Monthly Archives: May 2010

Prime Society does a damn fine steak…sadly not much else.

It’s been ages since I’ve really craved a steak.  Never been a huge steak fan, but when we were back in Sydney we used to do steak and mash every Monday and since arriving in Singapore my palette seems to have changed.  Given it’s been so long, we thought we’d not push our luck and try somewhere we haven’t been so tried to book a table at Mortons but were told that the earliest reservation they had was at 9.30.  I would have eaten my own arm by then so we decided to give Prime Society a go – D has been wanting to go there for a while now.

Their site is so overly fancy that trying to find the menu and a contact number was difficult to find and for someone like me who has very little patience to start with, they almost lost me there.  But I persevered and ended up speaking to someone who just should not be answering phones for service establishments – she couldn’t get my name right even as I was spelling it and was not rude, just came across as really incompetent but I got my 8pm reservation, so I was happy.

We arrive at the restaurant, which takes up a large corner lot at Dempsey Hill and I am surprised that it is so empty on a Saturday night.  Fair enough, it IS a large restaurant, made to feel even bigger by the very very high ceilings, but that just made it look, well, empty.  And that is never something good for restaurants.

Luckily, things turned around at that point.  The service staff were knowledgeable and attentive while managing to stay discrete and allow D and I to mull over the menu and wine list.  They do suggest wines with each steak, but sadly the amarone they suggested with the T-Bone was not even on the wine list, although a Valpolicella Ripassa was, which sufficed for the evening.

We started with the carnivore plate entree – made for sharing, a combination of cured meats, sausage and sliced steak, served with hommous, olives and sundried tomatoes.  The salami was delicious – all the flavour with not too much salt, but the rest of it was pretty blah.

However, the special T-Bone steak, at a whopping 600g was absolutely superb, and after all, that’s what we came for.  D and I decided to share it and boy were we glad we did – it was huge – even with the bone.  The meat though, was perfect for the two of us – D likes his steak medium, me, medium-rare and the meat got rarer as we got closer to the bone.  The steak itself was melt-in-the-mouth delicious and required none of the red wine jus that we ordered with it.  Sides of garlic potato puree was left pretty much untouched by D and I – he didn’t like the garlic and I thought the consistency reminded me of glue.  The rosemary potatoes were unremarkable and the truffle cauliflower cheese was lovely, but as we make it ourselves at home with lashings of truffle oil, we are a tad spoiled and missed the truffly goodness in tonight’s.

Dessert was the only other winner – Frangelico affogato for me, Amaretto affogato for D served with a shot of delicious espresso and sticky, chewy really good vanilla ice-cream.

They really do need to do something about the ambiance though – the decor is confused – think they are trying to be too-cool-for-school, piping chillout tunes but the high ceilings and lack of soft furnishing just make it lose all its appeal.

All in all, if you really fancy a good steak, go to Prime Society – just don’t expect too much else from the rest of the meal.

Location: Blk 10 #01-20
Dempsey Road
Tel: (65) 6474-7427

Everybody loves a Sunday brunch

And everybody misses them after they’ve left Singapore.  Raffles Hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room was where we ended up last Sunday with a visiting ex-Singaporean resident, who now lives in Tokyo.  D and I had been there once before and were keen to go back again.  Although it lacks the ambiance Mezza9, which still remains a firm favourite with friends, but for food, I think Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles beats Mezza9 hands down.  You have a dizzying choice of incredible European cuisine to choose from –  it is a buffet but everything is so delicately laid out that you don’t feel it.  Small dishes are prepared freshly for you, for example the risotto, where a chef cooks a portion of risotto and then pours that in to a wheel of parmesan cheese, and then scrapes that all onto a plate for you.  You get to sample delicate scallops on freshly made rosti, and shavings of Iberican ham (which D and I went up for more than once !).  A chef will warm up a small cup of lobster bisque with crab meat.  Desserts are all delicate single servings.  You just don’t get the impression of hungry people descending en mass to the food.  If you fancy a wider selection of cuisine, then Raffles is not for you.  And at $200 per head, it’s a bit steep, but with freeflowing Billecart Salmon, it’s such a lovely indulgence on a Sunday.

Raffles Hotel Singapore
1 Beach Road
Tel: +65 6337 1886

Best suckling pig. Ever.

Thin and juuuust the right amount of fat under the skin.  Served with a circle of steamed dough, hoisin sauce, spring onion and cucumber.  Absolutely brilliant, at Peach Garden at the top of OCBC Centre.  Rest of the meal was also good but when you serve suckling pig like that as the first course of a banquet, I can’t recall much of the rest…

Peach Garden

#33-01, 65 Chulia Street
Tel: 6252 9833

Yum cha at Crystal Jade Golden Palace (Paragon)

In the seemingly never-ending search for good yum cha in Singapore, I think we finally hit the jackpot at Crystal Jade on the weekend.  When I say “good”, I have to admit that my search is to find the best replica for Sydney yum chas, so perhaps my idea of perfection is a tad skewed.

Yum cha is definitely better enjoyed with more than two people.  D and I have tried to go a few times (just the two of us) and it just means you don’t get to order the variety of food that makes yum cha so perfect for people like he and I who cannot make up their mind and basically want a bit of everything.

The restaurant is airconditioned to Arctic temperatures, which I never understand in Chinese restaurants (maybe they want you to eat faster so the turnover is high ?  Then again, this doesn’t look like the sort of place that relies on turnover, so who knows) and the menu limited, but consists of firm favourites – har gau, siu mai, carrot cake – and each one is done to Sydney-grade perfection.  My only comment was that the other yum cha staple – char siew pau – was a bit doughy and the char siew a tad too sweet.

The firm favourite for both D and I was the roast pork.  A small, delicate perfect square of 9 crispy pieces, not too fatty, not too dry.  Delicious by itself or dipped into the accompanying mustard.

All in all, I’d be happy to back there again and again each time the urge for yum cha hits me (which is pretty often, actually).  Hurrah !

#05-22, 290 Orchard Road S(238859), Paragon Shopping Centre
Tel: 6734 6866

Comfort food for when I’m feeling poorly

If it isn’t congee, it’s definitely a comforting soup. I stocked up my fridge yesterday so it was satisfying stuffed full of colourful vegetables. I’m not exactly sure what I was intending them for, I rarely buy groceries which are not required for meals that day, but perhaps I had already subconsciously decided I was going to make a minestrone.  Original recipe from my trusted bible the Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, I also happened to have some bacon bones in the freezer.
Slurping and enjoying the tomatoey vegetably goodness now…and then back to bed.

Il Lido

A comedy of errors occurred on Friday as we tried to enjoy a second dinner at Jaan par Andre.  Long story short, it was a Friday night at 9 and we had no seat in the restaurant despite making reservations. We thought we’d get out of the city and head to Sentosa to Il Lido, where we haven’t been in ages.  Beppe sorted out our late reservation, and when we go there, we weren’t sure why it’s been so long since we’ve been back.  The surroundings are luscious, the vibe chilled and happy, and the food and wine, superb.

We were all starvacious by the time we got there, and perhaps overordered, but to be honest, we did the food justice.

We started with a pan-seared foie gras and caprese salad, along with the white asparagus special, which was served with parma ham and a perfectly poached egg.  The foie gras done to perfection, the caprese salad bursting with tomato and mozarella flavour and the white asparagus was divine.

Seconds was a veal ravioli which just melted in the mouth and the mains for me was whole lobster in a creamy sauce.  The lobster was a tiny bit on the overdone side, but the sauce was light and didn’t overpower the lobster meat.

By dessert all I could fit in was a cheese platter.  A very runny cheese with aged truffles won D over but for me it was the simple chunks of parmesan and a gorgonzola with diced pears.

Despite the food, we couldn’t go past a Masi Amarone 2004 which was so good we stuck to it and polished off the last three bottles they had.

We could barely speak at the end of the dinner because we ate everything that was served to us and we were keen to try Il Lido again for brunch so we could appreciate the beautiful golf course during the day.

Bellisimo Beppe !

Il Lido Italian Dining & Lounge Bar

27 Bukit Manis Road
#02-00 Sentosa Golf Club

Tel: +65 6866 1977