September 26, 2008

A great start to the trip

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I'm in Singapore for the first F1 race... It's been a while since I was in town last, and there are a number of restaurants that I've been wanting to try. I hit two of them today, and both have turned out to be great meals.

For lunch, my friends and I went to Forlino, a new Italian place with a killer location that is at the end of One Fullerton. The restaurant has views of Marina Square, and given the current F1 setup, the bar directly overlooks Turn 13 of the course. The decor of the restaurant is a bit funky, with some Philippe Starck elements that are at once both traditional and modern. The large windows ensure there is plenty of natural light.

I ordered a la carte, and started with cured cod and potato mousse. This was really yummy, and reminded of my trip to Spain and Portugal two years ago. Three scoops of shredded bacalhau and mashed potato, each with a thin sliver of baguette wedged in. The bacalhau was pretty flavorful, and of course the combination with potato was classic.

I tried a bite of my friend's deep-fried zucchini flower (in batter) stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies. The flavors of the anchovies blended well with the cheese and the batter, and this was pretty yummy too.

For main course I had the veal ravioli with truffles. The homemade ravioli stuffed with tender veal was pretty delicious, and although the black summer truffles weren't as fragrant as I would have liked, it was still pretty nice.

I ordered a half bottle of 2005 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvee St. Catherine, made from the grapes of Clos des Capucins. The nose immediately signaled a higher-than-normal alcohol content, which was fair given that this was the ultra-ripe 2005 vintage. Nose of orange flowers, apricots and some minerals were very pleasant, and only a hint of sweetness on the palate.

My friends and I all enjoyed the meal very much, especially the SGD 45 set lunch which my friends ordered. I think we would all be back again...

For dinner, I booked a table at Goto (後藤), a Japanese kaiseki restaurant near Club Street. I had read about both Goto and Forlino from Chubby Hubby, and it sounded like a place I must try. As I am in between jobs and technically not earning any income for a few weeks, I ordered the SGD 180 set instead of the SGD 280 set that I normally would have gone for.

We started with a sampler - very, very delicious tofu (made with rich, viscous soya milk); lotus root konnyaku with thin slivers of deep-fried lotus root on top; barracuda sushi (魳, hakozushi 箱寿司style); a type of clam called ivory shell; delicious marinated eggplant with a sprinkle of yuzu; and marinated red pepper from Kyoto topped with bonito (鰹) flakes. The tofu was really amazing - full of soya flavor and the consistency is so soft and tender, almost half liquid.

Next we have a simple soup with pike eel (鱧) and matsutake mushrooms (松茸). The eel was really soft and tender, and the dab of plum sauce made it very interesting.

The next course was 御作り, where we started with bonito (鰹たたき) in ponzu, and moved onto squid, pike eel, bartailed flathead (鯒), pacific saury (秋刀魚) and toro. Both the squid and the bartailed flathead were quite chewy, while the pike eel - again with a dollop of plum sauce on top and some yuzu - was really nice. The pacific saury had the usual blend of fatty oil and strong fishy taste which I love. All in all, a very good selection.

Next came a simple cup of steamed lotus root mash, pike eel, lily bulb and thin strands of black ear fungus. The flavors and textures seem to work well together.

For grilled fish, we had whole ayu/sweetfish (鮎) as well as scabbard fish (太刀魚). There was a sweet seaweed (のり) miso sauce on the ayu that made it very interesting

The tempura course was pretty creative. I loved the bunch of sweet corn, and the shishitou (しし唐) pepper stuffed with minced prawn. A roll of pike eel with seaweed wrapped around asparagus was decent, and we also had ginko nuts and yamaimo (山芋). The last piece - fig with yuzu miso - was a real surprise.

The wooden box came with sticky rice topped with salmon roe (いくら) and chestnut. Interesting blend of sweet and savory flavors.

The trio of desserts was really, really yummy. I started on the fruit, which were completely ripe examples of Japanese grapes, pear and white peach. The raspberry ice cream was very flavorful, with lots of seeds to add texture. Finally, the creme caramel was soooo milky I lapped up every ounce of it.

We had one final sweet konnyaku topped with black syrup and peanut powder, which went very well with the delicious matcha (抹茶).

I brought my own bottle of sake - hand-carried from Tokyo - which was Kaganoi Daiginjo (加賀の井大吟醸). Pretty sweet at +1 (日本酒度) and a very fine 40% seimaibuai (精米歩合). Nice and fragrant, with nose of banana and vanilla.

Apparently the chef ships in ingredients from Japan four times a week, including the wonderful tofu. I had a really enjoyable meal, and I'll try the more expensive set on my next visit.

1 comment:

Camemberu said...

This looks seriously yummy!


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