Kayuputi

Kayuputi is a beachfront fine dining restaurant at St. Regis Bali. The 4-time Wine Spectator Award winning offers Asian inspired haute cuisine. The kitchen is helmed by the executive chef Agung Gede with 10 years of professional experiences behind his back.

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I had a hard time taking pictures during my dinner because I was chose to dine at the beachfront table with minimal lighting.

IMG_1025Starter: Smoked Salmon, Crushed Potato Salad, Balsamic Reduction

 SAMSUNG CSCWholemeal bread: Rosemarry, Caraway Seeds, Sundried Tomato, Oregano

Served with Butter, Olive Tapenade, Spicy Apple Puree.

Warning: The spicy apple puree is very addictive!

 IMG_1038Lobster Bisque, Poached Lobster Zucchini Cannelloni, Sour Cream, Avruga Caviar, Ginger Crisp

The bisque was light but packed with tons of flavor and it was well paired with the cannelloni. The good thing about the cannelloni is that you can literally cut it down with your spoon. It’s firm and smooth. Perfect cooking.

 IMG_1037Pan seared Alaskan scallop U10 set on seafood agnoloti, topped with caviar and lemongrass infused crustacean – parmesan foam

Those perfectly cooked scallops were paired really well with the crustacean bisque. The agnoloti pasta was cooked al dente. Very intense sea flavor was coming trough this dish.

IMG_1039Indian Ocean “fruits de mer”

Assorted seafood of the day; sea bream fillet, Manila clams, octopus, cuttlefish, king prawn and deeper scallop with carambola, ginger flower “nage” of Balinese aromatic roots.

Seriously, everything on the plate was spot on. From the fish to cuttlefish, the prawn, and the scallop were cooked with high level of precision. Too bad that  I couldn’t really enjoyed the ginger flower “nage”. I felt that the nage was too heavy in flavor (especially the dish was topped with “sambel matah”) and lacking of acidity.

 IMG_1040(1)Black Angus Beef fillet “Rossini” – Kayuputi version

Pan seared foie gras, composition of mushrooms, red onion jam, and Perigueux sauce.

The meat was well seasoned and perfectly pink. The sauce was compliments the dish really well, and the red onion jam cut the richness beautifully. The only thing that bothered me was the foie gras was slightly overcooked, otherwise this dish would be spotless.

 IMG_1101Pumpkin – Orange – Ginger

Pumpkin-orange brûlée, ginger sable, orange-ginger sherbet, espuma of golden ginger candy, orange coulis

The sweet and sour flavor with a hint of ginger that coming through from this dessert was well balanced and refreshing.

 IMG_1042Strawberry – kemangi basil

Kemangi basil infused compressed strawberry, kemangi basil meringue, strawberry mousse and yoghurt ice cream

The kemangi was perfuming the strawberry with a sharp lemony aroma with a hint of mint at the back. The mousse was smooth and melt beautifully on your palate.

 IMG_1041Chocolate – Balinese long pepper

Guanaja bar long pepper infused chocolate manjari coulis, Valrhona bitter chocolate ice cream, cooca nibs – long pepper tuile, liquored chocolate stick.

I believe that the picture and the explanation are enough to tell you how good it is to be put in your mouth.

 

I’m impressed and proud at the same time about the food they offer. Since the executive chef was a Balinese, yet he’s able to execute the plate with finesse. From the cooking to the presentation were deliver precisely and beautifully like a haute cuisine master.

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This place is definitely a must place to go on special occasion. The service was warm enough, the staffs were knowledgeable, and the outdoor dining table is suitable for romantic occasion. If you are willing to have Asian/Bali flavor with a strong touch of haute cuisine, Kayuputi won’t fail you definitely.

 

Kayuputi

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St. Regis Bali – Kawasan Pariwisata, Nusa Dua Lot S6 · PO Box 44, Nusa Dua · Bali 80363 · Badung · Bali  ·
Indonesia
(62)(361) 300 6786

Les Amis

Les Amis

The Friends, is what Les Amis stands for in French. Since the opening in 1994, Les Amis has been the temple of French cuisine, and that put Singapore into the world culinary map. The restaurant has several prestigious accolades including San Pellegrino world’s 100 best restaurants 2013 (ranked 81st), San Pellegrino Asia’s 50best 2013 & 2014 (ranked 14th), and The Miele Guide Asia’s 10th best restaurant.

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The kitchen is helmed by Chef de Cuisine Sebastien Lepinoy, who widely known as the legendary Robuchon’s right hand man before he joined Les Amis group in 2010 as the head chef of Cépage restaurant in Hong Kong. He took out Les Amis’s kitchen since September 2013. He applies classic French technique with a touch of Asian accent on his food.

IMG_0718Mini Croutons (olive, tomato, fennel), Mini Baguettes, Sour dough, Hazelnut Bread.

IMG_0768Teppanyaki Seared scallop, Teriyaki Sauce

This is exactly how I would like my scallop to be cooked every time. The texture was just perfectly crisp on the surface and slightly rare in the center. It’s fresh, has an intense sweet sea flavor with a little bit of acidity from a tiny squeeze of lime and coated thinly with teriyaki dipping…. unbeatable.

IMG_0770Foie Gras Custard, Artichoke Soup, Shaved Truffle.

IMG_0709Simple yet elegant dish. Both the custard and the soup were light and balanced perfectly, nothing was too dominant or heavy, especially the foie gras usually has a tendency to deliver strong flavor, but this one they really nailed it.

IMG_0707Sea Bass, Crispy Leek, Caviar Sauce

The Sea Bass was spotless, it was perfect in both seasoning and cooking. The only concern that I had was I prefer for the sauce to have a little bit more acidity to lift up the flavor. Lacking of acidity almost turned the dish flat.

IMG_0769Grilled Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin, Asparagus, Rich Jus, White Miso

The meat was cooked perfectly and delivered everything that you want to get from the beef. It was perfectly charred, tender but still have the meaty texture (very different from the tender feeling you get from sous vide), and seasoned beautifully. Everything on the plate were delivered with precise cooking. It doesn’t require any unnecessary dressing or plating. A pair of perfectly cooked asparagus were really did the justice.

IMG_0699Pinot Noir Macerated Strawberries, Yoghurt Ice Cream, Almond Cake

It might looks simple, but, believe me, it is not easy to find the right balance for a dessert like this. The Yoghurt ice cream compliments the warm, mellow strawberries really well.

IMG_0697Madelaine, Lemon Cream

Do I need any more explanation about this? :)

I realize that simplicity is getting rarer these days. Is it because simplicity is just too difficult to master? or they just thought that simplicity means boring. Simplicity demands heavily on great produce and perfect execution, and Les Amis clearly knows this game really well. There’s nothing to hide on that afternoon, where every 3 to 4 things on the plate were perfectly executed without any unnecessary garnish or seasoning. This place has a lot to offer. I will go back to this place beyond any doubt.

Les Amis

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1 Scotts Road, #02-16 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208
+65 6733 2225

http://www.lesamis.com.sg/

Namaaz Dining (revisit)

During my first visit to Namaaz, I felt that this restaurant had something to offer to the Jakarta culinary scene. I like the way they present their idea to elevate authentic Indonesian cuisine by applying avant garde technique into it. I decided to spend my Valentine’s day here to experience their new menu and location.

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The restaurant itself is more refined in terms of dining room and service. The new 30 seats Namaaz has an open kitchen where the guests can almost barely see everything throughout the dining experience. I was sitting on the chef’s table, so that basically I had more exposure to the kitchen.

IMG_0725Passion fruit sphere. Soda tablet.

What you see isn’t what you get. Both the appearance and the texture are completely like a proper raw egg. The idea is to create the flavor similar to passion fruit Italian soda in a egg form. The yolk and the white are made from passion fruit juice, and served with soda tablet.

IMG_0726Martabak

Ultra light and crisp puff pastry, served with sous vide yolk spread (The chef keep the temperature at 64’ C), sous vide mutton topped with egg whites caviar and spring onion. Even though this interpretation of the martabak (or known as murtabak in Singapore and Malaysia) didn’t really meet the real stuff apart from the components, it was absolutely delicious. The moment you spread the yolk jam on the pastry, and having it together with the mutton, you’ll know that that this plate wasn’t enough.

IMG_0727Sate lilit

I personally feel this interpretation is way too off from the original version. It’s normal for a chef to push the boundary, but the danger lies when he doesn’t know where to stop. This is a spanish mackarel fish cake with red cabbage coating served with peanut sauce. Let’s get it straight, the fish cake is too salty, and fishy to a state where it was being unpleasant. I was close enough to stop myself from having it after the first bite.

IMG_0655Bebek cabe rawit

The concept of this dish is similar to Heston’s “meat fruit”. Basically, it’s a minced duck in a red chili case, served with authentic Indonesian bbq sauce. Taste wise is pretty decent, and I don’t like the duck to be prepared this way.

IMG_0728Rujak semangka

Again, this is another manipulative dish. It looks like a plate of beef carpaccio, but the beef was actually made from “dehydrated and rehydrated watermelon”. It’s served with “rujak” sauce (rojak in malaysia). This dish was spot on! Especially for the rujak sauce was really good, even though it might be slightly too spicy for some people.

IMG_0729IMG_0730Rujak bebek

This dish was adapted from the original rujak bebek (“pounded rujak”), where normally some selections of fruits are pounded and mixed with palm sugar or known as gula Malacca. The “case” is made from jicama juice shaved ice. Jicama or known as bengkuang in Indonesia is a root vegetable that high in water content, naturally sweet, and normally used in the soup, salad, or even dessert. Inside the jicama case you have mangosteen sorbet, peanut, pomegranate, diced ubi jalar (some kind of yam), topped with jambu air (known as water guava or malay apple) foam, and served with Malacca sugar sauce. This dish was so good, because every component compliment each other and blend really well.

IMG_0740Beef Rendang

The beef is pre-seared and cooked in sous vide for 1.5 hours in 58’ which resulted in a beautiful piece of pink meat. As I mentioned in some of my previous post, I’m not a big fan of sous vide beef, but, it works. Here, you are having something different from the normal meaty (sometimes tough) beef rendang meat sink in a bold, oily rendang sauce to a neat and classy beef rendang on a plate without sacrificing the authentic flavor a bit.

IMG_0731Sop buntut (oxtail soup)

Normally the original sop buntut  is served with bone marrow. Here, the bone marrow is emulsified with with rice to form a puree, but the texture is too pasty in my opinion. I think the soup has been on top of the stove for quite sometime that makes the broth somewhat slightly too salty (over reduced).

IMG_0732Udang telur asin (prawn with salted egg yolk)

Smoke butter infused king prawn, mashed potato, smoked butter sauce. Perfectly cookef prawn, tender, sweet, and tasted far too good compared to the normal salted egg prawn.

IMG_0733Bacem

Braised mutton chop, mutton jus, white rice, broth foam. The meat was undoubtedly tender, but it was slightly dry.

IMG_0668Opor ayam

This is a complete makeover from the original dish. Short biscuit topped with “opor” custard that is too heavy in my opinion. I get the idea, but the execution is a no for me.

IMG_0734Kue keranjang (Basket Cake)

Basket cake or normally known as Nian Gao in Chinese is a special cake during Chinese new year. It is made from glutionous flour and sugar. On this plate I was having a basket cake with mandarin coating, served with Indonesian cotton candy (rougher texture compared the normal cotton candy). I personally don’t like basket cake, so I can’t comment much about this one.

IMG_0736Pisang bakar lilin (edible grilled banana candle)

Some people might easily notice that this dish first introduced by Heston Blumenthal in his legendary Fat Duck restaurant in a different version. On this dish the chef  use the grilled banana coated with fructose and served with popping candy. The wick is made from pecans.

IMG_0675Dragon’s breath

Another famous gimmicky dish, Dragon’s Breath. The vanilla meringue is dipped in liquid nitrogen for about 35 seconds, and it will produced a smoke when you eat it.

IMG_0737Es kachang

Caramel pearl, peanut puree, chocolate paste, and Chocolate pearl filled with es kachang syrup. Check out my Instagram account for details.

IMG_0679Hot and cold ice tea

Similar to the previous session, you can read it here

IMG_0739Smoked chocolate mousse

There’s an Indonesian proverb saying that whenever you’re in love, even a cat shit will tasted like a good chocolate. This is where the idea was coming from this dessert, smoked “poo” chocolate mousse.

 

I have zero doubt about the way chef Andrian executes his flavor. He is the man who can put almost everything on the plate tasted right. One thing that bothered me was about the slow service. I was far too slow in my opinion. Looking the way the chefs (apart from the head chef) plate their foods was really pain in the ass. It was slow until I felt that the 3 hours meal was supposed to be end in less than 2 hours.

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I really appreciate the way chef Andrian explained every single dishes to every tables on that night, but it will far more efficient if the floor staffs are trained to explain the dish as well.

Hopefully by the time I post this they’re having some improvements.

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Namaaz

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Jl. Gunawarman No. 42, Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta

http://www.namaazdining.com

Cuca Flavor

Cuca flavor is currently the most-talked about restaurant in Bali, since the opening in mid 2013, it’s been reached the top rank on Trip Advisor website in short period.

Before moving to Bali, Kevin Cherkas had spent some of his career at several starred restaurants around the world including El Bulli and Arzak in Spain, and Daniel in NYC.

Before Cuca, I heard and red some articles about him during his time at BLU restaurant in Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. He’s known for his molecular approach on his food such as “breakfast” dessert which looked like an sunny-side-up, but made from coconut cream and mango juice (they served it at Cuca too!).

Tired of working in fast-paced fine dining environment, he then tried to open a place where he can deliver high quality food with more relaxing environment. His philosophy is using only Indonesian ingredients, but focusing mainly from Bali. Basically, he tries to apply modern technique on local ingredients.

Most of the food here is tapas size because they’re mean to be shared among your dining partners. It’s good really, since you can try different dishes without worrying about getting full too fast.

 


IMG_0567“Pan Con Tomate” and Betutu Cotton Candy
Famed Bread, Crushed Tomato, Chili, Parsley, Garlic Aioli

Cuca’s version of original spanish tomato bread. I really can’t compare with the authentic spanish version, because they just different in terms of flavor. This one has more intense and bold flavor with Indonesian touch on the tomato dipping.

The cotton candy was close to unedible. The feeling was like having a hunk of cotton candy dusted with unpleasant betutu-flavored msg.

IMG_0569Smoked Sablefish
Beetroot Yoghurt, Avocado, Bread Cracker, Wild Herbs.

Intense smoke flavor from the fish, and the beetroot tasted mildly from the yoghurt which compliment the fish really well. Delicious.

IMG_0570Glazed Young Carrot Salad
Whipped Avocado, Bedugul Strawberry, Cashew Nut, Basil

This is one of my favorite dish. The carrot was very tender, but still managed to have the right bite. It’s perfectly glazed with a hint of cumin at the back. The strawberry delivered the right amount of acidity.

IMG_0571Crispy Wild Chicken

Wild Honey, Country Coleslaw, Sesame Dust, Lemon Basil

Some people says this is one of the highlight, but i feel that this one pretty mediocre. The only good thing about it is the beetroot-infused-cabbaged-slaw. The honey was to overpowering which make chicken tasted more like a dessert.

IMG_0572Bbq Octopus

Asian Gazpacho, Fresh Apple, Caramelized Cauliflower,Coriander

Everyone has to agree that this plate looks georgeos! It’s clean, simple, green, and bright. At first I didn’t like the gazpacho, the flavor is too complex, and lots of coriander (I hate coriander by the way). But after awhile it tasted quite good actually. The problem here is the octopus itself. I know that octopus is difficult to be cooked properly, it has a very fine line between undercooked and overcooked, and between mushy and tender. The octopus meat it tasty, but it’s slightly mushy to my preference.

IMG_0574Roasted Tiger Prawn

Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Red Chili, Light Coconut Broth, Kaffir Lime

This dish was packed of flavor, especially the “light” broth which I personally feel that it has intense prawn flavor. The broth was slightly too thick to my liking, but flavor wise was just spotless.

IMG_0577Chilled Watermelon Salad

Calamansi, Pink Radish, Pandawa Seaweed, Sesame, Cilantro

Again, cuca managed to put simple ingredients together to create something flavorful. It looks fresh and simple where some of the watermelon balls wearing radish hats. The sweetness from the watermelon is well balanced by the calamansi.
 
dessert

IMG_0578Moon-Gria

White Wine, Iced Fruit, Brandy Soda

IMG_0575Bali Breakfast

Sweet Runny Mango, Frozen Passion Fruit, Whipped Coconut

This “breakfast” dessert is one of his signature dish during his time at BLU restaurant in Singapore. Even though I haven’t tried the original version yet, I believe that the concept is still the same. The mango sphere is placed on top of coconut milk foam which created refreshing flavor.

IMG_0576Cocoa 8

Warm Dark Chocolate Mousse, Mint Ice Cream, Cocoa Crouton

This dessert is inspired by “after 8″ chocolate bar that you can easily get in the supermarket. Basically it’s a marriage of chocolate and mint. The mint sorbet was just can’t get any better than this. It’s packed with strong mint flavor, and mellowed by the luxurious warm dark chocolate mousse.

IMG_0582BBQ Berry

Grilled Mountain Strawberries, Almond Ice Cream, Pandan Custard

It’s hard to decide which dessert I like the most because most of them were just keep teasing my evening. The grilling treatment manages to reduce the sourness and let the sugar caramelized a little bit.

 

 Since I went there in a big group, I didn’t really try the rest of the desserts.

 

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Monkey Business

BBQ Banana Pudding, Espresso Gelato, Hazelnut Dust, Whiskey Butterscotch

 

IMG_0584 Pineapple Pudding

Roasted Pineapple, Sesame Ginger Pudding, Frozen Crumbled Yoghurt, Tarragon

To sum up the whole experience at Cuca, this place is all about the man, Kevin Cherkas, who knows really well how do flavors suppose to marry each other. I think almost every dish tasted delicious, and that is the most important thing on the plate apart from the gorgeous plating and so on. I really respect him since he tries to channel his passion by using local products in the middle of the trends where our local chefs tend to westernize their cooking mindset. This is the place where you can spend a romantic evening without getting any fine dining intimidation, or just spending time with your buddies in a good place that serves good food.

Cuca Flavor

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Jalan Yoga Perkanthi, Jimbaran, Bali 80364, Indonesia

+62 361 708066

http://www.cucaflavor.com

 

Teatro Gastroteque

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The land of paradise, that’s what Bali known for. Bali is always have more than you ask to fulfill your appetite, be it from the glorious beaches to exotic temples, nightlife, it’s a perfect place to really put yourself away from your daily routine.

Bali’s dining scene has changed overtime. Not to mention their wide varieties of local cuisine. The restaurant scene these days is just as massive as you can imagine. I would say Bali is the only place in Indonesia that able to give the right amount of appreciation about fine dining, and Jakarta is not even close.

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Thanks to one of my friend to introduce this place Teatro Gastroteque. The restaurant is small, with open kitchen not only to the diner, but also to the people who pass by. It is located at Seminyak alongside the shopfront. The 26 seats dining room is small and intimate.

Young, talented, and incredibly passionate native Indonesian chef, Mandif Warokka, who was born in Papua has wide ranges of experiences during his cooking career including working at several restaurants in Europe, Dubai, and Bali before opening his own place.

IMG_0585 IMG_0586Cassava, Quail egg, Rempeyek, Siew Paw

 Before we start, some of the readers might not familiar with rempeyek. It its an Indonesian traditional savory cracker made from rice flour topped with dry roasted peanut. The cassava is another authentic ingredient from Indonesia where you can treat it almost the same as potato. They use Japanese bamboo powder to color the cassava. These were tasted pretty normal for me because I grew up with these things, except off course the unique mini siew paw. The bun is very soft and the sauce was delicious. Other than that, I really appreciate the effort to bring something Indonesian as an opener of my meal.

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Bread

Lovely bread served with butter topped with rock salt and a dash of togarashi (Japanese chili powder)

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Beetroot Soup, Cucumber, Cream Fraiche

I personally feel that the soup has the right amount of acidity. It is very light, and doesn’t have that harsh mouthfeel from raw beetroot. The beetroot and cucumber go really well together.

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Foie Gras “Terrine”

Apple Salad, Tomato Candied, Micro Greens, Granny Smith Gel, Brioche

You need to have every component from this plate in one spoon in order for the flavor to work, because the foie gras itself tasted somewhat too salty to my palate. I like the progression of flavor from the apple, and slowly fade in into the rich, creamy taste from the foie gras. The Candied tomato was incredibly juicy and naturally sweet.

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Seared Hottatei Scallop

Bourbon Green Peas Cream, Romain and Ricotta Raviolo

 

 The scallop cooked just right, but I feel that the ricotta is somewhat missing on my palate, and my friend was agreed on this too. I wish this dish could be better.

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Smoked Fish Consomme

Prawn Gyoza, Scallion, Garlic Oil

The prawn gyoza was good, but I enjoyed the consommé more. It has a hint of lemongrass and ginger taste.

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Trou Normand

Seasonal Exotic Tropical Sorbet

Mangosteen sorbet served with a dash of vodka and sweet ginger bubble

 

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Poached Lobster

Caramelized Cauliflower, Brioche, Avruga Caviar, Sabayon

Undoubtedly the lobster was cooked perfectly, but sadly that’s the only thing that I was able to enjoy. The champagne sabayon was lacking of acidity. The chef used nothing except the champagne and the egg to create the sabayon in order to maximize pure flavor, but this just wasn’t working for me. Another thing is that since the plate is hot, the sabayon was slightly hardened and formed like a very soft cake a little bit.

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Pekin Duck Breast

Corn Perkedel, English Spinach, Baby Pakchoy, Hoi Sin Sauce

I’m not trying to degrade this dish, the duck cooked pink, the sauce and the corn perkedel (Indonesian version of potato cake) were good, but honestly it’s pretty decent. I would prefer to have this at a good Chinese restaurant instead. And yes, you can blame me for that.

 

IMG_0601 Gateaux De Citron

Mandarin Marmalade, Lemon Cream, Hazelnut Daquise, Tomato Candy, Fennel, Yogurt Sorbet, Orange Tuile

This dessert was both beautifully presented on the plate and tasted in the mouth. The execution was spotless.

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Petit Four

Banana Brownies, Chocolate Caramel, Passion Fruit

 

 

Everything was good at first, but it somewhat started to decrease its magic gradually. The problem is that the chef is trying to highlight the main ingredient by minimizing the other supporting elements, which is a very good thing, but I feel that if the supporting elements, even the smallest garnish don’t manage to meet the quality, the star ingredient will also sink into it. I would like come back to this place again to see what the chef is up to. He’s just passionate in what he’s doing, he really tries to push and raise the bar to be the top of the game.

Teatro Gastroteque

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Jalan Kayu Aya, Kuta, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

+62 361 8700078

info@teatrobali.com, rona@teatrobali

http://www.teatrobali.com

 

 

 

Pollen Singapore

After leaving Ramsay’s empire in 2010, Jason Atherton launched his own company, Jason Atherton Ltd. And opened his first restaurant Table No. 1 in Shanghai. In 2011, he was opening Pollen Street Social in London, and has been awarded 1 Michelin Star. Currently he has several restaurants, three of them are in Singapore.

Jason Atherton spent his younger days at some of the British culinary Godfathers including Nico Ladenis, Pierre Koffman, and Marco Pierre White. He was also the first British chef to stage at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli. He’s one of Ramsay’s former protégé as a chef de cuisine at Maze restaurant for 9 years before he leaved in 2010.

Pollen in Singapore is the Jason’s fine dining venture beside his other sites, Esquina and Keong Saik Snacks with more relaxing environment.

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Amuse Bouche

Homemade baguette served with seaweed and black sesame butter, Homemade Crackling with mustard and apple puree, Parmesan Truffle Rice.

Even at the start, the food speaks about Jason’s great influence from Asian cuisine, the seaweed and black sesame butter gives you the unusual and exotic sensation about eating bread and butter. The crackling was quite decent, and the parmesan truffle rice was failed to impressed me. It was lacking of flavor. The truffle oil aroma and the rice were just felt unpleasant to me.

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Back-to-Front Squid risotto, Cauliflower, Roasted Squid Consommé

This dish is all about playing on the texture without sacrificing the main ingredient quality which is the squid, where the risotto was actually the squid that had been cut about a rice-size, and the used-to-squid cracker is actually made from rice.

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Slow-cooked egg, Pea soup, Sourdough

Most of the time, a simple dish is the most difficult one to make. This soup was under seasoned to my taste. It tasted rather bland. Too bad, the soup didn’t matched well with the perfectly cooked poached egg. When you have a bowl of pea soup, you need that warm and hearty feeling when you put a spoon of soup in your mouth. It’s just missed from this bowl.

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Fillet of Cod, Broccoli Stem and Quinoa, Cockles and Cabaneros

The perfectly cooked fish was served with potato gnocchi with mushroom-chrysanthemum-tarragon tea. I feel that the broth really compliment the fish really well. It was packed of flavor but still light at the same time, so the aroma and the flavor penetrate slowly to the fish without overpowering the fish.

IMG_0512Squab Pigeon, Braised Leg, Rhubarb, Caramelized Radicchio, Golden Raisins

This was my favorite plate on that afternoon after a let down from the pea soup. Everything on this plate was just immaculate, seasoned really well, and each component from the perfectly glazed carrot, to the onion puree with a hint of nutmeg flavor in it was sublime. It’s almost impossible to left a thing on the plate.

Dessert Bar:

IMG_0510Nuances of Red

Hibiscus and Yoghurt Ice Cream, Pickled Raspberries and Orchids

I personally feel that the sweet and sour element from this dessert is great for a pre-dessert, especially before you had the Chocolate “Kopi”. It is red, bright, vibrant, sharp, and incredibly refreshing on the palate.

IMG_0511Chocolate “Kopi”

Rum Raisin, Coffee, Truffle Honey

A small, simple, and yet elegant dessert that is beautifully presented really was the best way to end my lunch.

It was a let down at first, but luckily the food manage to climb up in terms of execution and flavor. Some of the dish was far too simple until it was sacrificing the flavor, but most of it were good. No doubt, Jason Atherton is still a genius. I like his approach to serve anti-bullshit food with good flavor combination. He always try to keep it simple without sacrificing the magic on the plate.

Pollen Singapore

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Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-09
Singapore 018953

Opening Hours (Tuesday to Sunday)
Lunch: 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm
Pollen Afternoon Tea: 3pm to 5pm
Pollen Bistro: 12pm to 9pm (Daily)

http://www.pollen.com.sg

 

L’atelier de Joel Robuchon Singapore

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Did you remember the last big mac you had at the McDonald? How did it tasted like? I think wherever you eat a handful of big mac in every McDonald counters around the world, it will taste almost the same, some other dishes might be slightly different from one shop to another, but the concept is still remain the same.

Have you ever imagine what does it like to maintain a fine dining restaurant chain around the globe, where you need to put the exact amount of precision in every single places and plates to every single diner? It’s far more complicated than just maintaining the quality of a piece of big mac isn’t it?

Chef Jöel Robuchon was born in Poitiers, France, 7 April 1945, is the man who redefines nouvelle cuisine in the 60’s from the image of complex foods to heavy sauces into simpler, lighter, and giving more highlights to the ingredients. He is awarded “Chef of the Century” by Gault Milau in 1989, and also the man who earns more Michelin star than any chefs on this planet (27 stars in total across the globe based on 2014 Michelin guide).

The first L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon was set up in 2003, 7 years after his retirement at the age of 50 in 1996. The idea behind it is to have more relaxing dining environment without sacrificing the quality of the food. The restaurant concepts is inspired from having a small plates of food in a bar or restaurant during his travel to Japan and Spain, where the customers are able to interact with the chefs. To balance it, they have more formal dining options at Jöel Robuchon restaurant with more elaborate dishes.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

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Bread Selections

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Foie Gras custard, Port Wine Reduction, Parmesan Foam

Three layers, three flavours, three textures. When Foie Gras is paired with sweet and sour sauce, it’s almost difficult to get it wrong as long as they’re executed rightly. The rich livery flavor is complimented beautifully by the port wine sauce. The mild parmesan taste from the foam gives it an extra smooth finish.

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LE CRABE ROYAL

Monaco style king crab salad with mozzarella

This was my first time to eat mozzarella together with the crab. Obviously you’ll get different texture and flavor from this dish. The crab is fresh, naturally sweet, and it goes well with the richness from the mozzarella. The acidity from the vinaigrette balanced the richness well enough. It’s a pretty decent dish to be honest.

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LA SAINT-JAQUES

Seared Scallops, Endives Salad, Lemon dressing

The scallops was perfectly cooked and seasoned beautifully. At first I thought the salad was under-dressed (needs a little bit more acidity), but thanks the dried tomato that lifted up the flavor. I prefer this salad compared to the other one.

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LA SOLE

Dover sole Meunière, baby spinach leaves.

Classic at its best! The fish was cooked on the bone a la plancha, served with brown butter and lemon. This plate of food is just can’t get any better than this. But too bad, the beautifully cooked spinach was filled with too much wasabi dressing until both me and my partner were agreed to send it back.

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LA CAILLE

Caramelised quail and mashed potatoes

The excitement from this dish didn’t just stop at the perfectly cooked and well seasoned quail. The stuffed Foie Gras does really enhanced the flavor by adding extra richness without being too overpowering.

The Legendary Robuchon Pomme Puree is one of the best human invention on the planet. It always stick to his golden rule, “2 pounds of potatoes and a ½ pound of butter”. It’s silky smooth, buttery, and packed with lots of flavor. This is the “first-class mashed”.

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L’ORANGE

The sphere coated with ivory chocolate, jelly of Kalamansi, Lemon sorbet.

This dessert has a little theatrical effect where the orange sphere was poured with citrus syrup, and you’ll find the lemon sorbet is hidden inside it. I personally found this was very bright and refreshing, but after awhile I felt like the flavor is slightly boring. Make sure you eat it quick otherwise it will end up as a citrus soup with citrus jelly.

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LE PANNA COTTA

Yoghurt panna cotta lightness, rhubarb compote and Mare des bois strawberries

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Le Souffle

Hot Yuzu soufflé with raspberry sorbet

Spotless soufflé that’s rising up beautifully and soft in the center is a perfect dessert to end every meal. It is light and fluffy in the center and gives a clean citrusy flavor on the palate.

L’Atelier (means “workshop”) de Jöel Robuchon is clearly the right place to have great quality of food without sacrificing your wallet. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed but still maintaining the service quality. The food might have some ups and downs, but overall, they’re doing quite well in my opinion. Since this is my first experience at one of the Robuchon’s empires, I just can’t wait for more.

L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon Singapore

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8 Sentosa Gateway  Singapore 098269

+65 6577 6688

dining@rwsentosa.com

Daily:
6pm – 10.30pm
Weekend Lunch:
12pm to 2pm

Amuz Gourmet

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Amuz Gourmet is regarded as one of the best French fine dining establishment in Jakarta. Since the opening in 2010, the restaurant has been received numerous award including Asia Tatler, and listed at Miele Guide for Indonesia region. The French-born chef, Gilles Marx, is the chef founder and has more than 20 years experience, including in several Michelin starred restaurant in Lyon, Burgundy, and Paris.

The executive chef, Stefu Santoso, who works alongside chef Gilles is the Vice President of Culinary Professionals Indonesia. With more than 12 years experience in his arms, he started his career by taking hospitality school before he nailed his reputation from the bottom. He worked at Jakarta Peninsulla Hotel, and then moved to Jakarta Park Lane Hotel where he got his last position as an executive chef at one of the country’s best French restaurant, RIVA.

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The food here is contemporary French. I choose to build my own meal instead getting a tasting menu.

IMG_3812Welcome Bread

IMG_3811Artichoke Consomme, Atichoke Crisp, and Tuna Toro tar tar

A light and fresh start from the tuna, and finished with a warm artichoke consomme.

IMG_3816Chilled Alaskan King Crab and Sweet Papaya Salad.

I have no doubt for the freshness of the crab, but the orange – dill vinaigrette needs a little bit more acidity to balance the sweetness of the crab and the papaya to my taste.

IMG_5052Wild Mushroom Tea Infused Consomme, sauteed Porcini, White Truffle Scented Potato Espuma.

This is a lovely dish. I enjoyed this dish as mush as I enjoyed a cup of hot cappuccino on Sunday afternoon. The creaminess from the espuma blends beautifully with the consomme.

IMG_3818Pan-seared Diver Scallop & Light Creamed Baby Butter Lettuce, served with Black Summer Truffle Jus, and Pomme Paile

Scallops were cooked to perfection, but they tasted slightly bland. I feel that they were kind of lost their natural sweetness. The other thing is that the endives just didn’t work with the scallop.

IMG_3820Pan Roasted Live Canadian Lobster, Kipfler Potatoes, Harricot Coco Plats, XO Lobster Jus.

The lobster slightly too much bite to my liking. I won’t say this is a bad dish, but I feel that it’s lacking of wow factor. It’s pretty a decent dish.

IMG_3825Raspberry mille-feuille.

Classic at its best!

The overall experience at Amuz didn’t really meet my expectation. I came here with a great expectation to have faultless cooking and perfect service. Beside the slow phase between meal, most of the front house staffs struggled to give details about the food, they need to ask their supervisor to do it. If this is what they called the best French restaurant in town, they need to offer more than what I had that night. I hope I was wrong.

Amuz Gourmet

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Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 52 – 53 SCBD Senayan Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Selatan DKI Jakarta  Indonesia

+62 21 2505064

Cheffounder@amuzgourmet.com

Takazawa

Aronia2“I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”

It’s tough. It’s damn bloody tough, when you only have two options too choose among the best restaurant in the country who has more Michelin starred restaurants than any other place on earth, especially when you keep flipping pages after pages of Michelin Guide book on your hand.

From a humble tempura, traditional Kaiseki, to western fine dining establishment, Tokyo is becoming the the Asia’s (if not the world) culinary mecca not only for foodies to find their best meal, but also for the chef to find inspiration.

Beside the dinner at Akasaka Tantei on my previous post, I left one more restaurant to choose. This time, I need to choose wisely. Bad dinner means ruining my trip.

Takazawa , changed their name from Aronia de Takazawa since May 2012. The restaurant has been opened their doors since 2005 with only 2 tables a day, 8 seats maximum. From 2011 they were increasing their capacity to 10 seats.

Yoshiaki Takazawa, 36 years old, is the mastermind, the magician, the genius behind the stove. Even though he never trained overseas. He’s been working in several places after graduating from French cooking school in the age of 18, including Park Hyatt hotel, wedding banquet, even to a humble Yakitori places. He is also the youngest senior sommelier in Japanese history.

Menu:

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Amuse Bouche

From left to right: Pork Liver Pate Sandwich, Curry Soup Sphere, Scallop Tempura topped with shaved Truffle

The pork liver pate for me was just perfect, absolutely delicious. This pate will make you forget about the poshy goose liver pate for awhile.

The curry sphere was delicious as well, but I can’t comment any further about it.

The scallop was another great start. Instead of using tempura flour, they use pastry dough. The sweetness from the scallop, crispiness from the pastry, and a kick from the truffle made it a perfect start for a great meal.

Aronia05The legendary Takazawa Rataouille

Eye candy, beautiful, stunning, unique, small, bite-sized deconstructed ratatouille that has been in the menu since the opening of the restaurant from 2005 until now. This is the signature dish where the chef cooked 15 types of vegetables individually before he assemble them together into a terrine. Instead to make it as a big portion, the chef wants the customer to have it in one bite so that we can taste and feel everything. Every single component of this dish was like dancing in your mouth. It gave you different textures and flavors at the same time.

Aronia09Sesame Bread with bamboo charcoal, Pork rilette

Aronia23Vegetable Parfait

Again, a unique interpretation of vegetables. Here, you get a beautiful glass of vegetable cocktail. From the bottom you have tomato water and gazpacho. The top layer consist of parmigiano reggiano cream cheese, basil puree, tomato jelly, caviar, brunoise of cucumber and tomato, crisp black cabbage, and some micro herbs. You must dig with a long spoon and have it together. The flavor is magical, very refreshing and vibrant. I’m really happy with this one.

Note: Before I go for the wine, I have to admit that I have so little knowledge about wine. Most of the time I will just go by a glass of white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc will doing a good job.

This is the first time I take a wine pairing. I didn’t have any plan at all to have one. I asked Akiko to recommend me a glass of white wine, Japanese wine if possible, and I ended up in having a meal with “Japanese-white-wine-pairing”.

Aronia10The first Japanese white wine that I had was produced by Team Kisvin and Chateu Sakaori. This wine consist of 48 different grapes from mount fuji.

Aronia25Hot Blanc Mangier

Inside the cup, it looks like a crème caramel. But actually it’s a cod’s egg custard topped with prawn sauce. The texture is like chawanmushi. This is accompanied by truffle look-a-like, but actually the real truffle is the one on top. The fake truffle is a deep fried cod’s egg. The custard is packed with flavor. The balance is just perfect, because you get the exact amount of richness from the custard. The prawn sauce got a hint of yuzu to give it extra kick. For the deep’s fried cod’s egg, you can’t eat it separately from the truffle. It’s tasted rather bland if you tasted it alone, but with the combination with truffle is just fantastic. You get the creaminess from the egg plus the aroma and flavor from the truffle. Damn good.

Aronia26Candleholder

The inspiration behind this dish is literally coming from a candleholder. The candle is made from pear jam, and the cover is Foie Gras crème brulee. I like this dish, but at some point I felt the foie gras crème brulee is just too much in terms of quantity. It’s nice, but after a certain amount it’s just feel too rich and sweet.

Aronia11This wine uses night-harvested grapes to ensure the maximum quality of the grapes. A perfect companion with the next two upcoming dishes.

Aronia27Breakfast

Do you remember the last time you had cereal for your breakfast, Maybe accompanied with some milk, or even with an egg on the side? This is the same feeling when this dish arrived at my table, but with extra excitement. You have poached egg, guinea fowl broth, and shaved truffle on the left, and the cereal flakes on the right. Instead of using corn flakes, this one you have potato flakes instead. Mix them together, and you will wish to have this breakfast anytime. The chef always use the egg that comes from special breed of chicken. Akiko explained that the chicken is fed with the pressed grapes that used to make wine ( I don’t know what they’re being called with), so it will produce a rich and flavorful egg. The egg yolk looks slightly orangey.

Aronia12Mont Blanc

This dish is inspired from mount Fuji. Pan fried fish (it’s a Japanese fish, but still in flounder family) served with black seaweed puree, lily bulb, milk foam, and white wine sauce. The seaweed puree gives the sea flavor to the fish. The combination of this dish plus the nutty texture from the lily bulb brings great flavor to your palate.

Aronia15This tells me a good Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t always come from France. The best companion for my meat.

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Excitement, that is what they continuously deliver to every diner. Before the main begin, Akiko served us an unedible tablet, then the magic started when she pour the hot water onto it. The tablet turns into a hand towel to wipe our hands. Beside that, it has the forest aroma to maximize the dish experience.

Aronia13Venison

I felt like having the whole forest on the table. Here you have Hokkaido venison, bamboo shoot, chestnut, ginko nut, shitake, burdock, edible charcoal (it’s a Japanese sweet potato), some mountain vegetables, and served on top of pine bark. Chef Takazawa proved it here that he is a grilling expert, based on his experience on Yakitori places. The meat was grilled perfectly, and so the other component. Amazing.

Aronia14Champagne to eat

This is a better version from my previous meal at Namaaz. Basically, this is a carbonated fruits. But I can’t denied the quality of the white muscats. They’re incredibly fresh and sweet.

Aronia16Japanese Ice wine

Aronia17Tiramisu

This is Takazawa interpretation for tiramisu. It’s a combination of grated chestnut, mascarpone ice cream, and coffee mousse, a lovey dessert after a roller coaster meal.

Aronia18Tea Selections

Aronia19Petit Four

Matcha marshmallow, roasted tea meringue, Japanese chili chocolate, yuzu cake.

Undoubtedly, this is the best dining experience so far. It struck your mind and emotion right away to the core. The service was immaculate, Akiko has a pure sense of what I call it honest hospitality with no bullshit or whatever.

Chef Takazawa is a genius on his game. He is serious, I mean dead serious about what he does. I asked Akiko about those prestigious awards like Michelin guide, San Pellegrino, or other best restaurant award. I believe that Takaza deserve a star or two if not three. Akiko was just smile and shake her head. I asked “Why not?” and she replied, “We are happy for just being like this”.

I was finishing my meal, paying the bill, taking some pictures, saying goodbye, and left the restaurant with a thought on my mind. Do these awards really matter?Based on this amazing dinner, it’s almost impossible for Takazawa not to earn those awards. But then again, even without those accolades, getting a reservation is a tough one. You need at least 3 months to get a table.

Some chefs work their ass off, put their reputation on the line to get recognition. But when they get it, they must maintain it by following their game. This is where some restaurant is becoming too cliche. They lost their freedom, their imagination, or even their true identity.

Some chefs, are just care about what they do, their main duty, which is to give customer the best meal. They don’t give a damn about those awards. This is where they have their own game, maintain their identity, free their imagination, and I think this is what Takazawa is all about. A proper meal.

Takazawa

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Sanyo Akasaka Bld. 2F 3-5-2 Akasaka Minatoku Tokyo ,Japan

TEL:03-3505-5052

reservation@takazawa-y.co.jp

http://www.aroniadetakazawa.com/

*update:Takazawa just got #31 at Asia50best by San Pellegrino on Feb 2013. I dined in this restaurant on early Dec 2012.

Akasaka Tantei

Kaiseki. What I know about it is a traditional Japanese degustation meal that emphasize on the whole dining experience such as attention to details, balance of flavor, presentation, and even the plate plays important role as the previous factors.  I would say that Kaiseki is the Haute Japanese cuisine.

Honestly, I have zero knowledge about Kaiseki. I know nothing. Even my knowledge about Japanese food is very little. I can’t really figure out the different types of ramen, how to determine good soba, tempura, or even unagi.

I had a good time so far by eating delicious food in Japan. But I quite curious about what Kaiseki is all about, so I decided to buy a Japan Michelin guide. I found out that Kaiseki meal is…. Expensive. Very expensive indeed. Especially if you want to experience the whole thing by staying at Ryokan. Most people will choose Kyoto to experience the ultimate Kaiseki, but the price is relatively expensive. One single meal can cost you up to $600.

I found one restaurant in Tokyo Michelin guide 2012 named Akasaka Tan-tei. The restaurant just got their first star by serving Okinawan produces that arranged in Kaiseki style. So just call this Okinawan Kaiseki. The restaurant is located in the middle of Roppongi area in Tokyo.

All tables are in private rooms, so you can have a good time enjoying your meal with your partner. The only let down is that the staffs speak very little English, so I had difficulty in getting explanation and information about the dish.

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These are what they have

IMG_3407Ramen with Mushroom tempura

The ramen served with a light broth. This is a good start for the meal. It was light but tasty.

IMG_3521From left to right: Mashed Okinawan Vegetables, Japanese Sweet Potato, Pig Ear Jelly, Okinawan young Papaya Salad, Scallop with Tofu sauce with Sake Infusion.

The pig ear jelly was interesting because you get different texture from the jelly and the crunchiness from the pig ear. The Jelly tasted like a pork broth to me. Everything is good on this plate, from the scallop to the salad, you get different texture and flavor.

IMG_3412Pan fried Okinawan fish, Winged bean, Grated turnip broth.

The fish was perfectly cooked, and paired beautifully with the light broth of grated turnip, the winged bean gives extra flavor and texture to the dish.

IMG_3413Kampachi Sashimi, Squid Sushi.

The fish is fresh, and also the squid, but the squid sushi was a complete disaster for me. The wasabi was far too overpowering. It’s just destroy the whole dish.

IMG_3414Pork Belly with white miso sauce.

This is the signature dish from Akasaka Tantei, and also the star of the night. The pork was just unbelievable. It’s incredibly tasty, juicy, tender, and packed with flavor. It was so tender until it was felt like eating a chunk of pork butter. The white miso sauce goes really well with the pork belly.

IMG_3415Okinawan vegetables

Here you get yellow carrot, radish, taro, and other vegetable that cooked beautifully, and topped with vegetable puree.

IMG_3525Okinawan Beef, Chives, Grilled Ginko Nut, Mushroom Tofu Salad

The beef was mind blowing. It was just what you want to get from a piece of meat, but this was like eating chives with beef, not eating beef chives. The grilled ginko and the tofu salad were just fine.

IMG_3418Rice with Dashi Broth

This is a humble bowl of rice with a light touch of dashi soup. Pour the Dashi soup to the rice, and you will have like a rice soup. It was so simple but delicious.

IMG_3419Okinawan Fruits with Yuzu Sorbet.

This is a simple, yet a perfect dessert to close the meal. Selections of fresh fruits such as starfruit, strawberry, grape, kiwi, dragon fruit, served with Yuzu ice cream with passion fruit sauce.

Akasaka Tantei was an up and down experience for me. Honestly it’s quite tough to judge because I have no clue about a proper Kaiseki meal, nor Okinawan cuisine. Plus with so little explanation from the staff left me trying to figure out some of the ingredients that I might not known before, nor how suppose they should taste.

Overall it was a great experience. Akasaka Tantei might not the best meal in Tokyo, but I had a good time there, and the price is quite reasonable. So far, my conclusion is they’re able to show the beauty behind simplicity.

Akasaka Tan-tei

 

http://www.akasakatantei.com/en.html

tel: 03-3584-6646

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