Three years ago, I found my first love right here at Chalk. She was sweet, gentle and warm, and the dates were always memorable. I promised myself to see her often, but she soon went out of sight and out of mind as I begun to be swarmed with relentless waves of work. That’s how most relationships end doesn’t it? I never thought I’d see her again. I tried to find someone similar but no one seemed to match up. And then, just last Friday, my friends arranged a semi-surprise birthday dinner for me and she was to be in attendance…the first Sticky Date Pudding that stole my heart.
Located at Old School @ Mount Sophia (sharing the same compound as Timbre @ Old School), Chalk is no newcomer to the local dining scene. It has been in operation for the past 3 and a half years, serving up a mix of Italian and French cuisine, not to mention a kick ass dessert menu as well.
Indoor and alfresco dining options are available, with both eluding the homely and casual vibes of a bistro rather than a restaurant.
In line with the restaurant name, chalkboards are used to display the daily specials and given their relative scarcity, I decided to go for the Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Puree ($31), which is not part of Chalk’s regular menu. I never really thought of Chalk as an authentic Italian eatery, so I was genuinely surprised to discover how great the risotto was. I detected the use of truffle oil which complemented the cheesiness well and helped to lift the flavours of the dish. This was easily the best main we had for the night! Chalk should seriously consider adding this into the regular menu.
The Duck Confit with Sweet Potato Mash and Rocket Salad with Balsamic Dressing ($33) is probably one of the best-sellers on the menu. Personally however, I find the meat too dry and salty so its really fortunate that there’s the sweet potato mash to bring the sodium level down a notch. Then again, as long as you are not a fussy food snob, frying a duck thigh in duck fat will still yield a tasty treat.
Didn’t sample the Beef & Red Wine Stew with Mashed Potato & Sauteed Spring Vegetables ($31) this time around but from what I remember, it’s decent.
The Grilled Ribeye with Roasted Garlic Potato, Garden Vegetables & Red Wine Jus ($39) was another surprise. The beef is juicy and tender with the right amounts of fats and a rich and savoury gravy.
The Catch of the Day happened to be Baked Snapper ($30). I usually stay away from snapper as the flesh is really too lean for my liking and it proved true in this case. Moreover, the dish was almost totally bland.
I liked the Duo of Pork – Roasted Pork Belly & Confit Tomato Stuffed with Minced Pork, with Lentils & Fine Beans ($33). The pork comes with a nice proportion of meat to fats, and is absent of any gaminess. Italian 烧肉 anyone?
Chalk does a mean Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream & Sesame Snap ($13) too. Unlike the conventional chocolate lava cakes, this Chocolate Fondant is encrusted with sesame snaps, which results in a crispier exterior.
Just like your first kiss, no other kiss is just as memorable. That’s probably the reason why I am so fond of Chalk’s Sticky Date Pudding with Brandy Butterscotch Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream ($13). Compared to the other Sticky Date Puddings I have tried elsewhere, the ones at Chalk have a higher concentration of date and is less sweet.
If you are dining with friends and don’t mind sharing, I would definitely recommend the Sampler Plate ($25), a chef’s selection of 4 desserts. For this occasion, we were given tasting portions of Creme Brulee, Sticky Date Pudding with Ginger Ice Cream, Blood Orange Sorbet and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Berry Compote. While I am a huge fan of Chalk’s Sticky Date Pudding, I have to admit that their Creme Brulee and Panna Cotta are in a league of their own. The Creme Brulee doesn’t commit the same faults that plague most restaurants; the density is just right, viscous enough to support the caramelized seared layer but not overly so that it resembles a chawanmushi. As for the Panna Cotta, apparently it is incredibly easy to make, just a heated mixture of cream, sugar, vanilla, gelatin and water which is then left to cool so I tend to avoid ordering it at restaurants but Chalk does it so perfectly that it’s making me rethink my future dessert ordering strategies.
Reassessing Chalk objectively at the end of the day, the main draw would be their desserts and I’m glad I took the time to rediscover my first love and her friends.
11 Mount Sophia, #01-03
Tel: +65 6883 2120