Saturday, April 28, 2007

canelé. a revisit

Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie @ Paragon
290 Orchard Road
B1-25 Paragon
Tel: 6733 8893
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm daily

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I've been swarmed with work and changes that are still ongoing. Plus, I haven't had many memorable dining experiences recently except for what I'm going to write about except that it's not going to be exactly "memorable" in the nicest way.

When I first heard that Canelé had opened an outlet right smack in the heart of town, I have to be honest; I was a tad excited. In addition, I had read that there was a new a la carte menu and some of the desserts were commendable. Truth be told, I have tried their cakes before at the Robertson Walk outlet and I wasn't particularly impressed partly cos I am a huge fan of a rival patisserie. In comparison, I thought Canelé's desserts were too heavy and sweet for my liking. Then again, maybe I am not a chocolate fan so I can't really appreciate what Canelé's known for and so, I decided to give the new Paragon outlet a try last weekend.

Between Mum and I, we ordered the Chestnut Souffle which received favourable reviews and the Cafe Noix, a coffee cake. Apart from being a little on the sweet side, the Cafe Noix was actually pretty enjoyable. I might have liked it better if they cut a little of the sugar and added more coffee to give it more kick.

I was sorely disappointed with the Chestnut Souffle maybe cos this was the dessert I had gone specially to Canelé for. To start off, it was almost unbearingly sweet. There were still granules of sugar that were unmelted. It was also accompanied by a scoop of Fromage Blanc sorbet. Fromage Blanc is actually cream cheese made from skimmed cow's milk. I couldn't get used to having that in a sorbet. The flavour was just too odd for me so I had a bit of it and left the rest to melt. The only thing I liked were the little bits of chestnuts that were in there. That's about it.

With one non-fantastic and another below ordinary experience, I can't say for sure if I'd visit again. I'm sure Chef Pang's creations are fantastic else he would not be as famous in the industry as he is today. Maybe I wasn't spot on with my choices. Or maybe I'll return again when I'm ready to give Canelé another shot.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

feels like home.

Tung Lok Signatures
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-57 VivoCity
Tel: 6376 9555

Since Lei Garden at Orchard Plaza closed a year ago, my family has been searching for a "replacement". Lei Garden at Chijmes somehow felt more like a business place rather than a family friendly restaurant so that didn't sit well with us. We've tried many of the good and famous places and still, we couldn't find that X-factor. It's hard to put a finger down to what it is but I can say that Lei Garden has been a family favourite as well as a place for business for my Dad for over 10 years. The staff that we were so familiar with packed their bags along with its closure so the familiarity that we had been so used to disappeared overnight.

Honestly, I've never been a fan of Tung Lok except for the now defunct Charming Garden that used to be at Copthorne Orchid. Through a staff at Lei Garden Chijmes, we found out that 2 ex-managers and chefs from Lei Garden Orchard Plaza were now working at Tung Lok Signatures. To cut the long story short, all I can say that the family has found "home" again.

Tung Lok Signatures basically runs on the concept of bringing all of Tung Lok's signature dishes in one place. Of course, with the ex-Lei Garden chef at the helm now, we also get food that's reminiscent of what was served there. Since Signatures is located in a shopping mall, the atmosphere's pretty casual and has a nice view of the Waterfront facing Sentosa except that prices aren't exactly the most "casual". Food was excellent so here's what we had that night.

This has to be a perennial favourite of the family. Better than the version we had at Lei Garden Chijmes actually. The skin was crispy and crackling. The meat was juicy and tender with the right amount of fat layered in between. Definitely a must-order when you're there.

The ex-manager from Lei Garden did the ordering for us this time and of course, brought out some of the chef's specialities. Needless to say, they were also our favourites from Lei Garden. Think he remembered that we liked this. Very tasty dish with fish slices, mushrooms and pork braised together in dark sauce. Bring on the rice!

I'm a big fan of tofu so I always love dishes with tofu. This was no exception. The homemade tofu was smooth and again, a perfect rice complement. The crispy conpoy on the top added a nice touch as well.

Nothing really much to shout about since it was just stir-fried vegetables. Again, the conpoy was used for garnishing. Bamboo piths were pretty tasteless without the sauce. This dish was good but like I said, nothing much to write about.

I'm always pretty boring when it comes to Cantonese desserts. It's always the Mango Pudding, Mango Pomelo Sago or Almond Cream. This was recommended by the manager and I thought was quite a refreshing change. The sauce on the outside was actually a soursop puree and a lemon mousse was in the middle of the papaya ring. With the 3 different kinds of fruit, we had sweetness and sourness in the same dessert. Rather delicious I must say but I'm not sure if this is in the regular menu.

I also had a double boiled soup which was delicious. Can't remember which one was it but I recall the very yummy fresh fish maw. Their double boiled soups are excellent; you won't want to give it a miss.

There are still so many stuff on the menu that I'm curious to try especially some of Tung Lok's specialities. Definitely a place I'd return to over and over with the family.

*Two thumbs up*