Archive for August, 2008

Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

39 Scotts Road, Singapore 228230
Sheraton Towers Singapore
(65) 6737 6888
Sheraton Towers Lower Lobby Level
39 Scotts Road, Singapore 228230
Tel. +65 6839 5623
Fax. +65 6737 1072
Opening Hours: Monday- Saturday
Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner: 6:30am – 10:30pm
Lunch: 10:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner: 6:30am – 10:30pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive

I remember first dining at Li Bai and I gave it one of the highest ratings for the Chinese category in 1990 and being most impressed by the jade chopsticks and silver holders along with the bone china plates and elegant décor, as well as its excellent Cantonese cuisine.
Named after the famous Tang Dynasty Poet, the restaurant is known for its proper service, Dim Sum and the Sunday Yum Cha, which has become a habit for their regular patrons.
Executive Chinese Chef Chung Yiu Ming was born in Hong Kong, the center of authentic Cantonese cuisine, he has had 30 years of experience as a chef preparing this cuisine in Hong Kong, China and Singapore.
A few of his specialties are: Pan-fried Lamb Chop with Black Pepper Sauce, Sautéed King Prawn with Shimeiji Mushroom in X.O. Chilli Sauce and Sautéed Superior Shark’s Fin with Crabmeat & Beansprouts served with Shark’s Bone Soup.

It is interesting to note, that the chef at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong created a new sauce which he presented to Mr. Yutaka Oyamada, the Chairman of Clarion Corporation from Tokyo, Japan. The chef said, “I do not have a name for this new sauce creation”, at which point, Mr. Oyamada raised his glass of Hennessy X.O. cognac, that he was drinking at the time, in the Asian style with crushed ice, and said, “You should name it “X.O. Sauce”. The chef agreed, the name stuck, and it has been know by that name ever since.

L’Angelus French Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

85 Club Street
Tanjong Pagar
Tel. +65 6225 6879
Opening Hours
Monday – Friday
Lunch: Noon – 2:30pm
Dinner: 7pm – 10:30pm
Dinner: 7pm – 10:30pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

This restaurant is located in a pre-war shophouse and has served good French cooking since its opening in 1998 by its Parisian owners. Everything about it is French including the surly waiters. Inside the high-ceilinged room, crisp white linen-covered tables are set spaciously apart. The outside dining area is pleasant, although there are only two tables.

Sanur Indonesian Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

176 Orchard Road, #04-17/18 Centrepoint, Singapore 238843
Ph : 6734 2192, 6734 2249 ; Fax : 6734 2337

391 Orchard Road, #04-16 Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872
Ph : 6734 3434, 6737 3133 ; Fax : 6734 5627

1 Woodlands Square, #03-43, Singapore 738099
Ph : 6893 7555 , 6893 7666 ; Fax : 6893 5690

A small chain of authentic Indonesian cuisine slightly modified to accomodate the local taste. Some of the more popular items are: Tahu Telur, Ayam Panggang Rojak, Ayam Marrica, Beef Rendang, Kepala Ikan, Sotong Kalio, Sambal Udang, Satay Chicken, Sop Asam, Gado-Gado, Desserts – ice cendol & beverages
The blended avocado with coffee is a unique experience; as far as I am concerned, once is enough.

Les Amis French Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

1 Scotts Road
#02-16 Shaw Centre
Singapore SG, 228208
Tel. +65 6733 2225
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday
Lunch: Noon – 2:00pm
Dinner: 7pm – 9:45pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive

Les Amis first opened its doors in 1994 and has had an extensive remodel in 2007 by Tan Kay Ngee, a local architect. The facade exudes nothing unusual and is almost unnoticeable and the interior might be considered cold by some.
Two of the orginal founding partners, Justin Quek and Ignatius Chan have left; Quek to open restaurants in Taiwan and Chan has opened Iggy’s at the Regent Hotel, chef Gunther Hubrechsen left to start his own restaurant Gunther’s also in Singapore. There are queries whether the new resident chef, Thomas Mayr who has worked the circuit in Italy, Germany and the United States will be able to continue the former level of unfailing ingenuity and quality of the previous kitchen.
I believe it will be difficult to capture the restaurant’s original esteem and only time will tell if it will make marks with its new direction.

Iggy’s Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

1 Cuscaden Road,
The Regent Singapore
Level 3
Tel. 6732 2234
Opening Hours: Lunch: Noon-2pm (M-F), Dinner: 7-10pm (M-Su) Last Orders: 1:30pm; 9:30pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive

The owner Ignatius Chan was a sommelier at the Oriental and Raffles Hotels before joining Les Amis Restaurant. The wine list consists of mainly European selections with an emphasis on French Burgundy including Iggy’s own label South Gippsland, Australian Pinot Noir although not inexpensive at S$140.
The original 10-seat counter has been increased to 13 and faces the open kitchen; it is comfortable, especially as I enjoy dining at bars or counters, mainly because of the access to immediate service. There are also some small private dining rooms. For lunch a three-course table d’hôte and a six-course tasting menu are offered. For dinner you may choose from an eight course tasting menu or vegetarian menu.
The wine by the glass list is very interesting:

JACQUESSON Cuvee No 731 12.5cl NV gls.$ 23 btl. $ 135
Domaine Sylvain PATAILLE Bourgogne Blanc 12.5cl 2005 gls.$ 12 btl. $ 70
Baron Zu KYPHAUSEN Riesling Kabinett 12.5cl 2004 gls. $ 13 btl.$ 75
SHAW & SMITH Sauvignon Blanc 12.5cl 2007 gls.$ 13 btl.$ 75
Domaine FOURRIER Morey Saint Denis 1er Cru Clos Solon 12.5cl 2001 gls.$ 19 btl.$ 115
LAFITE & CATENA Caro (Cabernet Sauvignon & Malbec) 12.5cl 2002 gls.$ 20 btl.$ 120
1305 TORBRECK Juveniles (Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre) 12.5cl 2004 gls.$ 20 btl.$ 120
1310 TORBRECK Bothie (Muscat Dessert Wine) 0.6cl 2005 gls.$ 16 btl.$ 75
Corkage charge S$50

Gunther’s Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

36 Purvis Street, #01-03, Singapore 188613
Tel. 6338 8955
Opening hours: Lunch: 12-2.30 pm;
Dinner: 6.30-10.30 pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive

Belgian Chef Gunther Hubrechson has opened a fifty seat joint-venture with the Garibaldi Group of restaurants next door to Garibaldi Restaurant on Purvis Street. Hubrechen came from Les Amis where he was in charge of the kitchen and prior to that he spent five years at Alain Passard’s L’Arpege, he attained the rank of sous-chef when he left the famed restaurant.
Cold angel-hair and Osetra caviar, suckling pig, apple tart a la Dragees with Havana rum ice cream are among the better choices.
The set lunch menu at S$38 offers the choice between 3 appetizers, three main courses, plus dessert, coffee or tea.

Another blow for wine lovers, again, as is mostly the case, the wine list is astronomically overpriced and a glass of red house wine will set you back S$38++. This is outrageous!

Garibaldi Italian Restaurant – Singapore

Monday, August 25th, 2008

36 Purvis Street
Singapore 188613
Telephone: 6837 1468
Operating Hours:
Restaurant – Daily: Lunch:Noon-2:30pm, 6:30-11pm
Bar – Sun-Thu: 6pm-Midnight
Fri-Sat: 6pm-1am
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Expensive

The facade of this well-kept building that houses both the restaurant Garibaldi and directly next door Gunther’s Restaurant is a classic example of colonial shop house architecture and the owner of this building has taken great effort to keep the original design untouched. (see photo at Gunther’s post)
Located on up-scale Purvis Street, the 70 seat restaurant Garibaldi opened in 2003. Chef Roberto Galetti and other partners, provide a stylish setting for an Italian restaurant that manages to be both modern and elegant and yet at the same time fun and lively. The menu is strictly Italian using imported ingredients, although this is not too unusual, as almost everything in Singapore is imported however; Garibaldi uses ingredients directly imported from Italy whenever possible.
The bar stays open after the restaurant has shut and offers a great selection of wines by the glass and properly prepared cocktails.
Galletti worked under Italian chef Adriano Paganini who worked at the Hyde Park Hotel in London and now owns Pizza Pomodoro Restaurants in San Francisco.

Benoit Update – New York

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

60 W. 55th St., near Sixth Ave.
Tel. 646-943-7373
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm daily.
Dinner: Sunday through Wednesday 5:30 to 10:30pm, Thursday through Saturday to 11pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate to Expensive

UPDATE: Alain Ducasse hired Chef Pierre Schaedelin and within a few months time he has turned the kitchen around, and on top of that introduced two amazing steals: a $19 two-course lunch and a $35 three-course dinner. The cuisine is now in good form, and if you choose properly, the price can be well below market too.

I think we have to face the fact that Monsieur Ducasse these days prefers being a businessman rather than a dedicated chef and as he has said himself, “The role of the chef is to train people to take care of clients . . . that he develops over the years”. With two restaurant closures in New York he is even more determined to win over New Yorkers and expects to do so with Adour Alain Ducasse, the name of his new restaurant. It opened at the beginning of 2008 in the St. Regis Hotel and is a much more elaborate version than the one in the Essex House that closed last year. His New York edition of Benoit, founded in 1912 in Paris, and now owned by Ducasse and a partner, opened its New York version in April 2008.
With his plethora of restaurants, cookbooks, endorsements and line of cooking supplies, Mr. Ducasse had three restaurants with three Michelin stars each—at the Essex House in Manhattan, the Plaza Athénée restaurant in Paris and the Louis XV restaurant in the Monte Carlo. In the 1990s, Mr. Ducasse became the first chef in 60 years to win six Michelin stars at once, for his restaurants in Paris and Monaco. And in 1990, at 34, he was the youngest chef in France to be awarded three Michelin stars, for his Monte Carlo restaurant.
“It is an honor to open in the former La Côte Basque space—it holds a sense of history very much in line with my vision to create a true bistro”, said Alain Ducasse. Executive Chef Sébastien Rondier presents dishes from Benoit’s 50-100 years old recipes.
I am personally delighted, as a diner and reviewer, that Benoit will offer some of my favorite old bistro dishes as; pâté en croûte, poached green asparagus with mousseline sauce (it is so seldom you can find this sauce), Sirloin steak, gratin Dauphinois, sauce aux poivres, Quenelle de brochet, sauce Nantua, garlic-roasted chicken with pommes frites L’ami Louis-style, steak au poivre with pommes soufflė. Individual wheels of cheese from Camembert to Cervelle de Canuts. For dessert classical bistro desserts as profiteroles, Baba au rhum and traditional tarte tatin. Prices are quite reasonable at Appetizers, $1 (for a single boiled “egg with mayonnaise”) to $19; entrées, $19 to $48.
Adam Platt, writing in New York Magazine, panned Benoit and said, “. . .one more cookie-cutter French brasserie in this brasserie-addled town.” While in the same publication veteran restaurant critic Gael Green said of it, . . “(we) have to be grateful he (Alain Ducasse) has resurrected La Côte Basque’s former space. . . and now offers bistro nostalgia to stand in for all the oldies that have disappeared.”
I personally believe that Alain Ducasse’s intention was to re-create a bistro, not a brasserie and this restaurant is certainly not a brasserie, although it is not in the strict sense a bistro either, but rather a restaurant serving old-fashioned bistro dishes.
From my experience, a French Brasserie is a large space originally based on a brewery, specializing in food from Alsace-Lorraine such as sauerkraut, beer on draught and the like, usually offering shellfish with a person committed to shucking them in their own station, and is open throughout the day and night. On the other hand, a French Bistro traditionally is a small place serving a limited menu sometimes using a blackboard or handwritten menu.

Yakitori House Japanese Restaurant – Bangkok

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

PLEASE ALSO SEE THIS LINK!: Best Yakatori in Bangkok – Jidori-Ya Kensou Yakatori – Bangkok, Thailand April 4, 2008

114/6 Silom Soi 4 Silom Rd.
Bangkok 10500
Tel. 02 234 3044
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Inexpensive

Yakitori House Japanese Restaurant has been in business for 26 years in the upper reaches of a parking garage, where you must then ascend another two steep flights of stairs (not as bad as it sounds) in Patpong, Bangkok’s the most infamous red-light district. In the past, I visited it but never returned due to the cigarette smoke that you could cut with a knife, although at the time I commented that it looked like we were on a movie set of a smoky bar in the 1930’s. Now with the current no-smoking laws their is no smoke save for that coming off the grilling skewers, which is sucked up by a fairly efficient exhaust fan, and all is tolerable. The cooking is evenly good, though some may say it is old-fashioned, it is very properly prepared skewered chicken in the way it has been grilled in Japan for years. Although they only sell large bottles of Shochu they do have one bottle of Korean Shochu, called Jinro in a half bottle, however there are no others available by the glass. I believed sake is available by the glass or carafe and beer of course is available in large or small bottles.
It seems like nothing has changed here since it opened in 1982 and even though things look a little worn out, at least the owner, Manabu Ohta, runs it in the same way it has always been run, and now with additional help from his daughter.

Beefsteak & Burgundy Club – Bangkok

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The monthly Beef & Burgundy lunch for August was held at Beccofino Italian Restaurant in Bangkok.
Following is an official account of the lunch with minor editing:
Beccofino received us back after an absence of two years. It was apparent that several members are regulars at this popular Italian restaurant on Thong Lor. A total of 16 were expected and the number grew to 17 with the arrival of Michael Holt from Auckland B&B. In deference to the restaurant’s provenance, proceedings commenced with the quaffing of Prosecco, that increasingly popular vino frizzante from the hills behind Venice; this one was very good and matched well the canapés presented by Chef Angelo. Minus one (usual) culprit, we sat down to lunch in the main restaurant in the “expensive” seats, namely those nearest the window from where the comings and goings of the Thong Lor hoi polloi could be observed. The antipasta misto alla Italiano was superb: a succulent mixture of Italian meats and Mediterranean vegetables. With it came Barth Rene Reisling 2005 from French Alsace and a history lesson from Tim Randall. Wine spokesperson Julian Merrill thought it was over-acidic until he had consumed some food, then it received somewhat begrudging approval. Next came risotto al funghi porcini e zafferino. I’m not a risotto lover, but this was good, and those who were declared it to be excellent. Peter Williams had chosen Villa Cernas Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 to go with this. Julian’s first thought was too much tannin but confessed it matched the food extremely well. The main course comprised Grilled Ozzie Wagyu-style beef with sautéed potatoes. I thought it was excellent, being cooked to perfection, moist, flavoursome and not such a large portion that anyone was over-faced by the size. We drank (the last of Peter’s) Fermoy Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 with this, and very nice it was too.
Proceedings were concluded with heaps and heaps of Italian soft cheeses followed by Chef Angelo serving each of us with a selection of some carefully prepared and very tasty desserts. Earlier we had sung
Happy Birthday to Soi Dog Grahame Fox who was UK-bound the next day to spend the actual anniversary in a Scottish dog-house. Mark Ryan, food spokesperson, enlivened the proceedings by bestowing an appropriate number of “Woofs” upon each course. Foxy translated this for our benefit into praise for the work done the staff. Michael Holt assured one and all that a warm welcome for B&B dinner would be extended to anyone visiting Auckland on the last Tuesday of each month.

About Beefsteak & Burgundy Club:
Each Club limits its membership to 30. There are all male clubs, all ladies clubs and mixed clubs.
The objects of the Club: “To promote good fellowship and goodwill amongst all sections of the community. To further the education of its members and the community in the appreciation and understanding of good food and wines.”
Branches are as follows:

LONDON 55 Male London

TOKYO 126 Male Tokyo

SUDBURY 193 Mixed Sudbury
STONETOWN 227 Male Stonetown

BEIJING 212 Male Beijing
SHANGHAI 238 Male Shanghai
SHANGHAI LADIES 257 Ladies Shanghai

BRAZIL 235 Male Sao Paulo

SINGAPORE 254 Male Singapore

BANGKOK 249 Male Bangkok

St Francis 214 Male San Francisco

Copenhagen 256 Male Copenhagen