Sunday, January 16, 2011

DINNER III @ CHARCOAL GRILL, 55, GND. FLR., CITYVINE, UP. LANANG RD., SIBU

Cherry Tomato & Mozzarella With Balsamic Dressing

Is this a case of "'too much' is not enough"? Seems like it... this is my third visit, and the sixth within the family. I had called in to make a reservation for eight, 2 days prior to my flying into Sibu (the moment I landed, I was driven to this place for the dinner, barely arriving at the appointed time); I roughly indicated the the number of dishes required and preferences, and left the rest to the creative hands. And these were what they came up with:

Chicken Consomme

I had the salad with ume sauce twice, thus I indicated a change. And also a move away from the creamy soup to a clear one; it had a medallion of chicken with tiny dices of daikon floating on its surface.

Seafood Risotto

The risotto was a larger portion than the last time; morsels of shrimps and calamari abound.

Oven Roast Mushroom Crusted Beef Steak Accompanied with Duo Pumpkin and Red Wine Sauce

For the mains, we had a choice of beef or lamb (I mentioned one doesn't take beef). Funnily, all the ladies chose lamb, while the rest had beef; all individually cooked to specified order.

Pan Seared Rack Of Lamb Served With Carrot Puree, Crushed Potato, Olive and Confit Tomato and Spiced Lamb Jus

Lastly the bread pudding had custard beneath the bread, which was touched to a crisp. Due to the larger portion, we were stuffed; a smaller portion like the last time would suffice.

Bread Pudding

Of all the visits at this restaurant, frankly, I've not actually looked at its menu. I just assume they can deliver whatever I dictate (as if I own the place), and they have on most counts with sight adjustments. Given a few days to plan ahead, the duo haven't failed to live up to my expectation so far. Bear in mind, this small town doesn't have all the ingredients one would like to have at one's disposal; one has to make do with whatever there is at hand. So call in ahead the next time you plan a visit, and see what they can cook up for you.

Tel: (084)217127
HP: (016)8706944 [Richard] (016)8706944 [Ryan]
Email: charcoalgrill_55@hotmail.com

Sunday, January 09, 2011

DINNER @ CHARCOAL GRILL, 55, GND. FLR., CITYVINE, UP. LANANG RD., SIBU




Even before I reached Sibu, I had a couple of missed calls from Wil. By the time the plane touched down, it was already 9 p.m.; It had been a long day traveling - starting at 5 a.m. Curiousity pique me, and a call to Wil had him rambling about having foie gras... in Sibu?!!! Curiouser and curiouser...




This is a new little restaurant in town, having just open its door before Christmas. It's 2 chefs, Richard and Ryan, have both done their sting in Singapore, and opt this town to share their culinary delights.

I've never got to try out this place until I was about to leave town - 2 nights earlier and twice in a row! I manage to have them prepare a degustazione menu from the range the restaurant offers. So in 2 sittings, we're able to roughly gauge the stuff the chefs are made of. Naturally, the first night's food augurs well that an encore is inevitable. So what you see below is a cumulation of a 2 nights' orgy.

Charcoal Grill Salad

To start off, we've the signature salad that has julienne vegetable, crispy chicken and diced egg with ume dressing.

Cream Of Mushroom With Truffle Essence

Cauliflower Soup

A hint of the truffle oil subtly enhances the mushroom soup. On the second night, we opt for the cauliflower soup - the pumpkin has to wait for another time.

Cheesy Risotto With Pan-Fried Foie Gras

Pasta Carbonara

Both the rice and pasta have a creamy feel to them. Outstanding!

Truffle Scrambled Egg

This is a little item that slips in before the mains on the first night. In texture, it borders on being a steamed and scrambled egg - quite indistinguishable.

Pan Fried Sea Bass Fillet With Potato Wedge complimented with Confit Tomato & Homemade Tomato Coulis

The sea bass is a respite from the usual Dory you get in most restaurant; it's crispy on the skin yet having moist flesh. The sauce goes well with the fish, and the small bite of the potato wedge with the tomato coulis is enough get by.

Grilled Marinated Rack of Lamb on Soy Glaze with Crusted Potato and Onion Puree

Char Grilled Sirloin Steak With Duo Of Onion, Mashed Potato & Veal Jus

Lastly comes the meat; there's a serving of lamb and sirloin - both beautifully done, and retaining its juiciness - how meat should be enjoyed.

Lastly on the second night, we are given dessert for the scrambled egg we opt out. It's Cheese Cake with Pear, and Vanilla Ice Cream on Reduction of Wine Blueberry compote. We gobble up before realizing of not "saying the blogger's grace" beforehand.

One thing for sure, this is not your usual run-of-the-mill operation churning out pedestrian meal. For a town that has finicky taste, if "more" is more for you, or sheets of meat is better than a single slab, this might not be the place of you. However, if your quest is for the best western offering this town has for now, this is it! If you think it's expensive, it's much less than one has to pay for a degustazione meal.

* The first night's meal was courtesy of Oriental Wines, with a New Zealand White Wine and a Whiskey thrown in, and there was no corkage.

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As the name implies, it's all about nothing! Kongkaying is like grasping in the air - more like hot air with occasional fartulence. Hopefully, something aromatic will come out of it! If not...

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