Showing posts with label Michelin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michelin. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lunch @ La Poêle d'Or, Cologne, Germany (1-Michelin star)

Just this year, La Poêle d'Or in Cologne received its first Michelin star, elevating its position to one of the best eateries in town. We were there to sample their lunch menu to experience for ourselves what makes a Michelin starred restaurant and get fed by of one of rising stars of the scene in French chef Jean-Claude Bado. In addition to the Michelin star, they also have 17 points on Gault Millau 2013. We went for their 2 course lunch menu and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of small samples of amuse bouche we had throughout the meal. The lunch menu changes daily, depending on what fresh produce the chef receives each morning.

A pleasure for the senses

The exterior of the restaurant. It is placed side-by-side to its sister bistro Bistrot B

Located in close proximity to the Cologne Dom, certainly the most recognisable landmark in town.

The interior of the restaurant. We were early there and thus had the pleasure of having the restaurant to ourselves.

Cosy and understated decor

First amuse-bouche: Terrine, mousse and tartar of salmon. Three contrasting textures and tastes. A nice start!

Some warm bread and French butter

Second amuse-bouche: British sardine with olve tapenade and escabeche. Beautifully presented and the escabeche provided a huge punch of flavor. Would have went great with some bread but it was all already in my tummy by the time I thought about it.

Cheese croissant and house-made bread 

Third amuse-bouche: Coffee macaron with ham flavoured mousse. Cutely presented on a wooden platform, the macaron shell was air light and the savory ham mousse was surprisingly good

Starter: Salmon with quince chutney. This was the star of the day for us. The fatty salmon was wonderful and complimented by the sweetness and acidity of the quince chutney. Stuff of dreams!

It's not too bad looks wise as well!

Main dish: Guinea fowl with sauce Albuféra, vegetables and potato. The fowl was cooked perfectly, with a crispy exterior and and moist inside. It is easy to get this wrong and we were impressed at how good it was with the Albuféra sauce. The portion was generous as well.

Petit fours to end the meal

Some awards the restaurant managed to garner.

The waiting area at the entrance of the restaurant

Verdict: We were wowed by the great food and impeccable service at the restaurant. The sum of the parts and components of the meal were a delight and left us planning a revisit in the near future.

Opening hours. Lunch and dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Price: €65 including drinks for a table of two

Location: La Poêle d'Or, Komödienstr. 50-52 - 50667 Köln, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0)221/13 986 777


*This is a guest post by The Unc.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recipe: Igor Macchia's salmon roll with leek and tomato sauce

Here's another recipe from Chef Igor Macchia's cooking class at Mandarin Oriental KL. I think this is a great dish to make for dinner parties. You can make the salmon roll in advance, then freeze it and pop it in the oven when your guests arrive.

When I took my first bite of this dish, it reminded me a little of salmon en croute, except that this salmon roll is coated with mashed potato rather than puff pastry.

Salmon roll with spinach and potato, served with a leek and tomato sauce
Serves 4

For the salmon roll
320g fresh salmon fillet
100g instant mash potato
100g fresh spinach
50g eggs
20g flour
100g bread crumbs

Leek and tomato sauce
200g fish stock
100g tomato concasse
100g leeks, julienned
5g salt
2g pepper
10g olive oil

For the salmon roll:
1. Cut the salmon fillet into rectangular shape 8 x 3cm. Place cling film on work surface and then arrange boiled spinach (approx 8cm too) on the cling film, then place the salmon on top of the spinach. Roll and wrap the salmon with the spinach and keep it cool.

2. Prepare a thick mash potato to wrap the salmon fillet. Apply a layer of mash potato on the cling film  enough to cover the salmon roll (adjust the thickness of the mash depending on whether you wanna taste more salmon or mash in this dish). With the aid of the cling film, roll the mash potato so that it coats the spinach-salmon fillet.

3. Sprinkle some water on the work surface. This will help you roll it into a "sausage". Make sure it is tight and then freeze for at least 12 hours.

4. Pass the frozen salmon roll in flour, eggs and breadcrumb. Deep fry until golden brown, then finish the cooking process in the 160C oven (this will determine how cooked the salmon will be - my guess would be around 6-7 minutes)

For the leek tomato sauce:
1. Heat olive oil in pan, add leeks and cook until soft. Add tomato concasse, season with salt and pepper. Finish the sauce with a dash of extra virgin olive oil.

1. Cut the cooked salmon roll into two (in an angle).
2. Place the tomato leek sauce on the plate (preferably a deep pasta or soup plate).
3. Arrange the salmon on top of the sauce.
4. Finish with olive oil and fresh garden cress or herbs.

Please click here to read more about the cooking class. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jason Atherton's Esquina Tapas Bar @ Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore

Back in February this year, Hubby took me to Singapore for Valentine's Day. We had a great time and vowed to return. What better time to return than Mother's Day in May,  for another eating and shopping spree in Singapore :) 

During my last trip, I wanted to go to Esquina Tapas Bar but due to time constraints, we couldn't make it there. Hubby made sure my wish came true this trip. :) Anyway, Esquina is a collaboration between one of my favorite UK Michelin-star chefs Jason Atherton and acclaimed Singapore hotelier and restaurateur Loh Lik Peng.

Jason Atherton has a very impressive CV - he was the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain's famous el Bulli restaurant in 1998 and has worked with culinary bigwigs such as Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White. Back in the UK days, I used to watch Jason Atherton compete on Great British menu on TV and also got the chance to dine in Maze, London while he was helming the kitchen there. It was a very memorable meal, and if I get to go to London again, I would like to visit his 1-Michelin star restaurant, Pollen Street Social. Btw, he is also opening Pollen in Gardens by the Bay in Singapore end of June 2012, something to look forward to!

Esquina is inspired by the colorful tapas bars found in Spain, serving modern tapas. It is located in Jiak Chuan Road in Chinatown, in a colonial looking shophouse.  

A piece of invaluable advice that I can offer you is.. be early! Esquina does not take reservations and can only seat up to 19 people at one time (and if you're not seated, you don't get served!) so you have to be there before the doors open at 6pm. We arrived around 5.45pm and there were already 3 couples waiting before us. Your name will be taken down, and you can sit outside the restaurant (the staff will serve you beverages or cold water while you wait) and the doors will open at sharp 6. 

An experience worth being early for!

While waiting, you can browse the one-paged menu. There is also a specials board inside the restaurant. 

Take some photos while you wait
Can you tell that I'm very excited?

Lady luck must be on our side as we scored the best seats in the house! Esquina is designed with an open-kitchen concept with a long bar and high stools, so half the fun was watching the kitchen action and we got to sit right in front of Executive Chef Andrew Walsh!! Wooohooooo!

The restaurant has a raw industrial vibe, and is accentuated with cool decor and these avant-garde stools. Looks slightly uncomfortable but it was alright once you got seated. And sat in it we did for the next 2 hours!

An amazing experience..

This is Executive Chef Andrew Walsh which made our meal in Esquina extremely memorable.Chef Andy is of Irish descent, and has worked in Michelin-starred restaurant Public in New York, Tom Aikens in London and Pollen Street Social in London.

The kitchen guys were so good... very coordinated and pretty calm throughout service. It was definitely one of a kind experience to be able to so up-close and personal to the people preparing your food.

Specials boards - they change regularly according to seasonal ingredients

All diners will be served with a complimentary sangria (we got two each!). YUMMMMMM!

Check out this bad boy.. the Iberico Bellota (S$27) which is sliced right before your eyes.

Best seats in the house...

See how close I was to Chef Andy? Barely 1 metre ;P Scoring the best seats (sorry had to gloat a little) meant that we got to chat with Chef Andy and it was thrilling watching him plate up dishes with precision, one after another. Sorry about the photo overload in this blogpost but it would be a pity not to photograph the buzzing kitchen action.  My only regret is not bringing my DSLR and  had to shoot with my iPhone4S instead since we're on holiday.

It's amazing watching them, and they never stop! Busy busy kitchen from 6pm to closing time

That's someone else's tuna tartare with avocado and sesame (S$21). 

And now he's plating up our two dishes :) Time to tuck in to our food soon.

We ordered the poached hen's egg with asparagus salad, foie gras butter and toast (S$18) from the special's board. OMG I'm not exaggerating but this is THE BEST poached egg dish we've ever eaten. The flavours were amazing, so so divine. The egg is poached to perfection and sits atop the asparagus salad with a drizzle of truffle oil. The foie gras butter was rich and delicious too, we only wished we had more bread to finish off the butter! Definitely the highlight of our meal.. simplicity at its best. I hope that they will put this on the permanent a la carte menu.


We lapped up every last bit of the poached egg.. so delicious

The salt and pepper squid served with a unique, creamy black ink aioli (S$22) was a great bar snack. I could munch this all night with a glass of wine. So crisp and addictive. This is perhaps the most popular dish that night, as we saw so many couples ordering it.

Salt and pepper squid, black ink aioli

Flames in the Josper grill

Do you agree that this is one of the prettiest looking tapas dish? The scallop ceviche with radish salsa (S$19.50) was not only pretty, it was so delicious too. The plump raw scallops were very fresh, marinated in a tangy Yuzu lime juice with a tinge of sesame oil. The radish added colour and texture to this dish.

Chef Andy and my scallop ceviche

Chef Andy plating up another special for other customers - Josper grilled pork chops (S$35 for 2)

Compliments of Chef Andy (thanks!) - another special of the day, the sauteed gambas with sherry sweetcorn bacon dressing (S$25). Large prawns that are so sweet and juicy, complimented very well by the flavoursome dressing.

The Josper Grill

Moving on to the meat section, we ordered the baked bone marrow with snails, parsley and horseradish pesto (S$25). Very nicely presented, the bone marrow crumbs was topped with snails and onions and served in a bone. There was different plays in texture and was certainly a very interesting dish.

Snails, bone marrow with parsley and horseradish pesto

We ordered the heritage tomato with sherry dressing (S$13.50) to meet our daily vegetable quota. It was a great choice, the tomatoes (green and red) were very juicy and so flavorful and was simply topped with tomato salsa, avocado mousse and some fresh basil. Loved it - a big thumbs up from us!

We tried the Albarino from Spain (S$18 per glass) and Viognier Sainte Fleur from South France (S$16). They also serve beer, prices from S$9.

Pre-dessert, complimentary sangria ice cream in mini cones

Happy diner :)

Now the chef is preparing our dessert :)

On the current menu, there are 5 types of desserts. It was quite hard deciding which one to have, if I had more tummy space I would certainly have ordered them all to try since I am a dessert person. We finally settled for the grilled pineapple salad and watermelon salad.

Salad for dessert?

We loved both the desserts. The grilled pineapple salad was served with coconut sorbet and coconut lime jelly (S$12.50), a very light and sweet end to our meal.

The watermelon salad, gazpacho and basil sorbet (S$12.50) sounded very interesting on paper and just as delightful to savour. It was very refreshing. The basil sorbet was a first for me, but went well with the watermelon gazpacho. We noticed that it melted quite slowly compared to the coconut sorbet.

The kitchen and the communal bar.. it's really cosy and intimate in there!

Goodbye Esquina, til we meet again. 

Some old buildings on the way to Esquina

Night view from our hotel room. We stayed in the Swissotel, and we were lucky to have a gotten a room facing the Marina Bay Sands, more about that later.

Verdict: Will we be back? DEFINITELY. Although this was our second main meal in Singapore, I decided to blog about this first since it was the most memorable and fabulous experience we had in Singapore this trip. Not only is the food great, I really enjoyed watching all the kitchen action. Service was very good too. We would definitely recommend Esquina to any of our friends/readers visiting Singapore.

Full set of photos available to view here. 

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 12.00-2.30pm, 6.00-10.30pm. Saturday 6.00-10.30pm. Closed on Sundays.

Price: S$166.90. No service charge.

Location: Esquina Tapas Bar, 16 Jiak Chuan Road, 089267. (If you're taking the MRT, you can alight at Outram Park and take the exit towards New Bridge Road. It is a 10-15 min walk from the station to Esquina).

Tel: +65 6222 1616

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