Saturday, May 05, 2012

Creative Modern Cuisine at Spaghettini, Empire Hotel


Spaghettini Restaurant introduces their new menu just recently and I must say it’s going to be an eye opening experience for the Brunei dining scene. Chef Ajoy introduced quite a number of modern style cuisines that combine culinary cultures across continents and also reconstructed classic dishes with his creativity. You can be guaranteed you won’t find anything similar in Brunei as Chef Ajoy dares to be different!
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The smell of fresh bread is always welcome at the start of the meal. Some restaurants offer garlic bread or dinner rolls with butter. Spaghettini offers us freshly baked bread served with three types of butter; pesto butter, roasted capsicum butter and regular butter.
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Spreading the butter on the freshly baked bread - yum~

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Besides that they also serve creative champagne like drinks to start your meal.
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Our Amuse Bouche for the night – salmon and flavoured foam. An Amuse Bouche is usually eaten in one bite – so I took my salmon and sab it on the sauces and foam – then finish it with one bite. Delicious in a bite! Now let’s roll on the appetizers!
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The menu is quite descriptive – briefly introducing you to the dishes they offer. What they did not describe is how much effort and time is used to prepare these dishes.
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The first appetizer is the Black Angus Beef Carpaccio (which is thinly sliced raw beef) served with balsamic jelly (balsamic vinegar made into a jelly) and the white thing that looks like a fish ball is actually white truffle sorbet – an ice cream made from white truffles!
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This is chocolate infused prawns, served with a spicy mango glaze and salsa. I personally like the spicy mango salsa on this dish as it goes very well with the prawns.
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This is their scallop appetizer dish – which is a scallop served in 3 different ways – one is a scallop mousse, the center is grilled scallop and the last one is a wasabi breaded scallop.
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This is a creative reconstruction of the classic tomato and mozarella – in which the tomato is made into a terrine and then served with bocconcini (cheese) ice cream. The lines on the side of the plate are actually pesto and crushed pine nuts.
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At first glance – you would think this is a dessert based – but it’s actually crab wrapped by pasta sheets – the black coloured one is made from squid ink. The liquid this dish is swimming on is the watercress emulsion and is also served with star anise tomato jam.

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Now this appetizer is indeed special. It’s smoked duck and mushroom quesadilla (crispy tortilla), served with roasted corn and pepper relish. To me – this was my favourite appetizer of the night hands down. In fact – what’s special was that one of the tasters never liked duck – but actually enjoyed this dish. One of those foodgasm moments you would say.

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They have three soups to choose from their menu.
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This is their tomato tortilla soup with avocados and parmigiano reggiano cheese – a vegetarian soup.
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Lobster bisque with goat’s cheese spring roll and keta caviar. The spring roll was quite delicious.

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Their mushroom cappuccino requires a lot of time and work to execute and I must say this is my favourite soup out of the three. It’s a very rich soup and I really like the dijon custard in the soup.

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It’s finally time for the main course! The appetizers and soups got us quite excited!
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Angus Rib Eye Steak – served with a mustard ice cream (replacing the usual melted herb butters and mustard) with confit potatoes.
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Their lamb dish – which is lamb loin wrapped with pasta dough and served on a yellow pepper juice. From first glance, I actually thought it looked like tuna sushi.

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Another dish that looks like sushi! This is monk fish cheek quenelles with risotto ‘cake’ and asparagus with vanilla apple chutney on the side.
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Pan fried blue cod fish served with a mussel saffron sauce, avocado relish, and on the side is the sweet potato gnocchis on a white truffle sauce. I like how my cod is perfectly cooked and goes very well with the relish.
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This is their boneless roasted spring chicken, served with a pumpkin slaw, black sesame raviolli and verjuice glaze.

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This grilled sea bass fillet dish has gotten quite a lot of attention from the female tasters, The sea bass was served with seaweed linguini which had a very good texture, and delicious orange tree flavoured butter.
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Crispy Salmon with a pineapple salsa, sauteed shitake mushrooms and sea urchin essence.
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Hurray now it’s time for dessert! This is their delicious chocolate brownie with ice cream and M n M chocolates …… oh wait ….. it’s actually another creative play by the chefs. This is actually their slow cooked Oxtail dish that’s made to look like a dessert. Very tender and delicious oxtail dish which got people excited with the playful presentation.

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The final moment – the moment every woman is looking forward to – being proposed by the man of her dreams? ….. Nope…. not exactly – it’s the moment for DESSERT!!!!!!!
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The towering chocolate tube filled with passion fruit mousse.
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Chocolate fondant with a delicious pistachio ganache and caramel ice cream.

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Vanilla and rasberry glacee with a white chocolate chantilly.
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Green apple tart tartin and served with apple raisin ice cream
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This was my favourite dessert of the night Рthe mango and cardamom cr̬me brulee with mascarpone parfait and mango chips. Some of the tasters did not care for the cardamom taste but I love the richness of the custard which goes well with the parfait. More for me I guess Winking smile

Overall – it was a very eye opening experience and it’s good to see that there’s a true fine dining experience in Brunei instead of flying overseas to experience these contemporary fusion cuisines. If you want to impress or wish to treat someone special to a unique and fun dining experience – you should come and try out these new menus! Bon Appetit foodies!
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