Gudetama Singapore – Decent food with a higher tag

Gudetama Singapore

Suntec City near Esplanade or City Hall MRT

img_0773I can’t stop myself from joining the 1.5h queue for a dinner at Gudetama Singapore; I wonder why as it strictly isn’t the cutest anime character to me (snorlax, totoro or pompompurin are the favourite still), maybe due to its slimmer figure. But the fact that the entire cafe is just so vibrant and cute, there is this inexplicable allure exuberating from it. You could see a very well thought through system running in the cafe already as gudetama gimmicky props are laid even along the queue for her customers to have fun snapping away while waiting in the otherwise tiring line; menus are given out as you are approaching the end and before being seated, your orders would have been promptly taken. Quick, courteous yet systematic service, that is indeed efficient.

img_0770A general take on the food, they were decently good, and for some might be well over expectation as we usually push our expectations to the lowest of the lowest when it comes to themed cafes like these. For example, this “Are you Busy?” Burger has two fat juicy beef patties underneath that perfectly runny sunny side up, while the fluffy brioche buns are beautifully buttered. But to an objective foodie like myself, taste wise, they were on point while you still get your instagramable gimmicks on your pan. I so wanted to nick that egg and pan home! But at $27.50, we know it is slightly overpriced for a reason.

img_0775img_0765Rib-“I” don’t care – The steak over here caught me by surprise when the service crew asked the doneness we prefer as that is usually done in more upmarket restaurants, not so much for a cafe I reckon. Medium rare we got, slightly pinkish and still tender in the middle topped with that gudetama mash and thick creamy peppered mushrooms. Definitely robust flavours in this pan! $28.50.

img_0767The Mash-Cha was however quite a let down at its price as the matcha flavour was flat, and couldn’t wake the tastebuds up. $11.90.

img_0766img_0771What we thought was very innovative was this TA-MA-GO dessert that is made in the form of a sushi. Matcha cream by the side, what lies underneath the yellow sponge are actually cheese cakes coated with rice crackers. Extra points for this as it shows that the owners are not just out to leverage on the Gudetama wave with haphazard dishes as the dishes have all been thoughtfully curated. $17.90.

img_0768It was undeniably fun and cute but the cost at $100.99 for these 4 items, hmmm…, I am not too sure if the craze will die down like pompompurin cafe.

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

 

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Corner House – A scintillating lunch indeed

Corner House

1 Cluny Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, E J H Corner House, (Nassim Gate Entrance), 259569

IMG_8749The place where our prime minister hosted Xi Jinping recently, the place which has rightfully gotten its michelin star when the guide book was just released few weeks back, I can really see why Corner House deserves all these attention after a pretty scintillating lunch here! Extremely meticulous in its execution, from the evident precision in its cooking techniques, the brilliant pairing of the different contrasting and complementary elements to the team’s dainty plating skills, there really isn’t much to pick on such a splendid luncheon. And what makes it even more deserving, is that even the simplest course from the cheapest menu isn’t done haphazardly (which could be the case for some upscale restaurants); with much thoughts and sincerity put into them, they indeed deserve a thumbs up. The three course menu at $58 shall be featured over here.

IMG_8751Warm crusted bread, they serve two different kinds, which I requested for a second round. A little more time was taken to prepare as they are warmed to order.

IMG_8754Hokkaido Scallops – Befitting the Japanese theme, yet not losing the French influences there, this light refreshing plate of Hokkaido Scallops was lifted by the heavier tasting dollops of mentaiko, while adequately cut through by the refreshing green apple slices and beautiful zest within.

IMG_8755Some cocktail was desired for that day and the interesting pick would be the honey and nuts that has a good mix of coffee and alcohol, peppered with nut crumbles above. Slightly sweeter and creamier, this was actually reminiscent of the calorie filled baileys but delightfully crispier. $28.

IMG_8756Loving a fruity alcohol drink, we got the Red Sangria but realised that it isn’t as mild as we thought it would be. Definitely an adult drink here, with an intense alcohol concentration in it. $32.

IMG_8758Patagonian toothfish – So beautifully cooked that this chunk falls off in large, glistening slices, further completed by that creamy, delicious butternut squash relish that gives it a fuller flavour.

IMG_8759M6 Australian Wagyu beef – Nothing less expected but a tender, delicious slab of beef, this has been further complemented by the soy caramel sauce that gives it a heavier umami edge while the mushroom tempura coated with a fragrant batter makes up an outstanding side, that is not only pleasing aesthetically but also has an addictive stretchy consistency. (supplement of $6).

IMG_8762The most applauded dessert of all – Chef’s interpretation of kaya toast. Kaya ice cream flavoured with pandan and coconut, paired with the gula melaka powder and foam, this is indeed an exciting, innovative dessert that is worth a celebration of.

IMG_8763Japanese cucumber sorbet – Green apple, coconut and gin. Perhaps not as easily understood, every element was delicious but perhaps tasted a little more earthy to us.

IMG_8761And yeah, it was for the mum’s birthday! Chocolat “Earl Grey Yin Zhen” – predominantly dark chocolate, giving it a creamy yet utterly delicious bitter chocolatey flavour, cut through literally by the yuzu swirl and given a nutty body by the pistachio crumble, this was expectedly delicious! (Supplement of $6).

IMG_8757And there we concluded a great afternoon lunch, as we love the the slightly sophisticated yet still easily understandable flavours from those classy dishes. On a side note, lets celebrate for Singapore’s first ever gold medal in the Olympics with a red and white cocktail!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.6/5.

 

 

La Taperia – Impeccable Spanish, but inflation seemed to have taken a hit!

La Taperia

Shaw Centre near Orchard MRT

IMG_8429Indecisive on our dinner plans, we decided to not book any and hola, lucky we were, as there was only one unreserved table left at La Taperia when we decided on a Spanish night this evening! I told Q, this is all fated. Being the first pair of customers, the entire restaurant was empty and yeah, took some facetious photos over there. Having read many and only positive reviews about this restaurant from as far back as 2014, we realised that La Taperia has taken a toll from inflation. Just last year, it’s signature Lobster paella would have costed $12 less, an almost 20% inflation indeed.

IMG_8435A Saturday night, plus an alcoholic friend, the Sangria Rose couldn’t be skipped. This was legit, with a strong alcoholic punch cut through beautifully by the refreshing zest from the fruits! $14.

IMG_8436Padron Peppers – Beautifully grilled to give a crispy crust, these capsaicin packed peppers were flavoured up adequately by the chunks of sea salt. Worried that it might be overly salty, they were actually perfect as an appetiser. Simple, straightforward yet very appetising, I even devoured the stalk! $16.

IMG_8437Costillitas de – Cordero Charcoal grilled lamb confit glazed with honey mustard. This tapas is a winner in many ways. Firstly, the lamb was grilled to yield a nicely charred layer while the entire chunk still remains succulent and incredulously tender. Further glazed with the lightly sweet and pungent mustard, this gives the lamb confit an extra edge that makes it moreish. $26.

IMG_8439IMG_8441Now here comes the signature Paella de Bogavante or Lobster Paella. Luscious lobster meat that was beautifully poached and then further enhanced with a fragrant light char on the grill, this was impeccable with its springy yet super juicy meat while the other stellar ingredient was those incredibly sweet tomatoes at the side. The flavourful broth, reduced to give that intense umami on the thin layer of rotund rice, was on point too as the rice wasn’t cooked to a drier consistency as what some other Spanish restaurants are doing to their otherwise delicious paella. We loved this dish! Well, we came here for this so it had better worked! $78.

IMG_8430And that’s me being all facetious when the crowd hasn’t started flowing in.

Impressed with all the tapas and mains that I have had, this is another excellent Spanish restaurant apart from my all time favourite Binomio!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.3/5.

 

Sacha & Sons – With high expectations, we were awfully satisfied

Sacha & Sons

Mandarin Gallery near Somerset MRT

IMG_6940Like its sister restaurant Wild Honey, the lofty reviews that Sacha & Sons have garnered are absolutely well justified. Slightly bewildered by the menu initially as it’s not the usual brunch menu that you get, this consists of a mix of Mediterranean, Russian etc dishes which appeared quite unfamiliar to us. Blindly ordered, with faith put into the descriptions of each dish, the savouries were all spot on.

IMG_6934Cous Cous – Tossed with chopped cucumber, zesty tomatoes, chick peas and the spicy onion, together with some citrusy drizzle that gives the entire salad a refreshing edge! This wasn’t complicated but a great appetiser to start the meal off with. $6.

IMG_6933Latkes – Potato and Onion fritters piled atop with generous servings of Pastrami (meat that is brined, dried and seasoned with herbs) and slathered with a thick creamy splash of hollandaise sauce, definitely looking very American here with the generous hearty servings, but not at all queasy towards the end. Just like its rich strong colours, the flavour was equally heavy tasting as well. We like. $17.

IMG_6932All Day Eggs – Scrambled with Sturgeon and Caramelized onion, served with a huge fluffy sesame bagel. Adequately buttered, not totally minced and flavoured up with the smoked sturgeon, these scrambled eggs were definitely spot on. Cream cheese by the side that complemented the entire taste with its creaminess and fragrance when spread on that crusty dense bagel. $18. The bagel was so good that we got another for $3.

IMG_6938Blintzes with Sour cream and Homemade Jam – Very smooth and thin mushy crepes, this definitely has reminded me of the travelling days in Russia, where sour cream is largely used for their desserts and pancakes. Maybe not a big fan of an overdose of sour cream, we didn’t really enjoyed the cream intercalated between the multiple layers. Then again, that’s our preference but this dessert definitely felt Russian. $12.

IMG_6935A less familiar menu, but we were still able to enjoy the mains greatly! Very good service rendered and with prices tagged reasonably, it’s a little difficult not to pay another visit.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5

Pool Grill – The white asparagus season for a limited time only

Pool Grill

Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel near Orchard MRT

IMG_9344We have heard so much about it, especially so during the white asparagus season when the profs and supervisors would rave so much about it during my stint in the UK. And being away from Europe for quite a while already, it really has been quite some time ever since we’ve heard of a white asparagus fiesta in a Singapore restaurant. And we reckon, Pool Grill did hit the spot for all the white asparagus dishes served.

We might be wondering how different is white asparagus actually from its greener counterpart; whether it’s of a different specie or is there any additional nutritional value to it? Well, they essentially originate from the green specie, with the green pigments removed by blocking them off from the sunlight as explained by the chirpy head chef. No photosynthesis allowed, and somehow, the chlorophyll degrades; which is actually contradictory to Darwinism. Anyway, that’s a good to know and I say this definitely tasted much more tenderer than the green ones.

IMG_9346IMG_9347Starting off with the focaccia bread first. Served warm with a crusty top and a pillowy interior, well paired by the partially melted butter and olive oil while my favourite was the spicy nuts by the side. Not satisfied with just one block, a second one was requested. It is that good.

IMG_9348IMG_9350Buttered white asparagus with with poached egg, hollandaise sauce. Slathered with a thick layer of creamy hollandaise sauce together with that perfectly poached egg, it could have been a perfect but predictable dish but Pool Grill cleverly elevated this dish to an elegant one by pairing it with the tender white asparagus.

IMG_9351White asparagus soup, seared scallop and avruga caviar. Thick, well-concentrated chowder yet still retaining the elegance and lightness of white asparagus, topped with a plump perfectly seared scallop, this was actually the favourite dish of that day.

IMG_9353Grilled white asparagus salad, with pickled twirls, figs and arugula. An epitome of simplicity at its best indeed, that further accentuates the beauty of each element. Without much condiments added, but solely relying on the clever use of quality ingredients such as the sweet juicy figs, asparagus, I was really impressed by the seemingly humble greens.

IMG_9357Pan fried sea bass, chopped white asparagus, clams, mussel chowder. Precision evident, that sea bass skin was one of the crispiest that we’ve ever had, without compromising on its juicy meat. Much thought has also been put into pairing this slab of white meat seamlessly with the creamy clam chowder, as though they are made for each other. Delectable!

IMG_9361Lobster Ravioli, langoustine, white asparagus, squid ink sauce. It was initially thought that the squid ink sauce could overpower the other lighter ingredients, but its all about balance isn’t it. Sparingly used, and both the taste of the seafood and white asparagus were lifted beautifully. And that ravioli was packed tightly with the delicious lobster meat, we love.

IMG_9363Gratinated beef tenderloin with buttered white asparagus, porcini crust, truffle sauce. Well balanced elements over here with highly complementary flavours, but i actually hoped to have a little bit more sauce on the beautifully cooked beef.

IMG_9366Strawberry Romanoff. Crusty meringue, infused with a little liquor in it, topped with the melting vanilla ice cream. This is the one and only dish not asparagus-ed that night, but well it was a bitter sweet ending which we loved.

IMG_9343With all the dishes hitting the spot, what more could be said? And, I believe a revisit shall be planned soon. And for air con addicts like myself, this restaurant is not air conditioned but fitted with the super big ass fans (its exact name literally), the restaurant is actually quite cooling at night. Well, there is a secret spot that has cold air coming in.

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.8/5.