Thursday, October 30, 2008

Afternoon Tea @ The Lobby, Four Seasons Hotel, Bkk

I just got back from my 1 week Japan trip last week and had lots of interesting experience there ,which I'll write about in my upcoming posts. After reading about afternoon tea/high tea buffet in a Thai food forum, I decided to try out Four Seasons Hotel's afternoon tea set. I was surprised by the size and quantity of the tea set!

There were two of these for me and my mom! Not surprisingly, I manage to finish it!

1st tier, the savories

2nd tier, the sweets.
There's also a third tier which I didn't take a picture of

My mom's Cappuccino

My Earl Grey
I thought the tea set was very pretty, with the little shiny tea strainer

Brie cheese and cucumber sandwich

Smoke Salmon sandwich

Cabbage Panna Cotta with Salmon Roe served with Puff Pastry
This was quite interesting, the Panna Cotta tasted like cheese to me.

Mini Chicken Burger with Mango Salsa
I like this, it was very refreshing

Dark Rye ham and tomato sandwich
This was nice too!

Mini croissant with egg and prawn filling

My favorite of all! The egg and prawn filling was a great combination!
I even had a second one!

Blueberry financier

Fruit Tart
This is quite nice but I still like the one from Lenotre's better

Granny Smith Macaroon
Can't compare with the Pierre Herme one I had in Japan, but it was better than my previous experience at Four Seasons Hotel's bakery shop. Maybe they change their pastry chef already.

It has a very strong apple candy flavored taste!

Grand Marnier and Chestnut Profiterole

Hmm..I'm not sure what this is but it tasted like mini green tea chiffon cake with sesame brittle.
This was quite nice too!

Raisin scone

Plain scone

I don't know whether it was just me or if the scones here are on the sweet side. In my opinion, they tasted more like cream biscuits than scones. It was a bit dry and crunchy. I've never actually had traditional, authentic scones, so I'm probably not a good judge on this.

Rhubarb Jam, Mascarpone Cheese (instead of the usual clotted cream), Strawberry Jam for the scones

I'm not sure what this was either, but it tasted like chocolate mousse with vanilla mousse and foam topping mixed with rum. Please let me know if any one knows the exact name for the dish.

Ginger bread/tea cake
This was a bit dry for my liking.

Cointreau Glazed Fruit Cake
I've never like fruit cake and probably never will do so I would not comment on this, but my mom said it was one of the better fruit cake she had tasted so far.

Custard Mochi
This was interesting as I did not expect to find mochi as part of the afternoon tea set.

This was probably my first proper afternoon tea experience, other than the little tea experience I had from Miss Marple's Tearoom in Melbourne and Annabelle's Place in Penang, and I must say it was a good experience! It probably opened my door to more afternoon tea experience in the future!

The Lobby
Four Seasons Hotel

155 Rajadamri Road,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel. 66 (0) 2 250-1000
Fax.66 (0) 2 253-9195

Friday, October 17, 2008

Delicious White Chocolate Cheesecake

If you are a cake lover in Bangkok, you'd probably have heard of Coffee Beans By Dao. It's a famous cake shop/restaurant opened by an ex-air hostess and is very famous amongst cake fans.

The first time I tried it was last year, and I had their fresh coconut cake, black forest, and macadamia cake. The coconut cake was pretty good, but I thought their other cakes were quite overated, and were quite expensive for their appearance. I did not really understand why people were so crazy over this cake shop, until I read more reviews and realized that their signature cake is 'White Chocolate Cheesecake'. I decided to give Coffee Bean By Dao's another go, and tried their White Chocolate Cheesecake and their Cookies and Cream Cheesecake. Their cookies and cream cheesecake was decent, but what really impressed me was their White chocolate Cheesecake. It was smooth and creamy, yet was not too rich nor sweet. I was able to finish the whole slice by myself, which is quite unusual for cheesecake.

Cookies and Cream Cheeesecake from Coffee Beans By Dao

The original White Chocolate Cheesecake from Coffee Beans By Dao
The cake that inspired me!

Coffee Beans By Dao's White Chocolate Cheesecake really inspired me to replicate one similar to it, and hence I embarked on my journey in looking for a good White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe. Several recipes that I found required lots of cream cheese, which I thought would be too rich. I was thrilled when I found P'Tri's recipe on Pantip, a Thai website which I visited quite frequently. The recipe involves beating egg whites and incorporating it into the batter which I thought might be the key to the lighter texture of the cheesecake. I decided to try it out and I was right, the cake was extremely delicious! It might not taste the same as Coffee Bean By Dao's version, but I dare to say "Watch out Coffee Bean By Dao! You have a competitor!" :p

White Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted From P'Tri

1 pack Oreo, crushed (cream removed)
55g butter, melted

200g white chocolate, melted (I use Lindt)
170g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
50g egg white (about 1.5 egg white)
120g yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp caster sugar
few drops of vanilla extract
white chocolate for decorating

Mix the crushed Oreo crumbs and the melted butter together. Press into a 6 inch springform tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 10 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Beat the cream cheese at low speed until smooth, add in egg yolk, yogurt, and vanilla extract and fold until well mixed. Add in the melted white chocolate (I used the microwave for 1 min at 50% power).

In a separate clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, add in 1 tbs of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white mixture into the cream cheese mixture, a bit at a time to avoid deflating the egg whites. Pour the mixture in to the springform tin on top of the Oreo crust. Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees on a waterbath for 45 min or until set. Do not over bake the cheesecake, it should still be wobbly in the center, as residual heat will continue to cook it. Leave the cake to cool in the oven to prevent it from cracking/sinking from the sudden change in temperature. I left it on the oven overnight, then place in the fridge to chill.

I decided to cut out a piece for quality control :p

After the cake has cool down, remove it from the tin. Beat the whipping cream with sugar until stiff (I added a bit of gelatin to stabilize it a bit). Spread the whipped cream over the cheesecake and decorate with grated white chocolate. I used a vegetable peeler to grate the white chocolate. Chill in the fridge for atleast 1 hour. Enjoy!

This is probably one of my favorite cake so far!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dinner @ Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Bkk

I was craving for Ding Tai Fung's Xiao Long Bao, but it's not available in Thailand, so we decided to try out Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao instead, which is situated in the Grand Hyatt Erawan Mall's urban kitchen section. The waiters here are quite energetic and helpful, but it wasn't very busy when we arrive so I'm not sure if the situation will be different during peak hours.

The first dish to arrive, stir-fried long beans.

Xiao Long Bao

After I've tried the Xiao Long Bao at Crystal Jade, I still think the Xiao Long Bao that I had at Ding Tai Feng was better. The meat-to-skin ratio was too much at Crystal Jade, and the size was a lot bigger so you get full very fast. The minced pork is also slightly on the sweet side which I believe was made to suit the Thai taste.

Braised Beef Knife-sliced Noodles.
This is very nice, the meat was very tender and flavorful while the noodle had the al-dente chew!

Sour and Spicy Hand-Pulled Noodle
My parents enjoyed this dish, though it's a tad too spicy for my liking

I think that the Xiao Long Bao here might not be as good as Ding Tai Fung's, however I like their freshly made noodles a lot better! Both the hand-pulled noodles and the knife-sliced noodle had a very nice chew to them, and the flavors were just right! Crystal Jade's Xiao Long Bao might not be the best ones I've had, but they definitely satisfied my Xiao Long Bao craving!

Feel free to check out Crystal Jade La Mien Xiao Long Bao whenever you have a Lamien/Xiao Long Bao craving like me!

Shintaro, Four Seasons Hotel, Bkk, Vol II

I'm back at Shintaro again after my previous visits. Shintaro has now become my parents' favorite Japanese restaurant. It has the best Unagi we've tried in Bangkok's Japanese restaurant so far!

Appetizer: Braised Chicken with Enoki pieces
This tasted so much better that it looks! The piece of chicken was so tendor and flavorful!

Salmon Maki

Unagi Kabayaki
The Unagi here is very beautiful and tender! The meat itself was grilled to perfection and releases the slightly charred aroma, which goes perfectly with the sweet Kabayaki sauce. I've had previous experiences with some 'not-so-good' Unagi before and they left me with a 'muddy' after taste, but that is not the case at Shintaro!

Roast Duck Soba
I'm not a very big fan of Soba, so I didn't enjoy this dish as much. I thought the Roast Duck Udon I had last time tasted better. My parents, however enjoyed the texture of the Soba here.

Grilled Teriyaki Cod Fish
This was very good! The fish fillet was grilled very well, the skin was crispy while the flesh was soft and moist! The fish was also decorated with deep-fried bonito flakes and sesame seeds, which made it taste even better!

Mixed Fruits Jelly with Vanilla sauce and Blueberry Confit
a very refreshing dessert!

Mont Blanc with Cherry Sorbet

The desserts I had today were pretty good, but not fantastic. Their mains definitely did not disappoint me and I'll surely be coming back for more in the near future!