Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Gastronomic Birthday

Being a control freak and perfectionist (typical traits of Virgoes), I am very choosy when it comes to where I will be dining for my birthday celebrations. First up was FiftyThree last week, followed by IPPUDO TAO last night. As for today, it was Les Amis for lunch and Bonta for dinner. In fact, when I think about it now, these are my favourite restaurants!

At IPPUDO TAO, the crew surprised me with special dishes (not on the menu), a bottle of champagne, and a birthday cake. I was very touched by their kind gesture and really didn't expect that at all. I had my usual Tao Kuro ramen, pork bun, and renkon chips but the real highlights were the special dishes that Chef prepared specially for my birthday. Oiishi!!!!!!

Special Dish #1 : A shot containing umeshu jelly and tomato.

Special Dish #2 : Cold platter of salmon, ham and salami.
(I forgot to take the picture till we ate halfway through this dish! Hence, the mess.)

Special Dish #3 : Gyoza in hot pot
It was really oiishi! I want to eat this again!

Special Dish #4 : Grilled salmon with spinach sauce

My first birthday cake for this year... and it's a black sesame cake from IPPUDO TAO. Yay!

Up next is Les Amis! Chef Armin sent me a text message the night before to warn not to have breakfast , and to prepare for a feast at lunch. Not sure if you have heard yet, but Les Amis has a new Pastry Chef. Not just any other pastry chef, but one from Noma, named the best restaurant of 2010 by the San Pellegrino Guide.

The special menu that Chef Armin created for my birthday lunch. Check out the "5 Times Happy Birthday". That was my sweet surprise!

Amuse Bouche : Smoked Eel

#1 Course : Chilled Wagyu beef carpaccio with sea urchin, hearts of palm and fried arugula vinaigrette.
It's my first time having Wagyu beef carpaccio with uni. I never thought this combo could exist and go so well together.

#2 Course : Homemade pasta with cepe mushroom and Japanese Squid.
The pasta in a soup base reminds me of Chinese noodles that I love. The squid pieces were tender and the cepe mushroom slices were delicately fragrant. Perfection!

#3 Course : Slow cooked milk fed lamb "leg & chop" with yellow wax beans, artichokes, crispy panisse and fennel pollen.
Tender lamb pieces. Never heard of yellow wax beans prior to this lunch but they were yummy. Fennel pollen added a great touch to entice the sense with its mild scent.

The sweet surprises start here. This was truly memorable as I have 5 desserts for my birthday lunch. I mean, for real? Yes, 5 desserts!

#1 Dessert : Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne sorbet
The sorbet was made with rose champagne, and they poured in more champagne over the sorbet upon serving it. I never knew champagne with sorbet or ice cream can be a heavenly combination. Will attempt it at home soon.

#2 Dessert : "Sunny Side Up" with pineapple coulis, chocolate sauce and chilli bits
This looked like a real egg! I really thought it was one! Amazing concept and yummy too.

#3 Dessert : Tapioca soup with lemon grass, green mango sorbet and coconut crumble.
Only a truly creative chef can dream of such a combination. Asian-inspired and to my liking.

#4 Dessert : Chocolate soup, chocolate souffle and star anise ice cream.

#5 Dessert : A special birthday cake
It tasted as good as it looked. My second birthday cake this year. I feel so loved!

Dinner at Bonta (my favourite Italian restaurant) was great and I had my favourite homemade angel hair pasta with truffles. I am not going to write the regular dishes I had tonight, as I am going to write about the Alba white truffles menu at Bonta next week. If you love Alba white truffles as much as I do, you need to call Bonta to make a reservation for next week. Chef Luca Pezzera is known as the "king of Alba white truffles" as he will be the first to bring in this prized ingredient to Singapore. The official Alba white truffle season will start on 17th September in Singapore, by Chef Luca at Bonta.

With fellow virgo Chef Luca Pezzera and the tiramisu cake he created for me. :) My birthday this year is truly the best so far... and I look forward to a great one next year!

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