Sunday, July 7, 2013

Singapore - Bacchanalia

Bacchanalia - a derivative of Bacchus' (Greco-Roman wine god) parties, seemed an apt name for the location of the restaurant.  Almost regal in the building which houses the openly secretive Freemasons, there is no real entrance except through a wooden door you enter only with the sole escort standing out-front.

Once in, the darker than usual ambience is almost expected, with heavy drapes, velvet chairs and a lot of dark wood, although the glass balls overhead throw us off.  And then the choice of music makes it almost a lounge or club (whatever it is the hip and trendy call their watering holes these days).

Seating in the big velvet chairs is comfortable.  The professionalism of the wait staff almost a surprise and the menu written to raise anticipation.  We were advised to order for sharing as the offerings will come a little smaller than usual.  So between the 2 of us, we got 3 starters, 3 mains and 2 desserts.

The menu was pretty innovative as far as things went.  With innovation sometimes however, the win is having experimented rather than the result in itself.  Most things fit within the range of "that wasn't too bad" to "mmmm.... enough said".

Cauliflower Gratin
Out of the wondrous descriptions of many dishes on the menu, it would surprise many that for me, the starter of cauliflower gratin was the winner hands down.  Deep fried cauliflower florets, white truffle and cheese foam, gremolata.  When the bowl of whiter-than-white cream soup arrived in a white bowl, I almost sent the boring looking thing back but spoon in and you're cauliflower dreamin.  One of the few rare moments where you regret the size of the portion.  Should have just ordered 2 of these and forgo the Fennel and Tahitian Vanilla salad, which while fresh and light did little to inspire.

Hamachi Carambola
The citrus cured Hamachi with pickled starfruit and garlic with freshly grated walnuts was a little more interesting in that none of the ingredients took center stage, especially considering the individually unique and pretty strong flavors of each.  Notwithstanding, I couldn't really say it came together perfectly either and felt the punchline was missing.  Pleasant enough though.

15 Hour Pork Belly
In the mains section, my favorite was the perfectly executed crispy pork belly, with braised red cabbage, granny smith apples and giant capers.  The chef has taken a traditionally rich and fatty dish and turned it into something you can eat for a long time.  The pork was so perfectly done that both meat and fat were melt-in-your-mouth good, accentuated by a lightly crisp crackling.

Duck Confit
This out-of-the-box duck confit was wrapped in spinach, with cucumber and corn, then served with a cucumber dashi in a Sake glass.  It definitely had hints of the Orient and the Sino-French thing was a little confusing to me but it wasn't bad, just a tad salty.  Nicely done though.

Prawn Risotto
If anything was perfect about this, it was the perfectly poached garlic oiled prawn, especially since I don't really like prawns all that much.  But I still came way unsure about the combination of compressed radicchio, strawberries and Burrata although I was able to enjoy each set of ingredients by themselves.

Japanese Momo Peach
My favorite of the 2 desserts came from a base fruit I adore.  J'adore Momo...

The poached peach en gelee was clever and enhanced the original fruit in almost its original form, and was so good that arguably did not need the peach and vanilla bavarois although I did enjoy the Jasmine silver needle ice cream.

White Chocolate and Cherry Tart
Although I was wild in anticipation about the other sweet ending, it did not live up to what I imagined it would be but at least it was Bambi-forest-like in its prettiness and made for eye candy.

Overall, a good testimonial to the chefs' pedigree from the Fat Duck, and certainly worth a visit to partake in their experiment of different flavors and textures from their diverse backgrounds.

23A Coleman Street
Tel: +65-65091453

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