Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Osteria Mozza @ Marina Bay Sands


reindeers

Tis the season to be jolly! Marina Bay Sands has decided not to go with the traditional christmas trees but with reindeer that light up at about 7pm.
helifax bridge

Spot them?
mozza

Headed to Osteria Mozza after two visits to the Pizzeria. Reservations for this did not come without a hitch. They claim any form of customizations for a birthday cake had to be done a week in advance, are dead adament about only providing a candle and well, came straight up to the birthday girl to wish her when it may have been a planned surprise for her. Gosh, learn from Morton's a thing or two about surprises please.
table

Table lined for the greedy.
osteria

Napkins.
menu

Leather bound (for confusion).
flowers

The vase of posies that got us all staring at it.

bread

Complimentary bread - walnut and normal bread. The request for butter never arrived but came with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Both had really tough crusts which were great for dipping in the mussel broth yet eating on its own could be hard to chew.
amuse bouche

Amuse bouche with compliments from the chef - totally lost in the accent of the waiter. These are similar to the parmesan crackers served over at Mozza Pizzeria just that these are morsel sized and topped with a slew of cheeses. Liked the creamy finish for this.

pork trotter

Crispy Pigs Trotter with frisee, apple and mustard ($17)

I kid you not. What was supposed to be crispy pig trotters came in a pork cake. Honestly, it was not misrepresentation and here's why;

crispy = breaded crust
pigs trotter = mashed into a pork cake

One of those jawdropping moments that leave you with absolutely nothing to say for a good 10 seconds at least.

With a pork cake that barely filled the size of my palm and a pile of greens to make a salad to fill the plate - screams rip off and was most certainly so. In all the gummyness, I could barely make out what went into the pork cake. Pigs trotter? I WISH.

mussels

Steamed Mussels with tomato, chilies and herbs $21

The other appetizer that redeemed itself by continents. Fresh mussels soaking in a broth so tasty, these buttered toasts worked wonders with it.

burrata with bacon

Burrata with bacon, marinated escarole and caramelized shallots ($25)

A must order given that the menu for burrata lasted at least 10 items long. They do have a limited edition burrata much larger in portion is not on the menu. Two portions of this - miniscule to describe. Not puny to the extent you can pop the toast into your mouth without looking unglam yet not enough to fill a lady's tum.

The marinated escarole and shallots were doused too heavily in vinegar but the burrata with bacon was incredible.

One thing to note about their mains is - there is an option of ordering it in primi portions (READ: appetizer portions). Prices start from $20+ for a fistful of pasta which they term primi and secondi portions are much bigger, served in casseroles. Changes to the choice of pasta is not permissible.

pasta1

Orecchiette with sausage and Swiss chard ($55)

Described as ear shaped pasta with sausages. I was not expecting a deconstructed sausage per se.
 
pasta1 with bread crumbs

Here's it sprinkled with bread crumbs.
Delicious I must add, though these are not as dense as gnocchi. Deconstructed sausage or not, the meaty bits were rich in flavourful and so very addictive.

Garganelli with ragù Bolognese ($25)

A primi portion of this was ordered. Simply rolled maltagliatti with a hearty bolognese sauce. Unlike the usual bolognese pastas that I have eaten, this was on the dry side.

duck pasta

Maltagliati with duck ragù ($57)

duck pasta with cheese

Sprinkled with freshly shaved parmesan cheese. This is a tasty delight as well though on the whole their pasta dishes do miss out on the wow factor that Italian restaurants have nailed so well.

quail

Grilled Quail wrapped in pancetta with sage and honey ($48)

Quails like pigeons are like smaller than spring chickens. The most amusing bit of this quail dish is the way the mini thighs were twisted - as if the quail was made to sit cross-legged.

stuffed quail

Stuffed with diced marinated vegetables, this looked completely fresh off an episode of Master Chef USA. In all honesty, the quail meat was tender yet there was this gamey smell to it that got increasingly stronger with every bite. Baffles me most that the texture of the meat was strangely rubbery and tasted like foie gras was rubbed all over it.

ODD.

snapper

Grilled Red Snapper with herbs and extra virgin olive oil ($50)


Here's another that is strongly recommended by the waiter. He probably only highly recommends quail and red snapper for price reasons I guess. Every other clueless table seemed to have an order of both.

A full fish stuffed with herbs. I thought it was on the whole fresh but there were parts were the fishyness could not be masked by a squirt of lemon or herbs.

By normal standards, with dinner proper being this uninspiring would have nudged us to try dessert elsewhere but somehow we were all too lazy to move off.


black berry compote

Blackberry Jam Crostata ($22)
Blackberry compote and vanilla gelato

A gf who headed to Osteria Mozza told me this was good - an overload of berries! Yet the blackberries were there for a good reason - to negate the sweetness of the chewy jam tart. Vanilla gelato here was too watery and melted down to compliment the tart.
gelato trio

Gelati Trio ($22)

Caramel, Frutti di Bosco and Mint Chip

One of the few gelato presentations that catches the eye. Was most expecting three scoops in a martini glass.

Caramel reminded me of caramel copetta from Mozza Pizzeria - still as rich and indulgent!
Frutti di Bosco was a berry gelato with meringue embedded within and what looked like whipped mascarpone cream. Did not fancy this icy fruity gelato much, was on the sour side.


mint choc

Mint Chip quite literally. Melted away too fast to make out what really went into it. The gelatos are in general very light with the exception of caramel. I suppose the absence of milk exacerbated the melting process hugely.
donuts

Bombolini ($19)
Huckleberry Marmellata and Vanilla Gelato

Had we all known these was just a dessert with fried donuts, berry compote and vanilla gelato with lemon curd, we probably would not have ordered. Flavours did not come together very well. Too many berries and vanilla gelatos by this point.

As you would have guessed, this meal did not end that greatly. Pizzeria over Osteria anyday. Still as noisy though not to the extent of not being able to hear yourself. Ambience is great though walking out smelling like your dinner is almost inevitable. Service is terribly contrived - boo. Food has alot for improvement and returns are not so likely as yet.

To cut it some slack, this ain't entirely Italian but American-Italian. Head for the pastas than mains if need be. Time to explore other dining options within MBS.

Osteria Mozza
Marina Bay Sands

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Loola's by Awfully Chocolate @ Esplanade

loola's

Loola's by Awfully Chocolate is the latest venture by the famed chocolate cake bakers. I thought the whimisical ring the name has was quite a cute moniker. Loola's replaces Ichiban Boshi at Esplanade.

cafe

Cake display counter, let it not confuse you thinking that the desserts are what's left behind the glass. Purely for showcase purposes.

table

Loving the whole no frills concept. Having patronized this place before Wong Ah Yoke's review went out, I reckon crowds should be setting in soon. The weekend I was there, the place was rather empty though with a couple of walk ins even at regular brunch hours of 1-ish pm.

lights

Lamp that caught the attention!

menu

Limiting menu for now, hopefully they do increase the variety in time to come!

crab souffle

Crab Cheese Souffle ($18)
Crab meat, Cheddar, Parmesan

I have yet to try Laurent Bernard's famed souffles and the occasion rose for a savoury souffle at Loola's. Few places actually do savoury souffles so I was quite interested to know how it would taste.

crab souffle upclose

Airy fairy foamy light souffle that was heavily infused with cheeses, the crab meat found near the bottom of the rameskin gave it a sweet finish. I have difficulty liking souffles somehow, too light for comfort.

eggs benny

Loola's Egg Benedict ($20)
Poached Egg, Serrano Ham, Loola's Bun, Wild Rocket Salad

Two things that caught the eye -

The portions of the muffins! Puny enough though this further edifies how good things come in small packages. Dense muffins that did not collapse under all that yolk.

The gorgeously created poached eggs, almost as if they were boiled in plastic bags for the folds created on the egg white.

sliced egg benny

Ok, Loola's nailed the eggs benny quite brilliantly. Well poached eggs, adored the contrast between serrano ham which I mistook for proscuitto and tasty wild rocket salad too.

omelette souffle

Souffle Omelette ($22)
Creamy Souffle Egg White, Truffle Oil, Toast, Herb

Jawdropping huge omelette, I wonder if the egg whites were over beaten to achieve such a massive size.

egg souffle inside

I found the souffle texture of the omelette a tad annoying, almost biting into the same nothingness of the crabmeat cheese souffle. The baguette that accompanied this was way too hard to chew.

dessert

Lemon Yogurt Cake ($12)
Citrus infused moist cake, Light Lemon Cream Cheese, Vanilla Icecream

Being the only non-chocolate option on the menu, deciding what to have for dessert was easy peasy. I'm pleasantly surprised the shadows of Awfully chocolate in the dessert menu are far and few, apart from it being largely chocolate dominated. I would have expected their famed chocolate fudge cakes to be part of the reportoire.

The cake arrived hot with the frosting quite haphazardly slapped on. Figured that was how the chef wanted it though, for the moist cake to complement the icy cold smooth vanilla icecream. Simply two sponge cakes lathered with a zesty lemon cheese frosting, delightful.

Loola's quite a strong contender for brunch place, cannot wait to be back to try the other options though dinner could be it since the other brunch variations include big breakfast and toasts...clearly lacking in waffles and pancakes!

Loola's
Esplanade

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fruit Paradise @ Orchard Central


A random meet up with a friend landed us at Fruit Paradise, was supposed to be Antoinette at Mandarin Gallery but neither of us were up for the snaking queues and neverending wait. I do not remember being impressed by their tarts when they first opened at Manpuku Tampines and I headed straight down just to check them out.

nutty banana

Nutty Caramel Tart ($6.80)

Tempted by salted caramel cream and nuts, I had a stab at it. Significantly smaller in portions than the last I remember. At least the tart had a biscuity finish, pretty delish but still not impressed by the clotted cream. Custard-based made this a healthier option than the full cream tarts.

banana choc

Chocolate Banana Tart

The pal's which was polished off quickly and deemed healthier than mine since it had less cream.

Somehow, Fruit Paradise does not leave a lingering memory - not quite rushing to head back but if you do need a place to chill and yak with a view overseeing Orchard, Fruit Paradise is worth considering.

Fruit Paradise
Orchard Central
#05-51

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ambush Pasta @ Takashimaya Basement

IMG_1398

Nestled in a corner of Takashimaya's Basement...it has undergone such a major uplift...one can barely recognise it if you haven't been there in half a year! Modelled after Liang Court's food court, this is largely dominated by Japanese eateries with the exception of Ambush which serves pasta and sausage dishes mainly.

IMG_1381

Packed with students and families but the table turnaround time was still acceptable.

IMG_1388

Pork Cheese Rosti ($11.50)

I liked the rosti here, crispy potato shreds and slightly oily. Pork Cheese sausage had nothing to yell about.

IMG_1394

Mixed Seafood Pasta ($11.20)
+$3.90 to upgrade to set

IMG_1384

Garlic bread that came with the chowder was the only worthy mention, soft and crusty. Pasta was ordinary..though it could have been fuscilli that I chose which made this more Pasta Mania than not.

The equivalent of Pasta Mania, I classify Ambush. Unimpressed with the food...it left me feeling full not in a satisfied manner.

Ambush Pasta
B201-2 Takashimaya

Wedding Dinner @ Grand Park City Hall

last wedding?

Down to the last wedding of 201...or so I thought. Until someone passed me yet another red bomb a couple of days later. Congratulations K and C...it has been such great honour and pleasure witnessing your love blossom for each other. Was there when they were friends, became a couple, engaged and now married. How we have all grown and moved on with our lives!

pineapple soda

Pineapple soda was one of those drinks that the companions recommended with the tapas trays that were going around. Pineapple juice and soda? Scrumptiously delish I say! Shall replicate that for house parties next time.

cold dish

Suckling Pig Combination
Suckling pig, Salad prawn, Deepfried silver fish, Springroll, Roast Duck

Suckling pig seems to be upping its appearances at cold dish these days - nice! A pity most of these items came lukewarm rather than piping hot. At least something to quell the hunger pangs by the time banquet started.

sharks fin

Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Fish Maw and Crabmeat

A rather starchy one. Shall stop there lest I get lynched by the shark huggers for drinking more bowls of this - I stopped at one!

scallops

Sauteed Fresh Scallops, Asaparagus and Macadamia Nuts in XO sauce

A delicious vegetable dish instead of the usual brocolli with mushrooms. Tasty much!

salted egg prawns

Deepfried Prawns in Wasabi Sauce topped with Sesame Seeds

A tad overfried and was somewhat dry.

teochew fish

Steamed Red Garoupa in Teochew Style

Refreshing take on the usual deepfried to death fish or cantonese style steamed fish. Teochew style gets it done plain and flavourful with all the natural juices.

chicken

Roast Crispy Whole Chicken Topped with Fragrant Minced Garlic

We all thought the fragrant minced garlic was enoki mushrooms but judging from the description seemed otherwise.

eefu
Braised Ee Fu Noodles with Seafood and Mushroom

Thankfully the kitchen did not massacre this dish with gravy - just alright.

orh nee

Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts and Pumpkin

I've been looking forward to this since the day the bride did her tasting session. One of the better orh nee renditions - not so sweet yam paste with a nice touch of pumpkin. This, is what I call a sweet finish.

Wedding favours of spoons or icecube trays - thougthful!