Sunday, December 27, 2009

Goodwood Park: Totally Durian-ed Puffs!

Merry christmas to all! Hope everyone had a fantastic time feasting, giving presents and sharing great moments with family and friends. For me, I held another yearly party at my house with excellent dishes whipped up by wonder mom. But this time, we had some additional sweets to go with the tasty mains, and thats the famed durian puffs from Goodwood Park Hotel!

38++ per box

Just look at the pretty little things! Sitting snuggly in their slots, the box of twenty was appetising just by looking at them! We were told to keep it in the freezer and defroze it for 45 minutes before eating them, but I realised it would be better if you leave them in the normal compartment and eat right away!

Not the pseudo type with plenty of pastry and custard with artificial flavouring, this is really THE durian puff! Thick, creamy and 'fragrant', it was so pure that I wouldn't be surprised if you tell me there isn't any cream composite at all!

The puff itself was lightly powdered with icing sugar, but I felt that it simply existed for you to hold the delicous fillings properly, so that none of it would be stuck between your nails, not like you won't attempt to suck them out anyway!

Every durian lover should try this at least once! But go easy on them and remember to share!
Sunday, December 20, 2009

Royal Copenhagen: More Cakes, More Shots!

Things you expect at a food bloggers' outing: Cameras of differnt shape and sizes, dozens of pretty shots, and plenty of food! That was exactly the scene at Royal Copenhagen Takashimaya last weekend!

I had always known the brand more for its premium tablewares than its tea lounge, with the mentality that it was a resting place for tai-tais after their shopping sprees. It had a surprisingly small seating area but the packed crowd at teatime sure showed its popularity. Serving cakes and tea on their own label of plates and cups, the service was speedy and polite, with a senior staff memorising our orders and others refilling water promptly.

Assiette of Citrus ($11.90), Signature Scones ($7.90)

A definite plus point for presentation. The clash of zesty citrus slices and sweet almond cake was a pleasent one, while the lemon sorbet was really well, lemon, which somehow reminded me of a certain cleaning agent. The sponge pudding was too hard for my liking and tasted much like a normal cupcake.

The scones were supposedly one of the must-try, but I was rather disappointed with the ones we had. It didnt have the buttery taste I'm looking for and the texture felt like it had been left on the counter for the entire day already. Maybe it would be better if we had the right-out-of-oven ones? Also, the portion did not justify the price at all, although they did give plenty of spreads for it.

Upside-down Pineapple Carrot Cake, Cranberry Almond Cake

The carrot cake was my personal favourite out of the 8 slices of cake we ordered. With a layer of pineapple jelly, carrot and raisin bits were hidden in the very moist cake, completed with the sides coated in cream cheese and walnuts. I think I would very much like to finish this off on my own!

The other one had a distinct cranberry taste, along with almond slices in the smooth sponge. Another good one overall.

Danish Butter Cake, Orange Cake

While looking plain, the butter cake was great in taste. The soft custard and buttery flavour was simple yet delicious, being one of those comfort stuffs that you didn't really care how it look while you savoured the wonderful mixture of cream and cake!

The next one had a similar texture to the cranberry almond cake, but was instead infused with orange flavour. I thought it was rather refreshing until the artificial taste of orange essence kicked in after sometime.

All cakes are priced at $5.50 per slice.

(Clockwise from top left) We called the Cream of Layer the ugly cake as it refused to stand properly for our shots, while the Almond Meringue Cream Butter Cake was overpowered with cream. Taste-wise both were really normal and did not leave much of an impression.

The Banana Loaf was one that we could hardly bring ourselves to finish. Hard and dry, I think the others would agree its the least-liked one among all. The last one, the Mudslide Royal, had plenty of chocolate until it doesn't feel like a cake anymore. Unfortunately, there wasn't a distinct taste for it to be a favourite.

For the 7 of us, the $10odd we paid each was really worth the money after trying almost all their daily cake selections and two from their regular menus. Furthermore, the tea session was enjoyed by a group of like-minded foodies who despite meeting for the first time, we were able to click together really fast! Read about their entries here:

Phoebe, The Food Chapter
Harris, The Simplest Aphrodisiac
Justin, j2k3blogs
Kaelyn, My Food Sirens

And we have already settled for another outing, tomorrow! They would probably update earlier than me, as I still have plenty of backlogs (i.e. lazy) to clear.. look out for it!
Sunday, December 13, 2009

Watami: Worth the wait?

Watami has been around in Hong Kong for quite a long time and also sprouting up in Taiwan, until it finally arrived on our shores at Ion Orchard. The long meandering queue on a weekday dinnertime would usually put me off, until I realised that its the same situation in every other restaurant and I was rather lazy to get out of Ion as well!

The place used a pleasent brownish theme for decor with wooden tables and cushioned seats. Service was rather prompt but no offense, I just felt slightly awkward to be served by waitresses with Philipino accent in a Japanese restaurant. Menu-wise, I was surprised that it was rather limited, showcasing all choices on a single A3-sized page.

Hotate with Butter ($5.80), Sushi Grandeur ($10.80)

The scallop sizes were probably just slightly bigger than a 50cent coin, but I would consider them a steal at the price. With a slightly charred surface, the chewy texture was enhanced by the garlickly buttery taste and a tingle of lemon juice, completed with a nice touch of crunchy mushrooms.

The sushi combo came in a set of six, with different toppings like boiled scallops, salmon tartar and grilled eel. Nothing spectacular, but good to order if you want to try different sushi at one go.

Tempura Moriawase ($9.80), Wafu Steak ($9.80)

Tempura is something that I will favour ordering, but tends to end up with forgettable taste. Most places did not put much effort in creating a good batter coating, here included.

The steak was, uh, let's just say that I should have never ordered this in the first place. What was I thinking, that they will serve Wagyu beef? Tough and tasteless, the quality of the cut was just not to my liking.

Kaisen Pizza ($9.80), Okonomiyaki ($8.80)

The seafood topping was rather good with squid pieces, prawns and more scallops covered in a cream sauce. The pizza base however, was in the middle, neither having a thick crust like American pizzas nor a thin one like classic Italians. I would prefer it be have a more distinct stand.

The second one was served on a sizzling hotplate topped with mayonnaise, tonkatsu sauce and bonito flakes. Pretty standard stuff with no surprises.

Mango Daifuku ($3.80)

The mochi roll would perhaps taste better if they used fresher fruits. The mango was already darkening and tasted slightly soggy. The whole thing was rather artificial and felt mass-produced. Wrong choice for desserts!

Total bill for 3 was $68.60 after taxes, they even divided nicely the price per head for you in the bill, saving the trouble of doing calculations when going dutch! I would say the prices were quite wallet friendly and good for student outings but then again, I didn't think the hype and long queues were justified by the quality of food. I would walk elsewhere for a more worthwhile wait!
Sunday, December 06, 2009

Satsuma: Grills For All!

My girlfriend wanted to eat something Japanese for her birthday this year, so I hunted high and low for something different. No more conveyor belts or serious chef counters, I managed to find something different: Satsuma!

Located at Gallery Hotel, it was one of the unique micro restaurants housed in double storey container-like structures. Level 1 was mainly for drinking sessions while the upstairs setting was cosy with only a handful of tables. Satsuma actually specialised in grills and Shochu (Not Sake!), but since we were not really drinkers, we gave the alcohol a pass and opted for brewed citrus tea ($4.00) instead.

Complimentary Vegetable Bowl, Salmon Sashimi ($15.00)

They probably provide the veggie sticks because 1st) they don't want you to have an overkill of skewered meat and 2nd) there isn't much vegetable choices in the menu anyway. It indeed had its uses in between dishes, refreshing our tastebuds and came with a sesame-like savoury dip.

We also had the sashimi for starter as girlfriend was craving for it. Fresh and thick-cut, there isn't really much to complain/compliment about it.

Okonomiyaki ($6.00)

I would strongly recommend this one for ordering! While you usually see Okonomiyaki in a pancake shape, the version here came in sizes of ping-pong balls and tasted excellent! The outside was brown and crispy, but you soon sink your teeth into the pipping hot semi-solid mixture. Topped with spring onions and mayonnaise, it was one of its kind!

Prawn and Scallop rolled with Bacon ($10.00), Enoki Mushrooms rolled with Pork ($6.00)

I love prawns, and I love scallops. So the first one was a perfect combo for me. Succulent and juicy, there is no need for any seasoning with the inclusion of bacon strips. The second one was also a personal favourite with the crunchy texture of mushrooms and fatty pork slices. Both tasted great with a drip of tingy lemon!

Pork Cutlet with Cheese and Miso ($9.00), Oyster Ommelette ($12.00)

We took this two since it was on the list of chef recommendations. The cheese within was melted wonderfully, giving you that pizza feel when you pull them apart, while the miso sauce was an interesting addition to the tender cutlet.

You tend to compare the 2nd one with chinese Orh Luak, but its a slightly different version with runnier eggs and mushrooms, served in a slightly sweet broth. And though there were only 3 pieces of oysters, it was those big juicy type that bursted with natural goodness!

Clockwise, Grilled Unagi ($9.00), Soft Shell Crab ($12.00), Grilled Rice ($3.00), Grilled Eggplant ($3.00)

We also had some other grills and dishes which included unagi and soft shell crab which was good but not spectacular. The eggplant was surprisingly juicy given its dry look, but not much people appreciate eggplants these days eh? The last one was perhaps the only disappointment for the whole meal. The rice was too burnt and too salty to be enjoyed, perhaps it just happened that the chef overlooked it?

Bill for two was $102.30 after taxes. Given its courteous Japanese-style service, unique atmosphere and the wide range of dishes we tried, the money was rather worth it. Do give it a visit if you are tired of bento and sushi sets, and oh, the okonomiyaki that I will be coming back for!