Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Weekend break in Singapore (Part two)

This post will talk about the real reason we came to Singapore – a degustation dinner at “Waku Ghin” (Tetsuya’s restaurant in the Marina Bay Sands hotel).

We’d booked this night many months before (which also allowed us to save the money for the dinner)

The restaurant is located in the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which, while an impressive structure, I really didn’t think much of it once you got inside. Lots of people, lots of shops & the biggest casino you will ever see.

To get to “Waka Ghin” – you go up a lift to the second floor (not very well sign-posted & very easy to miss). The entrance overlooks the tables & poker machines (two floors) of the casino. Not a very good first impression.

We arrived about 20min early, being a bit over shopping (that’s what we’d spent the day doing). We were led into the reception area where we had a drink to get things going.

The chatting was occasionally interrupted by the muffled sounds of “Number 42….you’re schnitzel is ready” or “And the winner of this hour’s meat tray is…” – or something similar.

Right on 6pm (start of service), we were led to our private room.

We would be sitting on a bench looking at a (induction) cooktop where the chef would be preparing the meals (except desserts) in front of us.

Now…this is not the sort of place where they would throw food at you – but if it was Tetsuya himself cooking for us – I would say…bring it on !!

Being shown the ingredients

The chef (Satoshi Harada) was a lovely bloke who let us ask him all sorts of questions about his background, how he found himself in Singapore, where he got his knives from (they were given to him by Tetsuya), how he was going to prepare the next dish, etc…

Chef Harada with fresh Wasabi

It made for a wonderfully entertaining evening to see you meal freshly prepared in front of you & to be able to talk to your own, personal chef.

We were told what the set menu would be for the evening.

Here are two sets of the menus we were presented with at the end of the evening:

Why two sets of menus ?? In our case, they had to cater for the following: Manfred didn’t eat beef, Chris didn’t eat raw seafood & Tania can’t eat any sort of seafood. I’ll eat anything so it was no problem for me.

This is what they came up with:

Tania’s flan had “mountain caviar”

Instead of the Sea Urchin & Lobster, Tania had a Beef Carpaccio & Chris had cooked Tuna

Tania had the pan-seared Foie Gras with Mango, the rest of us had Eel (Anago) with Foie Gras on a bed of Zucchini

Tania had a poached egg on a bed of mashed potatoes, covered with shavings of (Australian) black truffle while we had the rest of us had Abalone (never had Abalone before – quite tasty) served with a pasta & tomato + basil sauce

Tania had the pancetta-wrapped quail with cherry tomatoes, all on a bed of mashed potatoes while the rest of us had the Canadian lobster (yum !!)

Manfred had the twice cooked Spatchcock & mushroom while the rest of us had the Wagyu roll with garlic chips & fresh grated Wasabi (yum !!)

Tania had the Somen noodles while the rest of us had the Consomme with rice & Snapper

The food was simply…amazing. It all tasted so wonderfully fresh & so full of flavour. It wasn’t anything fancy or complicated. It was just great !!

The matching wines we had (it’s an option with dinner), regardless of what you were eating, matched superbly with everyone’s meal. The sommelier (a very young bloke who’d only got his qualifications last week !!) did a superb job. Couldn’t find any fault with his choices.

Tania was particularly impressed with a twice-brewed Sakai (the Masuizumi Kijyou-Shu from Toyama prefecture) served with her Foie Gras. It was very tasty !!

The flan with Sappner Crab & caviar

Tania's version: Tonburi & Chive Oil

Sea Urchin with caviar

Chris' cooked Tuna

Tania's Beef Carpaccio

Anago (Eel) with Foie Gras & confit of Zucchini

Abalone about to be cooked

Tania's Foie Gras with Mango

The Abalone cooking away

Watching the Abalone cooking away

Tania's poached egg, mashed potatoe & truffle

Canadian Lobster

Pancetta-wrapped Quail

Duck with seasonal veges

A Wasabi plant

The Wagyu being prepared

A sauce served with the Wagyu

Manfred's Spatchcock with Mushrooms

The Wagyu dish with garlic chips & fresh wasabi

Consomme with Rice & Snapper

Somen Noodles

Gyokuro - A Green Tea palatte cleanser

The desserts were not a problem for anyone:

The cold soup of strawberry with lychee & coconut

The brownie with peanut mousse (yum !!)

And neither were the Petit Fours (of which we had two servings).

Dessert was served out in the main dining area, which just happened to overlook the river & our hotel.

Looking out over at our hotel from the restaurant

We were surprised to find out that there are only 25 covers (places) per seating & there are two seatings: one at 6pm & the other at 8.30pm.

You’re eating for a good four hours so we were very glad to have picked the 6pm seating.

Everyone agrees that the night was a memorable experience, made more so by the bill.

If you want to know how much the meal cost – check out the next post.

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