Friday, 27 May 2011

Fifty Three, Singapore

As soon as I found out that I will be going to Singapore for some training, the first thing to do was to confirm with that she can join me there. Once it's confirmed, the next thing to do was do some research on places to go to on our weekend eating spree in Singapore...hohohohoho....^o^

Like in Sydney, some of the restaurants there do special lunch menu, and at Fifty Three you get 3 course for SGD$53.00 (incl. tea & coffee).
It is quite expensive when compared to standard cost for a meal there that is around SGD$3.00 :P

Natural & simplistic dining room

Finding the place was not as easy as I thought, their website said that they are located near the Peranakan Museum on Armenian Street, so that's what I told the taxi driver.
Got off the car and we were so lost LOL. Ended up going into the museum's gift shop and ask for direction (turns out its only a few doors down :P).

A lady in black suit with a headset was outside the door (like Man In Black style - minus the RayBan) this point I was thinking...yikes !! I didn't expect this place to be that formal !!
Her task was to greet the customer and guide us up the stairs into the dining room which is located on the first floor. 

Orchid Pot ; Voss Sparkling Water 

The dining room was warmly lit by the natural lighting and it just felt so....natural ? Scandinavian like decor, lightly coloured wooden furniture, white windows, and sandstone walls - simple and calming (at least I felt that way lol).

Tapioca Crisps with Shirasu
walnut emulsion dip

As we peruse the lunch menu, the waiter brought over the amuse bouche - thin tapioca crisp with shirasu , they are this tiny fishes, 1-2 months old baby sardines to be exact :P If you look closely at the crisps, the are the darker coloured vein like strands - they are that tiny.
The walnut emulsion to dip the crisps in were delicious, very creamy with nutty flavours with slight zing from the shaved parmesan.

Charcoal and Potato & Yoghurt
Danish butter, toasted wheat

The cutest bread basket ever !! The smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the pot was simply intoxicating. 
The black charcoal bread would have to my favourite, not only it looked so pretty but also tasted good. It's hard to describe what charcoal bread tasted like, so if you are curious, go to an Asian bakery (like Bread Top here in Australia) and get one.
The yoghurt and potato bread was also good with a slight tang from the yoghurt.
The Danish butter itself was sooo good......the addition of toasted wheat ears (at least I think they are wheat ears) made it special - crunchy toasty bits that tasted like pop corn...mmmmm....

Tarragon scented wet napkins

See...more charcoals :) To clean our hands after nibbling on the crisps and slathering delicious butter on the bread, we were give some tarragon scented wet napkins. They are those ones that comes compressed and you pour hot water over it to hydrate.
As the hot water was poured over, the aroma of tarragon was released and linger on for a long while.
My cousin found it too strong to her liking so I shifted the plate to my side - I love the anise smell of it :)

Mud Crab & Kohlrabi
apple and chickweed
(supplement of SGD $10.00)

I chose the mud crab and kohlrabi entree, the crab was creamy and sweet. The kohlrabi was served as a puree underneath the pile of silky crab meat, the addition of green apple crisps and cripy charcoal breadcrumb gives the dish another dimension in texture. 
The flavour was clean, simple and balanced, loved it :)

Scallop and Passionfruit
tea and herbs

A pretty plate of sweet and tender Hokkaido scallop, complemented by lavender and earl grey granita, passionfruit puree, watermelon and for texture the tapioca shirasu crisps and crunchy white radish. 
The dish was a sweet and refreshing one, I especially loved the granita.

White Jasmine Sparkling Tea  SGD$12.00 / glass

While we waited for our main, our waitress came over and inquired whether we'd like to try their new house made white jasmine sparkling tea. 
It has a slightly alcoholic taste despite being alcohol free, it was sweet and had delicate flavours.
I think it can pass as a non-alcoholic champagne ;)

Red Gunard and Hazelnut
Beluga lentils's chose the fish option for her main, served on a bed of beluga lentils and hazelnut praline. 
The red gunard was cooked perfectly and it has a creamy buttery texture, I'm usually not a fan of lentils but these were actually quite nice. Its name probably comes from its close resemblance to Beluga caviars :)

Base plate for my main dish

Wagyu Cheek and Alliums
Asian pear and wood sorrel
(supplement of SGD $10.00)

My main dish of wagyu cheek was full of edible flowers that were new to me , the wood sorrel and alliums - I don't recall them having any particular flavour nor taste though...doesn't matter, at least they made the dish prettier.
The cheek was very tender and gelatinous, the crunchy nashi pear spheres added some fruity sweetness and the onion broth had a very lovely caramelized onion flavour. 

"Waiter...there's a clover in my food"

Pineapple with Chinese Five Spice
coconut and brie
(supplement of SGD $5.00)

This dessert was served on a metal disc platter, quite a striking presentation. 
The pineapple was nicely charred and caramelized with just a slight hint of the Chinese five spice. Served on a bed of olive crumbs, topped with coconut shavings and coriander, and also a brie ice cream that was too strong to my liking. 
It was a strange mix of sweet and savoury, asian and western flavours that actually works !

Amedei Chuao
meringue, cassis leather
(supplement of SGD $10.00)

The hardest dessert plate to take photo of...tried so many different (awkward) angles and not one seems to be right. 
So just had to break it down into different shots then :P

Zig-zag of Amedei Chuao chocolate, cassis leather and meringue

The Amaedei Chuao is a extremely rich and strong dark chocolate, served as a creamy chocolate paste here. Adorning the sides of the paste were fresh berries, mini cassis meringue that was perfectly chewy and also scrolls of sour cassis leather.

I couldn't figure out what the log of wood look-alike thing was, then upon inquiring with the waitress, we found out that it was actually grated water chestnut that has been compressed into a log ! No wonder it tasted so familiar....

Corn Ice Cream ;  Compressed Grated Water Chestnut

The corn ice cream was delicious, it has a lovely roasted sweet corn flavour that was just amazing. 
Topped with crunchy roasted corn that was slightly salty....deh-li-cious !!

Tea & Coffee

Apple Jellies

A rock that had oogling apple jelly eyes - LOL !
We were instructed to peel the jelly off the rock (literally peeling it stuck to the rock), put it on your tongue and let it melt slowly. As it melts, the flavour will intensify, if however you found the flavour is too strong, just chew on it and it will cut off the flavour - how cool is that ?!?!

It was a fun sensation, there was a slight tingling on your tongue and the apple flavour was really slowly being released as it melts - it was cool !!!
The nerd in me came out as I was eating it...trying to figure out what could they have made it from LOL
It doesn't melt like gelatine, that leaves alginate or xanthan gum gels as possibility....hmmmmmmm.....
(might do some unauthorized investigative work in the lab .....)

The lunch at Fifty Three turned out to be the most memorable dining experience we had during this short trip.
The food truly exceed our expectations and the service was faultless, everything was perfect.
Would be interesting to see what the dinner tasting menu would be like, more interesting dishes I'm sure !
The service does not end at paying the bill, the lady in suit who greeted us as we walked in actually walked us out as well, how's that for service from beginning to the end ^_^

Sure, we ended up paying more than the SGD$53.00 as some of the dishes we picked comes with a supplement charge, but truly, the foods were well worth it :)

53 Armenian Street
Singapore 179940
phone : +65 6334 5535
email :

Opening Hours
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm 
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday: 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cafe Morso, Pyrmont

Cafe Morso 

Cafe Morso is tucked away in the middle of Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont, just a few shops away from Flying Fish restaurant.
It has been here for a few years now and I wonder why it took me so long to come here, considering it is pretty much next door from where I live.
The great thing about Cafe Morso is that they take bookings for breakfast/brunch on the weekends, which is a rarity and causing big headache when you try to find a place for a big group.

Karmee Coffees $3.80
soy latte, skim cappuccino, latte and cappuccino

The coffees here were excellent, a few of us ordered second rounds of caffeine because of that.

"Tea Craft" Earl Grey Tea  $4.00
Outside Dining Areas
Frappes  $6.50
mango and orange ; pineapple, mint and blueberry ; raspberry, strawberry and lime

A few of us opted for something more "healthy", glasses of refreshing frappe to cool us down in the morning summer heat (it was still summer when we went there :P backlog...backlog....).
I had the pineapple, mint and blueberry frappe and it was delicious !

Inside Dining Area

The foods didn't take too long to arrive eventhough we were in a big group and the cafe was packed that morning.
Didn't get to taste all of them, so please just enjoy the pictures ^_^

Roasted Field Mushroom w/ Avocado, Ricotta and Poached Free Range Eggs on Toasted Crusty Bread   $15.50

Soft Scrambled Eggs w/ Gruyere Cheese on Toast w/ Roasted Tomatoes & Spinach  $15.50
plus a side of Chorizo Sausages  $3.50 

Took a bite of my friend's scrambled egg dish that looks more like a soft set omelette. The egg was silky smooth with a punch of cheesy flavour from the Gruyere.

Bacon & Egg Gnocchi w/ Baby Herbs and Truffle Oil  $14.50

The sound of bacon and egg gnocchi is just too good to pass when I saw it on the menu. It has now made it to my list of favourite breakfast or brunch dish.
The logs of gnocchi were basically mashed potato mixed with bacon, shaped into logs and shallow pan fried. crispy on the outside but creamy, fluffy with bacon bits on the inside.

Oozing Poached Egg's Yolk

To top off the already amazing gnocchi was a perfectly poached egg and plenty of crispy bacon bits !!

The Cafe Morso Breakfast  $18.00
plus a side of Baked Beans w/ Onion & Relish  $2.50

A few weeks later, we went back for a return visit, this time just the 4 of us and was lucky to score a table without a booking *phew*.
Someone happen to call in and cancel their reservation as we arrived, hehehehehe...

Iced Chocolate  $5.00

Large vs Regular

Sautéed Wild Mushroom, Truffled Scrambled Eggs & Sonoma Sourdough $16.00

Ham Hock Consommé w/ Spinach Wrapped Pork Parcel & Soft Poached Free Range Egg $16.50

Compared to the other dishes in the breakfast menu, the portion is smaller. It just didn't look substantial enough to satisfy hungry stomach :)
Nonetheless, the consomme was delicious and not to mention what's inside the sphere of spinach :

Pork Parcel

Salmon Gravlax Carpaccio w/ Wilted Spinach, Avocado Salsa & Poached Free Range Eggs  $16.50

Wasn't up for anything heavy that morning, so I opted for something more light, salmon gravlax with spinach, poached eggs and avocado salsa topped with micro herbs. Also ordered a side of toast to help balanced out the richness of the dish.
It was close to lunch time when we finished our meals, and spotted the waiter carrying out someone's lunch order - a stack of rectangular beef fillets that looked delicious - must make a return visit for lunch soon !!

Old rail tracks on Jones Bay Wharf

Cafe Morso on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Restaurant Balzac, Randwick

Restaurant Balzac's special Friday lunch menu has been on my list for a long time now, finally one Friday in February I got to try it out :)
It has been so long now that I don't even remember why I wasn't working that day.....hmmm......I'm pretty sure there must be a legit reason why....I hope....LOL
(It's bugging me though that I can't recall why.....)

Inside the restaurant ; Friday Lunch Menu

Like other restaurants in Sydney that does specially priced Friday lunches, you get a full 3 course meal with just a fraction of the regular price, $39.00 p.p. here at Restaurant Balzac.
Choosing what to have was easy, I'll just pick the opposite of what my friend decided to have, then we get to try everything on the menu ;) 

Sourdough & Salted Butter

Yellow Fin Tuna, "Ceviche" Vinaigrette

My starter was a colourful row of pink yellow fin tuna, topped with tomato and cucumber cubes with a lovely tangy lemongrass scented dressing.
The fish was very fresh and the dressing though full of flavour didn't overpower the fish itself.

Baked Beans, Poached Egg, Truffle Oil

My friend's chose the baked beans starter, which is a bit odd for lunch I think....but tasted good, though I'm not a big fan of beans so I'm glad she chose this instead of the ceviche :P
The earthy aroma of the truffle added something extra to good ol baked beans, complete with oozing poached egg and crisp bacon.

Onion Tatin with Sherry Caramel, Goat's Cheese, Witlof & Rocket Salad

The horror on my face when the main much goats cheese !! Two generous slices of the cheese, which is great if you are a fan of it, which I'm obviously not....-___-;
The onion tatin was delicious though, the pastry was crisp and fluffy and the sweetness of the sherry caramel help make the goats cheese go down easier. The bitter witlof and the peppery rocket balanced out the richness of the creamy cheese.
Despite not able to finish all the cheese, I enjoyed this dish, to my surprise !

Whole Rainbow Trout with Roast Aubergine & Smoked Tomatoes

The shock on my friend's face was for a totally different reason LOL
I think we underestimate the word "whole rainbow trout" on the menu....surely they can't be serving a whole fish....
Well....we were proven whole rainbow trout....head and all.....
The trout was cooked very well indeed, the pink flesh was moist and tender and the roasted vegetables was a lovely accompaniment to it.
Needless to say, she was struggling to finish it, even with me helping.

Cherry, Mascarpone & Hazelnut Trifle

The chocolate mousse based triffle was topped with brownie bites, crunchy hazelnut and pistachio brittle, a dollop of mascarpone and chocolate curls.
A perfect dessert for chocoholic :)

Caramelized Apple Terrine

The apple terrine was a stack of thinly sliced apple, still retaining its crispiness and a nice balanced of tartness from the apple itself and the caramel, laid on a pond of Cointreau creme anglaise.
I prefer this one compared to the trifle, its more refreshing and light :)

We thoroughly enjoyed the lunch here, excellent value with such generous portions on some of the dishes.
Now...which restaurant's special lunches should I try next ?

Restaurant Balzac on Urbanspoon