This European fine dining restaurant is located in the National Museum of Singapore and has been open for a few years, but although I have been willing to try it out for quite some time, due to its location it always gave me the wrong impression of being a "touristy" restaurant.
This time, looking to try somewhere new, I made the move and stepped into the place. The ambiance gave an instant impression of sophistication, and the dining room is breathtaking: spacious, stylish and classic and benefits from an impressive double height ceiling.
We were soon given a Lunch Set Menu, with either 2 or 3 courses and a choice of about 4-5 dishes per course. The bread soon followed, and it wasn't the best thing we were served, as I prefer traditional crusty bread to the soft, brioche style one which tends to remind me of BreadTalk.
I was a lot more impressed by the amouse bouche, which was a crab meat based soft mousse, with a combination of beautiful flavours and textures. There was even some refreshing soft tofu right at the bottom of the jar to settle the palate.
Together with the amouse bouche, the waiter placed a couple of pretty cards right in front of us to announce the next dish, which we selected out of the set lunch. This was without a doubt a beautiful idea, as it prepares you mentally to what's coming and entertains you with the history and composition details of the dish. I much prefer this approach to the typical waiter babbling some hard to understand long memorised description when the dish is served.
The young Young Beets Salad with roast beets, spinach, hazelnuts, pear and blue cheese was well balanced and a way apart from what you would get in a regular café.
I ordered a Reinvented Vitello Tonnato, which was a brilliant variation on the classic Italian dish, still staying truthful to the original. The slices of veal were topped with some tomato marmalade and tuna tartare, and a few scattered large capers. In my case, the creamy tuna sauce was served separately, as the waiter gathered that I don't like "creamy stuff" while doing my orders. I was in fact enquiring about the risotto, which he told me contains cream, and I didn't choose for that reason. He asked me if I can't eat dairy products, but I explained that I actually just don't like food with a lot of cream. The kitchen was, from then on, very careful with adding too much cream to my dishes. This was a sign of excellent, attentive service and good partnering work between kitchen and serving staff!
Next, was the Venison Loin with coffee jus, Jerusalem artichoke paste, and almond powder. The dish was well presented and the venison just right, although I personally found that it was too "gamy", and it needed something either herby or acid to cut through that smell. This could be improved upon.
The Seabass from Italy was served on a potato brandade, green asparagus, and a capsicum sauce. The fish was well cooked, the skin was crispy,
and the capsicum sauce was an unusual but great accompaniment to the fish.
Now this was the most awaited part of the meal, since the description of this chocolate dessert sounded very intriguing. The Valrhona Chocvolate Test was described as 33% areated mousse, 55% soufflé, 66% sorbet, 72% warm custard, 85% dehidrated chocolate. The chef did a great job at playing with temperatures and textures, all around the same chocolate. I liked the dehydrated chocolate the most, and the warm custard reminded me of an Italian budino.
Soufflé is perhaps my favourite dessert these days, and I am always seeking for the "best soufflé", so I didn't let this opportunity slip, and I ordered the Apple and Calvados soufflé with Chocolate ice cream. I wouldn't rate this soufflé very highly, primarily because it was very spongy, almost like a cake, while I prefer soufflés to be light and airy. Also, what was advertised as an ice cream was actually a mousse (which was the best part). Between the two desserts we ordered, I would recommend the chocolate test.
The cost of the set lunch was S$40 per person for 3 courses or S32 for 2 courses, and the total bill for two including water was S$100. We had a very good experience overall, since the ambiance is extremely pleasant, the service was impeccably attentive, and the food was very good value for money. I would be curious to try the dinner menu, which was actually not available for lunch, even upon request.
National Museum of Singapore
Tel: 6336 8770