Archive for August, 2010

Cafe Epicurious – Family Style Dinner

Last week, I was privileged to be invited by the owners of Cafe Epicurious at the Rail Mall to try out their new Family Style Dinner menu. Having enjoyed the brunch menu tremendously at their other outlet (Epicurious at Robertson Quay) twice before, I was delighted to receive this invitation. 

Cafe Epicurious - Seating area in front of happy wallIf you’ve been to Epicurious at Robertson Quay, you will know that the indoor portion is quite squishy, so most people sit outside. Cafe Epicurious at the Rail Mall on the other hand is more spacious. The red wall with little photo frames hung all over made the whole place look very bright and cheery.

Cafe Epicurious has come up with this new Family Style Dinner concept whereby if you choose from this menu, all dishes served will be for communal sharing. Depending on the number of persons eating, the food portions will increase accordingly, with the exception of the main courses whereby each person selects a main course of his choice. The 2 course Family Style Dinner costs $28/pax while the 3 course Family Style Dinner costs $35/pax.

My mother and I decided to go for the 3 course Family Style Dinner. My father went for a main course from the normal menu (but included himself in the sharing of the Family Style Dinner anyway!)

Since only my mother and I ordered the Family Style Dinner, the items featured below are portioned for 2 people and not 3.

 Cafe Epicurious - Mixed Tapas 2

Epicurious Platter – Ah Ma’s deep-fried curry chicken wings, savoury beef meatballs with tomato-basil sauce, devil shrimp with garlic and chilli, melted cheese and sweet onion quesadilla. The quesadillas were particularly delightful in my opinion. It’s almost unbelievable the the quesadillas are the amalgamation of only 3 main ingredients! My parents loved the spicy prawns and they almost forgot to leave me a piece.

Cafe Epicurious - Grilled Seafood Risotto

Grilled Seafood Risotto – Creamy Arborio rice with spinach and mascarpone and topped with grilled prawn, scallop and calamari

Okay I haven’t eaten risotto all that much in my lifetime, but what I can say is, if risotto everywhere tastes like this, I have been missing out big time. Once again, this was simple comfort food at its best. You could taste the creaminess of the rice in each mouthful, and I liked the fact that the rice grains still remained firm to the bite.

Cafe Epicurious - Grilled Seafood Risotto (2)

Here’s a close up view of the wonderful Risotto. You know, for this dish alone I plan to make another trip back to Cafe Epicurious.

Cafe Epicurious - Braised Angus Beef Short Ribs Braised Angus Beef Short Ribs – Slow-cooked off the bone in red wine until it falls apart in your mouth. Served with buttered carrots, sugar snap peas and horseradish cream. 

The portion did look slightly smaller than I had expected, but given the huge dessert yet to come, the portion managed to fill the gap. The beef was as tender as how the menu had described, and the sauce was rich and flavourful. It certainly filled the spot for me in terms of  taste and quantity, but big eaters may want to opt for another dish, lest they feel underfed.

Apart from the Grilled Seafood Risotto and Braised Angus Beef Short Ribs, you can also choose to order Lamb Shank Tagine or Roasted Half-Chicken as part of the Family Style Dinner. These dishes are also all available from the usual ala-carte menu too.

 Cafe Epicurious - Red Snapper in Banana Leaf

This was the Red Snapper in red curry paste $14 that my father ordered. I was a little worried that it might be too spicy, given the generous amount of curry paste, but luckily the curry paste contained just the right amount of heat, such that the flavours of the flaky fresh fish came through very well.  If you’re not having the set dinner, you can also order the Creamy Risotto on its own to go with this Red Snapper. The contrasting creaminess of the rice and the spiciness of the fish really goes well together!

Interestingly, the Red Snapper was ordered from the Sweet Salty Spicy Restaurant next door. Cafe Epicurious and Sweet Salty Spicy share the same kitchen and wait-staff, and you can sit in either restaurant and order from the other.

Cafe Epicurious - Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter – Devils chocolate and raspberry ripple cake, classic lemon and lime tart, sticky date pudding with caramel sauce

Cafe Epicurious - Devils Chocolate and Raspberry Ripple Cake

I think this photo doesn’t do justice to the Devil’s Chocolate cake. This is like one of the BEST chocolate cake I have ever eaten. I can’t believe it’s flourless too! And whoever thought of pairing mascarpone in between those layers of chocolate cake, he/she is a genius. Promote him/her. Maybe I’m sua koo but I thought it was a really unique yet perfect combination. You know if anyone ever needs comforting, this is the chocolate cake to gift. Just remember to exercise a little bit more the next few days after eating this cake though.

Cafe Epicurious - Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce

Sticky date pudding. Not bad, but I have to admit I was never a fan of toffee type puddings.

Cafe Epicurious - Kaya Toast (2)

Cafe Epicurious also let us sample some of the homemade Kaya they made, which is usually only available for breakfast. I quite liked the kaya. It was just the right sweetness for me, although I wouldn’t mind if it was a tad less sweet. The texture and colour was also of the type that I like. However, the Kaya seemed to taste a little more like the Kaya you use in Pulut Seri Kaya (Malay rice kueh, you know the rectangular kueh, on top green, and rice at the bottom)

Cafe Epicurious - Sweet Treats Counter

And if eating dessert in the restaurant is not enough, you can also buy their valrhona chocolate cupcakes, madeleines, tarts and tartlets, cakes and cookies to bring home. I love their sweet treats glass counter, it’s so pretty I can’t help gravitating towards it!

IMG_2962IMG_2961

How can you resist?

 

Café Epicurious at The Rail Mall

392 The Rail Mall, Upper Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 6894-5926

Brunch
9am to 4pm, Saturday & Sunday

Lunch
11:30am to 2:30pm, Monday—Friday

Dinner
5pm to 10pm, Sunday—Thursday
5pm to 10:30pm, Friday & Saturday

http://epicurious.com.sg/

Craig’s Place at Tanjong Pagar

I can’t believe that such a quaint little place has existed in Singapore for so long without me knowing about it! This goes to show that Singapore has many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered!

Craig's Place (2)Craig’s place looks a little like Emerald Hill road behind Orchard Road, minus the mindboggling crowds. The little pathway flanked by the 3 storey shop houses is paved with cobble stones, adding to its quaintness. There are 2 well-known restaurants (both happen to be Australian themed) on either side of Craig’s Place. One is Uluru and the other is BROTH – Bar Restaurant on The Hill. These sprout into life at night when the dinner crowds descend. Otherwise, Craig’s place seems to be pretty dead in the daytime.

What Craig’s Place lacks is a good cafe for people to enjoy during the day time. Craig’s Place seems wastefully underutilized in the day time! I can just imagine sitting outside on a deck chair sipping a glass of ice-latte, book in hand under the shady trees with birds chirping in the background. Alas, that is a dream for now until some enterprising person opens a cafe here. Be sure to send me an invite!

Craig's Place

Btw, Craig’s Place is just off Craig Road, Duxton Road and Tanjong Pagar Road. These roads are flanked with shop houses containing lots of restaurants and pubs, but unfortunately very few cafes. Craig’s Place specifically, has no cafe that I know of.

BROTH - Bar Restaurant on The Hill

BROTH – Bar Restaurant on The Hill. We went past it at night when it was open. The decor and lighting looked exactly like the type of place I would love to dine at. Ambience and atmosphere rank highly on my scoreboard, especially if you have to pay restaurant prices. Good food is a must, but good food alone just won’t cut it. BROTH is only open during Lunch and Dinner hours and not opened on Sundays at all. What a waste! This would have been a nice place to enjoy a cuppa in the day time!

The Toucan Irish PubThe Toucan Irish Pub is just off Craig’s Place. Looks like they have a 1 dine’s free for every 2 paying customers promotion going on.

Down and Out Birdie

Down and Out PigeonSpotted this pigeon while we were exploring Craig’s Place. The poor birdie looks spent. What a rough week it must have had. It probably didn’t manage to escape the drizzle this morning. It didn’t even try to fly away when I moved nearer, and only managed to hobble a few steps in the time we spent taking pictures of Craig’s Place.

BlackEarthSeafoodCreamPenne_thumb.jpg

Black Earth Restaurant & Wine revisited

Having had a good time at Black Earth 2 months back, we decided to revisit again to try out more of their menu selections. I really wanted to try their Pan-Seared Lamb Rack, which the Partner ordered previously and enjoyed tremendously.

Alas, there was no Lamb Rack to be had since the next shipment was stuck somewhere overseas. So once again, I decided to order from the Seafood Creamed Pasta from the ala-carte menu, while the Partner tried the Sirloin Steak with Honey Mustard Sauce from the set-menu.

It was our lucky day when the waitress offered us some wine to sample. I thought it would be just a small amount, but it turned out to be 1 full glass of red wine and white wine! The red wine was nice, and went well with the sirloin steak that the Partner ordered. I didn’t like the white wine although the Partner thought it was okay. But anyway, what do I know about wine. I just drink and enjoy. None of that sniffing and swirling thing for me thank you.

Black Earth - Seafood Cream Penne

At Black Earth, they allow you to choose your desired pasta type (penne, fettuccine), sauce (cream, tomato, basil) and meat (seafood, chicken etc). So I chose creamed fettucine with seafood. It was a bit hilarious when I realised only half-way through the dish that I’d been served penne pasta instead of fettuccine! While I generally prefer cream sauce, most places overdose on the cream, which results in you feeling sickly full halfway through the meal. This pasta here on the contrary had a very light touch to the cream. As you can see from the picture, you can barely notice any cream, except for the whitish sheen if you scrutinise closely.

Black Earth - Sirloin Steak

The Partner liked the Sirloin Steak very much. As with the Lamb Rack he ordered previously, the sauce was really flavourful and just brightened the dish tremendously. There was also another hilarious episode with the Sirloin Steak. The Partner had originally ordered it to be cooked medium rare. However, he was served a Well-Done steak. The waitress remembered our order correctly, so she removed the steak and went to the kitchen to check. Less than 1 minute later, the Partner was served a new piece of steak.

Wow, were we served someone else’s steak by mistake? How could the new steak have taken only 1 minute to cook? But the even more amazing part was that we were the last customers there, having arrived pretty late for lunch. Who was the mysterious steak supposed to be served to? Anyway, it was an acceptable doneness for the Partner, so that was that.

Or so we thought, until when 5 minutes later, a 3rd steak was served to us! The Chef, clearly a perfectionist, must have felt that the 2nd steak was medium rather than medium rare, and so prepared a 3rd one. That is so weird! But we were heartened by the efforts of the chef so the 2nd steak was returned and the 3rd one received.

Black Earth - Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee ice-cream to end off an interesting meal.

 

Click here to read the review of my 1st visit to Black Earth Restaurant.

Black Earth Restaurant & Wine

367 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427612

11.30 – 2.30 lunch

6.00 – 10.00 dinner

Closed on Mondays

Tel: 6346-4558

Blackearth367joochiat@gmail.com

Black Earth - Red Wine

Crumbed Pork Loin

Crumbed Pork Loin on cajun potato bed

Hope you have had a good dinner today. I’m going to enjoy my dinner now. Crumbed Pork Loin on a bed of cajun potato cubes, broccoli and mushrooms. Every household should have a good chef.

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