Degustation


Quay

Quay

Quay is the first to be named restaurant of the year twice in the same year – first by the Australian Gourmet Traveller 2009 Restaurant Guide and then by the 2009 Sydney Morning herald Good Food Guide.

Quay is set in one of the most beautiful spots in Sydney. Located at the end of Sydney’s International Terminal, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House provide backdrops on either sides.

Chef Peter Gilmore has introduced a set price four course degustation. Each course offers four or five dishes to choose from, essentially allowing the diner to design their own degustation.

Edible flowers and baby vegetables – a mix of pink and white radishes, turnips paired with tiny spring onions, native violets have been grown for quay alone . It tastes just as good as it looks.

Amuse Bouche

Starters : Jellied consomme of smoked salmon topped with salmon roe and creme fraiche.

Sea Pearls

First Course : Sea Pearls, French aquaculture caviar, sea scallop, smoked eel, octopus, sashimi tuna, abalone, pearl meat ( $25 supplement)

Sashimi

First Course : Sashimi of Blue Fin toro, Spanish mackerel, Yellow fin loin, Hiramasa kingfish, horseradish cream, baby radish, green almonds, white tea and seaweed jelly

Southern Rock Lobster

Second Course : Gently poached Southern rock lobster, lobster and tapioca dumpling, lobster velvet, almond cream ( $25 supplement )

Confit of shaved Australian squid

Confit of shaved Australian squid

Second Course : Confit of shaved South Australian squid, octopus coral, garlic custard, baby radishes, native violets, roasted squid consomme

Two kinds of duck with abalone

Third Course : Two kinds of duck with abalone. Look how small the baby turnips are!!!

Slow-braised lamb

Third Course : Eight hours of slow braised milk fed Suffolk lamb, baby carrots, Arbequina olives, nasturtiums, capers, calendula, sheeps milk fromage, coriander flowers

Snow Egg

Dessert : White peach snow egg – Fine shards of white peach granita served atop creamy vanilla ice cream while nestled at the peak is the ‘snow egg’ – a ball of white peach ice cream wrapped in fluffy meringue, coated in toffee then dusted with icing sugar.

 Eight texture chocolate cake

Dessert : Eight texture chocolate cake, featuring Amedi ‘Chuao’ chocolate

Petit Fours

Petits Fours – The little chocolate cylinders filled with caramel cream are amazing and can top anything on the menu. It’s an exaggeration I know, but it’s that good.

Quay at night

4 Course Menu $145

Summary : Quay has spectacular views and great food. It’s inspired modern Australian food which is exciting but not overdone to the point of being trendy. The uniqueness of the self-grown produce is an added bonus as it added a dimension of adventure and discovery to the dishes.

Subtle flavours and texture were heavenly and stood out in the dishes. The slow braised lamb was unlike anything we’ve had. The duck was cooked to perfection. Crisp on the outside and melt in your on the inside. The white peach snow egg was heavenly. Each layer of the dessert a new sensation in the mouth. A very elegant dessert.

Post dinner analysis would have us say the dinner was good but…  There were times when the muted flavours, overall lightness and restraint of the dishes were not what we wanted but it’s probably a matter of personal preference. Quay is a restaurant where subtleness and restraint of flavours reign supreme. Visit with an open mind and enjoy.

Quay
Overseas Passenger Terminal
The Rocks, Sydney 2000
Tel :   61 2 9251 5600  
www.quay.com.au

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Vertigo SignVertigo is a bar and restaurant sitting on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel and boasts of the highest bar in the Asia Pacific. The elevators whisks you up to the 59th floor afterwhich you have to manage two narrow staircases to reach Vertigo. The view which opens up once you reach the topmost floor is amazing. It was a clear night and you can see the whole Bangkok cityscape below you. The restaurant was a helicopter pad before and as such, is a narrow place with just the railings to separate you from the edge.

Vertigo

 We opted to try out the degustation menu to have a sampling of Vertigo’s food.

 Vertigo Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche – Melon wrapped in ham ???

 Fresh American Oysters

Fresh American Oyster, Citrus Coriander Mojo – Nice clean taste to the oysters. There was a ‘sea’ taste to the oysters.

 Tuna Tartare

Marinated tuna tartar, Avocado Tomato Sour Cream Salmon Roe

 Javanese Oxtail Soup

Javanese oxtail soup, nutmeg fried shallot

 Foie Gras Creme Brulee

Foie Gras Creme Brulee – Better Foie Gras creme brulee than what we had in Cav. This had the right balance of cream on it.

 Prawns with Pasta

Lemongrass skewer tiger prawns, garlic chili scented angel hair pasta, shitake mushroom – First serving we had was way too salty and we had it returned to the kitchen. Second serving tasted better.

 Vodka Sherbet

Yuzu Vodka Sherbet

 Maine Lobster

Broiled Maine Lobster, Chardonnay cream sauce, truffle potato ravioli, chinese spinach

 Cardammon Rack of Lamb

Cardammon scented oven roasted rack of lamb, green pea puree, meditarranean vegetables

 Black Forest Parfait

Black forest trifle, cherry sorbet

Menu : 3600++ Baht

Summary : One of the must to see places in Bangkok for the experience. Breathtaking views… I felt that I could reach for the stars. Tastefully decorated, dim-lighted that a torch is needed to read the menu. It’s also amusing to have the food cooked a floor below and hurriedly brought to the table covered in those large silver dome covers to keep it from getting cold. The food itself wasn’t anything outstanding, it’s overpriced which you can actually skip. Grab a cocktail or two (which we should have done) and you can enjoy the place away.

Rating  : Love it —> for the ambience, I would go for the cocktails next time
Food    :  Nothing exceptional for the price. Come here and have cocktails to enjoy the view.

Banyan Tree Bangkok
21/100 South Sathon Road
Sathon Bangkok
Tel : +66 2 679 1200

Aubergine

Hans and Norbert, proprietors of Aubergine had been executive chefs in Shangri-la and Mandarin respectively. They setup Aubergine to be the practicum restaurant of their culinary school, the International School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM).

Wine Cellar

The restaurant itself reminded me of a hotel coffee shop. Big and brightly lit with yellow lights. The center had a wall to ceiling glass-encased wine cellar.

Aubergine Kitchen

From the dining area, one can actually see the entire kitchen through a large glass pane window.  Several ISCAHM students were busy preparing ingredients from their stations.

We opted to share the degustation menu to have a wider sample of what Aubergine has to offer.

Degustation Menu

Seabass mousse with ratatouille

Amuse Bouche – Seabass mousse with ratatouille

Oysters Delight

Oyster Delight… Variation of fresh, baked, fried on mango-papaya salsa, pouched in vinaigrette, sauteed with prosciutto on mascarpone-dates cream and Tempura Oysters, accompanied by garden green’s in Raspberry dressing – The oysters are of good quality. Plump and clean taste to the oysters.

Beef Consomme

Mushroom flavored beef consomme with crepes strudel and vegetable julienne – I didn’t like this. It’s basically strong beef broth with some ground meat in it. The strong beef broth got to overpowering midway and I couldn’t finish the whole bowl.

Duck Foie Gras

Pan seared duck foie gras on celeriac-apple Mousseline and balsamic-port wine reduction – Best dish on our menu. Foie gras is of very good quality. The foie gras was firm and smoothly textured. It just melts in your mouth.

Calamansi Sherbet

Calamansi sherbet – Creative way of serving the sherbet. Dry ice has been placed inside the teacup which was giving out smoke.

Grilled Australian lamb loin

Grilled Australian lamb loin, gratinated with porcini mushrooms on red wine-pommery mustard jus, served with rosemary and truffle infused potato gratin and glazed vegetables – Grilled to medium. The meat was done was just right. The sauce was creamy and complemented the meat.

Dessert

Grand Marnier ice parfait with chocolate-mascarpone fritter and mango jubilee – The Chocolate Mascarpone fritter stood out among this dessert trio. Tasted like tiramisu because of the mascarpone.

Pralines and Macaroons

Coffee or tea

Php 1950+

On the side, we also ordered Watermelon with Brie, Arugula and cherry tomatoes salad.  ( forgot the actual name).  I didn’t think the watermelon complemented with the brie cheese. The flavors clashed between the sweet watery watermelon and the earthy creamy flavors of the brie cheese. The Brie cheese by itself was excellent though. I liked mixing the brie with the arugula salad, cherry tomatoes and candied walnuts.

Watermelon Salad

We also had an order of Shrimp Bisque which is very good. I would recommend this any day over the Beef Consomme.

Shrimp Bisque

Summary : Aubergine is classical fine dining. Perfectly executed dishes, artful plating and very attentive service. It’s just like having a meal in a hotel restaurant.  But as with a  hotel restaurant, the atmosphere is stuffy and formal. I rather have a very well-cooked meal in much much more relaxed surroundings. I had a server pulling my chair for me everytime I stood up!

Rating  : Like It
Food    : Foie Gras

Aubergine
32nd and 5th Building
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Philippines
Tel : 856-9888

This is the second tasting menu we tried.

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Duet of Oysters

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Pan fried foie gras, pea shoot soup, crispy “jin hua” ham – Foamy pea soup was very good. Light and the foie gras texture matched with the pea soup.

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Slow cooked cod in white miso, saffron, braised lotus root in osmanthus

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Pan fried scallop, mandarin “yu lo” sauce

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Caesar in a cone, Nicoise in a slice, Waldorf in a glass

Mains

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Smoked Cod, sea urchin, apple fennel foam – Looked good but this tasted really bland for us.

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“Bo” dan dan noodles

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“Bo dessert” – Sticky rice ball with melted chocolate, passion fruit eggtart, chestnut pudding, white chocolate with caramel salted kumquiat – Might not be outstanding dessert but points for offering desserts with an interesting twist.

HKD $600 per person

(plus 10% service charge)

Private kitchens are intimate eating places that have sprung up in people’s homes and have become, for locals and those in the know, some of the best places to eat on the island. Private kitchens started several years ago when some Hong Kongese, gastronomes and cooks with limited means, decided to set up one or two tables in their sitting rooms and offer a fixed-price multi-course menu of distinctive home-style dishes.

One of the most deservedly renowned of Hong Kong’s “private kitchens,” Bo Innovation serves a kind of Japanese-Chinese-French fusion. BO is Hong Kong chef Alvin Leung’s interpretation of innovative modern Chinese cooking, presented in a series of dishes that is intended to create a cascade of sensations .

The concept of private kitchens intrigued me as it has just started to take off here in Manila whereas there were countless ones opening their kitchen doors in Hong Kong. I was looking forward to trying this place to try out Chef Alvin’s take on Chinese fusion.

With three different tasting menus in our group, we were able to sample a lot of dishes. Part I is the more expensive of the degustation menus.

The menu

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Duet of Oysters – The tofu with fish roe was excellent. The saltiness of the fish roe balances the smooth taste of the tofu. Unforgettable taste.

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Smoked quail egg, taro crust, oscietra caviar

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“Bo” sashimi – toro, snapper, hamachi – The meat was so sweet and melts in the mouth.

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Foie gras potsticker – Dumpling with Foie Gras for the filling inside.

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Crispy lobster, preserved duck egg wasabi foam – I loved this dish. The lobsters were crunchy and mixed well with the salted duck egg and extra bite from the wasabi.

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Ox tail porcini “tong gau”, lobster essense

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Slow cooked pork lasagna in chinese vinegar, pickled ginger in rose essence

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Caesar in a cone, nicoise in a slice, waldorf in a glass – Interesting take on how salads can taste the same but look different. Without the familiar form of the dish served in front of you, you rely on your sense of taste to distinguish the salads. The nicoise comes in a slice of crispy chewy tuna flavored rectangle. Caesar has the salad and anchovy mashed into a paste and stuffed in a parmesan cone. The Waldorf comes chlled and tastes of an apple drink.

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Organic angus striploin, black truffle “cheung fan” – Interesting how the common cheung fan (rice rolls) can be mixed with black truffle.

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“bo” fried rice

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“bo” dessert – Sticky rice ball with melted chocolate, passion fruit eggtart, chestnut pudding, white chocolate with caramel salted kumquiat

HKD $880 per person

(plus 10% service charge)

This is the more expensive degustation menu.

Appetizers

Cuttlefish and wild vegetables roulade

Cuttlefish and wild vegetables roulade

Crispy sesame duck spring roll with chestnuts

Honey glazed wind dried pork liver sausage and gold coin pork loin – the sausage and pork loin are the jerky types you can buy in Bee Cheng Hang

The Mains

Shark’s fin

Stir fried shark’s fin and bamboo shoots with scrambled eggs, fresh mushrooms, salted pork soup – The scrambled eggs completely overpowered the sharks fin. I couldn’t taste the sharks fin at all. The salted pork soup was fresh and clear.

Pan seared king prawns

Pan seared king prawn in fresh chives juice served with sweet corn pancakes – I liked the corn pancakes. They were crunchy and sweet at the same time. The prawns were nicely seared. It was soft on the inside and had a nice burnt texture on the outside.

Spare Ribs

Twice-cooked spare ribs with roasted garlic, sugar cane spun candy – Nothing great about this dish.

Hot and Sour fish tofu broth

Hot and sour minced fish tofu broth with hand spun spinach noodles – Chinese version of tom yum. Nice and sour bite but nothing great.

The Sweets

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Almond and snow fungus papaya pudding, served with millet mousse cake – The clean taste of the pudding matched well with the millet mousse cake. The mousse cake had a grainy and creamy taste which was really good.

RMB 588 per person

Summary : Whampoa Club is an experience. The venue is stunning, and the Chinese food like you have never experienced. Fresh, creative, elegantly presented. Very good food but not exceptional food. However, well worth the time of any food obsessed person visiting Shanghai.

Rating : Love it
Food : Shanghai style braised pork

Whampoa Club
3 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Rd (Fifth Floor, Three on the Bund)
Shanghai, 200002
China
Tel : +86 21 6329 1003

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The Chef – excerpt from Three on the Bund – Whampoa Club

“Founding Chef Jereme Leung, started his career in Hong Kong at the tender age of
13, he has since worked his way up to be one of the most prominent Chinese chefs
in the international market, renowned for his immense talent and creativity.
Chef Leung was awarded the Five Star Diamond Award as one of the “World’s Best
Chefs 1999 “ from the American Academy of Hospitality Science. He was also the
recipient of the prestigious Hennessy X.O. Culinary Award in association with the
Peak magazine Malaysia that recognizes chefs from five-six star hotels in Malaysia for
their creativity in developing gourmet culinary trends.
In 2001, he was voted the “Rising Chef of the Year” by the world Gourmet Summit
Awards of Excellence”. Chef Leung, probably one of the youngest master chef in
Asia, has contributed to the success of more than eight Chinese restaurants in
Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. Prior to joining Three on the Bund,
he was executive chef for Jiang Nan Chun, flagship restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel
in Singapore.

Chef Leung now heads up the team at Whampoa Club, Three on the Bund,
introducing his own contemporary interpretation of Shanghainese cuisine, using only
the finest ingredients and presenting in a modern and clean style.”

The Restaurant

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Whampoa Club is located at 3 Bund Street. Entering the main door, it has distinguished neighbors such as Emporio Armani and Hugo Boss at the ground floor. Taking the lift to the 5th floor, we were welcomed in a small reception area and after confirming our reservation, were led inside. The hallway was very very impressive. Inlaid panels lined up the long hallway with a magnificent chandelier reaching from ceiling to the ground at the end.

 The Menu

My mom and I opted for the two kinds of degustation menu. Part I  shows the cheaper menu of the two. Enjoy!

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

Appetizers

Appetizers

Cherry radish pickled with crispy anchovy

Crispy sesame duck spring roll with chestnuts – I love taro duck. This was an interesting variation. Having duck with mashed chestnuts. The chestnuts gave a sweeter taste than taro.

Marinated wild mushrooms with mineral tofu

Chef’s Mains

Lobster Soup

Lobster soup with fresh lily bulbs and “Ji Cai” vegetables – Fresh and clear with lobster taste in the soup.

Braised Pork

Shanghai style braised pork in Chinese spices, served with spinach mantou sticks – Perfect balance between the soy and sugar. The braised pork literally falls apart on the fork. I loved how the mantou bread looked like a breadstick and it’s deep fried crunchiness.

Five-spiced lamb chop

Five-spiced lamb chop served with duo of jasmine and wild rice – Nothing great with this dish.

Sweets

Chocolate Oatmeal Pudding

Home-made banana sorbet and chocolate oatmeal pudding – The banana sorbet gives a nice flavor to the chocolate oatmeal pudding. This was comfort food and I finished the whole plate up.

RMB 488 per person