I loved how the restaurants makes the most of its narrow tight shophouse space. All diners sit around the small open kitchen and you can always pretend to be mesmerized by the chefs should conversation run dry.
Diners get only two choices per meal: Petit ($38 for a three-course lunch, $98 for a five-course dinner) and Grand ($55 for a five-course lunch, $128 for a seven-course dinner). To top it off, the dishes are mostly carte blanche, which means the chef will serve up whatever he desires and you jolly well like it. Kidding. The uncertainty of a bad meal was clearly not on the minds of many as we were there on a Thursday for lunch and the place packed when we left.
There’s jelly, foam, soil and what-not for sure but it was the pairing of ingredients and flavours that showed off the chef’s ingenuity. Sure, not all the dishes will appeal to the masses as they tend to tread the line between “Hmm, that was weird ” and “Ooo, why didn’t I think of that?” As this is carte blanche and we weren’t given any menus, I’m relying on my memory for these dishes. Peace.
Before our 5-course meal officially started, a couple of canapes made their way swiftly.
Squid Ink Crisp, Seafood Mousse, Ikura
Chips and dip in a mouthful. I kid. It was plesant in an issipid but not particularly memorable. I can't say this was a strong start to the meal.
Potato Skin, Potato Salad, Mackerel
This upscale potato salad teased our tastebuds and while it was not OMFG, it was comforting and kind of put my uncertainty in place.
Beef Tartare, Miso Ice Cream, Ikura, Yuzu
Thankfully, our first course was amazing! The tartare was smooth and all the elements melded to created a scrumptious starter. On hindsight, this was a really bold dish. Serving up raw beef in a sizable portion might not be everyone’s idea of a superb kick-off but this bold move paid off.
Sourdough Bread with
Beetroot, Charcoal and Original Butter
Beetroot, Charcoal and Original Butter
Shortly after the tartare, a bowl of burlap--wrapped sourdough made its way to our table. You know you are eating fancy carbs when you get three different types of butter. Frankly speaking, the beetroot and charcoal butter were pretty forgettable but the original butter - let’s just say, it got plenty of airtime with the sourdough.
The sourdough was INCREDIBLE! Warm, crusty and redolently yeasty. I only had 1.5 thick substantial pieces as it was so darn filling, and I totally regret not bringing the rest back.
Poached Oyster, Dashi, Greem Apple, Wasabi
The one dish I struggled to get on board with was the oyster. The oyster itself was perfectly executed but I just couldn’t take the silvery texture of raw oysters (though this was poached, it bore the unapologetically slimy taste of raw oysters). Oyster lovers are probably probably roll their eyes at me right now but I stand by what I ate. Don’t worry, our resident Oyster Fiend KW enjoyed this dish very much.
Cabbage, Cured Pork Cheek, Lardo, Parsley Butter
Confit Pigeon, Pork Jus, Olives
I can’t tell you how happy I was when these tarts arrived in front of us. First, I was beginning to hit the wall (damn you, sourdough, I thought you would be kind) and second, when I saw one of the cooks brûlée the tarts, I was filled with such anticipation as tarts are my thing. Sure it wasn’t as funky as the other dishes - but the flavours of caramelised passion fruit and white sesame went incredibly well together. Who would have thought?
Salted Caramel Puff Bread
The puff breads were incurably sweet. It was like eating condensed milk. Look, I love my condensed milk in kopi but eating on its own requires an exchange of cash my way.
Cotton Candy with Beetroot Powder
The cotton candy was really just gimmicky but fun. The beetroot powder was too mild to create any form of impact, perhaps smoked paprika would have been better.
All in all, a surprisingly interesting meal that would have you think a little harder in terms of what it’s trying to do.