PIE FOR CHRISTMAS
This Christmas, instead of taking a turkey to a friend's home party, think of a pie from Bistro du Sommelier instead.
Its pithivier of venison and foie gras ($188) is traditional French winter fare and brings to mind warm dinners by the fireplace in the countryside. It is packed with chunks of meat and foie gras that is cooked perfectly, encased in buttery pastry. Each weighs 1kg, which is enough to feed a small party, especially if someone else is bringing the turkey. Call the restaurant three to five days in advance to order.
Another item that will be much welcomed by the party host is the smoked turkey rilette ($10.50 for 100g). Unlike roast turkey, there is no carving required and no worry about what to do with leftovers, yet it is totally season-appropriate. Just slice up some baguettes and spread the rilette on the bread. The smoky flavour is lovely.
WHERE: Bistro du Sommelier, 53 Armenian Street MRT: Bras Basah WHEN: Noon to 2.30pm and 6 to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, telephone orders can be made from noon to midnight TEL: 6333-1982
FUGU IN MANY WAYS
Fugu or pufferfish holds a fascination for many people because of its poison, which can be fatal if the fish is not prepared properly. For me, however, its appeal lies not in the thrill of dicing with death - fugu available in Singapore is perfectly safe to eat, after all - but in the texture of the fish.
The meat has a nice bite when eaten raw. Sliced so thinly that it is almost translucent, it is eaten best with a ponzu dip to add some zing. When deep-fried, the meat is firm and sweet, and just a sprinkle of salt is enough to enhance its flavour. I like the skin too, which is often cut into thin strips and has a rubbery texture that is oddly pleasant.
The Japanese delicacy is available at Mikuni as a winter special in an eight- course tasting menu. And chef Moon Kyung Soo has come up with new ways to prepare the fish, including setting the skin in a jelly and serving fugu shirako in an egg custard with yuzu.
The courses also include classic preparations such as sashimi, karaage and nabe hotpot.
And for diners who do not want fugu in every course, the menu also offers sashimi toro (tuna belly) and a course of grilled Miyazaki wagyu ribeye.
WHERE: Mikuni, Level 3 Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road MRT: City Hall WHEN: Till Jan 31, noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm daily PRICE: $220 a person (additional $90 for sake pairing) TEL: 6431-6156
QUAIL IN A TURDUCKEN
The turducken - a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey - is not new here, with Goodwood Park having offered it for Christmas 10 years ago.
But Spathe Public House's version this year goes even further. Its Mammoth Christmas Turducken has a quail in a chicken in a duck in a turkey. The birds are all deboned, making it very easy to cut up and serve the turducken. It looks like a roast turkey when presented at the table, but when sliced up, the beautiful layers of rolled meat are exposed. The meats are tender and juicy and the different flavours make this taste more exciting than normal roast turkey.
It is served with Brussel sprouts sauteed in butter, garlic potatoes, roasted chestnut and braised cabbage in cranberry juice and red wine. Order three days in advance.
WHERE: Spathe Public House, 8 Mohamed Sultan Road MRT: Dhoby Ghaut WHEN: Noon to 11pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 11pm, Saturday and Sunday PRICE: $175 TEL: 6735-1035
BIGGER SUNDAY BRUNCH
Sunday brunch at the Hilton has gone a lot bigger.
Tapping on the strength of its Opus Restaurant, which specialises in grilled meats, the Sunday Champagne Brunch now boasts a good selection of Australian meats cooked on its charcoal grill as well as seafood, pasta and other cooking stations.
The grills are generally good, with cuts of flank steaks, beef tenderloin and lamb chops. Meat lovers can also enjoy honey mustard-glazed pork rack and herb-roasted chicken.
There was also a live station serving Vietnamese pho the Sunday I was there. The broth was middling, but the slices of Australian beef were tender and tasty.
What got my attention too was the Scotch egg, which is a boiled egg covered in minced meat and deep-fried. Most versions I have tried have a rubbery egg under a layer of dry meat, but the one here has a barely cooked yolk and a herb-flavoured mince that is moist and delicious. It is served with black truffle hollandaise, but is good even on its own.
WHERE: Opus Restaurant, Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Noon to 3pm, Sunday PRICE: $88 a person; $108 with free flow of sparkling, white and red wine and beer; $138 with free flow of Louis Roderer champagne, white and red wine and beer; $39 for children aged five to 12 TEL: 6730-3390