Friday, 23 October 2015

Review of The Kitchen at Bacchanalia, Hong Kong Street, Singapore - A Hipster to My Taste

2016 update: Please note that chefs Ivan Brehm and Mark Ebbels have left Bacchanalia.  No knocks on the new chef Luke Armstrong as I have not tried his food, but "Michelin" watchers should be aware that the star was awarded to the restaurant under the old regime.

I hate hipsters.  Scratch their pretensions, their logos, their self-conscious badges, and you often find little underneath.  

Singapore is a curious mirror through which this wanker culture is reflected, because of its wealth, generally young and mobile population, Western-oriented aspirations and its obsession with food.  You only need to look at Singapore's ridiculous, uncritical ape-ing of dining trends in the "West" to get your hackles up.  As a food writer, I try to shelve my prejudices and simply focus on the quality of the proposition, but the product is almost invariably rubbish. 

Bacchanalia is one of the few exceptions to that rule.


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Sweet Singapore 1 - A Dessert Degustation by Cheryl Koh of Les Amis

I have 32 sweet teeth.  I also have a dessert stomach.  Hell, I recently catalogued my wine collection (such as it is) and found I had more sweet wines than table wines.  To make matters worse, my family also has a strong diabetic history.

I believe these characteristics make me eminently qualified to write this, the first post in a series which I have titled "Sweet Singapore".  I want to shine the spotlight on the talented pastry and dessert chefs of Singapore, whose emotions are recollected in tranquility rather than the rough-and-tumble of the hot kitchen.  More often they are not, their works, however ephemeral, are overshadowed by the savouries.  I say now, "this ends here".

To start this series, I visited Cheryl Koh of Les Amis, a born-and-bred Singaporean chef who has been seducing diners with her mix of classic technique and bold yet sophisticated flavours. Having worked at the Raffles Hotel, the Michelin-starred Laserre and then most recently Cepage in Hong Kong, she has been leading the pastry programme at Les Amis since her return home in early 2013.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

A Review of Soleil, Petaling Jaya - The Sun is Shining, the Tide is Still High

On my trip to KL a couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Brian McIntyre, the Treasurer of the KL chapter of the International Food and Wine Society and avid blog chronicler of the Kuala Lumpur food scene.  I like Brian's blog as he is BS-free and calls it as he sees it, and he seems to read my blog for reasons unknown.  We were therefore looking forward to our offline meet-up.

Brian suggested we meet at Soleil at Petaling Jaya Seksyen 17, the current haunt of Belgian-born chef Evert Onderbeke.  Onderbeke brought us the now-defunct High Tide, quite possibly KL's most expensive restaurant during its short existence (which unfortunately coincided with the GFC), and has now partnered with the Sungei Wang Group to set up Soleil.