pollen, gardens by the bay

[complimentary amuse bouche] charcoal cracker, smoked salmon, taramasalata; chicken liver parfait, beetroot jelly

sourdough, onion butter, leek oil

[à la carte] jamon

[early dinner tasting] cured mackerel, saffron brandade, dill oil

[seven-course degustation] red prawn tartare, tomato

[seven-course degustation] crab, butternut squash, sage ricotta

[early dinner tasting] braised pork belly, crab bisque, quail egg, apple

[seven-course degustation] salmon, ikura, green apple

[early dinner tasting] red bass, buttermilk, kale, cauliflower

[seven-course degustation] duck, pear, anise jus

[à la carte] tarte tatin

[early dinner tasting] rhubarb, earl grey ice cream

technically proficient – but as my clever friend puts it, soul-less.

you get the keen sense that there is something missing here at pollen. take the restaurant – beautiful, but with an ambiance that falls short of the exclusivity it seems to want to exude (and edges far too close to pretentiousness). the food, too, makes you wonder about the chasm between imagination and execution – there are a great many components that I have no doubt are the result of excruciating effort and exhausting manipulations, but they sit together without heart.

we shared both the five-course early dinner tasting and the seven-course degustation menus, and you might like to know that the cooking was consistent (and really, quite skilled) though of course the more expensive menu presents fancier ingredients. I’m not sure any of the dishes really wowed me, although the cherry-looking chicken liver confection was light and tasty (and I don’t even like liver), and the supposedly-vaunted tarte tatin is worth a try if you’ve still got space.

I’ve nearly grown out of this poncy manner of eating, and this meal hasn’t convinced me otherwise. it might be a nice place to bring some out-of-town friends that want something fancy after going through our beautiful gardens, but I’ll point you the direction of the altogether more impressive majestic bay instead.

happy new year!

first, an early happy new year to you! may it bring you everything you’re looking for, and more.

I do this nearly once a year – by which I mean I do a visit to the gardens by the bay, and marvel at the beautifulness of what we’ve created here.

there are more extensive sets of photos here, here and here – and I hope they make your day as much as they made mine.


majestic bay seafood restaurant, gardens by the bay

really rather good dimsum in this quite stunning restaurant set in the idyllic compounds of the gardens by the bay (one of my favorite places).

I had rather a far-too-much spree of dimsum a couple years ago, and so I very gingerly tread my way into dimsum restaurants these days, because of the very one-ness of their characteristics – they really only differ in quality. but at least this one was pretty much worth the calories (and repetition of flavors), and that view out the window is nothing to laugh about.

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flowers for sunday

I thought I’d share this set of photos from a visit to the gardens by the bay, and its two beautiful conservatories.

I’m totally taking this weekend to show you the beauty of singapore – and celebrating our man-made (but wonderfully so) garden city.

back to food programming tomorrow (or more realistically, sometime next week)!

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cloud forest, gardens by the bay

after a walk through the flower dome to view tulipmania, we went on to the cloud forest conservatory and were greeted with a tall streaming waterfall, and high humidity amidst cool air air-conditioning.

if you do go, I think you will notice a discernible difference between the two conservatories – the flower dome is a veritable cacophony of color, and the cloud dome a more muted (almost bleak) landscape. the roof garden holds a bit more colour – most of which these photos are of – but it’s pretty cool how they hold to their names.

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tulipmania, gardens by the bay (take two)

tulipmania was really a mini garden of imported tulip flowers within the larger garden that was the flower dome conservatory – strips of color delineated by tulip petals, as well as the distinction between buds and blooms. it was a gorgeous display – these flowers very obviously aren’t native to our sweltering, tropical climate, but the wonders of air conditioning and glass-domestruction meant I had the chance to share these beauties with grandma.

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tulipmania, gardens by the bay (take one)

warning – this is a photo post. you might like to look away now if you have a fear of colours, are a man, or if the sheer beauty of nature literally takes your breathe away.

I brought my grandma and grandaunt to the conservatories at singapore’s relatively-young gardens by the bay for a look at tulipmania on mother’s day, and we spent a ridiculous amount of time wowing and fawning over the varieties of succulents, cacti and blooms there.

it’s a beautiful place: exotic, luxuriant growth encased in bright natural light (and air-conditioned to boot).

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