so when a tiny bird of hope perched itself on my cluttered table top, I seized it by the tail. Made my trip to Dubai and was instantly blown away by the immensity of room for expansion with this stroke of luck.
It took one last trip to our homestay restaurant Waruku to realise that with it's recent success, has saw a severe dip in quality of it's food. Battered and disappointed mostly with the mediocracy of the food we once hailed excellent. We took flight with nothing more than an awkward sayonara.
And made a move we did. Tetsu, our choice of replacement out of desperation after a major tidal craving for japanese food hit home.
Like a little boy, the bf excitedly entered the restaurant almost at a little jogging pace. Being the first customers on a sunday, we were greeted with much enthusiasm by all the service staff as we scampered down the long dining coridoors to the open area at the back of the restaurant. With sunlight streaming in from the large window panes, the entire place exuded this spacious airy feel that stimulated the appetite. Hence it didn't take us long after perusing the well-designed menu to make our choice.
I went ahead with Course A( $35.00), a flurry of assorted dishes that I wished showcased the capabilites of the kitchen all in a nutshell. Kicking start the meal was vegetable sticks in a teacup served with a spicy chilli sauce and glorious creamy japanese mayonaise. This was a refreshing starter and I lapped up the accompanying sauces like a voracious puppy, chomping down on the carrot sticks like a rabbit would.
Next off, the appetisers were plated up. Presented in an sublime artful way, I almost felt a little dainty as I sliced thru the crab meat tofu with the tiny spoon. How rare. The Crab meat tofu was unpretentiously excellent. The soft crabmeat delivering a creamy texture whilst the century egg slices on top providing a slight savoury touch to the quivery tofu. The other appetiser, the Swordfish tataki was again another source for delight. The exterior of the fish inheriting a slight crisp factor after a quick sear on high heat, giving way to it's soft interior that retains a slight pink rawness. Doused in a light vinegarish sauce (ponzu sauce) showered with chives, I took an immediate liking to this course and it certainly did emerge a winner in opening up a ravenous appetite.
Whilst I was busy nibbling off the exquisite portions of my 6-course meal, the boyfriend's Rosu Katsu in stock set ($26.50) arrived at the table. Presentation wise, it was stupendous, taste-wise, it was a notch higher. With a bit of heat hailing from the pepper flicked onto the crisp crust of the pork slices, I was intoxicated by the tenderness of the flesh and the sweetness of the broth.
The Sake Harami Sashimi ( $22.00) was certainly of superior quality, the white marbling of fats streaked across the cross section amounting to a fair bit of melt-in-the-mouth delight. The scoring of the skin providing an edge to it's texture and demeanor.
The next course that enthralled was the Sushi rolls. With a fair bit of soft shellf crab (my guess) stuffed into the visually stunning sushi and encrusted with crunchy sesame seeds. It was a shame I didn't quite take to this one as the roll quickly disintegrated into shattered bites scattered across the plate as one tried to sink my teeth into it like a divider. Perhaps the interior could use a bit of wet binding ingredients to improve on its texture.
And before you knew it, it was time for the mains. Before the meal, I had opted for the Kushi-tem instead of the Kushi-age as I was curious to find out whether the tempura style here was done any better than that in Waruku. The set entitled me to a total of 5 predetermined sticks, the shrimp, scallop, pork fillet, pumpkin and mushroom. And as I picked up my first stick, the unassuming mushroom, I held my breathe and with a gentle motion, bit through the crunchy exterior. The verdict was out...
Truth of the matter is, the kushi-tem alone warrants for another visit to Tetsu. The earnest mushroom in itself displaying the quality of the batter and the chef's mastery in heat control and time management. Needless to say, the entourage of sticks were all freaking delicious. With a multitude of sauces for dipping, chilli sauce, jap mayo, white pepper and the usual tentsuya, one was spoilt for choice. Most commedable were the scallop and the pork fillet. The former still fresh and tender despite it's gorgeous battered coating and the latter displaying such a kind tenderness it's tasters.
And just like a wedding dinner would end, the noodles concluded the meal. This however was a star on it's own rights. The Inaniwa Udon (hot) was unlike anything I've ever tasted before. Lucious and smooth with an almost lady-like posterior, slurping it down was akin to teasing a imposing beauty at a hotel lobby. Now I understand why some people talk about their food as if they are women *nudges Brad*
The last course, invariably dessert was an orange sherbet. Let's just make things clear, this was so beautiful I felt compelled to publish a few more shots. Keeping my boyfriend's hands off the dessert was a challenging affair though, since he had a penchant for tangy icy desserts. This was right up his alley and he basked in it's beauty and it's enlightening flavors with every spoonful.
Almost a little too soon, the boyfriend ordered another round of strawberry sherbet to satisfy his unappeasable appetite. Pretty in pink, it teased, it laughed at all the right times, winked and it left.
Stepping out of our comfort zone into another. Let's just say the score is Tetsu -1 Waruku - 0. You'll certainly see me going back to Tetsu for more.
163 Tanglin Road
#03-18 Tanglin Mall
For Reservations :
Tel : (65) 6836 3112
For desserts, we had the "Tarte au citron" and the Chocolate de la Domaine D'origine. The former retained a structure akin to a carousel ride and did indeed display such fun notions as well. With the inverted commas in place, the kitchen got away with presenting the conventional lemon tart in an unorthodox fashion. Mini churros sticks stood up high held by their thick lemon curd roots. A heap of pink campari- grapefuit granite filled the centre of the plate, providing this provocative hint of bitterness. I wished the churro sticks had been a little crispier with a more generous coating of cinammon sugar ; but that was just me.
level 70 swissotel
Reservations: 6837 3322
Being the drama queen that I usually am, our non-existant meeting on our 2nd yr anniversary blew up into a tragedy of epic proportions beginning with me bursting into tears of frustration as I trudged home from my workplace in the middle of orchard. I told you that I was unable to love in the generosity and enormity in the likes of God's love, I was human after all. Your work commitments and full time dedication to the job left me feeling lonelier than ever. Empty inside, I turn to the alluring comfort of food to fill the deep well inside of me. In the end, I was left feeling satiated but with a struggling heart feeling more neglected than ever. Apparently, there was nowhere else my heart could turn to. I'm still yours.
Happy 2nd year anniversary babe. Guess you can't have things sweet everytime yes?
on a related note, these were the Flaky apple turnovers meant for this week's TWD as chosen by Julie of Someone's in the Kitchen. Mine turned out hideous probably due to the incinerating heat wandering in the kitchen that caused the sour cream dough to be so difficult to manage. Otherwise, the results were pretty good, with the pastry being flaky and tender as guaranteed. Brings me back to the fond memories of my aunt's mince pies at christmas. The simple yet eloquent apple fillings tossed in sugar and cinammon emerged wonderfully soft and aromatic, it's tartness cutting thru the sweet pastry with every bite. LOVE.
Food Tasting @ District 10 Bistro
Picking up the pace, I pitter-pattered my way to the entrance of the bistro. As I navigated the windy streets linking Newton MRT to Monks Hill and finally to Windstedt Road, I wiped a drop of sweat of my brow. Apparently, I had misjudged the distance... BADLY... some words of advice to those thinking of taking a stroll in: Enter from Bukit Timah Road. It's so much nearer!
That aside, as I trudged into the compound, desperately performing some last minute composure in an effort to make myself seem presentable to the other tasters (i doubt it matter anyway as it was more likely they were here for the food and not some paltry side kick of a dining companion), I was treated to the sights of a beautiful wooden verendah with all the charms of al-fresco dining complete with hidden cubbyholes for that extra privacy. WOW. that's one red tick from me. Perfect for booze rendezvous under the night skies with lively friends or even a single drinking partner, it was no wonder the tables were packed and crowded with opened bottles of every shape and size.
The D10-jito ($12) was a lovely start to the meal. A real fire-extinguisher, this put me at ease instantly with it's breezy flavors combining the likes of mint, lime and raunchy rum. The latter could have been more intense in my opinion but that's just the alcoholic in me speaking.
Soon after settling down in the high-backed wicker chairs (rather comfortable), the parade of dishes began. Starting with appetisers, the food strutted their stuff on the shimmy white platters, where the photographers and die-hard food advocates proceeded to blind them followed by a frenzied murder thru devouring.
The Deep Fried Calamaris and Tiger Prawns ($10) were certainly a sight for sore eyes. Alright, I profess my love for the deep fried. oh how sinful... these were good with a crisp coating of batter that on the downside, somehow didn't manage to adhere to their seafood counterparts that successfully. The garlic aioli dip sounded fancy but lack omph in the taste department.
The Selection of Traditional Cold Cuts ($14) on the other hand was delightful and I imagined would have gone down well with a chilled bottle of crisp white wine. Slightly clueless as to what I was picking off the platter due to the dim lightings in the area, I nibbled on a bit of parma ham, chewed on a slice of salami, gobbled down a piece of roasted chicken breast and spied on the brittle pieces of toasted ciabatta. All yummy.
Selection of Traditional Cold Cuts
The District 10 Salad ($12) was every bit a spokesman of the restaurant, composed of a mountain of rockets lettuce,marinated mushrooms, walnut, Feta Cheese and roasted Roma tomato in balsamic dressing. This could easily satisfy any rocket fanatic. Pity I wasn't feeling the cow in me that night...
Moving on to the furthest plate across the table, I edged my fork towards the last remaining duck scroll perched on the platter. Dipping it in the sweet chilli sauce, I pressed my teeth into the crackly fried rice paper. There was no love in this dish. period. Homemade duck spring rolls ($10)
The next item on the chopping block (literally) was the Chilli Crab Pizza. Deep fried soft shell crab over a bed of sweet chilli crab sauce and melted cheese on a crisp pizza crust. Need I say more? With just one bite, I turned into an instant fan. Nevermind the skeptical diagnosis spouting from the others... I was in a world of my own and in this world, the chilli crab pizza was my best friend and such a sweet talker might I add.
Chilli Crab Pizza
In comparison to the fashionable entrance of the appetisers, the main courses fared poorly in terms of flavor and the wow factor; failing to capture the excitment of it's masters with it's unimaginative combinations.
The Rigatoni ($18) for instance was a let-down with the penne well overcooked and the supposed show-stopping wagyu beefballs failing to impress with it's lack of seasoning.
The Country style roasted Baby back ribs ($24) scored with it's tender flesh and smokey sweet marinade. The chunky steak cut fries on the side were excellent and I relished in the fact that these were served instead of the skinny fries.
Last but not least, the Beer battered fish and chips ($19) was dressed to impress, served on a news printed parchment with the words 'FINANCIAL TIMES' blasted across the top, I adored the old-school feel to it's makeup. The real deal however was mediocre with fresh fillets covered by a soggy beer battered crust. Paired with green-pea mash and tartare sauce, I was caught sneaking spoonfuls of the former long after giving up on the lack lustre fish. Addictive is the word.
Clearing our palates of savouries, our tummies prepared for the battle of the sweets. It was dessert time. And first to the table was the American Bramley Apple pie ($9) which suffered considerable damage after all the flash photography. The scoop of icecream that used to be, ended up a slush of vanilla soup on the side. Buttery crust, check, warm apple fillings, check, oh my gosh.. what is that jello looking thing on the side. Butterscotch set cream... mmm.. reminds me of coagulated condensed milk. *shakes head*
The Tiramisu with Mocha sauce ($9) was alright given it's light texture, could have done better with a higher proportion of mascarpone cheese to cream though. Oh.. please don't say I'm a snob...
Pretty to look at, the Pavlova opens a whole other dimension of the words sweet and crusty all at the same time. If you have a penchant for this dessert, do try D10's version.
The Homemade Profiteroles ($9) served with vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce was pleasant but uninspired.
One of my favourite picks of tonight's dessert listings would have to be the Traditional crème brûlée with Bourbon Vanilla and Rum ($9). Thick with the sweet scent of rum and good ole' vanilla in every spoonful, I fought off the urge to graze on the entire dish and decidingly move on the other desserts in hopeful search of greener pastures.
And then I found this...
The White chocolate and strawberry cheesecake ($10). I could have sworn my love for it there and then. It's luscious creamy interior complimented by the tart berry compote and jelly crown. Simple yet big-hearted in every way, this was right up my alley. Darn the fact that the waiter was enormous on mind reading, he cleared my spoon in the nick of time and saved me from self destruction thru gorging should I have been left with this plate stationary in front of me.
as the long-stretched dinner came to a conclusion, we were brought on a quick go-see of the area, a.k.a area inspection. Stepping into the cool realms of the indoor dining area, I was surprised to find myself immersed in a totally different environment. Chic and pristine, a bit like broth back on duxton hill. Taking a small flight of steps down to it's lower deck, I turned the corner and was floored by the shelves of wine stacked neatly against the wall.
With prices in an orderly five tier range, $39, $49, $59, $70 and $99. District 10 offers the service of no frills wine sessions complete with good finger foods and the availability of affordable wines from a notable range of countries. Did I mention the decanters they have?
To sum it all up before the school bell rings, District 10 bistro offers an alternative space for the cool kids. Think wallet-friendly cuisine, convenient location and relaxing ambience... guess I probably would be heading down there someday soon. Appetisers and wine maybe??
District 10 Bistro
10 Winstedt Road #01-17
tel: 6738 4788
It's been awhile.
Indeed, it's been ages since I've posted my last food review. My absence owing to my fussy work schedule and perhaps my not-so-fussy palate. Seeking gratification in home-cooked foods after a whole day at work may just seem a little more comforting to the empty soul. But with a little coaxing and a date with the girls, the squirrel manages to sneak out from it's tree hollow home and venture into the mind boggling, beyond atas playground of the rich.
Maramalade pantry @ ION. Yes, gone are the days of the renaissance as the kitchen makes a move to the newly furbished ION. A pain in the ass to navigate if you ask me. After a few rounds of the shopping mall, I felt suffocated and strangely claustrophobic despite the spacious halls and high ceilings. Must have been the lack of natural lighting I reckon.
I eyeballed as an immaculately dressed caucasian lady stood up from her seat in her well fitted frock and tottled down to the cake display area in her gorgeous blood red designer heels. Indeed, this was a place to be seen and heard.
Moving on to the food, we settled down quickly after our long wait-list ordeal. With one famished counterpart and another die-hard quiche fan; we perused the menu at break-neck speed and set out ordering the following, steak sandwich with wasabi mayonnaise, caramelized onions and rocket for me; Soft scrambled eggs and house-cured salmon with horseradish creme fraiche on pumpernickel for the beauty queen(just because the kitchen had run out of quiche); and finally Spice Grilled Lamb with iman biyaldi, mint and radish on garlic flatbread for the soon to be migrating swan.
The steak sandwich certainly made my day. With an intangible bun paying homage to the lucious wasabi mayonnaise within, it went down amazingly well with the medium well steak. The tapioca and sweet potato chips provided an incredible color contrast on the plate, however, failed miserably in the taste test with it's lack of seasoning. In conclusion, this was good but I've had better and more valued-for-money version at Uluru.
Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Pathetic portion. Mystical pumpernickel bread that left the better of us a but confused. Tasted like stale cornbread to me really.
The Spice Grilled Lamb with iman biyaldi, mint and radish on garlic flatbread fared much better with the garlic flatbread providing a perfect canvas for the spices from the grilled lamb to shine thru. The yogurt dip flecked with chopped mint soothing the palate with every mouthful.
I would have given desserts a go alas for the timing. Work beckons with the trayful of damp cutlery waiting to be wiped down and cashier full of paper notes waiting to be tabulated. I promise I'll be back.
The Marmalade Pantry
good things to eat
2 Orchard Turn
telephone 6734 2700
facsimile 6734 2279