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MY TO-GO LIST
Au Jardin (Eaten!)
Au Petit Salut
Buko Nero (Eaten!)
Pasta Brava (Eaten!)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
#01-10/12, Esplanade Mall
Having read many reviews about this new kid on the block, I wanted to see for myself how good or bad this place really was. For unlimited lunch ($37++), diners are at the complete mercy of its chef as there is no menu so elements of anticipation and surprise are incorporated into the whole dining experience.
The first dish seemed to portend a bad meal to come. The stuffed pasta salad did not impress me at all as the pasta was undercooked and the flavours were quite bland.
The tomato tartine was beautifully presented but nothing spectacular tastewise.
The celery soup was totally unappetising. I'm strongly inclined to use the word "disgusting" to describe it. At first sip, I thought it would be an acquired taste for most of us. But subsequently, the weird taste was more than I could bear.
Finally, there came a dish that was decent enough to warrant a second order. Although the salmon tartare was simply executed, I enjoyed the raw and natural taste of the roughly chopped salmon. However, this did not fare well with Yong Huat as it was too fishy tasting.
Next, the mushroom tempura was relatively good too. The batter was light and not oily but the real star was the button mushroom which was very juicy. The accompanying mushroom shot was simply mushroom soup in disguise.
After the starters, the mains started arriving. The pan seared sea bass with the wakame salad was my favourite. Don't get me wrong, this was nothing exceptional. It's just that compared to the rest of the dishes, this stood out as one of the best with its freshness and well-balanced flavour. Our second order of this was better as the fish was more tender. This seems to question the consistency of the food served.
I quite like the potato gnocchi with shrimps as the latter was very fresh. However, the tomato base was way too oily!
The corn risotto was a culinary disaster: overcooked, mushy and gooey. We sent it back virtually untouched.
I didn't try any of the meat dishes but according to my dining companion, they are nothing to shout about.
See the layer of salt crystals on the roasted chicken? Yes, it's that salty!
This is the roasted beef slices sitting on top of a bed of mashed potato.
I was hoping that the desserts would be better but alas, my hope was dashed. The strawberry milkshake was good but milkshakes are not classified as a "dessert" in my dictionary.
The apple crumble was not even the traditional type of baked crumble. This rendition was simply assembling stewed apple cubes with pieces of biscuits, topped with a minute scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The grand finale was the dessert platter which consisted of tarts and macarons. The chocolate macaron was seriously a sugar overdose. It was much too sweet for my liking.
The whole meal was disappointing, to say the least. Nothing stood out with a "wow" factor. Most of the dishes are misses rather than hits. Service was also lacking. The waitresses who served us the dishes mumbled the names and I had to ask them twice on more than one occasion. There also seems to be a lack of coordination among the servers as we were asked twice "Are you ready to move on desserts?" despite the fact that we were still waiting for our second orders. Much have to be improved before I'm willing to step into this restaurant again. Fantastic presentation without substance just doesn't cut it for me.
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