Saturday, June 14, 2008

Privato Dinner@FinePalate.Com.Sg

Demona: Dogma's good friend, SH cordially invited me to join in a private birthday dinner function for P, E, and B, of the TT group last weekend. It was held at one of the black/white colour painted British colonial looking houses of Monks Hill Terrace. The house looked absolutely homely from the outside.

Demona: It was a different world altogether when we stepped into the house. It was a white, white world in there. The walls, the floors, the furnitures, the stairs, etc were all in white. A silent "Wow.........." burped out from my mouth as I saw the surroundings.

Everyone around was busy chatting at the cocktail area (the marbled table area) with a crystal glass on one hand and a canape on the other. Many of em' Dogma's friends were new faces to me. SH's wife, J, quickly came over and brought along a glass of champagne for me. J's an absolutely wonderful soul. A friendly, down-to-earth persona, she explained to me on the background of this dinner place.

According to her, Fine Palate, is a widely known gourmet catering company and they boast on their experties on creating a memorable fine dining experience, may it be an intimate or lavish gathering as well as exceptional services from chef down to its waiters.

They are going into the catering business full fledge. Interior decorating, music, etc are in-house prepared too.

You can see from the picture, how stunning the place looked.

Demona: The waiters went around serving a few varietals of canapes. This was the fois gras with grape jelly on croquette. This... was an absolute bomb! The fois gras was flavourful, juicy.. and ooh lah lah. The savoury taste later on changed into sweet bliss! Thanks to the grape jelly. My fingers were itching for another piece, but my mind had to stop my motor function from doing so. I did not want to fill my tummy up so soon.

Demona: This one, I did not try it. I shall leave this section for Dogma to write on it.

Demona: This was the filo pastry with cheese. This was also an average one. It reminded me of a bite sized cheeze-ey buttery croissant.

A short while after, my face was already reddish flushed, like a shell of a steamed lobster. This glass of champagne was the second one I'd drank in my life. The first was Boringer.

To be honest, I was quite lost. A no-brainer girl who likes drinking wine, in the midst of a group of knowledgable and cultured wine experts, I failed miserably at sharing the passion of the fiery discussions on which was a greater wine, what scent it released, the tannins, the acidities etc. But I am glad I was given a chance to experience this event, which, to me, was eye opening (May be common to many, but uncommon to me), a chance to taste good quality wine, and watching the passion in people who share similar interests, in this case, wine.

I sat back, to watch.

Demona: We proceeded on to the dinner table, a while after full attendance was achieved. A varietal of buns, and loaf slices, along with a small plate of butter chunks were placed on our table.

Demona: We started of with seafood scallops with pancetta and leeks. The scallop came as a painful reminder to Dogma, as he lost a bet on the definition of scallops to SH, and a few others and everyone gave him a toast for his loss.

The scallop was big, quite tender, juicy and succulent. This was my first encounter on a scallop the size of a 50 cents coin.

Demona: (silent wow) So big.... *slurps*
Dogma : Aiyah...this is quite common here in Singapore.
Demona: But... but... but......(flame of excitement got blown out)

The leeks were nicely softened, soaking in all the savoury juices, and when eaten along with the succulent scallop slices, actually turned out quite delicious! And to add on a triple killer kick, the crunchy finely cut pancetta strips gave a macho meaty flavour to intertwine with the seafood 'coin of luxury'.

Demona: Next, we moved on to the braised veal cheeks in rich red wine sauce, crushed rutton potatoes and green asparagus. The meaty smell was pungent. The presentation of the dish was quite simple.

Demona: Check out the tender meat, you could see some sticky gooey fat layers in between. As veal is lower in fat than most meats, careful preparation is taken to ensure that it does not become tough. The chef definitely did a good job in ensuring its juicy tenderness. Maybe that was why RICH red wine sauce was required in this dish.

Do not be fooled by its graphically small sized look, I could not finish it! Half of it went to the slender chap, E who looked like his tummy can still accomodate some space for the veal.

The asparaguses and ruttn potatoes were average. Nothing to shout about, but the sauce.. oooh la la, I could see most plates were, well not sparkly of course, but relatively white.

Personally, I am a little uneasy when it comes to eating a young. Subconsciously, I feel bad, because...even if they are going to be killed for their meat, at least they should be given a chance to live and mature into adults before their lives are taken away.

Demona: Then, came along the house farmed cheeses. Two big platters, filled with varietals of cheese slices, almonds, walnuts, sun dried grapes and prunes, and air fried crackers were brought to our table.

The star cheese in my opinion, was the brie. The initial taste was a bit bitter, but after it fused with your mouth juices, the flavour transformed into a beautiful savoury one. It went fantastically well along with the accompaniment eg: crackers, nuts, grapes.

The blu' was too powerful for me. It would definitely put up a good fight with Dogma's smelly socks apple cider vinegar, which he drinks a mouthful everyday to clear his intoxicated system.

The biggest failure was the cheddar, hardened, and not much savouryness was locked in. In fact, it tasted quite bland. It was quite unexpected as it seemed delicious from its looks.

The rest were average to me.

Demona: Finally, jeng jeng jeng...came dessert time! This was the sunken chocolate souffle with prunes and armagnac. I hurriedly broke through my souffle, thinking there would be some heavenly chocolate armagnac mix flowing out, along with some sun dried prunes.

Instead, crumbled bits fell off. I was quite surprised as I thought souffles were meant to be soft, fluffy, melts in your mouth, but since they had mentioned "sunken", I thought this would probably be a part of the plan. Leaving, puffy, fluffy raised souffles for some time, would cause them to sink a little, but until THIS much.. I had a gut feeling that these were not freshly baked.

While the rest were questioning on the presence of the armagnac, I kept absolutely quiet as :

1) I never tasted armagnac. I can't make out its taste.
2) I rarely have fine dining food. Did not experience enough to comment and compare.

According to my kampung (village) tastebuds, I can only detect faint alcoholic tastes on its prunes and maybe, a slight bit on the cream blob, near the raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

Dogma : So, which was your favourite wine for the night?
Demona : Errrr... (perspiring).. I can't remember. I think, the smoother, pencil shaving red wine. Champagne.
Dogma : Can't remember? Liao...! (Gone-er, wasted, finish).. Hello.. SGD 10 k plus wine kay?
Demona : I know... :(

I will leave this section for the expert's opinion.

Demona: One of the TT group, M, bought a green tea cake for the birthday babies. The green tea mousse layers were quite nice, not too sweet, yet at the finish line of tasting, you can detect the green tea leafy flavours. The bottom layer was a disappointment though. The overly sweetened, butter crumbled layer's taste was too strong that it totally wiped out the taste of green tea if eaten along with the mousses.

Verdict: Hmmmmmm... how should I say? An eye opening experience towards a new level of dining, but at this moment, I still need time to be more comfortable at such social events as these privileges are scarce back home. With Dogma as a guru in the matter of wine and dine, I believe I'll learn more each time. Maybe one day, I shall be able to fully utilize me Demona nose sniffles on wine.
Cocktail Hour
Filo Pastry with Cheese
Foie Gras with Grape Jelly on Crouquette
Gravdlax Salmon with Cream Cheese & Capers on Dark Rye Bread

Seared Scallops with Pancetta and Leeks

Main Course
Braised Veal Cheeks in Rich Red Wine Sauce, crushed Ruttan Potatoes and Green

House-Farmed Cheeses

Sunken Chocolate Souffle with Prunes and Armagnac

Coffee & Tea

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