Decadent@ La Strada Singapore

A decadent Birthday Dinner for the January babies, M,SH and me at La Strada (Shaw Centre).
La Strada meaning “The Street” is part of Les Amis group and pride it self in serving exquisite Italian fare. Much to our dismay, the executive chef has left for holiday with her wife and it was its sous chef Haw Poh Poh that took the helm today.

Nonetheless, it is a flight of extraordinary wines…..

Francois Raveneau Chablis Premier Cru 2002@160SGD: One of the top Chablis maker, this baby sings! Nose of buttery oak and citrus. Oyster seashell zing on the palate with great mineral complexity at the backpalate. Very elegant with immense acidity. Good for long term cellaring and it definitely gonna be very complexed when aged. Have a few bucks? Buy a case to cellar!
Dom Perignon Vintage 1975@800SGD: The usual suspect of Champagne, but of vintage 1975. Some broiche citrus nose back with yeast. Fine bubbles. Initial nose of pleasant sea salt which some commented as being Marmite like. After 30min of breathing, elegant honey appear on the nose. Finish was medium

The beautiful cork of the 1975 Dom Perignon. Still holding on!
Thierry Vigot Vosne Romanee Premier Cru Les Gaudichots 1992@250sgd: Light pink body with brown hue. Amazing young sight for such a aged wine. Pleasant nose of cherry with some wetness evolving into some undergrowth tone. A good spicy nose as well. A character wine.
Beaulieu Vineyard Private Reserve 1973@800SGD: The pioneer label of Napa Valley wine and one of the “First Growth” status in Napa. Brownish red, sigh of aged. Big sweet licorice in the nose with some leather. Evolve into medicinal tone after 30mins. A tremendous acidity, it still can hold another 10 years. Amazing for a Napa Valley wine!
Chateau Montrose 1982 St Estephe: Pour straight from the bottle. A big nose a boil egg. Smelly and close. Some barnyard. Edwin suggested to leave it for 45mins and I faithfully follow suit. After 45 mins, a beautiful pencil shavings, elegant big mid palate occur. This sings as well, but you need time and decanting.
Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, St Julien 1985: Intense pencil shavings on the nose. Elegant mouth feel with long finish. Good acidity. Can still hold for 8 years.This is nice! This is my favourite St Julien wine so far as compared to Leoville Las Casses. Beautifu! Vasse Felix will be a poor man version of this with more fruit and elegance. Drinking well now!
Clos Des Pape Chateauneuf Du Pape 1999@100SGD: This Castle of the Pope wine, born on gravely soil of the Rhone valley is definitely elegant. Slight gamy nose but light mouthfeel. A good freshness in the mouth. Nose are still tight. Needs time!

Louis Roederer Cristal 2000@450SGD: The jewel of the House is Cristal, this champagne is created in 1876 for Russian Tsar Alexander II. Big big erupting bubbles when pour into the glass. Immense gas released and kinda irritates your nose when sniffing it. Some biscuit initially, but developed honey after 30min. A strong mid body with a structure to hold against time. This definitely needs time of another 8 years for it to mature. Infanticide.

Chateau Guiraud 1996 Sauternes@90SGD: Nice golden brown colour showing good age. Immense apricot in the nose and detect some minor secondary herbs beneath. Still can hold for many years to shed the primary fruit. I have a bottle in my cellar and probably i’ll pop 1 open in 2020 to celebrate and witness the progress of Malaysia’s Wawasan 2020 project.

The food:

French Bean Salad, Deep fried Jerusalem artichoke and Spanish onions. Ok, you have ingredients from all over the world but how’s the taste? Well i could not detect any Spanishness or Jerusalem-ness or Frenchiness in it but this dish is light and pleasing to eat. Some sea salts opens up our appetite for more! Demona could have done a similar job ( without the truffles on top ) with Cameron highlands grean beans, potota and Indian onions.. I just have to get her some seasalt! ( Atlantic or Pacific?)
Tagliatelle with slow cooked shallots, pancetta and zucchini: This is quite a let down. The sauce and pasta did not hold together. Disintegrated. The sauce was too light and not holding well. The home made pasta was not fresh and. I could have cooked a much better version at a tenth of the price. FAIL!
Pan fried Mulloway Fish with Jerusalem artichoke in olive, basil and tomato nage: Again, i could not sense any Jewishness in the dish. As i was born and lived in a Fishing Village (near), the fish did not live up to my expectation and i could tell it was long dead before being cooked. Meat was dry and some fishiness smell. Sweetness was gone from the fish. The artichoke olive basil “sauce” did not enhance nor compliments the fish. Disharmony. Fail!

Chargrilled 200 day grain fed US ribeye served with thick cut potato fries, rocket salad and natural jus. Star dish for the night. Very very well made steak cook to perfection!! you could taste some fantastic tender beefy flavour from this. NO sauce, no condiments, eat it au natural! Within a month i had tasted 2 very good steak from Italian restaurant (Senso and here), I ponder did the italians forgotten about their roots in pasta and venture more in to big steak? Well made dish, but the disappointing pasta really put me off as i expect Good pasta in a Italian restaurant.
Chocolate cake from Canele Patisserie: S got this from Canele and it is rich rich rich. Thick chocolate fillings with biscotti crumbs, raisin in the middle. Heavenly. Demona would die for this!
Balsamic and peppered Strawberries with light yogurt sorbet: So so dish. Interesting touch of balsamic vinegar but thats about it. It did not lift anyone off its seats or provide good comfort. Fuggehaboutit.

My pressies from P and M. Thanky Whanky!


Joe’s birthday@Italiannies, The Curve

Demona: Since Joe had no plans on the eve of his birthday, my birthday gift to him: A dinner treat in Italiannies (this dude has never dined in there.. strange) and “Cloverfield”, a blair-witch-project-filming-style-godzilla movie.

Demona: Free flow of grained and white bread slices, dipped with herbs seasoned olive oil and vinegar. A second round of eating bread would have made too full for our main meals already.

Demona: The birthday boy ordered a cup of cappucino. I assumed that the drink was up to standard as he did not complain about it and the aroma of the coffee was pretty strong when it came to our table.

Demona: We ordered a plate of mushrooms, stuffed with a mixture of blended tuna, cheese and herbs as starters. Tomato paste was added on the tip of each stuffed mushroom. There was a total of 8 mushrooms on the plate. The portion was only enough for 2 or 3 persons only. RM 20.90.

Demona: The stuffed mushrooms did taste good. The stuffed tuna, cheese and herb bits were very aromatic and flavourful, but they ended up overpowering the taste of the mushrooms. I think that we could easily make this dish and for RM 20, we would probably get twice or three times more than just 8 mushrooms.

Demona: Joe ordered the lasagna (RM 24.90), since there was a chef’s recommendation tag next to the dish’s label. The portion was huge alright. You would definitely need 2 or 3 persons to finish this up without causing possible bursting of zippers.

Demona: As great as it was expressed on the menu, we found the lasagna disappointing. The lasagna was too dry, and the top melted cheese layer just came off completely on its own instead of gluing on to the pastry layer. There was not enough of tomato saucy paste and cheese in between the lasagna layers causing the pastry and minced meat ingredients to crumble whenever we plunged the fork in.

I had to scrape off the tomato paste at the corners of the plate to mix into my lasagna so it would be less dry when I ate it. Yet, it was not enough for the whole portion. Besides that, the tomato paste was also way too salty. Joe realised it as well. I will not order this dish anymore in future. The recommendation tag made me doubtful of its credibility as well.

Verdict: The bill came up to RM 59.30, including all the ++ tax. Slightly expensive alright, but it was expected if you have intentions of dining in such places.

I even asked a waiter, who turned out to be non-English speaking, whether if there was any complimentary cakes and birthday songs for Joe. He just nodded and nodded and nodded, thus I was excited thinking there would be.

Until the bill came, until we were ushered out of the restaurant, my cake and my song never came. Looks like I will only get to embarrass Joe next year. I’ll be smarter this time… TGI Fridays.