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Osteria Francescana - Currently Italy's most innovative and popular restaurant ...

Thanks for the info about Vignola

Did Francescana's modern and innovative cuisine deter you from going there? Bottura still respects and is capable of executing "old-fashioned" Italian cuisine since many of his classic dishes were derived from his experience at home - that should qualify for "casalinga cibo"?

How's Hosteria Giusti? Hope you had a good meal there
True about the Osteria's location. By 8 PM, even on Friday, the surrounding area was pretty much quiet. But, well the same can be said about many of Modena areas in general, no?

2 days ago
Bu Pun Su in Italy

Osteria Francescana - Currently Italy's most innovative and popular restaurant ...

Thanks for reading
Indeed, it's not "homemade food" at all - even for its traditional dishes/pasta would require good skill and high precision to be executed that way

Carlo Cracco in Milan also did similar things (innovative Italian cooking), but has not been as successful as Massimo Bottura so far. Cracco's classic tasting menu was quite good though

Dec 14, 2014
Bu Pun Su in Italy

Osteria Francescana - Currently Italy's most innovative and popular restaurant ...

I was a little bit surprised to not find any thread dedicated to this restaurant

Modena is not the kind of city in Italy that I ever plan to stay overnight, let alone for 2 nights. During our trip to Italy last month, my wife would like to visit Venice and Milan – I’ve been to both. When I worked out the plan, I saw what’s ‘available’ in between these 2 major cities? Initially (and logically), Florence will be the next option. I loved the museum there, the city was beautiful and I’ve never been to Enoteca Pinchiorri. But then, Enoteca was not attractive enough and I really want to visit a new city this time. When I looked the map of Italy, I observed with gastronomy restaurants in mind – that’s when I laid my eyes on Modena, the home of the avant-garde restaurant – Osteria Francescana. In addition, I felt I would need a ‘base’ to visit another top restaurant in the smaller city the next day. So, staying over in Modena was not a bad choice.

In recent years, there’s an Italian Chef that has become the central attention among food journalists and foodies alike – his name is Massimo Bottura. Besides Michelin 3-star, Massimo received numerous other awards for himself and his dearest restaurant, Osteria Francescana. Yes, this establishment was my main attraction to visit the city famous for its balsamic vinegar and Ferrari. I reserved the restaurant in September for Friday evening and it’s not a problem at all. Osteria is located in the old city of Modena. We arrived almost 30 min later from our initial booking and surprisingly we’re still the first guests reaching there. At 8:45 PM or so, our dining room with 6 tables were all filled up – Italians happened to eat very late too, furthermore we’re the only table that didn’t know how speak the local language. The setting was modern with widely spaced large tables and leather chair. The dining room is windowless with modern & minimalist decor and the wall painted in some kind of light blue color. As I perused the menu, the staff brought in amuse-bouche (mortadella sandwich – smooth & fragrant) to tease our palate and bread (white, wheat and croissant).

There were 2 tasting menus offered: Sensations and Tradition in evolution. My habit when visiting the restaurant for the 1st time will be to order its classic dishes, so menu Tradition was an obvious choice – we also added Modenese tortellini in Parmigiano cream to share. The first half of our degustation menu (excluding desserts) were inspired by ancient and recent stories/incidents happening around the region; the dishes were generally clever, provocative and attractive but not too profound.
-the saba lacquered eel was soft and sweet, similar to top quality unagi one can get in Japan. The twist was that the kitchen put sour and salty variations to balance the eel sweetness from the apple jelly, polenta cream and burnt onions
-cotechino (salty pork sausage, a kind of Italian charcuterie product) was covered with zabaglione (versatile and tasty yellow custard). At the very bottom, there was crisp & sweet biscuit – a nice contrast in taste and temperatures
-caesar salad in Emilia had 22 distinct ingredients inside the lettuce. I wasn’t really impressed with it; it was just alright
-5 Parmesan reggiano cheese tasting in different temperatures, textures, ages/maturities and flavors. I can taste cheese that was intensive, velvety and crisp – a sublime, creative and complex dish.

The second half of the meal was my favorite; the desserts were of high quality as well – pleasing to both eye and palate
-tagliatelle in right texture and temperature was well-mixed with tender and delicious no-butter ragu made of pork, veal and bone morrow – excellent
-an iconic pasta dish from the region & Bologna: traditional tortellini filled with various meat (veal and different parts of pork); the pasta was delicate and light but flavorful while the reggiano cream (coming from local cows) was fresh and intense yet balanced. Any great chef always possesses strong fundamental techniques when executing & elevating ‘regular’ traditional dishes to fine dining levels.
I enjoyed these 2 pasta dishes very much
-for the main course, we had Piedmontese beef coated with charcoal ash. Massimo spread the colorful sauce (beet root, potato and vinegar) on the plate like a master painter brush his stroke on a canvas – a beautiful presentation! If you’re a fan of juicy beef with lots of fat, then you would be disappointed. This lean and tender Italian beef was different. It was perfectly cooked with great texture and subtle flavor. The sauces were interesting but the taste was unusual for my palate. Don’t expect any grilled steak smell here
-the pre-dessert was the famous creamy & intense foie gras lollipop; it supposedly was balanced by strong balsamic vinegar inside. This was a bit too much for me in spite of the almonds & hazelnuts – simply too rich

For the desserts, the kitchen was generous to give us an extra dish to share
-according to the menu, we had vignola. Apparently, it was fresh dark cherries ice cream seated on good chocolate ‘soil’ and mild coffee jelly. The overall flavor was tasty and refreshing
-we would not leave without having this extra dish: the broken lemon tart, creating perfection from imperfection. A superb and creative dessert with great attention to details, it’s also really flavorful – an excellent display of sweet and sour taste as well as texture & temperature contrast. One of the best things I ate for this dinner.
We didn’t remember we’re given any petit fours.

There was a “bizarre” and unique experience during this dinner. In the middle of our meal, Massimo Bottura walked into the dining room and greeted diners, which was very normal these days where Chef-owner showed respect and entertained his/her clients. Then, Massimo came to our table ... I didn’t exactly remember what I told him, but it’s something like this: “I saw your cuisine to be modern and creative/experimental, yet you also were able to produce very good classic dishes. Do you plan to pursue and progress in both styles in the future?” I just skimmed through about Chef Bottura and his cooking prior to this visit. I expected this to be just a casual conversation between guests and the Chef, but suddenly from his face expression, Massimo seemed to be bothered. On the one hand, he looked ‘angry & troubled’, on the other hand, I sensed that he wanted to explain or said something but could not or did not know how. He replied us with some short phrases and ended with (in rather serious tone): “I want to see both of you after the meal”. Oh dear ... did we violate something? I saw my wife, and we were both perplexed. The staffs were smile. “What’s happened?” I asked them and they simply shrugged off

After having finished the vignola and lemon tart desserts, sure enough my maitre d’ said that the Chef would like to invite us to the kitchen. Oh oh, were we in trouble? As we entered the kitchen, almost everyone looked at us ... with friendly smiles thankfully. Then, Massimo passionately explained his cooking and some of his dishes – a fun ‘lecture’ from a talented chef. In short, every dish he made, there was a story and inspiration behind it; he didn’t like to simply mix some ‘random’ ingredients to find good taste, it’s meaningless. After that, Taka, the pastry/sous chef, brought a dish freshly prepared for us. It’s beautiful – seems like an artistic painting of forests/woods. Chef Bottura said it’s one of his latest inventions: the camouflage of “hare royale” – inspired from Stein and Picasso. I pondered: besides the foie gras and some herbs, the rest of the ingredients were more suitable for desserts – chestnut, chocolate, biscuit, coffee etc. Well, at the end I learned it’s in a fact a dessert. We were given a tea spoon and swiped horizontally to taste it; we did it 3x – top, middle and bottom part. And after every byte, we ate the sweets at the sides and sipped a plain black coffee to clean the palate. True enough, each byte generated slightly different flavor, but the duck liver and hare flavors were apparent and quite strong actually. During this process, Massimo never stopped talking (in a genial spirit) about his cuisine. It became obvious from this experience that Chef Bottura is an eloquent person and he had an excellent command of English. His other trusted lieutenant Yoji was also Japanese. At the end, we got better understanding of him and his cooking; Massimo looked happier, more relaxed and relieved after being able to bring forth what had been inside him since the middle of our meal. A sigh of relief for me and my wife; we laughed a lot during that time and ended by taking pictures together in the kitchen.

The service was polite and a bit formal throughout the meal; my maitre d’ in particular was professional, fluent in English and knew the dishes very well. I had 2 glasses of wine: a fresh and aromatic (young) wine from Sicilia and Barbera La locomotiva. It’s a very satisfying meal. While I could not say every dish was delicious, most of them were interesting, eye-opening, thought provoking and creative. The traditional Italian dishes and desserts were top notch; they’re worth for a detour. Given Massimo’s philosophy, I know that Osteria Francescana is still a work in progress albeit now is already performing at a very high level. It’s not the best Italian restaurant I’ve been ... yet, but I look forward to returning here for more interesting culinary adventure in the future should I have the opportunity. I hope Massimo would still be in the kitchen as often as he can and not fell into trap of quickly capitalizing on his fame by opening new restaurants everywhere. I bestowed 95/100 for this meal (equivalent to 2 ¾* by Michelin standard)

Here are the pictures from my dinner: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...

Dec 14, 2014
Bu Pun Su in Italy

How can I score a Fat Duck reservation?

Any comparison tends to be subjective
There's hardly any right or wrong answer
But based on my experience, it's kinda helpful when I read other people's reviews, preferences or comparisons. Some of them suit to my taste better and I might agree when they said "A" better than "B". This way I kinda know which place to visit though it's not always right like my case with Hedone

Well, not sure if it's a right analogy
If we see an academy award, they can decide what the best picture is or who the best actor & actress are despite the fact that the panels would compare movies with totally different genre and/or budget. Likewise, similar thing can be said about restaurants and their food I think

Dec 12, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

How can I score a Fat Duck reservation?

Many things are perhaps relatives
My meal at Hedone would've been better had I had them before 2008 when my gastronomy experience was still limited. Also, I had lunch at the Fat Duck in the same day of my late dinner at Hedone - so it's like "heaven and earth" comparison. But, Heston has been cooking at high levels for more than a decade and Hedone's is still at an "infant stage"

Again, the bread, by the standard that London offers, is probably up there. But then, it's for sure (at least for me) not better than the bread at l'Arpege and Le Louis XV. Actually, Robuchon's fine dining places in Tokyo and Singapore have good bread quality and selection

Dec 12, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

How can I score a Fat Duck reservation?

Yes, and I thought it's quite ordinary
A solid 1-star place in London, better than its peer at the same level; about equal level with 1-star restaurant in Paris/Tokyo
However, it's definitely not a 2-star quality yet

The bread was good, maybe the best in London; the meat dishes were solid - that's about it. The scallop was not worth an additional GBP 10, and even the famous liquid parmesan ravioli was kinda average
Mikael worked very hard on the night we ate; he's hands on pretty much the whole time

Dec 10, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

How can I score a Fat Duck reservation?

I believe the Fat Duck is UK’s most frequently-reviewed restaurant out there. Additionally, the restaurant seems to serve the same dishes ‘forever’ (or at least 80% of them) regardless of the season. The often changed items are probably the main course and its desserts. Given this, I’m not sure how much fresh information or new insights I can add. What I’m about to write - it’s very likely has been written and discussed elsewhere. That being said, here was my lunch experience last month.

The Fat Duck’s popularity reached its peak in 2005 when it was selected as the world’s best restaurant by the Restaurant magazine. However, what lured me here was the fact that it’s a Michelin 3-star restaurant (I did not bother to visit Dinner by Heston although currently it ranked higher than the Fat Duck according to that same magazine); it gained its first star in ’99 and within 5 years, the Fat Duck was considered among Red guide book’s most elite dining place. I’ve heard how difficult it was to get a table here. So, I didn’t put that much hope. I asked my hotel’s concierge assistance to make a reservation, but at the back of my mind, I doubt they would put that much effort and it proved to be true (hey, it’s not the concierge of Japan’s hotels). Based on my Europe trip schedule, actually I only had one day in which my spouse and I could eat at the Fat Duck – our other days in London fell on Saturday afternoon, Sunday + Monday, the days where the restaurant was closed – yes, you could ‘judge’ that I did not make sufficient effort by sparing only one day in trying to dine at one of the most competitive tables in this planet. But the stars were aligned that after waiting 15 minutes for the online reservation to open (exactly 2 months before), somehow, I could secure a table for 2 at lunch. My struggle happened to be quite minimal, I suppose we’re lucky.

The restaurant was located in the peaceful village of Bray. Despite the cloudy and gloomy day, our mood was good as we’re about to spoil ourselves with a very promising lunch. Like a few other guests, we did not directly enter the restaurant; instead many of us were busy taking picture of the restaurant’s façade. After that we stepped in to the Fat Duck (finally) and were warmly greeted and escorted by the staff. We were seated at the table near the staircase – the table was big and could possibly seat 3-4 guests. The degustation menu consisted of 14 courses and it meant the dish’s portion would likely to be small (3-5 bytes per course). The long menu could be tricky since it’s very difficult to serve excellent 10+ dishes all the time, but should the kitchen screw up early, they got plenty of courses to redeem themselves. Let’s dive into the menu …

The food symphony at the Fat Duck began with 3 small dishes at the 8’s level (out of 10)
-beetroot and horseradish cream (8.5): soft & airy with crispy shell, having sweet and earthy flavor. A good start
-the nitro poached aperitif (7.8): a good show and my wife loved it. Marc Veyrat spoiled it; the chef in a black hat prepared something similar with better and more interesting flavors 6 years ago in Annecy – so this was not too impressive
-cabbage gazpacho with mustard ice cream (8.2): making good cold soup was never easy and this one was refreshing
Then the kitchen up its game by delivering 3 consecutive high quality dishes. They’re supposedly among the restaurant’s famous classics
-quail jelly and crayfish cream with chicken liver (9.5): the cream & liver were smooth and intense, every layer was consistent and delicious - a high level French cuisine prepared near perfection. There was also a crisp truffle toast and the thin strip with oak flavor (decent)
-snail porridge (9.2): possibly Heston’s most well-known dish and it lived up to expectation. All elements were in balanced creating a delicious porridge with a right texture
-roast foie gras (9): the liver was creamy and rich, combined with some unusual side dishes (barberry, kombu and crab biscuit) that happened to work well together

We’re very pleased with the proggressed thus far. After that ... come probably the lowest points of this beautiful tasting menu at level 7 or below
-mad hatter’s tea (6.7): I enjoyed the theater but was not impressed with the dish’s subtances. The broth and its contents plus the sandwich were average
-sound of the sea (7.3): again, a nice show and quite liked the music. The food was the ‘problem’ – the edible sand and the foam had some Ok flavor. The raw fishes/seafood were not bad, but I’ve tasted better preparation & flavor of octopus, mackerel, & yellow tail in Japan
Sometimes the new high does not come until very low points. The next 2 dishes were kinds of stuffs that makes the idea of travelling far and “broke the bank” for food were worth the time & effort
-salmon in liquorice gel (9.7): I often think any elite fine dining/sushi-ya serving salmon was ‘cheap’ and I could not be more wrong this time. It was a masterpiece; perfectly poached buttery salmon was enhanced by the gel, trout roe, vanilla mayo etc.
-venison with truffled spelt (9.8): if there’s such thing to be close to perfection, one of them was definitely the Fat Duck’s umble pie. The deer was moist and delicious; even better was the spelt ‘risotto’ with some deer cube inside – exceptional in both taste and aroma

The ‘orchestra’ ended with similar notes as the beginning. I was not blown away by any of the pre-dessert, dessert and mignardises. A couple of them were meticulously prepared with beautiful presentation.
-hot & iced tea (8): fun and pleasant “two-face” tea
-egg in verjus and vice versa (8.4): a nice play of flavors – sweet, bitter and sour
-botrytis cinerea(8.1): wine grapes in different shapes and colors with decent flavor
-whiskey gums (7.9): cool presentation with distinct flavors
-sweet shop bag (7.6): very sweet’ mignardises’
My food description has been quite brief and if you want to know in greater details, you’re welcome to see them at the longer review (see the link below)

What a fun and memorable gastronomy adventure. The food has been fantastic overall (97 pts in my note) and it fully deserved the Michelin guide’s highest honor. My impression that UK has no great restaurant has been dismissed by this meal. The restaurant was full as expected and the guests were quite diverse. There were a couple flying from Germany next to us and 2 (unrelated) groups of Indian families/relatives occupying the restaurant’s biggest tables. The service was relaxed and impeccable, but not personal; the staffs surely were in the top of their games – always ready to re-fill our drinks, answer any questions about the dishes and fold napkins whenever we left the table. The “worst” part of this meal was probably the restaurant’s decor. Excluding Japan’s kappo kaiseki and sushi places, as far as I remember, the Fat Duck has the simplest/humblest ambiance with relatively low ceiling. Thus, the upcoming renovation for the building is surely a wise thing to do. I would love to return here again but the staff informed me that the restaurant did not usually change the menu; this can be a challenge since when I re-visit a restaurant, I would love to eat new dishes – about half of them ideally. However, if any gourmand has not visited here, I really recommend it. Heston is truly the chef who knows how to cook both ‘molecular’, modern and old school stuffs well and most of the times they’re delicious. The other chef I know who would come close to do what Chef Blumenthal’s doing was Alinea’s Grant Achatz

More detailed reviews: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspo...
Pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...

Dec 10, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London

Couldn't you just tell the restaurant (in this case - Fat Duck) that you want/don't want to repeat certain dishes should you make the return in the future?

For 3-star place in that caliber having 40 chefs cooking daily; wouldn't it be possible or still too much to ask?

Dec 05, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London

Thank you for reading Harters
I assume you're not convinced or willing to 'gamble' to visit Ramsay RHR?

Dec 03, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London

It’s been nearly 35 years of my life, except until last month, I’ve never actually been to any place in the United Kingdom at all. I often had desire to visit London, one of the most dynamic cities in the world; however as far as the gastronomy world is concerned, it’s quite underrated. The number of michelin 3-star restaurants were relatively minimal for a megapolitan city like London; moreover I hardly heard any convincing rising star chef/restaurant coming from this place – recently, the closest one would be Hedone, in which I had a chance to have dinner also. For me, Hedone deserved its one star and I don’t see it would get its 2nd one any time soon. Anyway, my main purpose at the moment is to share my view of the dinner I had at Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road.

These days, who doesn’t know the notorious Gordon Ramsay? He’s all over the TV and he probably has more restaurants and/or cafes than any other chefs. I watched his first season of Hell’s kitchen in 2005 when I had not had any experience eating at fine dining restaurant. I am usually skeptical with the chef who often appears on TV, but I learned that Gordon was different because the Red guide book believes that his restaurant deserves its highest accolade albeit only one. So, if I had to try his food, it should be the one he’s proud of the most. My wife and I arrived 30 minutes earlier than our initial dinner reservation. Interestingly, within 5 min, there were 8 other people, (all of them happened to be Asians) making up 3 other tables, reaching the restaurant. It was quite windy and cold. Some of us tried to open the door, but it would not happen until 6:30 PM. For those of you who will dine here in the peak of winter season, please don’t arrive too early; there was neither any door bell, nor will the staff open the door for you to be there earlier. They were still busy doing the briefing.

Once, the restaurant opened its door, everything went smoothly even though we’re still 15 min earlier. We passed the mirrored and marbled corridor before arriving at the small waiting area. After taking off our jackets, we’re escorted to our table. The dining room was not too spacious; seated about 40 people. It was fully booked – securing a table for dinner here with 1 week notice or less is virtually impossible. The setting was discreetly luxurious and elegant with some feminine touch; grey, beige and lilac color dominated the restaurant’s theme. The distance among tables was quite closed, similar what you would experience when dining at l’Arpege. As many of you might have known, there are 3 menus offered here and we picked the Menu prestige that consists many of Gordon Ramsay’s signature dishes. Since it’s the season of Alba truffle, the staffs diligently promoting the truffle dish: pasta with parmigiano cream sauce – any dish in the menu could be substituted with this at an additional cost of GBP 45. We decided to stay with the original degustation menu.

The meal started quite well. For the amuse, we had an egg served with parmesan cream, smoked potato and white truffle - It's creamy, rich and 'round'; the egg yolk was nice. Prior to this, for the canapé I quite enjoyed the cured salmon in shiso as well as basil bun filled with truffle. For the actual menu,

-the first course was pressed foie gras that was tasty but not too creamy; there were green apples, turnips and watercress to balance the duck liver’s richness – a decent dish.

-it’s followed by the signature dish: the “seafood” ravioli. I really look forward to eating this dish, but sadly it was forgettable. While the pasta was well-made, the lobster, langoustine and salmon inside were dry and lacked flavor. The veloute & bisque gave some moisture, but the sorrel especially was a little too salty and dominant. I also ate something similar to Ramsay’s ravioli with bisque, liver sauce and black truffle at Gaddi’s HK and it was slightly more superior to what I had here. At least, at Gaddi’s the langoustine and salmon were sweet and ‘juicier’.

-3rd course was a firm and salty halibut served in ras el hanout broth. It was average; the best part was the small and succulent king crab on top of the fish

-for the main course, I had Cotswold lamb tasting. My favorite part was the rack part cooked pink; it’s tender and delicious. The other part was the lamb’s breast, shank and shoulder – again, quite salty. Honestly, it’s good but not at the level of Lozere/Aubrac lamb I had in France top restaurants. The autumn vegetables accompanied the lamb nicely. My spouse had roast pigeon (with sautéed foie gras), which is even more tender and juicy compared to my lamb. I think both main courses were well presented and executed

-for the pre-desserts, I liked the refreshing, sweet and fragrant “soup” (mango and passion fruit). The cucumber sorbet, lemon verbena and mint were alright.

-both of us had the restaurant’s classic desserts. Mine was the sour/acidic lemonade parfait with yoghurt sorbet combined with the sweet honey and light bergamot jelly. My wife chose the rich and sweet chocolate ‘cigar’ that’s balanced with blood orange and cardamom ice cream. The desserts were pleasant with attractive presentation. My favorite sweet stuff here was actually the cool white chocolate coated strawberry ice cream truffles – simply glorious.

Gordon Ramsay, for me, is a clear example of a 3-star restaurant with no magic and wow factor. The food is neither spectacular nor innovative and I had no problem with that. However, it’s not really delicious, only pleasant and nothing memorable unfortunately. The food is classical cooking of “old-school” French cuisine, but not at its best. The examples of “boring” food executed to perfection that makes me very excited were l’Ambroisie, Ducasse Paris/Monaco and le Squer’s Ledoyen last time. Even, the “French classic” dishes at the Fat Duck were flawlessly executed and did taste better than any dishes I ate here. After eating Ramsay’s menu prestige, I don’t actually understand the perfect 10 score awarded to Clare Smyth by the Good food guide. Probably, Jonny Lake should get 11 then. In my notes, the food here was 93/100 (2 ½ star by Michelin standard). This might be London’s best, but (IMHO) it would stand no chance of being a 3-star establishment had it been located in Paris.

The dining room staffs, led by a capable Jean-Claude Breton, were active, ‘noisy’ and (sometimes overly) enthusiastic. The small dining room often made some staffs almost hit one another in a few occasions. Obviously, the FOH team was very proud of their jobs and doing their utmost best in promoting the restaurant’s food. But, when the guests’ (food) feedback was not as positive as they expected, you could not help but notice a little sour note in their face. Only monsieur Breton accepted ‘critics’ charmingly and with ‘dignity’. As a matter of fact, Mr. Breton, who has been working with Ramsay since the Aubergine days, was among the best and finest maître de maison I’ve ever encountered. He’s very genial, ‘smooth’ and knowledgeable. We had a few pleasant conversations with him and he’s the main reason we believed that the service here was actually better than its food. Actually, Mr. Breton invited us to visit the kitchen and meet Chef Smyth, but we politely declined as my wife was exhausted and rather sleepy at the end of the meal. Another reason I didn’t mention to him was that I was not impressed with the food. Normally, the head chef would ask you how the meal went. Me being me, usually I’m brutally honest when sharing my opinion and I just did not want to “hurt” the chef’s feeling. The meal was not spectacular, and at the same time, nothing really went terribly wrong. And I don’t think the fact that we just arrived in London in the morning after having flown more than 15 hours would affect our judgment here. The best meal in my life (first dinner at l’Arpege) occurred after flying from New York; four years ago, I had unforgettable meals in the first day (after sitting in economy seat from Singapore); I could still recall vividly that Pacaud’s truffe ‘Bel humeur’ during lunch and le Squer’s “spaghetti castle” in dinner are still among the most delicious dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life.

If any of you is interested in the pictures of my meal at Gordon Ramsay, please visit: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...

Dec 03, 2014
Bu Pun Su in U.K./Ireland

Ki-sho: Potentially Singapore's best Kaiseki restaurant at this moment

Unfortunately not
I intended to visit Nihonryori Ryugin last year, but when I did my research the review at the Tokyo's Ryugin has been mixed
It cast some doubts and eventually I decided to go to Ishikawa instead and I did not regret

Hamamoto-san actually shared that Ryugin Tokyo had been fantastic when Seiji Yamamoto was using plenty of foreign ingredients
But then, recently Yamamoto-san has used almost exclusively Japanese ingredients and then the positive raves have been declining
Not sure if it's a coincidence (the ingredients usage) or Yamamoto-san has become very busy taking different projects hence affecting the food quality at Ryugin's head quarter

Singapore: Shinji by Kanesaka?

Is it still rooted in the Edomae style sushi or more of the modern ones?

Have you heard restaurant named "O ya" in Boston? I visited there once and I'm sure I don't want to return there. The way they 'modernize' the sushi was just not my style at all - too much 'sauce/seasoning'

Singapore - Restaurant Andre, Truly One of the World's Best Restaurants

Yes, the bread was good but I only had one and didn't ask for more because I heard a few people at the other table said they're already full even when it's still 2/3 of the total courses

My top 3 so far are: Joel Robuchon restaurant, Waku Ghin and a toss-up between Ki-sho and Shinji

Singapore: Shinji by Kanesaka?

thanks for sharing your experience

Singapore - Restaurant Andre, Truly One of the World's Best Restaurants

Describing the food served at restaurant Andre, which some critics claim to be Singapore’s best restaurant, was not an easy task for me. A couple of years ago, I was invited for lunch here and quite pleased with the food. Many dishes tend to have several ingredients in one plate, but the outcome generally did not disappoint. Still, I was not convinced to splurge for dinner – mixed feelings: the “hungry go where” review about Andre was quite negative and 2 of my friends said it’s overrated. On the contrary, more and more food bloggers have shared their memorable experience here recently. Furthermore, the accolades from San Pellegrino, travel magazine or Miele guide simply never stopped flowing. Then, I decided that perhaps it’s now (late Sep ‘14) the time to savor Andre Chiang’s creations to the fullest.

Restaurant Andre is very well-known for its cooking philosophy called Octaphilosophy that I believe many people are already familiar with and it’s explained in details in its own website. You will be served 8 dishes guided by 8 different concepts based on Andre’s cooking experiences for more than 2 decades. Honestly, I could not really recall any dish that particularly stood out; many are more ‘complicated’ than dishes I had during lunch. Presentations were beautiful, preparations were rigorous, execution was good and taste was solid. Rather than my palate was spoiled with burst of delicious flavor dishes after dishes, for me, it’s more of an experience and an appreciation towards Andre Chiang’s highly technical skills and the kitchen’s efforts to translate their chief’s ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the food – it’s quite enjoyable as long as you come with an open mind. The overall experience was somewhat like my meal in Daniel Patterson’s Coi. The whole experience is greater than the sum of its parts. That being said, it’s not among my top 3 favorite places to dine in Singapore

In addition to 8 dishes from the Octaphilosophy, the kitchen threw in many items before and after that. At the beginning, there were 5-6 small dishes/snacks for guests to nibble. Towards the end, there were 3 desserts and petit fours. I thought Andre’s ideas for snacking and several desserts were similar of Gagnaire’s dining experience. Contrary to what many believe, I neither felt full nor overwhelmed at the end of my meal – just satiated. I skipped the bio-dynamic wine offered, and opted for the ‘juice-pairing’ (about 5-6 glasses) instead. It was not cheap, but quite interesting. The potato skin juice managed to bring down the foie gras’ intensity while the black malt juice enhanced the flavor of pork belly dish. It’s fun, but I think wine would still be a better option to go with the meal.

Bukit Pasoh has become an elite area for good restaurants in Singapore. Besides Andre, there are Oso, the clan, Hashi, oca grassa etc. Restaurant Andre is actually an old renovated 3-storey shophouse, located next to Majestic hotel. This place can only serve up to 30 people at the same time, so as expected you will have an intimate experience but slightly less of privacy. The decor is contemporary and stylish with some touch of classic feeling. Diner would probably think as though they eat at the Chef’s house. It’s probably ‘correct’ especially when Andre Chiang himself showed up at the end of the meal, visited every table and acted as gracious host. For someone as famous as Andre, I was a bit surprised that Chef Chiang was a very nice person and down to earth. He was listening to diners’ comment attentively and answering any questions they had for him. The friendly hospitality was also reflected by the restaurant’s staffs; they’re professional and efficient – very proud of their job and their Chef patron. There’s hardly any restaurant like this in Singapore. Some will like it, some will not; nevertheless it’s something one perhaps should experience it once, in particular if he/she is around the area. I’m not really sure if it will be worth a (long distance) plane ride. In my case, it’s still reasonable since it took me fewer than 3 hours to visit Singapore

More in-depth reviews: http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspo...
Here are the pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...

Singapore: Shinji by Kanesaka?

This will be my 2nd dinner review of Shinji Kanesaka Singapore. The first one took place more than 2 years ago. As far as I can remember, this is probably my most frequent visited Japanese restaurant in Singapore. In between these visits, actually I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited for business lunch twice, enjoyed the omakase menu in both occasions and had somebody picked up the tabs. Anyway, back to the dinner ... The hostess was friendly and efficient; she anticipated my needs well. For example, she thoughtfully provided me with ‘writing board’ upon knowing that I would take notes about my meal. The tea was filled promptly though I ordered no alcohol. However, unlike the earlier visit, I was not given any menu to choose this time. She just asked whether I got any allergy, after that essentially she said something like “We will take care of you and hope you enjoy the meal”

During this dinner, approximately I had 9 appetizers, 13 sushi pieces (including tamago) and 1 fruit dessert. A few dishes I especially enjoyed were:
-Autumn assortment of small items. This dish looked quite beautiful by Shinji standard (you can see the picture in the link below). I loved the mushi awabi (the steamed abalone was quite tender, a bit chewy and tasty) and ankimo (monkfish liver; it tasted like duck liver of the sea indeed – rich & creamy). There were also ‘cute’ crispy sawagani with Ok taste as well as not-so-bad grilled kamasu. The grilled Matsutake, from Iwate prefecture, and ginko were average
-Like the earlier visit, I ate creamy and sweet duo of uni with salt. I liked the bafun uni a little more than the murasaki one
-Meiji maguro (baby tuna, 6-month old) with ginger soy sauce was tender and light
-In Shinji, I usually liked the Chutoro better than Otoro. In fact, it’s probably the best place to savor this medium fatty tuna in Singapore. Here, the chutoro was buttery, oily yet still sufficiently ‘firmed’

I could not recall if there’s any bad dishes during this meal, but there wasn’t anything outstanding either. The sushi was about as good as my previous visits; they’re rather consistent even though I got more ‘interesting’ pieces such as kama toro, akagai & kohada. Some other sushi I had this time were: shima aji, sawara, aji, saba, uni, anago (two ways: with salt and sauce) and the crunchy tsubugai. Whereas for small dishes, the chef also served me kawahagi with its liver, ishigaki-gai sashimi, a small bowl of ikura and steam kanpachi with miso. The dessert was simple and of very good quality – Japanese pear and melon. The bar that Shinji set from my first dinner here was perhaps very high. During that time, I loved the abalone chawan mushi, crab wrapped in yuba and uni rice with ikura and negi toro. The food generally is still worth of 2-star by Michelin HK standard nevertheless

For this visit, Yoshi-san was “my chef”. Oshino-san was around and he seemed to be busy watching over the main counter and private rooms at the same time. Oshino-san, who took care of me in my first dinner meal, was friendly, playful and tried to engage conversation with guests; Yoshi-san (he’s been with Shinji Raffles too since opening), on the contrary, was focused and a bit rigid. The only time he said something when serving the food. He served 5 people at that time. Even, when I or other diners tried to engage him for a conversation, his answer tended to be short with hardly any smile. A bit surprising I thought, even I spoke more and had better customer-chef interaction in my broken Japanese with Tokyo’s Mizutani-san than with Yoshi-san.

At the end when the bill came, it cost me somewhere in between the price of omakase Wa and Shin – fair enough. Will I return here in the future? Almost certainly. But if it will be under my own pocket, I don’t think it will happen next year. Perhaps, I intend to visit Shinji St. Regis at that time; I enjoyed my lunch under Kikuchi-san. Here are some pictures of dishes I had:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/7124357...

Ki-sho: Potentially Singapore's best Kaiseki restaurant at this moment

Thank you for your kind words

Though to be honest, compared to many other foodies/bloggers - my pictures are still 'average' :)

Ki-sho: Potentially Singapore's best Kaiseki restaurant at this moment

True, even though Hamamoto-san has been working and trained rigorously in traditional Kyo-kaiseki style

His passion and interest is to "modernize" and make more creative kaiseki while still respecting the traditional method as the foundation

The sushi part is more part of his skills as well as the customer's demand - I was told he hardly make "claypot" anymore for the rice dish

Ki-sho: Potentially Singapore's best Kaiseki restaurant at this moment

Yes, the same thing happens to Hong Kong as well

For instance (for the "same" restaurant across countries),
Shinji Kanesaka Singapore will cost about 60% more than the one in Tokyo (Sgd 400 vs Jpy 21000)

Sushi Yoshitake in HK cost at least twice as expensive as the one in Tokyo (Hkd 3500 vs Jpy 23000)
But, it's hard to deny that these two countries provide the closest Japanese restaurant experience to the ones available in Japan; US comes close at 3rd

Whether it's worth it, it's relative and quite difficult to say
For me, most of the time it's Not but again I just don't have the resources to go to Japan even once a year

Ki-sho: Potentially Singapore's best Kaiseki restaurant at this moment

Ever since I left Singapore for good a few years ago, I no longer follow the island’s restaurants development that well. Perhaps, this is why, sometimes I tend to re-visit the same places. Last month, when I returned to Singapore for a few days, somehow I really missed Japan and its cuisine especially the kaiseki part. Thus, it’s my ‘mission’ to have a good meal at Japanese restaurant at least once. I heard the name Ki-sho almost a year ago and gave it a miss; I want to wait and see whether the restaurant can sustain many positive reviews. I thought now it’s the right time to give it a try.

Apparently the menu at Ki-sho has evolved. This time, there’re only 2 choices of Omakase sets available. I opted for “Kai” menu; supposedly this option contained about 10 dishes. Chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto, the restaurant’s Head Chef, said that it had been difficult to serve 3 different menus daily at the counter (plus a couple dining rooms upstairs). Thus, he did the current change. However, the restaurant was still very flexible. The regular lady next to me, dining with her Korean boy friend, told Hamamoto-san that she would like to have a few uni dishes, some sushi and beef for the meals. I had no idea which menu she ordered. On another occassion, guests only wanted to eat 15-20 pieces of sushi for the entire meal and Chef Kaz had no issue to comply with the guests’ requests.

If any of you read my Japan’s foodie trip last year, you would have known that I love Matsutake mushroom. Because of this, I informed the restaurant in advance about my desire to have 2-3 dishes containing Japan’s Pine mushroom. I had no idea whether Matsutake was famous in Singapore. However, I know that here, it’s not that easy to find any sweetbreads or game animals even when they’re in season. My meal began with Katsuo no tataki; the Bonito, served in reasonable size, was meaty and tasty with smoky aroma and flavor. Some of highlights for my meals are as follow:

-Matsutake dobin mushi with Amadai. The broth was nourishing and did a good to bring out Matsutake’s unique aroma. The Matsutake itself was meaty and pleasant while the Tilefish flesh was quite firm and delicious. Although not at the level of Matsutake nabe I had in Tokyo, overall, I was really satisfied with this dish
-Japanese Wagyu beef is the best in the world. Here, the beef (from Gunma prefecture) was charcoal-grilled in such a way that almost no oily juice left on the beef. It seemed dry, but it actually intensified the delicious flavor at the beef’s meat. Additionally, I also loved the Toriyama beef roll with uni and egg yolk – a bonus item from the Chef. As you can imagine, it’s bursting with umami flavor: buttery & creamy sea urchin + fatty and marbled grill wagyu + rich egg yolk + ‘balanced’ by vinegared rice all in one package; it’s ethereal

-As a former chef at Waku Ghin, you can expect ‘similar’ dishes to be offered here. His signature dishes actually involved Uni and both of them deserved to be served over and over again. Firstly, a dish known as Uni & Caviar (except no botan ebi here). The portion of the sea urchin (aka + murasaki uni) was generous; it’s creamy and easily melt in my mouth. The crisp Italian caviar contributed a little to the overall taste, the vinegar jelly balanced the uni’s rich flavor while the beans, shiso and corn gave extra layers to the dish overall enjoyment - excellent.
Secondly, it’s called Uni ‘risotto’ – served before the dessert. Hamamoto-san recommended me to have it as part of the nigiri sushi dishes. Unless you’re a Sea urchin lover (I am for sure), you may find too much uni being served here. The sea urchin rice was awesome; it’s combined with delicious ‘toppings’ of ikura, shiro ebi, wasabi and chutoro – a pretty display of flavor and texture contrast. These 2 dishes are probably my favorite here
-Lastly, prior to sushi courses I was asked about my favorite kind of morsels and toro was one of them. I was not too impressed with otoro and akami sashimi served earlier, but toro at the sushi was not disappointing at all. I liked my soft and flavorful Otoro (aged for 2 weeks & wrapped the entire rice) as well as Kama toro (lightly seared and slightly more intense than the Otoro)

You can see the pictures below if you want to know the rest of the dishes (Note that – I forgot to take the picture of miso soup with clam and goma tofu). In general, I am very pleased with my meal at Ki-sho. Kazuhiro Hamamoto is talented and friendly, very capable of producing creative & delicious dishes and make guests to be at ease all the times. His potential is still very high and I’m sure his culinary finesse will keep growing with time. As a matter of fact, I was surprised with his sushi qualities. The fishes (optimum flavor with right size and texture) went along very well with his rice (texture, acidity and temperature wise). No wonder, a few guests came here only for sushi. It’s not that often you will find a chef who is able to produce top kaiseki dishes and make great sushi at the same time. In the period when celebrity chefs restaurants become a trend, I’m happy to find a young and talented chef given a high degree of freedom to run his own show. I hope he will stay in Singapore for several more years.

Ki-sho is located on Scotts road, almost the opposite of the Sheraton hotel. Exterior-wise, the building was grand in colonial style; however inside it’s very Japanese. The interior was minimalist and zen-like. The counter can accommodate up to 11 diners altogether. During my dinner, there were 6 Japanese guests and 4 locals – good business even though it’s only on Tuesday. The private rooms were also occupied as Hamamoto-san was also busy plating some dishes. In Singapore, many good things will cost you something. Due to this, I chose not to drink any alcohol. The service was excellent; staffs were efficient and helpful. I was escorted outside when I got my cab – that’s good enough for me :) In Japan, it’s almost certain that the chef would go out and bid you farewell.

Pictures - https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...
Along with Shinji Kanesaka, Tenku Ryugin and Waku Ghin, Ki-sho quickly becomes my favorite Japanese restaurants in Asia ex-Japan. Should there be an opportunity (6-12 months later), a future re-visit here will be expected from me

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Strictly from the food perspective, I find that the kaiseki at Hiiragiya was executed better and more tasty. But, I love the Gora Kadan's breakfast more

About other aspects, Gora Kadan hands down has better facilities and more spacious. However, Hiiragiya has a long history, if that matters to you, and I find the service there is warmer and more friendly

You may check some pictures at the links below to get better ideas:
https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...
https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...

Aug 19, 2014
Bu Pun Su in Japan
1

New chef at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee

I had a chance to contact with Monsieur Denis Courtiade last month
Alain Ducasse will oversee both Le Meurice and Plaza Athenee, particularly the latter one as he's the Executive chef there
ADPA should still be his flagship restaurant in Paris or at least what they're trying to do
The already luxurious dining room will have some modification too, but I don't know what kind

Chef Romain Meder (previously working in Qatar) will lead the Plaza Athenee fine dining restaurant
So, Christophe Santaigne should stay put at Le Meurice
The new ADPA maybe focusing more on fishes and vegetables
I'm not sure whether the restaurant will open in August 1st as the hotel back in operation - an exciting battle at Paris high end hotel since Peninsula finally is welcoming its first guests on Aug 1 as well

Jul 27, 2014
Bu Pun Su in France

Singapore - Joel Robuchon Restaurant, Sentosa

Thanks mikey8811
If I recalled correctly, the meal cost was 570++; about the same price during the initial restaurant's opening
I received the email this year stated the long tasting menu was priced at 480++ ('cheaper')
I added a few extra courses during the last meal

Regarding to l'Arpege - for example meal 3&4 - it means I simply combined the pictures of 2 separate meals; so it's not always that many. In another occasion, a few of them included some dishes shared with my parents. But yeah, generally I ate very well there and the kitchen took good care of us :) I really hope I could return there within these 2 years

Singapore - Joel Robuchon Restaurant, Sentosa

Thanks for reading Julian
Maybe from the fact that there were plenty of big names "close shops" such as Guy savoy, Kunio tokuoka etc. they assumed it's become a 'public' secret. Anyway, staffs from Les amis and other Singapore fine dining places, already knew about Robuchon's struggles - Singapore's hospitality business is such a small world

I simply confirmed it with them. That being said, maybe it would be 'nicer' had they been more discreet. The same thing happening with Robuchon Macau and Vegas. Mr. Robuchon was fortunate to have the full support of the owners - it makes sense because without such back up, I don't think he would be willing to open a restaurant bearing his name

The true test for GM's chef of the century will be his upcoming project in Bordeaux (a partnership with wine magnate Bernard Magrez) - not sure if they would have 'unlimited' budget this time. He also aimed for 3-star accolade. France was more stingy for such award, but it's well-known that Michelin loves Joel so he will probably get it at the end

Singapore - Joel Robuchon Restaurant, Sentosa

As far as French gastronomy’s concerned, Joel Robuchon, among active chefs, is probably the most popular and respected in the world. Although, he’s certainly not the favorite of mine, somehow I happened to have dined at his fine dining restaurants several times. After absent for more than two years, I decided to return to Robuchon Sentosa last month. In Dec ’11, I ate there during the Piedmont white truffle season; this year was during the Perigord black truffle season. Excluding desserts, I was fortunate enough to have savored 40+ different dishes created by the French master chef. As I received the restaurant’s latest menu via e-mail, there were still lots of food I had not tried yet. So, I thought I had good “excuses” to return there. Well, also because I had a great time during my first visit – along with Chateau Robuchon Tokyo, this one was my favorite among Robuchon’s restaurants.

Nothing has changed regarding the place’s decor. I was greeted by the checkerboard tile at the lobby before entering the main dining room on the right side. Grand chandelier hanging at the ceiling, some crystals lying on table runners, and oversized vases were all in place and well kept. In contrast to the black and purple color in Las Vegas, here, the ambiance was dominated by black and beige/some gold. Menu wise, it seemed that the kitchen, led by talented and meticulous Chef Tomonori Danzaki, has settled down. Compared to my previous visits, I recall there were 50% more dishes these days. However, it didn’t matter that much for me as I had “designed” my own tasting menu (the long degustation menu with some modification) prior to my arrival. As I know it would be lots of food and a long gastronomy journey, I prohibited myself to eat plenty of bread. I began with 3 of them: bacon-mustard, cheese and saffron soft bun; it stayed that way until the end of my meal. The butter was still Bordier’s unsalted accompanied by good salt quality and Spanish olive oil.

Let’s go to the main substance: the food. Apparently, I ordered more than I thought ... Including amuse-bouche and mignardises, I consumed 20 courses. This time, several of the dishes were bigger than my previous experience (of course, I didn’t complain) especially during the “trio items” that were usually served in a very small portion, even by tasting menu standard. Since there were lots of food, I would not describe all of them – you can read them at my longer review (see the link at the bottom). In any Robuchon fine dining restaurants, it’s almost certain that you would have dishes with caviar and they’re not any “random” dishes with caviar on top. This time my favorites were:
- King crab duo (a combination of delicate Kamchatka crab and fine spider crab displaying texture and flavor contrast) with Imperial caviar and sea urchin on top. The crab's succulent taste matched perfectly with caviar's brininess as well as the uni’s sweet and creamy flavor.
- An exquisite salmon tartar with shiso and caviar. The luscious salmon tartare was fresh, tasty and perfectly seasoned; it's enhanced by top quality of shiny caviar (having sumptuous taste) and runny egg yolk wrapped in gold leaf. Every element here was just right; I truly enjoyed every single bite of this dish.

In addition to the caviar dish, you can expect a “trio” of seasonal items at Joel Robuchon. In the Winter, you can expect some black truffle dishes and I liked:
- Mille-feuille of unagi, foie gras and black truffle - an intense dish. The caramelized Japanese unagi was sweet and slightly firm while the smoked duck liver was delicate and rich, then the pungent truffle added an extra 'punch'. To balance any excessive flavor, there was bland whipped cream with black pepper as well as salad containing radish and onion
- Arguably my best dish of the night: Perigord truffle tart with onion and bacon – they’re in perfect harmony. I could taste different flavors and textures but balanced; they're happily dancing in my mouth as I slowly savored this exceptional dish. Relates to execution and plating, it was just way better than a similar dish created by lepinoy at les amis

Under Japanese head chef, one could expect excellent seafood and fish dishes,
- Both langoustines courses were delicious. The first one was the famous scampi ravioli with foie gras sauce (not so strong this time, maybe due to plenty of rich dishes I had in the first half of my meal) and cabbage. The second one was new to me and even better than the 1st Dublin bay prawn. Danzaki-san served a fresh and succulent Alaskan langoustine with its own tasty juice. There were contrast in texture and color as displayed by orecchiette pasta, almond, and zucchini as side items
- I was glad that sauces at both fish courses were not too heavy. After eating plenty of dishes with black truffle or truffle-based sauce, I prefer to follow them with something cleaner and lighter. I enjoyed my pan seared Amadai with crispy scale. The fish was delicate, prepared with light saffron sauce with some sour notes in it. Following this, a firm yet supple piece of good Turbot accompanied by wild mushrooms and truffle jus.

My main course was a tender duck breast (a tad overcook and a bit dry for my taste) with the creamy duck liver and (fresh) cherries. Also, as expected, Robuchon’s legendary mashed potatoes. Since my Europe trip nearly 4 years ago, I don’t think since then I ever ate great French cheese. This time, I requested it to be part of the tasting menu. Although I was really full at that time, but I managed to sample goat cheese, comte, camembert and roquefort – all of them was nice. The desserts were up to Robuchon’s standard and you would get 2, one would contain some sour/acidic taste for palate cleanser and the next one was guaranteed to be sweet and generally chocolate-based. If you’re curious, welcome to see the pictures by clicking the link below.

I forgot to mention that compared to my initial visit, the price of a long tasting menu has been reduced to be SGD 40-50 cheaper. Because of this, I added 1-2 “extra” dishes utilizing winter black truffle. Overall, the execution was precise, the flavors were delicious and not monotonous, the presentation was artistic – an excellent feast for the senses. Robuchon’s dishes might not be too inspiring, but they’re not simple either. It’s one thing to know and understand the receipt, but it’s another thing to be able to execute it in such perfection. This meal convinced me that Tomonori Danzaki was the best among Robuchon’s chefs brigade. He not only was an expert in cooking, but he also genuinely cared about my dining experience. He actually felt that my tasting menu was too much/long. Half way through, he asked the staff to check whether I had been stuffed or if the food pace was alright – the kitchen had no problem to make some last minute adjustments if required. Unlike my previous visit when I had been invited to the kitchen, this time Chef Danzaki greeted me in the dining room. We had a nice chat for 10 minutes or so towards the end of the meal. He was very pleased and honored knowing that Robuchon Singapore was my best dining place among all of Robuchon gastronomy restaurants.

In addition to be the best in terms of food, the Robuchon RWS was also leading in terms of hospitality. The service was attentive, friendly and efficient during my dinner even though the restaurant, surprisingly, was very busy; there were more than 30 diners. The “pace” was nice, by 8 PM a group of 10 people occupying the private ‘winter garden’ left. Around 10 PM, there were only me and another table of four. Unlike my experience at fine dining restaurants in Asia, this time the main “service awards” belong to the Asian staffs named Sherika, a lady from Philipine, and Kohmalan, an Indian Singaporean gentleman. Both of them had very good knowledge about the food, restaurants, and Robuchon in general – they didn’t seem to simply memorize the information as I was talking with them. They were also sincere and had good personalities. Perhaps, it should not be too surprising when I learned later on that Sherika used to work at Robuchon Macau for a few years before moving to Singapore while Kohmalan has been with the team since the opening. More than one staff asked me how they were doing in terms of food and service. They’re more than willing to listen to my feedbacks and very eager to get better. IMHO, the service here was easily the best one I’ve ever experienced in Singapore.

For the first time outside Europe and Japan, I ever bestowed 97 pts (a convincing 3-star by Michelin standard) for food to any restaurant in Asia and US. As bizarre as it might sound, it means that my meal at Robuchon restaurant under Danzaki was better than my dinners at per se, Alinea, Urasawa etc. I am confident that the 4-star Forbes travel guide award the restaurant received early this year will be revised into 5-star within 2 years. I would love to return here again, but not so soon since it’s very expensive – probably in Spring/Summer 2016. It’s not unrealistic since the restaurant informed me that the Genting chairman had been very supportive and would like to ensure the existence of Joel Robuchon Singapore despite the fact that it has been losing money all this time.

The more comprehensive review can be found here,
http://zhangyuqisfoodjourneys.blogspo...

Pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/11823790...

Les Amis, Singapore

I apologize for the late reply
Initially my favorite was Waku Ghin
But after my latest dinner at RWS, for me - the best in Singapore is Joel Robuchon restaurant
Note that I usually am more biased towards French and Japanese cuisine

Asia's Top 50 Restaurants (2014)

No I never meant great Thai foods are only the one at the street - With limited experiences, my 'best' experiences were eating Thai "fine dining" at FS bangkok and Oriental chiang mai

How's the food actually like at Nahm? Is it pure and authentic Thai cuisine or more like fusion/somewhat 'westernized'? I hope it's not like a more refined version of PF chang (in this case serving Chinese food) in the US

Asia's Top 50 Restaurants (2014)

A few years ago I had lunch at 8 1/2 and ordered a la carte
I agreed that the presentation was not that appealing
But Bombana's beef duo (tenderloin and short rib - succulent and juicy), al-dente pasta with fresh big prawn and balanced tiramisu were well-executed

Certainly not 3-star, but it's worth 2 star in my opinion
It's about as good as his old days at Toscana but dishes are lighter and more modern in the current restaurant

2014 Michelin

Okuda would've been 2 or 3 stars had it been located at HK or United States

Well, glad it's in Paris where Michelin's high(est) accolade is not that easy to attain

Feb 26, 2014
Bu Pun Su in France

Asia's Top 50 Restaurants (2014)

What's everyone take on Nahm being on the top? Some that I can think of:
- a praise towards Thai cuisine
- some "slap & insults" to the local chefs knowing the 'best' Thai restaurant (serving Thai food) is prepared by non-Thai head chef

Anyway, another restaurant list - good for fun
I don't take it that seriously ...