As Christmas arrives it also means that the year is drawing to a close. For many of us, it's a time of good cheer and festivities as we usher in the dawn of a new year. It's also the time we start reflecting (if we haven't done so earlier) on what has happened in the course of the past twelve months and what has particularly been special. For food blogs like this one you're reading here, authors begin to ponder as well on what has been the best meal that they have had in the year. Mine took quite a while, but it has finally arrived.
I've been to heaven and back for so many times thanks to Gordon Grill, and for me it definitely made the grade for THE BEST MEAL of 2009. It passed the test with flying colours in food quality and taste, food presentation, price and service, and all in the most stringent of criteria - clearly I wanted to make sure that I was not carried away by the sheer novelty of fine dining.
Gordon Grill was also the choice of location for the Food Bloggers' Lunch, which was attended by Elaine from Divine Essentials as well as Phoebe and Chloe from The Food Chapter. Another group meanwhile had headed for La Strada at Shaw Centre, and it was arranged that we would meet for teatime desserts thereafter to share even more food lovin'. Look out for that post this weekend, the desserts were really lovely too! :)
Complimentary Bread Basket: 4.25/5
The three-course set lunch that the four of us had was part of the UOB Chef's Creation Series by Executive Chef Gan Swee Lai. The complimentary bread basket that arrived at the start did more than whet our appetite, it got us so full of anticipation of what was to come! Other than the brown sourdough bread that was quite plain and dry, the olive loaf and onion rolls meanwhile were fantastic. I've rarely raved about free bread (the only exception, and close rival, would be the ones served at Barnacles Restaurant with an accompanying chilli crab dip) but these ones were so fresh, fragrant and flavourful that it's difficult not to love them.
The sisters especially gave the thumbs up for the onion rolls and even asked for a refill on those. Just add a simple dash of butter and you've got something so simple yet delicious on your hands. I especially like the way that it was toasted that it was so crisp on the outside yet still so soft on the inside.
Hokkaido Scallops: 4/5
My choice of appetiser was the Hokkaido scallops with apple puree and black truffle vinaigrette. Elaine and Phoebe had theirs with the addition of pork belly too. The scallops were fresh and gently cooked for that golden brown hue. Mushrooms and truffles were nice too.
Chloe's salmon confit appetiser was served alongside cold Japanese pasta, seaweed and caviar, with a light addition of white truffle oil. Phoebe who took a forkful of her sister's salmon commented that it had a very "Asian"-flavour to it, and I myself could discern the smell of vinegar and caviar that I would think is very much an acquired taste. Chloe said the exact same thing on "acquired taste".
Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Braised Cheek: 5/5
Yes, the perfect score, the first ever that this blog has seen thus far. I love my beef, but this one was quite something out of this world and in a different league altogether. The tenderloin brought a whole new meaning to "tender", even when it was close to medium-rare, while the braised cheek literally melts in your mouth. A well-grilled steak in a sizeable portion, what's there not to like? The whipped potatoes on the underside meanwhile were so smooth and simply a joy to wipe off your fork. Add some Bordelaise brown sauce and you've got a winner of a main course. Perfect.
Roasted Turkey Supreme
Both Elaine and Chloe chose the roasted turkey, which came in different cuts as well, and accompanied by chestnut ballotine, winter vegetables and winter sauce. I believe the two girls found it just alright, good, but not necessarily something to scream and rave that much about.
Chestnut Crème Brûlée: 4.75/5
Ah, desserts. It wrapped up the superb meal amazingly well. The crème brûlée is certainly one of the best that I've ever tried, with the deliciously burnt and crisp caramel atop smooth and sweet vanilla-chestnut custard. What made this dessert even more impressive was the small pairing of whisky ice-cream, which was just heavenly - the liquer was not too overpowering that it would mask the vanilla-bean based ice-cream, and the addition of a small cut strawberry for good measure was most welcomed. I wish I could have more of this please!
Rhubarb Trifle: 4.25/5
Two of the ladies chose the rhubarb trifle, and just a look at it would make you go, "This is a ladies' dessert". Pretty indeed, and Elaine especially liked this. While the vanilla sugar donut was more or less typical, the trifle on the other hand was what really won the hearts of its owners. There's at least three different layers of custard, fruits and even jelly, and on Elaine's urging I took a spoonful of all three layers at once - oh, yummylicious. Smooth and delightful.
Excellent of course! I liked the way the pictures turned out as well, and you might also like to know that these pictures were unedited (as all my pictures are) save for brightness adjustments.
Impeccable. They even brought a small chair out for me to put my DSLR camera bag on, and they definitely won me over with such a thoughtful gesture for my new baby.
UOB Cardmembers promotion: $68++ for two.
Gordon Grill, Goodwood Park Hotel.
Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.