Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Birthday Surprise

Archipelago at Whitfield Street is the place to go for a completely new and exotic dining experience...

There are just so many things that make this place stand out. I'd have walked passed it thinking it was a pub if I was not brought here. Upon entering the tiny entrance with a mini rock pavement, its as if you're immediately brought back to the Indiana Jones era, with a dark and calm ambiance, with an eclectic mix of Indian,Thai and Chinese influences in their decor. Of course, it's the menu that bags that extra surprise for a special occasion :) THEY SERVE CROCODILE, KANGAROO, ZEBRA meat ... and even chocolate coated scorpion for desserts!

Talk about being adventurous with your palate! Dinner started off with some cocktail and champagne (sprinkled with gold dust), courtesy of recommendation from Z. The cocktail was named after the restaurant, and I can't recall what it exactly contains (it served its purpose), but I know that it's something sweet and citrus-y which disguises the alcohol content, until it was too late... :P

That was Z's champagne with gold dust sprinkles, pretty good to get one bubbly and chatty ...

Starters was a selection of nibbles: Parsnip chips with sweet chili dipping, mini duck quiche and mini grilled pepper canapes. Parsnip chips were awesome, though slight thicker slices would be amazing. Canapes were my favorite since quiche wasn't my thing really. But they were delicious in small amounts :)

The highlight of the meal was the second starter to share: Crocodile fillet seared in vine leaves with a plum dipping sauce. The dish was freshly prepared, seasoned with some fragrant spices, wrapped with the leaves before deep fried. Yet, the white crocodile meat was succulent and springy, flavors accentuated with a little bit of plum sauce dipping. It was also served in a unique porcelain 'plate', seems like a (squarish) cross section of a tree.

When you come to places like these, wimp-y choices like chicken, lamb or fish are out of the question. Either you close your eyes/nose or both, one's gotta try something out of the ordinary, like gnu, zebra, or even lovebug salads, LOL

For mains, Z had Sliced wildebeest (gnu) fillet in a hot and sour sauce with nutty soba noodles. The waitress was really keen and patient in explaining the menu, which I think they are used to anyway given the amount of foreign meats/exotic names in it! Gnu, according to Wikipedia, is " an antelope of the genus Connochaetes. It is a hooved ungulate mammal. And you know what, that sentence doesn't help either. So from the picture search online, ignorant me would just say it looks like a member of the bull/ox/cow family... simple (indeed)! Z enjoyed this dish thoroughly, as the gnu was pan fried nicely for the crunchy edge and matched well with the soba noodles which was lightly dressed in the sauce.

I, on the other hand, had Zhug marinated kangaroo fillet with water spinach, pak choi and crushed chilli potatoes. Apologies to all Australians or kangaroo lovers before hand though.

Now you know what I mean when I say this is also an educational dining experience! Zhug, according to the host, is a hot sauce marinade from Yemen, containing ground fresh hot peppers seasoned with coriander, garlic and various spices. Kangaroo meat, actually tastes pretty similar to chicken, contrary to my expectation of it being tougher like turkey. Unfortunately, I found the dish way TOO salty, especially the vegetables having too much soy sauce on them. But other than that, it was a surprising dining experience, good to give it a go for something authentic and different for a change!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

natto is not really like chao dau fu it doesnt have a fragrance that can be picked up a mile away..but its really really good hahah

dont worry about australians..australians love kangaroo meat..they even sell it at local supermarkets ahahahah though it doesnt really taste too special