Monday, October 31, 2005

Oodles of noodles + hot broth + ingredients of choice = RAMEN!

Sapporo Ramen Miharu
The Gallery Hotel
77 Robertson Quay
Singapore 238253
T: 6733-8464
Opening Hours: 12pm -3pm, 6pm - 10pm
Closed on Wednesdays

Sapporo Ramen, is arguably the best ramen in Japan, and with over 1,000 ramen shops and a street dedicated to the craft of a ramen shop, needless to say, we were excited when we heard word of this Sapporo Ramen shop that imports its ingredients and noodles from Sapporo, Hokkaido.

This shop sits about 20 people inside and the about 10-15 people outside. Despite the fast food nature of this food, this place acquires a queue pretty quickly. On our first attempt, we arrived in the middle of the lunch hour, and the estimated wait for about 20-30 minutes. If they are already full, what you have to do is put your name down in the book that they have in front of the shop, and wait for them to call out your name. Hunger got the better of us on our first attempt, and so on your return attempt, we arrived early and we inched out the crowd by 5 minutes. Just as we sat down and ordered, more hungry and patient people came and penned down their name in the wait book.

Nosh: Ramen is the main feature of the menu, cold versions and hot version. The cold ramen is basically eaten like a cold soba/somen, the ramen with a small bowl of soup that you dip your noodles in, but for today’s ramen outing, we focused on the hot soup versions of ramen.

They serve a few versions of ramen here. The noodles are from Sapporo, but they have a variety of soup bases and extras that you can add on. From the soup range, we selected the Tokensen Sho-yu, Tokensen miso and the Tokensen Tori-Shio, and if you are feeling greedy, you can “upsize” your fast food to a larger bowl for $2, or add bamboo shoots, an additional egg, char siew and Japanese leeks, whatever you think would enhance your ramen.

The large white bowls arrived in about 7 minutes and the slurping began. The noodles were well textured and chewy, and the broth had a layer of oil that allowed the noodles to glide down your throat easily. That being said, I have come to realise that my bowl of ramen was probably not the healthiest thing – salty soup, fatty pork, layer of oil that laced my soup, nonetheless it was tasty bowl of noodles. Aside than being tasty, I was rather disappointed. If I had to wait for 30 minutes for that bowl of noodles, I would not wait, but if I could walk in for a taste bowl of noodles and to rush off to my other activities, my palate will be satisfied.

Pay: $12 a bowl of ramen.

Service: The only thing I admire about Mac D is their very efficient service. Despite it being a fast food joint here, the only fast part about the service is that your food comes fast, other than that, you will get very little assistance figuring out how the table system works.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lady General and The Very Peppery Crabs

Eng Seng Restaurant
247 Joo Chiat Place
(Junction of Still Road and Joo Chiat Place)

In the name of good food, I will sometimes endure some abuse. Sometimes I think we, the customers, get bullied by the famed hawkers in our island. Two hawkers with a punchy character that comes to mind are, the Hokkien mee stall in chomp chomp, where an order for a plate will always be replied with, “30 minutes to 1 hour wait ah”, or Chef Danny at Sin Huat whom will make you sit around nursing your tiger beer before he come around from the kitchen to take your order. Service was never really their strongest aspect of their restaurant. In fact, most of the time I find myself at the mercy of these hawkers, having driven across the island with the end goal of fulfilling the craving of Hokkien mee, crabs or whatever, I will endure the madness. The best things to pack for these survival situations are engaging company and a good sense of humour.

This corner coffee shop serves up the best black pepper crabs. The crabs, which are usually sold out by about 9pm, are weighty and jammed packed with sweet and firm flesh, and come coated with a sticky, gooey, thick pepper sauce; think spicy black honey. Other than their trademark “very peppery crabs” that are sold here, it is hard to imagine this place without the fearless matrie’d that keeps the peace and customers in line with her thunder voice. I have not mustered up the courage to ask her for her name, or for her last name, so we just call her the lady general.

This place opens at 5pm, but it fills up and it will be full by 5.30pm, which means you will have to stand in line to wait for them to turn over the tables. While you stand in line, remember that you are on lady general’s turf. If you try to cut the line, she will scream at your and order you to the back of the line. When you stand in line and place your order, you can order what she permits -

Lady General: Hor fun, mee fen?
Us: Err, do you have hokkien mee?
Lady General: Hooor fun, meeee fen.
Us: Err .. how about ..
Lady General: HOR FUN, MEE FEN!
Us: ok, ok, mee fen.

On other occasions, she will stipulate how many crabs you can order. If it is later in the evening and the crab supplies are rapidly dwindling, she might cap your crab order, or if you are a party of 4 and want to order one crab, she will give you the look of death and instruct you to order more. When faced with these situations, just be the obedient Singaporean and comply, experience has told me that the fight is futile. When your table is ready, she’ll point you to it, and you can slowly meander through the tables and crowd to get there.

Despite having to stand in line, and to sometimes endure the abuse of this lady (I have seen a softer side to her after her service hour, when she has ushered the last customer to their table), the crabs still make the trip worth while. They serve both pepper crabs and chili crabs, which are both good, but I prefer the pepper crabs, because of the pepper paste that liberally slapped into the wok, and worked into the crabs. In addition, lady general has her own aura; her crowd control management skills are impeccable, adding some character to this corner coffee shop.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Pork and Burnt Crackling

My original intentions were pork and crackling, but I was too engrossed in some television programme that I lost track of time. By the time I realized and sprinted to the kitchen, the oven was already giving off slightly unpleasant fumes. The good news, it was still edible, the bad news, the crackling was burnt. I scrapped off the very charred bits and brought it as my pot luck dish anyway. Thankfully, the meat was still moist and no one seemed to have minded the burnt bits.

Pork and Crackling
Serves 8

½ pork loin, bone removed, scored
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
½ tbsp fennel seeds
5 cloves garlic
½ cup balsamic vinegar
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil


Lay out your pork on a board and rub some salt and chopped rosemary into the scored lines, trying to get this into every bit by pushing and rubbing in. Rub the skin of the pork with lots of sea salt as it will help to dry out the skin for good crackling.

In a mortar and pestle, smash up the fennel seeds, the garlic, then the remaining rosemary, and rub this into the meat – not the skin, or it will burn.

In a bowl, marinate the pork with balsamic vinegar, bay and olive oil and leave for about ½ hour.

Preheat the oven to 230°c. Place the pork on the top rack of the oven. The pork will take about an hour the cook. After 20 minutes, turn down the oven to 200°c and keep roasting for about 40 minutes. Allow the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes, slice and serve.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Les Saisons

7 Magazine Road
Central Mall, #01-03
Tel: (65) 6557 0080

The overall ambeince of the place is chic casual, the collection of primary colored chairs at each table with the warm lighting makes the place inviting and laid back but the chandelier gave it a touch of class. We were the first to arrive in the restaurant so while we dined and talked, we did so with a caution, not wanting to be too loud or rude, so as the gradually filled with diners and their bottles of wine, we were more at ease.

I think first impressions are important. We were welcomed at the entrance and we were served warm and crusty sliced of bread. I feel that there is a certain importance of the bread that people serve, when warm and crusty, it shows a sense of attention to detail and consideration, and it seems to proclaim, “Welcome!” Hard rolls have the potential of hurting my teeth, and so needless to say I do not approve of those.

While I was flipping through the menu, I could not figure out the prices of the dish and it was later that I realized that Les Saisons cheekily or chauvinistically only serve the menus with the prices the males and the ladies dining at the table get the menus without the prices. I found that highly amusing, since that has never happened before, and the last time I was here, we were a party of two girls and so, we the independent women, had to pay for our own lunches.

oven roasted pigeon with a fondue of savoy cabbage and bacon with a Xerex vinegar jus

Nosh: We started with an amuse bouche of potato and leek soup and for starters, we ordered the open ravioli of escargot capsicum butter with confit tomato, parmentier of crepe, Tasmanian ocean trout with Sevruga caviar light lemon butter, and the pan fried foie gras, caramelised apple with aged balsamic vinegar. The escargots made me feel like a snail (in a good way), the resulting combination of the flavours on the plate was mellow and woody, making me feel like I was in the woods and close to nature, a little like a snail crawling on the ground. The foie gras was luxurious and beautifully paired with the sweet and tangy revered aged balsamic vinegar. When I saw the ocean trout, I thought salmon, but when I tasted it, it registered trout. The flavour was richer with minerals and the caviar added salty bubbles that burst in my mouth.

The first courses were good and eagerly awaited for our second course. The main courses took too long to arrive so much so that you lose the rhythm in eating. Nonetheless, they did arrive, and we were presented with the braised beef cheek in “Châteaux Notton” served with sauté asparagus and truffle potato, and the rack of lamb marinated and roasted with green asparagus and poivrade artichoke and sweet garlic, oven roasted pigeon with a fondue of savoy cabbage and bacon with a Xerex vinegar jus. Everything was perfectly cooked to their subliminal state of medium rare and the sides were rich enough to stand up to the meats that they were served with. My favourite was the fondue of savoy cabbage with bacon and Xerex vinegar jus. It was smooth from the cheese and the smokey flavour from the bacon permeated the cabbage, that I would have been content with a plate of the fondue of savoy cabbage, the pigeon was a bonus.

We debated over getting dessert since the kitchen seemed busy and judging from the time they took for our main courses, we were potentially looking at a long wait for our dessert, but we decided to dive in anyway since we were not in much of a hurry. The cheese platter got my eye, but I was in a chocolate mood and hence elected with the ubiquitous chocolate fondant cake. The fondant was produced lava chocolate as it should, and served with a scoop of passion fruit ice cream, but I think at the moment I’m feeling a little too jaded with chocolate fondant, such that other that it being chocolate, it was not too memorable. Along with that, we had a serving of the pistachio panna cotta with fresh raspberry and coulis. Despite the richness of panna cotta, it felt light and the raspberries provided some tartness that was balanced off by the sweetness from the coulis.

It has been two weeks since that dinner, and the first thing that pops to my mind when I think about that dinner is the cabbage. The food was good, but nothing too memorable that begs me to come back. They should work on the timing of dishes, because I almost lost interest in finishing dinner from the waiting time after my appetizer.

Pay: About $80 for 3 courses. Dégustation menu available for a choice of 5,6 or 7 courses, prices are $85+++, $95+++, $105+++ respectively.

Service: Mackie does a commendable job heading the team on the floor and provides attentive and friendly service.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Jane’s Cake Station

265 Jalan Kayu
Tel: 64811322

I’m usually only in Jalan Kayu in the later hours of the night for supper excursions or a chat over a full bodied teh tarik. Having been here on countless occasions, I have never noticed Jane’s Chocolate Cake Shop since it is usually already closed by supper time. Jane’s Cake Station came highly recommended and so the chocolate cake enthusiast in my family took a drive down to Jalan Kayu with the sole mission of buying the chocolate cake. (I’m so glad he did, I love chocolate cake!)

One of my pet peeves with cake shops is that they seem to serve cream with small layers of sponge, rather than cake with layer of cream. Over here at Jane’s, the chocolate cake is real cake, (not those cream with cake, cakes) is was made up of two layers of chocolate sponge with a layer of fudge sandwiched in between and the whole cake is covered with fudge. The sponge was moist and soft and the fudge was creamy and smooth, the cake was absolutely gratifying.

The cakes only come in 3 sizes – small, medium and large. We paid $28 for the small.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Canton Wok's New Home

Canton Wok by Chef Kang
382 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: 6285 6919

This man keeps moving! Now situated in an old Peranakan bungalow, this place seems more fitting of the innovative Chinese cuisine that Chef Kang serves. In its old shell at Serangoon Central, parking was less of a hassle, but the setting and the food were out of sync – elderly women were fanning themselves with their makeshift or home packed fans in between dishes as some tables were stuck in an enclave in the void deck devoid of an wind flow. With the new location, that has changed! No need for the makeshift fan anymore! With the new compound, came its own parking space and an attendant, air-conditioned dining room and a large kitchen for chef Kang to perform his magic.

Nosh: The food is still as mouthwatering as it used to be. We must have been suffering from withdrawal syndrome from Chef Kang’s dishes as we over ordered. The lunch started with the serving of mocha pork ribs. They serve two types of pork ribs, one with a sweet fruit sauce and the other with the mocha sauce. I’ve tried both and prefer the mocha ribs for the rich syrupy mocha sauce that it comes with. The ribs are crispy and the predominant chocolate flavour in the mocha sauce is absolutely seductive. The next dish to arrive was the bacon prawn roll mayo cream. The prawns were wrapped with slices of fatty bacon and deep fried, creating a crunchy, smoky and sweet morsel that was made even richer by the gentle dressing of mayonnaise. The last of the deep fried delights to arrive was the eggplant with pork floss. It was as good as I remembered it to be. Now that we were done with the crunchy dishes, next came the winter melon soup, served in its own shell and filled with soup treasures of shiitake mushrooms, dried abalone, melon shreds and ham, it had gusto and a clean taste.

With already four dishes for the four diners, the lunch was not done. The steamy bowl of special lobster ee-fu noodles arrived. The lobster was a little overdone, but the ee-fu noodles were swimming in a rich hot butter sauce. The sauce was so simple, but luxurious as they felt like velvet strands as slid down my throat. Next up was the steamed crab with glutinous rice and garlic, the crab was well endowed with roe, which we mixed up with the glutinous rice and garlic, it was chewy, aromatic and slightly pungent with the garlic.

I hope Chef Kang is staying put in his new home. If he does move again, someone please send me his new address.

Pay: $20 a person

Service: They are not the friendliest bunch, but they get the job done efficiently.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

One Year Later, Without Much Changes

While archiving my blogs, (I try my best to be organized, and I’m still a little lost with technocrati, so I do it in a very troublesome manner), I realized that it has been a year since I first started food blogging. To celebrate my one year anniversary, I returned to the restaurant I first blogged about, but to be perfectly honest, there is not real sentimental or symbolic meaning, the main reason I went back to Sin Huat is simple: I sitting at the computer and while re-reading my post on Sin Huat, reminiscing about that scrumptious dinner and then I started craving for some of that smoky, garlicky and roe enriched crab bee hoon that Chef Danny serves up in, arguably the most expensive kopitiam in Singapore.

Here I am, one year later - after 175 blog entries later, a mention in the digital times and one fantastic luncheon with the Singapore food bloggers - still with my camera, which has chosen to die on me (and so I now have to use a mobile phone), and my longsuffering family and friends who have patiently waited for me to “snap” before we all get to tuck in. Other than that, nothing much has changed, the food is still sensational.

I think Chef Danny can be our “Naked Chef”. The cooking philosophy here is very plain and simple – focused on food -- no fancy china, no silver, no air conditioning, no white table cloths, no valet (in fact parking can be quite a hassle) and no dress code.

Instead of going for the full monty, our dinner this time around was more restrained. We started off with the stir-fried vegetables, which still a radiant green, crunchy and dressed with garlic and a little soy based sauce. Following, we had the steamed squid, that was sweet and not rubbery (reminded me of the squid I had at Valentino), with a garlic sauce and its natural juices. Shortly after, the garoupa which was just swimming in one of the Danny’s tanks was served, and you can certainly taste the freshness of the fish. Steaming the whole fish on the bone sealed in all the sweet juices which were subtle and brought to life by the salty sauce it was served on. Finally, the piece de resistance, the moment I was dreaming about, the crab bee hoon. The plate arrived and so did the intoxicating smell of the dish, it smelt like the breath of the wok. The crab were a beautiful couple, one packed full of roe, and the other was a large male with pincers that when cracked opened could have been eaten like a crab lollipop. I dived in and started eating with my hands, picking at the meat, licking my fingers, and eventually I ditched the chopsticks and started eating the bee hoon with my hands as well. (Without the prompting of a white table cloth, I threw out my manners as well). Pardon my manners, but it was one damn fine finger-licking meal.

Sin Huat Eating House
659-661 Geylang Road Lorong 35 Junction
Singapore 389589
Tel: 6744-9755

Friday, October 07, 2005

Another Suburban Gem: Ristorante Da Valentino

Ristorante Da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka
Singapore 588908
Tel: 64620555

Having left Cantina, Valtulina Valentino, has set up his own suburban Italian dining joint. It is a lot smaller compared to Cantina, bringing a very cozy and homely ambience. The restaurant is seemingly family-run and where everyone pitches in – Valtulina (the executive chef) is frequently weaving in and out of the kitchen with the piping hot dishes himself.

We are greeted with crusty warm bread with a pesto that punches you in the face with fresh coriander, basil and garlic, and slightly mellowed with a nutty olive oil. A perfect start, now I’m ready to order.

Linguine all’Aragosta

Nosh: We start off with a zuppa di mare (seafood soup), which fumes are enough to whet your appetite. The broth is incredibly sweet from the clams, mussels, scallops, fish and squid that swim around in the bright red broth. It leaves a rich but a clean taste in my mouth and I am amazed at how tender the squid is. Cooked to perfection, it is not the least bit rubbery, probably one of the best tasting squid I have ever had.

Next comes the pizza papa’ di valentino (artichokes, prawns and garlic). The prawns are crunchy and the artichokes are nutty and the crust with nearly thin and crisp. It was good pizza, but the pastas to come were better.

From the pasta selection, we had the Linguine all’Aragosta (Lobster Pasta in Pink Sauce), Aglio Olio ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood in Olive Oil Sauce) and Tornarelli all Granchio (Squid Ink Spaghetti tossed with Crabmeat Sauce). The portions were generous and filling. The Italians here really love their garlic, all the sauces had a garlic tone and you could see all the garlic bits in the sauce. The Linguine all’Aragosta and Tornarelli all Granchio were both creamy and luxurious but not overwhelming, with the sweet lobster meat/crabmeat, needless to say, there was silence at the table while we focused on eating and conversation took the backseat.

For dessert, they wheeled the dessert trolley over and introduced the variety of desserts that they had – citron tart, crème caramel and profiteroles. We ordered the tiramisu from the menu and the citron tart. The citron tart was terribly disappointing, the pastry tasted like lard (and I’m afraid to imagine what it was made off) but the tiramisu was divine. I’ll just stick to tiramisu the next time.

It was a fantastic lunch, the service was prompt and helpful and I liked the homely feeling of this place. The ambience is warm, and the constant Italian conversation between the wait staff makes me feel like I’m in an Italian home and I’m a guest of this Italian mama.

Price: S$30-S$40 a person for 3 courses.
Service: Warm Italian homestyle.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Homage to the Beautiful Things of Bali

My heart goes out to the Balinese people who suffer the brunt of the recent terrorist attacks. Just as it appeared that the Balinese people and the island were recovering from its wounds from the Bali Bombing in 2002, another tragedy has struck. The tourism sector is the largest component of the Balinese economy and will inevitably reel from this recent incident. The Balinese people however have shown great resilience and will continue pick up the pieces (again) and to move on. Other than the recent tragedy, Bali still has much to offer, an island that is steeped in culture and mystic, sandy beaches with surfer’s waves and food that will make it a destination for dining.

Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud 80571
Bali, Indonesia
Tel: (62) 361-975768

Salmon Tartare

After a visit to the national park where I scaled various flights of stairs to get up close and personal with the huge garuda statue, I was ready to plant myself in the car and head off the dinner. The drive to Ubud took an entire hour during which I enjoyed the sunset and scenes of bali from the car. It drizzled and stop while we fast approached our dining destination. I was growing hungry from the walk around the garuda park and nearly let out a squeal of delight, when I saw the sign “Mozaic”. Unlike my dining counterpart who is now a regular at Mozaic, I was almost giddy from my hungry and excitement. We were greeted from the moment we stepped out of the car and ushered through the homeware shoppe and along the pathway lined with tikki torches to the beautiful garden setting.

“Your timing is perfect, we just opened the garden dining area because we weren’t sure of the weather, but it looks good now. Please …” and the sommelier tucked me into my seat.

The garden setting is romantic – the dim candlelight, the faint music of a lady crooning (from a cd) and the towering trees that form a canopy over your dining area – think dining in secret garden. The serenity is only broken by the distant noises constant ringing of the service bell and of the chef ordering his kitchen troops. The menus are set before us and there are 2 choices – 3 courses or 6 courses. My gracious host said, “Your choice, I’ve been here so many time, the choice doesn't matter, it is always good.” I was there to eat, there was no chance of suppressing the greedy, and so my only choice was to act with elegance in this beautiful restaurant.

“I think I’ll have the 6 courses, I’ll leave myself in the good hands of Chef Chris, surprise me” with that I handed the menu to the sommelier, and he asked a few more questions, “Is there anything you not eat anything? Cheese? Foie Gras?”
“No, no, I eat everything. Cheese and foie gras, I love it!” I responded and thought about the wonderful foie gras and cheese course that awaited me.
“Wonderful”, the sommelier nodded and whizzed away with the menus to work on our wine pairings for the night.

The dinner was spectacular: there was nothing on the plate that was left unfinished or less than amazing. Dining here was special, because over the course of dinner, I discovered that my dining host has become such a regular that they served us numerous complimentary items that our six course dinner stretched to a ten course dinner with a small visit from chef Chris.

Dinner started off with an array of amuse bouché: the first which was a cheese puff – cloudlike in texture with a light savoury cheese flavour, following which was an asparagus emulsion with white truffle crème and a salmon tartar. The asparagus emulsion tasted very neutral and slightly earthy – something like a mushroom soup, which will appeal to almost everyone in the very easy taste. Despite the casual nature of the emulsion, the truffle crème injected a depth of richness to the soup. The salmon tartare tasted like summer – sunny and bright, with a faint nutty flavour from the olive oil. I smiled to myself and knew I was in a good place.

For our first course, we were served the veal tenderloin carparccio with juniper dessing and white truffle oil and the Mozaic ‘Ceasar’ salad (polenta coated soft shell crab, romaine lettuce, garlic crouton and parmesan crisp). The veal tenderloin, was mellow and milky with gentle earth tones and the crab was the crispiest one I have ever eaten, was all in all crunchy dish with the lettuce, croutons and parmesan crisp, where you kept having the sound of the crunch resonant in your ear.

Next up was our fish and seafood course where we were presented with a balsamic glazed salmon serve with black olives and marjoram and a plate of pan seared scallop skewer on local “keladi” rhubarb and bouillabaisse emulsion. The balsamic glaze was complex, slightly sweet and tart, paired with the bitter vegetables were a great combination with the oily and crispy salmon. The seared scallops were sweet with a burst of saltiness from sea salt crystals. The first bite was good, but taken with the wine, it was heavenly; the sweetness of the wine was echoed in the scallops brought the flavour of the scallop back to life in my mouth.

For the foie gras course, they served us the pan seared fried foie gras on bitter cocoa and chocolate emulsion with a beet root sorbet and fresh boneless quail ‘pastilla’ baked with a touch of foie gras, Moroccan spices and cinnamon in filo pastry. The pan seared foie gras was marvelous. The crispy and luxurious foie gras and cold sweet beet sorbet melted and slid down my throat causing a slight tingling sensation. The chocolate sauce was slightly bitter rather than sweet, if not it might have tasted like a dessert. The pastille was intriguing, sounded and tasted exotic – the crackling thin pastry encased a hot spicy and piquant filling.

The meat course was roasted suckling pig with a blackcurrant sauce on a bed of red cabbage served with toasted spices and roasted veal tenderloin with a red wine infused sauce, artichoke sauce and mushrooms. The suckling pig was succulent and tender with the layers of fat sandwiched between layers of meat, and the toasted spices looked like grit, but possessed intense flavours similar to a strong gingerbread crumble, where it was both crunchy and had a spicy bite. The veal was nothing too adventurous, but very well executed. The meat got it spice and heat from the pepper and it was mellowed down by the deeper and more intense flavoured red wine sauce and cepe mushrooms.

After the intense meat course, chef Salans brings its down to a cheese course where he served us a goat's cheese mousse, walnut sablé, sour cherries and balsamic vinegar and a warm blue cheese toast with beets ( I missed the waiter’s explanation). I love cheese, and I love cheese courses – light, airy and milky with the sour, sweet and tart condiments or warm, oozy and pungent, I like them all.

With the taste of cheese still lingering on my tongue, chef Salans sends us a fruit course that is nectarous and cold – fresh mandarin sorbet on mint jelly and yellow watermelon sorbet on coconut and mint jelly. A great play on textures, where the jelly adds some bite and the pieces of fresh fruit add a feel of tropical freshness.

Dessert is on its way and I’m already really full from the six courses that have come before and the copious amount of wine I had already consumed. When it arrived, my fullness melted away after the waitresses described what lay before us, warm dark valrona chocolate moelleux, gorgonzola ice cream and sautéed strawberries with rosemary and fresh passion fruit cream baked in filo pastry with caramelized mango, milk agar agar and cardamom. I’m not a big dessert person, and the only sweets that really get me excited are chocolates and ice cream, so I have ordered a lot of chocolate soufflés/melting chocolate cakes/molten chocolate cakes/decadent chocolate cakes; this valrona chocolate moelleux, this is the mother of all cakes. I loved the combination of gorgonzola ice cream and chocolate, this plate had my name written all over it, I only eat ice cream and chocolate desserts, and often I prefer a cheese platter to a sweet plate. This is my playground – a warm oozy chocolate cake and cheese flavoured ice cream, it was a great ménage trio for me. It was at this point when I stuck the spoon of ice cream and cake into my mouth that chef Salans chose to come over and to greet us and all my poise escaped me - with food stuffed in my mouth, I tried to thank him for the wonderful dinner and to tell him about the state of bliss that I was in with the chocolate and gorgonzola ice cream streaming down my throat – I like to think that he left out table happy that I was happy. I’m more than content ending my meal at this point, but Chef Salan’s quickly informs us, “one more course.”

As the plates are being cleared and I emptied my glass of the remaining Riesling, I’m half sloshed and very full, I wait the final plate. Petit fours – pumpkin custard and a pressed pineapple with an orange peel – sweetly ushered us to the end our subliminal culinary journey.