25 July, 2011

The Dining Room at Tanjong Beach Club

Located in tranquil part of Sentosa and the only dining establishment on the island’s most charming beach, Tanjong Beach Club is a sexy combination of restaurant, bar, and the ultimate getaway from our frenzied city.

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Collaboration between The Lo & Behold Group and two Australian brothers who share a love for the beach, Tanjong Beach Club is the latest addition to The Lo & Behold Group’s of dining and entertainment concept.

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Positioned as a modern seafood restaurant, with dishes prepared using European culinary technique with Asian influence, Tanjong Beach Club offers a brand new take on coastal dining. Helmed by Executive Chef Craig Schantz, with experience in New York City’s famed Momofuku and Oceana, the tasting session was kick-started with a glass of Tanjong Martini ($16.00), a house cocktail that consisted of Vodka married with Lemongrass syrup, shaken with Lychee and Apple Juice and served chilled with freshly cut Lemongrass. HFB could feel the kick of the vodka coupled with a pleasant sweetness and a subtle lemongrass aftertaste that gave the cocktail a light refreshing finishing. The view of the white sandy beach, the babes in the bikini and a cocktail at hand – Life is good eh?

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Amuse-bouche for the evening was Oyster Mushroom with Remoulade sauce, a mayo-based condiment. Mushroom was cooked with a nice bite, but otherwise nothing to shout about really.

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Their most talked-about (or contentious, depending on how one sees it) dish in the restaurant – Salt-cured Foie Gras ($27.00) served with Toasted Brioche, Kaya and Home-made Jam. It was said Chef Craig gotten his inspiration from our very humble kaya toast which he sampled. He thought locals loved it, and the flavour profile of the kaya would go well with foie gras – sweet and savoury pairing, so why not? More like a Pâté or spread for the toast, HFB thought the foie gras and kaya was really good on its own, but when paired, the kaya was slightly over-powering in flavour and taste and stole the thunder from the more luminary neighbour. HFB had to add that the home-made jam went really well with the foie gras on toast though!

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The Bean Salad ($19.00), compiled using Market Beans, Cucumber, Fennel, Cherry Tomatoes, Candied Walnuts with Tofu Vinaigrette was a joy to chomp through! What HFB really loved about it was the crunchy texture of the veggies and munches of the walnuts. HFB can’t really taste much of the tofu in the vinaigrette though.

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The trio of Seared Bay Scallops ($21.00) came coupled with Cauliflower and Carrot-Black Cardamom Vinaigrette. The scallops were seared perfectly – crusty on the outside, tender on the inside, but otherwise the WOW factor was wanting, with no fault of theirs - there’s only that much one can expect from a seared scallop dish, no?

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One of the dishes that HFB was looking forward to was Warm Octopus Salad ($19.00), that was assembled with Rocket, Fennel, Radish, Cherry Tomato, Smoked Paprika and Garlic Vinaigrette. It was a pleasure to behold as the tentacle of the octopus stood out immediately from the plate that was presented. Half expecting the octopus tentacle to be slight chewy – which was a texture that HFB preferred, he was vaguely surprised that the texture leaned towards – for a lack thereof a better word – limp. HFB is half guessing that the tentacles were treated with a tenderiser or acid i.e. lemon juice to soften the texture, but do not quote him, he might be wrong.

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HFB needs to emphasis that he is hardly a fish lover when he dines in a restaurant (less sashimi of course), but he was soon turning into a convert when he dig into the Red Snapper Fillet ($29.00) prepared with Prawns, Clams, Buerre Blanc and Chilli. This was definitely the stellar dish of the evening. Sauce aside, the red snapper was pan seared flawlessly and the fish was really melt-in-your-mouth tender and seasoned flavourfully. Coupled with a ball of deep-fried potatoes strands, it provided an additional texture that was otherwise lacking in the dish. This was one dish HFB would highly recommend. Bravo!

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Accompanied with the best, came the bane of the evening – the Spicy Crab Spaghetti ($32.00), with Fennel, Espelette, Garlic, White Wine and Caviar. Ok, where should HFB begin? The pasta wasn’t close to al dente, and HFB couldn’t really taste the sweetness of the crab meat – his bet was that most of the natural goodness was retained in the white wine sauce that was really soaking the noodles for its own good – a real pity really, considering the huge chunk of caviar sitting atop the noodles.

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HFB was pondering between the USDA Prime New York Strip Steak and the Roasted Spring Chicken Breast, but the latter was chosen and it was a decision that he didn’t regret one bit. At $28.00, it came served with Lo & Behold’s signature Black Truffle Mac & Cheese, along with a Broccoli Puree. A dish that needed well-crafted technique of de-skinning the chicken perfectly (no breakage or tear on the skin or the doneness of the chicken breast will be compromised) followed by wrapping the chicken breast within to form a roulade, the skin was perfectly roasted till crisp and the chicken breast was cooked to a nice pink tender. An excellent dish that’s definitely worth its price!

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The Chocolate Ganache Tart ($16.00) was a really rich dessert! Married with Salted Candied Hazelnuts (which were really yummy btw!), Butterscotch Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, HFB felt the tart was a lil too heavy for a dessert as it left a slight bitter aftertaste of the cocoa.

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However if you are a chocolate lover, this dessert would definitely woo you.

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HFB took to the Tea and Honey Parfait ($14.00) much better. Made with Earl Grey Crémeux, Honey Ice Cream, House-made Honeycomb, Chocolate Crisp, HFB really enjoyed the honeycomb that went really well with the cream. The light tea aftertaste was a perfect palate cleanser after a nice heavy meal! HFB was impressed with this sweet!

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Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Cheryl and The Lo & Behold Group for their hospitality.

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18 July, 2011

Ultimate Ramen Championship 2011, Iluma @ Bugis

Calling all Ramen Fanatics! This piece of news will be dream come true for you. In following all major cities in Japan, Komars Group has brought 6 of the best Ramen restaurants from Japan to compete in the year-long Ultimate Ramen Champion 2011 Singapore.

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From July 2011, each of them will have a stall in Iluma @ Bugis where they will sell their signature Ramens for one year. Judging criteria include sales takings and vote counts via SMS, Facebook and onsite voting. The crowed champion will be invited to set-up a restaurant here in Singapore by Q3, 2012.

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Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Taishoken is one of the most famous ramen shops in Tokyo. Founder Kazuo Yamagishi is the originator of Tsukemen, or dry ramen with dipping broth. HFB sampled the Mori Soba with the broth consisting of pork, chicken, anchovies, and special ingredient – sweet vinegar! The broth was boiled for more than 6 hrs and reduced, resulting to a thick and sweet dip. HFB found it slightly interesting but did found their Chashu a tad salty.

Ultimate Ramen Championship 2011

A champion ramen chain in Toyama city, one of Iroha’s signature ramen is that of the Toyama Black Ramen. Pitched black almost like tar light and mellow in flavour, the secret lies in the black soybean that imparts a slightly nutty finish. Boiled for 8 to 10 hours, the broth sautéed with sesame seed oil brings out the light aromatics of sesame seed. This is one of HFB’s favourite ramen in terms of the soup broth.

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Gantetsu is the winner of ramen champion in Sapporo, city of ramen, for 3 consecutive years. Light and flavourful, Gantetsu Special Miso Ramen emphasises on natural sweetness of the ingredients. And their secret ingredient – Ginger paste, an ideal choice for the cold weather in Hokkaido. HFB thought the ginger paste makes a HUGE difference in the really light broth. Remarkable!

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What made Bario stood out from the rest of the ramen stalls was their portion size – Bario Ramen has a generous serve of vegetables, meat and noodles. Also, only Futomen, or thick ramen was used. Little wonder that Bario means “big, strong man” in Japanese. Their broth has a spicy aroma and sweet garlic taste, which tasted familiarly close to Lor Mee that we are recognisable with, but the garlic really upped the flavour of the broth by few notches. Besides, HFB really loved the thick slices of Chashu that Bario offered. It was an overall close victory over Iroha!

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One of the most celebrated ramen restaurants of Fukuoka in Hakata, Ikkousha’s version of Hakata Ajitama Ramen comes with a salty pork broth, with added black fungus and spring onion for added aroma. What HFB liked about them was their firm noodles that were thinner than the rest of the ramen stalls.

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Rated as one of the best Tsukemen by Tokyo Times, Tetsu Paitan Tsukemen takes a laborious 15 hours to prepare the broth. Their famed ramen has sweetness of bonita in the chicken and pork stock which gives the reduced sauce a really flavourful finishing.

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Customers can also request for the hot stone spectacle once done with the dipping sauce, which they would add some water and a REALLY HOT stone for you to savour the rest of the sauce as broth.

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Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Komars Group for their hospitality.

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14 July, 2011

Brasserie Wolf @ The Pier at Robertson

Brasserie Wolf, a casual French bistro located by the Singapore River at The Pier at Robertson, has been re-launched with new interiors and a brand new menu. And with it comes a new Head Chef at helm - Chef Claudio Sandri.

Brasserie Wolf
Photo credit to Brasserie Wolf

Truth to be told, HFB frequents that area fairly regularly and Brasserie Wolf has always been one of those places that he passed by repeatedly and secretly wished he was dining inside. And with its new furbishing, it piqued his curiosity even more. So pardon him that he jumped at the opportunity when he was contacted by Ate Consulting to do a media tasting.

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A bread basket was presented to him and already he was sold! You see, Beurre Echire was served along with the bread and HFB knows the butter is quite the premium brand (stepped aside Président!). Ok, he wasn't gonna deny that he enjoyed the butter more than the bread. Yums.

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The rustic looking Traditional French Onion Soup, an old favourite among its fan, came with the delightfully rich Comte Cheese. This was definitely one of the better versions HFB had tasted. The soup was really flavourful, yet light on the aftertaste. And along with the Toast and the cheese, it was a flawless harmony. HFB totally enjoyed it.

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Having scanned quickly the menu prior, HFB was looking forward to the Fresh Artichoke Heart with Salmon Mousse & Poached Egg the most, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The combination might seem strange initially, but extraordinarily, the salty salmon mousse and smoked salmon complemented the tang of the artichoke heart, while the runny egg yolk of the poached egg lent a velvety richness to the vinaigrette. This was really one great appetiser that helped open HFB’s palate for the rest of the meal.

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With no fault of the Crab Claw Salad with Honey Dressing & Croutons, HFB just didn’t take to it. Like he mentioned, the dish did no wrong, it fact it was pretty fine – just that the previous appetisers stole away its glow.

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For mains, HFB started with the Pan Seared Barramundi Fillet with Asparagus, Onion, Jalapeno Salsa & Heirloom Tomatoes. The doneness for the fish was excellent executed with its crisp exterior, but despite HFB being a fan of barramundi, he is just not a fan of jalapeno-watever - sorry about it!

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Speaking of which, the Traditional Beef Bourguignon – served with bacon, mushroom, baby onions and carrots – was smashingly delightful! Robust with flavours and fork-tender, this was the heartiest dish among all and HFB can indulge in it anytime of the day.

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Brasserie Wolf is one out of a handful of food establishments that uses the Josper Charcoal Oven – and with it, enhanced the char-induced flavour profile of the foods being cooked – and the Whole Roasted Spatchcock Chicken is one of them. The aroma and taste is so awesome, unlike any run of the mill grill food that’s out there. You got to try it to believe it!

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One of French signature traditional desserts would be that of the Apple Tart Tartin, served with Vanilla Ice Cream. HFB sampled various versions, and one thing that always upset him is the over-caramelisation of the tart – which although Brasserie Wolf’s version wasn’t really evident due to the ice cream, there was still a slight hint of bitterness that HFB find objectionable.

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HFB loves Valronha chocolate and he definitely seeks enjoyment from pistachio – if only their Valronha Warm Pistachio Chocolate Cake was molten, that would be an icing on the cake!

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The Floating Island, Salted Caramel, as good as it looks, was a picturesque mess once the initial spoon out. The taste was really good, but HFB just did not like the visual.

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Thankfully, the Homemade Lemon Tart with Crème Fraiche did not disappoint. HFB believed there was a perfect harmony between the acidity and the sweetness of the tart. A perfect palate cleanser after a heavy meal and one with a stamp of approval from HFB, considering he is not a big fan of tangy dessert. Magnifique! HFB truly enjoyed this dessert.

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Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Brasserie Wolf and Sihui from Ate Consulting for their hospitality.

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13 July, 2011

Putien Refreshing Summer Menu @ Nex, Serangoon

Most of us would know that PuTien brand name has its roots traced in Putian, a beautiful coastal town in the Fuijian province of China. And all thanks to founder and CEO of PuTien , Mr Fong Chi Chung that one is able to appreciate the Heng Hwa cuisine – which is easy and clean on the palate as one can see from the dishes that were presented to HFB for PuTien’s Refreshing Summer Menu, that will be available from now till end August.

HFB was first introduced to the various ingredients of their summer dishes, but HFB was drawn to that of the various varieties of Yunnan wild fungus and mushrooms – including that of the Rooster Comb Mushroom in the foreground that was said to have the texture, and often the taste, of chicken.


Executive Sous Chef Li Gongba also invited HFB to the kitchen for a cooking demonstration of the Winter Melon with White Fungus and Mushroom.



A light and cooling dish, which is perfect for heaty summer weather, it tasted as good as it looked.


HFB really enjoyed this dish, and especially the mushrooms! The contrasting textures were very delightful.


At the same time, HFB was introduced to the Summer Quencher, a refreshing drink that was combined using Aloe Vera, Cherry Tomato and Plum. It was such a perfect summer thirst quencher that HFB had two servings!


Served as a cold dish, the Fresh Water Bamboo with Sesame is an extremely popular summer vegetable dish in China. Sadly, HFB didn’t quite take to the pairing of the sauce with the bamboo.


HFB was slightly amused when he was served Organic Momotaro Tomato during his course of tasting. He reckoned that it was more of Japanese ingredient, or used often than not in Western fine dining nowadays as a starter or palate cleanser. Having more accustomed to it having served with salt to accentuate the natural sweetness of the fruit, HFB didn’t quite appreciate PuTien’s version of dusting it with powdered sugar.


HFB is not a big fan of lotus root, but PuTien’s version of Stir-fried Lotus Root with Prawn certainly changed his mindset. The dish came served in a nice lotus leaf, and the lotus root was really crunchy. Its texture also provided a really nice contrast to the juicy prawns.


The Sauteed Sea Snails with Hua Diao Wine was such a delightful dish to savour. HFB was having fun sucking the snails and extracting its meat – steeped with the fragrance of the wine – from its very thin, almost brittle shell. A really flavourful dish HFB must say.


HFB was secretly anticipating this dish of Braised Luffa with Homemade Beancurd. He’s quite a sucker for homemade beancurd, and OMG he really loved the evident soy taste of PuTien’s beancurd. Paired it with the luffa and the silky sauce, and he can so imagined it going really well with rice!


It was the first time that HFB was served Bamboo Clams Baked in Sea Salt. Quite a dish to handle as one need to pry open the shell, removed the lip of the clams before enjoying it. It was surely interesting but HFB would rather prefer it stir-fried or steamed.


No trip to PuTien would be complete without sampling some of their signature dishes. And one of them is their Shredded Meat with Bun – a dish that consisted of really flavourful shredded meat enveloped between a crisp sesame bun. HFB bet he could easily wallop a few of these bunnies if he’s really hungry!


Do HFB need to say more of PuTien’s famous Fried “Hing Wa’ Bee Hoon? A trip to the restaurant without a serving of this dish is a wasted journey. Go figure!


HFB had Lychees as desserts and it usually peaks towards end of summer. Not the best that he has tasted but nevertheless still refreshing and tasty.


Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank PuTien and Ann for their hospitality.

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