Saturday, January 19, 2008


Went to TenPenh last night for Restaurant week.  I had the Chicken Roti, Chilean Sea Bass and the Milk Chocolate Brownie.  Karthik had the Calamari Salad, Scallops and Pumpkin bread.  

The service was pretty good.  There was a coat check in front and everyone wore those chinese jacket thingys.  They came and gave you hot towels to start to clean your hands though they had a slightly weird smell.  Within a minute of when we finished anything someone was there to take away the plate or clean up or something.  The tables were set with 2 forks, 2 knives, plate and napkin with chopsticks folded inside.  Karthik's chopsticks matched but mine were different lengths and thicknesses.  This is a problem.  Not huge because we never used the chopsticks but a problem nonetheless.

After we ordered there was a little amuse-bouche that was this really creamy butternut squash with Kefir lime soup.  It was incredibly smooth and served warm.  The only other time I'd had Kefir lime was in a chocolate from Kee's and I didn't really like it.  This was good.  

The Chicken Roti was great: crisp, tasty and had this real sweet dipping sauce, Karthik seemed to notice the cardamom more than the sweetness, the first thing I thought was wow this is sweet.  But it was quite tasty, unlike Karthik's icky choice the Calamari.  First of all, Calamari is just yuck to begin with.  If I want something chewy like that I'd chew on a rubber band.  Their preparation of it wasn't bad, relatively tender but definitely still calamari.  It had some real spicy sauce that they used as a dressing for the salad, which also had baby spinach.  I guess they didn't go together all that well but I had enough when I tried the calamari.  

My sea bass was good, really moist and tender though the sear on it was not as perfect as the one at Corduroy, which will probably forever be the standard for perfectly seared fish.  It came with what they described as braised cabbage, bacon and a red wine XO sauce.  This didn't seem to match with the fish all that well to me.  The fish was very mild and when you had some of the cabbage and bacon it overwhelmed the fish and all you really tasted was the bacon.  The scallops were quite good, very nice sear on those.  They came with some sort of mashed potatoes and a little piece of braised pork belly.  The pork belly was really sweet and had that big chunk of fat that I knew better than to eat though apparently Karthik did not (it was funny, you should have seen the pained look on his face when he realized there was a big chunk of fat there).   

My brownie was alright.  The highlight was really the Kona coffee ice cream that was uber coffee goodness and really smooth and yum.  The brownie had real distinct flavor though I don't know what it is (no I don't mean chocolate, something else).  The ice cream had this chocolate curl on top of it but with the cold of the ice cream it just tasted waxy.  The pumpkin bread was something between a quick bread and a cake.  It wasn't very sweet but had a cream cheese icing on it that was real sweet that balanced it out.  The highlight of this dish was really the coconut flan.  When I saw it on someone elses table it didn't look that appealing but it was really smooth and creamy and tasty, with a mild coconut flavor.

The atmosphere of the restaurant was nice.  It was pretty crowded even at 10:30 at night.  It was a bit loud though, I think they could do more to damp down the sound.  We could hear everyone else in the room's conversations quite clearly.

Overall, a decent restaurant but not the best.

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