Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Perfect 10 Waku Ghin

I finally found the time to check out the much talked about Waku Ghin. Chef Tetsuya Wakuda's first establishment outside of Australia opened to much acclaim in August this year, with an almost perfect ten review by local food critic Wong Ah Yoke.

Located on the "celebrity chefs" level at the Marina Bay Sands Shoppes, this exclusive restaurant that only serves 25 pax per dinner seating only has opened to mixed reviews. Most friends like it but some friends don't. So I decided to judge it for myself. Here's a pictorial entry of our amazing 10-course degustation dinner. Do note that the menu changes according to seasonal produce and fresh ingredients available, so what you might end up having may be different from what I experienced.

1st Course - Pacific Oyster from Coffin Bay, Australia

Oysters are oysters usually. Nothing special except for the size and freshness level. What made this first dish special was the rice vinegar and the chopped chives. Refreshing way to tantalise the palate.

If you do not take oysters, the chef will be able to prepare an alternative for you. My fiance was served a terrine with fresh fig.

2nd Course - Uni with Botan Shrimps, Egg Yolk and Caviar

Many would say this is the star dish and I couldn't agree more. Top marks for presentation and kudos to the chef for thinking up this combination. It looked heavy in taste with the richness of the respective ingredients, but the taste was well orchestrated, making this dish unforgettable.

3rd Course - Tachio (Belt Fish) with Endive and Nori

This dish may look less impressive, but do not be fooled but its plain presentation as it is comparable in taste with the others. The fish meat was sweet and left me wanting for more, though I can't say the same for the endive. Bits of Japanese nori (seaweed) added a nice touch in balancing the saltiness of the fish.

4th Course - Alaskan King Crab (alternative dish to replace abalone)

Raw legs of Alaskan King Crab were presented to us before chef cooked it on the teppan.

Guest chef Akira Mogi was in town to helm the teppan for 2 months and we were lucky to have him cook for us on his last day at Waku Ghin. He is the teppan general chef "maestro" from Ukai-Tei Group in Japan. I was wondering why he put a pile of sea salt on the teppan...

Then I realised he was going to steam the crab legs on top of it. It was a cooking method that I have not seen before in a teppanyaki restaurant.

The result was the most succulent crab meat I ever tasted. It was so tender that the texture is similar to imitation crab sticks.

5th Course - Canadian Lobster

The most delish lobster bisque. Fresh lobster meat cooked a la minute and a bisque made with shrimp heads/lobster heads stock.

6th Course - Cape Grim Tasmanian Beef Tenderloin

Mouth-watering tender beef with salad of watercress and mitsuna (a type of Japanese veg).

7th Course - Wagyu Beef with Fresh Wasabi, Ponzu Sauce and English Mustard

Chef Mogi started grating fresh wasabi on a grater made with shark's skin surface. Amazing, ain't it?

Don't worry, you will get double serving of this... but the men might need more than 4 morsels to feel satisfied.

We were also served grilled asparagus as a side dish to the Wagyu beef. A simple dish well done!

8th Course - Fugu Fish Soup

I will die (not literally) for this dish again. It's my first time eating Fugu fish soup. Usually, I only get to eat Fugu mirin boshi. This is the tastiest fish soup I ever had.

We then end the savoury aspect of our meal with a special tea ceremony where Chef Mogi prepared Gyokuro tea of us. Gyokuro is a special prized green tea from Kyoto and is made using the young tea leaves. For this tea, luke warm water (around 40-60 °C) is used instead of boiling water.

As a tea lover, I could really appreciate the refined taste of this Gyokuro tea. We were served only a small precious cup to taste. Very memorable.

9th Course - Beetroot Sorbet with Blood Orange Wafer

I never thought beetroot sorbet will taste so good. I mean, I never thought beetroot could be a good ingredient for making sorbet to begin with.

10th Course - Waku Ghin's Signature Lemon Cheesecake

Most of us know that Japanese cheese cakes are well known for their delicate and light tastes. This signature dessert from Waku Ghin will end your meal with a sweet ending.

Overall, Waku Ghin is a perfect ten gastronomic experience. Excellent service too! I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in search of a dining experience. I am planning to visit Waku Ghin in the next few weeks as I simply couldn't get enough of it.

Official Site: http://www.marinabaysands.com/Restaurants/Waku_Ghin.aspx

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Meeting Mr Wright

I met Mr Wright. No, not Mr Right. Wright, Ian Wright. The funny globe trekker from Discovery Channel. He is in Singapore today to promote his new show "Invite Mr Wright" that will premiere on 14th December, Tuesday at 9pm on TLC.

It takes a lot for me to wanna head out to events these days. Am perhaps a little jaded from attending launches where guests gather in a confined space, trying to stay cool despite the heat, and waiting an eternity to get a drink. The days of "to see and be seen" are clearly history for me. For the month of November, I only got my butt out for events by Tiffany, Chanel and Gucci... and to meet Ian Wright at Fullerton Hotel today.

With Canon as the sponsor, guests got to take home a photo each as a souvenir. The brand clearly lived up to its promise of "Delighting You Always" as guests were delighted.

Dressed in a maroon shirt, jeans and suspenders, Ian is larger than life. Small in size but big in humour. This Englishman can really make the crowd burst out in laughter with the way he talks. I like that fact that he is down to earth, despite his huge fame as a travel presenter.

So, what's the new show all about? Ian gave a quick run through of what we could expect from his new travel series. In short, "Invite Mr Wright" is about Ian spending a weekend experiencing a country through the eyes of his host, their family and friends. From bunking in with a Bollywood film star in India to rubbing shoulders with a radio celebrity (Venetta Lopez) in Singapore, learning the tricks from a drag queen in Malaysia to understanding the life of geishas in Japan, Ian also hanged out with a famous rock band in Sri Lanka, as well as a flamenco family and a matador in Spain.

Ian said he really enjoyed filming this series because he had more freedom to go with the flow, as he could take an off-beat and humourous look at what each city has to offer, while learning what life is really like for the locals who actually live, work and play there. I leave you now with a priceless picture of Ian in drag, taken from my crappy Blackberry camera. This is a pic that you will not find it in the press release for sure!

Remember to tune in to TLC to catch his new show!

This is Ian like you have never seen before... as a drag queen. Priceless! :)

Official Site: http://press.discovery.com/asia-pacific/tlc/programs/invite-mr-wright/

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas At Marks & Spencer

I popped by Marks & Spencer over the weekend to buy my favourite Viennese biscuits and was delighted to see that the Christmas goodies are in store!

Viennese Sandwich - My all time favourite and weakness. I have to finish the entire pack once I open it. Love the butter biscuit and the milk chocolate centre.

I resisted buying the Christmas cookies (not for long I know) but I couldn't resist buying the following for Butter (my Shetland Sheepdog puppy).

Dangly reindeer toy - Butter loves it. If you have a dog, you might want to buy this toy too. The dangly arms and legs have little magnets that can be stuck together to make loops.

Butter sleeping with her reindeer (I will put the reindeer between her legs when she's sleeping) when not shaking and chewing it.

I also bought a stocking for Butter's room. I shall fill it with doggy treats next month.

There's also a Santa with dangly arms and legs.

Here are some amazing cookies in beautiful tins that can be recycled once the contents have been devoured. Perfect for entertaining over the festive season or as great gifts for friends.

There are also cute decorative cookies and chocolates in paper packaging...

This iced cube cake is perfect for gifts in the office as it is inexpensive but looks exquisite. You can find this near the check out counter.

I am a sucker for these jars. The only reason I didn't buy these is because I don't eat candies. If they are filled with cookies, I will be buying them by the dozens.

These napkins are not in store yet, but I sure hope Marks & Spencer in Singapore will bring these in.

Last but not least, I can't wait to buy these toilet tissue with Christmas tree motifs. How cute is that? Down under will also be enjoying Christmas the same time for once. Hahah.

Official Sites:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stephen Wiltshire - The Human Camera & Artist

I chanced upon a video of this amazing artist and decided to find out more about him. Meet Stephen Wiltshire, also known as the human camera. He has an incredible photographic memory and is an artist who draws and paints detailed cityscapes. He has a particular talent for drawing lifelike, accurate representations of cities, usually after having only observed them briefly from a short helicopter ride.

Stephen was born in London to West Indian parents on 24th April, 1974. As a child he was mute, and did not relate to other human beings. Aged three, he was diagnosed as autistic. He had no language and lived entirely in his own world. At the age of five, Stephen was sent to Queensmill School in London, where it was noticed that the only pastime he enjoyed was drawing. Aged eight, Stephen started drawing cityscapes after the effects of an earthquake (all imaginary), as a result of being shown photographs of earthquakes in a book at school.

He also became obsessed with illustrations of classic American cars at this time (his knowledge of them is encyclopaedic), and he drew most of the major London landmarks. The teachers at Queensmill School encouraged him to speak by temporarily taking away his art supplies so that he would be forced to ask for them. Stephen responded by making sounds and eventually uttered his first word - "paper." He learned to speak fully at the age of nine.

In 1987, the BBC QED programme, 'The Foolish Wise Ones', featured Stephen's astounding talent. Stephen was introduced by Sir Hugh Casson (past president of the Royal Academy), who described him as "the best child artist in Britain". Stephen's work has since been the subject of numerous television programmes around the world. He has been featured in many books, and his own third book Floating Cities (1991) was number one in the Sunday Times Bestseller List. Meanwhile, Stephen's artworks were being exhibited frequently in venues all over the world.

In 2001 he appeared in another BBC documentary, 'Fragments of Genius', for which he was filmed flying over London aboard a helicopter, and subsequently completing a detailed and perfectly scaled aerial illustration of a four-square-mile area within three hours. His drawing included 12 historic landmarks and 200 other structures. In May 2005, following a short helicopter ride over Tokyo, he drew a stunningly detailed panoramic view of the city on a 10-meter-long canvas, from memory. Since then he has drawn Rome, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dubai, Jerusalem and New York on giant canvasses.

In January 2006, it was announced that Stephen was being named by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the Order of British Empire, in recognition of his services to the Art world. Later that year he opened his permanent gallery in London. Work from Stephen’s entire career is permanently on display, alongside new originals and prints available for sale at the Stephen Wiltshire Gallery in the Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London.

Truly an inspiring success story. I will definitely check out his gallery when I am in London the next time.

Official Sites: