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Fine Dining I Favour

Fine Dining I Favour

When you feel like spoiling yourself, these are great places to try.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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After the exquisite lunch Head Chef Luke Armstrong cooked for me last week, I am mentally kicking myself for taking so long to visit One Michelin-Starred Bacchanalia. It was an exceedingly chic meal and the Foie Gras was part of it.
The uber smoothness and delicious flavour of this creation was the result of poaching the duck in Sauternes (a most expensive sweet French wine that comes from the rare white grapes of Bordeaux) and an unusual stock made with 40 day-aged parmesan. I love how silky it felt on the tongue.
In contrast was the brioche served alongside. If there ever was a supermodel of breads, this would be it. Long, lean and sporting a perfect "golden tan", I can't remember the last time such a glamorous piece of bread appeared in front of me. This visual perfection extended to the taste, and proved to be the mother-of-all matches for the foie gras.
As it's one of the choices in the Chef Tasting Menu, you can have this for lunch or dinner. Thoughtfully designed, the menu allows customers to select what they want to fit their appetites, and to pay accordingly ($120++ to $230++).
Bacchanalia also does a Working Lunch Menu priced at $55++ and $66++ depending on whether you opt for two or three courses. I highly recommend the chicken breast from that.

A slab of roasted foie gras with the quiveringly-soft "meat cream" of veal bone marrow and sensuously earthy porcini mushrooms, finished with freshly-shaved black truffle and served with golden slices of toast. "Indecently decadent" doesn't even begin to describe this. But that's what you get when two ladies who are passionate about good food, dine together. They just zero in on the good stuff 😜

Although Curate at RWS seems to have a reputation as being the venue for visiting chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants, a lesser known fact is it is actually a full-time restaurant. @chefhalat.restaurantcurate who helms it, was born and bred in Germany. He was last at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur prior to moving to Singapore earlier this year.
For now, Curate serves only dinner and guests have a choice between a 5-course and an 8-course menu. I happen to love that these come printed on thick paper and sealed with wax to build up anticipation.
Last month on a Friday evening, I celebrated my birthday there with my "makan kakis" and we enjoyed the fine cooking by Chef Halat and his team. Coincidentally, he was launching a new menu that very night. Since then, it seems that a couple of the dishes have been tweaked.
Shown above are the six snacks we started with. Each of them exhibited an element of surprise and/or fun which was thrilling to discover.
We started with a champagne-marinated ama ebi on icy-cold stone with a sesame emulsion. That got us pumped for the rest to come. Second to appear - Chef Halat's modern take on the curry puff, prettily presented with curry leaves. Soft cubes of olive oil jelly topped with kalamata olives and chilli followed. The fourth and fifth snacks were the chorizo madeleines and the intriguing "edible stones", which was based on a theme of bringing the beach to the table. This took the form of seaweed-wrapped tuna sashimi with a touch of cashew nut. Last but not least, we were presented with the palate-cleansing tomato sphere. Under the lightest pressure, the little domes burst to fill our mouths with a delicate tomato liquid.
In summary, an adventurous start to the rest of our meal.

The "Mangrove Truffles Black Nut" is a very unique delicacy by Chef de Cuisine Greg Bess of Spago Singapore. It combines the inky-black flesh dug out from the Indonesian "buah keluak" with the richness of foie gras to create an ultra smooth, thick creaminess that's piped back to fully fill the "buah keluak" shell and then smoothed over seamlessly.
This was my second time having it and I was still blown away. Describing the taste isn't straightforward but to me, it's like a cool, whipped thick foie gras cream with an undercurrent of earthiness. I haven't come across nothing quite like it and I mean that in the best possible way.
Served alongside is a tray of toasted slices of brioche. For those who prefer to savour their "Mangrove Truffle" with carbs, there is nothing more ideal.

If you live or work in the Buona Vista and One North area, you might want to take note of @coalesce.sg.
This new-ish casual restaurant at NTU's Alumni Building is very spacious and offers a big enough selection of dishes, which makes it suitable for group gatherings.
On a recent visit, we tried their excellent value-for-money $8.80+ set lunch, plus a couple of their fusion dishes. One of them was the Ground Beef Rendang with Puff Pastry. Poke your fork through the light, flaky and buttery pastry "lid" and you'll find a good amount of tender ground beef that's been simmered in rendang spices beneath. For those after something spicy and meaty, this would be a good choice.

Course no. 3 in the Gastronomic Menu I had last Saturday evening at @iggys.sg was named "Forest Mushrooms". You know how mushrooms tend to feature a lot in vegetarian cuisine because they have a certain "meatiness" about them? I feel that that characteristic was exaggerated skillfully to epic portions in this dish with extended play on the theme of meat. My observation is based on the medley of mixed mushrooms being sautéed in bone marrow and then presented with a sheet of cured fat a.k.a. lardo draped on. So, the result is divine but undeniably sinful.

We were all blown away by the foie gras course during last night's dinner at Curate.
What electrifying deliciousness it delivered with the coming together of an extraordinarily smooth goose liver, raw minced langoustine, Japanese sancho pepper and a sweeter-rather-than-sour form of passionfruit.
This dish, for me, is a great representation of Chef Benjamin Halat's cuisine which is exciting as it's full of fresh ideas that are well followed through in the execution by him and his team.

With a name like Chlorophyll "Acquerello" Carnaroli, it was a given that the sixth course would be a celebration of plants' bounty. Personally, I felt with the exception of the Durian Croquette snack, this was the edgiest of the items in the night's trip down Gastronomic Menu.
Even though they shared the stage with a chewy risotto of the less common aged variety, the spotlight was on the local vegetables from Tekka Market. Snap peas, bittergourd (this was lightly pickled) and pandan do not immediately come to mind as natural bedfellows but in the hands of Chef @aitortxuchef, they got on famously. The unmistakeable scent and taste of "green" was omnipresent in a most pleasant way. This probably sounds weird but as I tucked in, I was reminded of the smell of freshly cut grass. I guess certain similarities are inevitable.

After a succession of six very different but indisputably delicious snacks, this arrived. Minimalist in appearance, it was an ocean in taste due to the trinity of fresh Hokkaido scallop, naturally sweet King crab and Kristal caviar. The singular other addition to this seafood creation was the coriander oil, and it was poured on after the dish was placed in front of me.
As expected, dining on such an exquisite second course only heightened my excitement for the remainder of the 10-course Gastronomic Menu that night.

I had an early birthday celebration at Iggy's and was absolutely delighted with my meal. What I chose was the 10-course Gastronomic Menu and the first item on that list stated "Snacks". There were six of those. Yes, SIX! 😄

Here is the list (clockwise from top left in photo):

1) Singapore Sling: An aperitif in the form of a slippery smooth, sweet jelly dome accompanied by freeze-dried fruit kicked things off.
2) Uni: Fresh sea urchin in a gently savoury and extremely soft jelly. This ranks in my top three amongst all the snacks.
3) Corn: Another favourite because I was very taken by the way the curry element gave the Hokkaido sweet corn an unexpected but delicious twist.
4) Roti John: Such an inspired interpretation of our local Indian hawker fare using chicken liver mousse and apple. I was momentarily stupefied when the bread disintegrated in my mouth.
5) Burger: A refined creation that involved a piece of fried fish tucked into the lightest, softest bun. I could down half a dozen easily.
6) Durian Croquette: The boldest of the snacks and very well executed. Each crunchy-skinned ball contained durian pulp that had some anchovies blended in. It was then finished with whitebait and kumquat aioli to form a pungent-sweet-savoury combo.

Congrats again to Iggy's for being awarded a Michelin Star.
Anyway, my belief is, star or no star, as long one finds a place that serves food one enjoys very much and is happy to be in, that's all that matters 😄 And at Iggy's, I certainly have.
My most recent visit had me experiencing their Head Chef's adventurous creativity, as exemplified in this snack - the Durian Croquette.
Honestly, I am not too fond of the "king of fruit" but I made an exception in this case as I was curious what a foreign chef would do with it. Of course it wouldn't be as straightforward as pulp coated in batter. Instead, we learned that the durian filling was mixed with a bit of anchovies before being deep-fried. Each croquette was then finished with a few crispy whitebait and a dollop of kumquat aioli to form a pungent-sweet-savoury combo.
This is served as a precursor to the main event in the restaurant area of Iggy's. I am sure the highly unusual but surprisingly well balanced flavours of this delicious snack has piqued curiousity and triggered questions even as it brings about satisfied "Mmmm's".

Even though my friends and I were seated at Iggy's gastrobar and we had just polished off several dishes and a flight of four 2004 burgundies, there was no way we'd miss out on ordering this new dessert.
Created by Pastry Chef Tess for the main restaurant, the exquisite "Textures of Coconut" was, rather interestingly, inspired by a painting that hung on the wall in front of her work space (ask Chef to point it out to you when you visit).
Visually, it is a single colour but flavour and texture-wise, it's multi-faceted as you'll find coconut sorbet, coconut tuile, lime yogurt foam, yogurt sponge, kuzu mochi and basil seeds altogether on the plate.
"Light and refreshing" would be the words I'd use to describe this. So no matter how full you may be after a meal here, it's something you can easily end with.

About Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Veronica Phua

5002 Reviews  89727 Followers

Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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