30 April, 2012

Brotzeit @ Vivocity - Maifest, Come Celebrate the Arrival of Spring

The four seasons, summer, autumn, winter…. then spring. Although we are unable to celebrate the arrival of spring here in Singapore, but all thanks to Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant, we are able to commemorate one of the oldest traditions of Germany – Maifest, the celebration of spring. Come May, Brotzeit will be bringing you this joyful spirit of Maifest from 10 to 13 May 2012. And to go along with this authentic Bavarian feast, German folk band, Swiss Alpine Lions will also be performing exclusively at the VivoCity outlet for three consecutive nights – Friday to Sunday. And HFB was honoured to have an early celebration along with a few friends when he was invited to sample the Brotzeit Maifest Platter.

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Dinner commenced with the Crispy Chicken Salad that consisted of mixed salad with chicken fillet and potato salad, tossed with house dressing. HFB definitely enjoyed the potato salad that was balanced in flavours, but was a little disappointed with the chicken fillet that he felt was a little too thin and a tad dry considering that was the star ingredient of the dish.

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However, there was nothing a Sausage Platter couldn’t make up for – a mix selection of five types of sausages that came with Fries and Sauerkraut (which arrived with a nice touch of fried onions at the top), it was definitely a dish that that would satisfied anyone and everyone. For those who loved a little tingling aftertaste, the Spicy Chicken Sausages were sure to gratify your taste buds. And for those who loved cheese oozing out with every bite of the sausages would sure be pleased with the Pork Cheese Sausages. While HFB did find the Garlic Pork Sausage modestly salty, the flavourful smoky exterior of the sausage more than made up for it. In contrast, the Nurnberger Sausages made without the smoking process and simply grilled was definitely milder in terms of taste and flavour. However one of the highlights for HFB that evening was the amazing Weisswurst, a combination of veal and pork sausage specifically produced from Brotzeit’s own secret recipe which was really robust in flavours and truly tender to the bite!

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Nevertheless, the focal attraction that evening was definitely the Brotzeit Maifest Platter, priced at $118 featuring Brotzeit’s (yes, more) sausages, Pork Knuckle, Pork Belly and Roast Chicken to share (we had 6 people that day but we couldn’t even stomach everything!!!). What more could HFB comment about the Pork Knuckle apart from AWESOME! He had the serving closest to the bone and boy was the meat really flavourful and the crackling of the skin, simply divine! He had tried a few pork knuckles in his lifetime and that definitely ranked way up the chart. While HFB had a concern with the crackling (or a lack thereof) of the pork belly, HFB was pleased at how nicely marbled the meat was – let’s just say he had a few more pieces than he should – it was that enjoyable! And although the last hurdle HFB had to tackle was the Roast Chicken, he would be more than glad to go through it again. Marinated for hours and really couldn’t be roasted any better, the chicken came really succulent and nicely seasoned; it was a pity he couldn’t stomach a lot more.

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Sensing that our tummies were really bloated, our hosts suggested ordering Schnapps, a type of European fruit brandy, which supposedly aid in digestion. A quick shot of it brought me back to my clubbing days; it was really intense! But sure enough, we were ready for our dessert.

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The Emperor’s Cake, or basically shredded pancakes with rum and raisins served with plum (or was it raspberry?) sauce was really enjoyable. Despite our protest of having more food being served, the desserts were snapped up in no time. It was really comforting having a warm dessert accompanied with a nice thick fruity sauce served in front of you. This had HFB endorsement!

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To celebrate this festival of spring, Brotzeit has graciously sponsored a Maifest Platter each to THREE (3) lucky winners!!! All you have to do is answer the following question and send it to marketing@brotzeit.co with your Name, NRIC, and Contact Number. Closing date for this contest is 2359 hrs, 3 May 2012 (Thu).

Q: How much is the price of the Brotzeit Maifest Platter?

Terms and conditions applies.

• This voucher is only valid from 10 to 13 May 2012 at Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant from the date of issue above and is non-transferable; non-refundable and not exchangeable for cash.
• Only valid for Brotzeit outlets in Singapore – VivoCity, Raffles City and 313@Somerset.
• This voucher is not replaceable if lost, stolen, torn, damaged or defaced.
• Only one voucher can be used per transaction / per platter and cannot be combined.
• This voucher must be fully redeemed. Any unused value will be fortified.
• Reservations are recommended. Please state use of voucher when making reservations.
• This voucher is not valid unless it is duly stamped and signed by authorized personnel.
• Voucher may be redeemed for Brotzeit’s Maifest Platter only, excluding beverages of any kind.
• Please note that only original certificates will be accepted and kindly present this voucher when you dine at the restaurant.

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited media tasting. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Brotzeit and Jia Wei and Zijing for their hospitality.

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27 April, 2012

DBS Masterclass with Gunther Hubrechsen of Gunther's Restaurant

HFB was really keyed up to attend a Culinary Masterclass presented by DBS Indulge at the AFC Studio last month. You see, the chef was Chef Gunther Hubrechsen, who formerly worked under the mentorship of Chef Alain Passard, of the famed three-star Michelin restaurant, L’ Arpège in Paris, where his efforts earned him a position from trainee to sous-chef within 5 years.

Masterclass with Gunther Hubrechsen

He also did a stint with the Les Amis Group before joining forces with Chef Roberto Galetti of Garibaldi Group of Restaurants to open Gunther’s Restaurant – which was ranked 84th in the prestigious San Pellegrino World’s Best 100 Restaurant in 2010.

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During the session, Chef Gunther clearly showed his food philosophy of simple and light cooking techniques, and letting the fresh ingredients speak for themselves. Really inspiring!

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This was translated to the three dishes that he presented that evening – Coquille Pasta stuffed with Carpaccio of Langoustine, Steamed Alaskan King Crab with Spicy Gazpacho of Tomato and Blood Orange and lastly, Salt Baked Beetroot.

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It was also a very nice gesture that HFB got to sample Gunther’s signature dessert to round off the evening – the highly acclaimed Fine Apple Tart “a la dragées” with Havana Rum & Raisin Ice Cream.

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Disclaimer: HFB would like to take this opportunity to thank DBS Indulge and AFC studio for their hospitality.

Recipes (Click to view bigger image):

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14 April, 2012

10 at Claymore "Plates of Pleasure – Our Greatest Hits", Pan Pacific Orchard

Buffet was never a HFB thing – one either get cold food that has been left in the open way too long for its own good, or hot food that has been sitting in the bain-marie for ages and thus overcooked. But when Pan Pacific Orchard (no, not the Marina one but the former Hotel Negara located at Claymore Road) extended an invitation for their “Plates of Pleasure – Our Greatest Hits” that is being offered as part of their buffet offerings, HFB jumped at it.

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You see, HFB had been there previously, and he was pleasantly surprised that the buffet offers unlimited serving of hot ala carte food that is served straight from the kitchen when you place your order – and the menu changes once every two months.

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From now till 30 April, the menu offers the Stone-Grilled US Premium Angus Beef Tenderloin, Oven-Roasted Tasmanian Free-Range Rack of Lamb and Pan Seared Victoria Lake Omega Salmon Fillet. And with team of Penang chefs at helm, including their Executive Chef, they are also offering Penang-style favourites such as Wok Fried Char Kway Teow, Rich Aromatic Assam Laksa and the Penang Style Superior Prawn Noodle Soup.

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While waiting for the dishes to be served, HFB indulged a little in their cold seafood counter – some lobsters, scallops and mussels. HFB remembered it to be better, but the mussels especially were a letdown – they were tasteless and bland, and every inch of that natural sweetness from the sea was missing.

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But if all else fails, there were always oysters to save the day! On offering were the US Rock Oysters and the French Fine de Bretagne – which HFB promptly opted for the latter.

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Although not as meaty as its American counterparts, it’s crispier finishing suits HFB just fine.

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The Stone Grilled US Premium Angus Beef Tenderloin served with Porcini Mushrooms Ragout along with Herbs and Shiraz Reduction was probably the dish that HFB felt could be executed better. No the dish wasn’t bad, it felt the beef tasted really great. But HFB felt the sauce totally overwhelmed the sweetness of the meat by the way it was presented – the sauce should be offered on the side instead of all over the meat. Also, he would definitely prefer a small, thicker version rather than a bigger, but thinner serving for a nice piece of tenderloin.

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The Oven Roasted Tasmanian Free Range Rack of Lamb served with Old School Smashed Pumpkin and Port Balsamic Glaze was a delight. The flavours and texture of the meat was nothing short of excellence, and he would have definitely indulged in a few more servings if not for the fact there were more dishes to follow. Great dish!

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With the introduction of Sous-vide cooking technique, most of us are now much pampered by tendered salmon cooked till medium-rare, with HFB likewise. But credit has to be given to the Pan Seared Victoria Lake Omega Salmon Fillet served with Creamy Spinach along with Citrus and Capers. The exterior of the salmon was superbly executed with its crusty finishing and HFB really enjoyed very bit of the fish which went really well with the cream spinach. A really commendable dish!

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Truth to be told, HFB is not a big fan of Penang Laksa. Having sampled the authentic version in Penang himself, he was rather put off by the type of fishy (for lacked of a better word) fish meat that the hawkers used in their noodles. But HFB was assured that 10 at Claymore only used fresh Barramundi for their version. Indeed after tasting the rich and really aromatic soup, it was a version that was very much acceptable to HFB. But he highly doubted he would fall madly in love with it anytime soon. Heh.

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The Penang Style Wok Fried Char Kway Teow comes with a luxurious topping of Blue Jumbo Crabmeat and Tiger Prawns. Without doubt not the most authentic version if you ask me due to its extravagance, but definitely one HFB can agree with. HFB in particular like the bits of pork lard within. The Wok flavour was also evident and thus making this dish really enjoyable!

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But if you really ask HFB, the highlight of the evening was definitely the Penang Style Superior Prawn Noodle Soup served with Crispy Pork Belly and Fresh Water Scampi. Robust and really rich in flavour, one can even spoon in the special chilli paste for an even fuller-bodied soup base. In was indeed so good that HFB actually asked for a second, bigger serving of it to round off the dinner.

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Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited media tasting. HFB would also like to take this opportunity to thank Givany and 10 at Claymore, Pan Pacific Orchard for their hospitality.

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07 April, 2012

Bo Innovation, Hong Kong (2 Michelin Star) - A Pictorial

For those who visited Savour 2012 at the F1 Pit Building, chances are you would come across Bo Innovation booth at the Gourmet Village, or even attended Chef Alvin Leung's Masterclass and his unique brand of "X-treme Chinese" cuisine at the Gourmet Auditorium. And HFB was glad he had the opportunity last year to sample their menu degustation at their two-Michelin-star restaurant located at 60 Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.

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02 April, 2012

A Day Off with Chuck Hughes – Cooking Demonstration at AFC Studio

HFB had a surreal up-close and personal encounter with Chef Chuck Hughes of Chuck’s Day Off on the Asian Food Channel.

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You see, HFB has always been a huge fan of the television programme and it somehow felt strange, in a nice way, to see his supposed tv idol come alive.

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Chef Chuck Hughes was so approachable and really funny, and the crowd was thoroughly entertained by both his humour and his cooking skills.

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There’s also no denying of Chef Chuck Hughes’ passion for food – so intensely, he has his favourites ingredients tattooed on his arms – bacon, lemon meringue pie, lobster and arugula leaves just to name a few! How sexy is that?!?

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His most defining moment of his career was when he walked into the Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium in New York City and became the youngest Canadian chef to win the popular show, Iron Chef America.

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With his delicious lobster recipes, he became the only Canadian chef to beat the legendary (not anymore...heh) Chef Bobby Flay (No wonder HFB never like Bobby Flay’s show, heh).

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For his cooking demonstration, he presented three dishes – Jerk Atlantic Lobster (Yes, this is THE winning dish that wow the judges at Iron Chef America), Pan-seared Canadian Beef Carpaccio with Potato Chips, Fried Capers and Lemon Aioli, and Chocolate Tapioca Arancini. HFB’s verdict: really simple yet yummy – the perfect HFB kind of food.

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Recipes (Click to view bigger image):

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