Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Arbite: Eat it Simple

If you would to find a place that is not crowded on weekends, away from the crowded downtown Orchard, I guess this might be the right place for you. It is quite a relaxing place and the interior is all in white and the walls are decorated with some food-related pictures. Its located in Serangoon Gardens just next to Sushi Tei. You would have to climb up the stairs in order to find this place. 

They do serve all day breakfast but I did not had the chance to try it this time round. Actually, the breakfast was recommended in the U-Weekly but shall leave it till next time then. They have sides, pastas and mains too. Having notice that their pasta are written as home made, I am more than willing to give them a try too. Also, its good that they have weekly specials and as u read further on, there are 2 weekly specials featured here.

Mushroom Salad
French beans, sauteed mixed mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers, pickled onions and mesclun leaves with basalmic dressing.

I do not recall seeing any French beans though, but the pickled onions were unique in its shape and is extremely sour. Very good as a starter to whet a person's appetite. This was ordered by Pretty Mum so I had not done much tasting. After all, it's just salad which I would not think its worthwhile to order when dining outside. It's much value for money to eat them at home right? 

Pan Fried Barramundi
Fillets of barramundi pan fried with thyme, served with mashed potatoes and fresh greens, dressed with a tomato and kalamata olive salsa

This is a main course on its regular menu. Compared to other restaurants, the number of filets on this plate is a lot more ( as they are being stacked up, not just existing as a single sole piece). The dressing of tomato & kalamata olive salsa was tangy, crunchy & savoury. A nice side to have along the fish as the filet is only lightly seasoned. However, I cannot truly say that the fish is really fresh but this is just a simply and tasty fare to have. The mashed potatoes were fine and smooth in texture but they were not mixed with spices. However, this is one of the best mash i've eaten so far.

Specials of the Week:
Gula Melaka Banana Pan Cakes with whipped cream
To me, this is a breakfast made with an Asian twist. The pancakes here are unlike the usual flat pancakes at other dining places. I liked that the pancakes are made in this shape and thickness. They were really moist, fluffy and not sweet at all. Hence, it went well with the gula melaka syrup. Sadly, some bananas were burnt, no longer only caramelized, hence Pretty Mum picked them out so that Little Sis would not have to eat them.  

Whipped Cream (Courtesy of the Chef)
Can you spot that little specks of vanilla in the cream?
Having noticed that the whipped cream was not enough to go with the huge amount of pancakes, the chef kindly offered to provide Little Sis with more of them.  The cream was really awesome and I think the chances of them being store-bought aka. commercial are very low since it tasted really fresh and light. We even spotted vanilla in the cream. How thoughtful!

Specials of the Week:
Veal Cheeks braised in red wine, roasted potaotes and seasonal greens
A close up shot of the veal cheeks
The portion of the dish was much bigger than I had thought. The veal cheeks were truly tender and succulent. They did not have any odd gamey taste and I must say that they are braised very well. Though the sauce was delicious, there was nothing particular special about it. I could not taste the red wine in the sauce. However, do not look down the veggies on the side as they tasted warm and not too hard . Guessed they must have been stir-fried for a while as they had a thin coating of shine. Did not regret ordering this dish as it was truly value for money.

How about a cuppa of Cappucino?

Hmm, having tried their food, I hope that there are more desserts selection here. They did not seem appealing to me on the menu (available online) so I ordered none this time. Perhaps because it is located in the suburbs neighbourhood, the prices here are much more affordable, though not very cheap but still rather value for money. Overall, the food here is simple, rustic but delicious. This might be why the place is called "Arbite" (for meaning refer to top picture)

            life's simplest things like Legos!

66A, Serangoon Garden Way
(Next to Sushi Tei)

The Menus hanging on the Wall. Fuss Free

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

抹茶旋风 席卷而来


Mr Ito Langue De Chat
Uji Green Tea Cream Sandwich Langue De Chat Cookies
ミスターイトウ ラングリー宇治抹茶クリームサンド
Best Packaging

This product was out in Japan on March 7th 2011.  Really impressed with the Japanese. They had a full pdf file to explain this product. 白色恋人的绿茶版本。Unlike the Santoritsu Langue De Chat below, the biscuit layer maintains its original taste and colour. Only the cream has changed to matcha flavour. This biscuit is harder in texture and thus less fragile.

"抹茶クリームは香り高い宇治抹茶を使用し、まろやかに仕上げました。上質なラングドシャクッキー生地はきめ細やかで、口どけを楽しんでいただけます。宇治抹茶の風味と生地の甘さがうまく調和した一品です。" as described on the package.

Santoritsu Couque D'asses
14 individually packed biscuits
Best Taste
Although the packaging may not be as good as Mr Ito's, this is more superior in its taste. It has a stronger buttery flavour and its green tea cream is not that sweet.
口溶けの良いラングドシャになめらかな抹茶チョコレトをサンドしました。This is what i call melt in the mouth texture. In fact, there is no need to go after the super famous 白色恋人when we can get such good ones at much much cheaper prices. I suddenly realised that this is a good way to learn Japanese too.

Bourbon Petit Series Matcha Langue De Chat
Best Value for Pocket
This is the last Matcha Langue De Chat version that I've found. Its the cheapest amongst all and I think its quite value for money. This cookie has a duller yellowish colour than the previous ones but its rather fragile and crumbly still.

Although they are all Langue De Chats, its interesting to note that they are called differently in Japanese Katakana.

Bourbon Matcha Milk Mochi
( 4 pieces x 2)

我不喜欢一般土产店收卖的mochi ,因为糯米皮太厚了,而且馅料很乏味,不是红豆、芝麻就是豆沙。被其包装吸引,决定试看看这个日本零食老手如何改变他们自家的传统mochi。

This is rather sweet, compared to the biscuits but it is really soft and chewy. Best eaten unrefrigerated

Bourbon Elise Matcha Cream & White Cream Wafer
(25 pieces of each flavour)
Have you noticed that the packaging of the traditional white cream wafer has changed?
The Cross-Section: A childhood favourite
This is not a langue de chat cookie but I like the fact that its rice wafer remains crispy anytime you consume it. I remember that Pretty Mum used to buy it for me when I was young. She herself enjoyed it too. But it has been ages since there is a new flavour. Oh yeah, the other time there was the boysenberry flavour if I remembered correctly. Would not compare this with the above langue de chat since they are different. The white cream version still taste the same but the matcha ones did not really had a strong green tea flavour.

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)
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.
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
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

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.

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)
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
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?)
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......
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:

Dessert II: Chocolate Tart

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.

(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?

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Home Baked Episode II : 热带南洋风

Sesame Panna Cotta, Hediard Blended Tea Cream with Mini Chocolate Crispy Balls , Spiced Tea Dacqoise cake layer
我很难得的使用heavy cream 来做tea cream。。。所以这个蛋糕的成本也提高了。吃了之后,真的觉得有时候自家的甜品真的比外面的好、健康、因为没有那么甜。(虽然甜品其实不太有营养啦)

what's that on top?
HOKEY POKEY ( my version with oats)

在两种甜品上都用了Hokey pokey 来装饰,其实是为了用掉我一大罐的rolled oats.这种不是那种即溶麦片,quick oats.所以味道也比较raw. Hokey Pokey is a type of famous Aussie/NZ candy. 我用了厨房女神之称的Nigella Lawson的食谱。呵呵。。。想不到第一次做就成功了!太开心了。它的口感应该是脆的,可能当大家吃的时候已经有点变形了,不好意思。

Brown-Sugar Caramel cooked Bananas, Banana Yoghurt Mousse


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pizzeria Mozza: 朴实的皮萨

想不到世界名餐厅也会有那么多人在还没开始晚餐营业时便蜂拥而入,想必每个人都迫不及待想要品尝这里的食物。这间意大利pizza 的掌厨或是负责人是女的,叫Nancy Silverton.
她在烘培sourdough 方面闯出了名堂,还拿了多次奖项。与另外两个合伙人Mario Batalli &Joseph Bastianich 开了这间Pizzeria Mozza,隔壁便是 Osteria Mozza.这家其实在洛杉矶早已赫赫有名。自从我去了这两家之后,觉得他们的食物算是非常重口味,因为加了很多盐。


 现在有许多都自称是wood-fired pizza 的其实是electric-fired pizza. 可是这真的可以看到厨师们一片一片的烘烤。。。让人垂涎三尺。
每一份的桌纸都不一样。而且信封里不只有餐具,还有postcard 和餐巾。



Magherita ($24)
Tomato, Mozarella, Basil

为了吃出他们出名的原因,我点了最传统的口味—magherita。虽然只有番茄,九层塔和mozzarella cheese, 但是却非常的独一无二。为何这样说?一:可以仔细看看它的outer crust,看起来很厚但其实咬起来很脆。二、饼皮不是那种超级无敌薄的cracker,但又不是那种pizza h*t 的厚度,使我目前为止觉得整片的厚度都拿捏得很好的pizza. 三、饼皮有一种独有的earthy flavor,是一种很朴实的香味。

再来、它的crust filling 的比例刚好,番茄酱不会过多,避免了那种中间太过soggy 的状况。其实,我还不明白他们怎么能把pizza做成这么有层次”aka 高低的感觉?

Lasagna al forno

这个只有在星期天才有售卖,但是他们的signature dish之一。也是一道传统意大利外婆都会做的菜。不要以为是lasagna,因为它的番茄酱不多,但是牛肉块却很多,而且不是完全都是碎的,偶尔会尝到chunky bitesPasta layers 是绿色的,但不知是什么制作而成的。


Butterscotch budino, Maldon sea salt & rosemary pine nut cookies

甜品吃了回升天的,目前为止是我心目中前三位。甜与咸的搭配No.1. Velvety, looks rich but not too rich, 而且可以吃到盐花噢噢。。。。真是太完美了。而且,它不像crème brulee 或是crème caramel, 因为没有那种鸡蛋的味道,虽然它是用了许多蛋黄制成的。

Banana Gelato Pie

我不喜欢香蕉的甜点,因为每一次都是整块香蕉配巧克力,或是变成banana mousse。妹妹问这个香蕉雪糕为什么不是黄色的?我相信这才是没有添加色素的纯雪糕,因为其实知道制作技巧的人都知道puddingcustard是不可能保留水果原有的颜色。派皮比cotton bleu cheesecake 下了更多工夫,吃得出来不是卖现成的消化饼然后拿去压碎、再制成饼皮。

而且,banana ice cream 不会很甜,还有淡淡的奶香味。

Caramel copetta with marshmallow sauce & salted Spanish peanuts

焦糖雪糕搭配上咸花生、让人不禁叹为观止。难怪会使店里的人气商品。底层的waffle 超级薄、且脆,让嘴巴里同时间享受不同的口感。而且caramel 作得非常好,因为散发了一种苦的焦味,这才是caramel 应该有的味道,而不是只有死甜味。


其实,从这次来看,似乎甜品抢了不少风头,因为实在是没有吃过那么棒的in-house desserts. 这种不能够与外带的蛋糕做比较,因为是两组不同的东西,所以要求也不一样。或许会再次品尝更多这里的其他皮萨, Nancy’s legendary Chopped Salad. 可是注意,Marina Bay Sands menu price 跟实际店里menu 的价钱不一样,大概都少报了$2 ,所以有点生气。不过,还是会想回去,因为吃好料最重要!


Pizzeria Mozza
Marina Bay Sands
Daily Lunch 12pm-2pm
Daily Dinner 5pm-11pm

Monday, June 20, 2011

Forks & Chopsticks 开动了!

透过杂志的介绍知道了这个地方。原来坐落在我以前小学的后面而已,比我想象中的近。以前读书时这片土地一直以来都是"under construction " 想不到今天却是高楼林立。可见,新加坡真的改变很多、很快。

Forks & Chopsticks 名字应该是要代表店内自家的中西合璧的风格。虽然是挺新的,而且还有open kitchen 的构思。但是总觉得店内的设计好象太过简单了,比较像高档一点的煮炒餐厅,卖的却是asian & western food。其实菜单的设计也是有点松散,严格来说根本不是什么fusion cuisine, 中式料理和西式料理早已被菜单区分开来了。

到访那晚餐厅推出了特别的西式父亲节套餐 Father's Day Special 3 course Set Menu.  Each set consists of Entree, Main & Dessert.  Entree 和 Dessert  没有的选择,唯一可以选择的是主菜。点了Roasted Salmon Set ($38) 、 Chicken Leg Confit Set ( $35) 之后,再从ala carte menu 里头选了Main Oven Baked Cod 和一道甜品(Caramel Choc Mousse) . 这次没有点任何的中式料理。

Appetiser: Warm Mini Bread Roll
原本以为真的是三道式,想不到却总共有5 道!!因为前菜就有3 道了,所以这个惊喜让我觉得物超所值。而且还贴心的送上面包。值得称赞的是这个面包不会太大,而且不是那种crusty layer 的,面包真的超级软,很香,很好吃。

Entree I : Amuse Bouche
Quail Egg, Tartare on a Crispy Toasted Mini Baguette
Entree II : Soft Shell Crab Caesar Salad
前菜的第2道: 软壳蟹凯瑟沙拉
Entree III : Tomato Bisque
前菜的第3道: 番茄浓汤
 番茄汤很creamy, 可以喝到番茄的鲜味 但是有一点偏甜了。

Set Main : Chicken Leg Confit
with sweet potato puree, roasted potato, assorted vegetables
套餐主菜: 油封鸡腿 
Set Main : Roasted Salmon Set
with sweet potato puree, oven roasted tomatoes, potatoes, orange mustard sauce套餐主菜: 烤三文鱼

Ala Carte Main :  Oven Baked Cod
stew of white beans, prawns, clams & watercress veloute
 这是我的主菜。很好吃,也很巧的被某个单一alphabet 的杂志介绍。可是我有一点不明白上面怎么会是写 “用蒸的煮法”?因为菜单是写用烘的。可是没关系,因为我觉得此道菜非常的美味。鳕鱼根本就不会油腻,而且表层也煎得很酥。青色的酱汁的制作技巧原来是法国的四大酱汁之一。
Veloute is made with equal parts of butter & flour, and later added to thicken the fish or chicken stock
一个缺点是最上面的crispy cod skin 其实不太脆,反而有点硬而且没有味道。

Set Dessert :  Yuzu White Chocolate Mousse
这个太甜了。虽然上面的那个yuzu  custard 是酸的,但是white chocolate mousse 的成分太多,所以两者有点unbalance. 如果柚子的成分高一点为更好。而且底层的饼干无法与mousse融为一体,好像是买现成的消化饼作为base.中间的jelly 画面上没有,应该是lemon lime or yuzu jelly ,可是也是太甜了,所以。。。只能说有待改良。

Set Dessert :  Warm Chocolate Cake
with vanilla ice cream and bits of fruits
(Note: We changed to this from the Yuzu Mousse by adding an additional $3 so as to sample a wider variety)

这个更失望。味道是中等,可是犯了很大很大的错误!!! 烘过头了!!所以里头的molten lava 少得可怜,有点在像吃warm  muffin。而且我不明白为什么只能换成这个,因为菜单上有其他同等价位的选择=(选用的巧克力也太甜了。

这个应该是压轴,甜品的救星。 因为中间有一个惊喜。

Ala Carte Dessert :  Caramel Chocolate Mousse
almond snap, chocolate soil, honey black tea meringue & mix berries compote
任选甜品: 焦糖巧克力慕斯

用叉子一敲,里头的lava 立刻流出来。看了就会自然的说 “ooh..." 而且味道是苦的!!太棒了,终于有一点像样的甜品了。难怪是价位最高的。可是,说实在的,如果单是蛋糕来评论的话这个还是贵了一点,因为曾经吃过类似的,可是价钱比较便宜。And I just realise the almond snap shown in their facebook picture is missing here.

他们的主打菜还包括duck confit. 菜单上也有pasta , sides and starters.

因为出示了名片卡,所以享有了15% 的折扣)

Fork & Chopsticks Restaurant and Bar
26 Sin Ming Lane
#01-121 Midview City

Tel: 66594657


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