*This meal was sponsored by One Rochester
I was invited for a tasting session at Roast @ One Rochester a few days ago with fellow food bloggers Xinli from The4Moose, Calvin from CalvinTimo, Jean from KnockonFood, Kelvin from The Timeless Facade and Jasper from Six&Seven. From my observation, the demographic of food bloggers in Singapore seems be male-dominated. Quite surprising isn’t it? I just have the preconception that most guys would rather stay home and read 9gag or play skyrim/dota/starcraft than write a food blog. Oh wells, I guess they aren’t exclusive.
When I was doing summer school in Vancouver last June, I encountered a Canadian lady who shot dirty looks to my friends and I when one of my friends asked if we wanted to share his food. Subsequently, I found out that unlike Chinese culture, sharing food is a no no in some western cultures and especially so when it comes to fine dining, though I have to say that globalization and the changing times are slowing eroding such rigid rules. That is probably why we don’t see that many Western communal dining places around as much as we see Chinese restaurants that have 10 people digging into one main dish.
This is where Roast @ One Rochester comes in with its communal menu. Priced at $70++ per pax, the communal menu offers an extensive range of entree platters, crudites (raw fresh vegetables), pasta, roasts, dessert platters and a selection of artisanal cheeses, gorgeously presented for sharing purposes. Of course, most of these appetizers and mains can also be found in the ala carte menu with individual dish pricings which I have included below.
Diners can choose to sit indoors in a intimate air-conditioned bungalow, or outdoors in the lush greenery.
With over 30 types of beers and cocktails, and a wine cellar holding over 200 labels, I was spoilt for choice over what to order. Their most popular cocktail is the Frozen Mojito ($15++) which I didn’t sample today. Instead, I went for the Basil & Passionfruit Margarita. From the looks of it, it reminds me of what my mum likes to make in the morning; overly pulpy blended fruit and vegetable juice. However, the pulp here was finely grated and didn’t hinder my drinking and the margaita was refreshingly fruity and sweet. Alcohol content was potent enough, something that I might actually order in a club.
If you are like me and am curious to try a little of everything, you might want to consider opting for The Nibble Platter ($28++), consisting of “Herb Crumbed Stuffed Olives, Potato Skins with Sour Cream & Ocean Trout Caviar, Radish Tapenade (finely chopped olive paste), Crudites (meaning: raw vegetables), Smoked Ocean Trout Rillette, Kurobuta Pork Terrine, Jamon & Pickles”. Initially I thought the crumbed stuffed olives were fried mozzarella balls but was sadly mistaken. The Jamon ham and potato skins were both pretty good, and I can imagine it would go down well with beer. Simple comfort food pleases me. But if I were to return again for a ala-carte meal, I would probably skip this for the other appetizers available (was eyeing the Pan Fried Foie Gras, Wagyu Carpaccio, Crab Cake and Baked Portobello Mushroom), which are not choices included in the Communal Set.
You pay a slight premium here for what is usually complimentary but you do get your money’s worth as the Crusty Breads are made in house and comes with Dip & Whole Roasted Garlic ($4.50++). Nothing too special about the dips but what caught my attention was the garlic! It is roasted till it is soft, and carries with it a smokey flavour that goes well with the bread.
The Classic Mushroom Soup with Truffled Duxelle Pastry ($18++) is one of One Rochester’s signature dishes. The mushroom soup comes alongside a Duxelle filo pastry (Duxelle means minced mushroom) and a thin slice of Gruyere Toast. Gruyere is a type of Swiss Cheese and is commonly used in Quiches, Croque Monsieur, Cheese Fondues and Chicken Cordon Bleu. It works well on toast because it has a balanced tone, not to mild like Mozzarella or Feta but not overpowering like Blue cheese. The best thing about this dish was the Duxelle pastry which was very light, crisp and buttery.
Tiger prawn salad with cous cous, pomegranate, mint and Persian feta ($18++). Prawns were slightly salty and fresh, like they were just fished out of the sea.
Ask me what the best dish on the menu is and I would unhesitatingly tell you that its got to be the Twice-Baked Gruyere Souffle with two salads: Mushroom & Bacon, Apple & Pecan ($24++, serves 2). The first time I had this was at a previous tasting session at Stellar @ 1-Altitude, a fine-dining restaurant under the One Rochester Group, and I simply adored it. Over there, it was served with extra sides of Gruyere Cheese Dip and Blue Cheese Dip but over at Roast, you just get the souffle nestled as an island in a sea of Melted Gruyere Cheese and Cream.
I was quite happy when I heard that we were going to be served the Roast Cod Fillet and Prawn, Green Pea Mash, Shellfish Sauce. It is after all, one of my (and I am sure everyone elses) favourite types of fish. What most people don’t know however is that there are many different types of Cod. When I was holidaying over in England and Spain last summer, I often wondered why they had such “cheap” Cod dishes (cheapness is relative) and only upon ordering at several places did I realize that the Cod they were offering was different from the Black Cod that I was used to having in Singapore and I felt damn cheated. Only later did I discover that ironically, Black Cod (also known as Sablefish) is a misnomer, as it is not a type of true Cod. I believe the one served in this dish is not Black Cod, though I will refrain from trying to identify exactly what type of Cod it is because there are a couple such as Pacific Cod, Atlantic Cod and Rock Cod. It might possibly be Chilean Seabass which is often used as a substitute for Black Cod, and has a leaner and chunkier texture.
My favourite main today was the Baby chicken wrapped in Proscuitto with Pine Nut, Raisin & Truffle stuffing served with Quince & Pear Compote ($38++). Having been wrapped in preserved ham while being roasted added an extra savoury dimension to the chicken meat and also allowed the chicken to retain its juiciness and not harden from over-roasting. Quince is a type of fruit related to apples and pears. You can sometimes find it minced into a jam or paste and it goes real well with crackers or biscuits over wine and cheese. I thought that it’s presence as a dip was superfluous in this case and I preferred having the chicken nudie.
The Braised Angus short rib with creamy Paris mash potato and buttered baby carrots ($38++) found favour with most, if not all of the dinner guests. I usually associate Beef Short Ribs with Korean Cuisine for some reason, where they are served grilled in-bone. Annoyingly, the meat is always so very chewy and sticks to the bone. There’s no wonder I have a bad impression of Beef Short Ribs. However, braising does wonders for tough cuts of meat, where the collagen fibres in the meat are broken down over a slow simmer to achieve a fork tender texture, as evident in this case. Even from the picture, you can tell that the accompanying Mash is sooooo smoooooth. Roast Rosemary Potatoes ($7++) were served as a side as well but they were ordinary.
Cauliflower Cheese Gratin ($8++) comes as a side dish as well. It looks so very much like mac and cheese that I got tricked into eating it. I’m not much of a cauliflower person you see, not when I read that worts look like them eek.
If you don’t already know, One Caramel is also part of the One Rochester Group and is located on the 2nd Floor of One Rochester (having been relocated from its Handy Road premises near Plaza Singapura). To my delight, they take charge of Roast’s dessert menu. We managed to sample the Grande Assiette ($24++), which showcases a selection of petite sized desserts to share. Sadly, it doesn’t feature my favourite One Caramel dessert; The Strawberry Shortcake which is uber yums. In its stead, we got the Earl Grey Creme Brulee, Tropical Vodka Trifle with Pineapple Jelly & Coconut Ice Cream, Rose Panna Cotta, Lychee Lemon Compote and a Red Bean Cheesecake. I felt that the Lychee Lemon Compote and Tropical Vodka Trifle had too many flavours vying for my approval at the same time, and hence didn’t leave much of an impression after. On the other hand, the Red Bean Cheesecake is pretty awesome, especially if you are not into strong smelling cheeses
Overall, I would say that the food at Roast is decent, though their Communal Concept doesn’t come across very strongly. So you might just as well stick to the ala carte for greater flexibility in ordering.
Special thanks to Audrey and the One Rochester Group for the invitation!
Roast @ One Rochester
1 Rochester Park
Tel: +65 6773 0070