Monthly Archives: October 2014

Teppei

After many failed attempts at getting last minute cancellations seats for their dinner omakase, R and I plonked ourselves in front of the computer and various gadgets at 12:58pm on a Sat to ensure we got in first when Teppei released the online link for their trial phone booking system at 1pm. And success!

I tried to adjust my already sky rocket (and probably impossible to meet) expectations from all the past efforts and anticipation. Friends also tampered my expectations by warning me that (i) not all items are top-notch but it is value for money; (ii) it is very cramped; (iii) it is quite fast paced/rushed; (iv) the place is very warm… and I was beginning to question why we even took all that trouble. (Post meal verification – (i)/(ii): true, (iii) fast paced, yes; but I didn’t feel rushed (and could still take all the photos I wanted); (iv) it is cooler after their recent renos.)

There are only 22 counter seats in Teppei with 2 seatings at 6:30pm and 8:30pm. It is by reservation only and usually fully booked months in advance, but you can try your luck as they do release seats from last minute cancellations on their facebook page. Dinner is omakase only, with 2 price points ($60/$80) to choose from. The $80 menu gives you higher grade beef (Saga) and sashimi. Their menu changes from time to time.

It was a little chaotic waiting to go in and it is indeed a super tight squeeze inside.

IMG_1211.JPG Once the food starting coming (22 items in total), I quite enjoyed myself! I will let the photos do the talking first:

IMG_1266-0.JPGIMG_1268-0.JPGIMG_1269-0.JPGIMG_1270-0.JPGIMG_1271-0.JPGIMG_1273-0.JPGIMG_1274-0.JPGIMG_1275-0.JPGIMG_1276.JPGIMG_1278.JPGIMG_1279.JPGIMG_1298.JPGIMG_1281.JPGIMG_1282.JPGIMG_1283.JPGIMG_1284.JPGIMG_1285.JPGIMG_1286.JPGIMG_1287.JPGIMG_1288.JPG Choice of mains – sashimi rice, fried garlic rice, hot soba or cold soba. I thought the choice was pretty obvious.

IMG_1289.JPG You also have a choice of ice cream flavours.

IMG_1290.JPG My top 3:
– sashimi rice – what can I say? Morsels of goodness!
– crispy skin salmon – surprise surprise! I never thought this day would come; I never ever like cooked salmon. The skin was crisp almost like a cracker, flesh firm but soft, fish oils oozing, and absolutely not fishy at all.
– aburi toro sushi – fatty oily toro with a hint of roasted flavour, mmmm….

I also really liked the random bits in between – popcorn, gingko, grasshopper, puffer fish skin, which added to the variety, playfulness and character of the meal.

As if to illustrate that food really speaks differently to everyone, R’s favourites were different! He picked the sashimi rice, foie gras and monkfish liver.

My least favourite 3:
– saga beef – also surprising. I wasn’t too impressed. It was lukewarm when it got to me, the meat was limp and the sweet marinade was overpowering.
– fish soup – this was the only item I didn’t finish of the 22 items. The soup was sweet and flavourful but I just couldn’t stomach another huge chunk of fish, after the salmon and the cod.
– salted caramel ice cream – this was too sweet and hardly salted.

Overall, good value for money for an omakase dinner. Just don’t expect classy and zen settings, spacious surroundings and a leisurely time. Expect to be bombarded by swift servings of varied and decent quality dishes. Good fun!

IMG_1222.JPG Open (Dinner): 6:30pm/8:30pm (by reservations only)
https://facebook.com/teppeirestaurant?_rdr

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Rhubarb Le Restaurant

After a spiffy lunch time-out, the gang was back in full force to also celebrate L’s birthday at Rhubarb.

Given the fussy eaters amongst us, there were a lot of questions to sort out before we got down to ordering from the 3-course set lunch menu ($42++) – what is “veloute”? is the soup a red meat based broth? which two ways are the quail done?

We were impressed from the word “go”, or rather, right from the amuse bouche. It was ocean trout with rhubarb sauce in a charcoal cone, topped with tobiko. Lovely presentation. The sourish sauce complemented the seafood flavours well. The softness of the fish, with the hardy cone and bursts of rubbery tobiko was a good play on texture.

IMG_1188.JPGStarters

White onion veloute

IMG_1185.JPG Translation: white onion thickened soup. I stretched to reach S’ soup from across the round table (very unglam, but sacrifices are needed for this review). It was creamy and sweet, thick like a potato soup, but nothing too fancy.

Pork & pistachio ballotine

IMG_1190.JPG Translation: Cold pork roll with pistachio nuts. I didn’t quite like it texture-wise – slightly dry and flaky. Taste-wise, it was briney and tasted so-so with the sour gherkin.

Salad of Little Gem “Achoiade”

IMG_1202.JPG This was N’s healthy choice, as the server put it – salad with cheese and anchovies.

(Soup and Salad photos courtesy of N)

Mains

Quail two ways

IMG_1193.JPG Two ways – breast meat “plunger” style (I swear I heard “plunger” but now I can’t be sure but it was seared and transferred to the oven to bake) and drumstick confit style. The quail was excellent! Would rank as one of the best quail dishes I have had; the meat held together well and was very tender and succulent. Even S and J (who are not fans of meat) liked it!

After the lesson on “veloute”, we had lesson #2 on that green layered vegetable in this dish – (huge) spring onion and leek were tossed up. But after checking against the menu, “endive” was the only item we couldn’t place. This led to frantic googling amongst the group (nerds, I tell you) and somehow all sorts of images came up! So it seems there is a whole family of various sorts, but yes, it is an endive.

Lamp rump

IMG_1194.JPG Z ordered this medium, the recommended style, and it was superb. Soft, tender, and dripping with iron juices, without being gamey. Z had high praise for the accompanying bombay onion too. It is a tough fight between the quail and lamb for best mains for the day.

Norwegian ocean trout

IMG_1191.JPG I thought this was pretty, with blushes of yellow, pink and green peeking out from under the white foam. Really wasn’t in the mood for fish so here is S’ review: not bad, but maybe very slightly overcooked, could have been tenderer.

Desserts

Chocolate and cream cheese mousse

IMG_1195.JPG A few of us ordered this and I was the last to be served. This meant I observed this plating from different angles and … I’m sure it is not just me… but never mind… let’s focus on the taste. 😉 The chocolate mousse was extra rich and creamy (I guess from the cheese); it was not overly sweet but was a tad hard and quite difficult to scoop with a spoon. The biscuit bits added crunch and brandied cherries are always well appreciated.

Pistachio meringue, bergamot curd and vanilla ice cream

IMG_1197.JPG The various flavours came together nicely and made for a light and refreshing dessert.

(They also had a choice of sorbets and fruits which none of us picked given the other exciting options.)

Overall, interesting and well-executed dishes. Service was slow (could be initial kinks). Pretty posh ambience, without coming across as trying too hard or making one feel out of place. I would return for a special occasion.

IMG_1183.JPG 3 Duxton Hill
Open (Mon-Fri) 12nn-3pm; 7-10.30pm / (Sat) 7-10.30pm
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rhubarb-Le-Restaurant/1505748192995678

Boston Seafood Shack

MissY had a sudden craving for lobster rolls. Most coincidentally, I read about the new Boston Seafood Shack at Great World City. With lotsa squealing (from MissY), we zipped down for lunch.

It is a casual space and thankfully, it wasn’t crowded when we got there around 12:15pm on a weekday.

We both went for the premium lobstah* roll ($18), the purpose of our trip. We psyched ourselves to set our expectations right given that the price tag is lower than their cousins at Pince & Pints or Market Grill.

IMG_0887.JPG The bread is toasted, hot, and crisp on the outside; but not fluffy and buttery enough on the inside.

There were generous chunks of meat but not as chunky and the sauce not as creamy as other rolls we have had (in fact, it had a slight Indian spice flavour to it).

The meat was more stringy at parts (which prompted MissY to comment that it was more like crab meat). And OMG, she was close! – upon googling, we found out that it was 50% lobster meat and 50% crayfish. Hmm, we felt a little “cheated” but for that price, I guess we were not very bright to expect 100% lobster. Is that why it is a “lobstah” and not a lobster? (*lightbulb moment!)

We also had the crab cakes ($9) to share. I found it slightly over-fried and a little too flour-y/bread-y. Didn’t like this too much.

IMG_0890.JPG Overall, an ok place for simple seafood lunch if you are in the area; just don’t be too fussy.

IMG_0881.JPG Great World City #03-31/32
Open (Mon-Sat) 11:30am – 10pm
http://www.bostonseafoodshack.com.sg