February 27, 2013

A midweek feast

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Believe it or not, I went to another "media dinner" tonight.  After the debacle a few months ago, I was sure that no one was going to invite me for another one of these again, but an invitation did come, through a fellow blogger.  He was trying to do his friend a favor, and I tried to do him a favor by asking him to check... to make sure that there would be no repercussions from me giving my honest opinion.  When the feedback was that the restaurant and hotel was comfortable with me writing whatever I wanted, I decided "Why not?"  Here's a place that seemed pretty confident of the quality of their food, and "fearless" in a way.  So I was thinking to myself, in Chinese: "好!不怕死的就來吧!老子看看你有什麽能耐!"  (Just kidding...)

I arrived at FEAST in EAST Hotel (un)fashionably late, and apologized for being tardy as a result of work.    The rest of the gang were already on their second appetizer, and I kinda dug in soon after I settled down and caught my breath...  I didn't know who else was going to be there, but it was good to see a couple of familiar faces.  I joked to my neighbor that, other than seeing her on a couple of occasions at Island East Markets, I only seem to catch up with her at events like this... and we live about 5 minutes away from each other (on foot)!

Prawn cocktail, Marie Rose sauce - I've never been a fan of cocktail prawns, and while the sauce was slightly spicy, I found the whole thing to be a little bland... Maybe I should have doused the prawns in lots of sauce...

Brown bread cursted scallops, lemon and pancetta - Yum!  This was a pleasant surprise.  My scallop was prepared fresh, after I arrived. The lemon and herb butter worked pretty well...

...and the scallop was done just about right in terms of texture.  But GEEEZ... did they have to put those irresistible cubes of pancetta on top?!  I think this was voted the best this of the evening by many of us.

French onion soup, crouton and gruyère - I thought this was OK, a little on the sweet side in terms of flavor (read: not heavily-salted), but I didn't really appreciate being served this course at the start of a 12-course assault...  I only had half of the serving and felt at least 60% full afterwards... BIG chunks of croutons and LOTS of Gruyère.

EAST fish pie, halibut, scallops, prawns and cheddar mash - oooooh yeah, no question whatsoever that this was a fish pie... as my fellow diners commented on how "fishy" this smelled while spooning it onto their plates.  I didn't mind the smell, and thought it tasted pretty decent.  Served with carrots and potatoes on the side...

Steak and Guinness pie, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots - nobody could taste the Guinness, but never mind... The steak inside tasted reasonably tender and decent, although we all wanted a lot more of the pastry shell.

Hung shao pork, stir-fried greens - braised pork belly? 'Nuff said.

Sesame ginger chicken, steamed rice - not bad.

Pretty full by now, and the onslaught of desserts began...

Banoffee cheesecake, toffee pecan sauce - pretty decent, actually...

Apple and cinnamon crêpes, Calvados and cream - I thought the filling was decent, but I prefer my crêpes to have gone through a little more "heat"...

Sticky gingerbread pudding, ginger wine and brandy sauce - there's no mistaking that it was made with ginger...  I do love sticky puddings...

Chunky marmalade bread and butter pudding, crème fraîche and orange zest - pleasantly surprised, as the orange zest and marmalade really made what could have been a boring bread pudding stand out.

As usual, I avoided the fallen chocolate soufflé, Armagnac prunes and crème fraîche sauce like the plague... Not because I thought there was anything wrong with the execution, but I just don't go for this type of stuff anymore.

Happily, I ended my evening without being completely stuffed but reasonably satiated.  For a hotel cafe that is designed to appeal to the general diner, I thought the food was reasonable, and there were even a couple of upside surprises.  Many thanks to EAST Hotel for feeding me.

Oh and P.S., I don't drink... =)

1 comment:

Josie said...

Hi Peter thanks for this! We are so happy you had a good time with us. Next time Sugar okay "non-drinker"? :)


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