Sunday, January 2, 2011

18 courses in a day - yes, it has to be Singapore

As grumpy as I have been about moving back to Asia, one of the best things is to be nearer to two of my dearest friends. Eugene in particular has been a very big part of my foodie life in recent years, and probably the person who talked me into switching jobs to work in the industry (with many many subtle hints of 'hire me! hire me!'). It is a small crime that I have never been to his home country of Singapore. And I start my Singaporean posts with a tribute to my dear friend Eugene, showing him doing what he does best :D

Now, I knew I would need to bring an extra stomach or two if I was going to go visit Eugene in Singapore, especially as Eunice was also in town, but I certainly did not expect the AVALANCHE of food that was coming my way. They had kindly booked us a kaiseki lunch at Goto on Ann Siang Road , which has a tremendously good value 6-course set lunch at around £30 iirc. However, quite unexpectedly half way through the afternoon, Eunice received a call that Iggy's, apparently the 28th best restaurant in the world, had a last minute cancellation, and asking would we want to come? It was rude to say no, but that did mean we were on for 18 courses in one day. And this is not including the street food we had for breakfast that morning!

I won't bore you with my narrative and will mainly let you enjoy the food porn of this post. All I will say about Goto is that the only thing that niggled me was the unnecessary kimonos that they make all the waitresses wear, including the Filipino waitress who just looks plainly odd. The food and the surroudings were clean, great quality, and you are wondering how they do it for so little money. My favourites was the salmon roe with yuzu and sake in the first course, and the matcha swiss roll in the dessert.

My other dear friend Sen managed to join us for our tremendous meal at Iggy's. Situated inside the Hilton hotel on Orchard Road, there was a noisy wedding party next door, and the whole decor is just a little hotel for me. It reminded me of how bland the room at Hibiscus is. Nevertheless, the food and the company soon made me forgot all of this, and this was genuinely one of the best meals I ate in 2010, and probably in the noughties. Each course was unfailingly interesting, with many highlights including the scallop with bacon foam (the only time I have ever understood the use of foam), the deep fried quinoa, and the combination of strawberry and gorgonzola.

Also a special mention on the butter, so good that I scoffed two pieces of mini baguette on top of my 12 courses!! Whipped butter with a little shaving of parmesan on top, oh my god, work of genius:

And I will end with this ominous picture - someone has already mentioned that it looks like a pile of cocaine on a bag of malteasers:

This was 'Winter', a combination of coconut, coffee, lemon, and chestnut, and probably the best dessert I have ever tasted. Sneaking chestnuts into desserts generally gets my vote, but it was light, it was Christmassy, it was clever, it was well balanced, and it was snow! Also helped by the fact that the dishy pastry chef kept coming out and talking to Eunice :) Genius, genius, very much worth the 10lbs I probably gained in that one day.

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