Tag Archives: suckling pig

Santi

Perfectly coddled egg with black truffles in a rich pea soup

This amazing restaurant is sadly closed – I’m still puzzled at why Marina Bay Sands closed it, but there you go. So although we will not be able to go back to Santi, I did want to record down the incredible meal we had there so that I am able to remind myself why we will be visiting the family’s original restaurant Can Fabes in Catalonia later this year when we head to Spain.

We ordered the tasting menu that started with bowls of gazpacho with flecks of uni – sea urchin roe – that was an explosion of the taste of tomatoes and the sea. Who would have thought they would go together but the silkily smooth gazpacho exactly matched the texture of the uni and rather than the two flavours battling to overpower each other, they simply complemented each other and seemed to bring out the flavour of the other even more.

Bluefin tuna with avocado, green apple sticks and foam and balsamic reduction

Next up was delicate Bluefin tuna (that the waiter advised was farmed) with cubes of avocado, green apple sticks and foam and balsamic reduction. Again, flavours that I would never dream of pairing together but worked in perfect harmony on the plate.

Next up was a vibrant green pea soup that had been ladled over a perfectly poached egg and topped with black truffles. We ordered an additional plate of jamón ibérico de Bellota  – the best Iberican ham made on the planet – and ate our own fancy version of ham and eggs and mushrooms. Again, food that is so beautifully presented that you begin to eat it with your eyes before the payoff of taste.

Foie gras and lobster with poached nectarine and balsamic reduction

Foie gras and lobster in a balsamic reduction and poached nectarines was served next. All bold flavours that again managed to complement rather than compete on the plate and in your mouth.

Signature suckling pig with celeriac confit on baby turnips and grilled mushrooms

Santi’s signature suckling pig with celeriac confit on baby turnips and grilled mushrooms came next. This was the one dish that I was gagging all evening to try and it did not disappoint. Meltingly tender meat encased in thin crispy skin – absolute perfection. And a perfectly sized portion so that juuust as you were about to think it was too rich, you’d just had your last mouthful.

Green apple salvation refresher

And a perfect time to serve their green apple salvation refresher. Perfect name to describe this dish – even the palate cleanser was a standout.

Dessert of strawberries and blood oranges

We had a choice of desserts and I chose the strawberries with blood orange. This came topped with a quenelle of the green apple ice-cream, a wafer thin slice of dehydrated apple and basil. A wonderfully light end to a spectacular meal.

Santi was a genius. And we’re grateful that the legacy of this great late chef remains – if not at Marina Bay Sands any more, then at least back in Spain. And one restaurant where we will be definitely be dining at in October this year.


Tung Lok Classics @ Chinese Swimming Club

The insanely good suckling pig served on doughy pancakes with sweet sauce and cucumber

Going to Chinese restaurants is, to me, still a bit of a treat. Perhaps it’s because growing up I always ate in Chinese restaurants with my family, so going without my parents feels like a really “grown up” thing to do – even though I am now older than my parents when they migrated to Sydney !

Of course living in Singapore I have ready access to a multitude of great Chinese restaurants, and one of our regular restaurants is Tung Lok Classics at the Chinese Swimming Club on Amber Road.

It serves a lot of your standard Chinese dishes, and they also serve a delicious range of Chinese herbal soups. I love that the soup comes out in a huge earthenware pot where they ladle out individual soup bowls. The tradition of cooking soup in the claypot somehow makes it feel almost fortifying.

Paper-wrapped chicken baked in rock salt

We’ve tried some of their more unusual dishes like paper-wrapped chicken cooked in rock salt, and while it was tender and delicately flavoured from the rock salt, we couldn’t quite put our finger on why it wasn’t a firm favourite. I couldn’t work out the flavours that were with the chicken in the bag.

Peking duck – slices of crispy duck skin in thin pancakes with shallot and cucumber

Our favourites: Peking Duck – whole (or half but why eat in halves ??) duck that has been seasoned with five spices and then roasted and hung in special ovens so the fat renders, leaving the skin super thin and crispy. At the table, skilled staff then cut away the skin, and this is served in pancakes with a sweet hoisin sauce, cucumbers and spring onions for a fresh zing. The meat that is left on the duck is then removed and you can have it fried with thick noodles or rice.

The other favourite is suckling pig. Similar to the Peking duck, the skin on the pig is roasted till crisp, and this is served with a slightly sweet doughy slice of pancake and sweet sauce. The combination of the salt and sweet, crunchy and soft textures is just pure bliss.

Any recommendations for great Chinese food in Singapore? I’m definitely keen to expand my repertoire, and until I get to try those, Tung Lok Classics remains one of our go-to’s for our Chinese food-fix. I’m also keen to check out their dim sum menu during the day.

Tung Lok Classics 
Chinese Swimming Club
#03-00
21 Amber Road
Singapore 439870
Tel: +65 6345 0111

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Saturdays
Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm -10.30pm

Sundays & PH
Lunch: 10.00am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm -10.30pm


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)


Yum cha at Golden Peony Cantonese Restaurant

Siew mai – pork dumplings topped with whole prawn

I woke up with a craving for yum cha/dim sum today. D had recently been to Golden Peony and suggested we give it a go.

This award-winning Cantonese restaurant in the Conrad Hotel serves a-la-carte yum cha at any time, with some specials only available during Sunday lunch.

It lacked a lot of my yum cha staples – the only ones on the menu being fried carrot cake, steamed glutinous rice with chicken in bamboo leaf and char siew pau – steamed roast pork buns.

I understand that a restaurant of this calibre needs to up the ante to differentiate it from other restaurants, but the other items on the menu just didn’t appeal to someone like me who likes her staples.

Har gau – prawn dumplings

We ordered the har gau that did not appear on the menu, and they came with bright green dumpling skins – no explanation as to what it was, but the skin was a little too thick and doughy for my liking.

Diced duck in Portuguese sauce “puff”

Another order was diced duck in a Portuguese sauce in a crispy shell.  This was served to us in the shape of perfect curry puff pastry – lots of layers to be seen.  The filling was forgettable – a sweet goo with few pieces of duck to be seen.

The siew mai on offer was the traditional pork/prawn mix but topped with an enormous prawn.  Kudos to the chef who didn’t soak these in bicarbonate of soda so the prawns are not unrealistically crunchy.  This was lovely.

Fried tofu skin topped with pan-fried tofu skin and suckling pig

One special dish we ordered was a sheet of deep fried tofu skin, topped with thin slices of pan-fried foie gras and then covered with a square of suckling pig crackling – how could that go wrong??  Worked very very well, and the wasabi prawns that was also served were delicious as well.

Overall, I think this would be a terrific restaurant to have a business lunch at.  For someone that just wants good old fashioned dim sum, my search continues.

Golden Peony
3F Conrad Hotel
2 Temasek Boulevard
Tel: 6432 748


Otto Ristorante

Veal ravioli with freshly shaved white truffles

Wanting to catch up with our friends who had lived in Japan and recommended many of the places we visited while we were there on our recent trip, we organised dinner with them at Otto Ristorante at the Red Dot Museum on Maxwell Road.

In the mood for simple pasta, we were wowed into selecting the gourmet degustation menu for three and one at our table selected three dishes from the white truffle menu.  I was in a very indecisive mood and wanted the benefit of small portions of more dishes.

The menu actually draws a lot of inspiration from Japanese ingredients, including sea urchin and scallops – and I started with the carpaccio of Hokkaido scallops.  The scallop itself was wonderfully fresh and paper thin, but the flavours for me left me a little flat.  I didn’t know what the black substance was that was sprinkled over the scallops, first thinking it was caviar, and later finding out it was dehydrated olives.  I think I would have preferred it to be caviar, the flavours were all a bit too delicate for me.

Pan fried foie gras with caramelised onion jam and brioche

Next course was an excellent pan-fried foie gras with delicious onion jam and brioche.  Classic flavours.  Classic dish.  Superb.

I’ve heard that the pastas at Otto are great and I have to agree with everyone on this.  I had a veal ravioli, which was my clear favourite for the night – over the foie gras, suckling pig and a sneaky forkful of my mate’s truffle risotto, which are some of favourite dishes ever.  The veal was melt-in-the-mouth tender, the pasta wafer thin and perfectly al dente, and we had the additional extravagance of having freshly shaved white truffles over them.  YUM.

My friend who didn’t want veal asked to change the pasta for the spaghetti with sea urchin and grey mullet battarga, which is grey mullet roe that has been cured and dried with sea salt and then waxed to prevent further drying.  This dish tasted to me like the essence of Japan – the stronger battarga hit your palette with an explosion followed by the delicate but unique uni flavour that seemed to silkily coat your tongue.

Next dish was steamed sea bass with basil infused fava beans in a white wine emulsion.  This seemed a little flat for me, but only because the previous dish (and my forkfulls from my friends’ dishes) were so strongly flavoured.  The fish was cooked to perfection and I think the three flavours worked very well together.

Final dish was the signature crispy suckling pig, with black locust honey and aged balsamic vinegar.  Perhaps it was because I was already full but for some reason this dish didn’t work for me.  The suckling pug was very well done – tender meat with crispy skin, not too much fat, but the balsamic vinegar seemed almost too strong and tangy, yet I know you need something to cut through the fattiness of the suckling pig.  It was served on top of a bed of baby spinach leaves, which I also didn’t think worked with the slow cooked meat.  Perhaps something more peppery like rocket ?  I’m not sure.

Dessert was a warm chocolate cake / fondant with a vanilla bean ice-cream.  Always a favourite, lots of molten fondant inside.  Can’t go wrong 🙂

It certainly wasn’t a cheap night, but the service was excellent, the wine list solid (although we weren’t told that the bottle of ripassa we started with was the last one they had … until we ordered a second bottle) and the food really very well done.  I would happily go to Otto next time I have a simple craving for pasta.

My only complaint is their atrociously over-designed website.

Otto Ristorante
28 Maxwell Road, #01-02
Red Dot Traffic Building
Tel: 6227 6819

Open lunch and dinner Mon-Fri
Dinner only Sat
Closed Sundays


Bistro du vin

Feeling like some rustic French food, we had initially wanted to go to Le Bistro for some of their delicious roasted garlic soup, but as they were fully booked, we thought we’d try Bistro du Vin, somewhere I’d walked past many times and wanted to try but never got around to visiting.

And are we glad we did.  Part of the Les Amis group, tucked between Les Amis and La Strada, the menu is small and simple, the wines, well chosen and not going to break the bank.

We started with a perfectly poached egg atop sauteed mushrooms with iberico ham and white balsamic vinegar, delicately flavoured with licorice-y chervil.  I am not one for googy egg yolks, but this was just superb and the crusty white bread which they served us was the perfect medium to dunk into the egg and mop up the juice on the plate.

My main course was unarguably the winner of the evening – a suckling pig hock, which had been cooked confit-style, so was melt-off-the-bone tender, and then oven seared to get the skin crispy good.  Served with french saukraut to cut through the richness of the meat, it was absolute heaven.

We all looked longingly into “the cave”, a chilled wine room that also had charcuterie meats hung tantalisingly to be sliced to order, but D and I were cured-meat-out from our meal the night before at Stellar.

The steak was a little disappointingly thin – like a minute steak, but was apparently very tasty.  The rest of the food rustic and simple.  Desserts – we ordered the chocolate fondant, grand marnier souffle, creme brulee and thin apple tart were all cooked to perfection.

The only complaint was that the pomerol we ordered was the last bottle in the house !

Bistro du Vin
1 Scotts Road, #02-12
6733 7633

Open daily:
Lunch: 11.30am – 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10.00pm


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