Thursday, December 31, 2009

A foodtake of 2009

2009 has been a magnificent one for me, food in particular. Starting the blog in 2008 was entirely out of a whim and I once thought I would not sustain this long enough for people to bother reading. Whoever you are reading, thank you very much. :)

Twenty Zero Nine brought me new friends. Floggers I call us, we indulge and speak nothing but food. Friends whose blogs I once lurked around...(okay okay, I still lurk!) It may sound insane but it is humanely possible to have conversations all about food, nothing else. It's Char Kuay Teow to a foodie the same way Prada is to a fashionista.

2009 also saw me going through different food phases, the burgers, high tea tiered sets, dimsum madness...and the only constant, desserts.

Special thanks to the sis for allowing me to impose my whims and fancies upon her whenever we dine out. The lovely friends who patiently allow me to snap away madly whilst they drool and tsk unintentionally. Oh yes, and those who've so kindly left comments on the new places to try, I'll try to check them out! And of course the bunch of friends who regularly ring me up for recommended eats...thanks for trusting me! xoxo.

Here's a round up of my favourites for 2009....!

Top 9 Favourites of 2009 (in no order of preference)

1.Gordon's Grill

It was on my "To Try" list for the longest time and finally getting there got me jumping up in joy. The best of 2009 in due regard.

2. Prego's

My first attempt at Italian Buffet, truly memorable because I ended up with a splitting headache and huge bulge from all the gorging. :P The pizzas were good enough for me to stand by the counter, polishing it hot off the oven!

3. Tai Cheong Egg Tarts

The humble egg tart pumped with lard, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. I still drool at the very thought of it.

4. The Lobby, Peninsula Hotel

Unforgettable. The only holiday I had that I bothered wasting 3 hours sitting in a hotel nibbling food rather than fighting heel and fingernail at some mega sale. ;x

5. Lin Heung Tea House

The part of Hongkong that I miss so much. Early morning dimsum, the hustle and bustle...

6. Greenhouse Cafe, Ritz Carlton

One outstanding buffet for both quality and quantity.

7. Cafe Swiss, Swissotel

The first attempt at a swiss buffet, one of those that I went without expecting much. For every cheese lover...the raclette, cheese fondue...the massive amount of cheeses up for selection!

8. Les Bouchons

One of the more memorable birthday treats, the next most memorable steak place.

9. City Space, Swissotel

After that visit, I've never looked at Singapore's night view the same way again.

2010...shall be another food-full year, plans in store.

I shall unabashedly admit, I started out this blog with a camera phone and progressed to FujiFilm FinePix Z. Plans for an upgrade are in the works..*giggles* Seeking partial sponsorship for now, so wish me luck!

Have a smashin' 2010 everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Caramel Seasalt Cheesecake @ Cedele Depot



Courtesy of R.
Caramel Seasalt Cheesecake when what I have been hinting at all along was the Apple Sea Salt Caramel logcake!

I'll find some means to try it...somehow.



Caramel Sea Salt Cheese cake, 850gsm
($43.80)

The moist cheesecake's defining pleasant salty finish sets it apart from the rest of the cheesecakes I've eaten. The soft biscuit base and mousse-like sea salt caramel cheese cake with jellied topping strikes as a nice way to end off a meal. Slices should not be too thick else you risk an indigestion, moderation works for this cake.

Cedele

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Graze @ Rochestor Park

It was a brunch meet up planned way in advance that went through numerous rounds of veto-ing before Graze was decided upon. Rochestor Park was never visited before, the mystery that shrouds behind this place before Dempsey was discovered.



The slightest hint of festive atmosphere.



Find your location..and start walking! Most of the restaurants do not allow cars into them though we saw cabs going in...perhaps an entrance the noobs in us did not discover.



Rochestor Park has a very rainforest-y feel about it, the shrubs, greenery, luscious green..



The outdoor alfresco dining area.



Or cosy indoors?



And brunch begins on a bright note!



Tableware..




Homemade and nice and a perfect way to tempt you to get their bottled goodies.



Homemade honey whose labels kept transferring ink to our fingers.



Complimentary toasts, white, multigrain, wholemeal.


Crusty soft bread that lacked the crunch. Otherwise, the preserved blueberry jam and butter was delightful.



Homemade honey drizzled on top! The honey does not have the usual sticky texture, watery in fact and not too sweet.



Banana Pancakes ($13)
Smothered in grilled bananas, walnuts and redcurrant syrup crowned with ice-cream

Fluffy pancakes with a certain kueh consistency, I found them alright. Was more wowed by the grilled bananas and walnuts, the smokey fragrance and caramel coloured redcurrant syrup made brunch delicious already. A pluspoint about the pancakes, the moderate use of sugar. I'm not a fan of sugar coated pancakes, somehow.



The Cast Iron Pan ($20)
GRAZE Bratwurst sausage, smoked bacon, mushroom, tomato, country potato, fried egg, baked beans and plum chilli salsa

The Iron Pan's quite a novel idea to serve brunch in. The massive amount of ingredients that went in, the only memorable ones were the spicy bratwurst sausage and country potato.The tomato with plum chilli salsa was acquired, almost like kimchi.



GRAZE Prime Rump Hamburger 200-220gm, $24
Bacon, fried egg, cheese, fresh tomato, spanish onion, pickled dill, lettuce and chips

Not being a fan of eggs in general or eggs benny in particular limits your choices muchly. Next best alternative has to be the burger. Caught sight of one on the way and it looked too delicious to miss.

Since young, I've always had a food quirk...spreading out the ingredients seem to make the amount seem more, just like what Graze did. That's how I eat my Mcdonalds' burgers by the way, unabashedly! Two halves of thick toasted sesame buns topped with a mountain of ingredients. The pickled dills and crispy chips found a fan in me. I appreciate the kitchen displaying all the sauces for you to enjoy without having to request, of the lot...the ranch sauce was a clear winner.



The egg was obviously overfried. The spiced patty too salty lacking in bite, too mushy for my liking.



An idea of how Graze proportions the food in their dining ware. Sometimes less is more, too big plates only emphasize how pathetic petite the portions are.



Lemon Tart ($13)
White chocolate and honeycomb

We were all piqued by the descriptions. When it arrived, I was crestfallen. Crumbly tart overdosed with butter, lemon curd with a bite-sized portion of honeycomb that left a burnt aftertaste and white chocolate shavings.

Service at Graze is attentive and friendly, I figure we got lucky that day. Food wise, not hugely impressed. The ambience works more for Graze than anything else.

Graze
Rochestor Park

Monday, December 28, 2009

Checkers Deli @ Hilton Hotel

The food bloggers' latest fad has got to be package meals, regardless of remaining stomach space. We indulge in this funny little thing called love. One common love. The "No photography" policy seems to be getting in the way, the intended visit to Cova was canned as well because of that. To Hilton for their signature!



Tea at Hilton..



Carrot Walnut
Vegetable Cooking Oil, Cream Cheese, Grated Carrot, Chopped Walnut

This was perhaps left out in the refrigerator too long, the sides were too dry. Things got better progressively, revealing a moist carrot walnut cake. The cream cheese frosting was too thin and sweet.



Vanilla Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Sponge, Crispy Praline, Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Cream

The dome shaped dessert was appealing visually but a bite was all I took of this mass of density.



Lemon Tart

A well balanced sour lemon curd with crunchy tart base. The tart was too crunchy but I'm not complaining!



Mixed Berries
Sour Dough, Rum, Almond Cream and Fruit Jam

Despite its cheery outlook, the berries did little than just adorn this dessert. A dry sponge base cake with berries, some buttercream would have given it the moist needed. Alcohol was not detected, unfortunately.



Hazelnut Royaltine Hazelnut Praline, Chocolate Sponge, Hazelnut Mousse, Biscuit

Too much going on once again, like Royal Copenhagen's. Flavours of bittersweet, dense chocolate all meshed together, the effect was overpowering.



Coffee Moka Finger
Almond Sponge, Crispy Praline, Coffee Cream, Hazelnut

Yet another favourite! The coffee was slight, the hazelnut-coffee combination worked wonders, one of the first few cakes to be polished off.



Snicker's Cake
Jivara Milk, Chocolate, Peanut, Caramel, Biscuit Joconde, Peanut Crisps, Dark Chocolate Glaze

A personal favourite! The crunchiness was plain addictive, loved the well made layers and balance of chocolate throughout. A surprising find of crunchy caramelised popcorn on top went well with the palette.

Hilton Signature Cheesecake



Blueberry



Walnut



Marble

Hilton prides itself for their signature cheesecakes which I have been a loyal fan of ever since the first introduction was made years back. Unlike others, their cheesecakes get better with age (the longer you keep, the better they taste! But of course, at the expense of the fluff-factor..the longer it is, the mushier it gets). Of the three flavours up for tasting, the personal favourite of blueberry outshone the rest despite being the mushiest (an indication that it's been out for long). The marble bears a strong chocolate finish whilst the walnuts were lacklustre.

Checkers Deli is one of those places that has proven time and again that it can be counted on for lovely desserts. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by their non-cheesecake range. Service could be improved on if not for the inexperienced waitress who could not get her promotions right.

Non-cheesecakes are $6.95 take away, $8.85 for dine-in Cheesecakes are $9.50 ++ for dine in

Meet and greet the hungry company!

Harris @ The Simplest Aprodisiac
Elaine @ Divine Joy Bites
Kaelyn @ My Food Sirens
Justin @ j2k3blogs
Gavin @ amasou-umasou
Daniel @ Memoirs of Food

Checkers Deli
Hilton Hotel

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gordon's Grill @ Goodwood Park Hotel



One common love that binds people together, apart from humanitarian reasons, food has to be it. Another to add to the memory bank this year, lovely company and the place I have been hemming and hawing over.



The long and short of it.



The thoughtful towel.



The rest of the cosy restaurant. If only they had powder pink or blue walls to match this dreamy lunch!



Bread Basket (Onion Loaf, Olive Foccacia, Sour Dough bread)

Go for the olive foccacia then onion loaf, the sour dough is passable. Foccacia so soft, the olives are well embedded but not overpowering. Onion loaf reigns! Warm, toasty and fragrant. I wish I had better words to describe but the mouth would not stop chewing.



Seconds!



Cold Japanese Pasta, Seaweed, Salmon Confit, Caviar and White Truffle Oil

Morsels is what I describe the portions as and I was expecting the rest of the meal to be bite-sized as well given the heads-up of the appetizer. The fragrance was overwhelming but like a drug, it excites the senses. We could not help sniffing the dish.

Oodles of smooth pasta that tasted really like mee sua somehow with the sour tones, salmon confit had a charming crimson hue soft to taste and caviar (the first attempt!) too salty.



Hokkaido Scallops, Apple Puree, Pork Belly and Black Truffle Vinaigrette

Another ambrosial one. Truffle oil is what vanilla beans used to be, all the hype and it becomes a gauge of the quality of ingredients used. Scallops seared to the right doneness, a fine line between raw and overcooked. I loved the juicy scallops and pork belly best. The pork belly sliced so fine, was an entirely 'melt in your mouth' moment as I relished it.



Roasted Turkey Supreme with Chestnut Ballotine, Winter Vegetables and Giblet Sauce

Something just says this is taken from the festive buffet or kitchen menu. Not at all outstanding with turkey meat that was tender like chicken, chestnut ballotine that was just a blend of squishysquashy meat (if it were even meat!) That's one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of turkey stuffing, largely because the taste is not distinct and you do not quite know what goes in.

Bland. Boring. Boo.



Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Braised Cheek in Bordeleise sauce with Seasonal Mushrooms

Beef was what I came for. I had to have it and got it.

The chunk served was adequate to tease and please and gets you lemming for more. Medium Grilled Beef Tenderloin, in full tender meaty glory and flavour wins my vote.



The braised cheek was ultimately a winner. I'm not a fan of braised because the meat ends up too loose and bland but Gordon's balanced the doneness so well, the meat albeit braised retained most of its firmness and flavour.

I figure I could go on and on and on about how divine it is. For a carnivore, I think I've found heaven.




Chestnut Creme Brulee with Whisky Ice-cream

Chestnuts always work wonders for me, paired with a well torched creme brulee the outcome was complementary. Whisky icecream with chopped strawberries was...celestial. I always thought liquer icecreams had to be potent like U.d.d.e.r.s, not quite with the delicate balance achieved by Gordon's. Yum, yummy, yummilicious?



Rhubarb Trifle, Vanilla Sugar Donut and Strawberry Granite

Pink. Martini Glass. Vanilla bean specked mini donut.

That should please any lady. Pretty much a layered dessert with surprises along the way. The strawberry granite was easy to like with texture better than shaved ice, the shards of flavoured ice was thirst quenching. Rhubarb trifle tasted much like yoghurt with strawberries. The surprise came in the form of strawberry jelly right at the bottom.



The vanilla donut was slightly dry.



The sugar lollipop that always amuses me.

My senses were fully teased during the meal, it's one of those meals that satisfies body and soul, quite literally. After a satisfying meal, I have to concur that your footsteps are lighter and bouncier almost walking on clouds. Gordon's achieved that.

BUT, be mindful of the selections made. :)

Service was thoughtful (think miniature chairs for the arm candies!) but the experience was slightly marred by a noisy kid whose parents indulged in his playful ways. Imagine polyphonic game tones that went on for quite a while.

Lawry's, Morton's and Gordon's Grill were once the only steak places I knew. With the exception of Morton's, I've had the chance to try their famed at the other two. Gordon's topples nearly every other yardstick I had for steak, claiming throne above all. The experience though not entirely flawless was truly memorable. In 2008, I stood in awe of La Strada. Come 2009, the name of the game is Gordon's. If there's one chef's name I'd remember, it's Executive Chef Gan Swee Lai. With a set lunch so outstanding, the ala carte beckons...

$68++ for two

Special thanks to the honourable foodies, without them the meal would not have been so complete.

Harris @ The Simplest Aphrodisiac
Elaine @ Divine Joy Bites

Gordon's Grill
Goodwood Park

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Roland's @ Marine Parade Multistorey Carpark



I had the opportunity to attend ieat's Annual General Makan (AGM) this year and it was quite an experience to be part of Dr Leslie Tay and his team's efforts to do their bit for society. The partner involved was Prisons Ministry of Touch Community Services. Kudos to the team!



The inaugural event was held at Roland's this year, a first for me. Roland's strikes me as your typical chinese restaurant in a housing board estate. Somewhat like Red Star Restaurant in terms of furnishing, albeit slightly more modern.






Roland's Specialty Platter

This combination is signature. I liked the crispy fried dough fritter with fishcake, although fried but was crispy. The fishcake had a dense consistency, almost that of sotong ball. The crunchy baby squids were hugely addictive.



Braised Fish Maw with Four Treasures

The soup was too thin, ingredients were scarce. It pulled off tasting much like instant soup.




Steamed Fruit Fish with Chef's Special Sauce

An entire metre long, skin padded with fats and meat that was quite different from the other fish eaten before. Fresh yet firm, nary the sea water taste. I paid most attention to the stir fried ginger shreds that were particularly tasty.



Traditional Black Sauce Prawns

Succulent king prawns in sweet sauce, a tad on the sweet side.



Traditional Steamed Golden Beancurd

This tasted very homecooked. The salted egg wedge on top of the tofu and prawn ball within was bland.



Tools for destruction..



Traditional Chilli Crab

This was what I was waiting all evening for, their famous chilli crab. This nabbed a spot in Singapore's "Excellent Food Award" in 2003, along side their Milk Prawn and Patin Fish. The fiery red looking gravy smoothly draping over the crustacean got me all excited at first glance. The meat is all firm and delicious as anticipated but alas, the gravy fell short of expectations. Too sweet it was despite the dismal efforts of the generous roe portions to alleviate the sweetness. The ill-timed arrival of the fried mantous after most of the crab was polished off, did little to reduce the sugar levels of this dish.



All willing to dirty the fingers for this.



Braised Ee Fu Noodles

One of the best renditions I've tasted, eefu noodles that are not soggy nor limp but retaining most of the wok hei and springyness noodles should be.



Sweet Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts

Tasted more like corn that pumpkin, Roland's version of orh nee was sweet with a savoury finish. I like the coarse yam pieces within but the savoury ending needs some getting used to.

Roland's was probably the star of its era at some point, with its various signature dishes but lacks the finer touch that the newer restaurants have achieved. Probably the ranks of Fatty Weng but not top of its league somehow.

Roland Restaurant
Marine Parade Multistorey Carpark, Level 6