Sunday, April 15, 2012

Parco Caffe, fine dining at a hidden area

Raeburn Park, one of the many hidden areas in Singapore but located almost at the heart of the city area. Sounds improbable? Cute Cute also found it hard to believe that such a place exist in Singapore. Located near to the old KTM railway station, Parco Caffe (of Alkaff Mansion affiliation) is the only restaurant that is within Raeburn Park.

Not knowing what to expect, the Lions settled down for their meal. Now Parco Caffe boost of 2 different kinds of cuisine in its menu, Italian and local and they are very affordable for their lunch menu. To satisfy their curiosity, the Lions asked and found that there are 2 chefs in the kitchen, each specialising in their own cuisine, namely Italian and local fare. Everything in the menu looked so good that the Lions wanted to order a lot. Thank God that they had friends with them!

In their own private corner
An array of food was ordered and the reviews are as shown in the caption
Seafood Laksa:
Look and sound simple, but the taste is much more than simple. The lemak in the laksa is just nice and a lot of seafood were present adding to the flavor of the dish.
Chicken Rice
Chicken Rice here??!! A simple dish but you would be surprised by the quality. (Cute Cute and his friend were surprised) Chicken was really tender and the rice was so fluffy and nice. This dish can really give chatterbox a run for their money!
Risotto Fruitti Di Mare
Very filling and does not have too strong a seafood taste. It was ordinary however....

Pizza Proscuitto E Fungi
A unique looking pizza that comprises of tomato, mozzarella, ham and mushroom. Nothing really special apart from its look and it tasted more like a tortilla wrap.   

Parco Salad
The usual salad topped with smoked chicken. Something different from your usual salad fare. 

Curry Chicken
Curry chicken here at a fine dining restaurant?? It is one of the recommendations and Cute Cute was ready to dive into the dish. The curry has the right consistency and spiciness. A generous portion of chicken was also served together with this dish. 

Lobster Bisque
The lobster bisque was nothing extra ordinary but it was nice and savory. Extra points for having visible pieces of lobster.
It's mine finally!!! Tee Hee....
Linguine alle Vongole
The Vongole was pleasant but did not really tickle Cuchi's taste bud. It's still good but it lacked a bit of white wine to it.

Cute Cute and Cuchi so loved Parco Caffe that they went back again but this time in the evening to try their dinner menu.... and of course on a different day. 
Kurobuta Pork Ribs
Cuchi was impressed by this dish. The lions had never heard of Kurobuta pork ribs and since it was a recommended and special dish, Cuchi ordered it. Very tender with just the correct bite to it, the Kurobuta pork was really a dish that brought out the black pig's taste. The teriyaki sauce also complemented well with the pork giving it a nice sweet savory taste.

Agnello Scottadito
The rack of lamb was another specialty of Parco Caffe. Lamb chops grilled nicely (Cute Cute took it medium rare) and the colour consistency of the lamb was very even. What mattered more was that the lamb did not have a gamey taste. Tender and nicely done, the lamb chops was also another dish that Cute Cute would remember.
Gula Melaka Sago
This dessert was rather ordinary according to Cute Cute but Cuchi being a more dessert person felt that the dessert was rather good. Not too sweet and it's a unique way of presenting the usual sago dessert that all of us were so used to.

In all, the Lions enjoyed every moment of their time at Parco Caffe. The food was wonderful, the service staff were very friendly and helpful and the ambience was extremely pleasant making the whole place a gem in the F & B industry.

Here is our review for Parco Caffe

Food quality: 8.5 pawprints out of 10
Ambience: 9 pawprints out of 10

Specials that you should try: The Local Dishes, Lamb Chops, Kurobuta Pork Ribs

For those who are interested in going there, here is the address:

Parco Caffe @ Raeburn Park
10 Raeburn Park
#01-28, Singapore 088702
Tel:  6223 6338

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BYOF at The Straits Wine Company, East Coast

After racking their brains to find a quiet cosy spot for a catching up session with Mrs T Affleck, the lions remembered driving past a rather obscure line of old shophouses along East Coast Road. There, they stumbled upon and briefly explored The Straits Wine Company outlet housed in the two-storey conservation building.

Deciding that it was a good spot to meet up with the gregarious and vivacious Mrs Affleck who loves her tipple, they descended upon the little wine haven.

The first floor housed the collection of affordable quality wines from Australia, France, Italy, Spain and South America. The second floor was a surprisingly understated area that was furnished just like a living room with lovely rattan furniture at the balcony and simple mod-retro sofas and chairs perfect for chilling out.

The main draw was that patrons could BYOF (Bring Your Own Food!) at no extra cost while savouring a selection of wines. The lions decided to "tapao"food from the neighbouring Peranakan restaurant.

Wine pairing with Peranakan food: Ayam Bua Keluak, Lor Bak,
Itek Sio, Ayam Ponteh, etc

The lions would rate this place 10/10 simply for the laid-back ambience alone. They were totally at ease and comfortable just like being at a friend's home.

For those interested in checking this cosy nook out, head for 180 East Coast Road, Singapore. It is also advisable to make reservations during weekends. You may want to contact them at 6344 1973.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Little Nibbles at Salt Tapas Bar by Luke Managan

Cute Cute and Cuchi were invited by Miss Saab to a private pre-opening food tasting session at Salt Tapas Bar helmed by celebrity chef Luke Managan, credited as a champion of Australian culinary culture on the international stage. He had successfully launched the fashionable Salt Grill & Sky Bar serving Mod Oz cuisine, complemented by panoramic views of Orchard on Level 55 of Ion Shopping Mall.

Salt Tapas Bar is his more casual joint at Raffles City Shopping Mall. But the food is no less stellar despite the more accessible vibe and tapas-style bites.

The lions were greeted by rustic red brick walls with patches of greens that made up the exterior of the restaurant. The interior was reminiscent of a casual European bistro with high ceilings, wooden accents, old-school European tiles and tall windows that ran from ceiling to floor, allowing for a sport of people-watching.

Their own brand of house wine named after their celebrity chef.
Our Pinot Noir and Rose wines came in cute little decanters.
Hmmm the Sangria was better than most mediocre
ones found in local Spanish restaurants.
Moroccan steak tartare was an absolutely outstanding
dish that was well-spiced with the flavours of the Middle East.
Crack the quail's egg over it and enjoy with the wafer thin crackers.
Roasted garlic flat bread with Spanish romesco
Stuffed zucchini flowers with feta and corn puree
with sauce vierge.
Chorizo with sofrito.
Aged rib of beef charcoal grilled with chimichurri. Highly
recommend it to be done medium rare as the original flavours
of the beef is retained and juxtaposed with the crispy charred
exterior. This was a highlight of the meal. Deliciously tender as well.

Tuna tartare, ruby grapefruit, wasabi mayo with daikon chips.
This was also an outstanding dish with complex sublime flavours. The
small avocado cubes and crunchy ebiko added to the delightfully
contrasting textures.

Seared Tasmanian trout, clams, Jamon Serrano, Israeli couscous,
cucumber sherry. The light and fragrant stock was refreshing and
whetted our appetites for more. The trout was fresh and raw in the middle.
Yums! Interesting combination of seafood and red meat.

Exotic ingredient of Israeli couscous. Texture was spongy
like sago!
Taco of tempura prawn, pineapple salsa, chipotle aioli. This
dish was the only let-down, mediocre.
Roasted figs with candied ginger, baklava and yoghurt sorbet.
Miss Saab gave the sorbet 2 thumbs up :)
Only for the adventurous palate! The liquorice parfait has a rather strong
liquorice taste that is tempered by the accompanying tangy lime sago.
The churros with chocolate was a disappointment.
Indulge only to satiate your spanish dessert craving.

Overall the tapas were memorable epicurean delights. What was brilliant and executed well were the accompanying sauces of the tapas. Bravo to the saucier in the kitchen! It was a great experience savouring the Spanish tapas with an Aussie slant.

For those interested, Salt Tapas Bar is located at the ground floor of Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Savouring the world!! - A review of Savour 2012

A first in Singapore, Savour 2012 was an event that showcased a number of Michelin star restaurants and their fine cuisine. Boasting some of the world's top restaurants, Savour 2012 also had a number of up and coming eateries and food suppliers. Cute Cute and Cuchi stumbled upon this event when they first had their coffee at Sarnies. Apparently Sarnies was participating in Savour 2012 and had brochures publicising it. Adventurous as they are, the Lions were curious and signed up for it with a bunch of like-minded gourmands.

Hawt Hawt Hawt.... Let's find some shade!
Central Restaurante, Peruvian cuisine
Gearing up for a feast, the Lions headed down to Singapore's F1 Paddock and Pit Building. With them came some friends as well, food connoisseurs in their own right... Mr Business Time, Mr Husky, etc. Being a keen strategist, Mr Business Times suggested that with the amount of Savour $$ that they had, they should all split up to get food from various booths and come back for a taste test. The lions volunteered to queue for the Peruvian cuisine of Central Restaurante.

Bay Scallop Tiradito (left) and Cacao, Corn and Chilli dessert - Central Restaurant (Peru)
Grouper and Clam Seco (below) - Central Restaurant (Peru), Tiramsu (above) - Garibaldi (Singapore Italian)
Once the refined portions of food were placed on the table for all, the lions did their taste test.... 

Central Restaurante (Peru) - 3 items
The Bay Scallop Tiradito was good.The freshness of the scallop was evident and was balanced by the sweet potato cream. A hint of tangy citrus note was also observed. Grouper and clam seco, however was not memorable. The Cacao, Corn and Chilli was quite an eye opener though. The chocolate mousse with rocota pepper oil was very unique. Although the mousse was 64% Peruvian chocolate, the chocolate was not overwhelmingly heavy and the pepper oil was a good complement. The Corn biscuit (?) had a texture like a hundred layer cake.
Homemade Fettuccine (above) - Garibaldi (Singapore, Italian), Fragrant Steamed Yellow Pumpkin Rice (Below) - Forest (Singapore)
Garibaldi (Italian) - 2 items
Garibaldi's Homemade Fettuccine with challans duck ragout was surprisingly good given the very simple name and looks of it. The Tiramisu was very normal though.... well either it was normal or all of us including lion's friends were pampered by Chef Me's Tiramisu. 

Forest (Singapore) - 1 item
Headed by Chef Sam Leong of Singapore, Forest is a new kid on the block in the Singapore food scene. Only managed to grab one item which was the Fragrant Steamed Pumpkin Rice from Forest but boy were the lions impressed. The presentation was good and taste wise, divine. Foie Gras topped the pumpkin rice, and it was caramelised to perfection.
Potato and Malt (left), Cod 2.0 for all your senses (right) - Chez Dominque (Finland),
Chaud Froid of Egg - L'Árpege (France)
Chez Dominque (Finland) - 2 items
Cod 2.0  sounded like a very complex dish but disappointed .... The cod although fresh, failed to leave a memorable impression on the lions and their friends. However, the dessert, Potato and Malt, was quite a treat. The lions didn't know that potato ice cream could taste so good with malt. Tasted really like a very smooth milo ice cream.

LÁrpege (France) - 1 item
The much acclaimed dish of LÁrpege, the Chaud Froid of Egg, was very unique, one of the darlings of Chef Alain Passard. This dish had mixed reviews. Cute Cute do not really like it as it tasted like a sour egg yogurt but Cuchi loved it as she loved the smoothness and the soft sourness of the eggs.

Hua Ting (Singapore) - 1 item
One dish that the lions forgot to take a picture of was Hua Ting's Salted baked chicken drumstick. It was another forgettable dish.... tasted like a normal herbal chicken that everybody was familiar with.

Second floor views of the ground floor of Savour 2012
Well that was not all of Savour 2012, in fact, that was just one part of it. There was wine tasting which Lions and friends enjoyed thoroughly. In addition, 3sixty supermarket showcased various food items as well. Cute Cute just loved the Beemster cheeses.

Wine tasting area
Beemster cheese
Of course, the lions and friends went on to explore the various booths that were located at the 2nd and 3rd floor and were amazed by the number of stalls that participated in Savour 2012. 

Time flies when you are having fun and it was all so true for lions and their friends. By the time, they finished everything, 4 hours had past. It was a wonderful experience and the lions would definitely be back for Savour 2013.