1.4.15

Fire, W Seminyak, Bali

Fire, the steakhouse grill at W Seminyak, is the other buffet breakfast restaurant option, apart from Starfish Bloo. While the buffet is decidedly limited, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The pedestrian buffet was balanced out by the larger, better curated, ala carte menu.

Recommended orders are the airy-fairy egg white omelette souffle, baked egg with chorizo, and steak mushroom eggs. For a more Asian-styled breakfast, get the nasi jinggo, a carb dish that'll fill you right up in the most delicious way.

Cheese and Charcuterie table, with Brie, Asiatiko and Goat's Cheese; Beef Pastrami, Chicken Lyoner, Pork Milano; Ham Hock Terrine and Antipasto, and some mustard. Skip this.

I really liked the fruit juice, smoothie and yoghurt, freshly blended and squeezed. My favourites were the Strawberry Banana Smoothie, and Watermelon Juice.

Pickles, Nuts and Dried Fruits

Bread Station, with Brown, Wheat, White Sliced Bread; Bread Rolls; Brioche; Plain, Chocolate, Bacon Scrambled and Ham & Cheese Croissants; and Ham & Cheese Panini. Most were middling, but the bacon scrambled croissants were pretty decent.

Jams, marmalades, vegemite, and nutella spreads

The sweet confectionery fared well; Strawberry and Pandan Doughnuts, and Strawberry Berliner

Mango, Strawberry and Blackberry Danishes and Almond Croissant

Leek & Mushroom Rolls and Raisin Bread

Raspberry, Gluten-Free, Pandan Chocolate Muffins and assorted cakes

Indonesian desserts and Chocolate Fountain with sweets - my favourite buffet station!

Indonesian bubur station with all the fixings

Indian Aloo Gobi and Seafood Mie Goreng - nice when paired

Shrimp & Vegetable Frittata, Beef Rendang and Pork & Potato Hash - you can pass these over

Sauteed Bedugul Vegetables and Baked Beans - also meh

Gammon Ham - would've preferred a slightly meatier texture than sinewy fat

Chicken and Beef Sausages - decent

Bacon, Hashbrown and Grilled Tomatoes - standard fare

Baked Egg with chorizo, rocket, tomato sauce on sourdough - skip the bread, eat everything else.

Egg White Omelette Souffle, stuffed with basil, parmesan, green peppers, onions - clean eating at its most delicious


Sunny Steak Mushroom - a slightly chewy overdone beef rump steak, but the fried egg, sauteed mushrooms and brown jus were perfectly lovely

Nasi Jinggo - uninspired looking but the Indonesian rice with shredded fried chicken, tempe, egg omelette strips, fried shallots and sambal was blew us away with its robust fragrant simplicity

Bibimbap, with julienned vegetables, egg sunny side up, kimchi, beef and gochujang - looked a lot better than it tasted, this needed 2 more dollops of gochujang for flavour

the interiors - loved the fireball chandelier!



Fire
W Retreat & Spa Bali, Seminyak
Website

31.3.15

[Media Invite] Ethan's Gourmet (featuring Chef Peter Rollinson of Flutes Restaurant)

I was recently invited to the media launch of Ethan's Gourmet, a boutique grocer of fine foods and produce. Just think of it as an amalgamation of Meidi-Ya and Jones the Grocer, but waaaaaaaay cheaper and notably exclusively curated. I love this place already!

Its spartan brick-and-mortar shop couldn't be any more ulu-fied, but the good news is that they're about to launch an online site (by 15 April, I hear) on which to buy its wares. 

Set up by a trio of enterprising retailers, who've close personal networks with Japanese suppliers, Ethan's Gourmet Foods is thus able to pass on substantive savings to us as the end consumer. Here, Elaine and one of her partners are introducing Ethan's Gourmet Foods to us food bloggers at the media launch. A personal nugget: she'd apparently named the store after her beloved son! Aww...

Only kobe, kagoshima and tajima wagyu beef are sold here, and I note that the meats about 20% cheaper than at Meidi-Ya. Being one of the very few suppliers and the first online retailer of the uber-luxe tajima wagyu beef, Ethan's Gourmet Foods supplies to Japanese steakhouse The Fat Cow.

They also sell premium sashimi-grade fish and seafood (snow crab legs, YUMS!!), as well as the prized amadai fish.

They've also a select wine and sake range, carefully curated, mostly mid-range but very drinkable.

I couldn't resist buying a bunch of stuff, and these were my picks at Ethan's Gourmet Foods: Marusho Tomatoes ($5.90), otherwise known as rainbow tomatoes.

I've never been known to snack on typically healthy fare, but these little juicy balls of heaven were so awesomely sweet I'm now a convert!

Another must-buy is the Amadu Strawberries ($19.80), bright red morsels of fruity juiciness bursting with ripened sweetness. The Hubs practically inhaled them ALL...in just ONE sitting.


Inspired to cook something with black ink, I also got the Black Squid ink Linguine ($9), but if you so prefer, there's a saffron-flavoured linguine for sale as well.

I'm a sucker for cheeses, and while plain table crackers are typically used to set up their flavourful pungency, The Fine Cheese Co. Rosemary Crackers ($8.40) and TFCC Red Hot Chilli Crackers ($8.40) heighten the cheeses beautifully.

Red Hot Chilli Crackers are better paired with mature cheddars, while Rosemary Crackers are more suited for soft cheeses.

I also got a packet of Frozen Edamame ($7.45), I love steaming them and then sprinkling them with truffle salt, also sold at the store (Ethan's apparently retails the ultra-fine Truffle Gourmet range of truffled salts, pastes and flavouring). Ethan's Gourmet Foods also retails other frozen greens, like spinach, and broccoli.

We were gifted with a goodie bag: a few citrus-infused ume, kelp (which I'm gonna use to make dashi stock), green tea bags (always useful as I'm a big fan of green tea), a citrus-flavoured green tea, Maria Sharapova's sour gummies, a umami goma-kombu seafood snack, Korean designer water, and a packet of compressed paper wipes (so convenient and such space-savers!).

The congenial Aussie Chef Peter Rollinson of Flutes Restaurant was invited to cook up Ethan's produce. Even with a makeshift barbie stand, his food managed an exquisite sublimity, that I've since put Flutes on my to-eat list!

The Tajima Wagyu Beef Striploin with yummy marusho tomatoes and yuzu dressing was melty and decadent and luscious. My favourite of the lot!

The moist and tender Kurobuta Pork Chops with caramelised apple sauce, sauteed spinach and radish was well-balanced.

The Grilled Amadai Fillet was exquisitely crunchy, but flaky and moist underneath. I particularly loved the curried cauliflower puree and lime. It brought out the mild creaminess of the Japanese fish beautifully.

The plump Grilled Scallops with mushy peas and truffle squid ink was a little too moreish for my liking. I thought the squid ink overwhelmed the delicate scallops. 


Many thanks to Ada, Leroy and Nichole of FoodNews PR for the invite, and Elaine Yee of Ethan's Gourmet for hosting! xoxo



Ethan's Gourmet Foods
50 Tagore Lane
Entrepreneur Centre
Tel: 6372 8809
Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am to 7pm; Closed Mondays
Website: www.ethansgourmet.com

30.3.15

Bacchanalia

Known for seamlessly fusing east-and-west flavours, Bacchanalia's food is inventive and harmonious. The tapas-portioned, artfully-plated food should have been an unwelcome assault on my finely-tuned pretentious sensor, but the warm amiable staff and relaxed congenial vibe of the gorgeous restaurant were the very antithesis of what should have been a stuffy, formal dinner affair.

As aforementioned, service was faultless, the lovely staff were attentive but unobtrusive. They'd taken care to eliminate all parsley/coriander/cilantro from all dishes, and explained every single dish in detail. I particularly liked that the chef made periodic appearances to personally elaborate on his creations.

Because parking is so limited, I'd suggest getting your car valeted; it's only $10, and it saves a lot of hassle (and time) going round in circles finding a viable, non-fine-able lot. 

A great way to sample Bacchanalia's signatures is to order either of the 2 the set meal options. Because there were 3 of us in the dinner party, we opted for the 7-Course Set ($190 which is sufficient to feed 2), and supplemented with a handful of dishes from the ala carte menu.

From the ala carte menu, the Mushroom Fantasia ($18), a medley of 4 mushroom variants: cordyceps, portobello, shimeiji and oyster, was cooked 4 ways, paired with a sweet corn veloute and mint for contrast.

A must-try, the Calamari Grenobloise ($34) of squid grilled to a smoky perfection, was married with chayote squash, capers, artichoke puree, sauce grenobloise, and hasselback potatoes. 

The Chicken & Cheese ($34) was about the moistest chicken breast ever. This was heaped with a bunch of fresh grassy herbs, mountain yam puree, tarragon-infused whey, and blanketed in melted cheese.

The first course off the 7-course set was a soup-like Cauliflower Gratin ($18 ala carte price), chunked up with deep fried breaded cauliflower florets, and layered with white truffle and cheese foam. Because I'd asked to hold off any parsley, mine was sans gremolata.


Coming up second was the Thai-inspired Rice & Coconut ($26 ala carte price), a sumptuous confluence of creamy coconut risotto, chilli paste, ginger strips and fermented coconut.

The refreshingly clear Hamachi Carambola ($28 ala carte price), of citrus-cured hamachi sashimi was dressed with pickled starfruit and garlic, and walnut praline.A most pleasantly palate-cleansing middle course.

The succulent grilled Norwegian Hand-Dived Scallops ($37 ala carte price) were set stop baked borlotti beans, kalix caviar, and dusted with cacao powder.

The Steak & Sauce Rossini ($38 ala carte price), medium-grilled 1 year grain-fed petit tender was drizzled with a luxurious red wine jus thickened by melted foie gras. Sauteed cauliflower mushrooms, kailan, and celeriac, rode alongside potato crisps.

The scrumptious melty Foie Gras Satay ($35 ala carte price), done sous vide, was balanced with a bright lemongrass & tamarind fluid jam, and topped with grated chestnuts and peanut satay sauce.

Rounding off the superb set was the White Chocolate & Cherry Tart ($17 ala carte price), filled with a white chocolate & almond ganache and cherry jam, while a tart morello cherry sorbet lent contrast.


Bacchanalia
23A Coleman Street
The Masonic Lodge
Tel: 6509 1453
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 12midnight for dinner;
Fridays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 2am for dinner;
Saturdays from 6pm to 2am for dinner;
Closed on Sundays
Website: www.bacchanalia.asia

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