10 February, 2009

Desire @ The Scarlet - A Preview of HFB Makan Session 3

The distinguished Desire voted one of Wine and Dine Singapore’s Top Restaurant in 2008 is sited at The Scarlet, a charismatic boutique hotel that oozes a sense of stylish elegance.

Not without its own accolades, the hotel is crowned one of
2008 Singapore Tatler’s Best Boutique Hotels and Singapore Tourism Awards 2008 for Best Accommodation Experience under the Best Superior Hotel category.

Hidden at the side of the hotel, the restaurant’s alfresco area is one of affectionate charming ambience.

Upon seated, the restaurant further seeks to tease one’s sensory experience with its element of naughtiness by presenting a menu, '
book of Desire', full of suggestive sexual connotations – the appetiser section, for instance, is labelled ‘foreplay’ while the entrees are titled under ‘main affair’.

However, ordering ala carte was not the order of the day as E
xecutive Chef Vincent Teng, previously from My Dining Room in Club Street, specially created a $100++ menu for each of us that evening.

Complimentary Bread served set the right tone immediately for that evening. Between the Olive and Walnut Bread (or was it Almond?), it was a tough choice – but the service staff came to the rescue by suggesting “Why not both?” and both it was. Both bread were served warm and tasted wonderful with its own merits. Coupled with the extravagant Truffle Butter, HFB certainly didn’t look back. HFB rates this experience a tad better than Morton’s Onion Loaf.

The appetiser was
Iberico Ham & Sous Vide Egg with Truffle Salsa, and the soft poached egg was only achieved through modelling after the French method of cooking using vacuum bags placed in hot water.

A dish that at first glance seemed detach between the two ingredients, one is however encouraged to fuse the dish together by breaking the egg yolk and eating it with the ham and the salsa. However, who could resist the wobbly egg yolk and HFB took a naughty nibble at it, before letting the yolk oozed all over. On its own, the Iberico ham, imported only from
Spain, was velvety in texture. Coupled with the egg yolk, the harmonious combination was such a joy to consume. HFB certainly rates the ham better than the Italian's Prosciutto.

Seared Foie Gras with Scampi on Toasted Brioche paired with Sliced Mango, Mango Coulis and Balsamic Reduction was up next. Although HFB would prefer the foie gras to be seared crustier, credits could not be taken away from the liver. One could never go wrong with the savoury and sweet combination between the foie gras and the mango coulis, but the scampi was slight over-grilled resulting in a dry and rubbery texture for the shrimp.

And if one thinks the sous vide method of cooking is only meant for eggs, then
Chef Vincent seeks to prove you wrong with another dish of Sous Vide of Kurobuta Pork Belly with Crackling Skin, Braise Pork Cheeks on Fennel Salad tossed with Mustard Miso. A distinctive dish that enables one to experience two unique textural in one go – the pork belly was very well tendered being fatty but the skin was so wonderfully seared resulting in a cracking crisp with every bite, although one might frowned on the idea of paying top money for “Roast Pork” in a restaurant. If the pork belly played on texture, then the braised pork cheeks touched on taste. Not denying the truth that it was marvellous simmered till soft, it was the intense flavour, nicely captured by the meat that won HFB over – it was comparable to the Beef Cheek from Sage.

A nice surprise came with the palate cleanser of
Tomato Essence. 'Revitalising' is probably the best word to describe the experience as the concoction immediately rids the tongue of any heavy aftertaste. HFB absolutely loves the refreshing tang!

Grilled Wagyu Beef Tenderloin on Truffle Pomme Puree, Seasonal Vegetables was another delectable meat dish. With a marbling score of 5/6, it was surprisingly still very tender despite being grilled close to medium than medium rare. The Truffle Pomme Puree was another delight – the potato mash was really smooth and the tint of truffle gave it an added lift – this was another symphony of ingredients that worked really well in HFB’s opinion.

The dinner was rounded up with the
Hazelnut Mille Feuille, or layers of Hazelnut Mousse, Salted Caramel and Feuilletine Crust. Although HFB felt that the hazelnut option was slightly heavy for a dessert, and would preferred something lighter on his palate, the robust hazelnut cream was something praiseworthy.


Food: 4/5 (From the complimentary bread to the dessert, there are always something positive to look forward to)
Service: 4.5/5 (Service was fantastic)
Ambience: 4.5/5 (Charming ambience - perfect for first dates!)
Price: 3.5/5 (Reasonable consider the extravagant usage of truffles)
Total: 16.5/20
33 Erskine Road
Singapore 069333

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Steve said...

"perfect for first dates", indeed HFB! Some of us are too old for first dates any more!

This post was sensational - so looking forward to trying "Desire". Sounds like an absolute treat!

His Food Blog said...

Nonsense! No one is too old for first dates :P

Looking forward to see you @ the dinner :)

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