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European Eats

European Eats

Featuring Spago by Wolfgang Puck, The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar, Firebake - Woodfired Bakehouse & Restaurant, Iggy's, CURATE, Saint Pierre, OLA Cocina del Mar, 28Wilkie, FiSK Seafoodbar & Market, La Petite Boutique
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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M E D I A T A S T I N G
These pretty pastel pink shrimps from the cold seas around Northern Europe may be petite compared to the ones found in our tropical waters but they sure know how to charm. The chilly temperature of the sea in that region means they grow slower, which supposedly leads to more complexity in flavour.
Served chilled, the shells peel off easily to reveal firm, bouncy flesh within. Because the prawns are cooked then flash frozen in the area where they’re caught, their inherent pristine taste and sweetness are captured and preserved till they’re ready to be eaten.
One of the highlights about dining at FISK is that right after your meal at the Seafood Bar, you can stroll to the Market area to pick up these prawns ($2.80 for 100gms) to take home.

M E D I A T A S T I N G
This is something I would order for myself at FISK. Like a lobster bisque but lighter, it’s one of the standouts for me at yesterday’s tasting.
Due to the foamy texture (which I love by the way), I couldn’t tell there were pieces of boneless fish and small whole prawns in it till I scooped up my first spoon to sip (swipe for video). Now that was a really pleasant surprise. And because of the way it’s prepared, there’s no “fishy” smell whatsoever. Instead, it’s all about gentle sweetness. Very slender vegetable strips gave this soup a nice crunch too.

H O S T E D T A S T I N G
German cuisine prepared in innovative ways? That got me very curious. So, off to dinner at “Art At Curate” I went.
Things began with a really cool immersive experience, and I literally mean “really cool” because upon arrival, I was led by my hostess into the “Petite Chalet”. It’s the chiller room for spirits but has been done up for guests to sit and enjoy a warm cup of mulled wine. Head Chef Benjamin Halat then appeared, bearing a trio of finger food, each representing the Alps countries of Switzerland, Germany and Austria. Of these, I favoured the German one. Chef’s take on the traditional Mettbrötchen, a beef tartare with a white onion sauce was a flavour bomb.
After this novel start, I was ushered to my seat whereupon an “Edible Forest” with delicately crisp “leaves” of Beetroot, Onion and Celeriac was brought out. Next came the umami amuse bouche - a refined version of the German “Krabbensalat” featuring Amaebi and Sakura Ebi.
Hand on my heart, I was squealing like a schoolgirl when I spotted the “Mini Oktoberfest”. Shatteringly crisp baked salty chicken skin with a tiny mug of beer? Yes please!
It was at this point that the 8-course meal commenced with the first course of Poached Foie Gras with Gluhwein and Walnut Brioche.
The crowd-pleasing Soufflated Farm Egg on Potato Cream was second, blanketed in decadent Beluga Caviar and Ikura.
The next two dishes were my personal favorites. Its dazzling contrast of the rich and the sour made the Pig’s Trotter with Sauerkraut Jelly and Dark Beer Reduction a party on the palate. On the other hand, the Lobster with Chestnut Tortellini, Mandarin and Roasted Chicory was lusciously comforting.
For my main course (if you can call it that), I chose the Barbary Duck with Brioche Dumpling and Braised Red Cabbage. Aged for 4 weeks, the meat was tender and smooth with no gaminess. Loved the browned, crisped fatty skin on it too.
Dinner drew closer to a close with a unique “cheese course” of savoury Vacherin Mont D’or, Bratkartoffeln Mache Salad. Then the Pear Hélène, a pear-centric dessert by the famous Auguste Escoffier for the famous operetta by Jacques Offenbach, was served.
The “Kaiserschmarren”, deconstructed and morphed into an ice-cream, was the final course. A glass of housemade Rumtopf was served alongside.
I was close to bursting point when the trio of Petit Fours were set in front of me. Inspired by Chef’s childhood Christmas memories in Germany, they were so scrumptious I still managed to polish them off.

(Terms & conditions apply to the dishes in the 4 and 5-course options)

Think of these Pintxos as the welcome committee on the red carpet rolled out to usher a delegation of French wines and sumptuous bar bites. They shake awake sleepy tastebuds with the bold flavours of pickled kohada (a seasonal Japanese gizzard fish) and Escalivada (a traditional Spanish dish of slow-roasted vegetables) to ready you for even more good things to come. Forming the base is a crunchy piece of toast that complements the soft, savoury fish and slightly mushy, sweet, smoky vegetable component nicely.

Here's a study of delicious contrast: juicy slab of grilled pork belly with an addictively salty crackling wallows in a clear pool of garden vegetable broth.
From the side, a house-baked slice of rye casts a neutral eye over this coming together of the sinful and the saintly, the yin and the yang.
I found my happy place at their intersection 😄

If you are looking for something light but still raging with flavour, you should consider this. Cured in-house, the fish is marvelously moist and melt-in-the-mouth tender. It may be a little on the salty side due to the curing but that's where the leeks, dill and sweet pickled onions come in to balance things out. I loved getting a bit of everything in each bite as they taste best together.

So many orders of this pot of mussels ($25++) went sailing by that despite having confirmed our main courses, we decided to go with the flow and get one for ourselves.
As this place is a bakehouse, the theme of wheat was continued in this dish. So instead of the typical white wine, the plump, creamy-fleshed Norwegian blue mussels were simmered in lager. The choice of alcohol gave the broth a unique taste profile, while the plentiful sliced onions, garlic and fresh herb boosted sweetness and fragrance.
Firebake is only serving dinner from 6pm to 10pm for now but come April, they will be throwing their doors open at 7.30am for all-day dining.

The big ass smoked eggplant wasn't the lone operative in pulling off the heist on my tastebuds. This was a team effort with sly spiced hummus, slippery green tomato chunks, hard-nosed manchego and tough-guy toasted barley, all moving in as one.
Even the thought of putting up a fight was ridiculously laughable.

Ironically, the smallest item at last Friday's dinner happened to be the most expensive. But the Egg Caviar had a luxurious mouthfeel and tasted exquisite, so it did make me smile.
Under the pile of caviar (which klutzy me found tricky to eat without triggering a mini avalanche) was a warm, foamy egg sabayon. It really was an ideal base to the slippery crunch of the caviar's oceanic brightness.

For me, the most interesting dish of the night was the foie gras. And it also happens to be the one I liked best.
Not only was the goose liver of a good size but it was beautifully cooked. What fascinated me though was the pairing of it with lychees and black olives. The sweet and salty mix was surprising and brilliant. There's also a rose element which I suspect, was what the pile of silky "powder" was. The scent must have been faint but that didn't detract one bit from my enjoyment.
Even the slender piece of toast placed alongside the foie gras played an important role: using its neutrality to bring all the stronger-tasting components together.
This is a must-try in my opinion.

Of course I had to order this signature of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. And it was everything I hoped it would be.
The crisp and light crust was the result of time spent in the cherry wood-fired oven. And smothered over it was a generous amount of black truffle from France. Not only in paste form but shaved as well. The fontina cheese was perfect in its supporting role as it added a touch of creamy saltiness. I also liked the small pile of frisée in the middle - it helped to cut the richness beautifully.
What surprised me most about this dish though was the lower-than-expected price point. Two slices are filling so I recommended ordering this to share.

What an umami-licious dish this is!
The most popular main course of OLA Cocina Del Mar's counter set lunch ($28++), the "Fiduea" squid ink noodle paella has the subtle flavours of the sea packed into every bite.
I loved how fragrant the thin strands of noodles were; some of which were a little crispy from being against the hot pan. The clams and squid tasted really fresh, and the latter was beautifully springy. They were all good on their own but became even better when smeared with a big dollop of that lusciously creamy piquillo pepper aioli.

About Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Veronica Phua

5148 Reviews  89700 Followers

Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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