Saturday, April 7, 2012

Singapore Food Porn

I know, another post which isn't a recipe. Tut, tut! But sometimes food is pretty. And interesting. And I wanted to share a few food snaps I took in Singapore.

To kickstart our holiday, we had to get up at 4am for a 7:40am flight. That was painful. (I am NOT a morning person!) Plus, I get a tad motion sick at times so I didn't eat any breakfast nor did I eat much on the plane. So when we got to the hotel at about 2:30pm, I was starving and Pete was a tad peckish too. Too tired to go out hunting for food, we decided that a bit of room service would go down nicely.

We ordered two ham and cheese panini's, a pot of tea for me and a can of coke for Pete. We assumed it would be served on a little trolley or tray, like most other hotels we've previously stayed at do. We were wrong. Half an hour later, this arrived and was set up beside our window.

Everything we'd ordered and more!

Ham and cheese panini, lightly toasted with melty cheese.

Complimentary side salad with a gorgeous honey-balsamic dressing.

Condiments for our fries (which were also complimentary). Two bowls of ketchup, one of hot English mustard and the other of the creamiest and yummiest mayonnaise ever!

We also received chilled jasmine tea and moist face towels.

We headed out one night and grabbed dinner from one of the food courts. This was Pete's char kway teow.

I ordered a nasi goreng.

One day whilst out and about, the only place we could find was a Western-style cafe. The had pasta and pizza and all the usual type of stuff which was a little disappointing. I ordered a BLT which came served with potato chips. The BLT itself was quite tasty though.

Pete ordered a burger and it was HUGE! Although not very nice.

We ate big lunches whilst out and about most days and in the evenings, treated ourselves to fancy bars for cocktails and tapas/bar bites. We got into the habit of ordering satay sticks at each place (Axis Bar, The Fullerton and the Ritz-Carlton to name a few.)

Pete thought the satay was best at the Ritz because the sticks were served with a really thick and chunky sauce. I preferred the Fullerton because their sauce was smoother and creamier in texture with the right amount of spice.

On our last evening in Singapore, as we walked back to our hotel from The Fullerton where we'd had a few cocktails, we came across a little store called The Cookie Museum. WOW! What a place! I wish we'd found it earlier in our trip. The lady there was an absolute darling and let us try half a dozen different varieties of cookies.

At $45 a tin, they weren't cheap but they were divine! We tried berry, salted toffee, chocolate and even laksa flavoured cookies. (The laksa ones were surprisingly good!)

We ended up buying a tin of berry cookies for Pete's Nanna and bought a tin of salted toffee, pistachio, dark chocolate and papaya cookies for ourselves.

There were a surprising amount of chocolate stores in Singapore. We found one that stocked every type of every brand of chocolate in the world so purchased some M&Ms that we're never able to find in Australia - dark chocolate and peanut butter.

We also bought some locally made chocolate too. We bought a bar of 70% African milk chocolate (which has a light and slightly fruity finish) and 72% Peruvian dark chocolate (which is slightly acidic and has notes of blackberry.)

I adore the notes on the back:

Eating instructions: Close your eyes, take a bite, letting it slowly melt and dance in your mouth. Refrain from groaning in ecstasy unless enjoying this chocolate bar in private. And just a word of caution: Eating this bar of chocolate will result in some serious pleasure. Be mentally prepared for it.

We had a great trip to Singapore and tried lots of new and interesting foods. One day I hope we can go back and try more things - perhaps I may even get up the courage to give durian popsicles a shot! ;p

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dolce Vita, Singapore - Review

Note: I don't usually do restaurant reviews, I tend to leave that to the professionals and stick to posting recipes suitable for the normal person to cook at home. But this was an opportunity I just had to take.

Less than 24 hours ago, Pete and I got back from an 8 day trip to Singapore to celebrate Pete's 30th birthday.

One of his New Years resolutions this year was to eat at a Michelin starred restaurant. Sadly there are no Michelin starred restaurants in Singapore but there are a number of starred chefs who have set up restaurants there which was good enough for us!

At our hotel was a restaurant called Dolce Vita. The chef, Marco Pedrelli, was taught to cook by his Italian mother and grandmother in Cesena, Italy then went to work in numerous Michelin starred restaurants throughout Europe before earning his own Michelin star.

Needless to say the guy knows how to cook, so we booked a table at Dolce Vita at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Singapore. We had assumed Marco Pedrelli had put his name to the restaurant and designed the menu but didn't actually cook in it. We were quite wrong - we found out a few days later he was actually cooking there and therefore most likely made (or at least supervised to cooking of) our dinner that Saturday night.

So to kickstart the evening, we had a chat with the sommelier and decided that since it was Pete's birthday, the occasion called for bubbles so we ordered a nice glass of real French champagne each which was served with olive ciabatta bread and butter that was churned in-house. Divine!

Next, out came the complimentary aperitif - a poached chicken roulade.

Whilst we were eating our chicken roulade, the laser light show at the Marina Bay Sands kicked off.

Next out was something I would happily call one of the best things I've ever eaten. Ever. Almost as good as my Mum's chocolate rum slice. (And that's a pretty big call!)

It was grilled and chilled asparagus, aged Iberico de Bellota ham, buffalo mozzarella and morel ragout. I can't even get close to describing how amazing this was. Cold, refreshing, salty, creamy. Just gorgeous!

For his entree, Pete ordered seared scallops with a creamed lobster and leek sauce.

Pete and I both ordered the same thing for our main meal - Tris di pasta. Starting from the left: braised oxtail-foie gras cannelloni with creamed spinach and parmesan ; homemade crab ravioli (made with squid ink) in a champagne sauce ; and tortellini of wild forest mushrooms and ricotta with a pine nut and olive oil dressing.

Now, I'm afraid Pete and I were a little too eager when our desserts reached us. We'd eaten half of them before we remembered to take a photo of them! Oops.

So this is half a torta di mele - a slow baked golden apple on puff pastry, calvados ice-cream and Tahitian vanilla sauce.

And this is half a tarte di cioccolato e caramel - chocolate salted caramel tarte with fresh raspberries and gold leaf.

Overall, it was an amazing dinner. The service was flawless, the food was impeccable and Pete had a wonderful birthday. If anyone is heading to Singapore soon then I'd highly recommend Dolce Vita.