Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pre-show dinner at Salt Tapas & Bar by Luke Mangan

Our long awaited ballet performance, Swan Lake by the world renowned Bolshoi Ballet Company has finally arrived in SG. We paid a hefty $203 per pax for this show and it was worth every penny. We were wowed by the opulent stage design, glamorous costumes and most important of all, the dancers' immaculate technique and beautiful lines. The performance was accompanied by a live orchestra by Singapore Lyric Opera orchestra (seldom happens in smaller scale shows). It was 2 hours plus of our time well spent!

Prior to the show, we girls met up at City Hall MRT to get dinner. Salt Tapas & Bar was our choice for the night. The restaurant is located just outside the Raffles City Shopping Center's main building. For a moment, we  felt that we had stepped into a quaint little alley at a quite corner of England. The red brick building looks every bit European. Check out the rounded corner building design, the red brick arches around the glass window panes and those nostalgic street lamps on the brick walls. 

                This place has a garden style Al Fresco dining area, a cooled indoor dining area and an extensive bar counter.

The restaurant is designed to exude a Spanish vibe with a laid-back Aussie ambiance. Plenty of custom designed industrial-chic antique lightings, raw brick walls, dark wood furnishing, imported authentic Spanish tiles are used to create a welcoming dining atmosphere. The gigantic bar counter is adorned with a good ol' classic marble bartop.

At one corner of the bar counter, a display of an upscale Fermin's jamón ibérico de bellota cured ham, one of the finest Spanish ham makers in the world.

Clean and modern table settings...

The drinks menu, a thick book of extensive wine list, spirits, beer, cocktails and some non-alcoholic beverages. On the contrary, the food menu is a laminated one page list of dishes prepared from premium fresh produce imported from around the world.

There's a limited selection of items in every category. Although not extensive, there is enough variety of dishes for diners to choose from. Their menu do change from time to time to keep the food selections attractive.

We each ordered a main course and a drink for dinner. I didn't realize that the serving portion for Nibbles category is very tiny. I had initially picked a Pork belly sliders $13++ for mains and had to order another dish to add on to that.

These bite size mini burgers were very delish. The roasted pork belly has a good crispy bite and pairs well with the crunchy pickled cucumber, onions and chili.

Pork belly w/ cauliflower puree, pickle & mustard leaf $29++, 5 chunky slices of roasted pork belly with thick crackling skin, served with chopped pickles and mustard leaves. The pork belly was fabulously done with juicy lean meat and not-too-oily fatty layer and superbly crispy skin. The plating is also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Thumbs up.

My friend's Paella of prawns, mussels, chorizo & chicken $38++. Topped with thin slices of beautifully cured ham. She was raving about how the rice is wonderfully soft and fully infused with flavors of the fresh seafood and saffron. I had a bite of it and was impressed too!

For drinks, I had the non alcoholic Apple sling $11++. Apple, pineapple & strawberry puree topped with soda. It was sweet and fruity, like a nice fruit punch...slurp.

My friends had the Strawberry virgin mojito $11++ and House pour white wine $8++, both of them were satisfied with their choices.

We certainly had a great time enjoying good food and the lovely ambiance here. We all agreed that they served exceptional food that are reasonably priced. Service was decent, waiting staffs knew what they are doing most of the time. The laid back Aussie ambiance has crept into our good books and we will definitely visit again!

Salt Tapas & Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road S179103
Tel: (65) 6837 0995

Opening Hours
Mon - Thu: tapas 11.30 – 22.00, drinks til 23.30
Fri: tapas 11.30 – 23.00, drinks til 23.30
Sat: tapas 11.30 – 22.30, drinks til 23.30
Sun & PH: tapas 11.30 – 21.30, drinks til 22.00

One last shot of the X'mas tree before we go...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vietnamese dinner at Saigon Lotus @Marina Square

I was at Marina SQ to exchange foreign currency for my Macau trip next month. I decided to settle dinner at The Dining Edition and picked Saigon Lotus due to favorable reviews online (mostly raving about their Pho which I don't eat). Anyways, I thought if their Pho is authentic, other dishes should be fine as well.

The restaurant is adorned with eye-catching bright colored Viet style lanterns. Coupled with equally bright color walls with touches of lotus shaped accessories...very Vietnamese I guess.

Their simple menu featuring mostly traditional Viet cuisine. Spotted some spelling mistakes...part of the authentic dining experience I reckoned.

I was checking out the Grill pork noodle and the Viet waitress who was serving me told me that the pork can be changed to chicken if I don't take pork. I ordered it anyway cos I do eat pork but not beef. I also ordered 2 more side dishes and a drink to go with my main course.

Sweet-salted Lime juice $3.50+, I loved this is sweet, salty & sourish all at once, very invigorating!

Mango salad $8.00+, this looks like Thai mango salad but it tasted different. Other than the sourish green mango, the dressing taste totally different. They toss it with lotsa basil and the salad has a really strong basil taste...too strong for my liking, even though I do eat basil.

The serving portion is huge, good for 2-3pax sharing. I didn't managed to finish this as the basil taste was too overwhelming.

can't finish...

Crispy pork spring rolls $7.00+. Nicely marinated minced pork with vermicelli, mushroom, carrot etc. wrapped in crispy skin...very delish!

Grilled pork noodle (Dry) $11.00+. Wait a minute, did you see chicken or pork on top of the noodle?

Remember to pour this into the noodle!

As another part of the authentic Vietnamese dining experience, the Viet waitress misunderstood me. I told her I eat pork but don't eat beef but I guess it sounded like I don't eat both pork & beef! She still served me chicken in the end!

The chicken was broiled not grilled, tasted extremely bland, plus it is breast meat...very hard and chewy! I did not enjoy this dish at all. Worst of all, serving is here's the aftermath.

50% leftover!

There's a 20% discount on Sun - Thu, and they don't charge GST, plus serving portion is generous...very pocket friendly! I wouldn't say I won't come back again but I'd definitely talk less and just point! Those that I merely pointed all turned out fine.

Saigon Lotus
Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard #02-100A/100B, S039594
Tel: 63374648

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun: 1100 - 2200hrs

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dinner at Imperial Treasure @ION

We were at the Openrice office again to collect our prizes for participating in the Hungry Games contest. After we're done with the short visit, we headed over to ION Orchard to have dinner at the Imperial Treasure restaurant.

Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee House, located at #B3 of ION, is a typical cantonese dining house serving up dim sum (lunch hours), HK roast meat and cantonese style stir fry dishes, rice, noodles and congee.

We ordered several dishes and shared them with white rice. My friend's kid had Chicken noodle soup $6.80++.

Crispy large intestines $8.50++, the skin was delightfully crispy and the center is tender and well marinated. A perfect dish to kick start our meal.

Roasted combination platter $22++ for 3 items of your choice. We had pork belly, roast duck and char siew. These were good, we especially loved the crackling roast pork belly!

Crispy squid with salted egg yolk $16++, ooooh we adored the thick creamy salted egg yolk paste coated around the crispy battered squid. The squid was fresh and springy, thumbs up.

Claypot tofu w/ seafood $20++, a nice healthy dish to balance off the greasy fried/grilled dishes we're having. The generous portion of seafood was fresh...the prawns were really huge! Tofu was soft and soft smooth as well...delish.

Some greens to go with the meat dishes, Spinach w/ 3 color egg $14++. Nice and lightly flavored dish with lotsa broth...refreshing!

Claypot chicken w/ taro in coconut sauce $16++. We made a mistake with this one, the creamy coconut sauce was too jerlat...we didn't managed to finish this dish.

We wiped out everything accept the last dish. Food quality here is really good and the HK roast meats are rather authentic. Prices are on the steep side though. I would recommend this place for family gatherings with older folks who are fussy about food quality.

Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee House 御宝粥麵专家
ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn #B3-17, S238801
Tel: 6509 8283

Opening Hours:
Mon to Fri: 1100 - 2200
Sat & Sun: 1030 - 2200