Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dozo: 7 Courses to Mix and Match

As a student, there are some places which I have heard about and wanted to try for the longest time, and as the wishlist grew even longer after years I somehow forgot about their existence. When the girlfriend asked me what I wanted to have for my birthday in July (yes, very slow I know), I thought of Japanese cuisine and so she made a surprise reservation for a place long forgotten: Dozo Restaurant.

Situated in the rather quiet Valley Point, I have heard much about the Japanese fusion restaurant in my post-army days. Back then however, the 7 course set dinner at $59.80++ per pax was a little hard on the wallet and thus we shelved the idea. Fast forward 4 years later, we finally found our way here and anticipated the meal with much excitement.

Operated by the same group of people behind the other set-menu-focused restaurants of Tao's and Zero Zero, Dozo has themed private rooms as well as spacious dining halls. Age, however, seemed to be catching up as a closer look at the furniture (and toilets too) revealed that they were slightly worn out. Service standards were nonetheless very pleasant as staff were polite and well-versed with the menu.

Amuse Bouche

Shooters of grape juice to whet the appetite and pasta-looking cracker sticks to tease our tastebuds. Interesting!

Starter: Chef's Selection of Assorted Platter

With a trio of Smoked Salmon, Grilled Scallop and Pan Seared Foie Gras, we were recommended to eat in that order of increasing flavours. The tiny cubes were gone in a flash and I could only wished for a bigger piece of liver.

Cold Dish: Beef Tataki with Shaved Parmesan, Sashimi Platter

I started off my meal proper with a bang as the beef tower was simply fantastic with well-marbled slices, pieces of savoury cheese and drizzles of truffled mayonnaise. An excellent creation!

The girlfriend's sashimi platter was supposed to be a variety of fishes, but she actually only liked salmon and thus made a request for the rest to be swapped. Fresh indeed.

Side Dish: Foie Gras Chawanmushi with Truffle Slice, Tempura Battered Soft Shell Crab

My second dish was unfortunately disappointing as I could taste none of the foie gras while the truffle wasn't as fragrant as the mayonnaise even. The girlfriend's choice, on the other hand, was nicely done as the meaty crab was served hot and crunchy on a bed of mashed potato.

Soup: Mushroom Soup with Truffle, Crab Bisque Cappuccino

Very thick and creamy mushroom soup for me, but still no truffle taste. A hint that I should probably stop my truffle obsession here. Should have taken the girlfriend's choice too as we all loved the bisque's rich flavours.

Mains: Kurobuta Pork Cheek with Onion Jam, Baked Atlantic Cod Fillet

Not much surprises here, as the pork cheek was rather thin and coated a tad too thick with crumbs and herbs. Her fish choice wasn't particularly outstanding too.

Desserts: Espresso Creme Brulee, Baked Warm Chocolate Cake

Now this one I like; Intensive coffee taste in the light creamy pudding with burnt sugar surface. Girlfriend's option was pretty normal as only a small volume of lava flow out.

Drinks: Iced Rose Lemon Tea, Iced Mallow Apple Melody

Cool, fruity choices to digest the dinner.

Birthday Special

Ah yes, much thanks to the lovely girl for getting them to prepare this!

Bill for two was $139.90 after taxes. With at least 5 options for each course, you can make a mind-boggling combinations of dinner sets and with the various hits and misses, it will be wise to make your choices carefully. One off the wishlist!

Dozo Restaurant
491 River Valley Road
#02-02/03 Valley Point Shopping Centre
Tel: 6838 6966
Check out their online menu and plan your own mix and match first!

Taken with Nikon D70
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Rotisserie: Weekend Brunching in CBD

Shenton Way feels drastically different on a weekend. Gone are the hordes of office warriors who walk fast enough to create a stampede, leaving a handful of tourists snapping their cameras away, fresh graduates having photoshoots and a couple more of random passerby. Or you could be like us, having brunch at The Rotisserie.

With most of their outlets in the financial district (the odd one being their Rochester Mall outlet), the girlfriend and I had my birthday brunch at the China Square outlet. Very casually decorated with wooden furnishing and a couple of sofa chairs, you simply order at the counter and wait for your food to be served to you. With no GST and service charge, weekend brunches are served till 5pm.

Cafe Latte ($4.50)

My standard choice of caffeine, Illy's coffee did smell great in the morning.

Aussie Breakfast ($11.00), Breakfast Rosti ($11.00)

Serving sourdough bread with a choice of eggs and 3 sides (Hashbrown, sausages and mushrooms in this case), my selection tasted pretty normal really. The girlfriend's breakfast was slightly more interesting with the hot, crispy rosti and a dope of sour cream. A runny egg yolk went well with it too.

Bill for two was $31.00 nett. While The Rotisserie's brunch selection didn't awe, it was decent enough for a quiet meal in a not-usually-so-quiet area. Their mains, on the other hand, looks pretty interesting and might warrant a visit soon.

The Rotisserie
51 Telok Ayer Street #01-01
China Square Food Centre
Singapore 048441

Taken with Nikon D70
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Majestic Bay: Coffee Crabs in The Gardens

This is an invited session

Although some might write it off as "way too man-made", I'm actually quite liking Gardens By The Bay. Come on, how many natural attractions are there in urban Singapore? A day in the huge gardens will probably make you hungry too, so its great that there's a pretty interesting restaurant lineup. Fancy some fresh seafood after checking out the greenery? Head over to Majestic Bay then!

Located at the ground floor of the flower domes, the chinese seafood restaurant is Owner-Chef Yong Bing Ngen's latest addition after Jing and Majestic Restaurant (which has an interesting claypot chicken rice btw!). Greeting you at the entrance will be the rows of fresh seafood for your picking later, as the main dining hall is decked in a blue-ish, nautical theme.

If you prefer a more intimate setting, the 14-seater private room will be a good choice too.

Herbal Tea ($4.00)

Before we went on with the tasting menu, I had a glass of homemade liang teh which was suitably sweetened and cooled me down nicely.

Soup of the Day - 瓦煲老火汤 ($18.00 for 2-4 pax, $27.00 for 5-8 pax)

Serving the classic cantonese Arrowroot Pork Ribs Soup (粉葛排骨汤), it was flavourful and had a homely feel to it. Eh don't let the ingredients go to waste, great with a dip in soy sauce!

Steamed Live Prawns in Minced Garlic - 金银蒜蒸开边生虾 (Market price: ~$70.00/kg)

While I prefer my fresh live prawns to be served simply boiled, a dash of garlic and soy sauce did enhance its taste.

Live Crabs in Bay’s Signature “Kopi” Sauce - 冠华咖啡焗肉蟹 (Market price: ~$56.00/kg)

Now this is coffee-loving Chef Yong's signature creation for Majestic Bay! Using a blend of Arabica, Brazilian and White coffee beans, you will smell the dish before it even appears in front of you. The aroma gets brought out further with the tableside flambe of coffee liquor.

The result is a unique crab dish that is both savoury and sweet, as the chunks of crab meat are complemented with sticky coffee sauce that has a strong touch of caramel. Sounds a tad odd on paper, but worked out pretty well!

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms and Asparagus - 蒜茸野菌炒芦笋 ($18.00 for 2-4 pax, $27.00 for 5-8 pax)

Crunchy greens and mushrooms, nothing spectacular but a good break from all that seafood.

Baked Rice with Assorted Seafood - 海鲜大烩焗饭 ($68.00 for 4-6 pax, $88.00 for 7-12 pax)

This is one hell of a baked rice, I'll say. Apart from the humongous size, we were pleasantly surprised with the amount and variety of toppings. Prawns, mussels, squid rings, scallops and baby abalones all baked together in a curry-like sauce and served with a truckload of fried rice.

Messy goodness!

Sweet’s Temptation - 甜品诱惑 ($20.00 for 4 pax)

Always leave some space for desserts eh? If you have enough diners (or you simply can't get enough of sweets on your own), the dessert platter will let you have a bit of everything.

With a mix of traditional items and modern creations, the red bean pancakes and Salted Egg Custard Bun were pretty average, while the rice dumpling with fresh cream and fruit bits were a tad too light in taste.

What did impress me, however, was the last item; a rice dumpling made with pulut hitam, stuffed with yam paste and sprinkled with coconut shavings. Another combo that worked!

Given the ambiance and quality, prices at Majestic Bay are actually quite reasonable. There is also a dimsum menu available for lunch. A fan of coffee and crabs? Then you need to make a visit someday!

Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant
Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-10
Singapore 018953
Tel: 6604 6604
Note: Market price for live seafood differs daily

Special thanks to Janice of FoodNews for the invite!

Taken with Nikon D70
Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Our Korner: Restaurant Week 2012

Since the Singapore induction in 2009, I personally thought that Restaurant Week is slowly losing its charm. For one, there's an increasing number of (and too many) established restaurants that demand a premium over the usual $25++ lunch and $35++ dinner price tags which in my opinion, lose the meaning of top-notch dining at affordable prices. Secondly, some of the remaining restaurants seemed unproven and even slightly overpriced with their restaurant week menu.

After missing the last one in March (I think), the girlfriend asked if I was interested to give it another go and so after some late decisions and booking, we found ourselves at Our Korner for a weekend lunch.

Situated within Scarlet Hotel, I always thought the restaurant looked interesting from the outside after walking past countless times along Ann Siang Road. With the bar/lounge area and dining area separated, decor was modern and slightly mismatched, without the stiffness of fine dining and yet intimate enough for a dinner for two. Service was very pleasant with the manager making small chats around the tables and his staff refilling our glasses promptly.

Beef Ravioli Consomme, Tuna Tartare

With choices for starters (and main courses), my clear beef stock was distinct in taste, being excellent comfort food on the rainy day. The girlfriend's tartare was light and refreshing, as the cubes of tuna came with cucumber and dashes of lemon juice.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thigh with Mushroom Spaghetti, Stemeed Seabass Fillet

Although there was nothing exquisite about the ingredients, my pasta was pretty well done with al-dente spaghetti and juicy thigh stuffed with baby spinach ricotta, given an Asian twist when drizzled with hoisin sauce.

The girlfriend's choice, on the other hand, looked plain and tasted a tad bland on the fish and mashed potato beneath.


Tiramisu too was a little dry and lacking in alcohol. More like a Mascarpone Cheese cake really.

At $25++ per person, Our Korner's restaurant week attempt was decent but unfortunately, nothing impressive. Well, at least I have finally satisfied my curiosity about the place! Restaurant week in March 2013? Let me think about it.

Our Korner
33 Erskine Road
Singapore 069333
Tel: 6511 3323

Taken with Nikon D70