Amuse Bouche #1: Celeriac and Hazelnut soup. Warmed the tum while we were picking our menu. Smooth creamy mouth-feel, a slightly grassy taste with nutty undertones.
Amuse Bouche #2: Salmon tartare; tiny chunks of fatty raw salmon cured in some lemon juice and salt.
Amuse Bouche #3: Duck with saffron mousse and quinoa; Saffron mousse was almost tasteless. Duck was I think roasted- very tender and well seasoned. The quinoa was cooked till al dente, my favourite component of the dish.
Bread: None too memorable but delicious all the same. From the back, sourdough, mini baguettes, and milk buns. Served with salted and hazelnut butter.
First Course: Jardin Botanique; From left, Kabucha, Burdock Root, Sweet potato, shishito, bamboo shoot, lotus root, banana flower, hakusai, momotaro tomato
Our meal started proper with a bang. An interesting medley of pickled vegetables with detailed descriptions given corresponding to their numbers. Most were foreign to us, making this dish quite a novelty. My favourites were number 4( the shishito which is a small thin pepper that was surprisingly sweet with light peppery notes) and number 8 (hakusai which is a type of chinese cabbage. What made it stand out was the pipette of white truffle oil that perfumed the rather normal cabbage)
Tiny little bites
Udon Carbonara: A modern twist to the classic. BEST DISH OF THE NIGHT; kampong chicken egg confit, habujo ham, fresh udon, smoked mozzarella cheese, maatsutake mushrooms, local chives and sarawak pepper coulis
We were so impressed with this. Now where shall I start? The kampong chicken egg confit can be best described as a soft-boiled egg kept whole. For maximum satisfaction, split it atop the bed of udon noodles just like how you would do to the uncooked egg yolk for regular carbonara. Each noodle was springy, and minimally coated with cream- too much and the cream would leave a sick feeling after a few bites but the chef masterfully ensured that the amount was just about right, coupled with all the other ingredients of the dish.
The bits of smoked mozzarella sprinkled about melted in the heat of the udon adding to the savouriness of the dish. The cubes of ham tasted almost like they were candied, though I knew very well that it was dried ham. They call it habujo ham but I’ve never heard of it before. Whatever, it was delicious- not too salty, or sweet. Every bite of this dish was heaven! Contrary to my expectations, it was neither heavy on the palate nor boring at all. A classic reinvented with lots of technique to boot.
Another shot because it was so good. I don’t even fancy cream-based pastas in the first place!
Dad’s mains: Caille Farcie au Foie Gras; locally grown quail farci with braised duck, oven-baked foie gras and flakey pastry, pan-fried salsify and wild thyme reduction
This was at least second-best of the night, or even on par with the former dish. The pastry retained the heat inside very well and when dad cracked it open the fragrance bode great things to come. Indeed we were not disappointed because the quail was so tender and succulent, pairing well with the buttery pastry. For a touch of luxury they added foie gras which dad really enjoyed. I thought it was much better than my filet de sole aux algues fraiches- the dover sole fillet being too fishy and the other components being pretty forgettable.
Pre-dessert: Mango Slurpy, granny smith apple and basil sorbet
My second encounter with basil in my dessert and I’m loving it! Refreshing on the palate this was, worthy of its title as pre-dessert.
Dad’s Dessert: Mousse de yogurt; yogurt mousse with hibiscus tea granite and vietnamese mint espuma
My dessert: Sorbet chocolat banane; bitter chocolate sorbet, banana espuma, and carbonated raspberries (ie. stuffed with pop rocks)
I honestly hope both desserts are a fraction of what they really are on ala carte because they supposedly cost $18 each! They were at best a sweet ending to our delicious meal. Other than that, nothing too spectacular in terms of presentation and taste.
Petit-fours: meringue, blackcurrant pate de fruit, chocolate caramel truffle, cranberry butter cookie
Loved the pate de fruit, reminds me of concentrated ribena. Going to try making this one day with my candy thermometer.
Phew, what a long dinner. My first demi-degustation ever. It was a fun gastronomic adventure but it’s luxury that I will only allow myself to partake once in a very very blue moon. Thanks dad for the spontaneous decision to splurge on dinner that night!
Demi-degustation: $108++ each; 3 amuse bouches, 2 appetizers, 1 mains, 1 pre-dessert, 1 dessert, and petit-fours. Everything else will be an extra charge.