Birthday Blunch at Dempsey.
A friend from Hong Kong came over on her birthday for a business trip this week so we gathered the troops for a birthday brunch/lunch at ‘Dempsey House’. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I saw some tired faces in our round but nothing that a ‘Pineapple Pitstop‘ or a ‘Bloody Mary‘ couldn’t fix.
It felt a bit too late for brunch so I ordered their ‘Braised Pork Shoulder Rigatoni‘ which came on a nice looking, interestingly shaped plate. The pasta was slightly past al dente but the pork was braised nicely, tender and soft. The creamy tomato sauce glazing it all was quite tasty and light with a meaty flavor but I wished they would’ve been a bit more generous with it. Aside I had their ‘Coleslaw with Green Papaya‘ which in contrast to the pasta was lovely crunchy spicy and a mix of textures and Western-Asian flavors.
‘House’ has a great setting within the greenery on the back of Dempsey Hill. Today the service somehow was irritatingly slow and seemed slightly confused, the food and drinks though were nice but as in most places up here a bit on the pricey side. Still a good choice for weekend mornings.
8D Dempsey Road
Tel: +65 6475 7787
Good looks just aren’t enough.
We were extremely lazy today and so we just walked down to ‘Harry’s Bar’ for lunch.
They had updated there menu with a couple of new items and I was excited to see ‘Scotch Eggs‘ being one of the appetizers. Not exactly according to my diet plan but I had to try them. Whilst we waited for our food I realized that they had brushed up their presentation as well, fancier food arrangements using nicer plates and wooden boards. Unfortunately the food didn’t really live up to the new style. The actual eggs looked pretty weird all bubbly and dried out and had no taste. The meaty layer around them was some sort of sausage that looked a bit uncooked (even that it wasn’t) due to its’ bright pink color. I wasn’t crazy about the taste either and maybe some well seasoned minced meat would have worked better here. The crispy shell though was quite nice, not greasy at all and not too thick either. Overall still a rather disappointing choice.
Next was the ‘Salad Nicoise‘ that I had before and which they now also presented in a more refined way using quail eggs and a bigger rectangular plate. I always liked that the tuna here was not the tin kind but thin slices of actual tuna loin but this one today looked and tasted like microwaved. I also found quite a few of withered salad leaves in there which for S$15+ was a big letdown. Upsides were the light citrusy dressing that gave it all a refreshing taste and the crunchy green beans that had a lovely snap to them.
I don’t know but maybe they should have put a little less effort into choosing the new tableware and focus on improving the quality of the food instead. If something tastes great I don’t necessarily mind its’ appearance but if it just looks pretty with no taste to back it up all efforts were in vain.
1A International Business Park
Tel: +65 6570 5253
Oh, I just have a salad!
A spontaneous invitation from friends brought me to the beergarden at the old train station in Holzgerlingen today, the town I went to high school in.
They offer the usual beer garden fare and as I wasn’t that hungry my choice fell on something “light” , ‘Schwaebischer Wurstsalat‘ (Swabian sausage salad) which was a slight variation to the sausage salad I had about a week ago in Freiburg. For the Swabian version they used slices of black sausage additional to the lyoner. The two types of cold cut sausage tasted good and were seasoned well but for my taste the blood sausage was too soft as I prefer it with a little bit more bite. The dressing was nice, slightly sour and a bit too oily. There were sour pickled gherkins that added extra flavor and the chopped red- and spring onions gave it all a sharp kick.
The beer garden at ‘Alter Bahnhof’ is self serviced and offers simple but good food to reasonable prices and is a nice hangout for a sunny afternoon and for those who prefer a less casual ambience there is the waited restaurant area only a few meters away.
Restaurant und Biergarten Alter Bahnhof
Tel: +49 7031 682796
It’s Chanterelle Season
After a lovely weekend with my family I drove up to Frankfurt for a meeting the next day. There was an Italian restaurant on the other side of the road so to keep my evening hassle free I just made my way over there and sat down outside in this beautiful weather. At the beginning I was one of two tables but before I finished my dinner the place was packed.
They had a special menu with a lot of seasonal dishes under which some came with chanterelles as the main ingredient. As I didn’t have those for a few years now I started off with a ‘Salat mit Pfifferlingen‘ (salad with chanterelles) which came as a big plate full of fresh greens, drizzled with a balsamic reduction and covered with nicely salty parmesan shavings. I loved the warm center of pan fried chanterelles, bacon and onions but there was too much oil on it that made me feel a little greasy towards the end.
To stick to the theme I made the ‘Tagliatelle mit Pfifferlingen‘ (tagliatelle pasta with chanterelles) my main. The dish was light and tasted awesome and my fear it would be as oily as the salad didn’t come true. The handmade pasta had a distinct eggy flavor and was on the spot al dente, covered with a thin creamy layer of oil and juices. The chanterelles tasted great and wonderful mushroomy, not like the stuff I’m used to from the supermarket in Singapore. Some cracked black pepper over all of that and I left smiling into my Sunday evening.
Great food, friendly staff, lovely ristorante in a quiet part of town. Nice.
Ristorante Pizzeria Romanella
60322 Frankfurt am Main
Tel: +49 69 5961117
Steak at the river.
After my Germany trip had kicked off with the beautiful wedding of my beautiful sister I had to face reality and go to Heidelberg for a week’s work. On Monday evening then I went together with a colleague to meet some friends that just had moved back to Heidelberg from India. We met for dinner at the ‘Bootshaus’ and were lucky enough to get a seat outside on their little terrace overlooking the banks of the Neckar river.
I had their ‘400gr Rumpsteak‘ which was fantastic. The meat was very lean but still had a very strong beef flavor and was nicely juicy. The charred crust of the steak was super crisp from the broiling and added a nice new texture to the humongous piece of meat. The kicker was their garlic/herbal butter that was extremely creamy and tasted heavenly together with the beef. The side salad was good but drowned in dressing and the roasted potatoes were perfect crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. I loved this steak but I wished I had remembered that a German medium always tends a little more towards well done.
I liked this place a lot as it was particularly nice on this scenic sunny afternoon sitting on their terrace, overlooking the river and enjoying great quality food served up by their very attentive and friendly waiters.
Tel: +49 6221 25396
Northern Africa in Central Hong Kong
I flew to Hong Kong over the weekend to see a good old friend before his move to Australia. I messed up my room booking so we spend a long time calling up hotels so all the place we planned to have dinner at had already closed. As it was getting late we went to ‘Sahara’ a Northern African restaurant in Soho. As starter we had the ‘Haloumi Salad‘ that tasted deliciously light with a sweetish caramelized dressing. Just the haloumi didn’t make the funny squeeky noises that I was hoping for.
After we shared the ‘Moroccan Lamb Tagine‘ with ‘Cous Cous‘. The lamb was super moist and tender and the potatoes were cooked just right. The kick though were the dried plums and apricots that I made a brilliant combination. Only off ingredient were the olives which I though were a bit out of place. We finished it completely soaking the extremely fluffy cous cous with the hearty meaty gravy.
‘Sahara’ is a great buzzing place to start, or like us, end a night with it’s low chairs and tables, soul food, clapping waiters and the option to closing your dinner by smoking a shisha. My second and probably not last time here.
Sahara Mezz Bar
11 Elgin Street
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2291 6060
Diner/Bistro Concept at Pacific Plaza
A friend told me about this place at Pacific Plaza which is a fusion of ‘L’Entrecote‘, the steak & fries place from Duxton and a modern burger joint with the concept created by Michelin Star Chef Bruno Menard. Half of the shop looks very similar to the french bistro using the same tablecloth and all and the other half looks like a modern style diner with an open concept directly in the mall.
I ordered the ‘Lamb Burger‘ with ‘Truffle Fries‘. When the burger arrived it looked a bit small at first but turned out to be very sufficient and filling. Squeezing the burger into manageable size only very little juice dripped out which could have been a sign for very dry or very well hung meat, thankfully it was the latter. The meat actually was nice and chunky and still juicy inside, maybe a bit too soft for me but well seasoned and meaty in taste nevertheless. The bun was spiked with black sesame seeds, was soft enough but held up pretty good all the way. I was really looking forward to the combination of the mint sauce and the fresh cilantro which I absolutely love but they unfortunately were only hints in the total mix of flavors. In comparison to that the caramelized raisins and onions came out much stronger and dominant.
The ‘Truffle Fries‘ were nice and crispy with a slight touch of truffle oil which didn’t come out too strong either but there was hardly any salt on them. This might have been just a personal preference of mine and was solved quickly by the friendly waiter bringing me a salt grinder.
‘&Made’ is a nice casual place with very friendly staff and most important decent burgers. However I will ask them for a double slap of mint and cilantro in case I should come back here next time which I’m not too sure about as it’s also not the cheapest of places with twenty five dollars ish a burger++. For steak & fries I probably stick with the Duxton branch as the atmosphere is just more bristro and less mall like.
&Made by Bruno Menard
9 Scotts Road
#01-04-06 Pacific Plaza
Tel: +65 6690 7566
Busy for Brunch!
We had a very early morning cycling session through Singapore as some of my friends are prepping themselves for the Triathlon in a couple of weeks. Some weren’t exhausted enough after 40ks and decided to have a swim at Sentosa so after refreshing from the ride I made my way out there to join them for brunch at ‘Coasts’ on Siloso Beach.
A friend and I shared the ‘Greek Salad’ and as I found ‘Crab Cakes‘ on the menu, my main selection was fixed as well. The salad came first and I actually liked it a lot. It was fresh and the cucumber and tomatoes were cut in big chunks as they are supposed to be. Kalamata olives brought a rich Mediterranean flavor to it but there definitely too little onions involved. I don’t really like feta cheese but appreciated the areas that were touched by it and therefore tasted a bit saltier. My friend must have nearly overdosed on the feta as she had to finish it all by herself. The dressing was nice and simple as you expect it, just mixing a good quality olive oil with a dash of lemon and pepper. Just the salt could have been put forward a bit more.
When the ‘Crab Cakes‘ arrived I had a feeling that the amount of crab in there wasn’t really in my favor. Starting digging in I was proven right. Even though it tasted okay there wasn’t too much crab meat there or at least it was outplayed by it’s potato-y doughy opponent. Also it could have used much more of the advertised coriander, much more. One interesting thing was the red tomato based dipping sauce. It was cold and slightly spicy but what I couldn’t nail down was where the fishy, shell-like taste came from. The closest I did get to was a memory of small clams which tasted like this. I couldn’t find any in there and maybe my taste buds just played a prank on me but if I should come back here and it’s not that busy I will try to ask someone.
I tend to forget to mention the service but here I didn’t have any complaints. Yes, you had to order yourself at a counter but the staff was very friendly and the delivery of drinks and food was fast especially considering the amount of people here. I might come back but so far more due to the fact that it’s situated directly at the beach, the food has yet to convince me.
Coastes Singapore 50 Siloso Beach Walk #01-05 Singapore 099000
My two new friends’ that I got to know through my family had there final night in Singapore tonight so I went down to their hotel at Robertson Quay to have one last dinner with them. We walked around for a bit screening for something tempting to sit down. So we passed the Japanese BBQ branch of ‘Aburiya’ and quickly agreed that this was the one.
We started up our meal with the ‘Horenso Salad‘ which is put together from spinach leaves, Japanese cucumber, roasted garlic, lemon juice and crispy bacon bits. How great was that, nice and sour with crunchy textures in between from the bacon and garlic. The first meat that arrived together with the ‘Stuffed Shitake Mushrooms‘ was ‘Jo Rosu T.Shio‘, beef loin to be dipped in truffle salt. This was amazing. The meat was super tender, very lean but therefore less strong in taste but powdered with crazy salt it won another couple of notches in taste.
We continued with ‘Wagyu Jo Karubi Tare‘ – short rib marinated in a special soya sauce mix. This was my absolute favorite of the evening as the marinade was delicious and due to the nicely marbled fat in this cut the beef just melted in my mouth. We ordered another round of this as well as an extra portion of the truffle salt from before which made it even more delicious. The final dish was ‘Tigerprawns in Hot Miso‘ marinade. The prawns were big and obviously watered properly as they were completely clean without cutting them up. They stayed nicely juicy on the fire and the marinade was mildly tangy, not hot though which was a bit of a bummer.
‘Aburiya’ is another proof that simplicity paired with high quality ingredient is a fantastic combination looking for perfection. Of course these kinda places are not for everyday dining but here you have the choice between many different meats, cuts and prices and so we ended up paying roughly 50$ per head excluding drinks which I regard reasonable for great stuff.
For more pictures check out my twitter (#aburiya).
Aburiya 60 Robertson Quay #01-03 The Quayside Singapore 238252