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Saturday, September 20, 2014

1 Week Old: FOC Restaurant by 1 Michelin Star Chef Nandu Jubany

Hello!

Another new restaurant opened officially in Singapore recently! What's more interesting is that we've got another Michelin-star chef opened restaurant on our shores! Nandu Jubany's the 1-Michelin star chef from Spain and Chef Jordi Noguera is the executive chef who was previously helmed the kitchen at FoodbarDada. The mixologist here is Dario Knox.

This restaurant was on my radar for weeks ever since I first read about when it was still in its pre-opening phase. And finally when information was uploaded on the WWW, I immediately told N we were going for dinner that very week. 

So we went last Thursday and it totally felt like Friday to me! Because the bar was bustling, the restaurant was bustling, the atmosphere was so lively! Then I realised after I was home that it was actually a Thursday. Barely few days old and its already so crowded! 

We made reservations and were shown to our seats and given the menu by another staff. Here's photos of the menu which I couldn't find online and thought would be helpful to y'all :)

However I realised only much later when we asked for the menu again after our 1st round of food that the boy's menu had an extra page of dishes while mine did not have that page (its the page with the more Asian flavours, I think it was titled "BCN -> ASIA" or sth along those lines) anyway so we asked the staff about one of the dishes on that menu and she told us that wasn't updated so brought us a piece of paper with "Today's Specials" on it which was essentially the same stuff in that "asia" menu but I think the prices were different. Also this "today's special" menu (its a separate one that looks like a brochure, seen below) was given to the table next to us when they arrived but it wasn't given to us till we enquired. Hmm.





Anyway what I liked about the menu is that they have items traditional to Spain, and they have fusion items that are super creative as well! And there are so many dishes that we were spoilt for choice! Kudos for dishes like the ramen, pomfret fritter, sweet sour pork etc 

There's also an extensive drinks menu with at least 15 types of cocktails and I love their cocktail menu! Didn't manage to take shots of the menu but I love how the information was presented.

1) You get the ingredients of the cocktail
2) You get a drawing - 4 quadrants (bitter, sweet, sour, refreshing) and they'll mark on the quadrant what this drink is more of
3) You get a list of descriptors e.g. spicy, refreshing etc and they'll mark out what characterises the drink 
4) They'll mark out which of the spirits/soda etc were made on their own with "H.M." aka homemade 

If you have troubles ordering, you can always tell the head mixologist Dario, who's very nice and willing to help, what flavours you're looking for, what kind of base you want and he'll create something for you

Update: found the cocktail menu on chope.co have a look here but there are no markings on this one as the markings are done by hand

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Here are some photos of the layout (its so empty because this was at 645pm):





Whimsical decor!

And here's the food we ordered!


Watermelon Gazpacho with charcoal smoked olive oil ice cream
$12

Now this is very very very similar to a dish we had at FoodbarDada previously and some of the food on the menu were from FoodbarDada as well (click here to visit my FoodbarDada post) 

The difference here is that there're no fried onion bits, but replaced by croutons instead. Also the plating is very different! 

I prefer the FoodbarDada's version because of the fried onion bits which added a sweetness and savoury tinge to this meal. However the gazpacho is still amazing and the ice cream goes extremely well with the gazpacho :) great refreshing start! 4/5



Octopus Galician style, prepared with paprika, olive oil and potatoes
$22


This dish was a little bit of a letdown for me. The texture of the octopus was great don't get me wrong, soft but with a little chewiness. However I felt it wasn't well seasoned enough. The potatoes were good though! There were chunky bits amidst creamy potato and the flavour of the mash was great. 3.5/5


Smoking Geisha

I can't really remember how much this was so sorry! But it served 7 cups no actually more than that about 8-9 cups! N and I shared this pot of "tea". Which was basically made out of sake, green tea powder and about 4 more ingredients I can't remember haha. It was refreshing which was what I was looking for.

Extremely smooth and easy to drink. Dangerous because you can literally just keep drinking and it doesn't feel like you're drinking alcohol. Wonderful creation 4.2/5


Scallops "Ceviche" with guacamole 
$20

Scallops were plump and well marinated, guacamole made us think of wasabi haha. Surprisingly the avocado goes quite well with the scallops! Scallops were rather sweet. This ceviche was alright for me in terms of flavours. I'm not sure whether the chef wanted the scallops' natural sweetness to shine through so the seasoning wasn't that strong but taste wise, this was pretty normal for me. 3.6/5


Black Mediterranean "Paella" with seafood and garlic mayonnaise 
$22


This was DEFINITELY the highlight of the night!!!!!!!

Our paella came piping hot with 2 spoons and instructions for us to mix the paella up so that the garlic mayo is well mixed. The boy did it for us and as he was mixing, the aroma made our mouths water~~~ it was the fragrance of the squid ink, and the seafood, thick and rich, no words can describe. You gotta smell it yourself to know it. 

I eagerly awaited for him to finish and then ate my very first spoonful of heaven. I know this sounds exaggerated but honestly I've been searching in vain for far too long for yummy squid ink paella/risotto/pasta and here I've finally found THE ONE. The sides were slightly charred and N knows I love those parts so he scrapped it and mixed it in as well so there was the crispy bits inside and they added a new dimension to this already amazing dish.

The squid ink sauce perfumed every rice bit, coating it with some sauce leftover = not too dry and neither was it too wet. Perfect in every sense. There was chopped squid in the rice as well and they were v generous with the squid! The prawns they served were also plump, crunchy and fresh. However the clams were a letdown because most of them were smelly. BUT this did not deter me at all from enjoying my amazing paella. Both of us happy finished everything and whaddaya know, we order a SECOND one! :) 

I couldn't resist ordering another because I finally found my squid ink dish. However the 2nd one was a little bit wetter (just a little) than the first one but the flavour was stronger than the 1st paella. So which did we prefer? I preferred the 2nd for its stronger flavours, but the boy preferred 1st as it was a tad drier and had more crispy charred parts. We could tell that it was slightly wetter because it felt different when he was mixing it he said, and this was easily mixed and scooped up while the 1st one was more difficult. I could also tell that this was wetter by looking at it!

All in all, this is a MUST-TRY if you're a squid ink fanatic! 5/5


Confited pork belly and cauliflower puree (4 pieces)
$14

The boy said this was his least fav dish of the night. I didn't try this so I have no comments but the boy tried all the dishes listed here and he said this paled in comparison.

1) The skin was too thick, and q hard unlike what he was expecting. i.e. the kind of pork skin you get in spanish/chinese suckling pig 
2) The "meat' below was more of 1/2 fat and 1/2 meat or maybe 3/4 fat and 1/4 meat so it got a bit too much after the first piece
3) The cauliflower puree didn't do much in terms of flavour if you eat the skin + puree + meat as a whole




Grilled foie gras with marinated shitake and green apple (2 pieces) 
$22

I didn't know this was served with buns cos it wasn't stated on the menu so I initially thought burgers were being served to me and that they brought it to the wrong table haha

Foie gras was average, the buns tasted like mantou and the shitake is like the kind we have in barchormee! vinegar-marinated kind! The green apples were a nice welcome to the dish providing the sourness along with the mushrooms. I felt one slice of the bread was enough for each serving.

The bread was also very fragrant and buttery!! Really like the deep fried mantous we eat in chinese restaurants 3.9/5


Coca with anchovies, charcoal grilled peppers, eggplant, spherical Idiazabal cheese
$16

Coca is the bread they serve these on and when it arrived it was toasted but slightly soggy in the way that you'll be afraid the ingredients + the bread will "fall off"

We loved the cheese sphere and honestly you've gotta follow what the waitress tells you to do - eat it in one bite! The cheese kinda overpowered the anchovies and everything else but you could tell the texture of the veggies. 3.8/5



Grilled oyster in Josper oven (1 piece) 
$10

This was okay average! Plump oysters definitely and you can't really tell its grilled? More like just heated up. The sauce accompanying it was q nice but the oyster itself was a little smelly hence 3/5


FOC Chocolate Burger 
$12

We were q stuffed so we only got 1 dessert! Lemme break down the layers for you

Bread: white choc with sesame seeds
Meat patty: choc ganache
Tomato: strawberries
Cheese: Mango
Leaves: mint



This is how it looks like "inside"! Sorry its messy and all that haha

Felt like I was eating magnum when I was eating the bread haha same textures if you know what I mean. I LOVED the addition of sesame seeds!! Neutralizes (to a certain extent) the sweetness of white choc and adds savoury touch to this sweet dessert + makes it more like a real burger! Creative and novel dessert but taste wise it was quite normal although the flavours did go together! 3.6/5


Ambience: really nice atmosphere going on here and I loved being in the restaurant! Super laid back, chill, open space, music was quite good too, the bustle in the background. All's good!

Service: everyone was super friendly and professional. Good service with a smile always makes me happy! Dario is super upbeat and cheerful 

Food: definitely coming back for the paella + try out the other dishes! AND definitely coming back for drinks. Wanted to try SO many of their cocktails! That alone will draw me back

I can foresee FOC becoming one of those difficult-to-book restaurants 

FOC by Nandu Jubany
61004040
40 Hong Kong Street
You can also reserve on chope.co here
Mon-Weds 6pm-11.45pm
Thurs-Sat: 12-2.30pm, 6-11.45pm
There's valet parking available but you gotta pay

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

4 days old: Les Patisseries

Hello!

The boy and I went to this cafe over the weekend because well its new and in the heartlands! After lunch and some pies at Windowsill, we went down and this small cafe was quite crowded! This cafe is a joint venture by 3 Singaporeans who graduated from local culinary schools At-Sunrice and Shatec. The pastries are all baked in store!


This is space you see here is about 1/3 of the shop space (kitchen not included) so it is quite small in there and not manyyyy seats. They serve a wide range of things!

They have cakes - Rocky (reviewed below), strawberry shortcake, mango cake, forrest berry, tiramisu
Tarts: lemone tart (can't rmb whats the other one)
Macarons (can't rmb the flavours sorry!)

Waffles - with maple syrup, with berries, horffles (horlicks sauce basically), choc sauce, vanilla sauce, salted caramel  the last 4 kinds you're served ice cream along with it. I think for the choc sauce you get macarons too? Not sure

Savouries - they serve brunch 8am-3pm there are some all day brekkie options like eggs benny,, big breakfast set etc.
Then they serve their signature pork burger and truffle baked mushroom pasta all day, and dinner commences 6pm-10pm with club sandwich, carbonara and aglio olio. There's also quiche and sides like truffle fries. 

Price are fair with the savouries being $15 and below, waffles $8.90 mostly, cakes were bat $7




L' Rocky
$7

I don't know exactly what its Rocky cos there wasn't any details but here's what we think about it.  Honestly based on the looks (esp the nutty covering) I was hoping for a choc cake w a crispy feuilletine/praline base. Granted there was such a crispy part to the cake, but it was only one small part of the cake (1/4) of it only. 

I don't know if its meant to be this way or there was some mistake in the execution but the other parts didn't have the crispy layer that 1/4 part had. That crispy layer is not like those crispy layers we're used to. This one's really thin and kinda feels like a crisp in itself rather than as part of the cake. The nuts in the ganache coating were not crunchy anymore (i.e. lao hong in our local terms) so it was kind of a letdown. 

As the interior was mainly choc mousse, it got quite monotonous after awhile. Although in the cross section it seems as if there are different layers to this, honestly my humble and lousy taste buds could only differentiate between the smooth mousse texture, the slightly thicker choc ganache coating and the nuts (ignoring the 1/4 crispy part). 

Luckily this dessert wasn't on the overbearingly sweet side, I think they balanced the sweetness nicely in this cake so thumbs up! For $7 and this quality and size (its about same size as the mouth of your average mugs at home), I think the price is a little little bit steep but I do understand q a lot of work goes into creating this small pastry. 2.9/5


Horffles 
$8.90

We were intrigued by the horlicks sauce cos its our childhood snack hence we ordered this to try eagerly awaiting the yummy horlicks sauce. However the sauce only tasted faintly of horlicks :/ when you eat the waffles + sauce + ice cream, the ice cream just overpowers the sauce totally. It'll seem more like eating a vanilla sauce + ice cream waffle than horlicks. I like the addition of roasted almond silver and they are quite generous with the berries. 

When the waffles arrived, I told N, the waffles look soggyyyy like it won't be crispy :/ but then N was like, "No I think it looks quite crispy leh!" so he cut in and true enough there was the audible crisp :) so crispy it was! This waffle is more doughy, but its not more dense, quite light actually. Texture of this waffle is quite unique in that sense. The boy asked me if the waffles were fully cooked cos of the doughy texture but I told him yes it was fully cooked. So this had a crispy exterior but the inside was doughy. Yeast maybe? Not sure. So I'd say, it'll depend on what kind of waffles you like to determine whether you like this or not 3.2/5

Free plain water is provided, the place is basically black themed, staff friendly, chefs seemed nice too, place opens from 8am-10pm!!! O: Mon-Sundays I think. The opening hours are crazyyyyy I think! Hopefully they won't burn out or anything!

Les Patisseries
Blk 186 Toa Payoh Central #01-428
Spore 310186
8am-10pm daily 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Town Restaurant Fullerton Sunday Brunch!

I've been having this weird constant craving for buffets so I dragged the boy + his family and my mom to a Sunday Brunch I've yet to try! 

Have been reading a few one-liners about about Town Restaurant's spread but haven't read many proper reviews of the spread so here it is! Photos of the entire spread :) 


The cold seafood selection

Very good spread! Largest I've ever seen and most comprehensive. Generally good!


The Italian corner

Left to Right: pizza, live pasta station, mushroom risotto in parmesan, ready cooked pasta in 2 types of sauces


Mushroom Risotto in Parmesan wheel

The risotto was cold so it was quite icky since its cheesy and creamy.




Salmon

This salmon was probably seared? Not sure how they cook it but the meat was BEAUTIFUL. It was so gorgeously soft and fragrant! I had many many servings of this

Assorted smoked fish


2 types of lobsters! The one on the right was sweeter imo (the boy + our moms thought so too)

Also like how they have 2 kinds of lobsters :)


assorted raw shells


crab


The main cooked food area with a breakfast food area to the left and then malay food to the back


Breads! Love that they had a wide variety from savouries to sweet. There were 3 types of foccacias too which I really liked :) there was also banana bread, assorted multigrain/healthy loaves, croissants, tomato buns etc


Cheese!!!
This was a round table FILLED with cheese and this is 1/3 of the spread only! Love love their hugeass cheese spread :)

I had a taste of most of the cheese and honestly I loved them all :)


Assorted roast meats which we all thought looked great but disappointed in the taste/texture department


The siew mai was okay, a little too much meat for my liking but still okay!
Didn't try the other dim sum. These were the 2 dim sum items available that day as well as a chilli crab pau which I didn't try!


On to the Japanese area! this was slightly disappointing as there was only 4 types of fried food, assorted sushi (ok granted the sushi range was quite large), 2 types of sashimi, soba, miso soup

The sashimi wasn't cold enough as it was placed on the same white plates as the above. Also it is a little sad that there's only 2 kinds of sashimi!




On to the breakfast spread:

Eggs Benny on smoked salmon or spinach

The eggs benny was quite good!

Pancakes 


Scrambled eggs w ikura

Frittata - this was okay
  Hash brown - very crispy!

Bacon


Sausages, baked beans, omelette station (was v psyched there was an omelette station! Cos its my fav station for hotel breakfasts)


Assorted salads

They had potato salad, mixed mushrooms, pasta salad w lobster claw, and I can't remember what else! Oh DIY salad at the back too. The mushrooms were okay, not as flavourful as I thought they'd be!


Foie Gras w Balsamic Vinegar + Apple puree

This was THE BOMB. Replaced my fav foie gras from Basilico (since its standards dropped). I had so so so many servings of this!!! It was extremely well executed - crispy on the outside, melt in your mouth on the inside and most importantly this was very very well flavoured!!! With the thick balsamic, and the slightly sweet apple puree. Even my Mom who dislikes most foie gras dishes, loved this one! I would go back just for this (well the rest of the spread is v satisfactory too so.. works out well!)


Assorted keropoks (Crackers)
Papadam
Chicken Curry


Live Burger making station!


Didn't want to lift up each cover to take photos but I remember whats in them!

Briyani, seafood mee goreng, grilled seabass w this cream sauce, grilled salmon, butter chicken, mashed potato, grilled chicken, grilled lamp chops, naan


Assorted grilled veggies


Ham
Steak
Grilled Lamb - the meat was tough


Burger!


Seared scallops with mango coulis

This was good too! Same live cooking station as the foie gras :)

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Photos of the dessert spread









Love how they have chiffon cake!!!! I've never seen this at buffets. The thing on the right is mango pomelo sago! Again I've never seen this dish at buffets! Below is mango crepe





Macarons - I thought they were so-so. Cant really tell the flavours. Shells not as crispy/chewy as I like them to be.

Mango mousse cake - this was okay

Chocolate shooter - its essentially choc mousse with crispy choc pearls - average

Choc cake w crispy base - this was good

Waffle - crispy kind of waffles with airy insides

Tiramisu (in front of waffles) - more mascarpone cream vs sponge fingers - a ratio I don't like

Choc tart + lemon tart - I generally don't like this kinda tarts cos the shell tends to be soggy and lousy which held true in this case.

Cinnamon cake - this one really had a strong cinnamon taste!

Overall
Service: very very good, prompt, friendly, lots of smiles, polite
Ambience: nice natural light, view of the Singapore River, space is not too cramped with the other tables, live music with good vocals! The musicians go table to table. Provide birthday cake + song
Food: generally good!! We were all v satisfied and impressed

Its now one of my top few buffets to go!

Town Restaurant Sunday Brunch
12-3pm
68778128
$108++ free flow drinks (Soft drink, tea, coffee, juices) - cheapest price for adults
You can have the free flow champagne option, but not sure how mud that is
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