Archive for the ‘1.1 Hotel Restaurants’ Category

Hairy Crab season at Li Bai

After having been to so many restaurants in the last few years, I thought I’ve seen it all. Foie gras, Wagyu beef, caviar, sea urchin aka uni, been there done that. But last week’s meal at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant simply blew my mind away.

I’m talking about the steamed hairy crabs I had at Li Bai. Believe it or not, it was actually my first time sampling this delicious delicacy. I’ve had crabs numerous times in my lifetime, so it didn’t occur to me to need to seek out these hairy crabs, which I had assumed all along were just merely crabs with a slightly different flavour.

Li Bai Sheraton - Traditionally Steamed Hairy Crab (2)

Traditionally Steamed Hairy Crab $60 per piece

The flesh of the hairy crab is not that different from the usual crabs we get in Singapore, albeit sweeter in taste. But the piece de la resistance, the crème de la crème if you will (pun intended), is the hairy crab roe. Alas, I do not have a picture of the glistening golden roe, because for once I was too busy savouring its sublimely rich taste to remember to capture a picture of it.

This hairy crab roe is unlike any other crab roe I have ever tasted. It tasted saltier than usual, almost like a salted egg yolk. But unlike the one dimensional salted egg yolk which is mainly just salty, the hairy crab roe brought about a savouriness that made it taste 100 times more magical than a salted egg yolk, or other crab roes for that matter.

I wanted to utter something to my neighbouring diner, but I’d noticed that the private room we were in was enveloped in a hushed silence the minute the crabs were served, with only the clicking of spoons to crab being heard. Forget about etiquette, it was every man and his crab for himself.

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Shima Restaurant at Goodwood Park

I love going to Goodwood Park Hotel. It exudes a nostalgia of bygone eras and was also one of the hotels I was seriously considering as a venue for my wedding. So it was without hesitation that I accepted the invitation to check out the newly renovated Shima Restaurant. In case this sounds familiar, yes Shima Restaurant has been around since 1980! It is in fact Singapore’s first fine-dining Teppanyaki restaurant.

The restaurant was previously opened by Katsuhiro Watanabe, a former Singapore resident who has since retired and back in Japan. Last year, JR Foods bought over Shima Restaurant, hence the facelift, which now sees Shima Restaurant downsizing from a double storey restaurant to a single storey one. To be frank, I didn’t know about the existence of Shima Restaurant until the invite. Apparently my parents have dined at Shima once more than 10 years ago, and spent a bomb there! Come to think of it, Goodwood Park has TWO Japanese restaurants, the other one being Tatsuya.

Shima Restaurant - 4 Kinds of Sashimi Moriawase $45

4 Kinds of Sashimi Moriawase (Maguro, Tai, Yellowtail and Salmon) $45

We were there to check out the Sukiyaki set, although we did get a chance to sample the sashimi and teppanyaki as well. First up, the sashimi moriawase set, that had all the bloggers oohing and ahhhing at the voluptuous slices of raw fish. You can really taste the freshness in the fish, in addition to the more pronounced and slightly sweeter flavours. Those salmon sashimi slices were hands down, my favourite item of the evening. If only I didn’t have to share this with 2 other bloggers!

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Afternoon tea at W Singapore Sentosa Cove

When you think of what to do at Sentosa, you think of the sun, the sand and the sea. Yes there are plenty of beach activities to enjoy at Sentosa, but there are also quite a number of luxury and relaxation options too. One such option is to have afternoon tea at the new W Hotel on the Western side of Sentosa.

Of course, afternoon tea options are aplenty too on mainland Singapore, but you will see that W Hotel Singapore’s W T Time aka Drop the Ts presents many small surprises. Chef Matthew Woolford has taken care to put in creative touches such starting with the whimsical use of the birdcage to house the sweet items. We are told the inspiration stems from days of yesteryear where people would bring their songbird cages to the park. I believe you can still find that happening in parts of Chinatown.

W Singapore T Time - Afternoon Tea at W Hotel Singapore (2)

Well there’s all the sweet treats laid out on an open birdcage. Don’t mind the Partner there photo-bombing my photo.

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Osia – Cooking with Friends featuring Tim Montgomery

*Media Invite*

This has got to be one of my fastest posts as it is not even 24 hours since I left the restaurant that I am penning this down. But dining at Osia at Resorts World Singapore was a wonderful experience and I need to share this news with you before Chef Tim Montgomery flies home to Australia!

Due to popular demand, Osia is once again hosting Cooking with Friends with guest Chef Timothy Montgomery from 16 to 19 July. Returning for a second stint, Chef Montgomery is a talented Australian chef who now holds the Executive chef position for both Berardo’s Restaurant & Bar and Noosa International Food & Wine Festival. Prior to taking on these two roles, he previously led Bacchus Restaurant to win four consecutive Chef Hat’s – a prestigious Australian restaurant award. In the upcoming month, Chef Montgomery will be presenting Osia’s diners with several delectable menus reflecting his food philosophy: simplicity, freshness and a deep respect for seasonal and regional produce.

Osia Restaurant - Us with Tim Montgomery

Standout dishes available on Chef Montgomery’s a la carte menu include the Moreton Bay Bug, Jasmine Rice Congee with Macadamia and Guanciale; and ‘Kokoda’ Kingfish and Scallop with Coconut, Yuzu, Fingerlime and Rice Cracker. For those wanting to add to their culinary belt, a complimentary masterclass by Chef Montgomery will also be held on the 19th of July for dine-in guests only.

3-course Set Lunch: $50++/ 4-course Set Lunch $60++

3-course Set Dinner: $90++/ 4-course Set Dinner $115++/5-course Set Dinner$135++

Available from 16th to 19th July 2014

Free cooking demonstration by Chef Timothy Montgomery: 19th July from 3pm-5pm on a first come first serve basis (max of 15 pax; reservations recommended)

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Gaia Ristorante at Goodwood Park Hotel

Today’s Straits Times’ article on Gaia by Wong Ah Yoke has reminded me that I really ought to push out my post as well on this hidden gem!  Gaia Ristorante is located at the illustrious Goodwood Park Hotel, and with a location like that, and an interior decor that spells fine dining, you would not be faulted for thinking that the prices are not wallet friendly. But depending on what you order, you could actually dine at Gaia Ristorante and have a good time without having to wash the dishes later!

If you stick to the pasta main courses, they are mostly in the $20+ range. A black cod dish costs $38, while the pork costs $35. If you go for the more expensive meats like lobster, veal, lamb saddle and pigeon, that’s where the prices start to become steep. Desserts cost about $15, once again, quite comparable to some desserts at brand name cafes these days.

For our media tasting, the Partner and I sampled the degustation menu, which comprises 5 courses at $98++/pax.

Gaia Ristorante Canapes

Assorted rice and potato crackers
Caramelised figs with Oscietra Caviar
Watermelon with black squid in and almonds
Parmesan bisquit with balsamic vinegar and Asian spices

One thing I love about dining at such restaurants is that they always try to surprise you with some small canapes to kickstart the meal. You never know what you will be served but usually the items are pretty good and the chef has the flexibility to be creative with the ingredients he has on hand. My favourite here was the figs with caviar, a sweet and salty combination that I’ve never tried before.

Gaia Ristorante -  Variazione cruda di gamberi (1)

Variazione cruda di gamberi – Raw red Sicilian prawn: warm ricotta cheese, oregano and Raw blue Caledonian prawn: peach, salt caramel

At Japanese restaurants, I do not flinch when being served Amaebi, aka raw sweet shrimp. And in fact, I am not one to shy away from raw foods, I love raw meats! I’m not exactly sure why I did a double take, save for the fact that the blue Caledonian prawn looked like a raw tiger prawn, and tiger prawns are not commonly served raw. But the fact is that the red Sicilian prawn as equally as raw, and once I saw that fact, there was no stopping me from diving into this dish.

If you have the opportunity, I really would recommend ordering this dish. This is where you can taste fresh prawns at their finest. They were so succulent and sweet that I feel as if I’ll never look at prawns the same way again. This is where you can savour the true texture of prawns that have not been marinaded in alkaline water (like in many chinese restaurants). They are firm but yielding with each bite.

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