Monday, June 27, 2011

Ch'ti for A Night @ Cotton Bleu

My 3rd visit to Cotton Bleu and I thought I was actually quite rash to place the reservation almost immediately after seeing the notice on the facebook. But well, it was a night of many first tries and I had not regretted going for this dinner.

First, why Ch'ti? it is actually one of the dialects in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and so not only Singapore, China and Japan have dialects. Indeed, having this meal can make one learn more about northern French cuisine.

The meal was cooked by Chef Herve and Madame Cotton. And all these food below were satisfying and comforting. It must have been 2 days of hard work, sweat and toil as I read that the restaurant was fully reserved and they even extended the special to Sunday as well. Also, I was glad that Black Faced Daddy and Pretty Mum enjoyed them too, since they usually prefer Chinese cuisine.

Entree : Flammenkuche with Maroilles cheese
(Maroilles Cheese Onion Tart)
玛瑞里斯芝士
Maroilles is a cow's-milk cheese made in the regions of Picardy and Nord-Pas-de-Calais in northern France. It derives its name from the village of Maroilles in the region where it is still manufactured.
玛瑞里斯芝士产自法国西北部的北部-加来海峡。有着橘黃色的外壳,芝士质地柔软,上面有无数的小洞眼,不论外壳还是芝士肉的气味均十分浓郁。(来源:wikipedia) 
The tart is baked in puff pastry perfectly, giving this dish multiple textures. The portion is nice as an entree, but i think it would be great to have it for breakfast. Hah, what an indulgence! 


A Great Appetizer to showcase the famouse Maroilles Cheese which was eaten by French Kings in history
Crusty sides with cheese perfectly sitted in the middle
香而不腻
It contains bacon, onions, white cream around the Maroilles cheese (not too sure if that is sour cream or white cheese). The bacon is not crispy but does not have an overwhelming salty taste. The bacon was surprisingly a little sweet. Can you spot the little speckles of black pepper on top?




Molleux aux fruits de mer
Seafood Double Baked Souffle
海鲜蛋奶酥

它其实是一种源自法国的甜品,经烘焙后质轻而蓬松。主要材料包括蛋黄及经打匀后的蛋白。 Soufflé 法语的意思是「使充气」或简单地指「蓬松地胀起来」, 烘焙当儿蛋白与奶黄结合时的情况。

 This is really smaller than what I had imagined when I read the menu online. This was because the souffles that I came across ( be it on TV or during meals) are huge and served in ramekins. I guessed this was baked in a small sized tea cup, from the way it looks.

麻雀虽小,芝味无穷
Souffle 又译成梳乎厘等。有冷食和热食两种。这个属于热的
 
Extremely savoury dish. It was quite dense in texture ( vis a vis other souffle) and the taste of cheese is quite strong. The strange thing is that the more you eat it, the more you like it. Can you spot the chunks of prawn meat and clams in the picture? This is the first time I taste such a unique souffle but I must say that the chef handled the baking time very well. Otherwise I believe it would not yield very even and tiny air pockets.


From the Tapas ( specially ordered by black faced dad)

Baked Mussels in Cheese and Herbs


Main: Cabonnade de Saumon
Stewed Salmon in Beer Sauce
According to "International Cuisine", the word "Cabonnade" is used to describe anything cooked in beer.

This was Black Faced Dad's Main Course. But of course everyone shared a little here and there. I really appreciated the way the salmon was cooked. It was not just simply grilled or pan fried. BUT SURPRISE! there was a layer of coating for the salmon, helping the salmon to absorb all the tasty juices of the sauce. Though the colour of the sauce is not dark ( as i thought from the word "BEER"),  there was a hint of bitterness in the sauce. I licked up almost every single drop of sauce with my fries!
My Mum's Main : Bouef Bourguignon with Mashed Potatoes ( from the regular menu)
also Julia Child's favourite dish (hmpf, i guess)


Well, since Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes the dish as "certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.", what more do i have to say?
classic hearty portion

also known as Beef Burgundy (better way of saying since I still don't know how to use the wikipedia phonetics guide)
红酒焖牛肉
入口即化、味道清淡
I would try to order this dish whenever I have the chance to try some French cuisine, since it is a classic and will be a good test of the chef's skills. The seasoning is lighter than others that i've tried but the sauce has a natural sweetness to it. Pretty Mum says that it must be from the vegetables like onions and carrots that have released their flavour. The beef was superbly tender, easy to rip apart and put it straight to your mouth.
Mum's My Main: Filet Mignon aux pruneaux
Pork Filet Mignon in Prune Sauce
(from Ch'ti A Night Menu)
Delicious melt-in-your-mouth prunes, with roasted carrots & mushrooms that accompany the marinated pork filet
香味扑鼻
The sauce for this dish is really heavier than the beef stew, but somehow I prefer this to the beef, especially since this is also the first time I came across Prunes as an ingredient for savoury dish. There is a sour tangy flavour as I continued my journey down the bottom of the orange pot.



generous chunks of pork filet. Yums!
While I thought I should not finish the entire pot of sauce in case I will be thirsty later, I could not help but keep on dipping the fries, as well as the mash potatoes of the beef stew into the sauce. It was heavens. Oh, and I noticed that the pork filet was way much more tender than the other kind of pork dish that I had on my first visit to Cotton Bleu. I understand that this was a different cut but it really scored high marks.

Dessert I: Tarte aux Chuc' avec
Glace maison aux Speculoos
Sugar Tart with Homemade Speculoos Ice Cream
(Spectacular, but why hadn't many local ice cream makers think of making this as well?)
独特香料、圣诞节来了!
I thought sugar tart would be those typically baked in a tarte sucre but ooh...this is actually a brioche! like eating bread.  Pretty Mum, who usually does not like spices in her desserts, actually likes this dessert a lot. While the ice cream was a little too frozen, we were too impatient to wait for it to thaw. So all of us scramble for the ice cream first. Poke here, poke there, but the ice cream had a full bodied SPECULOOS taste.

Speculoos are a specialty from the North of France and Belgium. Originally baked as a treat for St-Nicholas' day, those thin, crunchy little cookies, flavored with spices, are baked in long rectangular molds that form a pattern on them : a saint's figure or, more commonly nowadays, the brand name. They are baked year-round now, and are widely available in supermarkets all over France.

There are many versions of the recipe, some calling for cinnamon only, some also using ginger, cloves and nutmeg. But the cookie's distinctive taste comes from the use of vergeoise brune : this is a delicious kind of brown sugar made from beet syrup, very common in Belgium, with thick crystals that look and feel as if they were slightly wet. (adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini Blog)


Can you see interesting texture of the bottom tart? Spongy, spongy......
传统的比利时甜点
speculoos 饼干含有cassonade砂糖、肉桂、 肉豆蔻、丁香、薑粉、荳蔻果、白胡椒。
Depending on whom you ask, the name "speculoos" may come from the latin species which means spice, or speculator which means bishop. They go particularly well with coffee, and are often served one with your espresso in cafés in the North of France and Belgium.

For more information of the base, which is a light buttery brioche, topped with caramelised sugar, go to:
http://honestcooking.com/2011/03/17/sugar-brioche-tart-from-northern-france/

Dessert II: Chocolate Tart
巧克力塔
原汁原味、苦到嘴里、甜在心里

One of the best chocolate tarts in Singapore so far. Really, no joke, those who like chocolate can just go and da bao this to try. Instead of the usual butter crust, this crust is actually the same kind of digestive crust like the Raspberry Cheesecake I had the other time.  The chocolate filling was not sweet at all, and in fact was commended by Pretty Mum, who usually is hard to pleased with chocolate desserts ( for she likes dark dark chocolates).

Surprisingly, Black Faced Dad was fighting with me over the biscuit crust, which i managed to stop him from doing it in time before its all GONE.

This was not listed on the Ch'ti menu but the host graciously allowed us to have it as one of the desserts, otherwise we would have 2 Speculoos Tart. Hence, I would like to thank the host and the chefs very much. Great idea for me who like to sample a wide variety at one go.

Interior
(as some inspiration for home makers)
有没有地中海的feel 呢?hehe

I have said to Pretty Mum that this would be my final visit here. Not that the food is not good, but that this is the first restaurant that I have come so many times and I would have to move on to try others on my list. Haha, but well, if there are newer creations in future, who knows?

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