Posts Tagged ‘Risotto’

Zafferano – Amazing Burrata, Amazing Steak

*Media Invite*

I’ve been wanting to visit Zafferano for the longest time since they opened at the top of Ocean Financial Tower. Booked it once for Restaurant Week to go with my BFF, but for some reason we were too busy and couldn’t make it in the end. It’s been on my radar ever since so I was really happy to receive an invitation from Zafferano to try out some dishes on their menu.

02 - Main dining area 1

It was a pity I couldn’t arrive before it got dark, because the place is breath-taking! The night views are still awesome, but I wish I could have a look to see what it looks like during the daytime. Judging from these photos provided by Zafferano, it must have been wonderful.

07 - Wine Room

We had our lovely dinner tasting inside the private Wine Room. As you can see, it is glass walled for the most part, with the wine bottles acting like the decor. Tastefully done I must say. I’m always on the look out for the best private rooms in Restaurants so that I can give my father good suggestions for his next company / client dinner. One thing’s for sure, the room is very well enclosed such that when the doors are shut, you can hardly hear the bustle of the restaurant.

Zafferano - Burrata pomodorini datterini e basilico (Premium burrata with tomatoes and basil $20 (2)

Burrata pomodorini datterini e basilico (v)
Premium burrata with datterini tomatoes and basil $20

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Food For Thought

A reader mentioned that Food for Thought serves up one of the cheapest breakfasts in town so of course I had to go check it out. For the record, I still think that Epicurious serves the the most value for money breakfast, but yeah, the queues can be frustratingly long on weekends.

There was not a soul when I went to Food for Thought on a Tuesday morning, although a few months back, it was jammed packed on a Saturday, which resulted in me having to dine somewhere else. I like the spacious feel of the place, and the glass walls which let lots of light in. They have a little corner with some stationery stuff for sale.

Food For  Thought (3)

Food For  Thought - Customised Breakfast

There are a few breakfasts to choose from, but basically you can customise whatever you want by choosing a basic set first and then adding on items, or simply customising from scratch. Do spend some time deciding on the best combination because sometimes it’s better to customise from scratch and some times it’s better to start with the basic set! Yours truly spent 10 minutes calculating the various permutations, mainly also because I was flexible with some of the dishes, which resulted in more permutations of course to get the best value for money breakfast!

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The Halia Restaurant at the Botanic Gardens

*Media Invite*

I was seriously elated when I received an invitation to try out The Halia Restaurant, a beautiful restaurant nestled in the heart of the Botanic Gardens. There is something magical and mystical about dining amidst lush greenery.

Up until then, I’d never dined at Halia before, but for those of you who have, The Halia Restaurant has rejuvenated itself with a new look, menu and culinary team since October 2011. Chef Reynaldo Arriola helms the kitchen now. “Halia” is a Malay word for ginger and the restaurant is aptly named so because it is smack in the middle of the Ginger Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The restaurant now boasts a new show kitchen with counter seats, which I think is pretty rare for a Western restaurant.

It can be a tad inconvenient to get to The Halia Restaurant as it’s almost in the middle of the Botanic Gardens, but it helps that there is now a Botanic Gardens MRT station, which means it is only about a 10 – 15 minute walk after you get out of the station.

Ms Karen Wee of FoodNews hosted the dinner for 5 lucky diners, myself included.  Because there were so many of us, we were able to sample a great number of dishes. It’s almost incredible how we managed to finish all the food (there were hardly any leftovers!) and if you don’t believe me, you can count the number of dishes!! Between the 6 of us, we polished off 5 appetisers, 7 Mains and 3 desserts, with additional servings for some of the dishes too!

Most of the photos used are provided by The Halia Restaurant, as they have a professional photographer lah. My excuse is that it was dark when I took my pictures. 🙂

Halia - Ginger Jive - Ice blended fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey

Ginger Jive – Ice blended fresh ginger, fruit punch, orange & honey @ $12++ – We started off the evening with a refreshing Ginger Jive drink. Refreshing it was indeed especially after an arduous day at work. Love it that it’s all healthy ingredients that is used! Preps you for any “unhealthy” things you might eat next… The ginger leaves a nice warm buzz in the chest too.

APPETISERS

Halia - Half dozen Sydney Rock Oysters (2)

Half dozen Sydney Rock Oysters @ $35++ – Oysters done in 3 different ways. I used to think that I only like my oysters fresh shucked and unadulterated, ie just with some lemon juice, and maybe some tabasco sauce if I’m in the mood. However, the tempura & ponzu oysters on the right were fantastic. The tempura was light and crispy, and the oyster just ever so lightly cooked such that it was still flavourful and succulent. The sauteed baby spinach with Pernod deglaze, nutmeg & parmesan gratin oysters on the left were also very good.

Halia Appetiser - Jamon Iberico Bellota, baked Yuzu walnut & olive oil

Next up Jamon Iberico Bellota, baked yuzu walnut and olive oil @ $30++. When this dish arrived, I tell you, there was an audible collective whoop of joy from all at the table. Just looking at the dish itself was a treat to the eyes. Jamón ibérico is a type of ham from Spain. It is very expensive, very delicious and not widely available outside of Spain. Each slice of this salty and fatty savoury goodness will send your tongue into the high heavens.

Halia Appetizer - Tian of vine ripened tomato, pine nut, guacamole & mango salsa

 Tian of vine ripened tomato, pine nut, guacamole, mango salsa, shiso and braised courgette @ $28++ – After the saltiness of the Jamón ibérico, it was nice to enjoy this vegetarian appetiser. Love the sweet mango salsa while the pine nuts gave the dish a good crunch.

Halia Appetizer - Foie Gras Salad

Salad leaves, ginger-infused foie gras, balsamic deglaze, green apple, fresh fig and piment flakes @ $29++ – The salad leaves were lost to me as my focus was only on the foie gras. The nicely seared outer skin gave way to a melt in the mouth fatty richness of foie. I don’t think I need to say much about foie gras, except to say that it was simply fantastic.

Halia - Tempura of white prawn, salad leaves with light lemon vinaigrette, baby shiso, beetroot and celeriac reduction

Tempura of white prawn, salad leaves with light lemon vinaigrette, baby shiso, beetroot and celeriac reduction @ $28++ – The 5th appetiser of the night, tempura of white prawn. The prawn was succulent and juicy under the tempura batter. Not that this wasn’t nice, but for just $2 extra, I’d highly recommend that you go for the Jamón ibérico.

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Oomphaticos at Tanglin Mall

Finally managed to make it to Oomphaticos after knowing of its existence for several years!!! From the minute I first saw it, I just knew that I would have to dine here some day. The decor is so quirky and inviting! I don’t believe I’ve seen a restaurant like that before! And don’t even get me started on the name, who on earth thought of this name?

We chose to sit “outside” on the Sunday afternoon we were here. It’s a passageway between Tanglin Mall and Traders Hotel, so you’re still shaded from While it’s not air-conditioned, you are still shaded from the sun. The area is so breezy, probably from the wind tunnel effect.

Oomphaticos Al-Fresco Seating

Mushroom Risoto (2) Mushroom Risoto

Oomphaticos - Fish & Chips (2)

Oomphaticos - Fish & Chips

Oomphaticos - Cod Fish (2)

Oomphaticos - Cod Fish

Oomphaticos - Sausage Risotto

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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!

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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/

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