Tuesday, August 31, 2010

too cool for school

way to go, singapore! 
how nice to see an ad campaign that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

i want to be this kind of couple

(photo sourced from josh's photo blog)




going to jaan for dinner tonight. doubt i'll bring my camera but do check back in the next few days for a review :)

(photo and menu from their website)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

it's been exactly a year

since i left for stockholm.

and it was the best 5 months ever.

not a day passes without some thought, i hate living in the past and i don't think i really am, but it gave me a lifetime of fantastic memories and for that i am grateful.

it's as if stockholm is this secret place in my mind that i retreat to whenever i need a happy thought, because all my exchange-related thoughts are happy.

and if i could relive any day over and over again, it'd be the sunday that we slept in.

mhmmm :) stockholm. i miss being there and being on exchange with a vengeance. it's been 8 months since i got home but the sense of loss and longing is keener than ever.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

taken literally

as one of my more witty friends quipped, "i love how your bar course = actual courses of food in actual bars / assorted dining establishments."

am increasingly enamoured with this 5 month interim between college and practice, where the responsibilities are light and the work is easy. it, very sadly, concludes an 18 month holiday that began last april after 3rd year finals. there were 3 months of inter-year 'summer' vacation, 6 monthson exchange in stockholm, a cruise-y final semester, 2 months of graduation trippin' and now the post-grad prep. course. so this exchange/travel blog of mine has been well-tended to. but for now, a brief hiatus since i'm back from PD.

next up: perth in a month (swedish reunion, woot woot!) then kuching, sarawak the month after. fingers crossed, another trip to the middle east in november and, possibly, pangkor laut during my study break. we'll see where the wind blows!

till then, thank you for your indulgence and so kindly being bothered with me and my travelogue.

port dickson

8-9 august 2010

or 'PD' as it is affectionately referred to.

had 2 weddings to attend this national day long weekend and was initially semi-bummed to be 'grounded'. however, we did manage to reach some compromise and zoomed up the causeway to explore the peninsular right after the 2nd wedding. love how we decided to go at 2am that morning, grabbed our passports, packed for a night and went to the wedding.

heavy traffic and insanely long queue at the m'sian immigration aside, it was a crazy fun 24h!

the resort lounge had the cheek to charge RM11 for a single espresso.

and in no time it was time to head home, and once back in singapore, it was off to club street for tea.

happy birthday singapore!

and we discovered the best margaritas and nachos at jerry's (92 club street). always nice to chance upon a good restaurant, especially one so close to potentially future home. potentially future home happens to be a stone's throw from work (boo) which may be a good thing, or bad. but for now, and the next few months, it's operation hedonism all the way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

review: waku ghin

disclaimer: i never professed to be a food blogger. food bloggers are a dime a dozen but i do have plenty of respect for some bloggers who do meticulous reviews and share them with the whole of cyberspace. a few personal friends are excellent food bloggers and i thoroughly enjoy reading whatever they post. hence, i feel that food blogging should be left to the select few who are capable of doing a good job of it. those who can't blog, eat. or so i say. therefore, as much as i love my food, it's too taxing to bring my camera along every time i go out. also, i don't believe in free publicity (limited as my readership is) and am not about to advertise to a particular establishment. also, on a more selfish note, i find being caught up with recording an evening detracts from my enjoyment of it. having to pause before my first bite to snap a photo is a pet peeve because i much rather tuck right in. so it's not often that i bother with a review. BUT this meal at waku ghin was too superlative a meal to pass up, and because i truly like tetsuya-san because he is magic in the kitchen, in addition to his indulgence of my pidgin japanese, i'm more than happy to tell the world at large just how fantastic his first restaurant in singapore is. 

let's get the context right: dinner at waku ghin was a celebration that spared no expense. hoho :) 

the view of the sunset over the singapore skyline from the drawing room (also where we adjourned to for dessert)

the private dining room

such a tease.

i maintain that any restaurant worth its salt has trained its staff to recognise bags that could feed a rural village for a decade, and to whisk said bag out of the path of potential spillage.

1996 dom perignon rose (epernay, france), and let the games begin!

scallop with foie gras, ginger and rice vinegar
sublimity at its simplest. one teensy tiny morsel of raw scallop and my tastebuds were suitably tickled.

marinated botan shripm with sea urchin and caviar
my favourite course. and while it wasn't stated, i've a suspicion that the caviar was oscietra or its equivalent from the colour and translucence of the eggs. who would've thought that botan ebi, uni and caviar would go so well together? and in the middle were tiny cubes of semi-cooked egg yolk to balance the sodium. absolutely divine. if dinner had stopped here, i'd have been completely satisfied...

incidentally, along with this course was a little discussion of whether waku ghin would be a good place to propose, to which he said no because it'd be too easy to get me to sign the pre-nup. one nibble of this baby on the mother of pearl spoon and i'd have gladly given my first born to rumpelstiltskin.

saute bamboo clam with garlic cream
delicately presented and a course with more bite compared to the previous. good contrast and the garlic cream gave it a bit of a kick. love the various textures in this dish.

pan fried fillet of ayu with braised witlof
ayu is a river fish and this particular fish was a year old. the flesh was naturally sweet and this was complemented very nicely by the slightly bitter witlof which reminded me of artichoke.

grilled alaskan king crab with lemon scented extra virgin olive oil
this is how crab should be done. it was grilled to succulent perfection and they'd even removed the strip of cartillege inside. the natural juices were carefully preserved and went very well with the slightly citrus tang of the olive oil.

warm salad of cape grim beef
this was an art to observe. the chef mixed the salad in front of us and yes, salad mixing isn't usually a visual treat. but this time it was! he was so skilled and so artful and the salad was tossed just right. makes me feel most incompetent in comparison.

and the cape grim beef was later seared just right and so neatly in front of us.

australian wagyu
part of the table art was the freshly ground wasabi root to complement the beef. also, i liked how the beef was cooked in two portions, and only after we were done with the first did the chef begin to sear the second. this was particularly labour-intensive because in between the first and second serving, he completely cleaned the stove top till it gleamed. and then to 'dirty' it all over again. i wouldn't have had the patience ;)

now this is wasabi. the processed green stuff i'm used to is mere horseradish. sad, huh. how to eat conveyor belt sushi after this? :(

the wagyu was so good it just needed a dollop of freshly ground wasabi and quick dip in the house sauce.

eggy rice with shaved black truffle. probably the only marginally underwhelming dish. didn't get the delicate aroma of the truffle, should've cleansed my palate with more masuizumi platinum nama (junmai ginjo for tetsuya's) perhaps the pasta with scampi would've been a preferable alternative to the truffle rice.

and we'd salty tea at the end. i feel like such a philistine calling it salty tea but that's essentially what it was. although there was an art to the brewing and display and i felt a little uncomfortable as the chef stood in front of us in awkward silence waiting for the leaves to steep. but it was a very tasty cuppa all the same!

after the main courses, we adjourned to the drawing room for dessert. 

granita of kyoho grapes
very refreshing and the grapes were so ripe they bordered on alcoholic

cheesecake mousse with lemon curd
i'm not a cheesecake fan but in mousse form it's delightfully light and fluffy. the lemon curd was tart enough to cut through the sweetness and a good balance to the dish. the portion size was manageable too and it went down very easy.

raspberry, pistachio and rum&raisin macarons to finish. mhmM! the rum&raisin was the best, with raisins soaked in grappa that were a nice surprise.

on the whole, a most memorable meal. liked how the courses were well-timed and we ate very leisurely. the portions are more for dieting ladies though, so i know my companions were hit with the most unbearable maccas cravings post-dinner. oh the sacrilege :) the chef has a very deft touch and the menu was all about balance and the subtlety of natural taste. each dish was prepared to showcase the ingredients at their au naturel best, as should be the case in any good restaurant. it's not traditional japanese food, so nothing like omakase but still the top of its kind if you ask me.

the service was impeccable, meticulous and unobtrusive, without being obsequious. my companion dropped his napkin and before it even hit the floor, a waiter appeared out of nowhere with a fresh one. same when i dropped my mobile. before i could even react and hop out of my barstool, one of the waitstaff swooped in from behind and picked it up for me. 

great food and better company. that's what haute gastronomy is all about, isn't it :)