Sarong Restaurant

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I would be lying if I told you that I came to visit Sarong with confidence about their food. At first, I didn’t believe that a “westerner” was able to cook good Asian dishes, but they got me completely wrong.

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Sarong was established in 2008 and gained several accolades including the prestigious San Pellegrino Asia 50best in 2014. The food is a mixed between Indian, Thai, and Southeast Asian accents. The mastermind behind the kitchen is Will Meyrick, the Scottish chef who was born in Portugal, started his apprenticeships at numerous places in London before he traveled around South America, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

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Their Coktail selections were worth to try.

Tempeh Cracker served with Green Chutney (Mint, Coriander Root, Yoghurt)

Tempeh cracker is best to be enjoyed at any time any day, whether as a condiment for your main, or going with your beer. Even though I prefer to enjoyed on its own, the green chutney brought the cracker more alive by adding the fresh and sour element to the savory cracker.

Grilled Scallop with Sweet Crispy Duck Thai Basil Young coconut & Peanut Nam Jihm Tuna Betel Lemon Grass Green Tomato Sambal Matah and Bumbu Pasih

Don’t be fooled by its humbled appearance, because lot of things are going on in a single bite. The scallop dish delivered a strong South East Asian flavor with Balinese touch. Too bad the scallops were slightly overcooked, otherwise this would be spotless.

Butter Chicken with Cashew Nut Ginger Garam Masala Kasoori Methi & Tomato Sauce

I ordered additional Pita Bread to accompany this delicious butter chicken. The chicken was juicy and tender, but the gravy was slightly too salty.

“Bebek Madura” Twice Cooked Duck with Sambal Mangga & Balinese Sambal

This duck was mind blowing. It has every duck confit checklists that you can probably named off. Tender and Juicy meat, crispy skin, and undoubtedly good flavor. If you’re a big fan of sambal then you’ll definitely love those things.

Signature Crispy Pork Belly with Sichuan Chili Salt Tamarillo and Tamarind Sauce

I was amazed by the texture and the flavor from this pork belly. I tried this dish at their two sister restaurants, Mamasan and E&O, but in my opinion they’re fail to deliver the flavor balance like this one. It was either too sweet or too sour. The one I had here was clearly stunning. The sweet, sour, savory balanced really well. The texture  of the pork was crispy on top, followed by tender meat, and buttery texture from the fat.

Lemon grass Panacotta with Cucumber Lime Jelly served with Citrus Lemon Basil Sorbet

Since I and my partner were quite full during that evening, we decided to order one dessert for sharing. Let’s get it straight, the pannacotta texture was too hard, I think that my pork belly felt more tender that this. The presentation clearly didn’t match the texture and flavor.

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Overall, Sarong is a place who treats Asian cuisine with respect. It is a must whenever you’re visiting Bali whether you’re having a date or with a group of friends. I believe that the varieties will please the palate diversities. Obviously, Chef Will is a master in combining complex and strong flavor without sacrificing the main ingredient quality.

 

Sarong

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Jl. Petitenget No, 19 x
Kerobokan, Bali 80361
Indonesia

T. +62 361 4737 809
F. +62 361 4737 810
E. info@sarongbali.com
W: www.sarongbali.com

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/

Amber

Richard Ekkebus, is a culinary director of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel Amber Restaurant. He is a Dutch-born, and has been trained in several French culinary maestros such as Passard, Gagnaire, and Guy Savoy. The restaurant earns two Michelin Star and 50Best restaurant from Aqua Panna San Pellegrinno Award.

Amber restaurant tries to serve the best ingredients around the world, and treated with European techniques.

 

IMG_1717Bread

IMG_1718Foie Gras Lollipop, Raspberry and Beetroot

This lollipop reminds me of Heston’s idea of creating orange that made from chicken liver. This was delicious. This kind of thing will put a smile on your face when you eat it.

IMG_1719White Asparagus Sabayon, Serano Ham

IMG_1723LANGOUSTINE in organic tomato & watermelon ‘nage’ with espelette chili & coriander

The langoustine was cooked perfectly, and the nage compliments really well. For me, this dish is about clarity, the pureness of flavor that comes from the produce. It was refreshing and tasty.

HOKKAIDO SEA URCHIN in a Lobster jell-O with Cauliflower, caviar,Crispy Seaweed Waffles

The most expensive seafood gathered together on the table. The bottom layer is cauliflower mousse, and followed by sea urchin, lobster gel and topped by caviar. This Rolls-Royce  spread served with seaweed waffles.

IMG_1726TASMANIAN SALMON confit & Smoked
avocado, Horseradish & Granny smith apple

For me, the Salmon itself is more than enough on the plate. It has the smoke sensation and perfect texture and flavor. This is an amazing piece of salmon.

IMG_1727DUCK FOIE GRAS steamed then charcoal grilled with virgin pistachio oil salt-roasted beetroots in cherry juice & hibiscus reduction

Charcoal grilled Foie Gras? Just by reading the title, I can imagine this dish will worth to die for. Creamy, fatty, rich, and tasty Foie Gras with the reduction was just mind blowing.

KAGOSHIMA WAGYU BEEF sirloin MS: A4, oven roasted
 purée of ‘forgotten’ shallots

The roasted beef can’t get any better than dish, especially for the shallot pureee was just beyond expectation. On the contrary, I don’t really like the braised beef. It tasted somewhat too sweet for me.

IMG_1730French Farmer Cheeses

IMG_1733BLOOD ORANGE sorbet with florentine’s & confit zest
a semi fredo inspired after ‘calissons de provençe’

 IMG_1735ALBINAO 85% CHOCOLATE soufflé with
cacao sorbet

If I only have one more chance to eat chocolate before I die. This souffle will be on my option.

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Clearly, Hong Kong has been step up his game since the past few years in this industry. This is the place where East meet West, the place where in the restaurant scene is not limited to one particular source of ingredient or technique. In Amber restaurant, you’ll find best of the best ingredients from around the world that handled with generous amount of passion and skills. Definitely worth a journey.

Amber Restaurant

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
15 Queen’s Road, Seventh Floor
The Landmark
Central, Hong Kong

Hours of Operation
Breakfast
Monday to Sunday 7:00 am – 10:30 am

Lunch
Monday to Sunday 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Dinner
Monday to Sunday 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm

http://www.amberhongkong.com

Manresa

During my trip to U.S., I was had a chance to visit San Francisco South Bay area. I remembered one of my friends introduced me about Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos. This ** restaurant just got #48 position in one of the most prestigious award 50 Best restaurant by San Pellegrino. This restaurant also known for its produces, especially vegetables, that come from Cynthia Sandberg’s Love Apple Farms in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. The produces are grown by using biodynamic technique.

Roasted Bell Pepper Gelee and Black Olives Madeleine

The first thought in my mind by looking at these things were something sweet, but at the moment you put those things in your mouth, they contains several dimensions of flavor. The Roasted Bell Pepper gelee was delicious. It was savory yet sweet at the same time. And the sweetness of madeleine compliment the taste of the gelee.

Raw Milk Panna Cotta, Abalone, Abalone-dashi gelee

Again, the “sweet” presentation gives you a total different flavor in your mouth. For me this was a clever and well-balanced dish. It has a hint of meyer-lemon that gives extra kick.

Garden Beignets with Crispy Kale

 This bite-sized golden brown ball with crispy kale was absolutely delicious.

Bread

Savory Granola, Aromatic Herb Curd, Peas and Rice

If I were the peas, I would be happy to be cooked like this. They were really fresh, and I like the way this dish delivered the simplicity of peas in a elegant way.

Summer squash, Nasturtium, Cultured Cream

I like the way the flavor of this dish plays in your mouth. It has the right balance of acidic and sweetness, savory, and refreshing at the same time.

 Garden vegetable

This is one of the signature dishes by David Kinch. This plate tells you the idea, philosophy, appreciation, creation, and passion  about the greens. The dish itself might looks simple in green, but a lot of things going on on this plate. From the baby carrot, baby radish, greens, everything has the right texture. For me, this is fireworks.

 Tidal pool

Here’s another signature dish from David Kinch, Tidal Pool.  It has a touch of Japanese identity from the way this dish works. The golden dashi broth served with some selection of the freshest seafood on that day such as abalone, sea urchin scallop, even foie gras. The flavor was really amazing and well balanced.

 Japanese Sea Bream, Garlic Puree, Sesame Salt, Orange Jam.

I quite like dish dish.  The puree, orange jam, and sea bream worked beautifully. The only problem that I felt was only the fish. It was slightly undercooked. I’m not trying to be fuzzy, but when you have 2 to 3 things on the plate, you expect perfection on the plate, but I didn’t get it from this plate.

Suckling goat, fava bean puree, goat milk’s curd.

I didn’t manage to capture this dish, because at the moment the plate arrived on the table I can’t wait to taste the beautifully cooked young goat. I was so tender. I won’t say the combination was perfect, but other components compliment the goat in a unique way. I took this picture from my friend’s phone. And this is the best that he took.

Roasted duck, Mushroom, Shallot Jus

Again, a beautifully cooked duck that melts in your mouth as soon as you put in. the mushroom and shallot were boosting the flavor of the duck.

 

Mint Tea

This tea made from different kind of mints those picked freshly from the garden on the same day. It was so refreshing.

 Geranium Foam, Cucumber Sorbet, Strawberry Soup

This combination is perfect for the palate cleanser. I never tried cucumber sorbet before. But it was really refreshing. The strawberry and the sorbet paired beautifully.

 Pistachio Parfait, Red Wine Meringue, Cherry Crumble

This is so good!! Especially the smooth parfait married with the cherry crumble and red wine meringue. The balance of sweet and sour was just nice.

 Strawberry Gellee, Chocolate madeleine

These are the sweet version for the amuse bouche. Same texture, same appearance, but two different flavor.

The overall experience at Manresa restaurant was up and down. In terms of flavor and texture, they’re really nailed. They were able to bring roller coaster into our mouth. Most of the dishes are well balanced and executed really well. But we’re quite disappointed by the way their portioned their dish. It was incredibly small. We were still craving for food just after we finished the last meal. Some of you might argue that this is the way tasting menu is, or maybe I’m just a big eater. But hey, this is not my first experience. I didn’t expect it to be full, but leaving the restaurant with close to empty stomach was just not right. We’re pay big bucks for it, and 4 of us agree with the same thing.

Manresa

320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030

408.354.4330

http://www.manresarestaurant.com

Wednesday–Sunday, from 5:30 p.m. The cocktail lounge opens 5:00 p.m

Eleven Madison Park

#50 Best Restaurant in 2010,  #24 Best Restaurant in 2011, and #10 Best Restaurant in 2012, *** Michelin, Eleven Madison Park or known as EMP unarguably is one of the best restaurant in the world. The Switzerland chef, Daniel Humm, sharpened his skills at 3 Michelin Star restaurant Le Pont De Brent. In 2005, he won Food & Wine Best New Chef Award from his previous restaurant, Campton Place in San Francisco.

 

This luxurious restaurant offers modern French cuisine. Clearly, chef Humm is so obsessed with perfection and great produce. The structure of the flavor in every dish elevates your palate from the mildest taste as possible to the strongest element. It’s all about multi-sensory dining experienced where texture, aroma, flavor, and presentation play harmoniously on the table.

 

I had a full-course tasting menu.

 Smoked Apple Tea

The sweet and sourness from this apple consommé refresh your palate instantly.

 Quail Egg, Bacon, Toasted Brioche.

The combination of flavor plays really well on your palate. The quail egg was still runny inside so that it melted in my mouth like butter. The thin strip of bacon was like binding the flavor together. Delicious.

 Black and White cookies.

This is the twist of New York traditional cookies. Don’t be fooled. It wasn’t chocolate and vanilla cream, but truffle and goat’s milk. Amazing!

 Mackerel and Scallop

Scallop:  Scallop Crisp, Scallop Ceviche, Black Sesame Puree

Mackerel: Horseradish Chip, Mustard

Both combinations work well. I like the texture difference between the scallop ceviche and the crisp. There was a hint of Meyer lemon that brought up the flavor of the scallop dish.

 

Greek Yoghurt Lollipop with a hint of curry

Eating this lollipop will instantly transform you into a small kid and his ice cream. I found this lollipop dish was clever. The crunchiness and the smoothness of the yoghurt made you want this even more.

Chickpea panisee with Yoghurt

 Shrimp, celery root, apple snow

This tiny little bowl was absolutely refreshing, the shrimp was really fresh, and each component  played really well.

Clambake

This dish was quite gimmicky, the waiter started to pour water on to the hot stone and immediately the sea aroma was filing your nose. There are two versions of clam, the first one is clamp with butternut squash and chorizo. The second one is clam with celeriac, apple, and fennel. The other side are chorizo cornbread madelaine and lobster croquet. The clam chowder presents simplicity at its best. It’s thick, rich, but mild at the same time, tasty. I hope I can enjoy this bowl of clam chowder on the beach.

 Bread with Cow and Goat’s Milk Butter.

The texture of the bread was really good, but I found it somewhat too salty. Quite disappointing for me.

 AlmondVariations with Mangalitsa Ham and white Balsamic vinaigrette

 Foie Gras Cured with Black sesame, Gem Lettuce, and Duck Proscuito

This Foie Gras salad was quite surprising for me. This dish was like a great escape from the pan fried foie gras cliche. It was well balanced. The cured Foie-Gras co-operate really well with the vinaigrette and the greens, it wasn’t that bold and over-rich.

Sturgeon

Smoked sturgeon with Caviar, Pickels, and Cream Cheese, Poached Quail Egg, Lettuce.

The smoked fish was tasty and has the perfect texture. The one thing I like about this dish is the caviar itself. Heaven!. The combination of the caviar and the Meyer Lemon-cream cheese was fantastic.

 Whey: Fresh Curd, Caraway Gnocchi, and Spring Herbs

My personal opinion, I don’t like this dish at all, the broth tasted somewhat weird in my palate. It was like eating greens with plain hot water.

 Lobster

Meyer Lemon-poached lobster, Burnt Leek, and Shellfish Bisque.

The lobster was absolutely fantastic, spotless cooking. The burnt leek was great, it has the sweetness and smoky flavor that compliment the lobster really well.

 Beef

55 days-dry aged beef roasted with Wood Sorrel, Marble potatoes, pea puree, mushroom, bordelaise sauce.

I’m not a big fan of “sous-vide” beef, I prefer my beef to have some burnt mark on it, tender but not soft. Overall it’s a great dish anyway. Unarguably delicious.

 Chuef Lada: Marble Potatoes, Pearl Onions, and Mustard Greens

I didn’t really enjoy this dish. It was too heavy for a long course.

Egg Cream

Orange, Cocoa Nib, and Seltzer

The egg cream is a traditional new-yorker drink. It was prepared tableside.

 Cheesecake:Goat Cheese, Cara Cara Orange, Vanilla

The orange sat nicely to balance the richness of the cheese. This was so good!

 Chocolate Sorbet with Caramelized cocoa Pastry, Meyer Lemon, and Olive Oil

This dessert was blowing my mind away. The combination of texture and the flavor married each other brilliantly.

 There you go, this is the true version of black and white cookies.

 

 

I was coming to this restaurant with pretty high expectation. Overall , I like the progression of flavor and texture that coming from each dish. But in my opinion, I just felt that the flavor’s journey failed to reach the climax. Clearly, this restaurant was worth *** star and one of the best restaurant in the world. I can feel that the chef was so obsessed with great produce and the natural flavor that comes from it. They apply the modern techniques a lot into the food and serve in immaculate presentation. Great experience overall. I was not feeling disappointed, but maybe it’s just not my cup of tea.

 

Eleven Madison Park

11 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Phone: 212.889.0905

Lunch: Monday–Friday, noon–2:00p.m.
Dinner: Monday–Saturday, 5:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m

http://www.elevenmadisonpark.com