24 March, 2010

The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay

Buffet, the bane of my life – however, rather than focusing on the down side of it, HFB shall look on the brighter side of life offered by the buffet spread of The Square @ Novotel Clarke Quay.

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (10)

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (11)

A good range of Antipastos, (or “before the meal”, the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal) offered by the restaurant were a delightful welcome – at a quick glance, there were at least seven to eight different varieties.

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (2)

It helped that HFB’s favourite Parma Ham with Rock Melon was on the house and that along with some Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables.

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay

Tempting selections of bite-size appetisers were also on the offering, and eventually HFB succumbed to the Foie Gras Terrine on Toast – which he thought was pretty buttery in a good way, although the bread was slightly lacklustre (probably due to it being exposed for some time).

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (3)

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (4)

Eventually he moved on to the hot food and surprisingly, the Crayfish with Spicy Sauce was a nice treat – meaty and firm, the spiciness of the gravy provides a subtle hint of flavour.

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (5)

Another round of ovation to the numerous medleys of ala-minute dishes made available to diners. How could HFB resist the enticement of freshly cooked Italian-styled Mussels cooked and dished out on the spot? Although HFB would preferred the mussels to be slightly bigger, he was charmed that Black Mussels were used instead of the poorer Green-lip cousins (frowned upon).

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (6)

However, the highlight of the night truly belonged to the Crab promotion that The Square is currently running – freshly fired only when ordered – this was another nice welcome compared to the many others that served theirs in bulk on the bain-marie. HFB was told that the mud crabs were from Indonesia and typical serving portion was half a crab for 2 pax. However, one can definitely order as many crabs as desired throughout the dinner (as long as you do not tabao home). Three styles were on the offering – Pepper, Chilli and Garlic. HFB hit the jackpot with the pepper crab – sauce was robust, with a nice aromatic and intense flavour from the black peppercorns. This was a very good rendition!

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (7)

HFB felt the Chilli Crab was a tad sweet for his liking – the Thai sweet chilli used was pretty evident, but he was pretty sure that many would argue otherwise. A side serving of Fried Mantou though, would be a nice pairing.

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (8)

To be honest, this was the first time HFB had tried his hands on garlic styled crab, and sadly it didn’t do enough to convince him - the gravy was too starchy and leaned towards the bland side.

The Square @ Novotel Clark Quay (9)

In general, there were many positives to be taken away from this buffet dinner and he was pleased that an establishment had taken an initiative to set themselves apart with some heartening improvements.

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Hoong An, Hungrygowhere and The Square Restaurant for their hospitality.

177A River Valley Road
#07-00, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay
Singapore 179031

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19 March, 2010

Announcing the Finalists of the World Gourmet Summit Awards of Excellence 2010

(*HFB's prediction highlighted in red)

Culinary Awards

S. Pellegrino Chef of the Year
  • Francois Mermilliod, Absinthe
  • Gunther Hubrechsen, Gunter’s
  • Roberto Galetti, Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar
Executive Chef of the Year presented by Tabasco
  • Brian Cleere, Grand Hyatt Singapore
  • Edward Voon
  • Frédéric Colin, The St Regis Singapore
  • Sam Leong, Tung Lok Group of Restaurants
  • Tony Khoo, Marina Mandarin Singapore
Meat & Livestock Australia Rising Chef of the Year
  • Jason Tan, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
  • Michael Han, FiftyThree
  • Ryan Clift, Tippling Club
  • Travis Masiero, Spruce
PCB Pastry Chef of the Year
  • Amy Ng, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore
  • Kenny Kong, Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore
  • Pang Kok Keong, Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie
Asian Cuisine Chef of the Year presented by Foodservice Consultants Singapore
  • Chan Chen Hei, Chef Chan’s Restaurant
  • Milind Sovani, The Song of India
  • Yong Bing Ngen, Majestic Restaurant, New Majestic Hotel
Restaurant Awards

Luzerne Asian Restaurant of the Year
  • Inagiku, Fairmont Singapore
  • Majestic Restaurant, New Majestic Hotel
  • The Song of India
Indoguna Restaurant of the Year
  • Au Petit Salut
  • Iggy’s
  • Jaan par André, Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore
  • OSO Ristorante
Nespresso New Restaurant of the Year
  • Nicolas Le Restaurant
  • Tippling Club
  • The White Rabbit
HEPP Food & Beverage Manager of the Year
  • Lawrence Yeo, Park Hotel Group
  • Melinde Lim, Conrad Centennial Singapore
  • Noel Emmanuel, Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Citibank Restaurant Manager of the Year
  • Paolo Colzani, Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar
  • Philippe Pau, Absinthe
  • Timothy Goh, Les Amis
Top Wines Sommelier of the Year
  • Elodie Jaglin, Indoguna Singapore Pte Ltd
  • Timothy Goh, Les Amis
  • Rachel Aw, La Strada
Sico Asia Banquet Manager of the Year
  • Goo Yueh Loong, One Degree 15 Marina Club
  • Jaswant Singh, Resorts World Sentosa Singapore
  • Razif Shaharudin, Raffles Hotel Singapore
  • Ricky Ng, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Grey Goose Bar of the Year
  • Morton’s Bar
  • New Asia Bar, Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore
  • Privé Waterfront Bar
  • Tippling Club
Georges Duboeuf Old World Wine List of the Year
  • Au Jardin
  • Les Amis
  • Le Saint Julien
  • Raffles Grill, Raffles Hotel Singapore
Regional Awards

Manitowoc Restaurateur of the Year
  • Bien Nguyen, Xu Restaurant and Lounge, Vietnam
  • Chris Salans, Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique, Indonesia
  • David Yeo, Aqua Restaurant Group, Hong Kong
  • Desmond Lim, Les Amis Group, Singapore
  • Joël Robuchon, Robuchon à Galera, Macau
  • Roberto Galetti, Garibaldi Group of Restaurants, Singapore
Asian Cuisine Chef of the Year presented by Cuisine and Wine Asia
  • Bien Nguyen, Xu Restaurant and Lounge, Vietnam
  • Chan Chen Hei, Chef Chan’s Restaurant, Singapore
  • Chan Yan Tak, Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
  • Heinz Von Holzen, Bumbu Bali, Indonesia
  • Sam Leong, Tung Lok Group of Restaurants, Singapore
  • Vichit Mukura, Sala Rim Naam, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
  • Yong Bing Ngen, Majestic Restaurant, New Majestic Hotel, Singapore
Vismark Asian Restaurant of the Year
  • Inagiku, Fairmont Singapore, Singapore
  • La Verticale, Vietnam
  • Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
  • Mei Jiang, The Peninsula, Bangkok
  • My Humble House, Tung Lok Group of Restaurants, Singapore
  • Sala Rim Naam, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
  • Xu Restaurant and Lounge, Vietnam

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18 March, 2010

Taste Down Under VIII - Horoki Casual Dining Bar, Liverpool Street, Melbourne

The wonderful thing about staying in Little Burke Street was the many secreted gems hidden away in the lanes – and HFB was pleased he ventured and discovered a handful of them. And it was in one of the many adventures that he discovered Horoki Casual Dining/Bar situated at Liverpool Street.


A distinctive and funky space in which to dine, their menu was similarly eclectic and inventive, with Japanese flavours predominating, but sometimes quirkily teaming with other diverse influences. We ploughed ourselves at the counter seats where we managed to catch the chef in action.

Horoki (2)

For a start, we had the Daikon Salad with Sashimi ($14.50) which basically consisted of a Japanese style salad dotted with cuts of sashimi topped with a light Sesame and Soy Dressing plus a dash of Ebiko.

Horoki (4)

Refreshing, Refreshing, Refreshing – crisp daikon and fresh sashimi makes this dish a perfect appetiser!

Horoki (3)

To raise the bar further, we ordered one of the special of the day – Crispy Barramundi with Ponzu and Grated Daikon ($13.00). Nicely presented with an appealing look, somehow the sweet-sour nature of the ponzu harmonised adequately with the savoury of the crisp fish. The adding of grated radish also gave it addition texture. Pretty brilliant HFB must say.

Horoki (5)

What else can one possibly used the ceramic escargot dish for? Well, Horoki used it for their Roasted Octopus with Garlic Butter ($13.80). Served sizzled with garlic butter sauce, the dish also came coupled with fresh bread. Although one would never go wrong with a garlic butter combination, HFB never really like Octopus (due to their chewiness and tastelessness), and this dish hadn’t do enough to change that opinion.

Horoki (6)

The Diced Scotch Fillet Steak and Potato ($15.00) served with Onion and Wasabi Sauce was just simply a comfort dish that HFB enjoyed. Done to a perfect medium-rare, the wasabi sauce gave it a tiny Japanese twist to the usual boring rendition of hot English mustard.

Horoki (7)

We took a peek at the next table and caught a very nice looking dessert – Crème Brulee ($7.00), and couldn’t resist but ordered it. Nicely caramelised crust with a smooth light cream within, this was a pretty darn fine interpretation.

Horoki (8)

Overall, Horoki was a pleasurable find that provided HFB a pleasant dining experience.

Food: 4/5 (Food was inventive and unique in some dishes)
Service: 4/5 (Japanese service staffs were attentive)
Ambience: 4/5 (Modern, casual bar-like chill out place. Love it!)
Price: 3.5/5 ($63.30 for two is reasonable)
Total: 15.5/20
19 Liverpool Street,
Melbourne 3000, Australia

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