20 May, 2008

Persimmon - The Taste Test

Last Wednesday, I had the honour of being invited by Helena Lim, co-owner of Persimmon (as well as Epicurious at Robertson Quay) to partake in the taste testing session organised by Yum.sg.

Located in the quaint neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore, Persimmon can be found within the premises of The Link Hotel, the largest boutique style hotel in Singapore.

The name “Persimmon” was chosen as suggested by Sharon, the other co-owner, because it is a often misunderstood and curious type of fruit, something that aligns with the type of cuisine they served in Persimmon Fusion European dishes with a hint of Singapore flair.

Entering into the restaurant is reminiscent of stepping into a swanky Kopi-tiam (or coffee-shop) – the décor of checker-tiled floors, white tabletop and wooden chair offers one a sense of nostalgia, in an Atas (or high class) way of course!

My dining partner and me ordered the Apple Infusion ($10) drink to share, consisting of Red apple, Lemon Grass, and Ginger, to start off the night. It was a refreshing fruit juice with a twist, if I may put it that way – as the lemongrass, a herb often used in Asian cooking, along with ginger, another Asian spice, tantalised the taste buds with their aromatic oil leaving one with a sweet spicy taste. I have to underscore that this drink was not part of the taste test and was in fact on the house as I found out later.

The first item up for tasting was the Amuse Bouche: Mushroom with Shao-Hsing Soup. Served in a shot glass, the soup was concentrated and full of mushroom flavour.

Great if you ask me, and it would be well received in other restaurants – but unfortunately not here in Persimmon, as the Asian element of Shao-Hsing flavour is evidently missing in the soup, a hint of it would definitely topped the cake.

The starter was a Salad of Pan-Seared Scallop, Glass Noodles, Cherry Apple & Starfruit Drizzled with Citrus Vinaigrette. This was one dish that the owner kept emphasising that it is in the process of being fine-tuned i.e. a show in weakness that they weren’t very confident about this dish, and I have to agree that they have every reason to be so. For once, I couldn’t see how the pairing would work, as I foresee people would be eating the scallop separately from the rest of the salad instead of with it. Also, the generous drizzling of the citrus vinaigrette, consisting of orange juice and olive oil, on my plate was way too sour for me to consume – it was the only dish that was left half eaten that evening. Perhaps the missing ingredient – shredded crab meat – which Helena apologise profusely that the chef had forgotten to add, was suppose to balance out the sourness in this dish, but I would never find out.

What was Kway Teow that was used in an earlier tasting session two weeks ago, that my fellow foodie attended, was replaced with Fettucine this time round. The Wagyu Beef "Char" Fettucine With Truffle Oil and Honshimeiji Mushrooom was an interesting rendition of our famous local delight. To be honest, I like this dish pretty much as the pasta was done al dente and I have to highlight that the truffle oil really makes a HUGE difference to this dish (I manage to steal a bite before it was added). Although the beef was tender, I would prefer it to be a slice bigger and thicker. It was too small a piece for my taste buds to discern it as Wagyu beef. The Poached Egg lacked seasoning and tasted of olive oil instead, which kinda makes it hard to stomach. However, with slight twitching, I believe this dish will do well in the long run.

Giant Prawn Chinchalok Thermidor was undoubtedly the crowd’s favourite that evening. Most who are usually turn off by the Chinchalok from the bottle were delighted to find out that the combination between that and the cheese on a giant prawn works wonder! What you get is a very savoury, lip-smacking tasty prawn that although a tad salty too consume on its own, but would made an excellent pairing to a bowl of rice (wild rice or brown rice would give it the fusion branding).

A shot of Orange and Pink Guava Sorbet refreshed our taste bud before we embarked on our final item of the day, and although a smidgen too sweet, I like the pairing very much as the flavours harmonises perfectly with one another.

The Ice Kachang “Eight Treasure” Sundae is another interesting twirl to our famous local dessert. Using Coconut Ice Cream instead of the usual coconut milk, this replica produces a surprise with every spoonful – as every dip give one a different ingredient of White Fungus, Wolfberry, Date, Kidney Bean among many others but most interesting, Dried Persimmon Strip was used to give it a pleasant final touch.

In conclusion, although I am not a big fan of fusion fare, if given time for fine-tuning in most of the dishes, I might just be back for the quiet and nice ambience presented that evening as well as the attentive service of this place.

50 Tiong Bahru Road
#01-07 The Link Hotel
Singapore 168733

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Helena and Sharon for their generous hospitality.

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Holly Jean said...

OK.. we agree on some points... esp the chinchalok prawn... but disagree on some others... only natural I guess.

:) OK looking forward to seeing what else u recommend readers to eat :0 Yummm I love food

His Food Blog said...

Haha, rightfully so since everyone has different taste buds.

I dunno about yours, but my serving of salad was extremely sourish - couldn't really stomach it - or isit true that the threshold for sour food is higher in woman compared to man? Heh.

Great! I assumed I have another reader then :). Stayed tuned! ;)

chartao said...

great review and photographs...

His Food Blog said...

Hi Leonard,

Nice of you to drop by and thanks for the compliments.

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