With room rates starting at the ~$800 region and up, the first imageries that come to mind at the mention of Capella Hotel would definitely be one of opulence, exclusivity and grandeur. Nestled away on Sentosa Island, this 5-star hotel houses The Knolls, which specializes in French-influenced Mediterranean fare and Cassia, a fine-dining Cantonese Restaurant. On this occasion, I was here to sample the newly revamped “bistronomy” menu at The Knolls.
Better known for its award-winning Sunday Champagne Brunch (priced between $128++ to $258++ depending on the various options of free flow drinks) and Afternoon High Tea ($39.90++), the lunch/dinner bistronomy menu at The Knolls has been left somewhat forgotten. This is a pity because selected items on the lunch/dinner menu were delicious and reasonably priced, with 3-Course Lunch/Dinner Sets going for $52++/$78++ respectively.
We kicked off the meal with an amuse bouche of Chicken Liver Pate, which I enjoyed immensely. The abhorring scent of gaminess was absent, leaving just a savoury velvety spread to whet the appetite.
Of the two appetizers I tried, my preference was the Octopus Ballotine ($27), served with Orange Martini dressing. A Ballotine is typically made using poultry and pretty similar to a roulade, where deboned poultry meat is stuffed, rolled and tied up for further cooking. For this instance where octopus was used instead, we saw pieces of octopus held together by a gelatinous layer. I liked that the octopus wasn’t too rubbery and went well with the dried tomatoes and a glass of German Riesling.
The Open Ravioli ($23) comprised of an Asian-inspired duck & foie gras dumpling served with its bouillon (atas word for broth). Pleasant but uninspiring, the dish failed to capture my attention and I was unable to detect the foie gras.
For the Mains, I liked the Pan Seared Seabass with Mediterranean seafood ragout, Orzo pasta (rice shaped pasta), chipirones (tiny squids) and aioli ($44). My main feedback was that Seabass skin could have been made to be more crispy but otherwise, I enjoyed the rich mix of aioli with the pasta and complementing seafood.
I found the Grilled Marinated Beef Short Ribs, Truffle mashed potatoes, mixed green salad and gherkins ($35) rather one-dimensional in taste, with the sweet marinade coming in the spotlight.
The Crispy Lamb Rib Confit ($38) tasted slightly gamy but I did appreciate the Bell Pepper Coulis (red sauce), which helps to cut through the excess unctuousness from the lamb. I didn’t take to the piece of Grilled Mini eggplant stuffed with cumin, rice and raisins, as the rice was on the heavy side and excessive in terms of the rice to eggplant ratio.
Of the 3 desserts I tried, the Cassatta ($16) was the only one that stood out. The Pistachio sponge forming the base, raspberry sorbet at the core and lemon meringue on the exterior was an excellent combination. The tartness from the raspberry and lemon was perfect for ending the meal.
On the other hand, the Profiteroles ($16) and Pandan Coconut Crème brûlée ($16) were forgettable.
Overall, the meal was a mix of hits and misses. On the plus side, I liked that the restaurant is spacious and dining tables are spread far apart enough to have a private conversation going. The casual setting left me at ease and provides a relaxed environment for date nights and gatherings. The wait staff while attentive, were unintrusive as well. My main grouse would be the food. Some of the restaurant’s signature items like the Pate, Octopus Ballotine, Seafood Pasta and Cassatta are worth a return visit, while the other dishes came across as pretty meh, so do stick to the tried and tested here where possible. The price point for food is reasonable, though the wine list is slightly pricey relative to the food.
This meal was sponsored by The Knolls. A special thanks to Melissa for hosting.
1 The Knolls, Capella Hotel, Sentosa Island, Singapore 098297
Tel: +65 6591 5046