Sunday, 18 September 2011

Do go to Mapo!

Hi all!  Finally I have some free time to update :)  Hooray!  Today was the City to Bay in which you can choose to run or walk 3km, 6km or 12km for personal fun or for charity.  My Best friend and I both decided to do 12km.  However, little did I know she enrolled for the 12km walk not the 12km run, thank god my cousin was doing the 12km run too.  Good golly gosh, my lower back and thighs and calves are aching.  Although last year my body hurt more doing the 12km walk so I'm not complaining!

Moving on, my best friend and I recently celebrated our birthdays by visiting Mapo.  Now stalk me a little, you will know my birthday is in April and hers is in January.  Bad friend?  Stop right there my beloved reader!  Unfortunately for me, my maternal grandmother passed away during January and another incident too which i will not mention.  Grandma I miss you lots and I hope you are doing well up there!  April was a hectic month for all of us too so who could blame anyone for forgetting my birthday?  Definitely not me!  (rest assured it wasn't forgotten and I was spoilt silly)

 Mapo is Korean fine dining restaurant in which old korean dishes meet the western style of presentation.  I have actually been here many a time on anniversaries, birthdays and whatnot and the food has always been fantastic.  However the presentation of the food always seems to be changing, possibly to keep up with the latest plating presentation "trend"?  At least you know it's modern :)

For entrée, we ordered the Mapo Money Bags and the Scallops.  My my were they tasty! 

$13.90 for 2

Whoops, forgot to put the and in!
The ginger and pork balls were surprising very light.  The meat wasn't dense and were fluffy tasting even.  The tempura batter outside the balls was just enough to coat it and give it a nice crunch when you bite into it, but it did not taste deep fried.  The taste of ginger was not very prominent, which personally I liked because I absolutely hate it when ginger overpowers the taste of anything.  It's such a strong spice and if used too generously just ruins some dishes.  Well unless it's meant to be the champion of the dish.  The herb pesto was nice, not strong.  I personally would have liked a bigger oomph to the sauce but I suppose the balls were flavorsome enough to do without.  The puree was like, a bit bland.  But that's alright with me still.

$14.90 for 4 Scallops

 The Scallops were so fresh and big and juicy.  I absolutely loved them!  They were not overcooked which helped them retain some of it's natural sweetness and the tartare sauce served with the green beans was very pleasant!  Once again, the condiments weren't very strong, which I suppose is to keep the focus on the center point of the dish (Scallops).  It was really cute when the couple sitting near us ate their scallops and asked the waitress how to say delicious in korean (mashiseo boyeoyo).

For our mains, we were naughty and decided to order meat and no extra veggies.  Bam's excuse was there will be veggies on the plate already.  We ended up picking the Coffee Pork Spare Ribs and the SA Angus Eye Fillet Fire in Beef.   Of course being asian we also didn't forget to order a side of rice too.

Coffee and pork?  Weird combination isn't it.  I've also had Coffee Duck at a thai restaurant too.  Surprisingly the flavours blend together very well.  I mean, it does sound unusual, it probably is unusual, but it was fantastic.  I have ordered this dish from here a couple of times and it has always been a favorite.  The coffee glaze is a little sweet due to the sweet soy used to help marinate and tenderise, and there is a subtle but lingering coffee taste which is very pleasant to the palate.  The meat was oh so soft.  Ridiculously soft as if it had been slow cooked for a long time.  Well the description did say it was cooked over coals <insert big heart here>.  The ribs (only 2 bones there!) slid out so easily and the cartilage was oh so gelatinous!  There was a bit of fat there though, which was easily scraped away, but obviously helped the meat be so so juicy and flavoursome.  The big crispy thing sticking up were... I don' t know.  Perhaps over dehydrated potato wedges and then deep fried?  They were definitely crispy and bland, but when soaked in the sauce were like ultra flavourful chips - awesome!  The salad was very simple and was a lovely accompaniment.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves pork spare ribs.


The Fire in Beef was very tender.  So tender that even when us girls were taking our sweet sweet time eating and talking, the beef got cold.  But it was still so so tender.  The sauce was a sweet soy and a korean black raspberry (bokbunja) sauce.  The flavours were very robust, but not enough to make me put my knife and fork and chopsticks down (yea I have 3 hands).  The eye fillet was cut into 3 large pieces.  So so so so tender.  I'm not a huge fan of beef, but if all beef was cooked like this, there would be a couple more less cows in the world.  The beef was served on grilled vegetables - zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, string beans all lightly charred but so yummy.  What a wonderful dish!

Although we were stuffed, we still could fit in dessert.  The Crème brûlée was a bit of a disappointment.  I've actually had it here before and it was really good, but it seems that it has been downsized and the recipe has changed.  It was still nice, but pretty and solid.  Perhaps it had too many egg yolks or it had been baked for too long.  I wouldn't have minded the eggyness but maybe if it hadn't baked for so long, the smooth soft consistency would still be there.  The caramel glaze on top was fantastic though, cracked nicely and really did help lift the taste of the crème brûlée.  The honeycomb praline on top tasted burnt.  It was horrible and gladly discarded onto the side of the plate.  The lychee and spun caramel went so well with the crème brûlée.  My verdict?  I'm sure I could make a better one, which hopefully will be posted on this blog someday.

The service at Mapo was alright when we went.  We had to keep asking for our water to be topped up last time I was there the waiter was pretty good looking and very attentive.  I'll let them pass this once.  I suppose when you pay a lot of money for food you expect good service too, but it didn't hinder my dining experience here. 

Mapo is open for lunch 12pm - 2pm on Fridays and open daily from 5.30pm to 10.30pm.

Monday, 12 September 2011

First Post!

I'm so excited to start a blog again!!  Hopefully this blog can document my baking successes and failures, review restaurants, talk about traveling adventures and best of all spaz about my latest adores :)

Keep you all posted!  <3