Thursday, April 21, 2016

Five Nines at Keong Saik Road

Interesting name for a restaurant...999.99 (Five Nines)...the reason? The owners (Japanese) were gold traders, and the highest purity for gold is 999.99 (24ct gold). They have since retired from the gold business and started this restaurant. Headed by a Japanese Head Chef Masanao Saito, the restaurant served Japanese inspired modern European food.

Seating is available at tables, as well as a bar counter overlooking the open kitchen.

For the evening meal, we had A La Carte, and ordered the following...portions were shared by 2 pax.

We started with the Burrata and tomato salad ($14)

The burata was excellent. Mild as the fresh burrata often is, this Italian delicacy was complemented very well with the tomato salad.

We also had the Seabass Carpaccio & Truffle Salsa ($16)

Nice dish. The seabass was very fresh, and lightly cured. A mild aroma of truffle lingers about the plate. And the halved cherry tomatos were sweet with a tart aftertaste which went very well with the fish. 

As it was the season for asparagus in the Northern Hemisphere, we had the White Asparagus & Sous Vide Egg ($16) 

The sous vide egg was perfectly done, as it usually is. We found the white asparagus to be full flavored, if a bit on the fibrous side. But the slices of ham were the perfect foil to the egg. Nice one.

Then to the main courses. First up, one of the more popular dishes at Five Nines. The Lobster Gratin ($29)

A whole lobster, with the meat removed from the shell (yes, the claws were empty, the meat removed and used as filling with the cheese gratin. The first 20 servings for each day is offered at an incredible price of only $19. 

We found the lobster a little on the small side, but the taste more than made up for it. The lobster was probably live, and the meat was sweet, succulent and very tasty. 

Next is another popular dish. The Smokey Lamb & Eggplant ($22)

Two chops were served covered by a glass bell filled with smoke. We were told the smoke was made from burning apple and cherry wood, and it was quite a spectacle as the waiter lifted the bell, and the wonderful smokey aroma filled the table vicinity. The meat was beautifully cooked. The lamb was well marinated, and did not have a gamey flavor, but one which is nicely aromatic with a smokey nose. The meat was tender, and not too fat, but still flavorful. This was my highlight dish for the evening.

And then some starch...Truffle Cream Risotto & Foie Gras ($19)

The risotto was a bit unusual. It was a little softer than expected, with the characteristic Italian al dente bite being mostly absent. And the truffle cream was light and did not get in the way. Nice touch by the chef to achieve this balance. The foie gras was excellent. It was cooked just right, probably pan fried till crisp on the outside, while still soft within. The fats bursting out as one presses it against the palate, exploding in a wonderful flavor that only foie gras can provide.

Then the desserts. The Tiramisu ($8) first.

Looks like almost every tiramisu in the world. But looks can be deceiving. The taste was wonderful. The texture was very light, with a good touch of cream from the mascarpone, and the alcohol. Very nice tiramisu.

But I was more impressed with the Raspberry & Chocolate ($9)

A small scoop of raspberry ice cream accompanies. The cake itself was a very dense chocolate and was excellent. A must have for the chocolate lover.

The restaurant was nearly full when we were there for an early dinner on a Saturday evening. And although they do not enforce it, two seatings are generally observed. The restaurant opens at 6pm and the second seating is approximately 9pm.

A nice restaurant, with good food at reasonable prices. If we had to nit pick, it would be that the servings tend to be a bit smaller than expected. Perhaps we were getting too used to American serving sizes...and perhaps its asking for a bit much as the prices were actually quite reasonable for food of this quality. 

Five Nines
29 Keong Saik Rd, 089136
Phone: 6221 7098 (reservations recommended for weekend evenings)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

SabX2: The real Soi 19 Wanton Mee in Pratunam, Bangkok

Recently this new genre of wanton mee called Thai Wanton mee caught on in Singapore. One of the first stalls which started this is the Soi 19 Thai Wanton Mee we reviewed a while ago. I am a regular there these days, and prefering their black sauce version, and usually order the large portion with more noodles, and ingredients like Chinese sausage.

But I note that the AMK version is not like the one in Bangkok in which it is suggested to be modeled after. The famous Soi 19 WTM in Bangkok goes by the curious name of SabX2, and is located at Petcheburi Soi 19. Literally just across the road from the popular Platinum Shopping mall.

There is perpetually a long queue at the shop. Interestingly, it is a double fronted shop house with the cooking station outside, and the dining area in air conditioned interior. When we were there, the patrons seemed to be exclusively Singaporeans.

And it was crowded. Took about 15 minutes for us to move to the head of the queue, and another 10 minutes after we ordered to be served. They used to offer a regular portion and a deluxe portion, but now only the B100 deluxe portion is available.

Portions were very small, and in each a bit of wanton noodles, chye sim, wantons, char siew and a rather generous portion of crab meat. The noodle was served in a little soupy broth, not quite like a soup, but more like a sauce (portion size).

The noodles have a firm bite. Very qq or al dente. The wanton skin had a smooth, rather luxurious mouth feel. Quite nice. The char siew was one of the stars. Very tender, almost melt in your mouth. Nice porky flavour, but not the in-your-face kind where it can sometimes tend to be overwhelming. A nice sprinkling of crispy pork lard is mixed in, and the crab meat is very sweet and adds a nice dimension.

Overall, very enjoyable. I guess B100 is rather expensive for a small portion of wanton mee in Bangkok. The place is well blogged by other Singaporean bloggers, so explains the reason why it seemed to be completely patronized by Singaporeans. Service was brisk, not particularly polite, and communication was in Mandarin. For me, nice bowl of wanton mee with a twist. Curious about the origins of the name though.

SabX2 Wanton Mee
Address: 4/32-33 Soi Petchburi 19, Pratunam, Bangkok, Thailand
Contact: +66 2653 9618
Opening Hours: Daily 9am-3pm