November 30, 2019

3-star trip to Singapore: 3 stars too many

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We were meeting one of The Dining Austrian's old friends for dinner, but only after a few drinks first.  The last time I went to Que Pasa was probably around the year 2000, so it was nice to see that after all these years, the place was still thriving. After a quick round of cocktails - which turned out to be a more modified, more masculine Cosmopolitan - our host ordered a bottle of wine.

2014 Réserve de la Comtesse - ripe fruit, lots of dried herbs in the first whiff, then turned smoky and minty.

We moved on to dinner at Les Amis.  I haven't stepped foot in this restaurant for almost 20 years, and I also haven't tasted Sebastien Lepinoy's cuisine since just before Cépage closed 6 years ago.  Frankly, I haven't had much desire to come here.  I'm sure the cuisine is fine, but just from looking at all the pictures posted online, it just seems that the dishes and the plating still look like they belong at Robuchon.

But I'm playing the role of wingman, so here I was... hoping for surprises on the upside.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

We started with a little bubbly, and I chose a glass from a familiar name...

3-star trip to Singapore: local food crawl

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While the main purpose of our trip was hitting the two 3-star restaurants, we also wanted some simple, local food to balance things out.  I could have taken The Dining Austrian to a few of my old favorites, but it's always more interesting for someone local to show you places you've never been to.  So I roped in Gastronaut to show us around.

Our first stop was Da Dong Prawn Noodles (大东虾面) in Joo Chiat.  I have been hearing about this place so I was glad this was on our itinerary.  But first, my friend brought us some otak otak...

November 29, 2019

3-star trip to Singapore: revisiting grandma

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I'm on the road again this weekend, flying into the Lion City to spend a couple of days with The Dining Austrian.  Two months ago, the Rubberman announced the promotion of two establishments to the ultimate, 3-macaron level.  So naturally I had to prod my friend into making a trip - even though he had already visited both places earlier in the year.  Having done that, it was only right that I accompany him on his dining adventures.

My flight landed a little late, and by then it was Friday evening rush hour, with some rain earlier in the day to boot.  It became impossible to get a taxi or limo from the airport.  I did finally get transport via Grab, but ended up getting stuck in traffic on my way to Parkroyal on Pickering.  By the time we arrived for dinner at Odette, we were more than an hour late.

There were two dégustation menus to choose from - one was basically vegetarian, and the other "terre et mer".  Guess which one we picked?

A week ago, I found out through a post on FB that Julien Royer will actually be in Hong Kong this weekend, cooking at his restaurant Louise.  This was, of course, a little annoying.  You never want to fly in somewhere specifically to dine at a 3-star restaurant, only to find that the head chef isn't in the kitchen.  However, 3-star restaurants should run as well-oiled machines... so arguably nothing should be any different even without the head chef being in the kitchen.

First, a little bubbly to quench my thirst!

Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne MV13 - nice and ripe, good depth on the palate, and almost a little bitter.

Grignotages - the nibbles came pretty quickly, before we had much time to settle in...

November 27, 2019

Visiting the truffle king

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It's been a while since I last dined at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.  A few years ago the restaurant was so popular with diners that it became difficult to book on short notice - or at least that was my impression.  So it gradually got phased out of my short list of go-to restaurants, and the interval between my visits became years instead of months.

So I was pretty surprised when word came via a friend that Chef Bombana would like to see The Great One and I, as neither of us have paid the restaurant a visit in some time.  We were, of course, only too happy to oblige... but I made it clear through my friend that we would be paying for our meal - that this would not be one of those freebies.

I arrived late and a little flustered, and quickly sat down at our corner table while apologizing to the ladies.  The smell of white truffle being shaved at neighboring tables filled the air.  Of course this was now the busy season for the restaurant, as Hong Kong was enjoying a short respite from the recent turmoil and diners returned for the white diamonds.

The menu was, of course, arranged by Chef Bombana.  I looked forward to what was in store for us - besides the truffle, that is.

Chanterelles with mushroom foam, and white truffle - nice, but way too small of a bowl.

November 26, 2019

Old Barolos from Mascarello

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A few months ago while we were having dinner together, J told me that Ginsberg + Chan was planning a dinner featuring old Mascarello Barolos. I don’t drink Barolo on a regular basis, but I have had a few decent bottles of Mascarello… and this would be an interesting opportunity to try out some old vintages. As DaRC was also with us and he’s a real big fan of Barolos, the two of us signed up for this dinner right away.

By the time I got to Giando tonight, I had already spent 3 nights in a row wining and dining. I told myself that the menu looked to be on the light side, and I would just take sips as I normally do.

We started with a magnum of Pierre Peters Champagne, although I didn’t quite catch the exact cuvee. This was very light on the palate initially but gained some depth with time. Some minerals, but the finish was short.

Insalata Piemontese : Piedmont salad in “bagna cauda” dressing with hazelnut, bell peppers and eggs

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