For details of Chéf d’ Table, please refer to the previous post here.
Restaurant Week 2013 (18 Mar – 24 Mar)
Do you want to know how atas (high-class) beancurd tastes like?
London Gal (LG) and I were both very excited to spend our first restaurant week together this year! Usually at this time of the year, LG would be in London for studies, so we decided to exploit this opportunity and treat ourselves to something good.
Upon arriving at the main entrance, one would be greeted by warm hospitality as the server opens the door for his patrons (usually without fail, at least for both my visits). We were fortunate that it was a Wednesday afternoon and not fully packed, so we were able to switch our seats to a corner seat for greater privacy.
Freshly-baked focaccia bread with olive pesto
First up was the familiar freshly baked focaccia bread with olive pesto. The bread contains chopped herbs and is always warm from the oven, so do savour it while it’s fresh and warm. If you recall, last year my friends and I loved the pesto so much that we finished it within seconds. The pesto definitely has not fallen its usual standards. A nice way to start our meal proper.
Can’t get enough of my favourite pesto
Garden Salad with fresh apple and Tomato Salsa
For the appetiser, LG chose the Garden mixed salad with fresh apple and marinated tomato salsa, tossed with honey-lemon vinaigrette dressing. We read that Chef Jason is always ready to customise the dishes according to our liking, so LG the health Nazi specifically asked for the dressing to be served separately. Even without the dressing, the salad was salty by itself due to the addition of sea salt and the dressing was extremely appetising. Guess you can’t possibly go wrong with salad. Otherwise that would be a horror movie indeed.
Wasabi and Soy marinated Salmon
For myself, I chose the Wasabi and soy marinated salmon with sesame oil and scallion, Chill cucumber salad and caramel miso glaze. Below that cucumber salad was about 8-10 thick slices of fresh salmon sashimi, marinated with wasabi and soy sauce. There was a very light tinge of wasabi but the soy seasoning was noticeable. Overall, the seasoning brought out the best of the raw salmon and made the dish a very palatable one. I could not quite fathom what the thin slice of flour-like substance was, but it tasted crispy like keropok but was very much thinner. Impressive indeed.
Sweet potato and mushroom Risotto
For mains, we read that the sirloin steak at Chéf d’ Table was impeccable, but because SG Boy does not consume beef, I decided to try something new (i.e. not mentioned on other blogs). Fortunately, the Sweet potato and mushroom risotto with thyme baked pumpkin did not disappoint. The risotto was cooked to (near) perfection. The grains were soft and thoroughly absorbed the essence of veggie goodness. The sweet potato and mushrooms were also thoroughly broiled and their flavours delicately brought out by skilful cooking. LG and I unanimously agreed that the risotto was better than the one we had at Jamie’s Italian in London last year. The thyme baked pumpkin tasted like fried pumpkin wedges and were crispy like French fries. Baked? Wow this makes me really curious – I really want to learn how to make this dish!
Steamed Dory Fillet with Crab Meat Saffron Broth
LG’s Steamed pink dory fillet fresh dill in court-bouillon served with crab meat saffron broth also far exceeded our expectations. The dory fillet was tender-fresh and melted in our mouths. In terms of quantity, it was definitely sufficient for an average eater. (LG thought it was too much for her and donated some to me) The saffron broth was also very Asian in nature, and resembled shark’s fin with crab meat and eggs.
Dessert of the Day: Green Tea and Chocolate Mousse Cake
One of the reasons why we chose Chéf d’ Table was due to the availability of the Green Tea and Chocolate mousse cake on the Restaurant Week website menu. However, we were a little disappointed when we discovered that it was not available on the printed menu. FORTUNATELY it was a false alarm. The Dessert of the Day turned out to be what we came here for anyway. Apart from the gorgeous plating, the green tea and chocolate mousse cake was superb. The green tea was sufficiently rich but not overpowering (adequate for a green tea addict like LG). In fact, one can only taste the nuances of the green tea mousse after savouring it. You would not taste any tinge of sharp bitterness from the green tea mousse. I am also a sucker for chocolate, so the combination of green tea and chocolate was delighting.
Soy Bean panna cotta, raspberry compote and mixed crushed nuts
What sealed the deal for the day was actually the Soy bean panna cotta with raspberry compote and mixed crushed nuts. To put it in an old school Singaporean primitive fashion, this is atas tau huay, meaning high-class artsy-fartsy soya beancurd. The panna cotta was extremely bouncy and presented a new twist to what we usually have like Laoban beancurd. However, you must really eat it with the mixed nuts. Who would have known that tauhuay goes well with nuts?? The compote was really sweet and added a fruity zest to the delectable dish.
Personally, I felt that the service was average but LG thought that the service leaves more to be desired. Perhaps if the servers were warmer and more attentive, Chef Jason would probably be the first local Singaporean to be awarded with Michelin stars. We would also like to point out that the language efficacy of one of the servers could be improved, because there were some words which we were unable to comprehend while asking for the soup and dessert of the day. In our case, the server pronounced “carrot” as “ka-lok”, which we had to ask him to repeat himself for a few times. With the greatest respect, we do not mean to be critical or discriminatory, but hope that these aspects could be improved. To be fair, we were pretty satisfied with the overall service and the management at Chéf d’ Table definitely deserves a pat on the shoulder.
Chéf d’ Table is the epitome of how ordinary ingredients can be packaged into exquisite art pieces worthy of excitement. For the price of $25++, one can derive much enjoyment from the serene ambience and delicious dishes. We were also very comforted by the sight of two male grey-haired senior citizens who were dining together at the table just across ours. Perhaps Chéf d’ Table is the perfect place for a couple date, a gathering place for big groups, or just a quiet place for some catching up between bosom buddies. Good food bonds people together, and this is the right place where fusion dishes come to life, with that tinge of warmth and a unique brand of Singaporean flavour.
Rating: 4.27 / 5 Michelin-wannabe Stars