Saturday, September 29, 2012
During our staycation at the Park Hotel Clarke Quay, we managed to try their buffet breakfast, which was pretty decent. We also came back for lunch, but decided to try the a la carte items instead of another buffet (but if you're interested, there's a special promo for Camemberu readers for their Seafood Dinner buffet; details are at the end of the post).
Baby Spinach Salad (S14.80)
Something healthy to start with. This was nice with generous shavings of Parmesan, fruity sweetness from the apple and pear slices, and fragrant crunch from pine nuts.
Squid and Prawns with Pomelo Thai-style (S$15.80)
I was really craving something Thai-like, and they had this! This was unabashedly spicy, but also veered on the sweet side. It might be more balanced if it was more tangy.
Soup of the Day (S$8) was Potato and Leek Soup, which was also available at the buffet, but I reckon this one somehow tastes much better than something from a buffet line. The kids (who couldn't take the spicy pomelo seafood salad above) absolutely loved this and we tore up bread rolls to eat this with.
Broiled Beef Mignon - with Marinated Portobello Mushroom and Bearnaise Sauce (S$32)
From the mains, the beef and the oven-roasted lamb are the signature items. But since we already tried the lamb from the awesome poolside BBQ the night before, we decided to take the beef. This mignon may look small, but the whole ensemble is very filling.
Again, as with the poolside BBQ steaks, you may wish to ask for a level of doneness one step lower than what you are used to.
Grilled Red Garoupa - with Marinated Tomato, Basil and Preserved Lemon (S$30)
Two large slices of garoupa nicely grilled but could do with a bit more seasoning. Great for kids though.
If you prefer, they also have sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and burgers, as well as local or Asian favourites. There is a small selection of desserts - creme brulee, tiramisu, cheese cake, chocolate charlotte cake, cheese and plum jelly.
Mr and Mrs Granny Smith - apple tart with vanilla ice cream (S$13.50)
This is their signature dessert. Thinly sliced apple baked on a filo pastry base, plus crumble. But the highlight - and my kids immediately zeroed in on it instinctively - was that scoop of vanilla ice cream. Made with real vanilla (specks all over), it was so rich and fragrant. Oh how we all fought over this!
Seasonal Fruits and Berries with Lime Sorbet (S$13.50)
They didn't have the Chocolate Charlotte for that day, so I decided to go light instead. Fresh fruits! I had thought maybe the kids would like the sorbet too, but the vanilla ice cream made them want nothing else.
Interestingly, Brizo is the little-known name of an ancient Greek goddess who was known as the protector of mariners, sailors and fishermen. The women of Delos often set out offerings of food in small boats for her.
Special Offer for ReadersOne dines free for every two paying guests, with promotion code “Camemberu” given during reservations via phone 6593 8855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for the following buffet at Brizo. Valid till 31 October 2012. There's a similar promotion for the Cocobolo Poolside weekend BBQ buffet (see previous post).
Brizo’s Weekend Seafood Buffet Dinner
6.30pm to 10.30pm (Fridays and Saturdays)
$45++ ( Adult) / $25++ (Child under 12 years old)
Level 1, Park Hotel Clarke Quay
1 Unity Street, Singapore 237983
Tel: +65 6593-8855
Open daily with buffets:
Breakfast: 6.00am to 10.30am
Lunch: 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm to 10.30pm
A la carte dining in between
Friday, September 28, 2012
Oh the pleasures of a weekend BBQ!
Even better when it's paired with a lazy staycation where all you have to do is chill out, relax and let everyone else do the work. During our stay at the Park Hotel Clarke Quay, we had a nice poolside BBQ dinner at Cocobolo Bar + Grill. This is a bit of a hidden find for me, because I hadn't heard much of Cocobolo previously. But it was a pleasant discovery, because the food's not bad at all and I'm already thinking of going back.
Cocobolo is small but cosy, with wooden deck flooring that sets a resort-like mood. The bar serves cocktails and drinks, and the whole place overlooks the outdoor pool with cabanas.
But our eyes are on the BBQ bounty! You can pick and choose what you want, and then see them transformed into grilled goodies!
Several staff led by Chef Wilson Shum are on hand to help you grill the items to your preferred doneness. See? You don't have to do any work!
Zucchini, squash, eggplant and pineapples caramelising on the grill. The pineapples are really good, just like at a churrascaria, to help you cut into all the meat later. I did wish the eggplant slices were a bit thinner though.
Jolie was very amused by the free-standing table lamps that kept changing colour. Meanwhile, we enjoy the breezy outdoors and the aromatic sizzle that fills the air as we await our food.
We kicked off with a platter of sausages and bratwurst. The cheese sausages (left) are guaranteed to be a hit with kids, that is, if the adults don't polish them off first! I also liked the veal and other pork sausages.
There's plenty of salad for you to start with as the chefs grill your food.
There are cooked vegetables too. Broccoli and cauliflower topped with grilled cheese.
But let's jump right into the barbecued items, especially the good stuff!
Lamb Rack French Cut (Marinated with Garlic Herbs, Oil and Spices)
This is their signature item, and deservedly so. Tender and grilled just right, these lamb racks are incredibly well-seasoned with herbs, spices and garlic. This alone is almost worth the price of admission.
BBQ Baby Pork Back Ribs
This is also very good. I could eat lots of this. Ah, my mouth is watering at the memory of the lamb racks, and these sweet, juicy, tender ribs...next time I'm not sharing.
Grilled squid and prawns
The seasoning for the squid is really good, but squid is hard to grill right - so some might turn out a bit too tough. Darn, I forgot to try the prawns. I also didn't try the grilled chicken in the first photo, though it looked really good. Too busy taking photos! *self-kick*
Sambal belachan fish fillet in banana leaf
Again, the seasoning is nice and spicy, but the the grill may have been a little too hot for the fish, and it may have spent time still steaming in the foil-wrapped parcel after it's been taken off the grill. The flesh was just a tad overcooked.
By this juncture, we were really full, but I just had to try what the beef steaks were like. Not bad, good seasoning as usual, but a little lean. I also should have asked for a level of doneness lower than what I am used to.
Various mini desserts, cakes and pastries - to put back what you spent on the swim earlier in the day. The jellies are good fun, and refreshing after all the grilled meats.
And just when we thought we'd reached the end, they bring out the ice cream! Mini cones! So delightful! You can't say no to these.
The hotel pool is really nice at night too.
The Cocobolo Weekend Barbecue Dinner is on Fridays and Saturdays (6.30pm to 10.30pm)
Diners enjoy one-for-one wines, cocktails, beers and soft drinks.
You get 20% off if you are on the Weekend Getaway promotion that the hotel is currently having. More reason to go for that staycation!
SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS!One dines free for every two paying guests, with promotion code “Camemberu” given during reservations via phone 6593 8855 or email email@example.com ! Valid till 31 October 2012.
COCOBOLO BAR + GRILL
Level 2 Park Hotel Clark Quay
1 Unity Street
Tel: +65 6593-8855
11.00am to 7.00pm (Sunday to Thursday); and
11.00am to 10.30pm (Friday and Saturday).
Many thanks to Park Hotel for arranging the promotion and the dinner.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Oh yes, it's staycation time again! The kids love these little trips, and this time we brought them to Park Hotel Clarke Quay, where we were given an Executive Suite.
The Park Hotel Group is having weekend getaway promotions, and you can check out the details online for each hotel. For the Clarke Quay hotel, it's free breakfast, late checkout and 20% off in-house F&B purchases. Plus some of their best rates - Superior rooms from S$210++ and Deluxe rooms from S$240++.
Happiness is the ability to play away from home! Sometimes it's just nice to have a change from the ordinary routine.
Not to mention the lovely goodies to eat. The welcome platter had so much fruit and chocolate.
The suite is effectively two normal sized rooms linked together via an adjoining door. The other room is a living room with work table and sofa bed.
OK let me show you what the rooms look like before they get messed up. Obviously my children are faster than my camera these days.
The Executive Suite, one that's undisturbed.
The living area of the Executive Suite. It's got a mini chandelier too!
The suite gets one with a shower stall (living room side), and one with a bathtub in the bedroom.
Very decent and clean. Fittings and fixtures are still quite new.
There is a small wardrobe for all your things.
The Premier Rooms are the special rooms at the corners of each floor - they have a slightly different and larger configuration than normal rooms, and the full floor-to-ceiling windows create that wonderful impression of much higher ceilings.
The bathrooms in the Premier Rooms too, have a glass wall.
The Deluxe Room. This and the Superior Room are the ones that qualify for the Weekend Getaway promotion mentioned above.
There isn't much difference with the Deluxe or Superior rooms - only that the former has extra bed cushions and a nice bed runner. And bottled water.
The Executive Suite and some rooms have access to the Crystal Club. Free refreshments, business support services, high speed Internet access and so forth.
But of course, the highlight of staycations (for the kids, at least) is the pool!
It's a 25m pool with welcoming waters, strangely not too cold unlike some pools. There isn't a kiddy pool here, but the waters are fairly shallow at 1.25m and there's a slightly raised area with seats at the adjoining jacuzzi (near the pillars).
And the other great thing about hotel stays - the buffet breakfast! The Brizo Restaurant has a very decent spread of Eastern and Western favourites, hot and cold dishes. A live egg station prepares eggs any way you want them.
Here's Jolie quite happy with her mini muffin, and Nadine contemplating her next act of mischief after a rare treat of cocoa cereal. These two really enjoyed their stay here, and Jolie keeps wanting to come back. "Can we live here?" she asked.
The hotel already looks quite popular with guests from all over the world. The location next to Robertson Walk also makes it very close to town and the nightlife areas near Clarke Quay. Lots of eateries nearby for sure. And yet it's a pleasantly quiet locale, perfect for a restful weekend.
I will blog about two of the restaurants within the hotel over the next few days - Brizo and Cocobolo Poolside Bar + Grill (hey, a pretty decent poolside BBQ!), with a special promo for Camemberu readers!
PARK HOTEL CLARKE QUAY
1 Unity Street, Singapore 237983
Tel: +65 6593-8888
For room reservations, check out their website, or contact +65 6593-8829 / +65 6593-8832 / +65 6593 8833 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Kelyn Tan for the invitation and to Park Hotel for the stay.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Mid-Autumn Festival is all about sharing the bounty, a time for family togetherness and thankfulness.
My friend recently gave us a boatload of mooncakes from Bengawan Solo (thanks, Henry!). The kids were over the moon. They can't seem to get enough - despite having tried from at least eight other brands, as you can see from my mooncake roundup.
We had orange lin yoong (lotus paste), strawberry skin lin yoong, yam paste, green tea lin yoong, banana skin lin yoong, white lotus paste, pandan lin yoong, and mango lin yoong. The pastes are very smooth and dense, but not oily or overly sweet.
I also like the packaging - beautiful lotus blossoms on metal tins and paper bags. They have double yolk lin yoong, mixed nuts, pure lin yoong, low sugar white lotus (which really does taste less sweet, unlike some versions I've tried), durian lin yoong, pandan lin yoong, green tea lin yoong and red bean.
I leave you with this picture that's just too cute not to share. It's making its rounds on Facebook.
Some mom got really creative with a sleeping baby!
Posted 9:51 AM
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Antoinette's fourth branch is in a most fitting location - Palais Renaissance. The pâtisserie and salon de thé is named after France's last queen Marie-Antoinette who is known for her extravagance, and you'll see some over-the-top display of luxury reflected here too.
Le Jardin D'Antoinette takes place in a garden-like setting at the bright sunlit basement, complete with open roof gazebo. Flowers, greenery, vintage furniture and romantic fixtures create the perfect idyllic setting for afternoon tea, an escape from hectic city life, right on Orchard Road itself.
But if you prefer some privacy, you can retreat into the boudoir-like Le Salon d'Antoinette, an enclosed dining area.
For small group meetings of eight to 10, you could book the opulent Le Salon l'Elysee. Special dining packages come with the room.
Chef Pang Kok Keong personally takes care of many of the design aspects, right down to the fabrics and fixtures used in the outlet. It's amazing how he manages to meticulously curate every single detail despite what must be an enormously busy schedule.
Even the baby chairs are specially custom made or sourced - don't they look almost fit for royalty?
There are new additions to the menu too. We shared our dishes below, so what you see is not the full portion.
Classic French Onion Soup (S$16.50)
Oh the sharp aroma of baked cheese that greeted us when this was brought to our table! It was the golden crust made of Parmesan and Gruyere. While the veal and chicken broth was richly flavoured with caramelised onions and a slice of cheese baguette (from their 24-hour baguette), it was the crust that really stole my heart.
Tartine de Nicoise (S$26, actual portion 3 times larger)
Butter lettuce, French bean, tomatoes, olives, 3-minute egg, anchovy, and seared tuna served on levain
Essentially a Nicoise salad atop homemade pain au levain (the sourdough is cultured for 16 days in the main kitchen). Healthy sandwich lunch, anyone?
Confit de Poitrine de Porc (S$36)
Traditional French style pork belly confit served with garlic mash, seasonal vegetables and mustard sauce
Pork belly is love! And it's a clever move to confit this using duck fat instead of lard - so the pork gets an added taste dimension. Love the flavours, even if this was not quite melt-in-the-mouth tender and the crackling skin is not as brittle as the Chinese style. The full portion is about three to four slices - how awesome that must be!
Bouchées aux fruits de mer (S$30)
Seafood in puff pastry case
This might seem ordinary to some, but it was sheer comfort food for me. Fresh seafood sharing their umami beauty with a creamy base. Quarter portion shown here.
Prawn Crumble (S$26)
Spaghettini aglio olio style with fresh prawns, anchovy crumble and parsley pesto
The crumble has black olives and anchovies tapenade - double umami punch. Note that this is a very dry pasta, and some folks may not be used to it.
Yuzu cremeux, white chocolate vanilla mousse, light sponge cake, almond sable
A very pretty dessert with a pretty name. It's one of the lighter creations, and the subtle fragrance of yuzu ties it all together.
Green tea mascarpone mousse, chestnut cremeux, almond crumble green tea finger sponge
This dessert is not entirely new, but it's my favourite of the lot. Chef Pang has combined the popular elements of green tea with chestnut instead of adzuki beans, and it works very well.
Tarte Exotique (S$8.50)
Almond tart, gula Melaka cremeux, finger sponge with gula Melaka, coconut mousse, exotique coulis
For me, the gula Melaka element makes this less than exotic, and perhaps it was also the tang of mango (from the sphere) that didn't quite go with the palm sugar. But others may like it - the almond crust is lovely.
Forbidden Fruit (S$9)
Green apple mousse, maple cremeux, vanilla caramel apple, green apple jelly, financier cake
This is Chef Pang's personal favourite among the new desserts. It is a complex cake indeed with contrasting layers and fragrances of apple, vanilla and maple. But I'm not a fan of green apple or sourish desserts, so it was the Kyoto that was love at first bite for me.
There are plenty more cakes and pastries to choose from, as you can see from the gorgeous display case.
I'm sure you spot some of your regular favourites. You can also see more cakes in my first Antoinette review here.
Antoinette now also has lovely gift box tins with the signature silhouette.
Chef Pang certainly gets an "A" for his tremendous effort in bringing together this whole outfit and overseeing so many details. His hard work has given us another place to relax, perhaps revel in flights of fancy and enjoy the sweet fruits of life.
ANTOINETTE AT PALAIS RENAISSANCE
390 Orchard Road,
B1-08/09/10C Palais Renaissance
Tel: +65 6735-6392
Open daily: 11am - 10pm
Many thanks to Sixth Sense for hosting and Chef Pang for his kind hospitality.
Posted 1:13 PM