rather good – but expensive – new zealandic food in this new bar-restaurant at a corner of clarke quay. the food here surprised us, and the place warrants returns: it was huge servings, good flavors, considerable quality and friendly service – though at a rather large bill.
this is my first time having new zealandic (is that right?) food – and I have to say, just as with australian cuisine, that I wouldn’t recognize its provenance at all. it’s a modern type of cooking with a focus on clean, strong flavours, and seems more fusionish than anything else – but forgive (and correct) me if I’m wrong. not that it really matters though, as long as the food is enjoyable – and this was.
we actually came here because we had taken the leap and bought our first deal-voucher in singapore – I’m usually too anxious about these deals to bother about buying them (if it’s too good to be true, it probably is) – but this place seemed rather intriguing. there were/are very few reviews on it – and in this great singaporeland, that means either that it hasn’t even managed to incur the hype that so surrounds new places (which breeds no confidence in their food) or that it’s barely managed to keep it (which does the same thing).
but it was a needless worry. we went through about half the dishes on the menu that intrigued us, and they all came monstrously huge, and at standards that far surpassed what we expected.
we started off with a beef carpaccio; a large plate of thinly sliced raw beef drizzled with a creamy mustard-type dressing and topped with a mixture of grated cabbages and tasty hard-cheese shards. very good – especially with the pop of those little red pomegranate seeds. the salt and pepper squid was also very good – very crispy batter and expertly-cooked, it was sitting on an dark asian-flavoured dressing reminiscent of kecap manis (a syrupy type of soy sauce).
we also had the poached pear salad – and let me tell you, this inspired my partner to eat his greens (and in fact, he ate more than I), and so wins massive points. lots of arugula sitting on cubes of a mild blue cheese, interspersed with walnuts and bits of pear, this was all well-matched. I don’t go for blue cheese at all, but this was a very mild and creamy variant – firmer than camembert and with a bit more funk – rather enjoyable.
an entrée-portion of pork spare ribs arrived stacked in a cute contraption, sticky with an asian-fusion hoisin glaze (that’s the stuff you eat with peking duck). I liked this: the ribs weren’t overtly fatty, had a fair amount of meat and that glaze was tasty, though a bit cloying after a while – especially since we were rather full. should probably have gone for the starter-sized option.
as a side, the cheddar-cauliflower gratin was pretty serviceable – if, objectively, the weakest dish in a good meal. I liked that the sauce wasn’t quite as thick and creamy (I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy another rich dish), with al dente florets and a char atop, though the partner prefers a more typically rich preparation.
so I have quite a bit of praise for the food here – my only gripe truly are the prices – and I hope the place stays in business. it’s in a rather quiet corner of clarke quay with lots of (more) boisterous competition – the restaurant itself is served with a bar on the ground floor (that apparently hosts a live band come nighttime), and a more formal (though relaxed) dining area on the second. the staff were attentive, the food came fast, and we were pretty much ready for a nap by the end of the meal – actually, I feel like I ought to warn you that the flavors are very in-your-face-strong, and the dishes quite rich; not a bad thing, but it does mean that my next visit is a little further off in the horizon while I recover.
I think this post might be rather well-timed for the eve of may-day (tomorrow!) – I recommend it for a casual post-work night out, with great food and a large range of beers on tap (I know that matters to some of you), and an environment ready for rambunctious gatherings.
Fern & Kiwi – Bar & Eatery
#01-02/03 The Cannery
River Valley Road, Clarke Quay
tel +65 6336 2271