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Monday, 26 June 2017

[Media Invite] Dinner at ilLido at the Cliff @ Sofitel Sentosa

2 Bukit Manis Road, Sofitel Sensota Hotel, Singapore 099891
Tel: 6708 8310
Opening Hours: 12pm to 2.30pm (Sat / Sun lunch) / 6pm to 10pm (daily dinner)

ilLido Italian Restaurant has moved from Sentosa Golf Club over to the luxurious Sofitel Sentosa Hotel just beside it, continuing to serve up delectable, contemporary Italian cuisine helmed by Chef Simone Fraternali.

The restaurant is characterized easily by its romantic settings, perched on the hilltop, surrounded by greenery as well as the sea. The bar counter is by the pool itself, so diners can choose the view they most preferred. Interior is an intimate lure done in beautiful shades of white, deep turquoise and mahogany, comfortably seating up to 88 persons with option of private dining room for up to 12 persons.

Service was  impeccable on all levels, from the first greeting we received to the gentle thoughtfulness throughout the meal itself. This was a media invite attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere as well as some other familiar reviewers / food-bloggers. We managed to try dishes off their dinner menu as well as had a sneak peek into their new White Asparagus Menu.

Fluffy house-made Bread started the meal, soaking up the smoothness of olive oil dip and flavour of balsamic vinegar dip, served on the side.

Then we moved on to Pan-Roasted Foie Gras with Raspberries and Duck Jus (SGD$30.00), courting the butter-textured, smoky-tinged liver in the palate gently at first, before it turned into a full-blown love affair when the duck jus set in. One more?

White Asparagus with Lobster Knuckles and Amalfi Lemon Hollandaise (SGD$) was an interesting dish bringing together creaminess, sweetness and citrusy hints onto a single plate, with the notes all flat and nothing distinctive disappointingly.

The Grilled Octopus with Confit Tomatoes and Potato Cream (SGD$29.00) was a feast for the eyes as well the mouth, enticing with its vibrant colors convened. Octopus was juicy and slightly chewy, tamed by the easier touch of the potato cream edging the food arrangement.

Moving on, we had the Hokkaido Scallop Crudo with Tuna Tartare and Sweet Peas (SGD$30.00), another colorful creation that whetted the appetite hugely. From the sweet bouncy scallops to the springy tuna tartare to the umami burst of the salmon roe, this dish led the palate through a vivacious journey of taste and texture.

Following that, we enjoyed the Baked White Asparagus with Egg Milanese and Veal Jus (SGD$), white asparagus baked softly with a gentle crunch, encircled by veal jus and paper-thin slices of truffle. What stole the show though, was the single Egg Milanese perched on the asparagus, sporting a crispy exterior that gave way to luscious, creamy yolk under the knife's touch.

Pastas were served next, taking us up another level of exploration at ilLido at the Cliff.

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Lobster, Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon (SGD$42.00) comprised of springy, nearly al-dente pasta redolent of lobster's sweet flavour, even before biting into one of the luscious lobster pieces.

Then it was the Tagliolini with Hokkaido Scallops and Bottarga (SGD38.00), flat pasta and notes enlivened by the gentle sweetness of scallops and briny flavor of Bottarga.

The Pappardelle with Iberico Pork Ragout and Guanciale (SGD$34.00) was plain delicious, with well-textured wide pasta complemented beautifully by well-seasoned pork.

Next, we had Truffle Parmagiano filled Gnocchi with White Asparagus, Truffles and Carbonara (SGD $36.00). The spherical, sticky Gnocchi was coated with purple potato for that lovely hue, bursting apart to fill us with earthly goodness.

Meat and poultry dishes dawned next, starting with the Pan-roasted Seabass with Romanesco and Basil Sauce (SGD $38.00) - crispy skin and juicy flesh creamed over by aromatic basil sauce, lending stronger flavours to the mild-tasting fish.

Black Cod with Caramelized Celeriac, Lemon Capers and Vine Tomatoes (SGD$48.00) was immensely pleasing to the tongue, flakes of sweetness so smooth and melty, hitting home from the first forkful.

Following that, we tried the Guinea Fowl with Foie Gras and Black Truffle (SGD$45 00), an exquisite creation that required an arduous 2 days and 5 cooking techniques before it hit the plate. From slow-cooking to reduction to sous vide to confit preparation of various parts of the guinea fowl, to the baking of honey-glazed carrots, you can be sure that this dish is very well prepared to engage one's senses effortlessly.

Finally, the last savoury dish of the evening - Beef Tenderloin with Marsala, Foie Gras and White Asparagus (SGD $48.00). A luxurious dish where succulence and smokey summed up the beef, flanked by buttery foie gras and the gentle crunch of white asparagus for full satisfaction.

Moving on to desserts - one cannot dine at an Italian restaurant and not have desserts, no?

Vanilla and Orange Creme Brulee with White Asparagus Gelato made an appearance first, teasing the palate with citrusy hints and floral notes before the interesting white asparagus gelato set in, proving that vegetables make for good ice-cream flavour too.

Next, House Tiramisu (SGD $18.00) was not your typical dessert in a cup / jar. Fluffy and creamy notes of coffee, chocolate and coffee liqueur made for a good swirl around the tongue while the smattering of coffeebeans around the glass jar lent crunch and notes of my favorite bittersweetness.

The White Chocolate, Raspberry and Lemon Tart (SGD $18.00) offered lovely crusty mouthfuls of zesty, satiny lemon curd. After the Tiramisu, I could safely pronounce this my 2nd best loved dessert.

The grand finale was the Jamaican Pepper and Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries and Rum (SGD $18.00). Rich, velvety in texture and chocolateness, embodying gentle pierces of rum and pepper unto itself as a whole. Well, the palate approved big time.

Overall dining experience was superb, because of the impressive multi-faceted settings, excellent service, and delectable dishes. Hurry and make your book to try ilLido's White Asparagus Menu before end of July 2017.

Thank you  ilLido at the Cliff and team for hosting, as well as Hungrygowhere for the invite!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Outfit of the day - black maxi dress with thick pearl belt

"You can have any color, as long as it’s black.” – Henry Ford

Swing, swing back to girlhood. Swing, swing away your troubles. Loving this long maxi dress with deep gray top and black skirt part. Paired with a pearl belt to add some hues to it.

Dress: Bought from Hong Kong (SGD$80.00)
Belt: Bought from Hong Kong

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Review on Mary Kay's Soothing Indulge Eye Gel [Sponsored]

Recently I noticed that my eye bags were getting very obvious, and the irony is that I have begun sleeping an hour earlier every night. I used to sleep at 2.00am every night, but the eye bags had not shown. Recently, I am in bed by 1.00am, but the eye bags are deeper, and that concerns me immensely.

Photo with prominent eye bags - before using the MK eye cream

I asked around, and was introduced to Mary Kay's Indulge Soothing Eye Gel by a friend. It contains botanical extract (namely green tea extract, cucumber extract and dog rose fruit extract) which are supposed to tone, firm and reduce puffiness around the sensitive eye area.

The gel comes in an elegant glass tub so that its beautiful aqua color could be seen easily, giving off soothing vibes just like its properties do. The gel itself is lightweight and cool to the touch; one applies it to the under-brow and under-eye areas gently. The eyes may feel a slight stinging sensation, but it is passing and hardly detectable. Coolness settles in thereafter, hydrating the eyes and the eyes appear brighter.

Besides hydrating and firming up the eye area, the soothing eye gel also refreshes fatigue appearance, increase skin moisturization, is suitable for sensitive skin, dermatologically-tested for allergants, and is fragrance-free.

After using Mary Kay's eye cream, the appearance of eye bags are significantly reduced, even when I smile

Plus, the price of this wonderful eye gel is incredible as well. For more information or samples, please feel free to contact Joanna via her Facebook page here.

I also cannot wait to break into my other Mary Kay beauty products, including the beautiful Ultimate Cream.

Thank you Joanna and Mary Kay for the skin-beneficial products.

Father's Day 2017

Today is Father's Day,
But you are far away.

Do they celebrate
Father's Day where you are?

I miss you so much,
Some memories still go ouch.

I wish dearly I had made peace,
Before you took your leave.

Five years have passed,
Tears are still shed.

Love you my Daddy,
And wishing you Happy Father's Day.

Copyright (c) Thearcticstar 2017

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Outfit of the Day - black and white jacket

"Black-and-white always looks modern, whatever that word means." - Karl Lagerfeld

Having a cuppa in my favorite black and white jacket. Goes well with anything.

Jacket: Bought in Korea (SGD$99.00)
Necklace: Tiffany and Co
Earrings: Pandora

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

[Media Invite] Festino Brunch at Monti Singapore

82 Collyer Quay, 1-Pavilion, Singapore 049213
Tel: 6535 0724
Time: 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm (Sundays)
Price: SGD $90 (excluding drinks) / SGD $120 (free flow non-alcoholic drinks) / SGD $140 (free flow wine) / SGD $160 (free flow champagne)

Monti Singapore has taken over Catalunya Singapore's sensual and unique space at One Pavillion, Collyer Quay (right beside Fullerton Bay Hotel). The two-storied circular building look like a giant dome floating over waters, and is designed to look sleek and yet elegant, drawing on its advantage of the water body surrounding it. The first level seats up to 108 persons while the rooftop is home to jazz performance, live jamming sessions as well as offering a lovely view of the vibrant CBD area.

The Festino Brunch is also known as the longest brunch, made up of an ala carte buffet menu and the desserts station. Items are quality and bordering on Italian cuisine, brought to the guests with a crew that serves with their souls.

If one expects the first course to be a light teaser for what's instore, well surprise! We started with Frutti Di Mare platter, consisting of fresh seafood such as Alaskan King Crab, cooked Tiger Prawn, Tuna Tataki, Salmon Sashimi, Fine de Claire Oysters, Mussels and Clams. Fresh and sweet summed up the various seafood items, and if you sample their housemade sauces, the palate is exposed to another level of enjoyment.

Following that, the Charcuterie and Cheese Board - consisting of 3 different types of cheese and ham, nuts, dried fruit and fresh fruit. Variety may change but rest assured that quality is consistent. The platter is served with with the softest bread.

Next, Grilled Octopus Salad, served right beside our table so we could watch the preparation of fresh greens being tossed. The Octopus was succulent and utterly tasty, holding its own beautifully among the crunchy greens and croutons.

Another tableside dish was the Risotto itself. Flambe the wheel, then toss the grainy rice. Scrape, scrape, around the wheel for cheese flakes, and we had a tantalizing risotto dish complete with black pepper and black truffle. I might have preferred this slightly softer, or with a little gravy.

We skipped the Soup and egged ourselves silly, heading straight for the Eggs section. Eggs Benedict was delightedly crispy, shouldering crackling bacon and a wobbly egg which flowed beautifully.

Eggs Salmon Florentine enchanted the palate with springy slab of smoked salmon, dill Hollandaise and baby spinach.

French Toast would have made for a good dessert with its syrup-draped soft toast, with honey cinnamon mascarpone, caramelized banana slices and fresh berries sitting atop.

From the Pastas section, we selected an Aglio Olio to try. Simple but tasty, lightly spicy strands of springy pasta; enjoyable.

Moving on to Meats department, we polished off the oh-so-succulent Ribeye Steak done medium, with red wine jus, anchovy butter and quinoa.

The Seabass with wine wine butter sauce flaked easily between the teeth and melted deliciously.

Charcoal grilled Iberico Pork Jowl hinted of smokiness among its scrumptious flavour, and was blessedly tender.

Next, Pan-cooked Foie Gras on toast with Balsamic reduction. Buttery on the tongue, boldly drawing us with its gently gamey, saltish sweetness.

There were also the Prawn Bowl (prawns, olive oil, garlic, bird's eye chili) and Mussels Bowl (white wine cream broth) tantalizing the palate delightfully.

Finally, desserts, arranged on a beautiful sea of blue with decorative shells. There were Torta Caprese, Amaretti Cookies, Mango Pannacotta, Peanut Cream Cheese Tartlets, Struffoli with Honey & Nutella, the obligatory Tiramisu, Zavbaglione Shooters, Melon Salad and Lemon Rosemary Tartlets.

The pastries were all in dainty bite sizes, making it possible for us to sample everything. I loved the Tiramisu and the Lemon Rosemary Tartlets especially.

Oh, have I mentioned that this station is for diners to DIY on their Mojitos and Bloody Marys? One gets to be a bartender for an afternoon and understand the real working of their favorites cocktails.

Now you see why this is the longest brunch yet, indulging us with palatable Italian dishes, compelling views and excellent service. Thank you Monti for hosting us and Chrysler Communications for the invite!