Three

Didn’t tell chef Nicolas it was my birthday but he remembered and surprised me with this cake. One of the reasons why I love that restaurant. Have been celebrating my birthday there for the last 3 years.

The blog turns three today! There are only two posts since the last birthday. That’s pretty bad. For you who have checked back often, I apologize for the lack of posts and thank you for still following. There are some posts that are near completion and should be out soon; Swedish food and the state of food public relations, Japanese/Italian food forming a sort of third culture cuisine, and my recent adventures which I’ll disclose in a coming post.

The year has been quite a journey for me, with food playing a huge, if not central role in my life. Again, I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but you’ll read about it soon. Once again thank you for stopping by.

Dave.

Birthday tart, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Comes with a side of happy birthday in French from the service staff.

Monday food porn. A taste of Noma (desserts) in Singapore.

Bitters Dessert… Winter Version. Whey discs, bitters syrup, milk crumbs, sorrel.

I know. Its been some time since I posted. For those of you coming back and always seeing the same post from some time ago, I apologize. I’ve been busy with an exciting new job that has kept me busy. You’ll find out more in a future post (it might be some time.) But I just wanted to leave you with some food porn while waiting. Last Wednesday night I tasted the desserts of the acclaimed restaurant, Noma, by way of pastry chef Rosio Sanchez, who was in Singapore for the World Gourmet Summit at 2am Dessert Bar. This is not my usual post. Forgive me if it’s brief and it breaks my rule that every post should tell a story, but like porn it’s purely gratuitous. I hope you enjoy it.

Hay Parfait & Strawberries. Chamomile broth, lemon balm, oregano, bronze fennel.

Chef Sanchez pouring in the chamomile broth.

Milk & Grains. Milk ice cream, biodynamic grains & birch syrup.

Chef Rosio Sanchez and the team from 2am Dessert Bar converging to plate our desserts.

Huldreost Brown Cheese & Beet. Brown cheese custard, beet granite, licorice.

Pic with chef.

The Times They Are A-Changing: db bistro moderne Singapore

The Original db Burger

I can’t pinpoint the specific instance when I decided I would spend the rest of my life in New York. There were many: spring break my freshmen year and I was absolutely electrified by the buzz of the city. Or my semester abroad junior year, reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Perhaps it was the Wednesdays when I religiously picked up the New York Times for its dining section. (Although at Newhouse we were “encouraged” to read it everyday, not just for its dining section.)

In my last days in the city, I fell in love with it even more. I was on borrowed time. I remember the specific day, when I embraced everything the city had to offer. Lunch at David Burke, Monty Python on Broadway and then dinner at db bistro. I remember having that last glass of sauternes and walking out to hail a cab that I would, like a lover separated, miss and long for this city. I never got a chance to visit those restaurants again, I haven’t been back and I don’t think I will for some time. Time hasn’t healed those wounds.

When I think of New York, I think of my friends, the city and its food. I don’t think there is a better restaurant city in the world. But Singapore is becoming a great restaurant city too, and probably the best foodie city in the world.

Singapore, with its already amazing street food scene is fast developing a sophisticated fine dining one as well. It makes for an unmatched range of food. The Integrated Resorts have become a pantheon for the Michelin-starred giants, Guy Savoy, the late Santi Santamaría (who unfortunately had a heart attack at his Singapore restaurant) and Robuchon. Lacking stars, but equally acclaimed, Tetsuya Wakuda. Many other famous chefs have deemed Singapore important and set up shop here. Top Chef filmed its season 7 finale here, the first outside the States. The recent Madrid Fusion featured and focused on Singapore. It is an exciting and heady time.

Daniel Boulud is here.

I didn’t need to go back to New York for db bistro. It came to me.

Cross-section: Sirloin burger filled w/ braised short ribs & foie gras. Parmesan bun, pommes frites.

When I was in New York, I wanted to try the famed db burger. But K-Dubs ordered it so I took something else, to sample more of the menu.  3 years later, in Singapore, I had my burger. It was a towering stack: minced sirloin, braised short ribs and foie gras. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was juicy; the braised short ribs gave an extra hit of that mineral beefy flavor. Although the texture of the ribs was slightly mushy, not a bad thing, it is after all braised. But I prefer my burgers solid. Still it was a fair tradeoff, texture for taste. This burger was better than the one in New York, which K-Dubs said was dry.

Amuse bouche: Fried rice balls. Arancini? In a French restaurant?

The word bistro in db bistro is a bit of a misnomer. Don’t expect rustic working-man’s fare here.  What you have are elegant interpretations of bistro classics, like bumping into an acquaintance or friend at a club all dressed up, sometimes you have to do a double take. It is not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s executive chef, Stephane Istel’s responsibility to dress up the food at db bistro moderne Singapore. The food is executed with the same verve, as when I tried it in New York. The native of Alsace seems to be chef Boulud’s standard bearer (in more than the normal sense of the word) having been the head chef at db bistro Vancouver before this.

Amuse bouche:  gougères

The first indication that I was in chef Istel’s good hands was the amuse bouche that mark the start of the meal. It is a looking-glass into the chef and his kitchen, his ideas and their competence. On one visit they were crisp fried rice balls, a very satisfying snack. On another visit they were airy gougères. Both executed perfectly.

Assiette Lyonnaise

Charcuterie is good. There are good quality cured meats in the Assiette Lyonnaise, which included a great terrine and a prized pickled mushroom. Another terrine, made with foie gras was smooth, well seasoned, with a hint of sweetness. But I remember the same dish in New York having a more defined flavor. Perhaps the quality of foie in Singapore just isn’t that great.

Foie gras terrine. Black mission figs, mâche, toasted house made brioche.

Tomato tart tatin. Puff pastry, tomato confit, goat cheese, frisée, basil pesto sauce.

The tomato tart tatin is a winner. The tomato confit bursts with concentrated sun-kissed (or rather heat kissed) flavor. Goat cheese adds a heady-funk and body. Fresh cherry tomatoes brighten up the ensemble. Combined with the basil pesto sauce, it is what I would imagine the south of France would taste like.

db Tartiflette. Pommes Boulangeres, bacon, Reblochon.

The db Tartiflette didn’t fare as well. There is nothing wrong with its execution. The Reblochon had a light broiled veneer, the bacon crisp and juicy at the same time, the potatoes cooked just right, tender with just the slightness hint of a bite. However the dish was one-dimensional. Potato-cheese-bacon, a classic combination, but it hits you over the head again and again. It is heavy. Order it if you like that sort of thing.

Alsatian rabbit “Fleischnecke.” Baby spinach, black trumpet, grainy mustard jus.

Alsatian rabbit “Fleischnecke” was smooth and moist. The mustard jus gave a sharp counterpoint to the meat.

Snail & chicken oyster fricassée. Hazelnut späetzle, parsley.

One of my favorites was the snail & chicken oyster fricassee with hazelnut späetzle. I love that they used chicken oysters, an often neglected but flavorful and tender part of the chicken, on the back, near the thigh. The skin was crisp, a sprinkling of salt highlighting, lifting and intensifying the chicken. The späetzle was subtlety nutty with a gnocchi-like chew. So many flavors and textures served on a canvas of bright parsley.

Burger, this time a little dry.

I tried the burger again, this time ordered medium. It was a mistake (never go above medium-rare,) it was dry and lacking in flavor compared to the one on my previous visit. The fries though were excellent on both counts with a crunchy exterior and pillow-y soft interior.

The John Dory bouillabaisse was another disappointment. The John Dory as well as squid, prawns, mussels and clams weren’t overcooked and you would think with all those ingredients it would be robust, but it lacked flavor. (Sadly I have no pictures of this as my camera fell on the soup bowl; thankfully there was no permanent damage to the lens or body. Or to the dish.)

Coupe au poire. Fresh & confit pear, candied walnuts, Verbena tea foam, cassis-pear sorbet.

db bistro is one of the rare places in Singapore that dessert doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Pastry chef Ludwig Hely does a great job; most of the desserts are excellent, head and shoulders above what most restaurants offer here.

The coupe au poire, served in a glass looks like a miniature terrarium. It was refreshing and light, a contrast of different textures. The Verbena tea foam and cassis-pear sorbet paired beautifully with the pears and walnuts.

Profitteroles au café. Hot chocolate sauce, dulce de leche, coffee rocky road ice cream.

Profiteroles were decent; airy and decadent, if a bit over the top with the chocolate sauce, dulce de leche and coffee rocky road ice cream.

Ile Flottante. Lemon floating island, apple confit, armagnac crème anglaise.

There was an ethereal Ile flottante, the lemon floating island dissolved in my mouth, it’s like eating a cloud. It came with a sophisticated armagnac crème anglaise.

Gateau chocolat-myrtille. Bittersweet chocolate mousse, crunchy praliné, blueberry-orange blossom ice cream.

A multi-layered Gateau chocolat-myrtille was moist and luscious. Each layer had a distinct role of either taste or texture. The blueberry-orange complemented and eased the richness of the cake.

Sundae Exotique. Pineapple, mango, lime marshmallow, vanilla cookie, guanabana-mango sorbet.

Pineapple, mango and guanabana/soursop might be exotic in New York or Vancouver (although probably not Miami) where there are other db bistros. But definitely not in Singapore. Which might be why it isn’t on the menu anymore. But it was light and refreshing, the medley of fruits didn’t compete with each other and I loved the little surprises of candied ginger, which with its slight spicy heat elevated the dessert, like Louboutins on women, it made it sexy.

Sundae aux marrons. Chestnut ice cream, speculoos cookie, milk gelee, Baileys.

Even though I liked the sundae exotique, I’m glad it’s off the menu because it made way for the sundae aux marrons, which is fantastic. I’m not usually a fan of chestnuts, but this had all that chestnut flavor without the “pastiness.” The ice cream was smooth on the tongue. No ice crystals there. The swirls of chestnut puree too felt smooth, refined.

Warm madeleines.

The db bistro in Singapore doesn’t give mignardises at the end of the meal like I had at its New York branch, but an order of warm madeleines makes it a moot point, you wouldn’t want anything else. It amazes me that something so simple as butter, eggs, flour and sugar can, with an expert hand, be turned into something so delicious, so satisfying yet always leaving you wanting more.

Wanting more. I’ve been hoping for this, a restaurant like db bistro. The Singapore dining scene, though blossoming, has been relatively insular. I’ve seen the same dishes on too many menus, the same inadequate technique. It seems that’s the way things are done and chefs take it with them from restaurant to restaurant. Culinary inbreeding is never a good thing. Sure the menus at the various db bistros are similar, but it is quite unlike what you get at French bistros here. It is elegant, well-conceptualized, well-executed food.

I’m hoping that in the years to come, technique and talent will trickle down to other restaurants in Singapore. It’s already an exciting time for Singapore’s dining scene. But I’m waiting for when the mid-level chefs at these restaurants, the db bistros, Guy Savoys, Robuchons and Santis would open up their own restaurants. Hopefully one of them will define Singapore cuisine.

db bistro moderne

Basement 1, across from the Theater. (Wonder why there isn’t a specific address)
The Shoppes (as in ye olde?) at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018972
Tel: 6688 8525
http://www.danielnyc.com/dbbistroSingapore.html

HOURS Monday to Friday, lunch, noon to 2:30 p.m.; dinner, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, brunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

PRICE RANGE Appetizers, $13 to $26; mains, $26 to $45; db burger, $38, with black truffles, $88; Cote de boeuf for two, $150; desserts, $4 to $15.

RECOMMENDED DISHES Foie gras terrine, tomato tart tatin, snail & chicken oyster fricassee, db burger (nothing above medium rare), coupe au poire, Ile flottante, sundae aux marrons, madeleines.

Turning Two!

Happy Birthday!

Its been two years since I started this blog to chronicle my departure from New York. It’s a story I tell though the meals I eat. Perhaps that is why I love food, because it’s not just about nourishment but of hope. To those reading: Thank you for stopping by.

Dave

Standing Still

Can you guess where this Hokkaido king crab, uni and ikura chirashi is from?

I’ll be honest. I never wanted to stay Singapore. And I’ve had the privilege to spend half of my life away. But recently a friend had a blank ticket by Singapore Airlines to “go somewhere far far away where I’ve never been before.” I thought, what if I had that opportunity? Where would I go? Surprisingly I had no urge to jet off anywhere. And I love to travel. For the first time, I realized that I was content to be here, that I might have found home.

I’ve been moving around too much. I’ve never stayed in one place for more than three years since I was twelve. It felt good to just stand still. Last year, on my birthday I was given a ticket to Sydney for the purpose of eating at Tetsuya Wakuda’s restaurant. I haven’t used it, I didn’t need to go Sydney, Tetsuya was coming to Singapore!

I’m excited by and for Singapore now. There is a vibrancy that I never noticed before I left for college. And a big part of that is the food. Singapore is the only place I can think of that offers such an incredible range of cuisine. It has excellent street food, but also excellent fine dining options, making this truly a city for gastronomes.

The sushi lunch set at Aoki. No the chirashi above isn’t from here. (Click on the picture to enlarge and see the green specks of yuzu in the Ikura.)

Last week I was at Aoki on Les Amis Lane for lunch. It was good, especially considering that it was $30. There was ikura perfumed with yuzu zest, toro. But I was most impressed with the deep red akami. I’m usually not a fan of lean tuna, too little flavor and a soft texture. I must have been eating lousy tuna all my life because this specimen was so spectacularly different. It had a flavorful iron tang and was firm and meaty.

Stunning huh? The king crab, uni and ikura chirashi from the Hokkaido fair at Isetan.

I was still hungry after lunch. Walking around, I realized that Isetan was having a Hokkaido fair. They were selling the Hokkaido king crab, uni and ikura chirashi in the picture at the top of this post for around $25. What a steal!

Gratuitous food porn.

Nanohana nishin, pickled herring.

Another stall sold various pickled seafood. My favorite, the nanohana nishin had herring, sweet and tart with vinegar balanced by the spice of ginger. I liked the squid too, koika tobiran, flavored with glutamates from the seaweed and popping with brininess from the gems of roe.

Koika tobiran, squid with tabiuo eggs.

The truly impressive part was that all this was offered in a supermarket and that this roving fair goes to the heartlands of Singapore too. It shows how sophisticated Singapore’s epicurean scene has become. It is encouraging and one of the reasons why Singapore has seduced me into staying. That standing still isn’t a bad thing.

Restaurant Trends I’d Rather Not See: Sleeveless Chefs

Chef  Ryu Takashi Inoue. Picture by Piotr Redlinski for The NYT.

I love Wednesday’s because that’s when The New York Times publishes its dining section. I read it religiously. It’s one of the few tethers to a past life. And last Wednesday while reading Sam Sifton’s review of Takashi, a restaurant that speaks to my heart about all things beef and offal, grilled and raw. I noticed that the chef, Takashi Inoue, was sleeveless.

Chef Alvin Leung of Hong Kong’s Bo Innovation also goes sans sleeves.

That’s a very bold (fashion) statement in the kitchen where there are very strict rules about hair and how it should always be covered up. Yes hair. The chef is sleeveless remember.

When I spent a day in the kitchen of St Pierre, I had to wear skullcap, which just looked ridic. But everyone wore something to prevent their hair from falling into the food. So are chefs Inoue and Leung wearing hairnets for their armpits? I don’t think so. Maybe they are shaven, I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t want hair from there to fall into my food.

Lady: Could I get a side order of ha-DOU-ken please? Picture by Piotr Redlinski for The NYT.

Demon chef. No as in he really calls himself that. Must be something to do with the purple shades and hair.

“Don’t worry it’s cool, I’m wearing a hairnet for my armpit so I can safely stand over the food without worrying that hair would fall on the food.” Picture from Facebook.

Unrelated to this post except that it came from the Demon Chef and something I wouldn’t want to see as well. So real it’s not appetizing. Chef to snarky bloggers: “I just jizzed in your food. No for real.” Read more about it here.

Melancholy Monday? Sweeten it up!

Exquisite white russian macaron by Macarune. My favorite so far.

Two weeks ago, on a Sunday night, I picked up another variety pack from Danielle Chong’s Macarune. Coincidentally I received a box of ET Artisan Sweets’ macarons too from a friend. In addition to that my cousin brought some Krispy Kreme donuts from Jakarta. It all made for a very sweet Monday.

I invited a chef friend to try Danielle’s macarons (which I raved about in my previous macaron post) and cookies. He’s on the savory side, but makes really good desserts and macarons as well. He was pretty blown away with Danielle’s White Russian macaron, decadently rich fruit and nut chocolate cookie with its moist brownie like interior and the sophisticated flavor of the Earl Grey tea shortbread.

I started with the Tahitian vanilla bean and raspberry macaron at the pickup party and then the hibiscus and Persian rose tea macaron later that evening, well 1 a.m. Monday morning, when my friend came. The hibiscus-rose one was lovely with its delicate floral notes. But the White Russian macaron was superb. Danielle said it was a tribute to The Big Lebowski, where Jeff Bridges’ character drinks nine White Russians, cocktails made with vodka, kahlua and cream. The same flavors are in the macaron. Danielle uses Absolute vodka and Kahlua. Working with alcohol takes considerable skill. Too little and there isn’t a point to it, too much and it will be harsh. The amount here was perfectly calibrated. I could pleasantly taste it, but it wasn’t so harsh that I could feel it. She really nailed down the cocktail and transformed it into a macaron. It was exquisite and my current favorite. It might stay there for some time. It’s going to be a hard one to beat.

I tried all of ET Artisan Sweets’ macarons later that morning and they were excellent. Crisp shells with a moist, chewy interior but best of all, a generous filling of buttercream. Like I said it my previous macaron post, these are my favorite store bought macarons and again I ate them too fast to take any notes on individual flavors. But Danielle’s White Russian macaron is still the top. I loved them so much I went back again on Tuesday for more.

Assorted cookies, donuts and 25 macarons in 36 hours. That could almost beat my oyster binge.

From top left: Vanilla bean raspberry macaron, Tahitian vanilla bean and Californian freeze dried raspberries; White Russian macaron, hazelnuts, Kahlua, Absolut Vodka, Valrhona cocoa and Illy espresso powder; Hibiscus and Persian rose tea macaron, hibiscus flowers soaked in Persian rose tea. Macarune.

Clockwise from top left: Fruit and nut, Valrhona 64%/70%, Australian pecans, apricots, Californian walnuts and raisins; coconut crisps; TWG Earl Grey tea shortbread with freshly grated orange zest; Japanese matcha powder and Valrhona white chocolate shortbread; Hiding beneath the green tea sablés are double chocolate (Valrhona 55% & Valrhona cocoa) sablés with fleur de sel. Macarune.

Valrhona white chocolate to nibble on while at the pickup party. Macarune.

Macarons from ET Artisan Sweets.

I later ate them all up in one go. Loved it. ET Artisan Sweets.

Lots of buttercream. ET Artisan Sweets.

Pretty colors. ET Artisan Sweets.

I feel like pacman. ET Artisan Sweets.

Double flavored fillings. ET Artisan Sweets.

Krispy Kreme for the trifecta.

Went back for more on Tuesday! Macarune.

Hibiscus & Persian rose tea macarons. Macarune.

 

Macarune
Contact Danielle Chong: macarune@gmail.com

ET Artisan Sweets
32 Holland Grove Road
Singapore 278807
Tel: 6468 6700
www.etasweets.com
HOURS Monday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

 

Mood, Food’s Best Seasoning: Gattopardo

Ricciola con sardella. Barely cooked amberjack marinated in spicy fish sauce. Photo taken w/ Nikon S7c.

I’m intrigued with the psychology of a meal. What makes dining out enjoyable? What factors color our perception of the dining experience? I’m beginning to realize that it’s not just the food that plays a part in its success.

My first meal at Gattopardo, Sicilian chef Lino Sauro’s much delayed, much anticipated Sicilian seafood and pizza restaurant, two days after it opened was a mix of hits and misses. Seared amberjack, barely cooked to preserve its natural flavor and texture was excellent with its voluptuous, slightly sweet red wine béarnaise and grilled onions.

Sardine alla beccaficu. Fresh sardines stuffed with pine nuts, baked black olives, bread crumbs & raisins. Nikon S7c.

But another starter of sardines was a disappointment. The sardines were fresh but the dish was let down by the pine nut, black olive, raisin and bread crumb stuffing. It was too smooth and hard to discern the individual elements in the homogeneous paste.

Capellini alla moresca. Angel hair pasta w/ grey mullet roe and sea urchin. Nikon S7c.

Another disappointment, capellini with grey mullet bottarga and sea urchin should have been a home run. You can’t go wrong with those two ingredients, unless you don’t put enough in. They didn’t; the pasta was bland.

Cannolo Siciliano. Crispy espresso-infused wafer filled with sweet ricotta cheese. Nikon S7c.

That night ended luckily on a strong, sweet note. Cannolo Siciliano, a crispy espresso infused wafer filled with sweet ricotta cheese, was fantastic. It was flaky and thin, so crisp it shattered effortlessly. It was better that the one I tried at Maria’s Pastry Shop, considered “Boston’s best cannoli.” It was so good that it didn’t need the orange infused chocolate sauce, an unnecessary hedge, especially since it was astutely paired with an incredibly smooth pistachio gelato. The gelato, which had a slight sticky chewiness, is among the top in Singapore.

I had high expectations for the restaurant and would have been disappointed if not for the great mood I was in throughout the meal. Maybe it was from the excitement of trying a new restaurant, the buzz of opening night rubbing off on the actors and audience alike, feeding off each other. It could have been the great company, or possibly because I watched How to Train your Dragon, a cute, funny movie beforehand. Perhaps it was because the meal started out and finished strong. I recall something about serial position effect and the theory of primacy and recency during my psych classes in college; my perception and memory of the meal were shaped by the excellent amberjack and cannolo.

I’m glad I didn’t write Gattopardo off, because it has become my latest “go to” restaurant. My nine meals since it opened in April can attest to that. I love that the restaurant has its own identity, personality; too many times the menus at other Italian restaurants just read the same. I love that chef Sauro isn’t afraid to use anchovies and sardines as well as real “fishy” fish like amberjack and swordfish. This is a real seafood lover’s restaurant.

Scampi e finocchi brasati. Langoustine & braised fennel salad. Nikon S7c.

Starters: antipasti and crudi at Gattopardo have a split personality. Whereas the rest of the menu is flavorful and rustic, the dishes here are more elegant. Raw langoustine comes in a neat square with braised fennel that takes the edge off the aniseed flavor that would overwhelm the subtle shellfish preparation.

Carpaccio di polpo. Octopus carpaccio with apple vinegar, grey mullet roe & garlic oil. Nikon S7c.

Octopus carpaccio was sliced thin, each morsel tender. The acidity of the apple vinegar dressing balanced out the heady, salty bursts of flavor from the bottarga. Both this dish and the langoustine were decent, but pricy, at a dollar less than the most expensive pizza and pasta on the menu.

Cipolle di tropea e ragusano. Sweet red onion pudding w/ light saffron ragusano cheese fondue. Nikon S7c.

I have to confess that I’m not an expert on Italian cuisine. I’m more familiar with French food and I lack the proper context to compare if a dish is good or not. So I can’t really tell if the sweet red onion pudding is a yay or nay. I liked the cheese fondue, but the pudding lacked flavor. Its texture was smooth. It looked beautiful and felt refined.

Totani all’aglio e olio La Uliva. Garlic stuffed squid in shellfish soup and “La Uliva” extra virgin olive oil. Photo taken with Nikon D100.

Perhaps the emphasis on refinement was what led to the smooth texture of the failed sardine stuffing. Rustic dishes at Gattopardo are better. Stuffed squid was served with a theatrical flourish by having the shellfish and “la Uliva” extra virgin olive oil soup poured tableside. The soup had an incredible velvety mouthfeel and a range of flavor; from strong shellfish to the fruity, herbaceous, almost grassy olive oil, that was just short of breathtaking.

“La Uliva” organic extra virgin olive oil. Fruity, herbaceous and almost grassy. it’s why I eat so much bread at Gattopardo. Nikon S7c.

That organic olive oil from the town of Riesi in Sicily comes with the breadbasket as well and it’s the reason why I go though a lot of bread at Gattopardo. Notable because I usually only take a bite of a restaurant’s bread to taste, my attempt to “diet.” I asked for more bread to mop up every last drop of the shellfish soup. I almost didn’t notice the tender squid and its potato and garlic stuffing.

Porchetta cotta al forno a legna. Herb roasted pork belly. Nikon D100.

I tried two mains in all my visits. The herb-roasted pork belly was aromatic and meltingly succulent. But it lacked the crisp skin that makes roast pork so enjoyable. It was a huge portion too, and the layers of fat can quickly subdue the most hardcore eater into food-induced torpor. My suggestion is skip it; seafood is the star here. And the signature seafood stew is a shining showcase. 

Zuppa di pesce “Gattopardo.” Signature seafood stew. Nikon S7c.

Served in a large terracotta pot, it was a mélange of mussels, squid and different fish, from lean to oily all cooked à point. There was even a whole langoustine, although its texture was disappointingly powdery. The stew was excellent and satisfying, with flavors that aren’t muddled even with the variety of ingredients. At $38, it’s one of the pricier mains but offers great value; it’s a large portion and chock full of good stuff.

Bucatini con le sarde. Semolina “holey spaghetti” with fresh sardines, wild fennel, saffron and pine nuts. Nikon D100.

I haven’t tried more mains because the pastas and pizzas here are for the most part, very good.  My favorite is the semolina bucatini “holey spaghetti” with fresh sardines. The thick pasta with a hole in the center had delicious bite, augmented with the crunch of pine nuts, a nutty compliment to the flavorsome fishiness of the sardines. It was further punctuated with sweet raisins; so many textures and flavors that sat amidst a backdrop of wild fennel.

Stracci con scampi e n’duja di spilinga. Homemade pasta ‘rags” with scampi and spicy Calabrian pork sauce. Nikon S7c.

In close second, homemade stracci “rags” pasta was bold with a perfectly cooked langoustine and spicy Calabrian pork sauce. There wasn’t much pork, but it had a ton of meaty flavor propped up by a foundation of leeks and carrots. The pasta was eggy with a pleasant slight bite. This was surf and turf at its best.

Ravioli al granchio e burrata. Burrata cheese ravioli w/ crab meat sauce, watercress & asparagus. Nikon S7c.

Zite di semola con pesce spada e melanzane. Semolina long hollow pasta with sword fish & eggplant. Photo taken w/ Canon S90.

Also good were the burrata ravioli with crabmeat sauce, watercress and asparagus as well as the zite with meaty swordfish, eggplant and a few small chilies to spice things up.

Double portion of chitarre ai frutti di mare. Homemade noodles w/ fresh seafood & cherry tomatoes in white wine sauce. Nikon S7c.

Gattopardo offers its pastas in double portions for $4 to $7 less than twice the price of the single helpings. The double portion of Chitarre, a squared off version of spaghetti made by pressing flat sheets though a guitar looking contraption, hence its name, was huge. It seemed bigger than two single portions (which are usually quite conservative) put together. There was a hearty amount of shellfish; shrimp, mussels and two types of clams. The seafood wasn’t overcooked but the broth was slightly salty for me, and I love salt.

Spaghetti alla norma. Homemade spaghetti w/ tomato sauce, fried eggplant and salted ricotta cheese. Nikon S7c.

Unfortunately the spaghetti with tomato sauce, fried eggplant and salted ricotta suffered from a lack of ricotta. If you want eggplant get the zite instead. (The fried eggplant in the spaghetti though was tasty, slightly crusty and decadently oily; it would make a good choice for vegetarians.) Ditto too for the paccheri pasta which needed more guanciale. Sorry, I’m predominately a meat eater and I love my pork jowl.

Paccheri di gragnano con carciofi e guanciale. Large tube pasta with artichokes, smoked pork jowl and egg yolk. Nikon S7c.

A detail that I appreciated with most of the pastas and seafood, is chef Sauro’s deft touch with garlic. It’s always subtly in the background, perfuming the food, but not making its presence overt. Antonio, an Italian, fellow blogger and friend, has never liked any Italian restaurant when we’ve dined together. However he gave his stamp of approval to Gattopardo.

Tartufo nero. Egg yolk, crispy potatoes, artichoke cream, black truffles. Nikon S7c.

I’ve fallen in love with pizzas at Gattopardo. Ironically the first pizza I tried, the tartufo nero, was the worst. It was during my second visit and it came highly recommended by a respected foodie friend. So I was perplexed that it was relatively bland. It read on the menu of egg yolk, crispy potatoes, artichoke cream and black truffles. I wasn’t expecting a pizza covered in truffle shavings but I couldn’t taste the truffles. The toppings, whatever it was, were chalky and dry. The pizza’s saving grace was the crispy potatoes and pizza crust.

Margherita. Mozzarella, tomato sauce & fresh basil. Nikon S7c.

Nice char on the Eolie. Canon S90.

I’ve always considered pizza crust as a necessary evil. If I could have my way, I would just eat the toppings. But on subsequent pizzas here, the crust was always something I looked forward to. It’s thin, yet chewy, moist, airy and pliable with a smoky char. Too often thin crust pizzas in Singapore are gloried crackers and thick crust pizzas have too much dough. Gattopardo gets it just right, the best of both worlds. A simple margherita with mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil was devoid of distractions to savor that crust.

Eolie. Mozzarella, tomato sauce, freshly pickled anchovies & Sicilian capers. Canon S90.

Perfect crust thickness. Eolie. Canon S90.

The Eolie, like the margherita but minus the basil and with the addition of fresh pickled anchovies and Sicilian capers was a real showstopper. There was the familiar taste of tomato and mozzarella, but more goolicious with extra cheese and dynamic bursts of flavor from the anchovies and capers. This was my favorite.

Salento. Burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes, mussels & roasted red onions. Canon S90.

Crudo e rucola. Buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, parma ham and arugula salad. Canon S90.

Vegetariana. Mozzarella, tomato sauce, grilled zucchini, eggplant & capsicum. Canon S90.

Red onions roasted to caramelized sweetness were the perfect foil for creamy burrata and tiny but flavorful mussels in the Salento. The Parma ham and rocket pizza was good but needed more buffalo mozzarella. The Vegetariana came with a slightly thicker crust and sweet, flavorful grilled zucchini, eggplant and capsicum. It was a good balance to the slightly salty cheese.

Arrotolata. Smoked mozzarella, suckling pig, porcini mushrooms, grape sauce and arugula salad. Nikon S7c.

Symphony of flavors and textures, perfect haute stoner cuisine. Nikon S7c.

The Arrotolata had an airy, spongy crust folded over smoked mozzarella, suckling pig, porcini mushrooms and grape sauce. It was a classed up, pimped out hot pocket. The pork was aromatic and tender, similar to the herb roasted pork belly main. It played an equal role in the symphony of flavors and textures from the smoky, melty cheese, umami mushrooms, sweet grapes to the crisp charred exterior of the crust. This is perfect haute stoner cuisine.

Gattopardo. White garlic focaccia w/ smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, onion and potatoes. Nikon S7c.

Melty smoked mozzarella, hearty. Great after a hard night of drunken partying. Nikon S7c.

If the Arrotolata is for the munchies then the Gattopardo, made from white garlic focaccia, huge globs of smoked mozzarella, Italian sausage, anchovies and onions is perfect drunk food. The generous amounts of cheese make this a very hearty pizza, the type called for at 4 a.m. after a hard night of partying. But because of all that cheese, it also needs more sausage and anchovies to provide needed salty seasoning. The pizza was bland on bites that didn’t contain those ingredients. Onions smartly added some brightness to lift the pizza from its heaviness, but would be better with the addition of something tart as a counterpoint to the cheese and sausage combination.

Look at all that seafood! Nikon D100.

Loving langoustine. Nikon D100.

Pristine fish, from left: White bream, mackerel, sea bass, sea bream. Nikon D100.

Gamberi rossi in Ferrari red. Nikon D100.

Gamberi rossi. Grilled Sicilian red prawns. Intense flavor and luscious texture. Nikon S7c.

The other highlight of Gattopardo is its seafood counter, a treasure chest of seafood flown in almost daily from the waters of Sicily and Japan. I gawked at the pristine seafood on every visit. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I ordered the Gamberi Rossi or Sicilian red prawns. Nothing excites me more than tasting something new and nothing gives me more pleasure (ok maybe one or two things) than discovering how exquisite it is. The prawns, simply grilled (grilling is better in bringing out the flavor of crustaceans than serving it raw) had a nice crisp char on its flesh. It led to a barely cooked interior, which had a creamy almost melt-in-your mouth texture. The prawn was sweet and tasted strongly of the sea. I’ve never tasted a prawn with such intense flavor and luscious texture. It was beautiful. At $28 a prawn, it’s expensive but cheaper than an air ticket to Sicily.

Different seafood on each visit. Nikon D100.

Scorpion fish. Unfortunately wasn’t available the night I wanted fish. Nikon D100.

Gurnard. Nikon D100.

Sea bream. Nikon D100.

Grilled sea bream. Canon S90.

Pretty good filleting skills huh! Canon S90.

I had my eye on the striking looking scorpion fish, but had to settle for a sea bream on another night (was pretty set on trying a fish.) It was expertly grilled with salt, olive oil and delicately kissed with garlic slivers. No fear of overcooked fish here. The fish had an $88 price tag. I knew it was going to be expensive; it was after all air flown. But I would rather spend my money on something rarely available at restaurants like the scorpion fish.

Almost creamed in my pants when I saw the massive turbot. Nikon D100.

Look at the fish’s eyes. It should be clear. Nikon D100.

A fresh fish’s skin should glisten, like this sole. Nikon D100.

Some tips on choosing a fish: Get what is fresh. Ask them what came in today. Yesterday is as much latitude as I’m willing to give. If I could have my way, I’d poke, prod and pry my fingers into every fish, feeling for freshness. But we probably can’t do that here. So look at the fishes’ eyes. They should be clear. Check its skin, it should glisten.

Zabaione di zibibbo e gelsi. Egg yolk sabayon with Sicilian sweet wine & mulberry salad. Nikon S7c.

Cassata. Sicilian traditional ricotta cheesecake w/ candied orange and chocolate. Nikon D100.

Baba. Rum “baba” sponge cake with fresh cinnamon cream. Canon S90.

Tiramisu. Signature mascarpone & espresso tiramisu cake with Sicilian bitter chocolate. Nikon S7c.

Desserts are sweet affair… no really, as in they are very, very sweet. But I hear that’s how Sicilians like it.  There was zabaione, an egg yolk sabayon, sweet and light. There was cassata, a traditional Sicilian ricotta cheesecake, which was sweet and heavy. Both were decent. The baba was ok. I preferred the huge dollop of cream to the moist sponge cake. Tiramisu was good, also one of the better versions around. However all options pale in comparison to the already mentioned cannolo Siciliano. There is no point getting anything else. It is superb. If you didn’t save enough room for dessert, which is entirely possible at this restaurant where there is so much to try, just order a scoop of their excellent pistachio gelato.

All options pale in comparison to the cannolo Siciliano. Get it. Canon S90.

You can get a scoop of their superb pistachio gelato for $6. It’s not on the menu. Canon S90.

My friends always ask me which restaurants I’ve been to recently and since April the answer has always been Gattopardo. There are some flaws, the biggest being a lack of generosity with their ingredients, especially the premium ones.  I understand a restaurant has to control its food cost, but they can afford to provide more. There are other minor ones, but the restaurant can always bank on a reserve of goodwill because there is conviviality to Gattopardo. Its relaxed atmosphere makes it conducive for a good time. Sure, sometimes there were kids running amok and sometimes there were moneyed tai-tais (rich housewives) running amok, the alcohol working in an inverse relationship to their level of expected dignity. But a good time, like sauce can mask a hundred mistakes and make good food taste very good indeed.

Il Gattopardo. The Leopard himself, chef Lino Sauro. After my fifth or sixth visit, he asked if I was a food blogger. With my cover blown I asked if he would pose for a photograph. He gladly obliged. He was smiling in the previous two photos. Had to change lenses and mess around with the settings. #Noobphotographer. Nikon D100.

A night of dining out, like a dish, is more than the sum of its ingredients.  And what makes the magic of a night out is that confluence of food and friendship because eating out is not just about tasting what’s on the plate, but partaking in the fullness of life. And the realization that mood is food’s best seasoning.

 

Gattopardo Italian Grill & Pizza Bar

Fort Canning Hotel
11 Canning Walk
Singapore 178881
Tel: 6338 5498
http://www.gattopardo.com.sg/

HOURS Open daily; lunch, noon to 3 p.m.; dinner, 6:30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.

PRICE RANGE Starters, $18-$30; pastas, $20-$30; mains, $30-$38; pizzas $16-$30; desserts $14, $6 for scoop of gelato. Three course set lunch, $34. Prices at the seafood counter vary, but here is a sample of prices listed. Japanese kinki, $138; John Dory, $118; Sicilian red prawn, $28; scorpion fish, $180; sea bass, $98; sea bream, $88; turbot $298, $480 (for the massive one.)

RECOMMENDED DISHES Antipasti, garlic-stuffed squid in shellfish soup, barely cooked amberjack; pasta, bucatini with fresh sardines, stracci with scampi and spicy Calabrian pork sauce; pizza, eolie, arrotolata; mains, seafood stew; seafood counter, grilled Sicilian red prawns; dessert, cannolo Siciliano, pistachio gelato. 

 

Macarons, with only one O please.

Macarons by Macarune.

The 8-year-old-version of me loved caviar. Loved it until I ate a bad bunch and threw up… for the next two days. But to be honest, the younger me didn’t really like caviar at all, or least not the taste of it. But I liked what it represented, its cachet, its snob appeal. There is an often-used quote “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” from Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the French lawyer-statesmen who wrote The Physiology of Taste. The quote showed up again on last week’s article in the New York Times about obsessive food photography at restaurants. My “liking” for caviar was more of a “tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you want to be.” (I found my love for caviar again, this time a truer form after tasting its briny, fishy, intense pops of flavor in Thomas Keller’s Oysters and Pearls dish at Per Se.)

What a sight when you open the box. Macarune

Macarons are the grownup version of my childhood caviar. There is a rarefied sophistication to a macaron. Well that was before the whole macaron craze hit Singapore. Now you can find them almost anywhere. The factor that kept me from loving macarons was that most of the time it was too sweet. But I liked everything else about the macaron. I love the buttercream and I love how they are a vehicle for so many flavors; rose-lychee-raspberry, salted caramel, hazelnut brown butter, I could go on and on. I loved the textures too, the smooth crisp thin domes giving way to the frilly-skirted “foot” and chewy, moist interior. But texture was what kept most macaron cookies too sweet. Sugar stabilizes and along with egg whites, gives structure to the delicate cookies.

It’s a fragile balance. I’ve been looking for that elusive combination. And I’ve found it.

Macarune

Just look at how poofy they are! Macarune.

I’d been hearing from K-Dubs about his cousin’s girlfriend, Danielle Chong, making some magnificent macarons while she was in San Francisco. We were talking about it over brunch a few weeks ago and later that night Yixiao informed me that Danielle was whipping up a batch for some of her friends and if I wanted any. It was $30 for 15, not bad at all, I signed up immediately. It was the best 30 buckeroos I spent that weekend.

Was debating how to shoot the macarons. Macarune.

I had to wait till the next day to eat them as I wanted to photograph ’em in the early morning light. It was such a tease because they looked so good. Her macarons were plump and poofy, filled with a very generous layer of buttercream. By the time I was done taking pictures, I was without exaggerating, ravenous with desire to devour them. Like an alcoholic co-ed double fisting at spring break, I was the nom-noming version, descending into a food frenzy. I finished them all in less than 5 minutes. Danielle, if you are reading this, I apologize; your macarons deserve to be savored. I couldn’t help myself they were so good.

Such a tease, wanted to eat instead of take pictures. Macarune

Some of Danielle’s macarons were a feat of structural engineering, its unusually high domes supported only by the thin vertical walls on its circumference. It leads to an airy macaron, an exquisite eating sensation as it offers just the barest resistance before crumbling from the pressure of my mouth into its substantial interior. Others have less headroom but are equally pleasurable. They are airy, moist and chewy. She uses a variety of methods for her macaron cookies, considering which is best for a certain flavor. Only the pistachio macaron cookie was slightly dry and dense.

Black sesame, Macarune.

Look at that cavernous interior. Macarune.

However the pistachio macaron cookie and rose buttercream made an inspired flavor combination. When I asked Danielle what made her think of putting those two flavors together, she answered, “Turkish Delight.” I couldn’t help but smile.

Honey lavender. Macarune.

I’m a fan of the flavors of her macarons. Although some, like the black sesame, passion fruit and raspberry are more punchy than the others, they never taste artificial. That artificial taste is an increasing occurrence with other lesser bakers attempting to up the flavor factor. Danielle has a sensibility with flavor; it is a talent. Her honey lavender macaron is subtle, just kissed with its floral notes. I love lavender, but most food flavored with it tastes like soap, too pronounced and artificial. She proves that lavender used judiciously with skill and high quality ingredients can have devastatingly delectable results.

Raspberry. Macarune.

Hazelnut brown butter, praline and sprinkled with feuilletine. Macarune.

Chocolate with Valrhona ganache. Macarune.

Clockwise from left: hazelnut brown butter, raspberry and fruity tea. Macarune.

Info.

The reason I love Danielle’s macarons though is because of the buttercream, specifically her generous use of it. It’s my favorite component of a macaron and they just don’t make it like that in most stores. Danielle’s macarons are the real artisanal deal, exquisite, small batch confections made with a generosity of heart. It would be easier to use the same base for all her macaron flavors, but she doesn’t do that, her hazelnut brown butter macaron doesn’t even use almonds but hazelnuts. Logical but just more work. It’s why her macarons are so good, and something that you just can’t buy at shops.

Jean-Philippe Darcis

Darcis

I gobbled down the food. I didn’t know when my next meal would come, and it was going to be a long day. I filled up some mineral water bottles from a jerry can. The water was warm, and as I stuffed them into ammo pouches on my load bearing vest, I regretted not bringing my water bladder. I spent the last week observing another infantry unit as it took its evaluation. Today was supposed to be short, an easy day, just watch the final morning attack. We didn’t plan to be there for more than two or three hours. But now I was roped in to replace an umpire for the evaluation. I lifted my vest and put it on, feeling around to check that I had everything. I needed more water. I buckled the vest’s belt around my hips and the straps across my chest. I put on my jungle hat, its wide brim shaded my eyes and provided some reprieve from the scorching sun. I said goodbye to my CO and Brigade Sergeant Major, both men whom I respect immensely, before I briskly trotted out to the sound of gunfire. 

The firing was sporadic now, with only pockets of resistance in two or three buildings. As I got closer, the constant high-pitched buzz from the harnesses’ of the “dead” increased. It was a costly engagement. As I approached a building, five soldiers, remnants of a platoon or I feared, perhaps a company were pinned down from the front. Someone was firing at them from their half-left as well. They were paralyzed, their commander just got “killed.” The medic in the group had had enough. He threw down his stretcher and said,

“Fuck this!”

He started to rally the rest of the men. He told someone to throw a smoke grenade to obscure the OpFors’ line of sight and together with his motley band, moved forward to continue the assault.

I linked up with the rest of the empires, reservists as well. I went up to a sergeant and asked him what we were supposed to do, and how to do it. At least they’ve had extensive briefings on their assignment. That was how I met Gery Dachlan. He helped me throughout the day as we followed the OpFor for their counter attack. It was almost 10 p.m. when we headed home, he offered to give me a ride and we started talking about food. He was a foodie as well. We kept in touch though Facebook and almost a year later, I got an email from him asking if I would be interested to buy some macarons from Jean-Philippe Darcis, a pâtissier and the “ambassador of Belgian chocolate.” They were $30 for 11. Pricy, but I’ve seen more expensive ones in Singapore.

Darcis

Unfortunately I was out for most of the night after he had passed them to me, so they weren’t in ideal conditions for a few hours. I can only imagine how they would have tasted if I had gotten them into a fridge immediately, because they were excellent even for having been mistreated (one or two shattered.)

Like Macarune’s they were generously filled with buttercream. The macaron cookies were also soft, chewy and moist with a smooth, thin crisp dome. But of all the macarons I’ve tasted, these were the least sweet, a very good thing.

Thin crisp domes with a moist, chewy interior. Darcis

I can’t remember all the flavors, it was February when I tasted them. But I liked all the flavors in the pack, rare especially when I didn’t pick the flavors. I’m finicky when it comes to macarons and when it’s a random selection, there are one or two that I won’t like. The thing I remember most about them was that they tasted and felt refined, more so than most macarons in Singapore. I’m no macaron expert so I can’t tell you why. It just is.

Cross section. Darcis

Two years ago I was on a course with the army. It was grueling and during our finale exercise the training cadre kept on changing the plan on us, they injected scenarios, imposed problems and generally my cohort thought they were harassing us. Some started to switch off, started to take it personally, started to get an attitude. But that’s the way life is, there’s always something unexpected. I was surprised by some of their reactions. We were seasoned soldiers, earmarked for higher command. Maybe it was because most of us were in the infantry, and were used to things moving at a set pace and plan. If there was one thing I learnt during that exercise it’s that almost nothing goes as planned. You just have to prepare for the contingencies, adapt and make the best of it.

Lots of buttercream, even though they were squished.

I could have bitched and moaned about my mission changing from an observer to an umpire. I thought I would be home for lunch. Instead I got a serious farmer’s tan from the furious sun. I just rolled with it, as an umpire I had an opportunity to learn more, and I was glad. But the best part about being thrown into that role was that I met Gery and he introduced Darcis’ macarons to me. I didn’t know it at that time but it made a sweet ending to a hard day.

Darcis website.

UPDATED Singapore website: http://www.darcis.sg/

A store is planned at Marina Bay Sands in early August.

Meanwhile to order email Gery: gd@darcis.com

Delivery is free.

ET Artisan Sweets

For the curious, these are one of my favorite store-bought macarons.

ET Artisan Sweets website.

The Measure of My Powers (2010)

Feels like I put on ten pounds

84 Oysters. The final count for the night stood at seven dozen. It wasn’t the 120 that I aimed for. But it was a number that I could comfortably and enjoyably do. My first 60 were easy. I thought I could coast right though it. But after another dozen I abruptly hit a wall. It was sudden and somewhat surprising.

Indemnity form

Something I didn’t anticipate was how monotonous it could have been if the oysters weren’t “dressed up.” Not that the oysters which were from Canada and Australia needed it, they were plump and pristine. I couldn’t tell their species though. I love oysters but after my first two-dozen I was glad that chef Kevin Ng topped his oysters with a variety of condiments.

First six

There were simple bubbles of Tabasco and of Lychee. Some were topped with miso, lime granita or avruga caviar. Others were marinated in rice vinegar or sake.

(One of my pet peeves is that restaurants in Singapore don’t shuck the bottom adductor muscle from the oyster. I brought my oyster knife because I knew this was going to happen. Please, chefs and restaurants take note, an oyster isn’t considered shucked until it’s been detached from its bottom shell as well. It’s frustrating trying to pry an oyster loose with a fork.)

My favorites of the night were the carrot and orange puree, shoyu jelly and papaya powder.

Easy peasy, especially since I brought my oyster knife.

My favorite moment was right at the beginning, when the people at Private Affairs, who had gotten wind of what I wanted to do, asked me to sign an indemnity form. I thought it was hilarious. And for the curious, nothing happened to me after.

The next six, my first dozen.

Another six, just finished 60.

A lot of people asked why I would want to eat so many oysters. I’ll take excerpts (wholesale cut and paste really, but excerpts sounds more elegant) from a comment I wrote on the previous post:

I’m at a lost myself to explain it. At first it was just a fun thing to do. I enjoyed eating them and I wanted to see if I could push myself to eat that many. My marathon partner commented on Facebook that it was just like running a marathon. I thought it was a good analogy.

I got a comment today (19-03-2010) on a post I put up right at the end of last year. It was also about another gorge-fest I had. (My oyster eating night was meant to be a continuation of that post.) The point I was trying to make was that sometimes food is not just for nutrition and the satiety of hunger.  But I didn’t explain myself well enough, because the comment was a question on what I meant. Again words fail me. So I borrowed from one of the greatest food writers, M.F.K. Fisher, to answer the question. I’ll reproduce it again:

“So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.” – The Gastronomical Me

She expressed what I felt and tried to write, but failed to communicate.

As I re-read though that post and was thinking of tomorrow’s (19-03-2010) event, I recalled another incident at the Lobster Festival in Maine, where I stuffed myself beyond what my hunger called out for. Read till the end of that post. I make my point there.

So that’s why I did it. Now that it’s over, was there anything I felt differently? Was there a profound change that happened? Like the sense of worth and accomplishment you get when you complete your first marathon? No. It was just an enjoyable night.

What I did gain was a perspective that we take our food for granted. That eating, because it is routine, sometimes becomes mundane. It might seem strange but I think I love gorging myself because it is a celebration of food.

And I’m done.

 

Private Affairs
45 Joo Chiat Place
Singapore 427769
Tel: 6440-0601
http://www.privateaffairs.com.sg/
Oyster nights are only on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
$38++ for all the oysters you can eat including two glasses of Cava.
Reservations only.