Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Royal Mail @ 2 Finlayson Green

Special thanks to Sarah for the invite and Darius for the hospitality shown!

steps

The Royal Mail replaces Saint Julien Bompard at Ascott Service Residences and the feature of this 2 storey bar restaurant concept is about the vintage brass mail chute that I did not get to see! Nonetheless, here’s a British eating establishment that joins the likes of Queen and Mangosteen and Smith’s Fish and Chips.

window

Overlooking CBD from the second floor.

table

Neatly folded napkins.

interior

The rest of the posh surroundings, decor did not change much since Julian Bompard days.

kitchen

The action that goes behind the scenes.

the royal mail

The menu is hardly extensive but I suppose being a master of some is better than none!

amuse bouche

Amuse bouche of tuna, fresh and a tangy start to the meal.

bread

Cheese puddings served up, quintessentially a flattened Yorkshire pudding with gruyere cheese stuffing.


bread

 I did not know there are two types of Yorkshire pudding – the fluffed up and flattened. Texture was quite like a cream puff with a bit more density and creamed cheese filling.

red snapper

Citrus Cured Red Snapper ($18)
Puree of horseradish and edamame and lime zest

This would pass off as a seasonal dish for Chinese new year. Deconstructed Yusheng, almost. Red snapper was sliced a tad thick but otherwise a tasty combination.

soup

Roasted Roma Tomato Soup ($13)
Goat cheese and basil

Full bodied tomato soup with a creamy goat cheese chunk to marry the milkiness in. Lovely! I made a request for cheese pudding refills just for dipping into this!

roast

Roast Prime Rib in Classic Cut 280g ($58)
Yorkshire pudding, garlic potato mash, buttered peas and creamed corn

The Royal Mail prides themselves on roasts and prime rib is amongst the highly recommended. Proposed doneness medium rare but I had mine medium.

horseradish

Comes with grated and creamed horse radish - super like!

roast

Lovely sear and super tender, this was heaven in chunkyland. I found the roast lacking in flavour somewhat but that was soon fixed with a douse of sauce.

yorkshire pud

Credit be given to the kitchen making this the best of Britain in a dish – Yorkshire pudding, mash, peas and corn altogether. Portions are manageable and special mentions go to the fluffed up Yorkshire pudding that reminded me of a good chewy chicken pie base I had in the childhood days. Not forgetting buttered peas which is a brilliant combination of mashed and whole peas. Super!

veggies

Greens, my mom will be happy.

chicken

Roast Spring Chicken ($36)
Fresh herb butter, roasted new potatoes and spring vegetables

In comparison, this was less outstanding though it was highly recommended as well. Granted the chicken had an awesomely crispy skin,  generous portion of chicken and lovely sides included. There were portions that were somewhat dry but overall a decent clucking chicken dish.

platter

A Dessert Platter to share or indulge ($36)

Tasting portions of everything on their dessert menu, a lovely idea for the confused actually!

banana tart

Banoffee Tart
Banana, toffee and cream tart served with salted caramel sauce

Salted caramel sauce was gritty with texture and I could taste the sugar granules in the course of it. Banana and toffee hardly goes wrong and this crumbly tart was one of those that I am on the fence on.

meringue

Knicker Glory (the 1930s Icecream Sundae)
Vanilla bean icecream, crispy meringue sticks, strawberry gelee and almond slices

I suppose this is uniquely Brit then with meringue and icecream. Great for a sweet end to a meal!

eton mess

Eton Mess
Strawberries, meringue, hazelnut crunch, salted caramel and devon cream

The point about this and Knicker Glory is both lack a characteristic texture with most being cream. I’ve attempted two Eton Messes to date – from the now defunct Jackson’s Plan and Queen and Mangosteen. I reckon it could be a preference issue at play when all that there really is, is just cream. Be a fan or join the fence.

upside down

Caramelized Upside Down Tarte Tatin of Pears
Vanilla bean icecream

This bite-sized tart surprised me big time since this was hardly in the list of recommended by the waiter. Incredibly crunchy layered tart with a generous portion of pears. Slurpworthy yummy!

Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
Citrus fruit compote and gelee

Grapefruit is one of those fruits that has bitter undertones and in a sorbet form is icy. Good palette cleanser!

lychee martini

Lychee Martini

Blended lychees replace whole canned ones for this usual ladies drink. I found it a tad bitter but easy to like still.

shirley temple

Shirley Temple

Sweet fizzy one, one mocktail I truly would not mind ordering!

bar

The bar counter where drink dreams come alive. 

Reviewers have all pointed out that The Royal Mail is not a place to expect Fish and Chips or scones from, they go higher up the taste ladder with more exquisite and wholesome offerings. Faultless service with thoughtful gestures like a pulling of chair nearer to me so I need not reach far for my bag or refilling of warm water. Little gestures go a long way. Word has it that their lunches are usually full and patrons have returned up to thrice a week for the menu! With a lack of places within walking distance for a leisurely lunch with a fairly decent view, The Royal Mail is one of those that joins the list.


The Royal Mail
Ascott Raffles Place
2 Finlayson Green

Monday, July 30, 2012

Loco Tapas Bar @ Boat Quay

loco

Deal.com.sg launched an exclusive on a tapas buffet and greedy me had to grab it! Being one of the 1300 odd other likeminded folks, reservations were made for a tapas buffet over one weekend! The featured menu is slightly different from the official buffet menu though.

bar

Bar counter.

gazpacho

Gazpacho
Refreshing Vegetable Soup for a Sunny Day

This cold soup kick started the meal on a refreshing note. I did not like the soggy bread though.

seafood soup

Sopa De Pescado y Marisco
Prawns, Squid, Fish, Mussel and Clams Cooked in our Chef’s Homemade Seafood Broth

In comparison a warm hearty seafood stew, more like a tomato based soup with a generous blend of seafood.

salad

Ensalada de Salmón
Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon looked a little less orange than it usually does – ordinary salad.

croquette

Breaded Croquette

Ordinary.

garlic prawns

Gambas al Ajillo
Shrimps Sauteed in Garlic and Olive Oil

Decently crunchy and well flavoured shrimps.

bacon prawns

Olla Gambas Frita Envuelta Con Tocino
Pan Fried Prawns Wrapped With Bacon

I never quite thought that bacon could complement prawns as well as they do for asparagus – the savoury brought out the simple flavours of the prawns quite well.

calamari

Calamares Fritos
Deep-Fried Battered Squid Rings with Garlic Mayonnaise

Light batter coated around this all time favourite.

fried fish

Buñuelos de Pescado Fritos
Deep Fried Fish Fritters

A tad dry and somewhat boring.

wings

Alas de Pollo Fritas
Deep fried Chicken Wings

I’m beginning to conclude that fried food without dips is well, just plain old fried food and a good friend of beer.


creamy chicken

Pollo en Salsa de Setas
Chicken Breast with Mushroom in Cream Sauce

One of the stellar ones with a slurpworthy sauce that could pass off as a condensed soup. Tasty much with juicy chunks of chicken!

chicken

Pimentón de Pollo
Juicy Chicken in Paprika Sauce

This was less outstanding in flavour, infact just ordinary grilled chicken.

beef

Salpicado
Beef Tenderloin Cubes Sauteed in Olive oil and Garlic

Tender and delicious! One teppanyaki favourite that hardly goes wrong!

meatballs

Albondigas ala Jardinera
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

I suppose meatballs are yet another that I’m on the fence whether I even like them as a dish – a blend of meats and mashed up hence the texture is hardly something I like to begin with. This is no IKEA meatball, infact homemade and lacking in flavour.

skewers

Anticuchos
Grilled Meat Skewers Marinated with Mediterranean Herbs 

Chicken,Beef, Pork, Lamb

Truth be told, these skewers were mostly bland though spiced. One dimensional in taste as compared to the other tapas dishes.



lamb

Lamb Chop

Missing on the mint jelly but overall pretty well done.

garlic mushrooms

Champinon al Ajillo
Sauteed Mushrooms and Garlic in Olive Oil

I conclude that olive oil is used in most of the dishes presented and that does give the food an oilier finish. Juicy mushrooms here!



mushrooms

Champiñones Rellenos
Stuffed Mushrooms

The point is, the stuffing the mushrooms were filled with could not be identified – pork? Fish?

omelette

Tortilla Española
Spanish Omelette

Usually not an omelette person, much less a Spanish omelette yet Loco’s does it quite well. Potatoes in egg, simple yet really good!

chorizo

Chorizo Frito
Pan Fried Chorizo in Olive Oil

One dish that Loco’s does quite well too – belittle chorizo not. I’ve had bad chorizo’s which either come across as too spicy or texture is just odd. This is well balanced in flavour and bite – decent!

pasta

Fideua Valenciana
A Delicious and Typical Valencian Dish like the Paella, with Pasta instead of Rice

Arriving in an iron cast pan, this super orange dish looked like a brighter version of mee goreng – infact the other tables had this in varying shades of orange. A lack of QC here? Flavours were not as great as I would have expected, was not blown over with this.

churros

Churros con Chocolate
Prepared the Traditional way served with a Home-Made Chocolate Sauce

Dense fried doughsticks with chocolate sauce gave this a bittersweet ending.

Tapas albeit bite sized always ends up too much because of the many portions it comes in. Watch Loco take the Spanish dining scene over, unassuming place without too much of pomp and fuss. Let the food speak, rather than the PR folks.

Loco Tapas Bar
Boat Quay

Sunday, July 29, 2012

London Tea Time Special: Sarah Nelson’s Original Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread

sarah's

Gingerbread men and ginger snaps are the only associations I am familiar with when it comes to ginger confectionery. I love my ginger teas just as much. All along the gingerbread men-women-boy-girl-house only make their annual appearances at christmas but Marks and Spencers made christmas all year round with their gingerbread boy and girl selections. Ginger snaps are pretty much the usuals.

Ripped off their website:

Grasmere lies in the heart of the English Lake District National Park, just north of Lake Windermere. This world famous village is a classic tourist attraction; here is Dove Cottage, the home of the English Poet William Wordsworth, it is also the home of Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread. Fans of their gingerbread include celebrities like Jamie Oliver, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Since 1854, Sarah Nelson’s Original Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread has come a long way and it started out with a lady called Sarah Nelson who baked to earn a living. Rum Butter is what they sell as well but I didn’t get my hands on that. They also specialise in gingerbread wedding favours as ginger has been associated with love, passion and fertility – How novel!


gingerbread

I was surprised to find my gingerbread double wrapped in a paper package – almost as if I was back in the olden times where packaging was neutral and minimalistic. Peeling open the wrappers to unveil browned squares that remind me of rye bread was a greater surprise. Biting into one gave the jaw some good exercise but this was easy to love. Crumbly and hard, it was almost like a gingerbread rock to some extent and brown sugar shavings but the flavours captured were beautiful. Loved the candied ginger bits folded in and how old fashioned this way. Who ever said gingerbread men had to taste the way they do now? Crunching my way through the delight made tea so blissful.

For the interested, Sarah Nelson’s Original Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread can only be purchased from The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop - tucked away in the corner of St. Oswalds’s Churchyard, next to the Wordsworth Hotel. There are apparently knock offs around Grasmere so beware of imitations!

Grasmere’s Gingerbread
National Grid Reference; Easting: 33370, Northing: 50740.