Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Menu @ W52 Restaurant

   Thanks to W52 and Celine for their cordial invitation to try out the latest Spring and Summer dishes created by new Chef Francesco.  Celine is also a passionate Fashion Blogger herself, so please come check out her website here @ Coco Celine !    W52’s food is not news to me as I already went there and posted a review on it on its 1st opening day,  but it seems like they’ve now taken a new direction with the restaurant’s approach once again!  The Italian staple food is given a even more modern twist here nowadays,  and you can really see the input by the Chef and his creativity in each dish!      The other attraction which I’ve yet to try out, is their Aperitivo Hour -  during which an array of stuzzichini dishes are given out for free with yours drinks during happy hour.  A very traditional Italian way to wind down the day after work..



Antipasti Buffet Table -
This is actually quite attractive



It’s Quality >  Quantity
Not much selections but the food tasted good  though..


Sliced Parma Ham -


Some Vegetarian and Seafood Options -



Dessert Table -
Quality seems to be quite high and not like the often localised Buffet ones,
found in so many other restaurants



A European Mineral Water -





House Made Bread Basket -
The Grissini quality here is very high!   Very fragrant.  It is the traditional harder type, not the soft bready one.   Squid ink bread has improved from before too.


A Dip for the bread -


2 Types of Pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheeses,
Olives and Peppers stuffed with Mascarpone -
These are really good




My Antipasti Platter -
The Roast Beef was excellent and had a great beef flavour,  the Parma Ham was the softer type.  The salami and grilled eggplant I got a small tasting of..Smile




But it’s the Roman Tripes -
Which I will come back for.   This was done exceptionally well, as good as is found in Europe.


Fish Croquette -
This was like a fish nugget.  Interesting.




Melanzane - Eggplant and Buffalo Ricotta cheese Involtini,  with fresh pea purée $160
This was a very neatly presented dish.  I actually appreciate this,  as most modern Italian food in town are not put together beautifully.  This was a good starter entrée.


CARCIOFI - Crispy stuffed artichoke hearts/ Pecorino Romano crust/ fresh herbs  $180
With an artichoke puree.  This was a lovely dish using Sicilian artichokes in season.  This was one of 2-3 highlights for the day.   Excellent!   Love that contrasting flavour between the greens and the cheese crust,  and again presented beautifully.  Smile




POLPO - Bruschetta with grilled Octopus and potatoes/ Sardinian Mullet Bottarga Roe $180
This is 1.5 serving size.   The Octopus was good but it could do with a little bit more presence of the Bottarga Roe to give it that extra dimension…



GNOCCHI DI PATATE - Fresh potato gnocchi with Mascarpone and vanilla sauce,
toasted hazelnuts – $130 (S), $180 (L)
The home made gnocchi were the tinier type and had a good bite.   The Vanilla in the cheese sauce was interesting when paired with the gnocchi,  but it works.   I think incorporating in a little bit of meat or game meat into this dish will work even better!



RICCIOLA - Roasted Italian Amberjack fish with rosemary, Warm Sicilian onion, Orange and
Green olives salad and Pine nuts -  $320
This to me and my fellow diner was a little too over-cooked and not fatty enough.  I think a Swordfish will probably work better although ‘Ricciola’ is a traditional Italian fish dish.  The garnish of the orange segments, olives and the barely cooked onions were good however. 



ASTICE AL BURRO - Boston lobster, Endive & Artichoke butter sauce  $430
This is another 2nd highlight dish.  Usually boston lobster can be a bit mealy, but this was really fresh and had a bounciful texture.  Most importantly this surprisingly worked really well with the Artichoke butter sauce and the whole pieces of artichoke hearts.  A combo that I’ve never tried before but so brilliant -  I want to return and eat this dish!   Lovely Lobster!  Smile





Espresso -
They changed to another Italian brand, which is a lot more smokier and bolder.  I liked the previous one better.    And unfortunately and apologies to be frank,  this espresso wasn’t made very well.  It was watery and pulled for too long, which gave it that ashy character.     As a coffee person,  I am continually surprised at how Italian restaurants in town with Italians managers or bar tenders make their coffee without proper training.   Throughout my Italian trip and I’ve had like 20 coffees,  only 1 place made me a bad coffee the rest were all spot on!!  Improve!





Macarons,  Profiteroles and Chocolate Fudge Cakes -
From the Desserts buffet table.




PANNA COTTA alle MELE VERDI - Pannacotta with Green apple Granita and Apple Salad  $95
Arriving on a very hot day,  this was a godsend.  Very refreshing.   Its priced a little high but its made very well,  the apple granita and the panna cotta works together so well. Smile



Tuscan Chocolate and Ricciarelli Parfait $95
This was a Tuscan chocolate based frozen parfait,  with a scoop of additional gelato and some biscuity crumbs.   I think this was made well,  but if they could incorporate multiple flavouring layers!




Price:   Lunch Set starts from mid $195 to $255.   A La Carte is as above.
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
Coffee: ♕♕

Opening Hours:
Sun to Thurs-  06:00am - 23:00pm
Fri to Sat -   06:00am - 23:30pm

Address: 中環雲咸街52號地下至3樓
G/F-3/F, 52 Wyndham Street, Central
Ph: 6768 5252

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gamberini 1907 - (Bologna, Italy)

  Il Cafè Pasticceria Gamberini 1907 is supposed to be famous in Bologna.   That’s what they all say anyway on a daily basis – same applies everywhere else!   Famous for what,  you might legitimately ask me?   Well, do I look like an Italian to you? : )   If the locals say I should follow their guidance & venture in to try, I’ll happily oblige.   Especially this being my 1st time here in this city!     But at the end of the day being Authentic is not necessarily a guarantee,  as the world constantly evolves.    Gamberini is one of the rare encounters which gave me enough satisfaction from their high dessert quality as well as the equal disappointment from their coffee quality.   My mind still remains divided to this day as I write,  as I do believe Dessert and Coffee should go hand-in-hand with one another.   And this has already taken into consideration the generally far higher coffee quality to be found here within Bologna than elsewhere in other parts of Europe!


The Dessert Selections are very tempting.. 
I love sweets.  I wish I could gobble down them all..


More Sweets and La mignon selections ..


Wait, there’s still more La mignon selections! 




Barista -
He is both the Bar Tender and the Coffee Maker.
That’s what the original Barista term means, apparently..


Un Caffe -
A Single Espresso,  was the darkest and broodiest & most bitter cup I remembered tasting up North here.  It’s even more bitter than most of the ones I drank in Rome and is completely the opposite of every other cup of coffee I had within Bologna, or I could safely claim it as the worst!   This would make Southern Italians cringe even with sugar added.  
Do I sound ‘bitter’  towards this cup lol?  You bet!  Disappointing   ~   3/10



Rum Baba -
This on the other hand,  was completely spot on and exactly what I’d remembered it to be like, whether it be the French traditional or Italian adaptations.   The spongy cake had the correct sporous and cake-like texture,  the amount of Rum and Syrup coating was perfectly juggled.  I’m going to apologise first  - this is and has probably always been what a Rum Baba really ought to taste like from the beginning.   Except I am lost for words to describe and explain ‘technically’ how or why this to be the case.   I wish I could put it into words!   8  1/2 Otto e Mezzo’s elegant version came close, but still wasn’t the real deal.  The crustily hard and very dry version served at Grand Hyatt Steakhouse in comparison was completely laughable & totally irrelevant to compare.  The now defunct GVSTO’s version came close,  still but lacked the right flavours.   I still miss this Rum Baba to this day, it was that good…  Sad smile ~   10/10



Nice Pasticceria -
If only they could fix up the obviously Southern Italian style coffee,
which is more hardcore than down South itself !

Price:   €4,00  (Bargain)
Dessert:  ♕♕♕♕♕
Coffee: ♕♕

Address: Via Ugo Bassi, 12 - 40121 - Bologna
Tel.: 051 2960467

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Montegrappa da Nello - (Bologna, Italy)


  Emilia–Romagna in Northern Italy is on the whole most famous for their cheeses, parma ham and mortadella selections, etc,  which can now be bought from all over the world.  Nevertheless I decided to get a trial of these local produce,  over @ S-Wine Bar.   In the more central food capital city of Bologna and close-by Modena,  Tagliatelle al Ragu is probably their most well known regional dish.   Spaghetti Bolognese is fairly different to this traditional ‘Bolognese’ version -  first of all, spaghetti itself wasn’t even used in Bologna, but was invented way down south in Sicily and Napoli.   So what’s with the irrelevant reference of this pasta dish to Bolognese, when there is nothing very Bolognese about it?  Plus it is actually a Ragu,  not a sauce!     It’s certainly an international misnomer and blame it on the new world invention of the Spag Bol !


Recommended by some Bologna locals -
Diana around the corner from here is also famous for Tagliatelle al Ragu,
but unfortunately closed during my time of visit..


A lot of local dishes -


Down Stairs -
Looking like an underground tavern ..

Tenuta Amalia Sangiovese -  €5,0 for Half Bottle
A local wine,  goes well with the pasta below..!


Some Bread and Crispy Bread Sticks -
Not bad and they’re fun to eat or dip into the Monini Olive Oil

Tagliatelle al Ragu €10,0 -
Said to use both Beef and Pork,  this was not overly minced.  It doesn’t have much ‘tomato’ taste either unlike new world Bolognese sauce,  and is textured like a thick ragu and quite dry.
Home Made Pasta was cooked unbelievably perfect in texture.   Add on some shavings of locally famous Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.    The only complaint I have is that this ragu doesn’t have enough herbs or depth of taste to me.   ~   8/10


Real Bologna style Ragu -
Easy to say..  but not as easy to replicate.
Even in Bologna, apparently there are quite a few styles!



So many visitors -
Food was pretty good rather than out of this world, 
but one of the best versions I’ve tried.




Price:   €18,00 including Bread and Wine
Food:  ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Closed on Mondays.
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays in July.
Closed in August.

Address:  Via Monte Grappa, 2, Bologna, Italy 051-236331.
Ph: 051 236331


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