Asia’s 50 Best: Jaan, Singapore (Part 3, Main Courses)

Category: French – Fine Dining

2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Level 70, Equinox Complex, Singapore 178882

Damage: $$$$

The Menu Prestige itself is an ongoing concert that has no specific intervals, but I have taken the liberty to break it up into smaller sections to make for an easier read. This section comprises the first 3 dishes of the Menu Prestige, and for which I most naturally draw parallels to “Main Courses”.


Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Foie Gras "Poche"To be most honest, I didn’t like the Foie Gras “Poche” with cabbage, yuzu and ‘bouillon’ at all. The foie gras was, undoubtably, unlike any I’d ever tasted – it was very soft, like tofu, and its flavour was very trace. I like the strong intensity and richness of foie, so this didn’t work for me and I wouldn’t have known what I was eating if it hadn’t been mentioned. The refreshing zing of the yuzu was a bit too jarring for my taste, and felt a bit out of place, while the vegetables were crunchy but not very tasty. In my opinion, the bouillon was too oily and its flavour was too thin, and the dish just didn’t feel cohesive.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Crispy Skin Amadai

The Crispy Skin Amadai was a seafood platter featuring coquillages, confit carrot, and rouille. This dish was strong with its reference to Indian cuisine, largely due to the saffron and spices featuring in the rouille. The seafood was fresh and sprightly and the fish came away cleanly in slices, although they were very cleanly prepared and lacked any form of richness if unaccompanied by the rouille, which unfortunately, I felt, overwhelmed the seafood when combined.

They really took to “saving the best for last”. The Hay-Roasted Pigeon with corn, bread, and liquorice was absolutely stellar. The pigeon breast was fully tender and packed full of unique flavours which I’d never tasted in any other meat, and yet, one could tell that these were the natural notes and an unadulterated rendition. The pigeon leg was wonderfully charred with a gentle smoke to brown and lightly torched to perfection. Both of the plated sauces were intense and stood well both alone and together. This was, beyond any doubt, Jaan’s most outstanding dish, and left me thinking about its tastes and flavours long afterward.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Hay-roasted Pigeon Best Dish

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Asia’s 50 Best: Jaan, Singapore (Part 2, Appetisers)

Category: French – Fine Dining

2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Level 70, Equinox Complex, Singapore 178882

Damage: $$$$

The Menu Prestige itself is an ongoing concert that has no specific intervals, but I have taken the liberty to break it up into smaller sections to make for an easier read. This section comprises the first 3 dishes of the Menu Prestige, and for which I find most suitable to name “Appetisers”.


Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Uni Sea Urchin Pudding with Caviar

The Hokkaido Sea Urchin with Obsiblue prawn and Kaluga queen caviar – I didn’t like. I love good uni but this was a pudding infused with sea urchin – the creamy texture of the pudding caused the natural richness of the uni itself to be lost, and whatever flavours made it through came across as slightly fishy. I couldn’t taste the prawn.

An addition complement of crostini was then served, beautiful to picture but somewhat ordinary in taste.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog Crostini

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog beetroot collection

When the Beetroot Collection was served I’d spent a good while looking at it – it was like a piece of art- a delicate, intricate mixing of textures, temperatures, and variants of a magenta colour on the plate, punctuated by some yellow and some white of the radish and whip. This was a complex dish which included “Burrata artigiana” and honeycomb, and eaten individually made for nothing much, but when we began mixing them into the same spoonful, it became something quite special which I can’t quite put a finger on, and, I suppose, was the right way to enjoy it.

Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2014 2015 Jaan Singapore Food Review Blog 55°C rosemary smoked organic eggAs if I didn’t already love egg enough, I was introduced to Jaan‘s highly discussed 55′ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg with Ratte Potato, Chorizo Iberico and Buckwheat, which came with the great pomp of being served in a tray over a block with a endless stream of white mist gushing over and cloaking the table (feature picture). The waiter picked the egg from the tray and poured it in with the rest of the condiments in the glass, which I mixed a little with my spoon and then tasted. For all of the dish’s complexity in preparation, the egg was perfect but I still found it hard to believe that it could only be achieved by poaching the eggs at 64 degrees for 55 minutes. The chorizo, somewhat reminiscent of bacon, provided the salt to the otherwise seemingly non-seasoned potatoes and balanced the dish like a perfect breakfast.

Omotenashi Sake Bar & Dining Gosso, Singapore

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Category: Japanese – Casual – Yakitori

We were strolling along Boat Quay looking for a place to have dinner before a concert when Omotenashi Sake Bar & Dining Gosso restaurant caught our eye. We were particularly intrigued by the number of Japanese clientele they had and figured that that said a thing or two about it’s authenticity, and decided to give it a try. Omotenashi Dining is quite the new kid on the block, having been around from only around September or October last year, but seems to already have picked up a good number of regulars.

No.64 Boat Quay Singapore 049852, Tel: 6533 5152, Opens 11.30am – 2.30pm and 5.30pm – 12am on Mon-Fri (Opens for dinner on Sat)

Nestled along the shophouses on the main stretch of Boat Quay by the Singapore River, Omotenashi Dining is situated right opposite the Parliament of Singapore, across the SIngapore River. Its decor theme is primarily black, with non-fuss wooden tables and white words printed on its canopy, with a yakitori grill is by the entrance on the left. There are several Japanese restaurants along Boat Quay, but among the yakitori places, Omotenashi had the largest Japanese clientele as far as I could tell.

Damage: $$

Omotenashi Dining is quite reasonably priced, with dishes priced at around $3-4 per stick (min. order of 2 per dish). It might seem little, but since most yakitori dishes comprise of meats, I find that we often underestimate how filling they can be. Beer is also popular at Omotenashi, especially among the Japanese businessmen – I saw a beer tower or two go by in the short while that I was there.

To Go: A good hangout place for meatloving friends

Omotenashi  was reasonably priced and the food was fine – some dishes being more standout than others. Indoor-seating (air-conditioned) is rather limited and it can get rather warm if you’re seated outside, so if you have more than one layer on I suggest to go somewhere else or begin stripping unless you want to be a waterfall. Service at Omotenashi was quick and the staff were attentive and eager to be of help, and the restaurant has an old Japanese feel. Overall, a possible place to hang out with friends after executing mission: escape from the office.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

A uniformed waitress came out to greet us at the front, nodded and politely invited us to come in in a slight Japanese accent. Several tables were already taken by the riverside and the indoors was full so we were seated by the entrance and presented with the menu which contained an array of yakitori, from skewered meats to tsukune (minced meat patty/ball), in different renditions – with mustard, with cheese, etc. I asked the waitress for a recommendation between the two versions of tsukune, and she pointed at one and said, “I would recommend this… and this”, and pointed at the other version. We looked at each other and tried not to laugh.

In the end we ended up ordering the Kinoko Salad, and several kinds of yakitori, a onigiri (rice ball), and an egg dish called Dashimaki. From there, the orders were sent to the grill, and soon after, began hitting our table in rapid succession.

Omotenashi Authentic Japanese Yakitori Singapore New 2015 Food Review Blog Boat Quay Mushroom Salad

The Kinoko Salad ($9.80) which the waitress said was very good and “popular” had a generous portion of stir fried mushrooms, beyond which I found to be pretty ordinary. You can give this a miss if you’re fine with having a mostly carnivorous meal.

The Isobe-yaki (chicken fillet wrapped with seaweed; $5 for 2 sticks) and Negima (chicken thigh with leek; $6 for 2 sticks) (featured picture, from left to right) were ordinary as well. They were a good piping hot, but the chicken was way too dry, which was surprising for the Negima since chicken thigh is typically fattier and retains juice better.
Omotenashi Authentic Japanese Yakitori Singapore New 2015 Food Review Blog Boat Quay Tsukune

The tsukune ($6 for 2 sticks) was great – the outside was charred perfectly, caramelising slightly the semi-sweet glaze, and the inside was piping hot and extremely juicy. They were very generous with the meat – I think this also contributed to its robust flavors and texture, making it more satisfying to have than the usual thinner tsukune patties, including the one I practically grew up on from MOS Burger.Omotenashi Authentic Japanese Yakitori Singapore New 2015 Food Review Blog Boat Quay Signature Egg

The waitress explained that the Dashimaki ($6.80) was gently cooked in a dashi stock for some time and whisked or something to give it it’s fluffy texture. To be honest I couldn’t internalise her description of the entire process because I zoned out halfway, and told myself that bottom line was that this egg was going to be more awesome than it looked. It was light but ordinary and rather lacking in seasoning, I’d happily swap this out for another yakitori.

Omotenashi Authentic Japanese Yakitori Singapore New 2015 Food Review Blog Boat Quay Yakitori Pork Asparagus LeekIt would do you good to have this – Butamaki Shimeji (Shimeji Mushrooms wrapped in Pork Belly; $6 for 2 sticks)This is one of my all-time barbecue favorites. Whenever I host or attend a barbecue, this is a dish that needs to be present to elevate the session to barbecue stardom. Ever a crowd pleaser, this yakitori was no different; mushroom juices galore, soaking up and adding to the natural saltiness of the bacon, with cheese atop. Omg, yes!

Bedrock Bar & Grill, Singapore

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Wanting to have a good steak, a friend asked if we should go to Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse and Restaurant or Bedrock Bar & Grill. Since I’ve been to Bistecca and not the latter, we decided to give Bedrock a shot and met up for dinner there on a Tuesday night.

96 Somerset Road, #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard, Singapore 238163

The entrance to Bedrock Bar & Grill is along the alley right outside the glass doors of Somerset 313, right next to Marché, and will be the first restaurant to your left.

Damage: $$$-$$$$

Steak with prices in the region of Bistecca’s (ex. the Fiorentina steak, $188) and just a tier under Morton’s and Cut by Wolfgang Puck, it is needless to say that I was expecting a really good steak. With a starter and side dish to share, the meal came up to about $120 per head. Prepare for about $160 if you throw in a glass of red and a dessert as well.

To go: For this price, perhaps we should try elsewhere

It was good but for the price, I was not sufficiently wowed. Service was great – attentive and pro-active with the recommendations – and the ambience is cosy and romantic with comfortable booth seating at the periphery, with just the right amount of space to lend a comfortable level of chatter from guests and yet maintain privacy. There are two private dining rooms at the back as well, which can seat about 8 persons each, at which you can host a small private dinner if you so wish. In my opinion, Wooloomooloo Steakhouse is better value, equally cosy, and with equally fantastic service.


A MORE DETAILED REVIEW

I visited Bedrock Bar & Grill on a Tuesday evening after work. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much – the front of the restaurant is modest with a narrow reception and entrance. Following the front of house down a softly lit corridor, I found that it opened up into a comfortable space with a cosy setting of lacquer and dark brown wood, kept slightly more relaxed with the filament lamps suspended over the bar in an intentionally unintentional manner, like a man rolling up the sleeves of his carefully ironed shirt. When we entered at around 7.30pm, it was about 30% full, but by the time we left at around 9.30pm, it was packed to about 75%. Heading back out again, I noticed that the high stools which were unoccupied when we entered now had a few groups of people enjoying a drink or two.

Bedrock Bar & Grill Singapore Steakhouse Steak Food Review BlogIt is a steakhouse, so steak is what we had. I had the Bedrock Pepper Steak (300gm ribeye, $79; featured picture) which our host mentioned was Bedrock’s signature steak and had been very well received by guests on the whole. I asked for it on medium and instead of going with the default black peppercorn sauce, chose the wholegrain whiskey mustard sauce to go with. My dining companion had the same, except on rare and with the classic béarnaise. The steaks all come with a single sauce, and if you’d like, you could swap the default sauce for another or add on any of the available sauces at $4.

To begin, we shared the Caesar Salad ($22) which was one of two recommendations for starters, the other being the Bedrock Smoked Tomato Soup ($16). This, to be honest, I wasn’t at all impressed with. The baby cos was fresh, as was to be expected, but the egg was ordinary and the bacon was too hard and its presence, sparse. I couldn’t find the white anchovies which the dish’s description made mention of, except for the single good-sized one atop.

The steak was served in a typical old-fashion style on a sizzling iron hotplate. My steak was cooked to a good medium, was rather tender and kept its juices. However, for some reason, I was just not quite blown away. It was good steak and cooked well, no doubt, but in terms of flavour, there was nothing very special about it, even when supported by the special sauces – both of which I tasted. In my mind I just couldn’t help but compare it to Bistecca – which I’ll readily admit wasn’t the fairest comparison given that I’d only tried their $188 Fiorentina made from a Wagyu F1 t-bone (serves 2-3 persons), although they also have steak options in the $70 – $90 range of a comparable portion size – which had a finer grain and smoother texture than the one at Bedrock. Bedrock Bar & Grill Singapore Steakhouse Steak Food Review Blog I’ve heard many good things about duck fat, and I once had a friend aspiring to be a chef who’d asked me to hand-carry a jar of it back for her from London, and so when we were looking at the sides, the duck fat potatoes ($16) were really calling out to me. I’m not sure what exactly it’s supposed to taste like, but I knew the duck fat flavour when I tasted it and was trace. We both agreed that the potatoes tasted somewhat ordinary, so I would advise to go with perhaps the creamed spinach ($18) as a side should you visit. Or, if you’re dying to have some potatoes, I’d think the Ash roasted sweet potato with bacon & blue cheese ($16) is going to be a little more special.

Bo.lan Essentially Thai ร้านโบ.ลาน อาหารไทย, Bangkok, Thailand

SCRIBBLES

Category: Thai – Fine dining

2 of Asia’s top 50 restaurants are located in Bangkok city itself, and since I was headed that way earlier this month, I decided I had to dine at at least one of them. While I couldn’t get down to Nahm, I did manage to get lunch at Bo.lan – No. 28 on San Pellegrino’s list for 2015. Helmed by a couple (Duangporn Songvisava and Dylan Jones), this restaurant came by recommendation of a chef friend’s chef friend (did you catch that?), and is known for serving up refined and authentic thai cuisine.

24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Bo.lan Bangkok Thailand

Bo.lan recently just moved to their new premises a few blocks down from where they were. They’re now at house #24 on the right hand side, barely 150m in from the main road, along Sukhumvit soi 53. On the route the cab driver took us, the Sukhumvit district seemed to be sort of a grid, with the soi branching off to the left and right, the numbers increasing. It’s a long way in and we got stuck in crawling one-lane traffic through what looked like a low-rise residential area. We’d left earlier to cater for the chaotic Bangkok traffic but were still late by half an hour, so you might want to factor in a longer commute.

Damage: $$$

Food in Bangkok is so affordable, especially with street-side hawkers setting up tents whichever way you look, that even the fine dining experience is reasonably priced compared to other cities around the world. At lunch time, Bo.lan (as well as Nahm) has set menus, which are great for people like us who don’t have a lot of stomach capacity but would like to taste everything. The Prix Fixe menus were 980++THB which works out to about $50+ each, and for each course you can pick between two options.

To go: Sure, but just keep in mind that the menu was about equal parts hit and miss

I love Thai food but I find that after a certain point, it’s really hard to differentiate oneself as truly phenomenal, especially if sticking true with an “authentic” approach. There’s bad Thai food, to average, to good – In general, Thai dishes already encompass so many complex flavours that the “very good”s for me span an entire spectrum from casual eateries to high-end restaurants, but of course, you could disagree. Overall, Bo.lan was a pleasant dining experience, but food-wise, it was a consensus that only a few stand-out dishes saved the day. I don’t know why there are so many rave reviews out there, but I figured the only possible reason would be that they are (much) better at dinner.


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

We disembarked the red taxi on the opposite side of the street. Immediately, I spotted a black sign with white letters spelling “Bo.lan Essentially Thai” against the side of a white house, to the left and just above the brown brick walls which lined the driveway leading to the restaurant. At first sight, Bo.lan immediately enrolled itself into the category of rustic decor, with lots of traditional and old-school elements – charming, really, yet understated and quietly intentional. The inside of the restaurant was more modern, albeit a little dark, with dark wood fixtures and black tables.

Bo.lan Bangkok Thailand

Fine dining at Bo.lan Asia's Top 50 Restaurants Bangkok Thailand

Amuse Bouche Bo.lan Bangkok Asia's Top 50

The amuse bouche was Amazing. If there was one thing that I would say Bo.lan did exceptionally well at, that would be the salads. The amuse bouche was a mixture of local leaves with shallots and chilli, but it was the dressing that hit the high notes – refreshing, intense, tangy, and yet savoury, it was an explosion of flavours in the mouth, singing in harmony. I dare say one of the best salads I’ve ever tried in my life, and I made sure to have the leaves pick up every drop of dressing on the plate.

I had the Salad grilled Ranong squid with lotus shoots and it was just as phenomenal. The dressing tasted the same, but I received it without complaint. The squid was tasty and grilled to a juicy and tender perfection. I had a taste of the Salad of grilled Spanish Mackerel with local rosella which was tossed with crunchy fish bits, and that was lovely too.

Prix Fixe lunch at Bo.lan Bangkok ThailandChicken Soup Bo.Lan Bangkok Thailand

Collectively, we had a mixture of mains which I shall address course by course. We had both the Coconut cream based soup with local chicken, banana blossom and vietnamese mint (above, centre) and the Clear soup of free range chicken and pickled mustard greenI have to be honest – both soups were pretty poor. The coconut cream based soup was surprisingly not creamy. Instead, it was thin and very flat. The only flavour it had was a scarce hint of coconut juice, and it did not complement the chicken (or vice versa) in any way. The clear soup was passable, but the chicken was similarly tough and tasteless. We wondered if perhaps the chicken was just used to flavour the soup, but in a restaurant such as this, we expected that anything served to us would be intended as part of the dish. I really would encourage Bo.lan to reinvent its soup options because these really pulled the grade downwards.

Stir fried prawns with paddy oat leaves at Bo.Lan Bangkok Thailand Asia's top 50

Asia's top 50 restaurants Bo.lan Bangkok ThailandFor the stir-fry option, mom and I went with Stir-fried prawns with paddy oat leaves while my dad opted for the Tumeric fried market fish of the day. The prawns were okay but forgettable, and so I don’t have much to say about them. The fried fish was beautifully presented, but was surprisingly limp when pricked with the fork and lacked the crispiness which we were expecting. The flavour was assisted by the lime but nothing noteworthy, and in fact, could be easily trumped by the Thai restaurants in Singapore.

We all opted for the same curry – Red curry with chicken & winter melon (featured picture) because the curry with pork neck sounded risky. This was a stronger candidate of the meal – the curry was a good thick consistency, very tasty and creamy, with the notes of the traditional herbs breaking through. I happily dished out the curry on the brown rice (which was fluffy and delicious by the way), and had it to help strengthen everything other dish possible. The finale was a Lemongrass ice jelly which was light, refreshing, and packed with strong aromatic lemongrass flavour, helping to end the meal on a stronger note.

Zabrina Alexis C at Bo.lan Bangkok Thailand

Turandot Restaurant (Турандот), City Centre, Moscow, Russia

SCRIBBLES

Category: International / French & Chinese

Our friend is an ardent food lover and has dined at countless renowned restaurants around the world, so we left the meal arrangements to him. The Turandot restaurant was scheduled for dinner on a Tuesday evening, which I didn’t know much about then, except that it was on the list of Top 10 restaurants in Moscow. Galya, who resides in Moscow city itself, told me that the restaurant next to that, Кафе Пушкинъ (Cafe Pushkin), was good and famous as well, but for classic Russian food.

Tverskoy bulvar, 26А, Moscow, Russia

The street on which Turandot sits isn’t hard to find. It’s a short left onto a busy side street just off the main Tverskaya street. We did, however, miss the restaurant, walking back and forth a few times whilst checking Google maps. The sign was so inconspicuous – Just the word Турандот etched into a piece of smooth grey stone fixed into the column to the left of the entrance. To get to Турандот from the main street, you’d have to walk by Pushkin first, so start staring at the walls after Pushkin ends and you should have no problem at all.

Damage: $$$

Dining at Турандот is by no means a simple affair, but if you’re willing to spend about $80 per head for the full suite, by all means, dine at Турандот. Price really varies depending on what you order, because there are some more expensive options which are around the 3000RUB mark ($60).

To go: Yes, if you want to feel like royalty and want something different from Russian food 🙂

The food is mostly good but fades in comparison with the ambience of Турандот. Dining in such an impressive hall is an experience in itself, and you feel it right when you walk through the doors, with gold featuring heavily in the decor. They serve a variety of things from Tuna tar-tar with caviar to Dim Sum, although I was still pleasantly surprised to find Fried Rice Vermicelli Singapore style in the menu.


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

We’d just wrapped up tea at GUM and began our walk towards Турандот, which took longer than expected; around 25 – 30 minutes. At this time of the Year, in mid October, Moscow was having an international festival called Circle of Light. As we walked along the street, there were all sorts of activities and displays – children running around a swirling globe of light in the field across the street, while adults stood staring at visual art casted in light onto the buildings to our right.

When we finally found Турандот and went inside, we were greeted by well-dressed staff at the reception and our coats were taken by a liveried footman, who in return, gave us the most opulent coat tags ever – weighty blocks of gold-brushed metal in a complex old-european design, with a number on the reverse.

We were led down a short flight of steps and into a large circular room which looked to be a lounge complete with a white grand piano, then guided out left and up a flight of stairs with the most ornate handrails. It was easy to see how the design and decor set its owners back around US$50 million, to earn the title of most expensive restaurant in Moscow. It was hard to believe that what looked like a royal residence akin to Château de Versailles of Paris or the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, was entirely constructed to just to house Турандот.

Turandot Moscow Russia

We dined on the upper floor, right under this beautiful dome – billowy white clouds on a sky blue canvas, the rims of the dome covered in intricate gold detail, with cherubs in various poses holding instruments as if in a serenade – amidst the soft, polite chatter of guests and the waitresses carrying golden trays wearing shoes which, speaking of extravagance, I’m told are made by the very same people responsible for the footwear of the Bolshoi ballerinas.

22-turandot2

The dim sum and peking duck we ordered to share was surprisingly quite authentic. The Grilled chicken with morel mushrooms, chanterelle and mashed potatoes which my companion ordered was a pretty hearty portion. The mash was especially good – creamy, and heavily scented with truffle which is undoubtedly, my favourite kind of mash.

I had the Roe deer marinated in red wine served with cloudberries, which turned out to be quite different from what I’d imagined. The deer was encrusted on the top with sort of a crumb casing, but this wasn’t very crisp, I think partly because of the sauce from the meat. The deer itself was tender and juicy, and the red wine marination brought out its meatier notes. The cloudberries were… for lack of a better word, interesting. I’d never tasted cloudberries before, and they sound like something that could’ve been made up. In the mouth, they were like clusters of little seeds surrounded by mild-tasting and firm fruit.

22-turandot3

We ended the meal with some milk flower and violet ice cream. Personally, I preferred the milk flower, which tasted creamy, milky and sweet. The best part of it all being the floral notes which felt like I was tasting a beautiful garden. It reminded me of the best floral-flavoured gelati I’d had in Rome, where I’d stood at the counter staring at dozens of the loveliest sounding ice-creams from sicilian wine cream to Garden sage and raspberry, and I wondered about when the next time might be that I should return to Italy.

Alkaff Mansion Ristorante, Singapore

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SCRIBBLES

Category: Western

10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178

Honestly, besides the lovely sight of the tudor-style historical bungalow peering over the park (which you can’t really see much of at night), the privacy and the very attentive service, I’m not sure anything else about Alkaff Mansion Ristorante really stood out to me. The portions are on the small side, which is fine considering it’s fine dining, but I didn’t come away very satisfied.

Damage: $$$

Antipasti (~27SGD), Pasta (~30SGD), Fish Main (~43SGD), Meat Main (~50SGD), Desserts (~15SGD)

To go: On rare occasion – should try new places first 😐

If I were to return, I would probably try going back in the day instead when I can enjoy the view and maybe sit out at Alkaff‘s Terrace. I’m thinking late afternoons would be a fine time for that. The menu changes every now and then.

They have a 3-course set lunch on weekdays at $36++, and Italian Afternoon tea on Mondays to Fridays at $26++ and Saturdays at $40++ (I suppose this helps cover the costs of the live band, dessert bar, and the additional crepes suzette and pasta stations).


A MORE DETAILED RECOUNT

2-starter

We opened our meal with an antipasti of Salmon Carpaccio; The salmon was fresh and the roe was springy as it should be, but the greens did nothing for the dish by being dry and tasteless. Although I like my dressing on salads or antipasti light, this was an olive oil dressing that did not quite bring out the flavours of the dish.

For the mains, we ordered the Porcetto Sardinyan Style, Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, and Fettuccini with slow-roasted veal.

The Porcetto Sardinyan Style (see feature picture) was recommended to us as a fantastic Alkaff Mansion special. While the meat itself was relatively juicy and tender, the skin was really hard to cut through. If I were to knock it with my knife blade, it would remain unblemished while giving rise to a clicking sound. Again, the rest of the greens on the plate did nothing for the dish.

Lamb Rack and Veal Fettuccini

The Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, or Oven Baked Lamb Rack, was slightly on the well done side but remained tender, although I wasn’t a fan of the slightly sweet and sticky sauce. The mash was grainy. As a pasta lover, I was disappointed that the fettuccini was rather forgettable; the meat was tasty and the pasta was al dente, but they felt like two separate dishes put on the same plate. The sauce could not coat nor cling to the pasta even after I tried to mix it up a few times, possibly also because there wasn’t a lot of it. At almost $30, there are many other places which can serve up a better pasta at this price point.

Semifreddo and Panna CottaTo end off, we had the Semifreddo al Cioccolato Bianco e Caffe’, and the Panna Cotta alla Vaniglia, Frutti di Bosco e Salsa al Lamponi. I love my sweets, but I would suggest having dessert elsewhere. The coffee came across as way too bitter in the semifreddo and the panna cotta had a bit too much of a gelatin texture to it which prevented the creaminess from coming through.