amuse bar & global tapas, town

unimpressive food at very high prices in this tiny, lonely corner of the also rather forlorn orchard hotel. this restaurant was gaining widespread hype from singaporean bloggers when it first opened, what with its celebrity chef (hadn’t heard of him before visiting) and supposedly innovative dishes – so I kept it on my list and yanked it out in time for a valentine’s-as-excuse-for-expensive-meal, by which time the blogosphere was nearly silent on it – and I think rather deservedly so.

that first photo is of the most impressive dish we had – and their most famous: an egg wrapped in crispy ciabatta and topped with ham. a modernesque blumenthalesque rendition of a ham-and-egg-sammie with unctous yolk and proper ham, served over truffled jus and spinach: terrifically good. if the rest of the meal had followed in this vein, it would have been amazing – but it didn’t.

the restaurant is done up in black and red – modern colours rather in line with the robuchon chain, but which I think looks a little gaudy in the daytime. it was empty when we arrived (rendering my reservation unnecessary), and there was a single waitress who recommended everything on the menu – not a good sign.

but we started off pretty well, with a steak tartare in a filo cone. it was innovative if puny, two delicate cones filled with a spill of cold meat reminiscent of chilli-con-carne. the calamari that followed was less inspiring, very skinny pieces of baby squid (with thin flesh) that was indiscernible from the fried batter, served on a tiny plate with aioli. not terrible, but definitely not on par even with mainstream cafés.

the spicy lamb burger was spice-y rather than hot, and the partner wasn’t impressed – he says “the patty was only so-so: tasted like those from sainsburys” (a supermarket in the UK not quite known for culinary prowess/quality). our last dish made us laugh though: crispy chicken wings with a kimchi garlic sauce, these were rather a case of mutton dressed as lamb. chicken that tasted exactly like the ones you would get from the good ol’ colonel, with a sauce that tasted like chinese preserved soy bean paste (known as taucheo) mixed with bottled thai sweet chilli sauce, this was a rather entertaining end to a sad meal.

we paid too much for the entire meal – except for the egg, which I think was a steal (in modern times) for the level of skill – and were pretty glad we went easy on the ordering. it’s also a good thing there were no celebratory aspirations staked on this meal. not worth coming to, unless merely for the eggs.

Amuse Bar & Global Tapas
442 Orchard Road
#01-29 Orchard Hotel
Singapore 238879
tel +65 6735 3476

p.s. this post is late (I have a laughable laudable backlog) and I see on hungrygowhere that this place is closed, even though another blog (I assume without a similar disregard for timely exposition) just wrote about their experience here barely a week ago. any idea?

5 thoughts on “amuse bar & global tapas, town

  1. the one before it was closed, bodega y tapas. It has been rebranded to Amuse.

    The consulting chef of the restaurant used to be the executive chef of Les Amis. He was very good.

    When I was there, every dish was good. But then again, it was a tasting and the chef would put extra effort. And maybe when you were there, the head chef C.K. wasn’t around? It gets problematic when head chefs are not around, no quality control.

    • it’s true that standards might be inconsistent without the head chef – but that’s an almost impossible criteria for customers: we can’t make reservations when only the head honcho’s around! at least you had a good meal.

      I have to say though, that I’m almost completely sure that the chef (on the left here) was walking around while we were having lunch.

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