Wednesday, April 29, 2009

World Gourmet Summit 2009- Cassis

Being a Citibank Card holder, my mum received an invitation to "savour the finest flavours the world has to offer as Singapore once again hosts Asia's foremost gastronomic event- The World Gourmet Summit. From 19 April to 2 May, the stage is set to transform the city into an epicurean haven. With the spotlight on a dazzling cast of Michelin-rated chefs, some of the best wineries from around the world, celebrity chefs and master mixologists, gastronomic aficionados will be treated to gourmet pleasures that are truly a feast for the senses!"

And guess what, Chef Herve Boutin (one of my superior class chef) is also part of the masterchefs representing Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney, Australia. What a surprise! I've got an invitation to the event which Chef Herve, Arnaud Guerpillon (LCB, Mexico) and Olivier Oddos (LCB, Tokyo, Japan) will be demonstrating French cuisine and desserts, and sharing their expirience in the industry. Alas! I didn't make it! (oh, my chef herve!) Coincidentally, I had a wisdom tooth extraction prior to the event which I had already booked 2 weeks ago (therefore no changing of date). After which, I really had no mood (and energy) to go say hi to Chef Herve; plus I looked like crap, I can't even feel half my mouth.

I guess I would have to settle for something else. At my mum's recommendation, we booked a table, on a Saturday night, at Cassis (one of the participating restaurants in the World Gourmet Summit)

Arriving at 8pm (no thanks to my brother, he is the king of tardiness). The restaurant is huge. It has an open area for casual drinks, an open but shaded area for alfresco dining and an indoor dinning area.

Today we are dining French.

My brother and I chose the World Gourmet Summit Degustation 7 course meal, while my mum opted for a la carte.

The obligatory bread with butter. It's nice, served warmed and organic.

First course: House smoked salmon and Blinis cooked a la minute. Saumon fumé maison et son Blinis cuit a la minute. I quite like this dish. The salmon is fresh. Blinis is a little thick, though I do like the sweet salty fluffiness. Coupled with the tangyness from the lemon and creme fraiche, yummy! I have one off-comment though: don't give us such a carbo-heavy blinis (especially not at half-burger size) in the first course, it kind of kills off your appetite quickly.

Second course: Warm scallop emulsion sour green lime butter and seaweed caviar. Saint-Jacques juste tiede beurre de citron vert Acide de caviar d'algue. I like this one too. The raw scallops were very sweet itself, slightly salty and sour by the butter. I can't really taste the seaweed caviar though. Interestingly, I found the pickled fennel salad the best part of the dish. For something so humble, I found it fresh and exciting, it's like nothing I have tasted.

Third course: Seared sea bass served with white asparagus and a beetroot sabayon. Bar Poeler avec asperges et un sabayon a la beterave fraiche. Hmm, how do I put this. If I am not Chinese, I would have liked this dish. The fish is fresh and crispy at the top, the best of the best pan-fried fish. Beetroot sabayon complements the fish well. I didn't know that cooked beetroot can taste like that, slightly woody. But since I am Chinese, whose father makes wonderful pan-fried fish on an almost daily basis, I must say I was terribly disappointed at the fish... Give me foie gras!

Fourth course: Homemade duck liver terrine with Morelos marmalade, Port jelly and Almond brioche. Notre terrine de foie gras et sa confiture de Cerise, Gelée de porto et sa Brioche. Oh, here's my foie gras. I like this! The foie gras terrine is fresh, such that it has that livery sweetness, none of the off-livery taste that canned ones usually has. Brioche is well done. Soft and buttery. Marmalade and jelly were both true to its flavour. As much as I like bread, stop giving us carbo-heavy stuff! I still would like to comfortably enjoy my steak.

Fifth course: Slow braised pork belly and prawn, crushed green peas and spices reduction sauce. Poitrine de Porc en cuisson lente et crevettes, petit pois écrasés et réduction d'épices en sauce. Hmm, also kind of disappointed at this dish. Mashed peas taste great, sweet and all. If I had a choice I wouldn't have glass prawn. I have this weird belief of mine that, if your prawns are fresh why glassify it? There's no point in that. Pork belly's skin is so thick that you can't even cut through with a table knife, biting it is already a problem. Sigh..We did air our views to the waitstaff, but we were told to take it as it is. Blahh... my uncle can make pork belly ten times better than this!

My mum's main course: Brasied beef cheeks and white asparagus with Bordeaux and chocolate sauce. Beef cheeks are nicely done but too salty. So salty that my mother attempted to exchange her cheeks for my steak.

Sixth course: Pan-seared beef tenderloin served with a delicate celery puree, Bordeaux and chocolate sauce. Filet de boeuf poelé, douce purée de céleri servi avec sa sauce au Bordeaux et chocolat noir. This dish is cute. Looks like a bull's eye on plate. I sort of like this dish. The celery puree is surprisingly hearty, I suspect they added potatoes, but it still retained a strong celery accent. Beef is cooked well, very medium like I asked. Sauce failed miserably. I couldn't taste the Bordeaux, not even chocolate. If I didn't know what sauce this is, I would have guessed it was a very salty brown sauce.

Seventh course: Strawberries- papaya soufflé baked to order, pear fruit sorbet. Soufflé a la fraise et a la papaye cuit à la minute servi avec un sorbet de poire. The sorbet was good, full of peary sweetness. Soufflé, c'est mal! (it's bad) It is toooo sweet. Not any fruity sweetness, it the bland sugar sweetness. Urghh. I didn't even finish.

Petite fours with English breakfast tea. Nothing impressive.

Overall, I give the restaurant 7 out of 10 for the savoury stuff. Pastry was not good except for the brioche. It would have been better if they could resize each dish to fit the degustation menu and not just take it out of the daily menu and chuck it in for degustation. There is a whole lot of room for improvement for the service. Service was really lousy compared to the food. In an establishment of their size and standard, I expect fine service, staff who know their menu, staff who can explain the dish. Wines too, I expect good recommendation of wines, wines that will suit our mood, wines that will compliment the dish. We did have 3 glasses of whites each. We gave the sommelier our preference and asked him to choose a wine for us. In the end, we got stale sour white wine. Sighh... So much for quality.

Cassis: 6/10

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