Checking out ESORA

Finally checked out ESORA after hearing about the reviews for a while now. Well, to be honest, I could have gone for dinner there in Sept last year for my birthday but due to a ‘hiccup’, we ended back at Odette. I’m not complaining for like I’ve said, we are creatures of habit. 🙂

Located along Mohamed Sultan Road, ESORA promises to take diners on a modern Japanese dining experience. Helmed by Chef Shigeru Koizumi whose culinary experience includes that of working at Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo and Odette in Singapore, it is interesting to see how these places have influenced the way he creates food in the kitchen.

An amuse-bouche of Monaka wafers, traditionally a red bean dessert, is given a different twist as a starter and it is packed with seasonal premium ingredients along with kaffir lime zest delighting the palette in anticipation of what other goodies that are to come.

Soramame – Kagoshima uni, Hamaguri, Peas

Fried Abalone – Tottori cucumber, Coriander

ESORA Sashimi Selection

Grilled Kinmedai – Shizuoka nanohana, takenoko, fukinotou

Omi Wagyu – Okaki farm in Shiga, burdock, nobiru, chirizu

Matsuba Crab Donabe and Miso Soup

Cherry Tomatoes Jello – Palette Cleanser

I particularly thought this candied apple palette cleanser was very beautifully created. Resembling like an apple, the inside was an apple sorbet encapsulated with a candied exterior. The butterfly that was on top of apple was a cut-out using the apple as well. An outstanding dish!

The whole dining experience at ESORA was very memorable indeed. Each course was steeped in Japanese flavour but gives a different perspective in terms of using various ingredients to bring out the core Japanese ingredients and I’ll have to add that the plating takes on a bolder approach from traditional Japanese plating.

Zén – Singapore

Our date night adventure saw us departing from our fave restaurant to check out Restaurant Zen run by chef-restaurateur Bjorn Frantzen. The 24-seat restaurant will serve tasting menus only, priced at $450 for nine courses plus snacks (apparently the priciest in Singapore) and the food is chef Frantzen’s interpretation of Nordic, French and Japanese cuisine – his take on kaiseki dining.

Perhaps being somewhat new to the dining scene in Singapore and with the high price-tag per diner, reservations were not particularly too difficult to score when we headed down in January. The Man booked us in sometime in December 2018 and Zen only opened its doors in Singapore around November.

I’ll have to admit that doing research on the restaurant and checking out a couple of reviews before heading there, the stakes/ expectations were high.

As the restaurant took over the premises of Andre which was formerly a 3-storey shop-house, diners are expected to be moving through the different floors throughout dinner. So for starters, we had them on the first floor where we also saw the open kitchen and watched how the chefs prepped our meals using the freshest ingredients on-hand that were proudly displayed for the evening.

Our starters were all prettily plated with different servers coming to us to explain the philosophy and the inspiration behind each dish. In fact, throughout the meal, there was a lot of attention paid to explaining the concept behind each dish.

There were elements to some of the dishes which both the Man and I enjoyed very much but for some dishes, we thought it could have been done better.

Lighting was also not the very best so the photos taken in the dim light didn’t do much justice to the dishes. But one thing that served my memory well is that we walked away with a lot of rich flavours left lingering in our palette. Some of the ingredients complemented one another but sadly, there were more that didn’t.

Perhaps it’s also the teething phase that some new restaurants go through when they open their doors in Singapore or perhaps we have been spoiled by oh-too-familiar flavours by our fave chefs. One thing we do know is that we won’t be visiting Zen again too soon and perhaps let some time pass before we head back again to try out the meal.

 

Waa-Cow

One of the things that I really enjoy doing is eating and sussing out new food places as well as revisiting old ones. Yes, Odette remains as one of our fave restaurants.

A business associate introduced Waa-Cow to me a couple of months back and I’ve been back to the little eatery a few times thereafter. The lunch deals are a little pricer than what you might want to part with for lunch but it is nice to indulge in a treat occasionally.

One of my fave dishes to order off the menu is this Aburi Wagyu Beef Slices topped with mentaiko and served along with an onsen egg plus ebiko roe. The whole dish is very umami (delicious) and I usually go for the mini version rather than the normal size for it fills me up nicely for lunch and leaves me enough room for a small dessert.

We heart our burgers!

We love our steaks and our burgers so one day, the Man ‘chio’ (asked) me out for lunch on a work-day. Apparently, Burger Joint New York has made its way to our little island and he had wanted to check it out.

img_0599Burger Joint brought back memories of our trip to New York 3 years ago when we first learned that we were pregnant. I felt sick most of the trip with the dreaded morning sickness that plagued most women generally. All I wanted was sinful fries and chips that made me very happy.

This time round, we don’t have to worry about the morning sickness but more of the lunch crowd in general. Located at 115 Amoy Street, the entrance is actually at the back of the restaurant along Gemmill Lane.

The Man ordered the Cheeseburger for me while he went for the Bacon Cheeseburger. We shared a fries and a bottle of sparkling water. The bill came up to nearly $50 if my memory doesn’t fail me. Rather expensive for a simple burger lunch with no additional frills thrown in. Compared with other burger joints, the experience was underwhelming.

img_4912Next, the Man brought me to try the beefburger from The Butchers Club. This was a recent discovery which he went with another friend and he thought the burgers were by far one of the better ones that he has eaten in Singapore as the beef patty is made with aged-dried beef which apparently means less fat in the burger. So expect one really meaty burger that’s protein-packed.

My burger turned out to to be a whopping tower of beef patty adorned with cheese, pulled pork, crispy bacon and onions as a garnish. The Man, feeling famished, went for the double beef patty which was really huge and that suited his raging appetite. As for sides, definitely get the Duck Fat Fries which is good to be shared among 2 people. Trust me, you will want to do that for the burgers served here are rather huge and at some point, I was struggling a little. The cajun fries, on the other hand, I would say give it a miss.

That’s all I have on burgers today. If you have a fab burger place that you love sinking your teeth into, do share this with me. 🙂

 

Checking out: Stamping Ground Coffee

There’s a new cafe that recently opened up in the hood. So one Sunday morning, we trooped in early and bright for some brunch before the crowds descended.

Stamping Ground Coffee used to be located at Club Street and was THE hole in the wall cafe best known for its cold brews (according to this article by Silver Kris magazine). They recently moved to a bigger location along Upper East Coast Road and stepping inside the cafe that has a florist featured alongside felt extremely inviting and peaceful. Perfect start to signal a lazy Sunday morning.

The Man is now a frequent patron of Stamping Ground Coffee (usually starting his mornings with a latte and a croissant) after dropping the Bub at school and me at work. So I basically left it to him to do the ordering.

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Verdict on the coffee? Well, it packs a punch. I’m not connoisseur but I doubt it went very wrong as the beans used are from Papa Palheta’s. Quality assured for sure. The Man tried the Cold Brew with Coconut Water and he said it was refreshing. Separately, I tried it myself too but with Almond Milk. I thought it wasn’t too bad but after the drink settled down in my tummy, it didn’t quite agree with it. Maybe it was just me.

Love this accidental shot that I captured of the Man attempting to read the important news of the week in FT to Bubba. I guess she humoured him which made him very happy. Little girls will always have a special place in their Daddy’s hearts I guess.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had the Mushroom Toast which as you can tell didn’t wait for any pictures to be taken. It was very cheesy with slices of mushrooms hidden underneath. The Man claimed this entire dish to be his which was fine by me for I rather tuck in the other sandwich.

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This to me was far much better! Half boiled egg over cheese and bacon jam which was super delicious by the way. I obviously didn’t really want to share any with the Man nor the kid. She was far more interested in her snacks.

Looking forward to coming back to Stamping Ground Coffee again. It’s already a fave hangout of the Man and I’m just dying to try the Spam Cubes which is only available on Friday and Saturday evenings.

 

Checking out: May May

IMG_6448 Upon a friend’s recommendation after drooling on the pic that she posted on IG, we decided to check out May May one Sunday afternoon post massage. A quick check online and found that they closed at 5pm on Sundays. Great for us as we finish our massage at about 230pm and usually have a problem trying to find lunch places (off the slightly beaten track) that’s still opened around that time.

IMG_6447Best part? We were the only diners in the restaurant given that we walked in at about 3pm. In fact, I was worried that they may just turn us away but thankfully, they didn’t. The Man was famished and didn’t want to share, so we each ended up having a main along with a side.

IMG_6449The Homemade Tofu which reminded me of a deconstructed Pitan Tofu dish. The Man compared it to an escalated version of tofu panna cotta. I quite like the taste and the texture.

IMG_6450For our mains, the Man went with this butter poached miso cod rice bowl complete with sprouts, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, egg, wakame and lotus root slices. He took a bite and proclaimed that I would like it better than he did, this usually means that the dish either is tangy or is heavy-handed for the vinegar. I can’t quite recall to be honest.

IMG_6452I was more than happy with my selection of the chilled Somen with toasted seaweed, ebiko roe and prawns. Taste-wise, I really do enjoy it. Feels quite simple to replicate this dish at home too, probably need to toss the somen in some chilli oil and then chill it. Throw in the rest of the condiments and we are pretty much set. The prawns look rather sad in this dish so I think you could leave it out.

IMG_6453Close-up of the stunning and winning dish that I think you should definitely order if you visit the place.

IMG_6454Also, we felt really quite greedy, so we decided to order the salted egg custard donut. I was half-expecting a donut but instead we were served with three donuts. I was stuffed so we shared one and packed the rest home. Felt that it was a tad bit too sweet for my liking and I would have prefered to save my calories instead of splashing them on this.

May May offer both lunch and dinner which we are thinking of heading down to try out soon.

May May
Address: 65 Tras Street, Singapore 079004
Telephone: 6221 4698
Opening hours: Mon – Sat (11am to 11pm), Sun (11am to 5pm)

Checking out: Odette

IMG_5356Doesn’t seem too recent now but a couple of weeks back, we were invited to Chef Julien’s opening of his restaurant – Odette – now situated at the National Gallery. Everything smelled very new and stepping into Odette reminded me vaguely of the restaurants in New  York – inviting tall ceilings with white drapes over the floor-to-wall glass windows.

IMG_5359We were given one of the best tables in the restaurant with an amazing view of the chef and his team-members in action with a full-on view of the kitchen. Made for an interesting table conversation if we ever ran out of topics as we saw what really went on behind the scenes. I remembered my first experience at Jaan where we were given a table near the kitchen and I could hear Chef Julien giving orders to his team from outside. You won’t get any of such hair-raising action here at Odette, thanks to the thick glass automated doors that actually block out the noise.

IMG_5361A couple of Chef Julien’s signature dishes in Jaan made a comeback here and one shouldn’t be surprised actually. At first sight, I could immediately tell that these were Chef’s creations, nothing mind-blowingly new, but culinary creations that we were used to. Perhaps just different use of ingredients presented on different tableware. IMG_5362 IMG_5365IMG_5372If you are not a fan of beet-root, this Beetroot Medley with a interesting take on different textures of beetroot will make you a fan.

IMG_5382 IMG_5395The Chef remembers that we love our truffles very much! The first batch of black truffles had just arrived, so we got treated to some of those over our cod-fish.

IMG_5399As always, the pigeon always cooked very well under the Chef’s masterful hands so this ain’t no different. The meat juicy and tender at each bite.

IMG_5390 IMG_5403A highlight of our meal is a private tour into the kitchen where we witnessed what really went on behind the scenes. This time round, bring on the heat and the pots/ pans clinking at the background for full-on effect noise as we sat on a proper table and enjoyed our refreshing Lime and Basil Sorbet palette cleanser.

IMG_5408We definitely missed Chef Julien’s cooking when he took a break to start up Odette but couldn’t be more thrilled with his new restaurant and to savour his cooking again. We definitely will be back! 🙂

Odette
1 St. Andrew’s Road #01-04 National Gallery Museum Singapore, Singapore 178957 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 6385 0498
Reservation Hours: Lunch 12pm – 1:45pm, Dinner, 6pm – 9:45pm