Dinner at Fred** (Revisited 3.0), Rotterdam

As I mentioned in my last post on Fred** I was heading here tonight again. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to see what they had in store for us this time. I think I’m experiencing a food coma right now, but I couldn’t wait to write about it, since it was great and I’m still experiencing the after rush. I wasn’t aware of it, but right this weekend is a festival in Rotterdam called Rotterdamse Kost, and since Fred** has a stand there half the staff were there. Somewhat of a shame but that didn’t change the night at all. We started with some bubblies chosen from the Champagne wagon that gets pushed around to the table at the start of the meal. P9880133

It looks so pretty I think it’s hard for someone to not choose a glass. They asked if we wanted to start of with something from that, and my dad joked; how can you not if it gets presented to you like that. P9880134We started with the Amuses. There was the traditional little Cheese Souffle with Homemade Ketchup. In the middle there was Eel in Green and at the very end Poultry on Puff Pastry. I always love the amuse bouche, and I was looking forward to seeing what new little things they’d come up with.P9880135I’ve had the Cheese Souffle on my previous two visits, however, today it was hands-down the best I had. It was warm and perfectly crunchy. Also the cheese flavour came out very well, which was great since I thought that it wasn’t as powerful the last few times. My dad also really enjoyed having a bite of true Dutch Cheese.P9880136This was probably my favourite of the amuses. They called it Eel in Green. Within the green dome there was some sort of mousse with pieces of eel and it was all on a sesame tuille and sprinkled with pistachios. I always love seafood, so it’s quite hard to go wrong with this one. My photo of the last amuse (the poultry on puff pastry) turned out a little blurry, which is why I didn’t post it. But it was also the most underwhelming one of the 3 so it’s not really missing I find.P9880138Our first course was Sweet and Sour Tomatoes with Pesto and Parmesan. I thought this was great and I loved the Parmesan Mousse, it was a really good punch. Luckily the Sweet and Sour Tomatoes were there to cut through the Cheese and Pesto, because otherwise it would’ve been quite heavy. On my first visit I actually had a similar dish which was also tomatoes with pesto, but it was with Pecorino instead of Parmesan. I think I enjoyed this one more though.P9880142As usual I chose to go for a complete seafood/fish menu. I also had the option of going vegetarian, but I love seafood and fish, so I definitely for that. Since the second dish was meat, I got a replacement dish. I was given Langoustine with Citrus. The perfectly cooked Langoustine was great. I thought the grapefruit was a little strong though, but paired with the slight salty sauce it was a nice citrussy taste. 
P9880141My dad just took the full menu inspiration with the meat, so he got the Veal Tartare with Iberico and Picalilly. Of course I also tried his dishes, so that I could write about it. I really like the tartare to be honest, especially the crunchy coating of the tartare was a great idea. It also added somewhat a hint of sweetness to it. My dad was very happy with this. P9880149For the third course we got this beautiful garden. It was Tuna Tartare with Herring Caviar, Curry Ice Cream, Melon, Avocado in Sun Dried Tomatoes, Hangop and Sesame Tuilles. I love it when I get things plated like this, although I always do need to spend time seeing where to start. There are so many components and I never know how I’m supposed to eat it, but I think I always figure it out at some point. The curry ice cream in particular was the perfect accompaniment for the tuna. It was icy cold and added a nice spice kick to the lightly seasoned tuna. P9880153Probably one of my favourite fish now, we got Turbot with Eel, Morels and Peas. I love this fish it was perfectly seared with a nice crunch on top. The eel might’ve gotten a little lost with the combination of the sauce, but nevertheless I still loved this. I think you can’t not make me happy with fish or seafood. P9880158The original main dish was Angus Steak with Steak Tartare, Eggplant, Cabbage and Potato. The steak was perfectly cooked, my dad inspected it thoroughly and was definitely enjoying it. I also managed to steal some bits of it, and also liked it. If I was a bigger meat eater I would’ve gone for that. P9880155I definitely wasn’t disappointed with my replacement dish though. It was a lovely piece of Sole with chunks of Scallops and a whole Seared Scallop on Top with Hollandaise on a bed of Corn and apparently there was also some Kailan. I didn’t really detect the kailan and being a veteran Asian foodie, I’m sure I would’ve found it. I was told this was somewhat of improvisation, but it definitely was a good one. Scallops are probably my favourite type of seafood, and so this dish was perfect for me. Still thinking about it now. P9880160The original palate cleanser is Gin Tonic with Green Apple Sorbet. I don’t really like Gin Tonic, so I’d asked for a replacement. The apple sorbet is frozen with liquid nitrogen so it was slightly hard and my dad had to wait quite some while for it to be soft enough to eat. He liked it though, and it was very refreshing. P9880162A variation on it, I got the Green Apple Sorbet with Yogurt and Grapefruit. Nice citrus kick, although the grapefruit was slightly bitter. To be honest grapefruit is my least favourite citrus, but I’ve realised that many chefs enjoy using it. I also love how they called it Pamplemousse, the French word for grapefruit, which makes it sounds so fancy. P9880169My dad went for their dessert which was the Cafe Glace. It was Vanilla Ice Cream with Meringues, Hazelnuts on a Crunchy bottom with Chocolate and a Caramel Hopjes Sauce. It was actually quite nice, and I’m slightly disappointed that I’d asked for something else, but at least I got to take some from my dad. At some point though he cut me off and told me that that was the last I was getting, since I kept on going in for more. I guess that’s what happens when you go and eat with a foodie. P9880166My dessert was called the Chocolate Sensation. Now I know that I’ve said that I don’t usually go for chocolate desserts, but they made it specially for me, so how could I say no to that and besides they said they wouldn’t make it too heavy (which is why I usually avoid it). It was exquisite. There was a biscuit base, with a layer of caramel and then a layer of chocolate. This was topped with Pecans and Caramel Popcorn as well some Chocolate Curls. Next to it there was some Vanilla Cream and Oreo Ice Cream. There was also a Cookie Crumble and Meringues. Additionally there were the Chocolate Balls and the beautiful White Chocolate Sphere. There were so many components it was just great. And surprisingly it really wasn’t heavy at all. It was just a perfect chocolate dessert I’d say. Definitely not disappointed eating that.P9880173Although we didn’t have any cheeses, I did feel the need to feature their amazing Cheese Trolley, since they do have one of the best Cheese selections in the Netherlands. The guy in the back is Hans, who’s in charge of the Cheese. Believe me, you smell it when it comes by, luckily I don’t mind it that much. My dad said he would get cheese if they had this French cheese Pont L’eveque. Sadly enough they didn’t have it, but nevertheless it looks quite amazing.P9880175Before getting my standard cup of coffee, we got the beautiful Madeleines, which were amazing as usual. Love the almond taste in it. Surprisingly they didn’t have their Berliner tree this time, there also wasn’t any replacement. I don’t think I would’ve noticed hadn’t it been for the fact that I knew that they usually do have it. It’s alright though, since I don’t think I would’ve been able to eat that many little donut balls, even though they do taste very good. P9880176And since they didn’t have any Berliners that just meant I could choose more from their dessert trolley. I’m pretty sure my face lights up when I see the trolley appear. Above is their sample plate which features what you can choose from. (from left to right) Top row: Coconut Macaroon, Bokkepoot, White Chocolate with Vanilla and Ouzo, Nougat. Bottom row: Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut, Chocolate Dome with Banana and Coconut. Dome with Orange. Dome with Boerenjongens (Rum), 66% Chocolate and Chocolate with Praline. I don’t think I’m every shy so I definitely took my pick.P9880177This is my little selection, a Bokkepoot, Milk Praline Chocolate, Dome with Banana and Coconut, Milk Chocolate with Hazelnut, White Chocolate with Vanilla and Ouzo and Nougat. What does a girl want more to go with a cup of coffee. After finishing I was definitely in a food coma and very happy. I think Fred** never fails to disappoint, the service is definitely on point and the food is amazing. Thanks so much for another lovely evening!

Restaurant: Fred
Address: Honingerdijk 265-265, 3063AM Rotterdam
Website: http://www.restaurantfred.nl/

Dinner at Fred** (Revisited), Rotterdam

It’s been a very long time since I last posted, sorry for that. Summer is over now and I’m back in Rotterdam. Guess the food adventures in Singapore will have to wait till around Christmas. Before going back to Singapore my mum visited and we visited a couple of restaurants, which I still haven’t gone around to write about. So the next view are going to be catch ups from back in June.

One of the restaurants which I mum really wanted to visit was Fred**, since I went with my dad and she didn’t get the chance to come with us. So on this evening we went back here, and having constantly raved about it, I hoped it would be as good as I told her it would be. We both went for the menu inspiration, however I noticed that the menu hadn’t changed since the last time I was here, except for maybe one or two dishes. I told the server about this and he was so kind to give us different dishes to replace the ones I’d already tried.

P1000150First up were the amuses. Served in the cute little petridishes we were given (from left to right) Mini Duck Croque Monsieurs, Steak Tartare on Almond Crunch and a Mini Cheese Souffle. I’d already had the duck and cheese ones, but the Steak Tartare was new and was definitely my favourite. It was perfectly seasoned and I loved the extra dimension the almond gave to it.

P1000153The first course was the Flamande 2014 - Ham Mousse with Egg and Dutch Superior Queen Asparagus and Quinoa. I had this dish with my dad too, but apparently this was slightly different than the one I had the last time and I since I really enjoyed it, I didn’t mind having it a second time. I think the other one didn’t have egg. Either way, this was a great dish, although I still wish that I would’ve gotten more asparagus.

P1000158The second dish was a replacement dish, it was Langoustine with Melon and Citrus. I absolutely loved this, and was happy that we got this instead of the vegetarian tomato dish. The Langoustine was perfectly cooked and I saw how other people in the restaurant looked at us with food envy. Especially being a seafood lover, this was perfect for me.

P1000160Next up was a Scallop Carpaccio with Baby Radishes Ras El Hanout Macademia, Mayonnaise and Black Truffle. This was exquisite and the presentation is definitely on point. The thick slices of raw scallop were to die for. Although I usually don’t like mayonnaise, this was surprisingly light and didn’t feel too heavy. The shaved black truffle was just the finishing touch. The Middle Eastern touch from the Ras El Hanout Macademia Nuts was just great. P1000164Our dish before the main course was Sea Bass with Eel, Fennel, Apple, Cucumber, Peas and Eggplant. This was similar to the one I had before but I think there was a slight variation. The fish was very fresh and perfectly cooked. It just fell off the fork. The freshness of the cucumber and apple was a real plus as it was a good pre-course to the main. P1000166As I’d mentioned in my previous post, I’m totally in love with their bread, in particular their raisin brioche. Sadly enough they didn’t have any this time. After I’d mentioned it they told me to wait for a while. Before our main course arrived, one of the lovely servers in black arrived at our table with 3 freshly baked brioches. They were just as soft as the ones before, and even though the ones with raisin are still better, I was still very touched by this friendly gesture. So sweet of them. P1000169Our main course arrived and it was beautiful. Probably one of my favourite fish now, the dish was Turbot with Dutch Superior Queen Asparagus, Peas, Pea Puree, Chanterelles, Sea Lavender, Beurre Blanc and Hazelnuts. I usually don’t like peas so much, much I think I’ve grown quite fond of them lately and these were ‘dubble gedopt’ (2 layers of skin taken off). Taking full advantage of the asparagus that were in season, I was happy to find them on this plate. P1000173The palate cleanser was Yogurt Ice Cream with Melon and Grapefruit. I always love yogurt ice cream, so this was great. The crunchy bits on top added a nice texture to the dish. I was ready for the dessert now. P1000176Although the dessert was the same as the last time I decided to have it anyways. They’d offered for me to switch to any other dessert on their menu, but I since this probably is all my favourite things on one plate I had no problem having it twice. Vanilla Parfait in Brandy Snap with Rhubarb and Strawberries. The combination of Rhubarb and Strawberry is a classic and I Vanilla pairs amazingly with it. My mum also loved this. P1000186

Of course I went for the coffee as usual, as I love the little additions that come with it. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw the trolley pop up. Of course I devoured the madeleines before that and the little cinnamon Berliner doughnuts. My mum was still complaining why I wanted coffee, but once all this loveliness popped up, she understood why.

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The compulsory picture with my mum in front of the sparkly wall. This was an amazing night. Their food is amazing as usual and the people who work there are great. I think it’s safe to say that this is probably my favourite restaurant. My dad actually arrived yesterday and he told me I was allowed to choose a place for dinner, so I just had to make a reservation for Fred**. So tonight we’ll actually be heading there, and I saw that they have a new menu, so I can’t wait to test it out again. I’ve been talking about it constantly to my friends and now they’ve actually convinced their parents to take them when they’re in town. I’m basically a walking advertisement according to my dad. Hopefully they won’t disappoint tonight and they’ll still be as amazing as they were on my previous visits. See you tonight!

Restaurant: Fred
Address: Honingerdijk 265-265, 3063AM Rotterdam
Website: http://www.restaurantfred.nl/

 

 

Dessert at P.S. Cafe, Singapore

Having promised my brother at the start of summer that I’d take him for dessert at P.S. Cafe once, I finally fulfilled my promise. I personally am crazy about the Banana Mango Crumble here, and it being the same things he likes I knew he’d love it to. So after dinner we headed here together to get some sweet dessert. Having a policy that each person must order at least one item, we had to pick something else to try. We took a look at the dessert menu and after carefully scanning the menu, we narrowed it down to two choices. Either the Double Chocolate Blackout Cake or the Golden Banana Butterscotch Cake, I left it up to my brother to decide since I was treating him. He decided to go for the former as we already had banana in one dessert and thought it would be nice to go for a different taste. – On a side note, there were actually a lot of other things on the menu that I wanted to try or that sounded good, but the majority of them contained walnuts, which he’s allergic to. It’s such a shame, maybe next time then. – After a 20 minute wait we were lead to our table and we placed our order immediately. Not long after this arrived at our table. P1000938Look at that giant slab of chocolatey goodness. It’s a double chocolate cake with a chocolate coating on the outside and it’s drenched in chocolate sauce. It was slightly warm when it came and the cake was nice and soft. There was a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with it, it was a meagre attempt to cut through the over-chocolateness of the cake. I think we needed at least another 2 scoops of ice cream since after eating a third the ice cream was completely gone. It was a necessary addition since without it, it really was chocolate overload. I’m actually ashamed admitting this, since I’m a chocoholic and usually I have no problem indulging in chocolate desserts. After, together with my brother, having finished half we really couldn’t eat any more. It really was a chocolate blackout. So we kindly requested them for us to take it away. That is after we got, what’d we come for in the first place.P1000941This really is one of the best desserts of all time and what I consider the best crumble I’ve ever tasted. The dough is soft yet crumbly and it’s not overly sweet or overly buttery. The filling consists of possibly two of my favourite fruits, sweet Thai Honey Mango and Banana. Actually somewhat of an unlikely combination, but they perfectly complement each other. I was surprised that it wasn’t overly sweet as both mango and banana are very sweet fruits. It’s served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which goes perfectly with the warm crumble. This is the dish I MUST order every time I go to P.S. Cafe and up to now it has never disappointed. Sadly enough my luck had come to an end, since for some reason there was an overpowering taste of cloves in it. My brother even ate a whole clove (well he realised and got rid of it), but still. I don’t think that this should happen, especially since it’s quite dangerous since you can chip your tooth on it. We informed the staff, but they kept on telling us that it was okay and it’s meant to be like this, even though I highly doubt it. Also they mentioned that it’s a premade mix, that’s slightly odd I find. I was quite disappointed by this time. Nevertheless my brother agreed that it’s the best crumble he’s ever eaten and he was still raving about it afterwards, I was just slightly sad that he couldn’t have tried the versions where it was perfect.

Restaurant: P.S. Cafe at Palais Renaissance
Address: Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Rd, #02-09A, Singapore 238871
Website: http://www.pscafe.com/

 

 

Brunch at Dean & Deluca, Singapore

This will be a pretty short post, since I only tried one dish here. But this dish is to beautiful not to be featured. Actually this whole place is amazing. Dean & Deluca is an upscale gourmet grocery store, which not only sells products, but also serves food and drinks. Having seen tons of pictures of their food – in particular their pancakes and french toast – on instagram, I knew I had to come here at least once this summer to try it myself. Located at level 4 in Orchard Central it’s not really in the most crowded and visited area of Orchard. Most people tend to stay within Somerset 313 or the Ion/Takashimaya area. It’s somewhat of a self-service concept where you go to the counter to place your order and are given a beeper, when the beeper goes off you’re meant to go to the collection area where you pick up your food.

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Just look at the wonderful cakes and pastries that are at the counter. Just amazing. It all looks so delicious. Luckily I’d already made up my mind before seeing all this, that we were going to be having their french toast. The description sounds like music to my ears: “wo one inch thick slices of French brioche with salted caramelised bananas, fresh berries, and vanilla ice cream.” I wasn’t to sure what to expect, but it just sounded so good. After ordering it, I couldn’t contain my excitement. When the beeper went off I ran to the counter to pick it up and there it was. P1000916

This plate of decadence was there. 3 Slices of French Brioche crispy on the outside and soft and flluffy on the inside. Topped with caramelised bananas and mixed berries – some of my favourite things. Drenched in a butterscotch caramel sauce and served with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream. Don’t think it can get any better than this. Look at how beautiful it is. Looking at it, makes me want to have it again. It was perfect. All the elements complemented each other and surprisingly it wasn’t overly sweet. Just pure decadence. I’m so happy that I got this and I will definitely be heading back to have another one of these and to try their pancakes. It’s up there with the French toast from Wild Honey, can’t really decide which one is better. Best would be if this one would also have Grilled Mango inside. Definitely a place to visit for everyone!

Restaurant: Dean & Deluca
Address: #04-23/24 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
Website: http://www.deandeluca.com.sg/

Dinner at Pontini, Singapore

To celebrate our whole family being together and to somewhat end the summer on a high note (since my brother started school on monday again), we decided to head to Pontini at Grand Copthorne Waterfront. It’s a relatively upscale Italian restaurant, whose new menu focuses on eco-sustainable food. As we ordered we were informed that both my brother’s choice for appetiser (a mackerel dish) and my choice for main (an oven-baked whole mackerel) weren’t available. This was very disappointing as the restaurant was relatively empty so it couldn’t be that other patrons had already ordered it. On further enquiry we discovered that they’d already run out during lunch, which is surprising since you’d think that they’d have enough supplies for both a lunch and dinner service. After pondering and scouring the menu further, we finally ordered. P1000882

My brother’s second choice from the appetiser was a cured meat platter. This consisted of some Parma Ham with Rock Melon, Rucola, Fig Tapenade, some more ham (a different type maybe?, although we couldn’t taste the difference between it and the one wrapped around the melon) as well as some Pecorino with Black Truffle shaved on top. My brother doesn’t particularly enjoy cheese so much, so he donated the cheese and truffle to my dad and I. I was quite happy with it, since I got a giant slice of truffle. I also tasted his ham with melon which was really good, a true classic.P1000883

My mum and I both being seafood lovers, went for the same starter. It was Scallop Carpaccio with Blue Fin Tuna Tartare. This was a relatively good dish. The scallop carpaccio was delicious, with the scallops being succulent and fresh. On the other hand I found that the tuna tartare lacked seasoning and taste and I’ve had better tartare elsewhere on multiple occasions. To be honest it’s probably one of the worst ones I’ve had. P1000884

My dad went the carnivorous route and got the Steak Tartare with Mushrooms and a Sprout Salad. Compared to the tuna tartare, this was seasoned perfectly. And I loved the earthy tone the mushrooms gave to the dish. Even though I usually prefer seafood, I think this would’ve been a better choice. Also the portion was larger and was more representative of an adequate starter. P1000885

For his main, my dad took a pasta dish. He got the Paccheri with Langoustine, fresh Buratta in a ‘San Marzano’ Tomato Sauce. This dish was tasty, but it definitely was a Primi size and wasn’t really adequate as a main. There was very little pasta, and only one piece of Langoustine. They were, however, very generous with the Burrata as there was a giant ball of it placed in the centre of the plate. I didn’t get to try much of this, since it was very small and didn’t seem enough for my dad already.P1000886

Like my dad I didn’t really order a ‘main’, instead I decided to go for the seafood stew. As I’d tried from my mum on a previous occasion and remembered it being quite good. The Cacciuco alla Livornese was nice. The tomato base was really tasty and fresh. Although I did feel they could’ve been a bit more generous with the amount of seafood, as there was maybe one scallop and one prawn, a few chewy squid rings, some slices of fish and 2 mussels. You’d expect more of a true Italian seafood stew, which are often extremely opulent.

P1000887My brother went for the Carne section of the menu and got Lamb Chops on top of Sicilian Caponata. The lamb was cooked extremely well (medium rare, as he’d requested) and the caponata was a great accompaniment. I did find the portion a tad small, which I’d noticed throughout the night already. Due to this my entire family was filling up on bread and we’d even requested a second serving of bread, which we’d devoured.

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My mum had originally ordered the Cod with Olive Tapenade and Veggies but when it came it wasn’t fresh at all. After returning it and receiving a new portion, we still found the fish to be lacking any flavor or freshness and got it returned. They then offered to change the fish offering her a Turbot with Mashed Potato and Mushrooms instead. Luckily the turbot was fresh, however the chef seemed a little more generous with the salt on one piece of fish than the other. Especially my mum found it a tad bit too salty, for me it was alright though. P1000891

With the portions being relatively small, we had more than enough room for dessert. Everyone in our family has quite a sweet tooth and we were keen to try basically everything on the menu and had a lot of trouble deciding. In the end we settled on ordering 5 desserts instead of 4, with one being placed in the centre as the ‘common dessert’. This turned out to be the Frutti di Bosco – a chilled mixed berry soup with yogurt ice cream and a biscuit. I love the taste of the sweet berries with the yogurt, it’s so good. There were also little nibs of chocolate in the soup, which added a nice hit of bitterness which undercut the sweetness of the dish. P1000890I’ve always really wanted to try their Sicilian Cannoli filled with Almond Custard and Pistachios and served with a scoop of Pistachio Ice Cream (which we got replaced with Hazelnut), but never have since I’m crazy about their Tiramisu. So this time I kind of forced my mum to order it. After she mentioned that it sounded good and she’d want to try it to, I basically told her that that was what she was getting. I thought this was a great dessert and the pastry was nice and crisp. Also the custard was delicious and I enjoyed breaking the cannoli and eating the crunchy pistachios. P1000892

My brother and I had somewhat made of a deal beforehand to do 50/50 on our desserts. He ordered the Molten Chocolate Cake with a scoop of Pistachio Ice Cream (originally Hazelnut) and Poached Pear. As we cut into the cake, the molten chocolate oozed out, which put sparkles into our eyes. It was a good dessert, though the pear wasn’t poached adequately as it was still quite hard and we had trouble cutting into it. P1000893

This Tiramisu is hands-down the best Tiramisu I’ve eaten thus far, I love how it’s accompanied by a scoop of Espresso Ice Cream as well as the Amaretto Crumble. The Mascarpone Cream is delicious and to be honest there are no words to describe how decadent this is. I think this is a must-order and I recommend that you order at least one order of this if you’re ever at Pontini.P1000894

This dessert is on their special summer menu, and when I read the description I decided that my dad just needed to order this. It pretty much sums him up consists of some things that he enjoys most. There’s the Lemon Sorbet served in the Lemon, an Amaretti Biscuit as well as a very strong Lemon Shot with some Berry Coulis on top. This was perfect for him, since he loves sour things and Lemon desserts usually being one of his favourites. Personally I’m not such a fan of lemon sorbet, but I must admit that this one was extremely good.

Although the food was alright, I was quite disappointed as the portions were small and the service was quite terrible (they cleared the table whilst others were still eating and removed plates with food still on it, even though we were still eating from it). Hopefully they can improve on this, as to provide a more enjoyable experience. I did enjoy spending the evening with my family though and am quite sad that the end of the summer is approaching.

Restaurant: Pontini
Address: 392 Havelock Road, Level 2 Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Singapore 169663
Website:http://www.millenniumhotels.com.sg/grandcopthornewaterfront/dining/pontini.html

 

Lunch at Ricciotti, Singapore

For our third intern lunch we headed to Ricciotti an Italian place at Star Vista. We headed there on a thursday, which meant that we were able to profit from their 1-for-1 deal, as well as being able to order salads for $10 each. There was 7 of us, so we decided to order 3, 1-for-1, dishes and one other set lunch, which was also available. We also got 2 salads to share. P1000878

The salad that I ordered for the table was the Seafood Salad with balsamico dressing. The salad had rucola, shrimps, calamari, orange and tomato. The salad was alright, although I expected a little more from it. Also the calamari was quite chewy and I’m not sure how fresh it really was. The other salad we got, which I didn’t get to take a picture of, was the Ricciotti Salad. This salad had a mixed greens, pork bacon, grilled bell pepper and shaved parmesan. We also got this with balsamico dressing. This one had a little more taste than the seafood salad. But I don’t think any of the salads were really that great.P1000877We got two plates each of two different pasta dishes. The one pictured above is the Rigatoni al Telefono. It was a pasta in a tomato basil sauce with mozzarella eggplant. Sadly enough there wasn’t much eggplant and some of the pieces of eggplant were extremely salty. The second pasta dish we got was the Pappardelle con Brasato di Agnello – a wide ribbon egg pasta in a braised lamb sauce. They were more generous with ingredients in this dish, with cubes of lamb studding the pasta. I did find that some pieces had an overpowering taste of lamb. Also it was slightly odd that our plates of pappardelle were served at separate times, the second only being served about 15 minutes after the first. We had originally wanted to order the Tagliatelli Verdi con Polpette – Spinach Tagliatelli with Meatballs, but sadly enough this wasn’t available.

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For pizzas we got a Salame Piccante – a spicy salami margherita pizza – and a Prosciutto Cotto e Funghi – a ham and mushroom margherita pizza. The latter was a favourite amongst us and I really enjoyed the giant pieces of mushroom that studded the pizza. The salami was also not bad, however it wasn’t really anything special and I’m not really a fan of salami in general. As part of the set meal we got another pizza (sorry, for the lack of picture) which was the Pizza Zucca e Caprino – a pizza with roasted pumpkin, goat cheese and sage. This was an interesting flavour combination and the pizza was topped with a lot of pumpkin.

The meal was alright, but I don’t think that it was something to rave about. In particular the service wasn’t that great and I expected a little more. Still a nice break from work though.

Restaurant: Ricciotti at the Star Vista
Address: 1, Vista Exchange Green #01-33, The Star Vista, Singapore 138617
Website: http://www.ricciotti.co/

Dinner at Don Quijote, Singapore

Being all quite busy, we arranged for a cousin meet-up so that we could all catch-up. We always choose quite interesting places to go to and decided that this time we’d head down the Spanish path and go for some tapas. I was super excited since I’d never had tapas before (I’ve had individual dishes, but never really a tapas dinner). My eldest cousin didn’t even know what tapas was, so this was a great chance for all of us to try something new. My one cousin who had eaten tapas before recommended Don Quijote in Dempsey Hill, so we decided to try it out. In order to decide what to order we decided that each of us choose one item from the tapas menu first.

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First up was the Chorizo Asado – Barbecued Spanish Chorizo Sausage. I thought that this was great, I especially loved the smokiness of the chorizo. It was nicely grilled and I think we all enjoyed this. P1000853

The second dish was the Tacos de Lomo al Queso Azul – Tenderloin Steak Cubes with Blue Cheese Sauce. The beef was cooked to perfection and wasn’t tough and it went great with the blue cheese sauce. P1000856Next were the Camarones a la Plancha – Barbecued Prawns in a Garlic Sauce. These prawns were wonderfully fresh and the garlic wasn’t overpowering at all. I also learned that you’re actually able to eat the shell of the prawns and thought it was wonderfully crisp. I didn’t dare to eat the head though, so I donated that to my cousin who joyfully ate all the prawn heads. P1000857

Another seafood dish, we got the Gamberones al Ajilo – Garlic Fried Shrimp. I loved the topping of the crispy bits of fried garlic and the oil that it was in was perfectly infused with garlic. We enjoyed dipping the bread into it and soaking up all the juices. Just wonderful. I might note that we ordered a second portion of this. P1000858My choice and a must have were the Chipiron – Battered Baby Squid. Of course the menu also had the fried calamaris, but those are often tough and till now I’ve never had a bad experience with the baby squid. I especially enjoy eating the tentacles, as I find that those are the crispest. This is just perfection with a squeeze of lemon juice on top.P1000860

We also decided to try the Albondigas con Mazanas y Pinones – Meatballs with Apple Sauce. These tiny meatballs weren’t dry at all and the addition of cinnamon together with the sweetness of the apples was a perfect complement to the meat. P1000865

Originally we’d wanted to order the scallops, but for some reason they weren’t available this night. Instead we got the Costillas de Cerdo con Mojo Picon – Pork Ribs with Mojo Sauce. These ribs were good and the sauce was slightly spicy. Although I personally do prefer a more juicier sauce, like a nice BBQ glaze of some sort, since these were a bit dry.P1000866

Well aware that 7 tapas dishes for 7 of us wouldn’t be enough, we also got a medium Paella Valenciana – Seafood, Chicken and Rice in Saffron Stock. The waiter recommended we either take 2 small ones to try (as the Paella is available in 3 different sizes) or a medium one. He told us to not get the large, as he thought we wouldn’t be able to finish. When the paella came I was very happy at the sight of the giant prawns on top of the bed of rice. I also really enjoyed the pieces of chicken. I thought the paella was quite tasty, although I was slightly disappointed by the lack of crust that it had. After finishing the paella we were still hungry. We then decided to order some more tapas and another Paella and my brother and cousin also got a pasta to share. P1000867

The second paella we ordered was the Paella de Carne – Beef, Chicken, Chorizo and Rice in Saffron Stock. This paella was also very good, although I think I still prefer the mixed one since the only meat that I really liked were the chicken pieces and I love seafood. I found that the beef was a tad dry and didn’t really add much to the dish. The chorizo on the other hand was a good choice. P1000870

The pasta they decided to try was a Fusili with Beef in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce. This wasn’t really Spanish, but I guess it was a good tummy filler and it was quite tasty. Just not very special. P1000871

Having scouted the dessert menu beforehand I knew that we had to get this. The BOMBA de Chocolate – Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, is just a must order. When we cut into it the wonderful molten chocolate was oozing out and I loved just taking a bit and then some ice cream. I just love chocolate and any dessert that is both hot and cold. Just amazing. We ordered 2 to share amongst the 7 of us, but I’m pretty sure that all in all I finished more than one, since I was sitting in the middle and ate from both. I did warn them beforehand that I could finish one myself! I think that’s a fair warning.

P1000873For a Spanish ending to our meal we also ordered the Churros with Dark Chocolate Sauce. These were quite good, especially the dark chocolate sauce was decadent. Although the churros weren’t too special, to be honest. And my one cousin noted that for 50 cents you can get You-Tiao, a Chinese fried dough stick, which tastes basically the same.

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Of course being a Spanish place we had to order Sangria. We ordered a jug of the White Sangria first and then had a jug of the Red Sangria. Although I usually prefer white wine over red, I was surprised to enjoy the red Sangria more. It probably is because of the fact that the light didn’t have as much taste. Slightly sad to be honest.

Overall I thought it was a nice evening and I loved being together with our entire group of cousins and their partners. Just reminds me of how much I’ll miss them when I’m back in Holland. Hopefully we’ll have another meet-up before I head back. Fingers crossed.

Restaurant: Don Quijote
Address: Block 7 Dempsey Rd #01-02, Singapore 249671
Website: http://www.don-quijote-restaurants.com/

 

 

 

Brunch at Wild Honey, Singapore

Being in Singapore only for the summer I wanted to make sure that I got to see all my cousins. Having not seen these cousins for more than a year, I was excited to meet them for brunch to catch up. My one cousin suggested going to Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery, which I thought was a great idea since I’d always wanted to try. Wild Honey is an all-day breakfast place, which serves dishes inspired by different areas of the world. I’d heard a lot about it from others who’d tried it and I was super excited to go and try it myself.

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I decided to go for the ‘Sweet Morning’ – Brioche French Toast stuffed with Grilled Mango and served with Vanilla scented Mascarpone, Hibiscus infused Berry Compote and Maple Syrup. All the element of this dish made me want to order it. When it came I was just in awe of the two giant fluffy slices of toast that appeared. It looked so good and I couldn’t wait to cut into it.
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Once I cut into it my jaw dropped. I didn’t have such high expectations for the mango inside, but they actually managed to stuff in half a mango. I couldn’t believe it. This was too good to be true. The mango actually had visible char marks on it from grilling. I poured the maple syrup over the soft yet crunchy toast and I dipped it in the berry compote. This was just amazing. Probably the best brunch I’d had for a while. I can’t stop raving about it, sorry!

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A very popular dish at Wild Honey is the Tunisian – a pan of Spicy Shakshouka with Chorizo Sausage and Two Eggs served with 2 slices of Brioche and an Israeli salad. The shakshouka is made up tomato, onion, red pepper and chilli and the added saltiness of the Chorizo complemented it very well. Both my cousins got this dish, since they always enjoy it. Sadly enough one of the Tunisians was overcooked, where the egg yolk was completely solid, whilst it’s meant to be runny and we swiftly got it replaced. I must admit that I enjoyed this dish too. It was very tasty and I loved the runny egg in the tomato sauce. I, however, still can’t get over my ‘Sweet Morning’ since it really did make it a sweet morning. I would definitely recommend this place! It was great to finally see them again and can’t wait for our next meet up.

Restaurant: Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery
Address: 333A Orchard Road #03-02, Mandarin Gallery, Singapore
Website: http://wildhoney.com.sg/11/index/

Lunch at Cucina, Singapore

As part of our internship we had a couple of ‘intern lunches’ where some of the senior management told us about their experiences in order to give us an insight to the different possibilities we have in terms of choosing a major. For this lunch meeting we headed to Cucina in Holland Village which offers Italian food. We all had the set lunch menu, which consists of the soup of the day, a choice of main and a drink (coffee, tea or ice tea). P1000774

The soup of the day was a Tomato Cream Soup, which was served with a slice of garlic bread. The soup was quite tasty, but it wasn’t anything special, just an ordinary tomato soup. I do wish to note that it was severely under-seasoned and we all had to add in a lot of extra pepper. They also didn’t have any fresh pepper, which was quite disappointing for an Italian restaurant. Although then again it wasn’t run by Italians, but by a Singaporean family. It was also odd that they were clearing the plates as soon as the person finished, without waiting for the others at the table to finish. They also served a main dish, whilst the person was still having their soup. Not so sure what type of service that is. P1000777

As a main I had the oven-baked Dory Filet. This was served with some vegetables, some salad and on a bed of mashed potatoes. It was a nice light dish, although one of the fish pieces wasn’t as fresh as the other. Also, I felt that they could’ve been a bit more generous with the amount of vegetables.

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My friend got the Amatriciana Linguini, which was Pasta tossed in a Tomato, Bacon and Mushroom sauce. This dish was quite tasty and especially the tomato sauce was quite good.

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My other friend got the Risotto Carbonara style, which basically was a very creamy Risotto with pieces of chicken and mushrooms. Surprisingly this dish was very tasty, although it was very rich. Another girl got the Salmon Carbonara Pasta, which was quite good, but also very rich. I would say that overall the food is satisfactory. And when going for their set lunch, I’d recommend the pasta/risotto rather than their other mains.

Restaurant: Cucina
Address: 275 Holland Avenue, Singapore
Website: http://www.cucina.com.sg/

Dinner at Tien Court, Singapore

As it was my uncle’s birthday, our family decided to celebrate by heading to Tien Court at Copthorne’s King Hotel. The restaurant offers Cantonese cuisine and is one of the oldest in Singapore. My uncle and cousin had some car trouble as their car failed to start, which meant that they got delayed by more than an hour. Whilst waiting for them we got quite hungry and so we decided to order some soup to start with. We had actually also wanted to order a Peking Duck, so that we could enjoy the duck pancakes, but sadly enough they were sold out. Surprising actually since it wasn’t even 7 pm yet.

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We got the Seafood Hot and Sour Soup. Since my brother doesn’t particularly enjoy seafood he decided to get an appetizer which was Sliced Poached Pork with Ginger and Garlic. The Hot and Sour Soup was a little too peppery for my taste and I felt that it lacked seafood, only finding a tiny piece of prawn. The pork on the other hand was succulent and very tasty. My brother especially enjoyed eating the leftover sauce with rice.

P1000725The first actual dish to arrive was the Black Pepper Venison. We usually order beef, but some members of the extended family don’t eat beef, so we decided to order venison instead. The venison was served with plenty of capsicum as well as little cubes of eggplant, which I thought was a nice touch. The venison was very tender and especially my dad enjoyed it a lot.

P1000726One of the dishes that my cousin particularly enjoyed the last time she visited was the Eggplant stir-fried with Chilli Bean Paste and Minced Pork. Although this was a nice tasting dish, the amount of oil the eggplant was in, was slightly off-putting.

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A dish that I picked from the menu and pushed to order was the Beancurd in Claypot with Seafood. This was probably one of the best dishes ever. The abundance of seafood in this dish was amazing. There were numerous giant prawns, scallops and slices of fish. The beancurd was also very tender and tasty. Being a seafood lover meant that I went for the seafood and let the beancurd go to my brother. As usual we had our little food swap.

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For vegetables we ordered our family favourite, Duo Miao – Pea Shoots with garlic. This dish isn’t available very often and whenever we go to any Chinese restaurant we ask whether they have it. Lucky for us they actually had it this night. The garlic wasn’t overpowering and it wasn’t greasy like you sometimes get it.

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The table next to us ordered this dish and when I saw it I immediately asked the server what it was. Looking so appetising I ordered one to try too, we actually thought about ordering for everyone but nobody was willing to speak up, so we only got one for my brother and I to share. It’s a Pork Rib in a Tangerine and Peach Sauce. When it came to the table, however, everyone wanted a bit of it. When my mum tried to order more for everyone, we were informed that it was sold out. Ha, this is what happens if you’re indecisive and not willing to try (since they all thought it wouldn’t taste good).

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My grandma loves Pig’s Trotters so we got some Wok-Fried Vermicelli with Stewed Pork Trotters. This dish really didn’t do it for me, as it was filled with fatty meat. I had one bite and then passed the noodles to my brother, for whom one such bowl of noodles is never enough. My grandma loved this dish, especially the fatty meat. But my dad and I both felt that this isn’t a dish we’ll be ordering the next time.

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Although we had more than enough food, the family decided to order King Prawns in a Spicy Ginger and Garlic Sauce, last minute. These prawns were giant, succulent and fresh and it was a good choice. It was accompanied by some Baby Bok Choy, which I really enjoyed.

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So at the beginning of the night we had ordered the roast chicken. We had asked for it to come whilst waiting for my cousin and uncle to come, since we were hungry and thought that we should just let one dish come first. For some strange reason this dish came last at about 9:30 pm to be exact, although we had asked for it to come at 7:30. After enquiring multiple times throughout the meal for the chicken we finally got it. It actually took them more than 30 minutes after telling us that they were in the process of slicing the chicken for it to arrive. Luckily for them the chicken was very good, and the perfectly crisp skin was the highlight. I also particularly enjoyed the almond and spice seasoning on the one half of the chicken, although we weren’t too sure why only half of it was served this way.

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After finishing the chicken the staff asked us whether we’d like some dessert. We got the dessert card and after placing our order, they returned to inform us that we couldn’t order dessert anymore. Being quite angry they went back to the kitchen and then informed us that we could order the chilled desserts. However, I really wanted the red bean pancake with coconut ice cream, whilst my grandma wanted the yam paste. As we were arguing with them they told us that their kitchen closes at 10pm and that we were too late. We placed our order at 9:45pm however. They then returned to us and told us that their chef had left early for some unknown reason. Feeling apologetic the manager offered us a complimentary mango sago dessert, as that was the only dessert they could order. Although it was a gesture of good will, I’m still quite disappointed by the service in general and the restaurant.

Restaurant: Tien Court, Copthorne King’s Hotel
Address: Copthorne King’s Hotel, 403 Havelock Road, 169632 Singapore
Website: http://www.millenniumhotels.com.sg/copthornekingssingapore/dining/tien-court-restaurant.html