Friday, December 20, 2013

Bistro Du Vin: More of Restaurant Week

I originally made 3 bookings for this season's Restaurant Week, but had to cancel one (Salta!) cos I was running out of time, making my way to Bistro Du Vin one weekday evening for yet another french attempt.

The outlet at Shaw Centre was really hard to book which I ended up with a 9:30pm timeslot, but I decided to try my luck by walking in at 8 and viola! They got a empty table right there. Strangely, it wasn't that full house so I concluded that they only kept a small number aside for restaurant week. Service was prompt, friendly and quick, much in line with Les Amis's other bistro-like places like Peperoni and NamNam.

Complimentary bread

Nothing spectacular, just decent baguette with butter and oh, cheers to unpretentious free water.

Foie Gras Ravioli

A no brainer since the other choice was escargots which I just had at Taratata, the prized liver was rich and creamy within the Italian wanton, paired with the seemingly heavy but manageable port wine sauce and roasted hazelnut. Mopped it up with my remaining baguette!

Beef Short Ribs in Beer Sauce

My picture didn't do the size of the mains justice as it was a seriously huge wedge of rib with generous amount of meat dangling on it. And a real tasty one too that is, being very tender with buttery fatty bits and has a robust beefy taste to it. Oh I can eat this forever.

Baked Pear Tart

I have always liked the french-styled baked apple/pear tarts so this suited me just fine. A tad pity that the Blue Cheese Ice Cream wasn't distinctive enough.

Complimentary post-meal tea and coffee? Nice.

At $35++ for restaurant week dinner, it would have been quite a value-for-money meal if not for the fact that I was itchy hand to look at the lunch menu and realised that they were offering the exact 3 course for lunch at $30++.

Though feeling slightly cheated, I guessed its not exactly a fair comparison since we are talking about lunch and dinner here. That aside, Bistro Du Vin served up a really good meal for me and ticked off another one on my list of to-go. Back for lunch, perhaps!

Bistro Du Vin
#02-12, Shaw Centre
1 Scotts Road
Tel: 67337763

Taken with HTC One
Thursday, December 12, 2013

Taratata Bistrot: Excellent Restaurant Week Attempt

Restaurant Week; a bi-annual event that I have learnt to love and hate. Loving how you can try different restaurants at affordable prices, hating how (increasingly) many restaurants are charging for starred premium or simply up-pricing their usual set lunch menu to match the event. So it took me some time to seive out the worthy ones which I made a lunch booking at Taratata Bistrot with my colleagues.

Located at Keong Saik Road, the french bistrot has a cosy setting and had several parisian-like sofa seats. Service was prompt and cheerful as they handled a full house for restaurant week.

Half Dozen Baked Escargots

While it looked like a burnt messy, the escargots were decent without the rubbery texture, drenched in a rich mix of herbs, butter and garlic. Half a dozen was just right for lunch, leaving us enough space for the next two courses.

Crispy Oven Baked Pork Trotter

With a presentation that I was not quite expecting, it resembled more of a french Sio Bak than a German type of knuckle. Nonetheless the skin was crackling with the lean meat beneath being moist and tender. Good stuff.

Chocolate Lava Tart

Now I'm not usually a dessert fan, but this actually left an excellent impression on me. The hot, rich chocolate lava was encrusted within a buttery, crumbly tart that was good enough on its on, paired with vanilla bean ice cream that was a joy to eat with the lava. Wow indeed.

At $25++ for lunch, Taratata Bistrot is one of the good gems among the list for restaurant week and I hope that they don't demand for a Star soon. Definitely a keeper to be back for dinner someday.

Taratata Bistrot
35A Keong Saik Road
Tel: 6221 4506

Taken with HTC One
Friday, December 06, 2013

Absinthe: French Timeless Classics

This is an invited session

I have always tagged Boat Quay as a dodgy place when I was young; the sleazy pubs and overpriced seafood combo. But over the time the image seem to have improved with new tenants opening hip bars, boutique restaurants and even budget-friendly hostels. And in the past year or so, it has also been home to reputed french establishment, Absinthe.

Occupying two shophouses along the riverside, Absinthe now has a much bigger space to play with than its previous location at Keong Saik Road. The first floor has an alfresco bar area and a chef table/tapas counter where you can get close and upfront to the kitchen.

Moving up to second level is its main dining area, where the cosy decor and Parisian-like settings are the closest you can get to having Paris in Singapore (or so I have been told cos I havent been to the city yet). The huge booth seats do seem really comfortable for a gathering too.

And moving even upwards are the private dining halls that could be booked for parties and events. I woud imagine it to be pretty popular for niche weddings, birthday celebrations and company dinners.

And this, fellows, is the most unique room for all. With absolute privacy for two, the room has no minimum charges and can be booked upon availabilty, perfect for that proposal that you have been planning or just a really intimate (no cameras but don't get hanky panky please) dinner with your loved one.

Complimentary Bread

Moving on to the tasting menu for the night, I apologize for the odd (embarassingly ugly actually) colours because I have no idea how to work with the very warm colours. Starting bread was simple but satisfying with it served hot, paired with very good french-imported (presumably) butter.

Hamachi - Carpaccio of Marinated Yellow Tail ($26.00), Saint Jacques - Seared Hokkaido Scallops ($26.00)

Not being a fan of Yellow Tail, the first starter was just alright with the caviar intensifying the flavours. The other one with big juicy scallops suited me better with nothing to fault.

Foie Gras Poêlé - Pan-fried Foie Gras ($29.00), Bisque - Lobster Bisque ($15.00)

The prized liver is always sinful yet enjoyable to the very last morsel, paired with sweet berries to even out the greasiness. The rich-tasting bisque with cognac, on the other hand, tends to feel heavy after several mouthfuls and could be even shared among two.

Canard - French Duck Leg Confit ($42.00)

The classic poutry dish was done well with crispy skin and meat so tender that the knife was almost redundant. All that was left afterwards was a clean bone really.

Madeleines ($15.00)

Desserts was simple yet oh-so-good as the vanilla Madeleines were baked upon order, the outer skin breaking with a light crunch and revealing soft, fragrant sponge within. Excellent when paired with the Valrhona chocolate.

With good meals at Abinthe a given (All dishes were in tasting portions besides the duck btw), Absinthe left a greater impression on efforts spent in furnishing different themes spreaded across 4 levels. Whether its a chillout meal or quiet moments with the partner, the place has something tailored for every occasion. Bon Appétit!

72 Boat Quay
Tel: 6222 9068

Special thanks to LeRoy of FoodNews for the invite!

Taken with Nikon D70