Friday, November 30, 2012

Spruce Revisited @ Phoenix Park

spruce

Nursing a burger craving, it brought me to Spruce. The great burger of yesteryears stuck on, as with their famed but now defunct purple velvet cake. Reservations were finally made after at least five dropped calls. When we arrived, most tables were reserved and it took an uncomfortable good 5 minutes before we were acknowledged.  The menu had undergone some changes and seemed a lot more limited than the last visit yonks back.

cosy

Fairly filled.

spruce

Have yet to try their brunch though!

signature

Ahi Tuna Tartare ($22)

Well seasoned tuna tartare with avocado and bread. Loved the dash of olive oil and seasoning that made tuna seem like my BFF. The typical pick for me would be salmon, beef or scallop carpaccio over tuna.

tuna tartare

Glad that there was hardly a fishy stench about this – yum!

spruce burger

Spruce Burger ($18)
Bacon ($2)

chomp

Nearly every table spotted one. Juicy, meaty, hearty…well, it’s a Spruce burger! I still had that whole Big Mac flashbacks with every bite though – a luxe version I say. Nonetheless, loved it all the same!

steak frites

Steak Frites ($34)

steak

Droolworthy chunk of meat – red, luscious, mouthwatering. Nothing to fault with their crisp fries though they were hardly double cooked.

salad

Tangy salad for company!

Ginger Date Pudding ($12)
Vanilla bean icecream


ginger date one

This dessert was served twice with the first attempt too tough for the spoon to attempt – bouncy infact!

ginger date second

The second was what it should be, all of moist and fragrant cake. Ginger was too faint to discern but the vanilla bean icecream was delightfully rich.

I could have ended up with more berries than the first but definitely the second attempt was way better!

Spruce could have lost some shimmer along side the numerous restaurant openings. I was disappointed with the removal of blue cheese burger and purple velvet cake – it’s akin to removing the best sellers and not replacing them with any better. If anything, the burgers are still decent and service still as snotty.

Spruce
320 Tanglin Road
Phoenix Park

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Poulet @ Great World City

poulet

Poulet first opened at Bugis+ to average reviews and then proceeded with a second outlet at Great World City, replacing Al Dente. The place is designed to resemble at eatery along the Parisian streets, with touches of lamp posts in the eatery.

 kitchen

I particularly liked the kitchen décor and concept – casseroles lining the window as chefs busied themselves roasting chickens. While it would have been a more delicious sight if the grill was full of chickens, I reckon the seating capacity did not warrant the chicken order volume.

poulet menu

Simple menu.

french onion

French Onion Soup ($5.80)

I figure what makes French onion soup tick is the melted cheese toast floating and what was clearly missing is that, replacing it with cheese croutons is hardly the next close alternative.

mushroom soup

Mushroom Soup ($5.80)
Idaho potato

Earthy cream of mushroom that was better than French onion soup.

mushrooms

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms ($7.80)
Button mushrooms, shimeiji mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, poached egg

One definitely needs to be a funghi lover to appreciate this. No earthy taste and I loved it to bits. Well flaavoured but a great pity that the egg was poached too long.

braised lamb

Mediteranean Stew Lamb Shank

This one screams oriental from braising to herbs used to taste. Fall off the bone tender but the French touch was missing.

chicken roti

Poulet Roti ($28.80)
chardonnay and served with a creamy home-made mushroom sauce

Their specialty and two options are available – served with mushroom sauce or their newly launched double mustard sauce. The chicken is honestly not too bad, tender laced with a mild sweetness that I attribute to chardonnay. The homemade mushroom sauce is easy to love infact. Yet there is no more to rave about.

sauteed veg

Sauteed vegetables were tasty...yum!

pork belly

Iberico Pork Belly ($15.80)

Hardly tasted of Iberico, the sweet touches made this hardly french. Did not fancy this braised pork very much either - where's the crispy crackling! Quite a waste of an iberico cut.

Granny Smith Chicken and Egg Mayo Croissant ($8.80)

Portion is small and dressing lacklustre. The figs used could have been more outstanding if it was not entirely jam.

fries

Fries

Arguably one of the highlights of the meal.

Limited items on the menu though most seemed to be there for the chickens and sold out escargots. French fare at mediocre taste and French bistro prices to match. I say, find another.

Poulet
Great World City

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wok and Barrel Revisited @ Duxton Hill

The sole purpose was to eat local food (since the hongkong based friend was back!) and continue trying out the rest of the menu. For Sundays, Wok and Barrel hardly qualifies as a brunch place judging from the turnout. Nonetheless, that was great for catching up.

interior

Clever use of wall space.

water

Refillable jug of water.

pizza

Beef Rendang Pizza ($18.90)

While the beef rendang is outstanding with the spices and meaty portions, put onto a pizza bread this just fell apart. Somewhat middle eastern and local with the pita bread base and cheese, it was lacking some complementary touch. More cheese? Or perhaps, this marriage was too forced.

banana parfait

Banana Crack Parfait ($7.90)

Looks like a tiramisu with the layers but essentially cookie crumbs, cream and caramelized bananas.

pulut hitam pud

Pulut Hitam Pudding with Gula Melaka Sauce and Coconut Icecream ($9.90)

Their take on sticky date pudding and caramel sauce. I love the ingenuity and how this pulled off so well. Dense pulut hitam kueh which brought out the flavours of black glutinous rice well but the coconut icecream was a dampener, it could do with grated coconut churned in.

The others not attempted but made it to the dining table

coffee

Latte.

big b

Big Breakfast

chicken wings

Chicken wings

crispy pork

Crispy Pork

rendang pasta

Wok and Barrel's Bak Chor Mee Pasta ($19.90)

chix

Healthy Chick ($15.90)

Somehow the second visit was less stellar than the first, a tad disappointing I must say. Now, I am getting the naysayers who discredit this place as hardly worth the hype. I will not deem it so harshly but true enough, mediocre it is.

Wok and Barrel
13 Duxton Hill

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mitsuba by Yurine Restaurant @ Central

menu

I have been hunting high and low for the Nazi Chef that used to dominate Wasabi Tei and Chikuwa Tei. The stint at the latter was short and with some hemming and hawing I missed him again. It is possibly the thrill derived from surviving a potentially rough dining experience and emerging unscathed. Word has it that his latest venture is at Mitsuba by Yurine at Central and that sums up why we ended up there. I reckon queues and a decent waiting time is the usual practise hence the note that they have two seatings over dinner but that particular night, it was a breeze walking in and ordering.

toothpicks

Toothpick holder that attracted my attention a fair bit.

mitsuba

Somewhat unprofessional, methinks.

chawamushi

Chawanmushi ($5)

I like this. Without MSG and all natural flavours, at least the flavours of the chicken, mushrooms and shrimp shone through. Simple delight but done well! I liked the vermicilli surprise at the bottom!

salad

Yasai Salad ($6)

With a sauce a tad sour, this salad was great for whetting the appetite.

miso

Miso Soup ($2)

Pedestrian much.

beef

Beef Teriyaki ($14)

A fair portion of stir fried sliced beef with onions, tasty and gratifying!

mentaiko cod

Mentaiko Cod ($24)

The layer of torched mentaiko on top of the cod was incredible and cod was melt in the mouth - I just wish portions were bigger!

sashimi

Salmon Sashimi ($12)

thick

I have only heard about how thick Chef Peter cuts his salmon and finally encountered them today. The companion was pleased to tuck into these. I find it strange eating salmon sashimi so thick but I guess that makes it value for money. Prices seemed to have taken a huge hike ever since.

Swordfish Sashimi ($15)

Equally thick, these sinewy slices made me belly happy.

Nostalgia is the primary reason why we checked this place out and left with good memories. Indeed, unlike the companion who spent a good part of his sec school days queuing 3 hours for a taste of Chef Peter's generosity, it was a foray into simple Japanese cuisine that used to cost a fraction. Pricey and somewhat average but I suppose that is what memories are for.

Good smiley service replaces what was once gruff, a pleasant surprise I say. Maybe this is what they say - Money can buy you good service. Or logically, with higher prices lesser queues, it takes mental stress off one and smiles are more readily.

Mitsuba By Yurine Restaurant
Central, Third Floor

Monday, November 26, 2012

Alligator Pear @ Fairmont Hotel

alligator pear

Alligator Pear perches on the 8th floor next to the swimming pool of Fairmont Hotel - hidden from the general public and signages below do little to drive traffic there. Yet it is hidden for a good reason, the place is not ready to handle crowds that would shatter the serenity of splashing waves and sunny rays - all too idyllic for busy Singapore.

I was quick to wave off this place as yet another pool side restaurant - iL Cielo at Hilton did not work for me. Service is terribly slow and ill informed at most times.

1145am I arrived and the waiter looked lost. 12 noon he insisted would the restaurant be ready for lunch. We managed to get seats despite the restaurant being less than a quarter filled. Even at 1157am, we were denied ordering for lunch. 

menu

Casual menu.

swim

Uninterrupted view for as long as this shot last, moments later it was ruined by adults splashing away. Adults learning to swim no less.

pool view

Attempting an artsy fartsy.

cutlery

detox

JetLag Remedy ($12)

I hear they are known for their healthy fixes and drinks so I had to have a go at it. A fruity concoction of kiwi, apple and lemon - recipe for detox methinks. Only grouse, there was no ice to go with it even in such a scorching weather.

smoothie

Cranberry Banana Smoothie ($12)

Once again no ice for this fruity number. A cooling tumbler!

diavolo

Diavolo Pizza ($26)

pizza

Pita bread base with spicy sausage and olives, simple yet hearty! A dash of tabasco made this greater than great. Absolutely surprised by this poolside pizza.

stack

Buttermilk Pancakes with honey and strawberry ($17)

pancakes

Four lacklustre looking pancakes with a side of honey and strawberries. We were forlorn at first glance but they proved to be fluffy and delicious with a drizzle of honey. Belittle the drab outlook.

There is lack of character in the restaurant - nothing too outstanding that would define this place. Local favourites, all american classics and heaps of fingerfood is what there is. And to think I thought this was all of low calorie meals. Until I decide to unwind from the hustle and bustle, it was truly therapeutic albeit a little hot under the sun.

Alligator Pear
Fairmont Hotel, 8th Level