Monday, July 29, 2013

Red Friday - The Butchers Club

It's been an annoyingly rainy week but my Friday dinner was what I have been looking forward to. We had a group gathering at an industrial building in Aberdeen in the evening to try out The Butchers Club - a new, no-frill meat shop cum private kitchen. The guy behind the venture was the founder of Pacific Gourmet - first of its kind fine meat purveyor in Hong Kong and with The Butchers Club, he went one step further in specializing in dry aging - the tricky process of leaving the meat in specific temperature and humidity for a long period that brought out the natural flavors and tenderization of the meat. Well, a few restaurants in town have been offering dry-aged meat on the menu, so were some upscale meat shop which imported them in, but The Butchers Club was apparently the first to have its own aging facilities in such a large scale for its retail customers.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Another Monday Night - Ronin

I heard mixed comments regarding Ronin - some swore it's the best izakaya in town, some gave me the "meh" look when I mentioned we were going to try the restaurant, thinking it's overrated. Given that I actually waited long enough so I got a good share of comments before setting my foot into this place - I don't wanna waste my money (and time) on a lousy meal. Oh well, we finally went this past Monday, here's my verdict.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Monday Night at BCN

We dropped by this little eatery just off Soho called BCN a couple Mondays ago in the evening. I think the place opened late last year and I heard quite a lot of good comments, but we have never been able to get a reservation so we put off the plan to come over until now, when our friend Elsie mentioned she's a friend of the owner, hence we finally scored our spots (without making reservation months in advance)

Many people have mentioned the restaurant is small, but as I walked in I was still surprised to realize how compact it really is. There's only one L-shape bar table that can cozily sit 12 - you literally need to squeeze by to get to your seat. Behind the bar counter was the open kitchen where most of the food was cooked and plated; there's also a bigger kitchen at the back for some other stuff.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Omakase in Singapore - Dinner at Ikyu

I was eager to try out some Japanese food in Singapore to see how it compared to the ones at home, so I started googling around looking for a decent place. Of course there are the likes of Shinji by Kanesaka (at the Raffles) or Shiraishi (at The Ritz) or the two at Marina Bay Sands (Waku Ghin and Hide Yamamoto) but I am not looking at that kind of ridiculous price range. At the end I found this relatively new restaurant right in my favorite neighborhood and I gave it a try.

Ikyu (一休) is one of the latest additions to the hip Tiong Bahru area, opened about 9 months ago. It's on Yong Siak Street, sharing the same block as other trendy spots such as 40 Hands Coffee (Cafe), Open Door Policy (Bistro), Books Actually (Bookstore) and many others. Chef Takuma Seki came from Hide Yamamoto at Marina Bay Sands, and the restaurant serves "sexy", "daringly different" Japanese cuisine, as mentioned on the website, with most of the ingredients flown in from Japan direct.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cooking at home: A presentable dinner

A change of our schedule allowed us to ask our friends Charlene and Alan to come for dinner in one weekend evening in late June. They don't seem to have a preference on anything particular, plus my work schedule has been crazy lately, so I was unable to plan too much ahead of time - so there goes items like steak or pork. Well I have been making a few duck dishes lately with some success, so I decided to stick with duck as my main course ingredient.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A long overdue encounter - Iggy's

I have been to a few fine-dining places in Singapore during my previous visits to the city-state in the last 12 months, but never been to Iggy's - probably one of the first that shot to international fame, having rated top of Asia and the World a few times in the past. So we decided to try this out for lunch this time.

The restaurant started its life at The Regent Hotel in 2004 then moved to Hilton Singapore at the far end of the Orchard Road Shopping District a few years ago. The hotel public area certainly showed its age but the decor inside Iggy's was drastically different, starting with the dark facade and the hidden door at the entrance, and it felt like the restaurants was detached from the rest of the hotel totally. Through the dimly lit corridor we were shown to our table in the middle of the dining room. The dining space was quiet and tiny - only a handful tables plus separate lounge area and bar seating next to the pastry station on the other side. The kitchen, which almost took up as much space as the dining room, was right next to the tables and separated only by a glass door. I guess the philosophy was to eliminate the distance between the culinary team and its customers, literally.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quick Thought on Duddell's

A couple friends and I were in Duddell's last week at lunch to try out some of their food. It's housed right above the classy Shanghai Tang flagship store on Duddell Street in Central. I personally loved the decorations of this 2-storey restaurant, with spacious dining area (I prefer the quieter second level where we were seated), dedicated space for art programs and exhibitions, a well-stocked bar and garden terrace for outdoor dining and just chill out. That's usual for a restaurant, especially a Chinese one in Hong Kong. It still got quite crowded and noisy during lunch time, but at least it's not packed as other places.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Mind-blowing Restaurant Andre

I heard too much good things about Chef Andre Chiang's restaurant in Singapore that I guess I must give it a try, so I made a lunch reservation on the only day I was free from meetings, even that meant I need to sit in a fine-dining restaurant for 2 hours by myself.

Restaurant Andre was housed in a little white 3-storey building behind a hotel in a quiet neighborhood near Outram. With my flight schedule I had to go early so I was the first customer to arrive. The maitre d' was already expecting me at the door as I walked through the door and he showed me my table on the second floor at a corner by the window.