Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Good Friday



The last time we met, we agreed that the next drinking session would be after the kids examination in May. But it was a long weekend last week and hard to imagine a Good Friday without good food and wine. With all sort of excuses, we met up on the Friday holiday. :)

The clams that I bought for the dinner were so fresh for steaming. I chopped and added lots of garlic and steamed them over high heat with chicken broth and Sauvignon Blanc. Two-thumbs-up for the seafood and the soup of broth, white wine and the freshness of the clams was steaming good!

Steam Clams in broth and white wine

Jazz made some interesting and delicious salad and baked mussels with cheese.




There was practically no carbohydrate for the night but it was still very filling largely because of the amount of ribs that I had prepared.

Grilled ribs 2 weekends in a row... What you see here was just half the portion... and we finished everything!

Swedish meatball from IKEA with Prego sauce

Refreshing fruit salad
I did not have the chance to take down any tasting notes but we had 5 bottles that night. Starting with the D'Arenberg The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blance 2009 to go with the clams and mussels. We moved on to Chateau La Faurie Maison Neuve Lalande De Pomerol 2006, Woodstock Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon blend 2008 and Two Old Men Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon blend 2008. We ended the Good Friday night with Tim Smith Shiraz 2008 from Barossa.

Wine for the night

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Probably the best steak in Singapore? - CUT by Wolfgang Puck



It was wife's birthday last week and every year this time, I have the most challenging task to research for a good restaurant to celebrate this important day.

Ever since its official opening, I had wanted to dine at the skypark located on the roof top of the Marina Bay Sands (MBS). There are two dining options at the skypark: Ku De Ta and Justin Quek's Sky on 57. I ruled out Sky on 57 as the restaurant serves traditional Asian and local cuisine albeit presented with a modern take. Wife prefers non-Asian food.

That left me with Ku de ta but I read some negative reviews from the hungrygowhere portal and decided to give it a miss for dinner but would have a drink there after dinner.

After going through the remaining dining options at MBS, I made a reservation with the CUT by Wolfgang Puck - A fine dining steakhouse. We arrived at the restaurant at about 730pm and it was already half filled. I found the overall atmosphere and ambience cozy and relaxing although the lighting of the restaurant was too dark for my liking.




Wine list was extensive and I picked the Greenstone Heathcote 2006 Shiraz for the night. James Halliday awarded 95 points for this wine from Victoria, Australia. The wine was stacked with regional black fruits but had no alcohol derived sweetness. Long finish with fine grained tannins. The sommelier remarked that I made a good choice with this wine.



For starter, we had the American Blue Crab & Shrimp “Louis,” Spicy Tomato-Horseradis recommended  by Fabio, the server.



For the main, wife had the 570g Australian Angus Bone In Rib Eye Steak and I opted for the 280g
American Wagyu / Angus "Kobe Style" Rib Eye steak. Both the steaks turned out well as expected (for the price we are paying) but I personally prefer wife's Bone In Ribeye Eye albeit its cheaper pricing.

Simply marinated with just salt and black pepper, the steaks were grilled over hard wood & charcoal, then finished under a 1200 degree broiler. The meat was tender and juicy and heavenly matched with the shiraz. One of the best steaks I had of late and reminded me of the dry-aged steaks that we had at Nick and Stef's steakhouse in downtown Los Angeles which we visited couple of years back.

The picture quality (due to the dim lighting and I do not like to use flash) does not do the steak justice. But trust me, they were good:

American Wagyu / Angus “Kobe Style” Rib Eye From Snake River Farms, Idaho
Australian Angus Bone In Rib Eye, 300+ Days Grain Fed, Rangers Valley, Aged 45 Days
Four different types of mustard for the steaks


We had their signature Valrhona Chocolate Souffle for dessert. A light fluffy, chocolate soufle, with molten chocholate poured into an opening made by the waiter followed by a scoop of decadent pistacio ice cream, and more molten chocolate.


Petite Four (or Three?)


CUT

B1-71 (Next to the Theater),
Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Tel: +65 6688 8517

Operating Hours:

Main Dining Room:
Sunday to Thursday
6pm TO 10pm

Friday to Saturday
6pm TO 11pm

CUT Bar and Lounge
Monday to Sunday
5:30pm TO 12am




After dinner, we headed for the Skypark to have a drink and to chill out at Ku De Ta. View from the Skypark was breathtaking and offered unparalleled 360 degrees unobstructed views of downtown Singapore and beyond. We enjoyed the night.












Ku De Ta

SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands North Tower
1 Bayfront Avenue Singapore 018971

Tel: : +65 6688 7688

Operating Hours:

SkyBar
12noon till late

Restaurant
Lunch – 12noon till 3pm
Dinner – 6pm till 11pm
Brunch – 10am till 3 pm
(available only on Saturdays and Sundays)

Club Lounge
6pm till late

SkyDeck
11am till late


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Perfect combination - Roast Pork Belly and Steam Glutinous Rice



We invited Aunty W, Uncle S and Aunty R to our place for dinner last Saturday. This was the same group that joined us for the trip to California and Las Vegas in 2009. Uncle S loves to drink and the last time he came over, the two of us finished a whole bottle of 15yrs old malt whisky in a night.

For the Saturday session, I decided to cook 2 of my signature dishes that they really loved, roast pork belly and steam glutinous rice.

I have been using this Jamie Oliver recipe for the roast pork belly for a while now and it never disappoints. The 2.5 hours roast will reward you with a juicy and tender meat on the inside and crispy crackling on the outside. The meat is good on its own but goes really well with fresh green like rockets or wrapped in butterhead lettuce.

Roast Pork Belly
It was quite a tedious but rewarding process to prepare the steam glutinous rice. Cooking time was about 30 minutes but the cutting and preparation of the ingredients took more than an hour. Let me know if you are interested in this recipe of mine, satisfaction guaranteed!

Yummy sticky rice

Mango and Prawn Salad

Good food, wine and companion


We started the night with this delicious pink Champagne that Aunty W brought. Elegant, with color changing naturally from a pretty raspberry hint to salmon-pink. Serve at around 8°C and 10°C, the rose brut exhibits intensely fruity flavors. I love it...
The Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier

Few white wines have achieved the fame that Riesling has in Germany and this one from Schloss Schönborn is another good sweet fruity version. Bought from Denise wine at a 2-to-go promotion. If you like German Riesling, this is it. Supple, soft and delicious! Medium-bodied with ripe peaches, pears and pink grapefruit. Terrific finish.
Schloss Schönborn Riesling Kabinett 2008


We bought a carton of this private selection Pinot Noir from Robert Mondavi last year at the Cold Storage wine fair. This is a lighter style red wine, with supple balance and soft tannins. Decent bottle ideal for party but not for your serious wine appreciation sessions.


Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir




We ended the night with the Kim Crawford Kawke's Bay Merlot (Wanted a sweet late harvest ending but the old folks decided to stop here and end with coffee) A rich and intense nose of ripe berry fruits. Ripe plum, and blackberry with spicy oak notes. Sweet plum and berry notes with smooth tannins and a long complex finish
Kim Crawford Small Parcel Hawke's Bay Merlot

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Heartland Director's Cut Shiraz



Last Friday evening, we were at UE Square looking for a good place for dinner but ended up at Denise Wine. Browsed through their wine on promotion and the Heartland Director's Cut, 
made from grapes from 
Langhorne 
Creek
 (one 
of 
Australian’s 
oldest 
wine 
regions) 
and
 Limestone 
Coast
 in 
South
Australia, caught my attention.  I have always been a great fan of OZ Shiraz and Heartland's wine has consistently been awarded ratings in the 90's range by wine experts Robert Parker and James Halliday. Chief wine maker Ben Glaetzer, although young, seems to have a magic touch with a string of awards for wines across the Glaetzer and Heartland ranges.

I bought 2 bottles of the 2009 vintage and immediately opened one at Spizzico, the Italian restaurant beside the wine shop where we had our dinner. By the way, the restaurant allowed BYO without corkage charges and they served good quality Italian fare which wife loved it very much.

The wine did not disappoint. In fact, the first nose left a vey deep impression and was such a treat that you hate to drink it. It displayed very strong and lasting fruity smell, lots of oak that you could only get with good shiraz. I was so impressed with the nose that I fell in love with the wine even before drinking it. Seductively 
rich
 on 
the 
palate, 

focused 
tannin 
and
 an 
impressive
 length.
 This is a big, full-bodied wine.

We enjoyed the wine extremely much. So much that when we woke up the next Saturday morning, we could not stop talking about it and agreeing with each other how wonderful the wine was and we went back to the shop and grabbed the remaining 8 bottles on sale. Highly recommended.



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tapas Night



Last Saturday, drinking kakis gathered at my place for an evening of tapas and wine. The latest food craze in our little red dot has somehow influenced our choice for that night's Tapas theme. Although served in small bite-size, having a variety of small nibbles (with wine of course!) can be as filling and more interesting then having normal full course meals.

Just google if you are interested to know more about the history and how the mouth-watering custom of tapas small plates was invented. I did and found various versions and stories about Tapas and all very interesting.

But if you are more interested to find out what we had that night. Here you go...

Our only cold tapas for the night... Picture is not sharp enough... Stuffed preserved red pepper with Fetta Cheese

Baguette topped with onion, leek, sausage and mozzarella cheese 

Vietnamese spring roll

Beef Salad

Bite-size grilled pork ribs

Sautéed Mushroom on flat bread
HH and CL bought a jumbo size pizza from Peperoni (Greenwood Avenue), by then we were all too busy eating that no picture was taken.

For wine, we had in order:

Gerard Bertrand 2007 Chardonnay - I actually enjoyed this very much.
Flavors of  apple, white cherry and pear. Notes of butter and spice give the finish touches of richness.
Pierre Amadieu Cotes Du Rhone - Very nice juicy red... Not too tannic, works well with the overripe cherry flavors.

De Loach 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel - Surprisingly sweet for my liking

Rioja Bordon Reserva - Full of flavour and delicious... but rather to have it with food (tapas), then alone
Cono Sure 20 Barrels Limited Edition Merlot - Deep, dark ruby red colour, this is an elegant, expressive and vigorous wine. Complex and full in mouth, this is a Merlot with character. 




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