Friday, 22 October 2010

Chain dining: Cote and Jamies Italian

As usual, Friday night malaise set in as soon as work was finished so we headed out to Cote for a spot of early dinner grub. The place was already half full when we arrived and it was only 7pm!!. Luckily, we managed to bag a table in the basement (our branch is particularly spacious) and had a pretty decent meal, as well as lovely service - yes, I am still fuming over my experience at Michael Nadra.....
Deep fried breaded calamari - nice and tender but lacked seasoning.

 Sirloin with frites and bernaise sauce - meat was a little on the dry side, nice chips. (JD's rump of lamb was a superior dish but not a large portion)

Apple tart - top could've been a bit more caramelised with a blowtorch - a very delish scoop of vanilla ice cream though :)

We also enjoyed another early dinner at Jamie's Italian on Saturday after a wander around Westfield - another enjoyable dinner, coupled with agreeable hard can it be??

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Restaurant Michael Nadra - worst dining experience in a while

We had some extra company this week in the form of Ma Chan who popped down to the big smoke for a brief visit. Naturally, it was lovely having her around and also a perfect excuse to eat out and have some nice food :)

Between me and my bro, we covered all the usual bases and even some new places with mixed results:
Indian Zing - not great, so need to find a new Indian for next time. (A shock to read in the Observer that it was a runner up for best local restaurant in this year's food awards!) 

Kiraku - nice meal but a little on the pricey side. Having said that, we did order some pricey stuff including dragon roll (California roll with eel on top, yum!). We also tried the fried oysters which were good too - first time eating cooked oysters for me which weren't the dried/preserved kind!

Nara - OK, but I think we will take Ma Chan to Koba the next time she is in town

Old Pack Horse (Thai) - Ma Chan was a big fan of the chicken wings and coconut rice. Our mains were not bad either (weeping tiger, king prawns in red curry sauce) but we probably could've done with ordering dishes that were not all sweet.

Lola Roja - Bro's idea. A bit of a trek for us to get to the resto but we did have a very nice meal and Ma Chan enjoyed her first experience of Spanish tapas.

Sadly, no photos from any of these eating trips - sorry!

We were supposed to go to Michael Nadra on the 1st day that Ma Chan was in town (and also to celebrate me getting another year older) but unfortunately, the resto was closed so we made reservation for her final night in town instead. My boss had said great things about the place, including that it was the best restaurant in the area so we were very much looking forward to it.

As you might've guessed from the blog entry title, it was not a great evening. It was pretty awful........and during the course of the meal, went from bad to worse:
  • Firstly, we were seated at a table at the back which we later found out was pretty shitty it was directly in front of the door for the toilets/cloakroom. Despite it being set for 4, there was no way it would ever sit 4 and seeing as we were a party of 3, I assumed the maitre d' thought, "aha! chumps! they can have the shitty table". 
  • Our waiter probably thought he was being efficient and attentive but did everything to not make me feel at ease: asking too quickly if we were ready to order, pouring out our water as quickly as possible so he could flog another. It was just annoying in the end.
  • There was a sizeable wait between our starters and main courses - around half an hour. When JD enquired about this, we were told that they would be coming out soon. Upon arrival, there was no apology whatsoever for the wait.
  • Despite being one of the first tables to be served in our section, we were the last table to be asked whether our food was OK. Our table was not swept of crumbs after mains were collected but others had.
  • The maitre d' served our desserts and literally banged them down on our table.
  • He came back to collect our empty plates later and did not even bother to ask if we wanted tea or coffee.

Needless to say, I was more than pissed off at the end of the meal and really felt like telling them exactly what I thought but decided against it and just left. It was a beyond shitty experience - the food was alright but not good enough to make up for the non-existent service......and to think this place has Michelin aspirations!! Obviously, I won't be heading back there again but on a personal note, was bummed that I ever decided to choose this shithole of a restaurant to bring Ma Chan! Definitely on a par with Joel Robuchon in HK.......I think it might even have pipped that meal to the post!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Weekend baking

After much faffing around, I finally got my ass in gear and did a spot of baking at the weekend (its taken a while due to the fact that when I get home from work these days, the last thing I want to do is bake some more!!) I had picked up a copy of Claire Clarke's book at Harvey Nics when we were there for afternoon tea a few weeks back and after a quick flick through it, had wanted to try out some of the recipes for some time now. First up were the scones which were one of my favourite things at the afternoon tea - I was a bit worried that the recipe called for 50g baking powder (!!!!! thats 10 teaspoons!!) so tweeked that amount a bit and went for the 1 teaspoon instead. The resulting scones tasted OK but I think they might have been undercooked slightly - they rose despite the citback in baking powder, woohoo! However, after a bit of internet surfing, another baker out there was also worried about the baking powder but said that the end result was OK when she used the full quantity so must try that the next time.

The next recipe on my "to-try" list was Claire's famed shortbread which even gets Thomas Keller's seal of approval. Again, pretty easy to make and tasty too - however, I think I might make my oblongs a little less chunky next time (I was expecting my shortbread to "spread" a little while baking but alas, no). Ma Chan thought they were OK but she is not a huge fan of shortbread. The nicest surprise was to hear that my 4-year old niece did and despite her stick-like physique, managed to munch through a whole biscuit one afternoon!! :)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

New favourite Korean - Koba

Having read about Koba in various blogs, JD and I decided to head there for a spot of dinner after an afternoon of shopping in town. We had booked for 7pm but upon arrival, the place was already filling up pretty swiftly.

I have to concur with the general blogosphere that Koba is pretty good - their BBQ is far superior to our perennial favourite, Nara. The bibimbap was also very tasty but still no challenge to Nara size-wise. Definitely will be heading back again some time and will probably load up on the tasty galbi in terms of BBQ!
All tables have light/fan combo which makes for less "smelly" dining experience :)

Modum namul

Kimchee and seafood pancake - very tasty and full of ingredients!

Mandoo - meat dumplings. I was a fan but JD was not, he didn't fancy the chives inside - I personally think they they were leeks!

We opted for the Koba BBQ special which meant we got a bit of everything: rib eye, beef ribs, pork belly, chicken, prawns and baby octopus. My fav was the beef ribs and I had the added bonus of gnawing on the giant bone too! ;)

bibimbap - yum!

Dessert - chestnut, red bean and green tea ice cream