Friday, December 28, 2007

And of wines

I love my wines. Seriously. Because it's amazing how grapes can produce such complex flavours. When God turned water into wine and the host said this was the best wine he'd ever drunk (or something to that effect), it highlighted how great a culinary delight wine is as a gift from God to man. wines are a thing to behold.

of course, it's really expensive also. but then again, nothing really good is ever cheap, isn't it. so here are some wines that i have really really enjoyed over the years.

5. Australian Shiraz
Australia has always been known for their shiraz, as the hot climate of the barossa valley allows these wines to be really bombastic and huge, developing complexity of flavour in a massive way. these are big wines, showing off spicy flavours and having usually long finishes - most australian shirazs usually never fail me.

4. German Riesling
German riesling is light and refreshing, boasting lime and citrus notes and flavours while keeping everything clean with acidity. tried some lovely examples at wine company.

3. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a revelation - very refreshing with lots of acidity, it zips around your mouth with its intense gooseberry flavours, of freshly cut grass. there have been many great examples of new zealand sauvignon blanc, for example, the venerable cloudy bay, the founder of it all. tahuma's example wasn't too bad, nice and grassy, but the most delicious example this year was perhaps dog point sauvignon blanc 2007 - very fruity while refreshingly fresh with lots of acidity, well rounded.

2. Pinot Noir from New Zealand
Yup, I'm a fan of new zealand wine, because there's just so much there that is delicious and pinot noir is one of them. i just love pinot noir, but most of the time it's really bad, and when it's good it's really expensive, like the first growths or second growths from burgundy. so new zealand pinot noir just does it right. it is a more lush style as compared to burgundy, with more ripe fruit, and being less restrained. seifried's pinot noir was wonderful, with lots of ripe cherry notes and aromas and a soft finish.

1. Sauternes
It just has to be sauternes - the king (or queen) of all wines. forget ice wines. these dessert wines boast so much complexity of flavour while remaining so lusciously sweet and delicious that it begs you to fall in love with it. of course i've never tried a y'quiem, but had the pleasure of trying many not-so-bad examples - chateau de guiraud was a fine example, as well as the one i had on my 21st birthday, although i really cannot remember the name now. those wines boast nectar-like scents of honey, peach, lime, and taste of honey, peach and more fruit, while being balanced with lots of acidity to prevent it from being too cloying. great. get a sauternes anyday.

Top 10 of 2007

Here's where I put my top 10 eating experiences for 2007. Enjoy.

Hawker food:
1. Sin Huat Eating House - crab bee hoon
2. Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice - maxwell road
3. Tai Hwa Bak Chor Mee
4. Boon Tong Kee, Balestier Road
5. Ya Hwa Bak Kut Teh
6. Founder's Bak Kut Teh
7. Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee - ABC Market
8. Uncle Leong Crab Bee Hoon Seafood
9. Margaret Drive Char Kway Teow
10. Ghim Moh Roast Duck (Jiu Jiang Shao La)



Restaurants and eateries:
1. The Moomba - wonderful food
2. Brussel Sprouts
3. Marmalade Pantry - beef burger
4. Da Paolo Pizza Bar
5. Canele - desserts
6. Aston's specialties
7. Sushi tei (sorry, i'm a poor man)
8. Cordoroy and Finch - dessserts only though
9. Ricoletti/Menotti
10. Ichiban Boshi

Brussel Sprouts

Went to Brussel Sprouts to celebrate a friend's birthday. The place is opened by Emmanuel Strobant, the person behind Saint Peirre the celebrated French restaurant at UE Square. and this place didn't really fail either. The ambience was bright and cheery, featuring yellow pastels on the walls with interesting patterns. bar-like rattan seats. lifts the mood.

So I ordered some mussels (while koping some of my friend's mussels which were the those in the cream stock) - mine was with a tarragon cream base (friends like cream). Both were excellent. The mussels were albeit a bit small though but they were very fresh and sweet with none of that bad odour you normally associate with bad mussels. They were very succulent, without being too chewy with the flavour of the sea still identifiable - the sauce really soaked in all the lovely sea juices and was just a joy to drink, especially with bits of cream, celery, onions - woo hoo. Why can't I live in Belgium? Bleagh.

The frites that came with the mussels were free-flow so you could order them as much as you wanted - they were thickly cut - and somehow thickly cut fries dont really go that well with me i'd rather have it thin - but they were still fine . all good. (A bit more salt needed though - on hindsight).

Only gripe about the mussels is the price, seriously $38 for mussels is really pretty expensive, and $18 for just a small pot is not very worth it either.

Mussels:
Taste: 8.5/10
Value for money: 6/10


My main course was outstanding, seriously. I ordered the duck confit, and the confit was really sizable (well i paid $30, it better be). The outside was nicely crisp and the confit, as all duck confits go, was deliciously salty, savoury, rich and tender, as all confits go - the kriek-soaked tomatoes at the side was a nice touch which cut through the richness of the confit. this was good. It better be good - i left no skin untouched, even though it was really unhealthy to eat confit, but well, duck confit is really a joy to eat if done right (i've tried the one at delifrance bistro, it was horrendously bad - it was uneatable).
Duck Confit:
Taste: 9/10
Value for money: 6/10

had a glass of stella to go with it - should've tried the many beers they had. haha.

a bit expensive though. that meal cost me $50 per head.

Overall:
Ambience: 7.5/10
Food: 8.5/10
Value: 4/10
Pros: Great belgian food, with alot of beer, especially if u're a beer lover
Cons: quite expensive

Maxwell, Boon Tong Kee, Bak Kut Teh

Went to maxwell road two times this hols, just to try the food there.
On another note, i shall be putting ratings, upon 10, ieatishootipost style, for food, on several factors, just to give you an indication on how they compare with each other.

brought sam to zhen zhen porridge, which had a surprisingly short queue. ordered century egg porridge with chicken. my word it was ALOT of century egg, the whole bowl was chockful of the black stuff. the porridge had a lovely velvety texture, very soft and smooth. only thing lacking was a bit of taste - it wasn't salty enough, and perhaps i shoukd've aded some soy sauce - a bit bland it was. still not too bad.
taste: 7.5/10
value: 8.5/10 (alot of century egg)
pros: value for money
cons: the queue is really long esp at lunchtime

then i went back to eat tian tian hainanese chicken rice again. this time ordered $3 plate, with some innards. still passed the chicken rice test though. the rice was firm and full-grained, albeit a bit oily, coated with chicken goodness. the chicken was very tasty, and very tender, and very good - ummmmm yummily delicious - the chilli sauce had a nice tangy kick with the inclusion of the lime juice in it - it was a good plate of chicken rice, still probably the best in singapore. only gripe i had was that it was probably a bit oily (the sauce slathered over it).

taste: 9/10
value: 8.5/10
pros: probably the best chicken rice you can find
cons: a bit oily


Boon Tong Kee

went to boon tong kee at balestier road to satisfy my chicken rice cravings with jeremy - and it was good, really good. didn't expect boon tong kee to have such good chicken rice since usually the times u eat at bukit timah market was just passable fare - but the original branch at balestier road was absolutely good - the chicken was tender and succulent and tasty, coated in a soy-based sauce, although it was a bit fatty undoubtedly - the side dishes were great - we ordered spinach cooked with century egg and salted egg and that was really nice, plus the deep fried beancurd was consistent and lightly crisp.
the rice wasnt too bad also.
probably the best boon tong kee - i still prefer tian tian but this is as close as it gets.

Chicken rice:
chicken: 8/10
rice: 7/10

side dishes:
century egg spinach: 7.5/10
beancurd: 7/10


Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh, Old Havelock Road

the quest for the best bak kut teh in singapore continues - we've reviewed founders, and now it's time to review Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh which is at Old Havelock Road. Old Havelock Road is just a drive down from Zouk - see the street directory at www.streetdirectory.com for more information. And it was very very good, probably better than Founders. It wasn't too crowded coz it was late at night - the soup was not so peppery as Founders, probably more garlicky though, and infused with nice pork essence - probably more porkish than Founder's - however what it failed to deliver was the meat - it was too tough, as compared to the more-easy-to-digest founder's bak kut teh. but still, worth going to. and definitely a good place to go for bak kut teh.

and the side dishes were fantastic as well. the salted vegetables had only the slightest hint of saltiness and i could keep eating it forever and ever.

bak kut teh:
taste: 8/10
pros: great tasting soup
cons: not so tender meat

vegetables: 7/10

Friday, December 7, 2007

O-toro

I've been spoilt for good food after the examinations, but seriously!

On Monday after the examinations i was at Crystal Jade Kitchen at Holland V for roast duck with shrimp dumpling noodle - not bad, good texture (the noodles) - very QQ, sauce was nice, oyster sauce; duck was a bit shabby though. oh well.
Tuesday was a bit uneventful=p
Wednesday went to Bukit Timah Market - had Happy Wantan Noodles, which were quite nice - the uncle would drip the whole noodles in hot water and then in cold water and back and forth - pretty interesting - to get the texture which was not bad. the wantans were not much to shout at though, at least there were alot of vegetables.
The carrot cake was really nice - nice and fluffy and with the salty chai poh bits and lots of egg. still good.

On Thursday our trial advocacy tutor brought us to this place for drinks and food - The Moomba at Circular Quay - usually known for Australian cuisine - but here we tasted two fine wines, a Chenin Blanc and a Barossa Valley Shiraz. The Chenin Blanc was nice and limey with a refreshing scent inbetween a sauvignon blanc and a chardonnay - quite fruity, peach? The Shiraz was apparently 94 points from robert parker - but it was nicely done - very nice bouquet of red fruit, with even hints of pepper and some spicy notes - with a long finish. good stuff.
the food was great - we had teriyaki chicken which was coated with an amazing sauce - fried chicken wings which were nice and crispy and great - lamb was fantastic - very flavourful with nice potatoes - portabello mushrooms, nice and smoky with an intensity of flavour - bruschetta were quite ordinary but okay, fresh - three salads; fig with blue cheese was really nice since the rocket was lined with a bit of sea salt that helped to keep things interesting; the caesar was quite ordinary, i thought.
but overall a great meal at moomba - thanks mr ong (for treating us) - hope you enjoy yourself also!


so i just came back from dinner (and mj) - went to sushi tei at holland village (where incidentally i met an old friend, oh well, just finished her exams it seems) - the food was really excellent coz i guess we decided to spend some money. haha. it was really all sashimi. i had the mini salmon don which was nothign much to shout about - but then on came aburi salmon belly (torched) - which was nice and delicately flavoured with a nice soft texture that melted in your mouth ; tuna sashimi wasn't that good but that's just tuna - yellowtail sashimi was brilliant, nice firm texture with a nice hint of fishiness - salmon sashimi was okay as well, just the usual salmon taste; the piece de resistance, the creme de la creme, though, was the otoro sashimi that we ordered, 5 slices for $20! but they were really thick slices, and each slice had like 5 or 6 diferent 'flakes' and was really thick; but oohh when you just put that otoro sashimi in your mouth it explodes as a taste sensation; it was delicate, so softly textured, yet with a long finish that just exploded in your mouth, and lingered on and on and on - till it never ends - a delicate flavour of fresh tuna belly is something very hard to describe, really - if you try you will know what it's like - just made me go Oooohh, now that's really something - now that's a slice of heaven for you =) i am a satisfied man=)
tuna belly is the works, please do try.