and a wobbly egg. The server told us to mix it all up before eating which was a bit of a shock for my Virgo nature, but we obediently did so and oh my, the texture and complexity of the resultant dish was superb!

Imagine the riot in your mouth with the gooey creamy egg yolk, fluffy light egg white and slightly sweet mushy onion puree coating the baby squid which is crispy on the outside and chewy inside, plus the occasional burst of saltiness from the small bouncy bits of chirozo and slight hint of sourness from the vinaigrette. Wait, don’t imagine – go try it! Real amazement with every bite; my favourite dish of the night.

Monk fish with black pepper sauce and Spanish white beans ($25+)

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R likes monk fish and this was his favourite dish. The fish was fresh and the meat firm and chewy. It was spiced up with black pepper sauce and accompanied with Spanish white beans, grilled onions and artichokes on the side. It didn’t throw up any surprises like the first 2 dishes but still very good nonetheless.

Mushroom Rice with Scallop and Idiazabal Cheese ($28+)

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Again, another dish with lotsa texture and flavour. The rice was grainy in the creamy sauce and the idiazabal cheese gave it a further milky flavour which I like. There were mushrooms for sponginess and asparagus for crunch. It was topped off with a huge scallop which completed the dish with a seafoody flavour. If I had to pick on this dish, it would be that the rice was perhaps a teeny bit undercooked. But still a dish I wouldn’t mind re-ordering the next time.

We skipped desserts cos’ we had other plans, but I would love to return to try them.

Overall, a fantastic meal which I would highly recommend! There were so many more exciting dishes I would have loved to try – Pasta “a la plancha” with Prawns and Sake Butter, Calamari ” a la plancha”, Beef Tongue with Rostit sauce, Pork Ear with Burrata and Salmon Roe, Roasted Suckling Pig… …; and it seems new dishes are featured depending on seasonal ingredients. Definitely visit Bam!; but go with a bigger group so you can sample more dishes.

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38 Tras Street
Open Mon to Sat: 6 pm – 12 mn

My Awesome Cafe

After spending much of Dec and Jan travelling, I am slowly easing myself back to the local food scene.

L (who is my walking-guide-to-the-latest-eateries-in-town) suggested that we check out the 3-day-old My Awesome Café for lunch. I thought the name was really corny but it would be an AWESOME post to re-start the blog with (talk about corniness, hurhur)!

It is another one of those cafes going for the industrial look but I guess people are still into it. The décor is cool enough, with red pipes as legs for the tables/chairs and an Ultraman toy on the tables to match.

The menu is not extensive. It features mainly 2-4 choices each for their quiches, sandwiches and salads. I think they would have to expand their menu to capture the CBD lunch crowd.

Both L and I had the ¼ quiche set which comes with ¼ portion of your choice of quiche, salad and a coffee/soft drink ($12++). I wasn’t terribly impressed. The quiche was not served warm and the crust was hard. The herb chicken quiche was bland and the chicken bits were quite dry and tough; on the other hand, the ham quiche was salty.

The accompanying salad was just a few pieces of greens carelessly thrown together. Whilst I get that the salad is just a “by-the-way” thing, I do appreciate the thought and effort when cafes toss the salad with extras – it can be something simple like cherry tomatoes or onions, or something more spiffy like orange or peach slices, but it was not the case here.

I liked the flat white – not too acidic and was milky enough for me. The coffee art was not consistent though. Whilst the heart flower in my cup was really pretty; L’s cup came with an indiscernible blob and he had to borrow my cup for his instagram post. Not a biggie; could be teething issues.

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Overall, it seems a cool place to hang out for coffee but for now, I would not travel there specially for the food. It may get better when they expand the menu. If you do check it out, you may want to try their salads instead – they look pretty good from the photos.

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202 Telok Ayer St
Check their facebook page for opening hours
http://www.myawesomecafe.com/ (not fully up yet, as at 11 Feb 2014)