[London] Rhodes W1 – A Modern Take on French

22 05 2011

I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to secure an online booking for lunch at Rhodes W1, especially when it was a 5-Course Spring Tasting Menu at just 25.50GBP. I can’t remember which website I used to make the reservation but I discovered that one of the more dominant reservations sites within the UK would be Toptable. It’s a restaruant booking website (very much like diningcity) which frequently offers diners specially priced set menus, and 50% off restaurant bill deals for diners who choose to make their reservations via toptable for selected restaurants. Why doesn’t Singapore have such a website?!

Awarded 1 Michelin star, Rhodes W1 came across to me as being excessively posh, with a chandelier overhanging each and every table and Molten Brown liquid soap & hand lotion and nicely folded cloth towels in the toilet! (and yes, in case you are wondering, I did what normal kiasu Singaporeans would do and spammed some hand lotion before leaving). Despite being labelled a contemporary French eatery, I believe that much of what Rhodes W1 conjures up derive influences from an eclectic mix of different cuisines.

I’m more of a focaccia person that a ciabatta.

Courgette (Zucchini) Mousse, Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Balsamic Jelly. I liked how the palate cleansing balsamic blended well with the creamy mousse.

Braised Octopus Carpaccio, Chorizo Croquette, Fennel and Lemon. Nothing mind-blowing about the octopus but I did like the Croquette which was well fried though I couldn’t really discern the taste of chorizo from the potato.

As G doesn’t take Octopus, the chef obligingly replaced it with a Pigeon Pate, which ironically I found more tasty and substantial.

I just had a Guinea Fowl Confit at Bistro Du Vinlast week which wasn’t exactly spectacular and concluded that Guinea Fowl is just a lesser poultry, short on taste and texture compared to duck or chicken. However I was proved wrong after tasting the Slowed Cooked Guinea Fowl, Baby Leeks, St George’s Mushrooms & Foie Gras Emulsion today. The cylindrical pieces of meat came from the breast and was stuffed with what I gathered was egg, sunflower seeds and some other ingredients. As for the rectangular piece, it consisted of the thigh portions. Both were succulent and juicy.

Pina Colada. Coconut mousse atop pineapple sorbet.

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Ice Cream. A sweet ending to the stellar meal.

The bill arrived in an envelope labelled “The Damage”. Very cutesey…I like.

Bon Appetit!

Marble Arch
London W1H 7DL, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7616 5930





Restaurant Ember – The exception to “hara hachi bu”

22 04 2011

I came across the japanese term “hara hachi bu” recently. It’s an Okinawan tradition which means to eat only till 80% full. While it’s a good strategy for avoiding obesity and living a healthy lifestyle, I find it useful and relevant in the art of food appreciation as well. I find that the most memorable meals are the ones where hara hachi bu comes into play, where you leave a restaurant only partially full and left wanting for more. Ever so often are we guilty of attending a buffet and gorging ourselves to get our money’s worth, only to be left unsatisfied and empty at the end of the meal.

However, Restaurant Ember proves to be an exception. Filled to 110% of my bodily capacity, I still found it to be one of my most memorable meals ever.

Despite being situated in what I’d consider to be the most competitive dining environment (the Tanjong Pagar and Outram area) to be found locally, Restaurant Ember still manages to keep up a fully booked reservation list on a day to day basis, which says a lot for an eatery that has already been around for the past 8 years.

At Ember, you can rest assure that there’s no hocus pocus, smoke or pyrotechnics used to impress diners. It’s a place where ambience and service is kept to a respectful minimum, and the the focus is really on the food. I reaffirmed this fact when I received a call confirming my reservation by a staff member who had an uncouth singlish accent, a far cry from the usual dignified “ang mor” accent we are so used to hearing from western eateries.

A warm toasty focaccia kick started our meal.

We were also given a complimentary mocktail each, a promotion for patrons paying with DBS/POSB cards.

3-Course Set Lunches here are priced at $39.50++, though some dish choices (like the foie gras) do require slight additional top-ups.

Pan Seared Foie Gras with Caramelized Apples & Clove, Port & Raspberry Glaze (additional $6 supplement). Me, I’m just a sucker for foie gras. This wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, with the classic light tinge of sour acidity from the malic and ascorbic acid from the apples to help provide some balance for the fatty goose liver. Pity it was slightly overcooked.

Roasted and Poached Foie Gras with Mirin, Shoyu & Shitake (additional $6 supplement). One of my most enjoyable foie gras dishes ever! As opposed to the sweet-sour combi with the previous foie gras dish, this dish was pure savoury goodness.

Marinated Cod with Black Miso, Sweet Peas & Herbed Potatoes. Unlike the previous Miso Cod I had at Greenwood Fish Market, I preferred Ember’s rendition which has a cleaner and lighter taste.

Crispy Duck Leg Confit with new Potatoes, Caramelized Onion & Thyme Jus. Very impressive duck confit they conjured up here, one of the best I have had. The skin is really crisp and somehow devoid of any excess frying oil, the duck meat is moist and supple, and the gravy heavy probably from the duck fat residue but flavourful nonetheless.

Homemade Sticky Date Pudding with Grand Marnier Ice Cream. For the longest time, Sticky Date Pudding has been my favourite dessert but I think I’m starting to tire of it. The Date Pudding here oddly resembles a fruitcake in terms of taste and texture. Personally, I’d prefer it more moist and I think it would have paired better with just a plain old Vanilla Bean Ice Cream instead of the yoghurt tasting Grand Marnier Ice Cream.

Warm Valrhona Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. I’m sure this would be a hit amongst dark chocolate lovers. The Vanilla Ice Cream is also to die for.

As you can see, Ember just puts a smile on my face. It just might be is my new favourite restaurant. Bon Appetit!

RESTAURANT EMBER

50 KEONG SAIK ROAD, HOTEL 1929

TEL: +65 6347 1928





DB Bistro Moderne – A Winning Gamble in MBS

20 02 2011

If you are looking for “atas”, posh and excessively ostentatious, DB Bistro Moderne will probably not be the place for you. It really is simply a bistro, which according to the dictionary means, “a small informal restaurant serving wine”. Yet, such a phrase definitely doesn’t do justice in describing DB Bistro Moderne, the latest of Daniel Boulud’s (of famed New York 3-Michelin Star restaurant Daniel) creations.

While DB Bistro Moderne supposedly serves French American fusion (easily detected from the furnishings), apart from their Burgers, I find it quite difficult to see where the American influence fits in within the menu. As for the ambience, the feeling I get here is casual and cosy, the staff are polite, attentive and more than able to answer any queries about the food. Lunch Sets are available for $38/$48 for 2/3 Course but this time I was here for dinner (mid terms finally ended today yay!). My friends and I got here before 6.30pm on a Friday night and there were only counter seats available for those without reservations, so do make a reservation to avoid being turned away.

And here, Chef Boulud in the flesh!

Dinner started off with a few variants of warm complimentary bread.

We shared a Tarte Flambee($16) which resembled a thin-crusted pizza. Topped with Fromage Blanc (a creamy soft cheese), finely diced bacon (aka lardons) and onions, we found this to be a really pleasant appetizer.

For our other starter, we had the Foie Gras Terrine($26). Normally, I’d prefer foie gras to be pan fried rather than to be made into a terrine but this one here really got me thinking. Creamy, dense and slightly briny, I could just eat it alone but it goes even better when eaten with the brioche and who can forget about the mildly sweet quince (fruit related to apple and pear) which also complemented it really well.

For Main, the Barramundi Grenobloise($35) was really awesome. The skin of this Asian Seabass was pan-fried till a nice shade of crisp golden brown and the meat had a very delicate and simple flavour which was paired nicely with a brown butter sauce. While I usually stay away from cauliflower, DB Bistro Moderne does a fine job converting my dislikes into likes.

Although it was a tough decision, I felt that the Coq Au Vin($31) edged out the Barramundi slightly to become my favourite dish of the night. Coq Au Vin is a tradition french classic of chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, onions and pork belly and the one here was served with a side of noodles, albeit of a French nature. What I loved most about this dish was the gravy and the chicken skin. Even as I ate, I could not figure out how to best describe the gravy. There were just so many flavours interacting and complementing with each other simultaneously that it’s almost impossible to decipher the individual constituents or describe the resulting flavourful amalgam.  My only grouse was that the chicken meat could be a tad more tender but apart from that, it truly was an amazing dish.

Chef Boulud was seriously being overindulgent in creating the Original DB Burger($38), tucking a thick sirloin patty filled with Braised Short Ribs and Foie Gras between 2 halves of a parmesan bun (whose interior was brushed with some wasabi). While the idea is a novel one, I found it to be more style than substance. The short ribs was unsensational and foie gras overcooked and almost tasteless.

For Desserts, I was attracted to the sound of Coffee Rocky Road Ice Cream present in the Profiteroles Au Cafe($15). I liked it how the waiter started pouring hot chocolate sauce on the profiteroles only upon serving such that the ice cream would not melt so quickly. Apart from that, this was run of the mill with the coffee rocky road proving to be just a slight deviation from the norm.

The Clafoutis Tout Chocolat($15) or more commonly known Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake came served with Chocolate Sorbet and Vanilla Ice Cream. The chocolate cake was topped with some berry jam glaze which I thought was a nice touch. Didn’t care so much for the chocolate sorbet as I did the full flavoured vanilla ice cream. However somehow, flourless chocolate cakes don’t give me the same oomph I get from “floured” ones.

My dinner experience here was truly remarkable and I can’t wait for a revisit.

Bon Appetit!

DB BISTRO MODERNE

10 BAYFRONT AVENUE, #B1-48 THE SHOPPES MARINA BAY SANDS

TEL: +65 6688 8525





Tao’s Restaurant – 6-Course Set Lunch @ $19.80++

11 01 2011

Not too long ago, I had a wonderful dinner at Tao’s. This time, I was back for their incredibly affordable 6-Course Set Lunch, priced at $19.80++. I really wasn’t intending to blog on this again due to lack of time (school just started), but I realised it’d be a waste since some of the pictures turned out quite well despite using a compact camera. It’s pretty surprising how my point and shoot Panasonic LX3 still produces better food pics than my recently acquired 2nd-hand Canon 450d DSLR (with kit lens). I will be sourcing out for a DSLR macro lens soon so if any readers have suggestions on Canon lenses for food photography, do drop a comment. It will be greatly appreciated!

The starter of Bacon and Mushroom Gratin acted as a nice spread for the Toasted Bread that came along with this. I would suggest not finishing the bread so as to leave space for the other courses. It’s good to note that the portions at Tao’s are rather substantial.

Insteading of naming it Farmboy Splendour which is totally ambiguous, Tao’s should probably just rename this Chicken Salad served with Oriental Dressing.

Fruit Salad was dressed with a layer of Mango Syrup. It’s quite a light appetizer and I enjoyed the delicate sweetness coming from the amalgamation of flavours from the various fruits.

Prawn Roll with Pork Floss was probably my preferred starter because the serving size is just nice and it’s also pretty tasty. I liked the complementary flavours involved, the savoury pork floss juxtaposed against the sweet tang of the mango syrup and richness from the mayonnaise.

The Cream of Pumpkin was well blended, resulting in a smooth creamy texture.

On my last visit, I ordered the Shark-Fin Melon Herbal Soup too and ranted in my blog how I didn’t spot any sharks fin. It just dawned on me today that Shark-Fin Melon is a Fruit, and is not Shark’s Fin + Melon! So there wasn’t supposed to be any shark’s fin in the first place. I had been conned by their wordplay, and I’m pretty sure many others have fallen to it as well. I do concede however, that this is a very pleasant herbal soup with undertones of Ginseng, Wolfberries and Red Dates.

Boosting an umami taste, the Japanese Fish Consomme comes in a cute looking teapot, to be poured out into a tea cup to drink.

Spicy Stingray is what you’d normally get at East Coast Park or Hawker Centres, a rare find in non-zi char restaurants. The Sambal was too spicy for me though not for my frens Cat and Sam. The fish was fresh and not overcooked which was a plus.

Sam has a penchant for fish and I have observed that he has never before ordered a non-fish main if there is a choice of a fish dish available on a set menu so it’s a no brainer that he ordered the Grilled Snapper with Japanese Sauce. He had no qualms about it so it should have been alright. I sampled some but memory fails me on how it tasted. Personally, I feel Snapper is a fish lacking in fats so it doesn’t rank too highly on my favourite fish column.

It slipped my mind that when placing my order, I should have taken into account my cheese intake for the day, especially with the cheesy bacon and mushroom gratin for starter. However, I was delighted that I was still able to enjoy the Baked Atlantic Flounder with Cheese. I couldn’t ask for more than a tender fatty fish topped with cheese that had been baked to a light crisp.

While the starters, soups and mains are generally good, I feel that Tao’s main weakness lies in their Desserts.

The Finger Biscuits used for the Tiramisu was unevenly soaked, so some portions came across as totally dry while other parts came dripping wet.

Creme Brulee was also left wanting for a creamier and richer and less eggy flavour. The taste of charred caramelized sugar was also fairly evident.

I would recommend the Yangsheng Poached Pear with Red Dates. Despite being most difficult to eat (as you have to use the fork to cut the pear flesh from the pear core and seeds), I found it a most refreshing dessert to have after a meal that had an abundance of cream, cheese and sugar.

For beverages, we had the 3 most popular drinks from the menu. I really love the Fruit Teas here, it’s probably what I would really come back to Tao’s for.

Between the Iced Rose Apple Tea, Iced Summer Peach Tea and Iced Grape Mallow Tea, my favourite was the Apple Tea. I think there’s some flower buds used for the tea as well, which added a nice fragrant aftertaste.

With portion sizes this big, I reckon 3 girls should just order 2 sets to share. After all, sharing is caring and everyone’s happy paying less for more (less Tao’s management).

Bon Appetit!

TAO’S RESTAURANT

1 SELEGIE ROAD, B1-19 POMO

TEL: +65  6333 0779





Tiffin Club – Fusion Foods with Finesse

18 10 2010

The Outram area is well known for its boutique hotels and up class restaurants. With the likes of Ember, Absinthe and Oso just around the corner, it’s no surprise few have heard of Tiffin Club, a small quaint 2 storey eatery that serves Western nosh with a Sri Lankan influence.

From what I know, the menu has been updated recently with a slight mark-up in prices. Desserts such as the Flourless Chocolate Cake (if memory serves me) which I had been eyeing ever since I stopped by their restaurant website some 1 year ago have now been removed, much to my disappointment.

Making reservations for 10 pax for a Friday night, I was apprehensive that there would be sufficient space to fit all of us together. However guess what? The 10 of us were the only customers for the entire night so it seemed like we had booked the entire restaurant (dining is mainly on the 2nd level) to ourselves for a private party!

Tiffin Club has this cool wine dispenser which allows wine bottles to be opened but kept drinkable for an extended period by introduction of an inert gas that doesn’t react with the wine. Unlike conventional restaurants that sells wine by the glass or bottle, Tiffin Club allow you to have a choice of taster (50ml), half glass (100ml) and full glass (200ml) portions, which are priced with respect to volume. Tasters typically cost around $3+, depending on the type of wine chosen. I think the dispenser (also known as an enomatic machine) is a really novel idea and allows an individual to sample a variety of wines without busting the wallet.

Being budget conscious students, we dived straight for the mains. Of course, not before our complimentary home-made bread. I loved the tomatoes, it was bursting with flavour!

MZ had the Duck Rendang($29++), “A fork tender Rendang Duck Confit served with Nasi Ulam and Petite Salad tossed in bright Orange Vinegrette”. I had mistaken it for the Lamb Shank(too be shown later below) which I had already tried so I missed out on sampling this! MZ did say it was pretty tasty though and it definitely looks that way.

Adwyn had the Pork Two Way($28++), “Orange-Tamarind glazed Barbecued Belly of Pork with Butternut Squash and a Roulade of Pork Loin with Spinach, finished with Chinese Scallop Sauce”. I sampled a bit of the Barbecued Belly Pork and found it was pretty ordinary despite the seemingly interesting description. On the other hand, Adwyn loved it, maybe that why he kept the Roulade of Pork Loin for himself, leaving me eyeing it surreptitiously from afar.

For myself, I had an order of the Beef Ribs($29++), “Boneless Beef Short Ribs slow braised until tender in Soy, Red Wine and SzeChuan Peppercorns served with Potato Puree, Carrots & Grilled Shallots”. The ribs were pretty decent with a discernible red wine reduction, but I found it slightly on the salty side and the mash came across as bland and I wouldn’t have finished it without the Soy & Red Wine Sauce to add some flavour.

As with the case of mistaken identity as mentioned earlier, the Sumatran Lamb Shank($29++), “Slow Braised Sumatran Gulai Lamb Shank served with Nasi Ulam and Tangy Archar Salad”, can be told apart from the Duck Rendang by presence of the Archar Salad. The lamb shank was reasonably tender but after the countless lamb shanks with red wine sauce or brown sauce which are more commonplace, the use of Malay spices to make the Gulai(something like curry) was rather foreign to me. On the other hand, the Nasi Ulam possessed a very Mediterranean zing but it was dry and not executed well to me. Give me a $5 Biryani anyday!

There was a general consensus for favourite main of the night, the Sea Bass($27++), “Lap Cheong Crusted Sea Bass Fillet on White Bean Mash with Coriander Butter Sauce, Spinach and Honey Pea. Choice of Steamed or Pan-seared”. I only took a small nibble so i guess I didn’t manage to get the full blown impact but the rest who tried it were singing nothing but praises.

One of the cheaper mains available, the Roasted Pepper Ravioli($20++), “Ravioli stuffed with Sweet Red Peppers and Mild Cheese Tossed with Roasted Garlic Pesto”, was undoubtedly my favourite main. Though some might cringe at the fact that they are paying over 20 bucks for 5 pieces of Chinese Wanton lookalikes, I assure you it’s totally different. I haven’t had many a Ravioli but if all raviolis tasted like this, I’m definitely a Ravioli fan in the making. The creamy pesto sauce really complements the cheesy ravioli well.

Last but not least, who can ever forget the Chili Crab Linguine($22++), “Linguine tossed in a spicy Singapore Chili Crab Ragu with White Wine, topped with a Poached Quail Egg & Tobiko Roe”. It’s a minor tweak from the ubiquitous Spicy Crab Linguine but I was pretty surprised how the pasta was accentuated with the familiarity flavour of the signature local Chili Crab. I liked it!

Tiffin’s Club signature Dessert is the Dark Chocolate & Pear Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream($9++). I shall sum this up with 2 words – Damn Shiok!

Another highly raved about Dessert would be the Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote($8++) though some might not be used to the infusion of lemongrass into this sweet Italian pudding. For me, I found it an improvement from the same old boring version. I didn’t quite fancy the sourish draping of Berry Compote though.

After the insanely palatable Dark Choc Pear Tart, the Macadamia Chocolate Truffle Cake($10++) just didn’t pass muster. The chocolate was weak and the crushed macadamia nuts went down my throat like gravel which I found irksome.

 

Interesting fusion foods, skillful plating and private & classy ambience summarizes our dinner experience at Tiffin Club.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

TIFFIN CLUB

16 JIAK CHUAN ROAD

TEL: +65 6323 3189





Raw Kitchen Bar – Rawr! I’m Definitely Coming Back!

15 09 2010

You know the warm feeling you get during a dinner invitation at a friend’s place? I get this same homely feeling at Raw Kitchen Bar (RKB). Occupying the former Bukit Timah Firestation, RKB isn’t exactly very visible from the main road which I feel adds to it’s exclusiveness and charm.

The use of random eccentricities and paraphernalia includes artwork, piano and an “obiang” looking sofa furnishes the interior of RKB and makes it really unique. I haven’t really come across anything like it in Singapore, but it kind of reminds me of Little Part One Cafe, just 10 times quirkier.

It looks to me that the sitting capacity (both indoors and al fresco) is kept to a low number of around 25-30 pax at most, probably because the team of Sharon, Javier and probably one cook in the kitchen is only able to handle this much without compromising on service and food standards. Here it seems that profitability comes secondary to the provision of sincere and flavourful food, with the spaciousness of the premises adding to the feel that you are really at a friend’s place for a dinner party.

It’s the perfect matrimony of East and West, RKB’s menu boasts a selection of carefully crafted dishes that draw influences from Japanese, Italian, French and god knows what other cuisines, taking only the essence of each cuisine while leaving behind the dregs (a direct translation of “取其精华,去其糟粕”).

I have never truly been impressed by Tuna (Maguro) before. Most often I find it to be too lean and not as fatty as compared to other types of fish. Yet I was truly taken by the Ahi Mango Poke with Wanton Chips ($16). The fresh Tuna cubes infused the marinate well and there was a perfect pairing of sweet and savoury of the Mango cubes and Fried Wanton Chips. There’s something real special about the Wanton Chips too, it tastes radically different (in a good yet inexplicable way) from the norm, with the addition of some secret spices I suppose.

The Zucchini Pancake with Balsamic Goat Cheese & Iberico($14) is another dish worth ordering to share. Was this idea taken from the Japanese Okonomiyaki (Pancake)? The Goat Cheese is kept sandwiched between the 2 Zucchini Pancakes, with the intention probably to keep the cheese warm for an easier and softer cheese spread. The Iberico goes into the middle of the 2 pancakes like a typical handburger and the pancakes are cut into smaller pieces for easier sharing. What is Iberico you ask? It’s a cured ham, something like Parma Ham but coming from the Spanish Black Pig, sounds pretty much like a Spanish Kurobuta ham doesn’t it?

All Pasta & Noodles dishes here are sold at $19, including the Spaghetti Mentaiko. It’s nice and light-hearted but not as awesome as our previous 2 Starters. The last Spaghetti Mentaiko I ate was at TCC during their Buy 1, Get 2 Free Promotion and compared to TCC’s, RKB’s version isn’t as thick or creamy.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the BBQ Pork Ribs ($20) that blew us away but its side of Crisp Cheesy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes! It’s soooo good, I’m amazed I haven’t seen any such Potatoes being sold at other restaurants before. I shall stop harping about the potatoes now because the Ribs do deserve credit. I prefer the ones here to Tony Roma’s & Chili’s, restaurants supposedly specializing in Ribs, probably because I prefer my ribs soft and fall off the bone tender rather than the slightly chewier and charred ones served at the latter mentioned restaurants.

The thin crusted Basil, Mozzarella & Rosemary Pizza($19) here is one of the best pizzas I have ever had in my life. It’s beauty lies in it’s simplistic nature, with an emphasis on the full flavoured Basil and Rosemary.

What I find most affordable here is the Desserts!

One of the Day’s Specials, the Guinness Chocolate Cake($8). The chocolate isn’t too dense or overwhelming and the gentle bitter hint of Guinness keeps the sweetness factor from getting too out of control. If I’m not wrong, the white portions of the cake is creme cheese. Despite not being on the menu, this was actually my favourite Dessert for tonight!

The Rum + Brown Sugar Plaintains with Vanilla Ice Cream($6). I know they look and taste like Bananas but Plantains are slightly different as they are firmer (and thus is often cooked before eating) and have a lower sugar content.

The Classic Molten Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream($6). It’s such a ubiquitous dessert that it’s hard to find a really outstanding one nowadays. This one was just above average.

One of RKB’s signature desserts, the Fried Cheesecake with Strawberry Marmalade($6). I have only heard of Fried Snickers & Mars Bars but Fried Cheesecake? It’s novel but I would have preferred a classic cheesecake to this battered one. It was G’s birthday so we got him a candle. Don’t you think it actually looks nicer this way? Maybe in the future, RKB will just put the candle as a default decoration.

One of my most memorable meals ever, it’s not going to be a case of whether I’m coming back but rather a question of when? This one’s definitely a keeper.

Bon Appetit!

RAW KITCHEN BAR

276 BUKIT TIMAH ROAD

TEL: +65 6467 3987





Tao’s Restaurant – Casual Dining with Fine Foods

7 08 2010

Dinner at Tao’s was a direct result of Guoren’s lucky streak. You know those lame SMS competitions where the answer is so ridiculously obvious? Guoren took part in one, sent out 1 sms that cost him 20 cents and bazinga, 2 free Vip tickets to the 1st day of Singfest 2010 with performances from Wondergirls, Orianthi, Tokyo Hotel, Katy Perry and The Light. Ok VIP tickets are such an overstatement, the only difference was that we had 3 free Tiger Beer coupons each and sheltered seatings that were was so bloody far that we ended up jostling our way through the horde of sweaty & smelly “normal” Singfest ticketholders to get a better view of the performances. So much for thinking that VIP meant an exclusive seating location directly in front of the stage, with access to a  buffet and waitresses moving up and down asking if you would like any complimentary cocktails, and maybe a throw in of a backstage pass as well? Anyways, I felt quite bad just taking the “VIP” ticket for free (the “normal” tickets already costs $175 for a day pass!) so I treated Guoren to dinner at Tao’s before walking over to Fort Canning for Singfest. Still, I feel like I’m somewhat shortchanging him.

Having had memorable meals at sister restaurants Dozo for it’s Japanese Fusion & Ju Ju Hokkaido Hot Pot for its awesome hot pot, I finally visited Tao’s Restaurant, the third and final sibling of this dining group.

The dining style here is simple. 6-Course Set Lunch is priced at $19.80++ while 7-Course Set Dinner is priced at $29.80++. Unlike semi fine-dining sister restaurant Dozo, Tao’s portrays itself as a casual dining restaurant with a touch of class. Nothing too posh or over the top, just comfortable surroundings with good food and service, though I did question the sexual orientation of our waiter but at least he was friendly right? I’m no homophobe anyway.

The 7-Course Dinner between my friend Guoren and me kicked off with a cheesy Bacon  & Mushroom Gratin. Served with 2 thick slices of Toast, it’s looked and tasted like heaps of Baked Mozzarella over a Creamy Mushroom Soup. It’s hearty and we both liked it but it did seem a bit filling for a starter.

Bacon & Mushroom Gratin

2nd Course: Salads.

The Topshell Salad with Jap Noodles was served chilled with chopped nuts and an oriental dressing that tasted very Thai and refreshing.

Top Shell Salad with Cold Japanese Noodle

The Pork Floss with Prawn Roll was a much better choice of Salad in my opinion. It was very much like a Pork Floss Crepe or Popiah which agreed with my palate. The Mango Sauce that was drizzled over it complemented it well too, resulting in a good mix of sweet and savoury!

Prawn Roll with Pork Floss

The only difference between the Lunch and Dinner Set is this course – The Grilled King Oyster Mushroom with Sorbet. I forgot to take a picture of the Sorbet but it’s essentially a sweet citrus drink(if I’m not wrong it’s Yuzu Sorbet) served with crushed ice in a shot glass that aids digestion (Dozo and Ju Ju serves this too!). I loved the Grilled Mushrooms too! They were awfully fresh and crunchy. (I’m just a Mushy person, pun intended)

Grilled King Oyster Mushroom & Sorbet

4th Course: Soup

The Fish Consomme came in a cute looking pot. Crystal clear and void of any impurities, the consomme was flavourful and rich yet light at the same time. Again, portion was too much for 1 person to stomach. Why do I sound like I’m ranting? Bigger portions are a good thing right? I think it’s just because I hate wasting food, tasty ones at that.

Fish Consomme

GR fancied a more traditional Chinese Soup and hence chose the Sharkfin Melon Herbal Soup. There wasn’t a whole lot of sharkfin, I actually didn’t spot any at all but it had a nice mild herbal undertone of Ginseng, Red Dates & Wolfberries.

Shark-Fin Melon Herbal Soup

5th Course: Main

I don’t see why anyone would want to pay $15 bucks for a Cafe Cartel St Louis Pork Ribs or a $20-$30 Rack over at Tony Roma’s when you can get one that is of better quality and value right here! Slowed cooked to a near tender perfection, my only gripe was that the side of pumpkin mash wasn’t very smooth.

Slow-Cooked Pork Back Ribs

The Marinated Rack of Lamb was succulent and tasty on it’s own even without the side of was it Mint sauce? I did have a stronger preference for the ribs though.

Marinated Rack of Lamb

6th Course: Desserts

The desserts at Tao’s are good but not mind-blowing. Especially staple desserts like Tiramisu whereby after you have eaten so many, they all start tasting more or less the same and only the really poor or really awesome ones stand out. What I liked about Tao’s Tiramisu though was that the Mascarpone’s smooth consistency, denseness and sweetness suited my tastebuds.

Tiramisu

The Brownie with Ice Cream on the other hand was just unsophisticated sweet comfort food!

Brownie with Ice Cream

I really love the signature fruit teas from Dozo and Tao’s. We had the Ice Rose Apple Tea and Ice Summer Peach Tea and we both favoured the former. Its really refreshing and the Rose flavour was clearly evident even after all the ice melted. Guoren couldn’t stop raving about it.

Ice Rose Apple Tea & Ice Summer Peach Tea

We enjoyed our dinner at Tao’s tremendously. The food is not as sophisticated nor as intricate as Dozo’s but still tastes as good. Tao’s owner Mr Huang has indeed succeeded in his endeavor in making quality food that is value for money accessible to the masses.

Bon Appetit!

TAO’S RESTAURANT

1 SELEGIE ROAD, B1-19 POMO

TEL: +65  6333 0779








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