Sunday, 26 March 2017

Will The True Peranakan Please Stand Up


The Unwavering Search For Authentic Peranakan Food Beyond Home

 
This blogpost was written by my brother Jerome to celebrate our love for Peranakan cuisine.  So do excuse the poetic ramblings of his experience at The Peranakan, located at Clamore Connect along Orchard Road.  He had obviously been whacked in the head with food coma and was in a state of delirium as he wrote this post while shoving wee cups of Kuih Pie Tee into his mouth.  Here’s his story:




Born and bred Peranakan, food has always been a focal point in my family and a gastronomic spread is a sine qua non for all occasions. We celebrate joyous occasions from the Chinese New Year to birthdays, to engagements and weddings through food. Any  Peranakan would confess that home-cooked Peranakan food is unparalleled.  Mom’s THE number 1 culinary genius of Peranakan fare.  My hunt for good Peranakan cuisine across Singapore over the years have resulted only in disappointment.

I was pleasantly surprised when my mother, a finicky eater and fastidious self-professed custodian of this culinary art form told us that there was a relatively new Peranakan restaurant that was worth a visit.  Brimming with excitement and ignoring the very real possibility of getting into a state of postprandial somnolence, I visited this eatery recently over three separate sessions (almost back-to-back) in an enthusiastic attempt to savour the extensive menu offerings.

The quality of the fare here truly matches up to what I have grown accustomed to from my days of youth and left me yearning for more. A consistently impeccable standard of service demonstrated by the serving staff made every visit such an awesome experience and actually made us feel like we were dining in the company of good friends.

 

Kuih Pie Tee

The Kuih Pie Tee was a definite crowd-pleaser and served as a great start to the culinary adventure. Traditionally served deconstructed, the mild sweetness from the julienned turnip coupled with an appetite-whetting house-made zesty chili paste made for an exhilarating blend of flavours in the crisp shell.




Sambal Pisanag Jantung


The Sambal Pisang Jantung is a rarely seen Peranakan "salad" that is regrettably disappearing from so many menus these days and is almost at risk of becoming recherché. A true heritage dish, this welded the banana blossom with shrimps to form a truly spectacular culinary creation.


Ayam Buah Keluak


Just as the Japanese have their fugu and the Icelanders have their hákarl, Peranakans do have a potentially deadly ingredient in their culinary repertoire too. The Buah Keluak, a fruit from the Kepayang tree is poisonous if not prepared correctly. The Ayam Buah Keluak, a much-loved delicacy amongst Straits-born Chinese was a pleasant combination of tender chicken with this ambrosial "Peranakan black truffle". It was meticulously prepared to exacting standards here and the flesh of the Buah Keluak infused the gravy with its rich and smoky flavours to make this an absolute stunner that cannot be missed. If you could have only one dish (which I sincerely hope not), this had to be it. Noteworthy too was that unlike other eateries that mixed the flesh of the Buah Keluak with minced meat in an effort to cut down on the tedious preparation, the ones here were
filled with only the delicate kernel within the shell.


Ayam Sioh


I thoroughly enjoyed the Ayam Sioh too. This flavourful staple had a delectable sweetness from the combination of palm sugar and red sugar. The ketumbar (coriander powder) added so much depth of flavour without over-powering the dish. The more commonly encountered version used duck meat and was known as "Itek Sioh". The Ayam Sioh served  here was a refreshing change indeed for those who might not like the gaminess of duck.



Ayam Goreng Ketumbar and Curry Ayam Istimewa


Fans of poultry would also love the Ayam Goreng Ketumbar and Curry Ayam Istimewa. The former was a dish of fried chicken flavoured with turmeric and coriander whilst the latter was a spice-filled curry elevated to another level with the aromatic tang of lime leaves.




Sotong Masak Asam


Seafood aficionados would be thrilled to bits with the Sotong Masak Asam. This was squid cooked in tamarind with palm sugar and starfruit. A mix of sweet and citrusy notes to tease the palate, this definitely had a lot going on in a single dish without being overwhelming. Another squid item to look out for would be the Sambal Sotong which had just the right mix of spice to complement the springy freshness of the seafood.


Sambal Belachan and Cincalok


When revelling in Peranakan fare, it would be near sacrilegious to pass on the sambal belachan and Cincalok. These are necessities associated with this form of dining and the fine folks here did a brilliant job with combining the latter in an egg dish known as Telur Goreng Cincalok. The robust mixture of fermented krill with fresh lime juice, chili and shallots paired marvellously well with the savoury and fluffy omelette.


Chendol Melaka and Pandan Gula Melaka


What is a great meal without the equally decadent desserts? Both the Chendol Melaka with its velvety palm sugar syrup and Pandan Gula Melaka cake would undoubtedly serve as a fitting cap to a dining experience here. The dessert was a rather unique sweet treat of pillowy soft cushiony chiffon cake crowned with a drizzle of that luscious palm sugar syrup (Yes, we do have a sweet tooth!) and desiccated coconut.



Verdict?  -  BELLY ‘MUST-COME-BACK-AGAIN-AND-AGAIN’ TERRIFIC

 

About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.

 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Not A Magical Meal


 
Themed Restaurants

 
How many diners would go to a themed restaurant and expect to be served great food?   Thankfully, we didn’t.  We decided to step into the magical world of Platform 1094, a Harry Potter / Wizard – themed café that had just sprung up near our hood, just for the sheer fun of immersing ourselves in a Hogwartish atmosphere and perhaps, whish our wands around to turn a bucket of truffle fries into a 2-bucket portion.

 
Well, can I just say for the record that the restaurant IS Platform 1094, and not Platform 9¾.  So never mind the quality of the food, the look and feel of it is as far from Hogwarts as Daniel Radcliffe is to Daniel Craig.

 
Step up to the Platform



Platform 1094

 
The first indication of  having been transported from the street off Serangoon Road to a magical place is to open the glass door to a shelf full of wizardry paraphernalia from the Halloween costume shop that says Mrs Lich Wands, Trinkets and Curios.  Cute.  Some of my friends who had been to the restaurant encouraged me to put on the witch’s hat, robe and brandish a wand.  No thanks.
You want to be Harry Potter or Voldermort?



After settling down at my table, we were served water in lab beakers while we browsed through their menu. So far, still cute.
Yup, its water. Not a pee sample.


We had decided to start off with some drinks.  The hubby ordered Mr Lich’s Flaming Brew which looked like a goblet of lemonade and blue curacao torched with a spoonful of bacardi and sprinkled with cinnamon powder to create some sparks of magic.  If it was not an alcoholic drink, kids would be thrilled with it.  For old fogies like us, we cupped our faces in our hands and rolled our eyes to the fact that it was such a lame gimmick that tasted like cough syrup.
So Tacky.  Blue Tack...see what I did there? Get it? Get it? 


The boy ordered the Butterscotch Ale which was a white foamy liquid topped with sugared star sprinkles.  I thought it was a pretty, girly, frou frou drink and a good one for my boy who was allergic to alcohol and believed in unicorns.

Unicorn Milk


Not enamored by the drinks, we then went on to the food, hoping to be mesmerized by the magic of their culinary skills even if everything else from theme décor, to service to drinks fell flat on their faces.

As I was an avid nibbler, we ordered almost everything from their list of appetizers.  We had the Spam Fries, which was strangely breaded and deep-fried but still tasty.  It’s Spam Fries, you can’t go wrong with Spam Fries. We also ordered the Truffle Fries, Platform Wings and Meatballs.  So far, these were just ok. One could really not find fault with anything deep-fried right?  The meatballs however were a heap of cheesy, tomatoey mess that looked unappetizing and way too over-saucy.
Spam Fries


A bowl of glob they called Meatballs



We also had their Mushroom Soup and Carrot and Beetroot Soup which were served in black cauldrons.  How witchy. So cute. These, I had to admit, were delicious, hearty and substantial as a meal on its own.
Mushroom Soup in a cauldron





Truffle Fries saved the day


For main course, the hubby had the Da Bomb Burger.  It was Da Bomb alright.  It was Da Bomb in his face.  No doubt the serving was huge.  However, it was a huge disappointment because it was too dry, and the patty was almost tasteless that he had to douse it in ketchup.  The accompanying french fries was served stone-cold.
The Burger that bombed


The boy had the Pesto Mayo Pork Ribs.  Although the meat on the ribs was tender and fell off the bone, he felt that the pesto mayo marinade made the pork ribs too saucy. In his words, “It was okay. Edible.  But I wouldn’t travel all this way for this.”

A plate of glob they called ribs


Now, that was how we felt about the restaurant, the drinks and the food.  Let me tell you about the service.  I am most finicky about service.  Quality of food and drinks can be improved.  However, with the lack of long-standing, good service staff faced by most restaurants in Singapore, I often wished that most restaurant owners would invest in proper training and nurturing of their service staff.

 
Customer Service

At Platform 1094, the staff were not engaging enough.  This was a themed restaurant.  Customers would be visiting this restaurant in the hope of having a fun meal.  Could we have some life please?

Our dishes, beakers, and cauldrons were left piling on our table as we polished off each dish.  Staff were walking past our table and had not had the common sense to remove the dirty dishes.

Could someone please take these away?


When a staff took our order, and it was a long list of order, he seemed to be struggling to remember everything that we ordered. So I asked him if he would like to write them all down.  However he said, “No need.”  Well, he was wrong, because we were accidentally served with yet another bucket of Spam Fries that we had not ordered. 

When I tried to make a reservation earlier for dinner at 6.30pm, the staff that took my call said, “Sorry we are fully booked for dinner.”   So I decided to ask if I could then make a reservation for 5.30pm, perhaps we could be there for drinks and see if we wanted to stay on for dinner if it was not too crowded.  He said that was ok as the restaurant would not be too busy then.  He was right, the restaurant had more life than my underpants at that time.  But even when we finished our meal at about 7.30pm, I still had more life in my underpants.  There were several empty tables around us with reserved signs on them.  What a waste!  If I was a restaurant owner, and I knew that I could have the potential of filling my restaurant throughout the evening, I would never tell a potential customer that the restaurant was fully booked for dinner.

I know this post may be quite scathing about the restaurant.  To be fair, I had no high expectations of the food when I had decided to pay Platform 1094 a visit.  However, from the décor, to the service to the food and drinks, at least try to score on a couple of winning factors that would bring your customers back right?  I would not think of coming back just for the Carrot and Beetroot Soup served in a cauldron. Really.

 
Verdict?  -  BELLY ‘FALL-FLAT-ON-THE-FACE’ DISAPPOINTING

 

About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.

 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Nasi Lemak At The Coconut Club


Is It Really That Expensive?

I came across a few blog posts about this new kid on the block along  Ann Siang Hill which "serves that expensive Nasi Lemak". I am not a Nasi Lemak fan but the amount of press about this local dish which was priced at S$12.80, got me really curious, and ready for that hike across the CBD to find out why it was worth that hefty price tag. I think I found my answer.

 Value For Money

The Nasi Lemak came with Ayam Goreng Rempah which was a  perfectly marinated fried chicken that was crispy on the outside and so tender on the inside, ikan bilis,  peanuts, a fried egg and a dollop of chili sambal which I liked but my lunch companions thought was not spicy enough.  It was a substantial dish. Yes you can get something similar for less and tastes better at more renown  Nasi Lemak stalls at food centres like the one at Changi Village or at Adam Road.

But we were on Ann Siang Hill right? And we tucked into a great meal within the cool comforts of an air conditioned restaurant where we were served by very engaging staff. I think that price tag of S$12.80 isn't about the Nasi Lemak you see. We were delighted by a complimentary bowl of Sayur Lemak which is an Indonesian style vegetable dish in a thin coconut broth. We also finished our meal with a complimentary piece of Kueh Salat each for dessert. I must add, that Kueh Salat was so soft and yummy. And here's why I truly think my Nasi Lemak meal was worth S$12.80 and will be going back for more....The serving staff said," We are offering you these complimentary dishes as we would appreciate your honest feedback before deciding whether or not to add it to our menu." Wow! I was bowled over. How many eateries out there do value customers' feedback? 

e outside and so tender on the inside, ikan bilis, peanuts, a fried egg and a dollop of chili sambal which I liked but my lunch companions thought was not spicy enough. It was a substantial dish. Yes you can get something similar for less and tastes better at more renown Nasi Lemak stalls at food centres in Changi Village and Adam Road. But we were on Ann Siang Hill right? And we tucked into a great meal within the cool comforts of an air conditioned restaurant where we were served by very engaging staff. I think that price tag of S$12.80 isn't about the Nasi Lemak you see. We were delighted by a complimentary bowl of Sayur Lemak which is an Indonesian style vegetable dish in a thin coconut broth. We also finished our meal with a complimentary piece of Kueh Salat each for dessert. I must add, that Kueh Salat was so soft and yummy. And here's why I truly think my Nasi Lemak meal was worth S$12.80 and will be going back for more....The serving staff said," We are offering you these complimentary dishes as we would appreciate your honest feedback before deciding whether or not to add it to our menu." Wow! I was bowled over. How many eateries out there do value customers' feedback?e outside and so tender on the inside, ikan bilis, peanuts, a fried egg and a dollop of chili sambal which I liked but my lunch companions thought was not spicy enough. It was a substantial dish. Yes you can get something similar for less and tastes better at more renown Nasi Lemak stalls at food centres in Changi Village and Adam Road. But we were on Ann Siang Hill right? And we tucked into a great meal within the cool comforts of an air conditioned restaurant where we were served by very engaging staff. I think that price tag of S$12.80 isn't about the Nasi Lemak you see. We were delighted by a complimentary bowl of Sayur Lemak which is an Indonesian style vegetable dish in a thin coconut broth. We also finished our meal with a complimentary piece of Kueh Salat each for dessert. I must add, that Kueh Salat was so soft and yummy. And here's why I truly think my Nasi Lemak meal was worth S$12.80 and will be going back for more....The serving staff said," We are offering you these complimentary dishes as we would appreciate your honest feedback before deciding whether or not to add it to our menu." Wow! I was bowled over. How many eateries out there do value customers' feedback?
Verdict?  -  BELLY WORTH IT

 
About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.

 


Monday, 24 October 2016

My Experience As A Mystery Diner At O Comptoir



How many times would you see restaurants springing up all over Singapore but some barely lasting a year?  Many restaurant owners told me that the one thing that plaqued the food and beverage industry in Singapore, and possibly the biggest contributor to its transience was the lack of good staff. I disagree.  The ONLY thing that would make or break a business, whether or not it was a restaurant, would be the failure to put its customers first.  Customer centricity would be key to businesses thriving in an environment of cut-throat competition.  Those operating within the food and beverage industry should know this best.

 

Over the weekend, I participated in a Mystery Diner program at a crepe and cider restaurant, called O Comptoir.  I was contacted via Instagram after one of my numerous visits to its sister restaurant, O Batignolles.  As an avid foodie, I would never fail to post my photos and reviews of the food and service of restaurants that I had visited, and that would be probably why they contacted me to be part of their Mystery Diner program. I was truly impressed by the management’s dedication to customer centricity as they invested time and resource to ensure that customers at their restaurants, O Batignolles and O Comptoir were delighted by their food and the service.  They were open to comments and suggestions and were genuine in their intent to improve.  I was bowled over.  Frankly, beyond the usual post-dining feedback/comments forms that most restaurants had, I did not think that there were any restaurants in Singapore that had actually implemented a Mystery Diner program.

 

It was a perfect decision for me to accept the invitation to be part of the program as I had never visited O Comptoir before.  This gave me an opportunity to get to know the restaurant and what was offered on its menu.  Moreover, as I sat within my organization’s Customer Centricity Committee, I wanted to leverage my experience to present this as a best practice case study to my committee members at work.

 

The program required me to read the program questionnaire at least twice before participating, and then take down every detail from the time I made the reservation right through to my experience of the food, the service and the ambience, to the way my bill was presented.

 

These were my observations at O Comptoir.

 

My reservation was made with the restaurant’s manager who noted down every detail including my preferences and any special occasion that I was celebrating then.  When I turned up at the venue, he served me personally, greeted me and led me to my table, asking, “Would this table be okay for you?”

 

He was very knowledgeable with the menu, explaining what O Comptoir as a restaurant was all about, what was on offer on its menu, and the type of drinks that would pair well with my crepe or galette.  I learnt then, cider and crepe was a marriage made in heaven.  When I was looking rather lost and undecided about what to order, he made some recommendations and intuitively zeroed in on the healthy options when he noted that I was picky with my food choices.  He explained that the galette was made of buckwheat flour which supported my gluten-free diet and if I wanted to choose a galette that was lighter and more diet-friendly, he pointed to a list of healthier options from which I could choose from. This demonstrated his interest in his customers enough to engage them in a way that made them feel that they could enjoy a meal without having to worry about dietary preferences. He did not even wait for me to request for gluten-free options on the menu.  He had just intuitively connected with my needs when he overheard David asking me, ”What can you eat from here?”  

 

He then proceeded to ask what I wanted to drink.  He mentioned that the best pairing for galette would be a cider.  However, I told him that I preferred a glass of wine instead and proceeded to ask for his recommendations from the wine list.  He demonstrated a good knowledge of the wine list, but requested that I went ahead to order my galette first as specific types of wine would pair better with a specific galette. 

 

David ordered the Khao San Road, a galette with Thai-inspired flavours that was made up of prawns, mango, peanuts, beansprouts and mint sauce.  I ordered the Duck It which was a galette filled with duck confit, caramelised onions and potatoes.  He asked if we would like to share a side salad to complete our meal which was a nice touch.

 

Knowing that we preferred a medium to full bodied red wine, he went on to recommend the Haut Medoc.  I asked if we could sample the wine first and he then brought back 2 sample pegs of Haut Medoc.  I did not like the taste of it and decided to opt for the Malbec instead and he happily acceded to my request to change my choice of wine.

 

So far, the manager handled our orders with a lot of enthusiasm and even when we asked to make some changes to our orders at last minute, he was unfazed.  David asked for the mint sauce to be removed from his Khao San Road galette. He was then asked if it was okay if they added more cheese to his galette so that the dish would not turn out too dry.  That was really thoughtful. I have experienced a server  from another restaurant who took my order, accepted the changes to my order, then served a dish that was almost inedible.  When I indicated that I could not take another bite from the dish, he just shrugged his shoulders, and looked at me accusingly as if to say, “Well, you made that choice.”  At O Comptoir, they were very serious about the quality of the food served to their customers and were keen to ensure that every plate of food leaving their kitchen would be perfect and to their customers’ satisfaction.

 

I asked for my Duck It galette to be made without potatoes.  This did not compromise the dish in any way because the galette was filled to the brim with duck confit and caramelised onions.  The portion was ample and definitely value for money.

 

When we finished our meal, they asked if we wanted coffee and dessert but like I said, the galette was huge.  I did not have any space left for dessert which I was sure would have been equally as delightful as the galette.  Instead, we decided to have glass of cider each.  David had the original apple cider and I had the pear cider.  The pear cider was so delicious that I regretted not listening to the manager about pairing it with my galette earlier.

 

We really enjoyed our evening at O Comptoir.  Most importantly, we were very impressed by the Mystery Diner program which proved that O Comptoir and her sister restaurant O Batignolles were serious about putting their customers first.  The only way that businesses can stay sustainable are those that strive to delight their customers and take customers’ opinions seriously.




Our Verdict?  -  BELLY IMPRESSIVE SERVICE AND FOOD



About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.

 



 
 
 
 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Osteria Art Always Delights


Beppe De Vito's culinary excellence at Osteria Art was worth waxing lyrical about.  

The restaurant  offered good, unpretentious Italian cuisine that combines rusticity with a touch of contemporary flair.

Having dined there several times, we have never once been let down by the quality of the food. 
 
Our visit to the restaurant last week was no different. Osteria Art featured some of the season's best  creations so thoughtfully put together by the talented team.

 
We had made plans for dinner there with the sole intent of indulging on the rare and prized white truffles but alas, this was sold out for the day by the time we arrived. Putting our disappointment aside, we settled for the black truffle which came in the form of an antipasto, the Burrata with Porcini Mushrooms and Truffles. Filled with a slight tinge of sweetness, the black truffles provided its trademark fragrance which intermingled with the soft, velvety texture of the burrata. The porcini mushrooms provided an interesting bite to this creation whilst further bolstering this creation with its umami-filled flavours.

 
A decadent pasta main, the Tagliolini with  sea urchins harvested off the Sicilian coast  was truly a stunning masterpiece which showcased this fine ingredient so fittingly. Brimming with rich flavours, the pasta was cooked al dente in a briny sea urchin sauce, crowned with its creamy flesh and further graced with a sprinkle of shaved black truffles. This had a reasonable amount of sauce to it which served to complement the tagliolini without resulting in an overly soggy creation.

 
Aesthetically presented, the Osteria Art Tiramisu was a perfect cap to the dinner. Decadent without being cloyingly sweet, the tiramisu had a hidden and unique twist to it with the addition of powdered Pop Rocks which created an occasional fizziness that melted in the mouth as it dissolved. This was just enough to wow without stealing the limelight from this quintessnentially popular Italian dessert. Artfully embellished with both white and dark chocolate, this provided a delicate balance of pleasant bitter and sweet flavours.
 
Well done, Osteria Art for never failing to delight. Your hallmark consistency in quality of food and service can only mean that Jerome and I will come back for more.


Our Verdict?  -  BELLY CONSISTENTLY EXCELLENT


About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.

 


Let Them Eat Cake With Angelina


I am a little bit more pedestrian when it comes to food, compared to my more well-travelled brother. 

My knowledge and experience of French food had never extended beyond a Croissant,  Duck Confit and Seafood Bouillabaisse.  Jerome on the other hand was more adventurous and would not hesitate to indulge in food served up at a restaurant that had built its reputation across the world.
 
Last week, he paid a visit to one of these, Angelina.
 
Hailing from Paris, the illustrious tearoom in its flagship location situated at Rue Du Rivoli in the French capital was a regular venue for hobnobbing amongst media celebrities, talented fashion designers and notable poets. This was managed by Groupe Bertrand today, a well-known name in the French restaurant industry.

 

The local outlet here featured a list of Parisian classics and he commenced his meal with the Traditional Crusted Onion Soup. This had a deep flavour profile ranging from beefy to naturally sweet with a pleasant tinge of tartness as a balance. Capped with an airy and flaky pastry that is melt-in-your-mouth perfect, the fragrant soup had a generous amount of velvety onions and an adequate portion of melted cheese which served to provide just the right consistency to the tasty broth.

 

The main course for this evening was a Beef cube-roll. Prepared with a 120-day grain-fed Australian Angus, this was served with sweet potato fries and warm, savoury red wine veal jus. Fork tender with its juices sealed in, the steak had a good meat to fat ratio with the latter sporting a soft and almost buttery texture. A sprinkle of herbs prior to serving further enlivened this menu item.

 

A unique range of pastries were available here and they were perennially in-demand. He had intended to have the Millefeuille, a caramelised puff pastry with light Bourbon cream but this was sold out. He had always believed that when confronted with tough menu choices, the solution would be to choose more than one. So, he selected the rich and chocolaty Forêt-Noire which was prepared with a dark chocolate biscuit, Amarena cherries, cherry confit and light vanilla mousse with the second being the Cheesecake Cassis, a citrusy number with crunchy shortbread almond biscuit, black current cream and cheesecake mousse.
 


I laughingly joked with Jerome that this was a meal fit for Marie Antoinette and he should be declaring, "Qu 'ils mangent de la brioche".


Our Verdict?  -  BELLY INDULGENTLY GOOD


About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.

 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Singapore Welcomes Pizza Express


Pizza Is Not Junk Food

 I know I know, not another review about yet another pizza restaurant.  We can’t help it.  My brother Jerome and I love our pizzas.  He preferred the thick crust version and I adored the thin crust ones.  At home, Mom called it junk food. 

When we were younger, Jerome and I were brought up on Mom’s cooking of low salt and low fat dishes daily,  that we often had to sneak out for an unhealthy snack of chicken nuggets, burgers or curry puffs.  I remembered that even Dad had big meals during lunchtime at the office, anticipating a rather bland dinner.  He often had  roast duck, roast pork,  roti prata and soup kambing or anything else that would not have passed Mum’s scrutiny, governed by her “quack nutritionist” certification.  

Jerome and I can attest to the fact that pizza is not junk food.  It is worthy of claiming its own food group, under the label of “Healthy Food”. This is particularly so for the pizzas served at Pizza Express. How can a pizza that is made from premium flour, hand tossed and served with the freshest ingredients full of goodness from the garden be unhealthy?

So yes, there is cause for celebration.  Jerome had just informed me that Pizza Express had just opened its first outlet here in Singapore at Scotts Square.  In the past, I often looked forward to work trips to Hong Kong so that I could dash into Pizza Express at the airport for a quick meal before heading back to Singapore.




This post is a review done by Jerome when he visited Pizza Express yesterday for dinner.  No, I was not invited.  Sometimes, my brother can be quite useless.

 Pizza Express In Singapore

 Pizza Express was founded by Peter Boizot, a restaurateur and philanthropist in 1965 when he first obtained a pizza oven and hired a chef during his trip to Italy and set up the first outlet in Wardour Street, London. The rest is history and Pizza Express has since expanded regionally and globally over the years into the rest of Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East.

Jerome loved his pizzas smothered with tomato sauce and the creations at Pizza Express hit the spot with a good slather of homemade passata. The pizzas are available in both the classic (original and unchanged since 1965) and Romano crusts with the former being thicker and the latter being a thinner and crispier version. These are made from freshly kneaded dough that is prepared daily from premium flour.

A good range of pizzas are available and it was impossible to resist having a few at a single sitting.  Jerome ordered 3 whole pizzas for 2 persons to share.  So I am quite annoyed he had not invited me to dinner last night. 

The Lava from the classic range was topped with fresh olives, burrata, mozzarella, sweet cherry tomatoes, whole basil leaves and passata. The creaminess of the burrata created a delightful burst of flavours with each bite. He favoured the thicker crusts but the Romano pizzas here had made him rethink his preferences. The Pomodoro Pesto (Romano) was the pièce de résistance for him with its thin crust, which still provided a very satisfying bite. Crowned with mozzarella, passata, cherry tomatoes, garlic pesto sauce, basil leave and pesto Genovese, this pizza had left him impressed with how all the ingredients complemented each other to create a wonderful symphony of sensations for the palate.



The third pizza, a Margherita with the classic crust was a creation of mozzarella, basil and passata. So simple, so comforting and definitely a perennial crowd-pleaser.

 
His Verdict?  -  BELLY HEARTY YET HEALTHY

 
About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.