Tag Archives: fusion

Pamplemousse Bistro + Bar

 Jamón Ibérico with figs and manchego cheese

Surely Singapore is reaching its saturation point for new places to eat with its tiny population ? The Dempsey Hill area alone seems to be continually expanding with new restaurants, bistros and bars, with Pamplemousse being one of the newer residents (it’s been open just over a year now).

My friend M and I went there to catch up a few weeks ago and decided to forgo the set lunch menu, instead opting for a few appetisers from their a la carte menu and a bottle of champagne. To be fair, in this instance the bubbles were more of a priority than the food.

We ordered the  Jamón Ibérico, homemade fresh goats cheese and the beef carpaccio.

The Jamón Ibérico was “draped” over figs and manchego cheese with some Frisé. I think they tried to get the same effect as using prosciutto but because this type of ham has been cured for longer it simply doesn’t drape as well, so in this instance rather than looking like the slices magically fell on to the plate, it ended up making the dish look quite sparse. Having said that, the ham was delicious with that uniquely intense saltiness that seems to get more intense as it melts in your mouth as you chew.

Fresh home made goat’s cheese with sliced beetroot

The goats cheese was a surprise for me.  I’m not a huge fan of goats cheese. That twanginess that makes it so appealing to most is the thing that I dislike about it. Pamplemousse serves their fresh homemade goats cheese with thin slices of fresh beetroot and there is only a subtle hint of that twang. That, for me, made it palateable but I would think someone who likes goats cheese might want something to taste a bit stronger ? Having said that, it was a light and fresh dish and was refreshing with the strips of beetroot, especially in the hot Singapore humidity.

Beef carpaccio with Chinese pears, quail’s egg yolk with a yuzu and sesame oil dressing

The beef carpaccio was served with dehydrated Chinese pears, a quail egg yolk (which my friend and I ate around) and a mesclun salad with a yuzu and sesame oil dressing. This dish to me captures what Pamplemousse tries to do – European dishes with an Asian twist. I like the idea, but I found their dishes to be a bit confused and instead of being a perfect fusion of east and west, ended up being a bit schizophrenic.

It’s not that Pamplemousse is not good, it’s just that there are so many places out there, that competition is fierce, and I need that wow factor to make me want to go back again.

Pamplemousse Bistro + Bar
7 Dempsey Road #01-04
Singapore
Tel: +65 6475 0080

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the Disgruntled Chef

Signature crispy lamb short ribs

Tucked away in Dempsey Hill near PS Cafe lies the Disgruntled Chef, where Daniel Sia (formerly of the White Rabbit) has designed a menu that is meant for sharing. Small appetisers, tapas-style, followed by a few main course dishes. Absolutely perfect for D and I who want to try everything on offer.

The friendly staff go through the menu with you, highlighting the signature dishes of the house, of which we picked the crispy lamb short ribs, the crab cakes and the serrano ham, and then D spied the “snack menu” which had thick cut truffle fries and brioche with cheese and truffles. It sounded so much like the truffle sandwich from Procacci in Florence we simply had to try them as well.

The lamb short ribs are pretty awesome – they must be slow-braised so they are tender and then fried till crispy, and come served with a generous dusting of crushed chilli, cumin and coriander seeds, served on dollops of yoghurt. I don’t eat lamb (my family didn’t eat it so I never grew up with it and I don’t like the strong smell and taste it has) but even I had to try some.  The chef really nailed this dish – a true balance of textures and flavours and not “too lamby” at all (although for those who like lamb, that might be a downside).

Warm brioche with cheese and truffles

And the humble brioche with cheese and truffles ? Turned out to be my favourite dish of the evening. The brioche is not too sweet and comes as a flat bun filled in the middle with cheese and truffles, which is then warmed to release the aroma of those truffles. Absolutely delicious.

Crackling suckling pig with crudites and clove and honey dip

For mains D and I tried the crackling suckling pig. I think having the word “crackling” in the description really does set very high expectations, and I think had they not done this, the dish would have been perfectly acceptable. Lovely tender meat with crispy skin that comes with a clove and honey dressing which had some acidity that helped to cut through the richness of the meat.

Would I rush back there again in a hurry ? I’m not really sure. There are just so many new casual dining restaurants springing up in Singapore that you really need to knock my socks off to lure me back again, but if you’ve not been, then make sure you try the lamb and the brioche.

The Disgruntled Chef
26B Dempsey Road
Singapore 247693
Tel: +65 6476 5305
E: BOOKINGS@DISGRUNTLEDCHEF.COM

Open
Tues – Thurs – lunch 12pm – 2.30pm /dinner 6pm – 10.30pm
Friday & Saturday – lunch 12pm – 2.30pm/dinner 6pm – 11.30pm
Sunday brunch – 12pm – 4.30pm/dinner 6pm – 10.30pm
(closed Mondays)


A Crown Street gem called Toko

Beef tataki with citrus soya sauce and garlic chips

Toko in Sydney is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit in a long time, and I managed to go there last Saturday night.  The whole stretch of Crown Street from Oxford Street to Cleveland Street has changed so much in the last ten years and it is now just full of great cafes and bars and restaurants that I think epitomises Sydney, especially in the summer when people spill out on to the street to enjoy the warm weather.

Reminiscent of Sushi-e at the back of Hemmesphere Bar, this place is abuzz with people and chatter and music and was packed by 7.30 when we got there (although I think Toko is more izakaya dining – where it’s basically a place to drink with the added benefit of having food to eat rather than a sushi bar).  Luckily there was a table for us (one of the downsides is that you can’t make reservations and they won’t seat you until all your party are there).

We opted for the degustation menu to sample as many dishes as possible from the menu (and to avoid having to make a decision on a Saturday night after a few wines!) and every dish that was presented to us was a delight.

Crispy soft-shelled crab with wasabi mayonnaise

We started with a beef tataki – seared thinly-sliced beef with a citrus soy sauce and garlic chips.  The beef was perfectly seared on the outside while rare in the middle and the garlic chips were a nice contrast in crunchiness to the tender beef.

Next up was what I would arguably call the best soft-shelled crab I have ever tasted.  The batter was light and crispy and there was absolutely none of the soggy oily mess that you often get with soft-shelled crab.  It was served with a wasabi mayonnaise but I don’t think the crab needed anything at all.  Absolutely perfect.

King fish sashimi with ponzu dressing

Third course was I think what reminded me of Sushi-e and their amazing king fish that’s served with a drizzle of smoking hot olive oil, thin slices of king fish sashimi served with a ponzu dressing, with ginger and crispy crushed garlic.  Again, the contrast in textures really worked in your mouth.

Courses that followed kind of blurred after these three as the wines flowed freely, but I do recall seared scallops toped with finely grated daikon served with a drizzle of basil emulsion, seared duck breast with sliced ginger and sansho pepper, and simple zuccini on skewers and corn on the cob from the robata grill were surprisingly super sweet and delicious.

Toko also has a sushi bar in Paddington, but on a Saturday night when you just want to catch up with friends in a bustling bar with the added bonus of a table and non-stop delicious plates of food being served, Toko in Surry Hills wins it for me.

Toko Restaurant and Bar
490 Crown Street
Surry Hills

T: +61 2 9357 6100
F: +61 2 9357 6155
E: info@toko.com.au

Bookings taken for lunch only


Graze at Rochester Park

It’s been probably about three years since I heard about the Rochester Park area and also about Graze.  Figuring it was high time to rectify this and also impressed that Graze was still around in a very fickle and ever-changing landscape, we went with some friends last Saturday night.

The restaurant is an old black and white, and it had been raining, so unfortunately the bar area outside was damp, so we chose to sit inside (also where there is airconditioning).  The mozzies were still out in full force, but delightfully, the restaurant was able to give us some mozzie spray so we could enjoy our meal buzz-and-bite-free.

The meal itself was outstanding.  I had the tuna sashimi, fresh, thinly sliced tuna around a wasabi and dashi panacotta in a mirin soy.  I so regret not taking a picture but the flavours and textures worked so well together.  D had the tiger prawns three ways with our favourite being pan-seared and served with a chilli, coconut and coriander sorbet with cucumber oil.  Absolutely stellar.

For mains how could I steer away from the restaurant’s signature dish of crispy hand rolled pork hock with a bean shoot salad and redcurrant chilli caramel.  Thin, crispy, marinaded pork hock almost melted in your mouth,

I would however, not fully recommend Graze’s desserts, which were sadly disappointing given the standard of the entrees and mains.  We ordered three to share at our table between four of us. We tried the pavlova (which turned out to be a meringue instead, so missing the light fluffy lightness of egg whites encased in a crisp outer shell) – although the passionfruit sorbet that it came with was bursting full of passionfruit tartness.  We also tried the apple tartin that was accompanied on the plate with a slice of blue cheese and a balsamic reduction which should have all worked but really didn’t.  And finally (the winner of the desserts) was a chocolate tart that was served warm and runny, like a fondant.  That was served with a mint sorbet which again, should have worked, but didn’t.

The menu at Graze and the splendidness of our meal had us interested in going back for more.  I would definitely utilise valuable stomach space by skipping dessert though.  See you again soon !

Graze
http://www.graze.sg
4 Rochester Park
6775 9000