Vansh – Surprisingly Indian. It is part of the award winning Rang Mahal group. In the recent weeks, we have been craving quite a bit for Indian food, especially the spicy dishes. It was New Year’s eve when we made our way to Vansh. We were given al fresco seats as the indoor restaurant was fully reserved. We had a rather good view for the stadium waterfront, that is, before it started to turn dark and we could barely see anything since the outdoor areas weren’t well-lit.
We ordered the Garlic Naan, Chicken Vindaloo and the Vegetable Sizzling Platter.
We have tried Garlic Naan from another restaurant where the entire Naan was laced with garlic pieces. That made the entire naan oily and overpowering with the taste of garlic. On the other hand, Vansh’s Garlic Naan was not too overwhelming. There were faint traces of garlic, and when paired with the Chicken Vindaloo, the garlic taste gave an extra spicy kick to the vindaloo. The Naan was also fluffy and not too oily. Definitely one of the better Naans we have tried.
The Vegetable Sizzling Platter consisted of tandoori mushrooms, rajma appetizer and paneer (cheese) tikka. Indian cuisine is typically strong in flavour, and this is not an exception. The mushrooms were very fresh and juicy. This dish was served piping hot, but wasn’t all that spicy. The cheese was curd like, with a texture similar to tofu.
We asked the waiter for a recommendation for the most spicy dish in Vansh, and he recommended the Chicken Vindaloo. And it definitely lived up to our expectations. Throughout the meal, we were sneezing and sniffing, and downing glasses of ice water. The chicken pieces were tender, well marinated and rich in flavour. When we took the first bite, we were a little disappointed as the curry did not seem that spicy. But as we chewed on the chicken and allowed the taste to settle in, the spicy kick slowly emerged. This dish of Chicken Vindaloo had a very strong after taste spiciness. The spiciness didn’t come out on the first bite, rather it gradually encompassed our entire taste buds. Complemented with the Garlic Naan, the spiciness of the entire meal was brought to a higher level. It was the kind of spiciness that would make you tear, but did not numb your taste buds. In addition, although the serving bowl of the Chicken Vindaloo appeared pretty small, the number of chicken pieces inside was considerable.
This meal at Vansh was very fulfilling and satisfied our Indian food craving. We will definitely be back for more.
Courtesy of Singapore’s Women’s Weekly, P and I had a 1-for-1 voucher for the “Degustation” meal at Forlino Italian Restaurant.
This is one of the few expensive and higher-end restaurants that we have been to. And the experience was indeed much more special. The waiting staff were polite, attentive and friendly. They explained each dish with patience and enthusiasm. We were mere students, nothing like the other guests in the restaurant who were working professional adults. And moreover, we were having the 1-for-1 special, but the same professionalism was still extended to us.
Since we were having the Degustation Menu, there wasn’t much of a choice of food we could make. Well, it seemed that before the meal, we had not planned on ordering any drinks. But somehow, the atmosphere was good, the cocktail list looked appetizing and we ended up ordering 2 glasses of cocktails – the tequila based Margarita and rum based Daiquiri. The interesting thing about the Margarita was that there were salt crystals along the edge of the wine glass. Previously, I have had a glass of Margarita at a cafe/pub in East Coast before, but there weren’t such salt crystals.
First course – Amuse Bouche, which was essentially single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. There was also complimentary bread to go with it. Something unique was the combination of sea salt and bread. We were rather intrigued that salt could actually go well with bread, unlike the conventional pairing of sugar with bread.
Next up was the Crab Salad with Wild Rucola, Sweet Pea Leaves and Cantaloupe. Ok, I am no fan of vegetables, thus I didn’t quite enjoy the bed of greens beneath the crab. I did, however, enjoy the freshness of the crab meat. Unlike the crabs we often eat at seafood places, you could truly taste the sweetness and seafood freshness of the crab meat in this dish.
Pan Roasted King Scallops with French Beans and Hazelnuts! Being seafood lovers, the both of us loved the scallops! This reminded us of what we had at Dozo. The scallops were semi-cooked, with the outside being a little burnt, while the inside was slightly raw. It was cooked perfectly! P adores such dishes, where the outside is cooked, while the inside is slightly raw. The scallops, needless to say, were fresh and juicy. No need for any fanciful sauces or condiments, the scallops, when cooked in the right way, will taste fabulous.
The first few dishes were not too strong in taste. But the Tagliatelle with Duck Confit and Goose Liver was a different story. It was a tad too oily and salty. Perhaps it was the combination of duck confit and goose liver which made the entire dish quite rich in flavour. Not to say that it wasn’t good, but we felt that it was a little overwhelming and the tagliatelle ended up rather oily as well. Still, the duck confit was tender; the goose liver melted in my mouth.
The final dish before desserts – Roasted Suckling Pig with ‘Pimento’ Peppers and Spiced Apple Sauce. It is the first time that we’re having roasted suckling pig in a non-Chinese restaurant. It was slightly different from the traditional Chinese ones. This version was less dry and bit more juicy. The skin was crispy and the meat was tender. But somehow, we felt that the last 2 dishes were too strong in flavour. Hence, it seemed that we ended up the cooked dishes with a mouthful of oil and salt.
Finally, dessert of the night – Liquorice Crème Brûlée with Raspberry Gelato. I was hoping to be able to try Forlino’s Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with Banana Gelato and Rum Sauce. But sadly, it wasn’t part of the Degustation Menu. Nothing too special about the desserts. However, after 2 consecutive rich dishes, the gelato was refreshing and a good way to wash away the oil.
The meal ended off with a cup of tea and petit fours.
Total cost for 2: $221.28
Great food, awesome atmosphere and hospitable serves – Forlino does live up to its reputation of being Singapore’s finest Italian restaurant. Plus the great company – what more can one ask for?
In the past year or so, there has been a sudden increase in the number of Japanese pastry and cake shops in Singapore. Patisserie Glace is one of them. Our favourite dessert from Patisserie Glace is the Rin Rin Cheese Tart. There are many flavours, including original, blueberry, caramel, chocolate, mango, earl grey, green tea etc. Our favourite is the Original flavour – just pure cheese tart with no extra fillings. Each tart sits on a cookie base. And the crunchy cookie base complements the creamy smooth texture of the cheese. The cheese tart is served iced cold, and because of that, the cheese isn’t too soft. With each bite, the cold hard cheese enters our mouth and melts immediately. The cheese tart isn’t too sweet, and we never get sick of eating them.
One of us was craving for German food and off to Magma we went for dinner! We had first known about Magma through the 2010 Restaurant Week and had also walked past Magma once during one of our food hunts. It’s a relatively easy place to find, a few shop houses from Oso Ristorante and just across the road from Pinnacle @ Duxton. The place adopted an open kitchen concept, so we could hear and see the chef preparing the food.
The first dish to arrive – Pan fried female wild boar. This turned out to be one of the more outstanding dishes of the night. The piece of wild boar was hidden below a heap of mushrooms. The meat was tender and flavourful, but was a rather small piece. The potato croquettes weren’t exactly like what we normally have at other restaurants; the center of the croquette was jelly-like. But the main highlight was the sauce! The sauce, in my opinion, tasted a little too salty on its own. But when eaten together with the croquettes, mushroom and meat, the sauce tasted superb! Too bad we didn’t have bread to dip in the sauce, it would have been nice.
And how can we miss out on Germany’s signature food – Pork Knuckles. There were 5 choices for us to choose from: roasted Bavarian, boiled Berlin, roasted honey, garlic or chili. We chose the conventional Bavarian roasted. A rather small knuckle, as compared to the one we had at Brotzeit. Nothing too fantastic or bad about the knuckle. But the skin was sure tough to cut through, let alone chew and swallow. The meat was tender, but only at certain areas. Flavour wise, they could have done a better job in masking the pork taste.
Main dishes aside, we had the following starters to share. We had the “Salad Frederick II” with potato, fine beans, bacon & capers. It was a huge portion, but reasonable for the price you pay. We don’t normally order salads when we’re out. The only other time we did was when we ate at PS Cafe @ Dempsey. Well, I guess the salad at Magma is nicer. As a potato lover, I give the potatoes in the salad 2 thumbs up! And guess out of the party of 6, I was the one who silently stole all the potatoes *oops*. The potatoes were not too hard, nor soft, it was slightly salty, with a very nice smell. I couldn’t really put my finger down to why the potatoes tasted great, but the bottomline is they were great! I could eat an entire plate of such potatoes without getting sick *yummy*!
The biggest disappointment of the night was the Flammkuchen. The description on the menu read “crispy”. But there was nothing crispy about it. The crust was not crispy, but kind of soggy, which didn’t go too well with me. The cheese didn’t taste strong and salty enough, there was barely any taste, not flavourful enough for our liking. They could also do a better job in beautifying the pizza. This is our first try at German pizza, and let’s just say that I still prefer the good old Italian versions.
Sausages were another German specialty. We tried the Berliner Currywurst. Firstly, I didn’t quite like the bread. It wasn’t the fluffy kind of bread that I like. Rather, it felt like it was soaked in water. The currywurst was nothing fantastic, typical curry sausages which one could get from Swiss Butchery. There wasn’t any hint of curry flavour in the gravy, rather it tasted more like a tomato-based sauce. So far, we have had sausages at Brotzeit, Al Borgo and now, Magma. And honestly, there isn’t any that impressed us. The search for authentic German sausages continues…