Sunday, April 10, 2011

Singapore - Taste Paradise 味之樓 (ION Orchard)

A year ago, my first visit to Taste Paradise wasn't bad at all.  Close to a year later, I thought it would be a great place to take M & R who had been wonderful in helping with various things for me in the last few months.  Unfortunately, the repeat visit didn't live up to expectations.  

What we thought was a great corner table turned out to be awkward and caused more discomfort than anyone would have thought, with servers crossing over our heads to serve and clear.  Personal space is so underrated these days that's it's a pet peeve of mine, and all the more so at a restaurant touted to be more exclusive than the others.  You can take the girl out of public housing but you can't....

Jellyfish with a spicy sauce
Starters began uneventfully, with a chilled and crunchy jellyfish dressed in a tangy spicy sauce.  Ordinary but in a pleasant way, and a nice way to cool down from the humidity out there.

Century egg with a lime sorbet
Then, this one got me.  5 diners, 4 servings.  Despite repeated instructions and Q&As, we were finally told, after being served, that each order only has 4 servings and the kitchen cannot add one more measly spoon on the plate.  I have heard that you cannot size down a standard order, but surely you can size up based on the number of diners.  For an establishment of this supposed calibre, quite appalling.  Their solution was to bring us another order with 4 servings, to which I said "forget it".  While we were being polite waiting for the 5th spoon which never came, the sorbet had melted away to a watery slush, making this a non-event.

Classic sharks' fin in superior broth
As some say: Saved by the bell.  We were distracted by the next course, which is their signature specialty. A wholesome bowl of non P.C. sharks fin soup served in a stone pot.  Still good after a year and a generous serving of fins (even if not the top notch dorsal kind), the broth is really the winner.  Perhaps I thought it a tad less impressive than the first time around since I was sub-consciously seething from the previous non-event.

Braised beef cheek with Foie Gras
This is a tried and tested combo.  It's hard to go wrong especially if you have a good piece each of the cheek and the foie.  While they were both admittedly pretty decent cuts, I thought the accompanying glace was a tad too glazed, almost oily, but without the undertones of a good reduced stock.  So you leave this with a sense that there were shortcuts involved.

Seafood and black truffle noodles
This sounded awesome on the menu.  And when it came, I thought "wow", that certainly looks like something even a good Italian restaurant would have to seriously contend with.  Alas, a bite and all is given away.  It was greasy, indicating a much lesser grade than extra virgin oil was used.  Truffles were underwhelming and was the bits of seafood.  While I was grateful for the small portion since I was getting full, I thought that neither the quality nor the quantity merited the price tag.  Disappointing.

Jelly cubes in Calamansi and sour plum 
This is a nice finish but again, if you compare to presentation from a year ago, you can see the lack of effort in even trying to dress this up.  A bland looking dessert although they left the tacky dry ice effect intact.  Ah well, since we are meant to go beyond skin deep, perhaps we might forgive the fact that this girl came out for a date looking her worst but thankfully was smart enough to be able to allure with enticing conversation. But, really?

We were pretty well fed for the price, but would I go again?  Well, it really depends.  I think they have to up their game to be able to compete in an increasingly tight market of improving Chinese cuisines in Singapore.  If I know I have better options of service and food, the location alone is certainly not enough to entice.

2 Orchard Turn
#04-07 ION Orchard

Tel: +65 6509 9660 

1 comment:

  1. Recently ate there and agree with you, while generally tasty, the price makes it not worth going back.