When you think of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), what comes to mind? For me, images of medicine halls, huge jars containing every type of Chinese herb and tonic neatly lined up on their shelves and bowls of herbal soup that require hours and hours on the stove come to mind. Not very pleasant associations to TCM, I must admit. So needless to say, food prepared with TCM didn’t sound very appealing to me at all.
red white & pure certainly made me rethink my ‘dislike with a passion’ attitude towards all things TCM. Before I start dishing out the photos, I must apologise for their less than decent quality; my trusty camera phone was given the arduous task of capturing images of the food under pretty dim lightings. We were having dinner with two other familes and the last thing I wanted was to get weird stares from happily snapping away at every course. So it really didn’t help when my mum asked if I wanted to take a photo of the first dish that was presented, right from the other end of the table.
The dishes were so exquisitely presented I hesitated before tucking in, not wanting to mess it up.
This was a really tasty appetizer, with crab cake, a cold wrap and beetroot served on the side and a generous sprinkle of white pepper. The crab cake was SO good, piping hot, crunchy and spiced up with bits of mango and red chili. The cold wrap was quite a delight for the tastebuds, pairing up mashed yam with red capsicum.
This was the fillet mignon. I loved how I had a whole garden of vegetables on the side and the bunch of baby asparagus wrapped up in a slice of carrot was just too cute. While the pumpkin [I’m guessing that’s what it was] sauce on the side was quite good, I’m not much of a meat and sauce person so I pretty much left it alone, Beside the fillet was moist, juicy and very tasty enough on its own.
Now, onto the highlight of my meal, [surprise surprise!], the desserts.
Isn’t that just the most gorgeously presented platter of desserts? We were actually given a sample of a selection of the desserts. The poached pear in red wine didn’t really do it for me, possibly due to the fact that I’m more of a white wine person. But the Bird’s Nest ice cream [yup you heard me right] seated on top a fluffy cloud of meringue more than made up for that. And the crème brulee with ginger-infused chocolate was just so die for. I’m not really a fan of ginger but this really blew me away. Especially after the chef explained that, by way of making this dish healthier, they cut down on half the number of egg yolks used, using sweet potato puree instead and replacing the milk with soy. Healthy and this heavenly? Count me in for seconds any time!
This has to be the most unique flavours of chocolate I’ve ever come across. They had flavours like chili, rose, cocoa nibs, ginger and the list just goes on. I personally live for dark chocolate. And you know how dark chocolate usually tends to be quite intense, you wouldn’t think the infused flavours would shine through? Well, whoever made these certainly got that pat down.
I was so in love with them, I took four of my favourites back home; namely chili, rose, lime and lemongrass and sze chuan pepper. Exotic sounding, don’t you think?
The rose flavours in chocolate I’ve tasted usually tend to be sickening sweet or artifical, in attempt to recreate the real thing. But this was mellow but definitely there with every mouthful you take. A delightful constrast to the dark chocolate.
Sze Chuan pepper. Who would have thought of combining that with chocolate? The pepper hits you the second you bite into this, awaking your tastebuds and lending a nice crunch.
I don’t know how they did it, but I could distinctively taste the lime and lemongrass in this. The slightly tangy lime flavour is more pronounced at first, before the subtle lemongrass teases your buds, leaving you a refreshing mingle of the two.
Now this was definitely my favourite of the lot. When I tried it at the restaurant, I popped it into my mouth and proclaimed “I don’t taste the chili”. At that instant, while I was savouring the dark chocolate and letting it slowly melt on my tongue, a tiny burst of chili much like a minute timebomb tantalized my tastebuds, leaving me wanting more. Now I just can’t wait to make chili chocolate cupcakes.
In short, the food was great, totally took my tastebuds by surprise. They were so firing neurons to my brain going, “Doesn’t this contain TCM? But it’s SO good!”. But it was the desserts, hands down, that rocked the meal. I’ll definitely be frequenting this place again.
red white & pure