Friday, May 11, 2012

06 May 2012 - Spices Cafe, Concorde Hotel

Kept dreaming about crustaceans in his plate and wound up chewing on the bolster for a bit. And having had seafood on ice in recent, he thought that he should have fresher and more succulent ones. Hence the revisit of Harvest of the Sea at Spices Cafe, Concorde Hotel. This weekend dinner now costs $50++ per person, from $46++ just last year.

Fussy seater wanted the larger table for 4, instead of the designated one for 2. The staff kindly obliged after checking the reservation list.

Went for his first round of cold seafood. Oysters were small, but soft and fleshy nonetheless.

She came back with a whole lot more...

Got some boiled sea snails from the counter. The hard feet detached too easily, had to dig with a toothpick, and yet, only half the body would come out. The garlic chilli sauce made a nice dip though.

And then the lobster halves arrived, the choices same as before. Sambal for him, cheese for hers. Freshly cooked lobster beats lobster on ice hands down! Sweet, and with that little springy texture that shouts freshness.

Came here specifically for the cooked crabs, so someone had to get things started. Presenting the steamed crab. Same as before, steamed with egg white, ginger and Chinese wine. The table beside his also mentioned that the alcohol smell was overpowering. Otherwise, the crab had really juicy meat.

And chilli crab had more than a little spicy kick, the way he likes. If you have noticed, the hotel served only half a crab for each serving, different from the previous visit. Not too bad, one enjoys food in smaller portions.

Black pepper crab was really spicy and had him sweating. His favourite. One thing he didn't like was that orders got lost a few times, the dishes never got delivered. And one of the cleaning service personnel was having a long, loud banter with the waitresses, while their glasses remained empty. Not too professional.

Tried some of the cook food counters, braised sea cucumber, chicken, and some other stuff he doesn't remember.

The cherubic her on a slow. Vegetables and tempura.

Had a go at quite a bit of the dessert too. Liked the berry cheesecake, but the creme brulee had a watery layer instead of a crystallized one. Does anyone like it that way? Not them, though.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2 May 2012 - Carousel, Royal Plaza on Scotts

Had always wanted to visit Carousel, but never found the courage to part with the dough. Made a last minute decision to head there for dinner this day. Glad that he had called up the restaurant for the dinner reservation, for the place was packed. Also, because Carousel's certified halal, about half the patrons there were Malays. A signal that this' a good place for the next food gathering with his Muslim friends? $62++ (Sun through Thurs), $75++ (Fri, Sat). A quick check online showed that the weekend dinner would offer King Crab legs, different varieties of oysters and some special grill counter.

Let's get straight to the food, and that means going to the seafood counter first. 

Pot of lobster halves, but with claws removed to another end of the counter. He noticed that these were smaller than those that he bought from the supermarket previously.

Just beside the lobster pot was a whole salmon, which got cleaned really fast. 

The other side of the seafood counter offered scallops, snow crab legs, flower and mud crabs, lobster claws, mussels and oysters. No cold prawns were offered during weekday dinners, it was replaced by prawns in herbal soup, where the chef would cook live prawns according to the demand.

He started with lobster claws, snow crab legs and scallops...

...while she fetched a sharing plate of freshly shucked oysters. These were very smooth.

And guess what? Those lobster tails came with yummy roe! However, the chef left the sand vein intact, leaving you to remove it on your own. He was left disappointed by the texture and flavor of the flesh, the best way of having crustaceans is probably still steaming them and having them hot, with melted butter dip!

Plate of lobster claw, snow crab claw, mud crab claw and scallops with roe. Found a few claws with meat too tough (issue with freshness or cooking time?), but generally they were fine.

Her plate of claws and mussels.

Not to miss out of the well-sliced sashimi either. Salmon, sword fish, yellow tail, tuna and octopus.

 A serving of grilled crab from the other end of the restaurant.

Serving of herbal soup with two prawns. Soup was really good at the beginning of the buffet, but towards the end, it got too salty to drink.

And then it was dessert time, creme brulee. The custard was rich, and the thickness of the caramel layer was just nice.

Chocolate and bread puddings. More fattening richness.

Pecan and vanilla ice cream. Took his time to savor every bit of the pecan ice cream, rich in flavor and aroma.

Service wise, the staff were tireless. The restaurant's birthday troupe kept marching past and singing over and over again for about 8 tables. Just happened to have so many birthday celebrations, haha. Such motivated staff, commendable indeed.