Singapore

Savour.sg 2012

Its been a while since I last went for a food event in Singapore, the last being Ferran Adrias 2 speeches approximately 3 years ago. Its not to say that there haven’t been many food events, in fact, there have been lots of celebrity chefs frequenting our tiny island; unfortunately, the meals that they host are usually quite pricy, and I cannot justify paying that amount of money when I feel that going to their own flagship restaurant would be a better reflection of the food that they strive to put out.

Savour.sg offered a way to savour(points for incorporating the title) some dishes from world renowned chefs such as Alain Passard of L’Arpege, Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation, and Hans Valimaki of Chez Dominique. It was actually Passards name that piqued my interest for the event, my meal at L’Arpege last November was one of the most technically brilliant meals I’ve had in my life, a chance to attend one of his workshops was too good an opportunity to pass up.



Molecular Xiao Long Bao (Bo Innovation, HK, **)

My sister, who was at the event with me, headed straight for the Bo Innovation counter the moment we had entered and ordered everything that Bo had to offer. Her justification was to try some of Bo’s most famous dishes because she will, in all probability, never go to Bo. On the other hand, I will be having a meal at Bo this coming July, so this was all hers. I appreciated that they brought their own specific cutlery for the delicate item. On a side note on this (almost dead) spherified fad, I preferred my spherified mojito at Providence over the infamous spherified olive at El Bulli


Har Mei Lo Mien, with Har mei oil and powder (Bo Innovation, HK, **)

Basically pasta tossed with roe, with dried shrimp for flavor. It was comfortable and satisfying, the pasta was a good vehicle to carry the Asian flavors, but it was hardly pushing the boundaries. Reminded me a lot of Mentaiko pasta but obviously here with a different flavor profile. They also reduced this from $15 on the website to $9 at the fair, I don’t think anything more than $9 would have been a reasonable price. Okay

  

Egg waffles with black truffle and Vanilla Ice cream (Bo Innovation, HK, **)

The best dish I had during the fair. The waffles managed to stay crisp despite being topped with ice cream and a sauce(my sis thinks detected salted egg yolk in this but I have my doubts), and the infusion of truffle into the egg waffles itself was a nice touch. The ice cream had an interesting consistency, it was slightly more viscous than normal, and packed a lot of vanilla aroma in it as well(high fat content?), the pairing of truffle and vanilla worked gloriously together, I’m not particularly crazy about truffles, but this is one instance where I truly enjoyed it. Very good

  

Cod 2.0 for all your senses, Cod brandade flavored with dashi stock and served with cod skin crackers (Chez Dominique, Finland, **)

Fact: add ‘2.0’ to the back of any dish and it will sound molecular. I had half expected there to be some sort of dashi foam on the plate, I was a little glad when a conservatively plated dish emerged. The cod was very soft, but it had a slightly ‘pappy’ texture that happens when you sous vide food for too long, it was also slightly overseasoned for me, and lost some of its natural flavor. On a positive note, the bed of grains(Barley? Spelt?) it sat on was delicious. Okay

   

Potato and Malt, Sea buckthorn potato ice cream with malt (Chez Dominique, Finland, **)

The recreated potato is actually a white chocolate shell encapsulating an ice cream center. The crunchy malt bits at the bottom brought a delightful contrast in texture to the ice cream. Potato, Malt, white chocolate, an unusual combination of flavors that works well together, although I believe Wd~50 has used a similar combination in a dessert that they used to serve. The original dish served at Chez Dominique does look pretty different though, it just goes to show that many of dishes served at the fair are probably slightly modified to survive our climate. Good


Mexican pig with white spice sauce, alfayayocan bean, red and black radish (Pujol, Mexico)

I was quite amused by the black radish, having never seen one before. The pickled red radish provided a nice acidity to balance out the richness of the pork belly, unfortunately the belly wasn’t particularly well cooked. Okay

  

Cacao, corn and chilli. Cacao peru 64% and corn, rocoto pepper oil (Central Restaurante, Peru)

I had initially thought the chocolate was an ice cream, but it turned out to be an incredibly dense chocolate…. I dont even know what to call it. It was slightly gummy and way too thick to be called a ganache. The corn nuggets were severely lacking in any kind of flavor at all, and there was very minimal heat and aroma from the pepper oil. It was difficult enough trying to find flavor in the corn nuggets, and the flavor of the thick chocolate bulldozing its way though your tastebuds didn’t really help either. Bad

  

Coconut braised pork belly, with pickled cabbage and caramelized daikon (Xu, Vietnam)

This was one of the softest pork belly’s that Ive ever had, the thing literally broke apart with a fork, so much so that it became difficult to eat when the skin, fat, and meat separated due to its own weight, I would actually have liked the belly to have more structure so it would be easier to cut into. Whatever coconut flavor present in the dish was faint, and got lost in the pickled cabbage. It seemed to be an Asian take on German pork + sauerkraut, but with punchier flavors, especially with the pickled cabbage, I tasted quite a lot of soy sauce in it. Okay

  

Chocolate Brigadeiro, truffle candy, with cupuacu (Brasil sensational, Brazil)

It was my first time having cupuacu, and while I didn’t particularly care of the dish, the aroma of the cupuacu is quite unique, a lot of aromas and flavors all happening at once, definitely something that makes you sit up and take notice if you’ve never tried it before. Okay

Alain Passard’s masterclass

Unfortunately I didn’t try anything from the L’Arpege booth, but I did get to see Alain Passard in action, which made the trip to the entire event worth it.

He is ridiculously thin for a 3 star French chef, and I had no idea that chef Gunter trained under Passard for some time as well. Hearing Passard speak about food was quite inspirational, plus learning how he cooks his egg yolk in his soft egg dish was quite exciting too.

There were many other mini demonstrations, wine tastings, samplers going on at the fair, but I didn’t snap any pictures. Overall it was a well organized event, my only critique would be the line forming up to get in during the first 1/2 hour when the event started, congestion was quite bad and there could have been more staff allocated to the entry booths; I’m not sure why I’m even complaining about this because I went straight to the front, but if I had to queue up to get in, it would be something that I would like rectified.

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Singapore

Jaan, Singapore

Potato Croquet

The croquet had a cheesy center with a sesame crust. I would have thought that the nutty-ness of the sesame would compliment the cheese quite well, but strangely, I didn’t quite enjoy the combination, plus I found the croquet a little bit too dense, might be a personal preference, but I like my amuse’s light. Bad

    

Smoked eel and pickled apples

My favourite amuse of the meal, the eel was tender and soft, the oily fish being the perfect vehicle to carry the strong smoky flavour, the apple gelee cut into the oiliness off the fish and strong smoky aroma, cleansing your palate at the same time as well. Well thought out amuse. Good

   

Rye crisps with lentil hummus, chestnut

The lentil hummus didn’t have as smooth a consistency as normal hummus, which made it a little hard to ‘spread’ onto the crisps, but the whole lentils incorporated into the hummus was a nice touch. The addition of chestnuts also gave the hummus a slightly sweet, slightly nutty aroma that paired nicely with the rye crisps. Okay

    

Cep sabayon w wild mushroom tea

A very intensely flavoured cep sabayon is the last amuse before the prix fixe dishes actually start appearing. It was impressive how much the naturally intensely flavoured cep really shone though, but it might have been too much of a good thing because by the end of that tiny cup, I really needed some water. It lacked some acidity to cut the richness of the dish, and this was alot richer than the smoked eel. I actually liked the dish but I think it is a wrong choice for an amuse bouche. Incidentally, this is the same cup Heston uses for his hot and cold tea. Okay

   

Landes foie gras – Foie gras panna cotta, Pedro Jimenez sherry,dried fruit chutney

I actually have no notes on this so I dont think this was my dish (This meal was some time ago)

   

Tourteau crab – Kohlrabi, bergamot, radish, ‘krystal’ caviar

My favourite dish of the meal. The tourteau crab was very fresh and well cooked, paired with the bergamot orange gelee; citrus and crab made for an incredible combination of flavours, the tiny spheres of caviar released bursts of briny flavour to give the crab and the whole dish a link back to its natural source. Radishes added a nice crunch to an otherwise soft dish. Good

   

Iberian black pork – Confit belly, braised cheek, grilled rib, trotter caillette, wild chantenay carrot, pickled grey shallots, roasted Cep mushroom

As delicious as this sounds, the only real standout in the dish was the belly- skin that crisped as you bit into it, meat and fat that your teeth could glide through with ease, I think to date, it is the best pork belly Ive had in Singapore, the rest of the dish was fairly mediocre. The trotter and the rib were decent, but the cheek had a glaze that was over reduced for me, it left a very gummy and sticky texture in the mouth. The choice of the other components was good, the carrots and ceps provided a earthy-ness that paired naturally with the pork, and the shallots cut the richness of the overall dish, without leaving too much acidity on the tongue. Okay

   

Choconuts ‘grand cru’ – Sable Breton Nyangbo choc mousse, guanja ice cream and macadamia nuts

Hardly an exciting dessert, chocolate and nuts rarely inspires but rarely ever goes wrong. I would guess that the coconut shavings are a play on the ‘nuts’ theme of the dish, but they actually added quite a nice contrast in texture to the dish. Looking at my picture now, Im not sure why my guanja chocolate ice cream has a mini thumb print on it. The components tasted alot better when eaten together, rather than separately; but overall, merely an updated presentation of a classic combination of flavours. Okay

   

Petites – Caramel sweet, Caramel marshmallow, choc truffle, madeline, Smoked rosemary ice cream

Everything was okay, Caramel sweet was a little tough to eat and should probably have been served with the bill. Caramel marshmellow was a little too sweet but the dark chocolate balanced that well. The smoked rosemary ice cream was served quite whimsically(lollipop?) but could have done with a stronger and more robust rosemary flavor. Okay

Andre has left huge shoes to fill at Jaan, and while I don’t sound particularly fond of alot of the dishes here, I actually had quite a nice dining experience. My main gripe was that the waiters(at least the ones that served me) didn’t have a very good grasp of English, which made it very difficult for me to note down every component of the dishes.

The view at Jaan has got to be one of the best I’ve ever been to, its a quiet restaurant that would be befitting for a special occasion, I will even go as far as to say that the view alone is worth having a meal at Jaan(probably lunch though). Although its hard to judge a restaurant based on a 3 course lunch, the food here just isn’t stellar. I like the direction of the food, alot of the it is whimsical and somewhat entertaining, with top marks going to the presentation of each plate, but the flavours don’t really ‘pop’, nothing really makes you sit up and take notice, those dishes with strong flavour seemed to lack some balance, and others were just one note. There were flashes of brilliance like the Torteau crab dish, which I can see appearing in a Michelin starred restaurant, so I do believe the kitchen is more than capable of putting out great food.

It should also be noted that there was a pre-dessert course: Blackberry gelee, vanilla panna cotta, bay leaf espuma that I didn’t take any photos of, but I believe it is the one listed in this blog, I enjoyed it more than the choconuts dessert and I would have given it a Good.

Singapore

Sque, Singapore

Sque is kind of a new kid on the block, it took over Sun with Moon’s spot in The Central mall, overlooking the river.  A lot of emphasis is placed on its beer, so it has a sort of high end, mildly pretentious pub grub feel to it, so come here expecting a lot of roasted meat and alcohol. The indoor seats are absolutely terrible(The really tall kind that leaves your legs dangling off the floor), and the food is honestly not that great. Disclosure: I cant find the menu online so Im going to make up the names for the dishes.

Fruit Beer

Yes, we actually did order beer like normal human beings would. But the “Beer sommelier”  kept talking about this fruit beer that we found really intriguing. We ordered two bottles, only to discover that it was basically fruit soda with added alcohol in it. Okay

Sque appetizer platter

Roasted Chicken, Fried Artichoke, Roasted potato skins, and Potato Croquettes. The portion of this serving platter was incredibly confusing. How were were supposed to split 1 Artichoke head (Okay this could be peeled), 2 croquettes, 3 Potato skins, and one piece of chicken? Overall, nothing really stood out, the potato skins were pretty decent, and the chicken was nicely cooked. Okay

Bone Marrow Salad

It was basically bone marrow mixed with parsley and  mushroom. They could have done a lot more with this but this was very disappointing. Bland, and the flavour of the bone marrow didnt come through the dish at all. Bad

Sque meat platter

Roasted Ribs, lamb, chicken. The ribs were terribly overcooked and dry, so was the chicken. The lamb was, on the other hand, well cooked and juicy. Again, for a sharing platter, it wasn’t very easy to share the plate of food. Okay

Braised beef cheek with pasta

One of the worst dishes of the night. The cheek was actually nicely cooked, but the whole dish was severely lacking in any kind of seasoning. To make things worse, the pasta to meat ratio was completely off, and by the time you were done with the meat, there was still a huge serving of pasta left with a sauce so thin and flavourless that it was difficult to finish. Bad

Steak and Bearnaise Sauce

This was my favourite entree of the night. It could’ve done with a little more seasoning, but the steak was very nicely cooked, and the heavy Bearnaise didn’t overpower the beef, it was a very nice symphony between the two. Good

Clams with pasta

Much much better than the previous pasta dish, there was a good amount of fresh clams and a lot more diced vegetables that lent its  flavour to the pasta. Okay

Chocolate-Beer pie

Surprise surprise, Sque actually put out a nice dessert. Simply executed, with some cherries and poached pear to cut the richness of the chocolate. Whatever beer that was present in the dish was completely lost on me though. Okay

I was very surprised to find out that Sque was opened by Emmanuel Stroobant, the food portions here are fairly small for bar food, and for an ‘upmarket’ concept like Sque, the quality of food was severely lacking for a chef of his stature. To be fair, we visited the place 2 weeks after its opening, and not every restaurant opens and hits the ground running immediately; but there are serious issues to be ironed out. We ordered 3 dishes with chicken in them(1 not pictured), 1 of the dishes was perfectly cooked, the other 2 were tough, overcooked, and dry.

The menu is full of landmines, many dishes are not worth ordering at all, while others are actually very decent. Their roasted baby potatoes, however, are to die for. Beautifully crisp and crusted on the outside, soft, fluffy, and perfectly seasoned on the inside. So, find out which dishes are worth ordering before heading over to Sque to prevent a disappointing meal.

Singapore

Spruce part deux, Singapore

I’ve never done a second review on the same restaurant before before, but my recent experience at spruce definitely warrants a writeup, I’ve spoken fairly well of Spruce since my first visit, honestly saying that the food isn’t stellar, but worth a try for those who have never been, so I ended up bringing my sister for brunch recently, and had a very different experience compared to the first time I was there.

Mojito

I started off with  a mojito, what better way to start the day than with alcohol. It was actually really good. There was a good burst of mint after the citrus notes had died off, and it wasnt overpowered by sugar/sweetness, plus it was fizzy(soda canister?), which was a really nice touch. Good

Spruce Eggs Benny and Crab Cake Eggs Benny (Bad photos, I know, but to be fair, they were bad dishes)

I had the Spruce Eggs Benny and my sister had the Crab Cakes Eggs Benny (which I thought was not too shabby the last time I was at here). My spruce Benny came with a corn waffle, which definitely needed to be more crisp on the outside. One of the two eggs one my plate was over cooked, and the other was perfectly cooked. The real problem was the hollandaise sauce. It was under seasoned, well actually, that’s an understatement, there was barely any seasoning in it at all. The hollandaise on my sisters plate was just as bland, but it did have a noticeable extra kick of lemon juice in it.

Let me make this clear, if a dish is palatable but doesn’t taste good, I’ll eat it and accept the fact that it just isn’t a good dish, and I can count the number of times I’ve sent dishes back in my life on one hand, but we unanimously agreed that we weren’t insane, and that in fact there was a serious problem with the dish. So back the dishes went, and a minute later, the maitre d’ came back with two menus, explaining that there was nothing wrong with the hollandaise, and maybe we would perhaps like to order something else. But we came here for the benedicts, so out came the chef, explaining indifferently that there was nothing wrong with the hollandaise, the recipe had not been changed since the last time I was at Spruce(this can’t be true, the hollandaise was much richer and well seasoned to the point of being overpowering previously), and the hollandaise on both dishes were from the same batch, so the extra kick of lemon must have been a figment of our imagination. No solution was offered until we suggested that maybe he could add a little extra lemon juice and vinegar in our hollandaise, to which he agreed. And back it came, it was better, but still very bland. Although, to give credit where credit is due, the crab cake was still delicious. Overall, this was probably the most disappointing brunch and eggs benedict experience I’ve had to date. Very bad

Singapore

Spruce, Singapore

Spruce Signature burger

This is one of the few instances where the concept of ‘less is more’ actually works on a burger. The burger isn’t served with cheese oozing out over the sides, without juices dripping down the sides of the patty; instead, the burger is served with neatly shredded lettuce at the top(tiny detail but makes a world of difference), sliced tomatoes, which by the way, are probably my least favourite component of any burger(and yes I prefer pickles over tomatoes on burgers), and cheese neatly tucked  in and imprinted onto a beautifully cooked beef patty. The patty was surprisingly juicy, and very soft, I would go as far as to say that the patty was actually better cooked than the one I had at Relish, albeit somewhat salty.. The bun was very nicely toasted, which was necessary because the patty did leak quite a bit of delicious meaty juice out, and nothing spoils a burger like a soggy bun. Fries were pretty good too, well season and crisp. Good

Spruce Mac and Cheese

This was actually a side dish, and apparently one of their famous dishes. With or without the hype, it was disappointing. The cheese was way too mild for the amount of cream that they used. It was very heavy and filling, while being  light on flavour- a terrible combination. Bad

Crab cake benny- Crabcake, poached egg, smoked bacon and hollandaise

I wasn’t crazy about this. The egg was a little overcooked for me (again, spoiled by sous vide), the hollandaise was on the heavier side. But the crabcake was pretty damn good, very meaty, fresh and robust flavour, sweetness of the crab was a good pairing with the saltiness of the dish on the whole, but the sauce and bacon were a tad too overpowering for me. I personally think the crabcakes could stand as a dish on its own, but overall the dish was less than the sum of its parts. Okay

Steamed Ginger Date pudding with chocolate toffee sauce

There was something… out of the ordinary with this dish when I was eating it, and I didnt realise what it was untill I was halfway through the dish- Its ridiculously sweet. And the sweetness hits you like an F1 racecar- you don’t see it coming, but when it hits you, it hits you hard. The chocolate-toffee sauce is basically toffee dressed up as chocolate, so you think you’re having a chocolate sauce when in fact you’re having liquid toffee. The steamed ginger date pudding, which would imply a light dessert, and in all probability, may have been a light dessert; but seeing as to how the only way to eat it was to dredge it in a pool of chocolate(read:toffee) sauce, its purpose was more or less defeated, which is a shame, because the pudding was actually pretty good eaten with the vanilla ice cream. I should add that the warm sauce was actually nicely contrasted with the ice cream, but again, the sauce overpowered everything. Okay

Overall, I didn’t expect much from Spruce, and I honestly didn’t get much. It is a nice place to have brunch, the food is pretty decent and well priced, but not somewhere that I’m dying to go back to. Be warned that the place is pretty under-staffed, I was sat in a corner, it was nice to get some privacy, but at times it felt like they had forgotten about us and the tables in the vicinity.

Singapore

Relish, Singapore


It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post here. I’ve thought of a few excuses, but at the end of the day, I’ve just been plain lazy. I’ll make this quick since there isn’t all that much to talk about. I recently went to Relish, along Bukit Timah road. I was actually hoping to hit Bar Bar Black Sheep for burgers but the place was closed, and having gotten into the mindset that I will be putting a meat patty stuck between 2 slices of bread into my mouth, I had to satisfy that craving. Relish popped up as the closest available option. Incidentally, Relish is owned by Willin Low, who runs Wild Rocket.

Let me just say, first and foremost, that I lived off burgers in college. Exam at 8am? No time for dinner? Drive through Macdonalds. Feel like giving myself a treat? Drive through In-n-Out(Best ‘fast food’ burger imo). Everything,  from the hole in the wall joint that serves burgers cooked with oil that has been recycled and reused daily since the 1960’s, to the Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller burgers served with a little drizzle of truffle oil, just to you know, elevate the burrrr-gher(french pronunciation), I love.  I’ve never really had unreasonably high expectations for my burgers, which makes me a little uneasy when I eat ‘high-end’ burgers. Trying to deconstruct the individual components of a burger and figure out how it tastes on your tongue is like trying to piece together the ramblings of a retard- theyre not meant to be understood, and you end up looking like an idiot. Considering the fact that I just pre-maturely insulted myself, do take this post with a pinch of salt, I’m no burger connoisseur.

Mushroom Soup

We start off with a reasonably simple mushroom soup. Thick, creamy, very intensely flavoured, with good chunks of diced mushroom in the soup itself. I appreciate that the diced mushroom added a little texture to the dish, but there was also smaller bits of mushroom strewn all over the place that made it a little grainy, I thought they could have pureed it a little better. And despite the soup being very hearty, it did get a little heavy towards the end. Okay

Blue Cheese Beef Burger with Rucola, Poached pear and Walnut Butter

This is apparently one of the most popular burgers served at Relish, and it definitely looked the most interesting. The blue cheese component of the dish was actually embedded within the beef patty, which makes sense because the creamy-ness of the cheese contributed to the perceived juicy-ness of the meat patty. Surprisingly though, the blue cheese taste was not as strong as I thought it would be, even less so than some of the cheddar cheese slices I’ve had on other regular hamburgers. The meat was a little overcooked for my liking (I requested Medium-rare), but still packed good flavour. The umami filled patty was balanced beautifully by the poached pear, the sweetness of the pear toned the richness down a notch, but it didnt overpower the palate and the burger remained primarily savoury. Very well played Willin Low.

What really threw the whole burger off was the inclusion of the walnut butter. The butter was just a whisper of nuttiness in the background, chasing the main attraction- the patty, at least for the first few bites. But after I was halfway through the burger, walnut was all I tasted. The only big flaw in an otherwise, good burger. Okay

On a side note, I ordered a side of guacamole to go with the burger and fries, and not only was the guac severely underseasoned, it was ice cold, literally- the core of the guac was still ice. Not good

Bonus photo: In-n-out 4×4 burger: 4 patties, 4 slices of cheese. Greed is definitely good

Singapore

2am Dessert Bar, Singapore

Guave Plum

Pureed and frozen guava with plum sauce, homage to guava dipped with sim bueh(sp?) powder. This is the essence of what a deconstructed dessert should be, it looks completely new and bizzare, but pop in your mouth and all the flavours from different elements in the dish come together to form a familiar taste. It wasn’t perfectly executed, but I was very happy with the concept of the dish. Good

Strawberries and sweet milk

I honestly can’t remember too much about it, but the different elements of the dish didn’t work individually, and they didn’t work well together either. There were strawberry marshmellows and panna cotta in the dish but once again, everything was pretty soft and those aren’t textures that work very well together(marshmellows completely overwhelm the panna cotta). Bad

Blackcurrant

Interesting part about the dish is that it included a purple potato puree, that was meant to add a savoury element to the dish. But the intensity of the blackcurrant in the dish completely overpowered whatever potato puree was on the plated, and overall we only got very subtle hints of potato in the dish. There were tiny blackcurrant drops and those were very intensely flavoured and delicious, but everything else on the dish was mellow, an introduction of a crisp texture might have brought the dish to life. Okay

Popcorn Parfait

Probably the best dish of the night. The salty caramel ice cream was a perfect balance between the sweet and salty. Most of the dish was fairly soft(ice creams and a block with a ganache like texture), but the powdered popcorn added an interesting introduction of texture. There was a vial of warm popcorn(in the background) provided for aroma that smelled so good I was close to smashing it just so I could have some actual popcorn. Very good

Lime Sorbet, palate cleanser

Peanut butter and Jelly

The other great dish of the night. You don’t have to be American for this dish to be nostalgic- strawberry shortbread, homemade peanut butter(not as viscous as the regular ones), peanut butter ice cream, rice krispies(?), there were many ways to eat this, and it all tasted good. A great deconstruction of  a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; probably the heaviest dish of the night, but the intensity of the flavours made this a winner for me. Very good

Lemon Explosion

The technique behind this is very similar to the Chocolate Lollipop I had at Providence in Los Angeles, actually this is probably easier because the version at Providence had to have a stick attached to it. Pop the piece of chocolate in your mouth, let it melt away and a liquid lemon center suddenly floods your mouth, I don’t think I can ever get bored of the sensation you get when you eat something like that. The lemon pop rocks add an interesting touch to the dish, but frankly speaking the dish could do without it as it takes away from the “sensation”, I felt at times that there was too much going on in your mouth-  tiny rocks of candy exploding in your mouth while you are trying your best to concentrate on the chocolate ball. An interesting thing to note is that I actually preferred the chocolate lollipop over the lemon explosion, in the sense that it was quirky and fun, and something that I recognise from my childhood, it’s definitely something that I can see in a dessert tasting menu at 2am. Good

Banana Chocolate

When this was presented to us we were told the inspiration behind the dessert was a painting. I appreciated that it was nice to know that there was a story behind the dish, but I think it is hard for diners in general to ascribe some form of intrinsic meaning to a dish, when they cannot see the actual work the dish is drawing inspiration from. Maybe cheap print outs of the actual painting? The Roses/Artichoke dish(Course 22) at El Bulli is served with the actual rose so that you can actually what the artichokes are trying to mimic, and although the dish tasted bad, it was a very nice touch. But I digress, Banana Chocolate- The ‘Blood’ on the canvas is actually cherry puree and was actually fairly hard to get out because it was fairly dry, but I kept scraping at it because it added a very nice sour tang  to balance the sweetness of the chocolate and banana. The dish worked for me when eaten together, but maybe it could have been a little easier to eat. Okay

Chocolate H2O

2 blocks of  chocolate finished tableside, spheres are inserted and a liquid salted caramel is poured over. The chocolate blocks are actually made of Valrhona chocolate and Evian water, and had a mousse like consistency. I think the methodology is similar to that used by Heston Blumenthal in this video, but I’m not entirely sure. Overall the dish was stunning to look at but it didn’t particularly deliver taste wise. Okay

3°C Malt Sweet

I love malt, and I was really looking forward to this. It was a cold, creamy rendition of (what I believe) horlicks. I really appreciate that the desserts are trying to tap into the nostalgia of childhood(horlicks and pop rocks), but the dish wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. The taste of malt could have been a lot more intense, which is how I remember horlicks sweets being. Okay

I have no doubt that head chef Janice Wong has incredible talent, at such a young age she has worked at some of the top restaurants in the world that employ techniques used in molecular gastronomy- Alinea, L2O and Wd-50, I do admire her for what she has achieved in such a short amount of time. ‘Deconstruction’ is a word that I hate to love, it is very hard to make the concept work and appeal to the general public, but when it does, it’s fantastic, though I don’t think 2am dessert bar has quite reached that level yet. Out of all the courses we had, the dishes I have the strongest impression of are the Guava Plum, the Peanut butter and Jelly, and the Popcorn Parfait, all of which tap on tastes that I am familiar with, and can relate to. There is no point deconstructing a dessert, or any dish for that matter, if the diner does not know what the original ‘constructed’ dish is supposed to taste like.

2am dessert bar will continue to grow(Please make the seats more comfortable), and I hope the menu evolves as this happens. In my perfect world, which I hope to live in, in the future, 2am serves deconstructed desserts from my childhood, something with milo, honeydew sago, mango with pearls in coconut milk, a savoury-sweet dessert made from those animal crackers laden with MSG, a dish with red rubies, the possibilities are infinite, and Singapore needs a restaurant that utilizes avant garde cooking techniques for dishes from the past. We have to look back, in order to look forward, but enough ranting, I will return to 2am dessert bar soon.