Sunday, February 05, 2006

what a treat

Sunday lunch was a Chinese New Year lavish spread of yu sheng, some five varieties of dim sum, roast duck, claypot rice (with choose-your-own toppings) and more at Man Fu Yuan at the Hotel Intercontinental. But I managed only a serving of yusheng, a siew mai, har gow, prawn roll and half a charsiewbao before giving up. I hadn't had any breakfast save a glass of milk. I was just too full from Saturday's dinner.

I should start from the beginning.

Promptly at 1 pm on Saturday, my family made our arrival at the Goodwood Park Hotel's Tudor Ballroom, where my sister and I were to help out with reception duties at a cousin's wedding. It's the first time I've helped out at a wedding, save for being a flower girl twice at aunt's weddings eons ago.

It was to be a small 12-table hi-tea wedding, so hard to screw it up lah. Thankfully nothing went wrong. Everything looked lovely, there were no squabbles over any seating arrangements (except for two unnumbered VIP tables), although with all the glitter scattered on the reception table and on the dining tables, people left rather sparkly.

The happy couple looked happy and I must say that was the longest "and now you may kiss your bride" kiss I've ever seen. That was a first.

Another first was having mee siam, laksa, scones, sushi, sandwiches and more at a wedding. And right at the end, each table was served a platter of the hotel's famous durian puffs, much to my dismay.

A band played, mostly oldies - which I realised I knew most of the words to. Some danced on the tiny dancefloor in front.

And then the dreaded call for "all single ladies" and I had to drag my ass over to the area just in front of the stage, to once again siam the bouquet. This time though, the single men were also afforded some stage time, with the groom tossing the garter at them - At least it's not just the single women who have to be forced to play along for tradition's sake.

So from an assortment of food, a fake cake, two glasses of a nicely chilled white wine, and two take-home gifts of honey and "wildflowers" - tea? potpourri? I'm still not sure - we headed home. And I headed out a couple of hours later for the feast at the newly renovated Saint Pierre. (Although it being my first time there, I cannot comment on the newly renovated premises)

It was my fault really. It was my choice to have the degustation menu ($95). And the wine tasting thingy that goes along with it - although for an additional $65 for 10 tasting glasses of wine, it was a nice price. Then there was the addition of foie gras classic at $12. I shrugged and said, "You only live once." And the decision was made. It was really made the moment I was passed the menu the side of a boogie board - the degustation menu was on the front page and I never really made it any further past that.

(Of course, I've been listening to The Strokes. dl here)

So it was an 11-course meal. Plus petit fours and tea/coffee. I don't know how I made it out the doorway after that.

Here's the
official long list

Here's my shortlist:
I adored the tomato soup which was so intensely tomatoed. I could almost see the tomatoes being plucked from the vine, ripened in the sun and blitzed to make this lovely orange-red liquid sitting in its stark white bowl. Tempura of zucchini and baby corn was dunked in the soup and added a light crisp crunch to the juicy soup. Can I ever go back to canned tomato soup after that orange-red joy? (The answer is obvious: I cannot afford organic tomato soup and sometimes, a girl just needs a meal that's ready in 4 minutes)

The pinot noir risotto came a bit too cold

The foie gras was well, foie gras. What can I say? It melts in your mouth. It's very rich very sinful. It made me happy.

And even before that I was already happy. It was a simple foie gras terrine that came with a refreshing pear reduction and poached lobster.

The first main course of cod was good but I felt that the wine accompaniment managed to play up the fishiness of it, leaving a strange, slightly unpleasant aftertaste. Pity, as I love cod. It's probably my favourite cooked fish.

The second main was of duck, which was not fantastic and made me think of roast duck, but was accompanied by olive toast and celeriac mash, which were so tasty and so comforting I wish I had space for more.

Oh and then there was desserts.

The best part about creme brulee is that moment when your spoon hits the caramelised sugar, cracks the golden brown top and sinks into the subtle cream below. Everything from there then goes down the hill. The act of eating a creme brulee, to me, is always far better than the eating itself. Don't get me wrong though, this was a fine vanilla-bean one. And accompanied with a gooseberry and caramelised chestnut, as well as a lemon macaroooon (I always thought this word deserved a couple of extra "o"s) it was a great Dessert Number One.
Best of all it was paired with a gewurztraminer. I love that. Despite its unpronounceable name. Sweet like honey. And better than honey, cos it's alcohol.

Dessert Number Two was a green tea chocolate cake. I could imagine enjoying a large slice of it with a steaming cup of tea as I sat on the verandah in a dress, fab shoes, and strangely, a hat. I'm never too fond of green tea desserts but this had just the right delicate touch of macha flavour and it was all combined well together, although I thought the cake was a bit dry.

Chocolates were offered along with the coffee and tea. But by that time, I was oversaturated. And I knew if I were to put any more food in my mouth, that would be it for me. So I had to sadly leave my piece on the table and bid farewell to it as I stomped out of the restaurant in my new green shoes (that I would later have to curse at when it started being too friendly with the skin of my left heel - threatening to take it out and all), carrying on me the welcome extra baggage of 11 courses, 10 tasting glasses of wine, and a half cup of tea.

However, I must say that service was quite inconsistent, with a hardly attentive sommelier who had forgotten to pour us the accompanying wine on two of the courses. He also rather curtly showed us the bottle each time, not bothering to say anything at all. The order-taker/server guy was far better.


Dawn said...

goodness me, i was full just looking at the menu!

imp said...

my god. how did you fit all that food in over the weekend?? especially the dinner at saint pierre??? degustation menu or's a huge amount of food!!! skipping breakfast and lunch today?

RealLifeReading said...

erm, skip lunch? how can?