Sunday, 15 May 2016

Sky on 57 - High Dining

Finding a restaurant to treat Mama Chan on Mother’s Day was more challenging than anticipated - a lot of restaurants on my list aren’t open on Sundays. So I decided to pick a venue with an impressive view, something to fall back on in case the food isn’t up to scratch. Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands seemed like a good bet. 

Justin Quek is known for combining traditional Singaporean dishes with French touches; fusion cuisine is a risky territory. Interestingly the menu didn’t seem too whacky, most dishes appeared more Western with gentle Asian influence. 

Organic Egg slow-cooked, sautéed Iberico Pork Belly, braised leek, potato espuma, truffle butter
The glowing yolk spurted onto the blanket of dense potato foam when we pierced through the soft-boiled egg; everything tastes better with a bit of runny yolk. The pork belly was beautifully cooked to utmost tenderness as the thin band of lard melted in mouth; the smokiness and the soft, succulent leeks was excellent with the smooth potato cream. Delicious start.

JQ’s Signature Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao

One of the best things about xiao long bao is bursting the sac of flavoursome broth in mouth; this satisfying explosion was missing from these fusion creations. Instead there was a gush of distinctive liver richness from the foie gras cream, followed by ripples of truffle aroma as the black truffle consommé leaked from the little pouch of goodness. They reminded me of ravioli but replaced the eggy pasta with a more fragile shell. The flavours were structured and balanced, I really enjoyed them.

Maori Lakes Lamb Rack pan roasted, five spices marinated, chickpea stew, tamarind jus
The lamb was simply excellent. The meat was perfectly roasted to marshmallow softness, paired with a sweet, fragrant tamarind sauce for some Asian flare. I wasn’t a fan of the chickpea stew though, the tumeric and cumin were too bold and overpowering. 

Australian 120 Day Grain Fed Striploin pan roasted, glazed with yuzu pepper mustard, sautéed seasonal greens, sauce Americaine
The beef was less impressive in contrast to the flawlessly executed lamb. Slightly overcooked for the medium-rare requested, the striploin was 
quite coarse and it had lost its softness. The bovine flavour tasted diluted; perhaps once you have gone dry-aged, you can’t go back. The toasted rice was also an unnecessary distraction that had drowned out the subtle glaze. The shellfish essence in sauce Americaine made up much of the flavours; Chef was heavy handed with the cayenne pepper though, giving it a sharp bite. 

Paris-Brest Hazelnut cream, chocolate disc, lulo sorbet
This Paris Brest has nothing on the one from Patisseries des Reves. The choux pastry was quite hard and dry, it resembled stale puff pastry. But the generous hazelnut cream made up for the shortcomings, it was thick, buttery rich and packed with nutty aroma. Not bad.

Reconstructed Black Forest fluffy chocolate sponge, griottines, dark chocolate mousse, vanilla mascarpone cream, kirsch jelly, cherry sorbet
The description on the menu was very comprehensive, and so Papa Chan was expecting lots of things on his plate. Well.
I only stole the kirsch jelly and it was strong.

Homemade Patisseries Selection: Green tea and red bean swiss roll, peanut butter bomb and triple chocolate opera slice
The peanut butter bomb was particularly delicious, like a posh Reese.

Sky on 57 was a pleasant surprise; the food measured up. I enjoyed the fusion elements to the recipes, and despite some dishes could do with minor tweaking, I felt the eastern touches blended in well with western ingredients. Most importantly, Mama Chan enjoyed it. 

Level 57, Sands SkyPark, Tower 1
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956
Tel: +65 6688 8857

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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Have A Zeed by Steak Lao, Bangkok

We spent a few hours in Terminal 21 in Asok before flying home. The shopping mall houses an array of boutiques as well as local brands, spread across multiple levels, each themed with an iconic city.

Among the 3 other Thai eateries on 4th floor in Terminal 21 shopping mall, Have a Zeed looked the fanciest and was most strategically placed next to the escalators, hence the only restaurant with a small queue. Drawn to the fake chandeliers and sheep effect, Papa Chan picked this one, despite the warning signs of too many tourists frantically scrolling their phones to max out on free wifi.

Mama and Papa Chan had a banana smoothie and coconut smoothie, which were both excellent with small bits of fruits for chew. The iced thai milk tea was served in a carafe with ice made out of thai milk tea, so that the ice doesn’t dilute the flavours as it melts. It’s very thoughtful, except I would have liked some normal ice to water down the sweetness...

Papaya Salad with Grilled Pork Neck
We couldn’t get enough of papaya salad. This time we mixed it up a bit and had grilled pork neck served on the side. The salad itself can’t go wrong with the trusted combination of fish sauce, lime juice, and a restrained sprinkle of chillies, all pounded together with crushed peanuts and dried shrimp. The pork was passable; springy with a tiny bit of juices from melted lard, but the exterior was dry, especially the pieces at the end. It could do with more seasonal too.

Spicy Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Minced Pork
This was a warm vermicelli salad. Again, the spiciness was very toned down, the sauce was refreshingly zesty and meaty.

Deep Fried Shrimp Cake
These were delicious. The shrimps were beaten to a springy paste, each bite was full of bounce with a brittle breadcrumb shell. The honey dip on the side had a touch of citrus, and clung well onto the crispy balls without making them soggy.

Beef Massaman Curry with Sticky Rice
This was a very sweet curry, unlike all other curry dishes we’d had. It could do with more spice and herbs since these were masked by sweetness. The hunk of beef was probably chuck; it was slow-cooked to tenderness as it was reduced to shreds when pressed with the spoon. The shreds held the thick curry sauce well, but it lacked the melt-in-mouth texture because it was very lean. It was okay, but I have had better.

Traditional Shrimp Paste Fried Rice
This was uninteresting; I was hoping for strong punches of fermented shrimp aroma, but the pungency was very mild, I barely detected a faint trace. More importantly, I’m not sure if it still qualifies to be a fried rice when each ingredient is served separately on a plate; say when egg fried rice is served with eggs on the side, isn’t it just rice and egg…  I’d go as far as calling this mixed rice - leaving this open for discussion.

In short, it’s not the most authentic or exciting meal, but none of the dishes were offensive. Given the choice again, I would definitely head one level up to the mini Fisherman Wharf food court, where the som tum was twice the size, double the flavour and half the price; fried rice and noodles were freshly prepared with everything cooked and mixed together, served piping hot; plus perhaps another 20 stalls that serve straight forward and authentic Thai dishes.

Terminal 21
4/F, Sukhumvit 19
Sukhumvit Road

Bangkok