expensive french (or european fusion, more like) restaurant, with a fantastic location at boat quay and gorgeous both within (all dark, sleek modern) and with-out in its gorgeous colonial housing, but serving dinky-sized dishes and slightly pompous service.
we had come here buoyed on the man’s high expectations – read a lot, imagined a lot – only to be met with tiny dishes that barely kept us satisfied at the end of meal, exacerbated by slow serving.
it’s to their immense benefit that I shoot photos with a tiny crop, so it makes these dishes appear much larger than they actually were. I felt portions were really small – and because we had to wait quite so long between dishes, we got hungry before each one actually arrived. but let’s talk food first.
the bread arrived with a tiny sculpted tower of butter – pretty good, but the bread wasn’t nearly as flavorful as it could have been. it was perfectly spongy and plain enough enough to dunk into our truffled mushroom consomme (of which I seemed to have missed a photo) – which was delicious. it was like extract of mushroom, further lifted by the prudent use of truffle – that latter perfumed the dish, rather than overpowered it.
it was also less than, or just about a ladle’s worth of soup – acceptable for a main course, but this rather followed through the meal.
they presented us with the whole onion tart on a wooden board before they proceeded to cut it up, because they had seen me doing my thang with the camera – and what arrived was a small one-eigth each, dressed with some greens on the side. it’s a simple puff pastry affair, with very caramelized halved pearl onions atop – and it was sweet and rater tasty at first.
but those onions were well-cooked, and maybe even a little too much – they had reached that stick-to-the-teeth honeyed stage, which coupled with the layers that had dried out in the cooking – made for a rather awkward remove-the-bits-from-your teeth episode after finishing. I think they could also have picked a slightly softer, dough-ier pastry – this was wholly unsubstantial and just crackled away across the plate.
you understand a little of the hype when the mains arrived, but even these weren’t flawless. the fish came with a delicious stalk of sweet, soft spring onion, a tiny piece of iberico (or was it parma?) and some cooked asparagus below. it was delicious, and beautifully plated – but definitely unsubstantial.
and that red, very rare bird up there? the photo makes it look the size of a chicken, when what it really is is pigeon – and a slightly undernourished one at that. served with jus alongside one waxy potato and one blistered cherry tomato (which should give you some sense of scale) – it was ridiculously rare.
the first time it arrived, it felt like we were eating raw liver – it was barely hot, and so minerally we couldn’t do anything but turn it back. and when it returned, it was barely warm, with only a bit of sear on the outside and no difference within. the second time, the bird was overcooked – but at least it didn’t taste like only of blood, you know?
so.. we weren’t impressed at all upon finishing the bird, and our moods were only slightly improved by the dessert of pear, vanilla sorbet and some slices of cake – a deconstructed crumble, really. it was enlivened by a perky lemon curd, but that wasn’t enough to save it from the monotony of a only-sweet dessert.
to be fair, the cooking isn’t bad – and it’s a beautiful enough space to visit anyway, what with its sleek interior, open kitchen and lady at the grand singing the night away. but the portions would have no difficulty at all fitting on my palm (with lots of space to spare), the wait got pretty ridiculous – I don’t appreciate having my hunger levels yo-yo through a meal – and the expense, while commensurate with an establishment of this class, seems unfounded.
OCF Singapore, or Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt
The Arts House #02-02
1 Old Parliament Lane
tel +65 6333 9312
$$$: the set menu starts at 70++
p.s. guys, I’m back to my older format – if you haven’t already noticed. it’s been fun doing it all magazine-style, but the effort was making me love writing a little less.. and that shouldn’t be the point! I hope you’re all okay with me coming back to this style :D