Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

the goose station. all that it’s meant to be

In eating in manila on January 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

this post is a looooong time coming. we went there in november for camille’s birthday. we wanted a really good meal and we got that and more. the best option really is to go with their signature menu (P2500). it’s a full tasting menu which varies per season.

for starters we had the foie cone with foie mousse, fig jam, and hazelnut

admittedly, i don’t get to have foie that much. it’s quite a treat for us, actually, and the way it was done in this dish was fantastic. a great combination of rich and tart.

now before or after that – unfortunately can’t remember – we had a trio of amuse bouche

i checked my notes and sadly i have nothing on the amuse. but i’m pretty sure that isn’t because they were not good. we didn’t have anything here that wasn’t excellent. but the next course we remember well. alaskan king crab, white asparagus flan and prawn jelly

the presentation was very well done – on a bed of dry ice. emphasized the cold and gave an extra dimension to the flavor of the caviar. nice. the flan was also well-executed maintaining a lot of the asparagus flavor.

next was another dish that displayed excellent technique. a 63 degree sous vide agg with air dried bacon, mushroom and grain pilaf and a cocido broth.

this was terrific. sous vide is the sort of thing i thought i’d only see on tv and with meat, but to have it locally and with an egg is quite a treat. the perfect egg. the air dried bacon though did it more than the cocido broth – which was also very good. but anytime you have bacon, it wins. didn’t hurt to have chef rob pengson do tableside service either.

next, a salad. beets, goat cheese, orange, some greens and compressed melon – regular melon and watermelon.

as is obvious, more than anything, it is a very very pretty salad. the compressed melon was the showy technique and it was a lot of fun. concentrates the melon flavor to make it more intense. very enjoyable.

next up, foie with oxtail jam, santol chico puree and pickled radish salad

inventive as the concept of the dish may be, the best part about it was the foie. the santol and chico jam tasted puree tasted sweet more than anything and didn’t really carry their mother flavors over well.

the main course was sous vide quail, cauliflower foam with pine nut and raisin

this dish was perfect. bringing out the full gamey flavor of the quail and delicate cauliflower.

we ordered another main course, pasta with scallops and caviar

the least satisfying dish of the night. the scallops were good, yes, but everything else tasted of burnt fishiness. perhaps the caviar was an overkill,

then it was time for dessert. first up, a deconstructed blueberry chesecake

very smart dish. i loved it. tasted like the best of cheesecakes should. and i’m generally not a fan of deconstruction, but this one worked.

next dessert, chocolate cake with raspberry


the raspberry was frozen and cracked which gave the dish character, but taste-wise, not memorable. at least, not as much as the cheesecake.

and last, what they called a bittersweet farewell, a play on a burger

honestly, the flavors are now forgotten. but never mind, the presentation was very clever and a good ending.

was this worth the price we paid? absolutely. i called it “tv food” – all the techniques seen on shows like top chef. conceptually very well thought of. execution? yes, successful. it’s good manila gets this sort of fine dining treatment. will go back, yes, but when we’ve managed to save enough to afford it.

albert center – bugis hawker center

In places on January 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

since our hotel was very near the bugis area, this was the hawker place nearest us – maybe a 3 minute walk. and boy, were we glad we had this right around the corner

our first breakfast, we had duck on noodles

and fried dumplings (in the background is our coffee and milk tea)

both dishes were very good and quite cheap. the dumplings were SG$1 and the duck noodles around $1.80. in general, we noticed this place was cheaper than the other hawker places and had a higher concentration of locals – always a good thing.

one lunch we had fried oysters

and laksa

the laksa was interesting because the stall was kind of a buffet thing. for SG$6, you can fill your bowl with ingredients and then they just cook it up and put in broth. i enjoyed this one quite a bit.

the albert center was a fortunate discovery for us, and a place we would want to go back to. so many things left to try and this hawker center seems to be a really good place to sample lots of dishes.

lau pa sat – one of the older and more popular hawker stalls in singapore

In places on January 14, 2011 at 10:04 pm

for our last dinner, we decided to ask the hotel staff for a recommendation. our only condition was that it should be a hawker place. one suggestion was lau pa sat around raffles avenue. since we were headed to that part of town, that’s where we decided to eat.

the place is apparently a tourist attraction in itself having been opened as a market in the late 1800s. today, it’s a food center surrounded by the tall buildings of the central business district

the structure is quite charming, marred only by the rather awful live entertainment at the center.

not having had dimsum at all during the trip, we decided to try that starting with a vegetable dumpling

this was followed by the one thing i always have at any chinese place: shrimp dumplings or hakaw

the outstanding quality of these dumplings were their lightness. the dough was nowhere near as thick as what we’re used to here. the wrapping was really more of just a vessel to keep the filling in. much appreciated. very nice. sadly, this was the best part of the meal.

next up was popia

it wasn’t bad, but after all the hefty chinese lumpia here in manila, this one felt like it lacked in muscle.

then we had what we really came for: crab. first up, chili

from the outset it was already a little disappointing because the crab was on the scrawny side. but then it was really not fun because the sauce tasted bottled. like one of these sweet chili sauces from del monte. sad.

a little better was the black pepper crab

i love the concept of this dish, and trying this at lau pa sat gave us the idea: we should go back to toa payoh and have it there.