Dinner @ Labyrinth

July 21, 2015 in Asian, Mod Sin by thywhaleliciousfay

It’s probably the feeling that I haven’t had (non Japanese) fine dining recently that I suggested to my friend to head to Labyrinth for dinner. And I first learnt about Labyrinth fromt watching Foodporn’s Episode 5 on clicknetwork.tv.

I called twice on a Wednesday to make reservation for Thursday night. However, I was left feeling a little sad when no one picked up my call. But thankfully, the staff returned my call 30 minutes later. All (busy) restaurants should have phones with caller ID display!

And on the day we were to have our dinner, the staff called to confirm my reservation. And it’s nice that they took the initiative to ask for our dietary restriction and if the dinner was for any special occasion. To which, I was impressed that they actually paid attention to our dietary restriction. Some restaurants ask but don’t take any action. We were at the restaurant ready to have our orders taken when the staff mentioned first that the chef would replace the beef dish to fish for us. Nice.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3), we ordered:-

1) Heritage, $148 comprised of:-

(A) Snack #1 (above) – Kaya + butter, rojak. And we served kaya toast with unsalted butter, you zha kway (rojak) with shrimp paste within. And I really liked the latter. Just a small piece, but it had the ‘full package’ in terms of (rojak) taste.

(B) Snack #2 (above, right) – “Sashimi”. What looked like raw fish was in fact watermelon. Served with (shredded) honeydew ‘vegetable’, rock melon ‘caviar’ and basil cream for the ‘wasabi’. Interesting.

(C) Laksa (above) – Coconut noodles, grilled oyster. Instead of a soup dish, the broth was presented in the form of powder. Which was actually presented as ‘laksa snow’ by the staff. Interesting. But I did not like the texture of the coconut noodles. It felt kinda weird. My friend thought the dish was not too bad, although it did not quite work for me, especially since I don’t like oyster.


  

(D) Duo of dim sum (above) – Squid ink “paella”. What looked like our Chinese dim sum of lo mai gai (糯米鸡) and zhu chang fen (猪肠粉) was in fact glutinous rice with squid ink, red pepper sauce and sliced squid with crab in a rich broth. And we were told to have the 3 components together. This was pretty good.

(E) Labyrinth chilli crab (above) – Chilli crab ice cream, tempura soft shell crab. This being their signature dish, we were not disappointed. We were told the plate was to represent the sea, man tou (馒头) crumbs for the sand and chilli crab ice cream as sea shells (on the beach).

(F) Siew yoke fan (above) – Roast pork roulade, “ramen” risotto. The roast pork was so good! Crispy skin with oh-so-tender meat.

(G) Fish (above) – As we don’t take beef, it was replaced with a beautifully pan-seared barramundi fish, topped with sambal and dehydrated kang kong. I felt it was their take on our local dish of BBQ sambal stingray.

(H) Palate cleanser (above) – Lime and cucumber sorbet.


(I) Hainanese curry rice (above) – Curry quinoa, chicken mousseline, coriander sponge. And within the truffle scented (black) ‘rocks’ were chicken (left) and potato (right). And this was really good. We were impressed.

(J) Palate cleanser (above) – Since this set had no pineapple rice, we were given a smaller version of it as palate cleanser.

(K) Pisang goreng (above) – Rajah banana cream. And we were told ripe bananas were mashed, mixed with gelatin, moulded back into a banana shape, coated with wheat flour before it’s deep fried.


  

(L) Local breakfast (above) – Panna cotta, mango puree, sweet balsamic sauce. And I definitely have to give it to the chef for the creativity! The creme brulee looked so much like teh tarik that I picked the cup up to drink when the staff had clearly said we would need our spoons (for the creme brulee). I had my ‘oops’ moment there. Haha.

2) Signature, $108 comprised of:-

(A) Snack #1Kaya + butter, rojak.

(B) Snack #2“Sashimi”.

(C) Pineapple fried rice (above) – Pineapple sorbet, rice crispy, turmeric custard. And we were told this Thai dish was inspired by the chef’s grandmother. And to properly enjoy the dish, we were told to mess everything up! Oh my.

(D) Duo of dim sumSquid ink “paella”.

(E) Labyrinth chilli crabChilli crab ice cream, tempura soft shell crab.

(F) Palate cleanser – Lime and cucumber sorbet.

(G) Siew yoke fan or Hainanese curry rice

(H) Palate cleanser (above) – As we were served pineapple rice for the Heritage set, we were given a palate cleanser of yogurt with chocolate. Really good.

(I) Chendol XLB (above) – Gula jawa icicle, coconut & red bean soup, har gow skin.

(J) Reese’s chocolate (above) – Peanut butter ice cream, cocoa peanut “ash”.

We totally enjoyed our dinner at Labyrinth. It was an interesting experience. What one see on the plate isn’t necessary what one will be tasting. And if one come in pairs and wishes to try all the dishes, the restaurant can customise the menu. ‘Heritage menu’ consists of 8 courses while the ‘signature menu’ comprises of 6 courses. And to allow for both to have the meal at the same pace, Order for 2 sets of ‘Heritage menu’ will be placed, with the first dish and desserts replaced with that from ‘Signature menu’ for 1 of the 2 sets ordered.

And we were told they would be moving to their new premises at Esplanade in August 15 where the space would be bigger, a closed kitchen and easier parking. Which I think is a good idea. We came on a quieter night and it wasn’t very nice to be hearing the staff chit-chatting from our counter seats.

LABYRINTH RESTAURANT
5 Neil Road, Singapore
6223 4098, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Fri : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Mon
Service: 8

UPDATE 1: Restaurant has moved to 8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, #02-23.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2017.

UPDATE 3: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Singapore 2018.

Dinner @ Wild Rocket

June 9, 2015 in Asian, Mod Sin by thywhaleliciousfay

My Jap-foodie-GF and I decided to put our ‘streak of good luck with food’ to the test. We wanted to see if our luck with good food was only limited to Japanese cuisine. (^^lll) Haha. And with that, we were headed to Wild Rocket since both of us had Wild Rocket on our list of places-to-check-out. Talk about similar taste buds, eh? =) And so, reservation was made for 2 for a weekday evening. Do note that if one is going for the omakase menu, one would need to make the reservation by phone.

Wild Rocket is located within Hangout Hotel which is at the top of Mount Emily. Since we were feeling a little lazy, we took a cab from Plaza Singapura. Despite its close proximity, our cab fare came up to almost $10 cause of the windy route the cab had to take. Hmm…


Now… When we reached Hangout Hotel, we did not realise the entrance to Wild Rocket was within the hotel. You know how some restaurants occupy the first floor of the hotel but patrons would need to enter from the outside? So yah… We mistakenly walked round the hotel only to realise the entrance to Wild Rocket was from the hotel lobby. Oops. And even though we reached early (before the restaurant opened for dinner), we were able to make ourselves comfortable at the small but quirky-furnished hotel lobby. Ha.

And because we had made reservation for the omakase tasting menu, we were led to the chef counter. We were not given the menu (pages 1, 2) because by going with omakase, it meant we were leaving it to chef Willin! It’s also while chatting with the staff that we learnt that if one would like to have the omakase menu at the (normal) tables, one would need to come in a group of at least 4.

And with that, we started our dinner:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – And to kick start our dinner, chef Willin presented us with pomelo salad with tiger prawns and frozen coconut dressing. He went on to say this was Thai-inspired, and that this dish was also created and served to Princess of Thailand when she visited his restaurant. And for this, we were told to break the ‘ice cream’. A refreshing and nutty start to our meal.

  

2) Dish #2 (above) – And this was inspired by our local dish bak chor mee. Chef Willin described it perfectly when he said, “Fat of land meets fat of ocean”. Ha. Glass noodles cooked with pork fats topped with chopped tuna belly. My favourite of the night.

3) Dish #3 (above) – Chef Willin’s interpretation of our local dish nasi lemak. And this was amazing. Nasi lemak puree (which had the aroma of pandan leaves) with pan-seared Hokkaido scallop, anchovy chilli and puffed rice.

4) Dish #4 (above) – And what looked like our local dish char kway teow was not our stir-fried flat rice noodles. Chef Willin replaced the noodles with thinly sliced cuttlefish which gave the dish a very interesting texture. And we were told the dish was cooked with the best extra virgin olive oil. A staff gave me a dab of it to try, and it certainly was different.

5) Dish #5 (above) – And chef Willin shared with us of how he got inspired by seeing ‘Singapore Fried Noodle’ on the menu when he was in England, and how those did not even come close to the real Singapore fried noodle. Ha. So at Wild Rocket, this would be his version of taking ownership of the menu’s Singapore fried noodle. We were also told this was part of his SG50 project. Spaghettini cooked with lobster oil and prawn fats (I think I heard prawn shell too if I am not mistaken), this was not too bad. But what intrigued us were the plates. Apparently these plates were collected from chef Willin’s traveling. And instead of leaving them at home (since he shared he was barely at home), he brought these beautiful plates to use at the restaurant.


6) Dish #6 (above) – Breaded ball of Australian spanner crab and blue swimmer crab meats, placed on top of salted egg sauce.

7) Dish #7 (above) – And we were told the black cod was cooked in the same way as our herbal tea egg (茶叶蛋). Fish was infused in herbs & pu-erh tea leaves for 48 hours. Chef Willin told us to start with the egg first before moving on to the cod fish. And the quail egg was brilliant! One would expect it to be a hard-boiled egg, but no! When we put the entire egg into our mouths and took a bite, the yolk just oozed out. Or should I better say, burst out. Amazing.

8) Dessert #1 (above) – Pineapple-flavoured sorbet on pineapple pieces, sprinkled with chilli powder & soy sauce salt to celebrate the old way of eating pineapple. Oh yes, soy sauce salt. Wow.


9) Dessert #2 (above) – Chendol! With pandan infused panna cotta, gula melaka and graham biscuits. The staff also very graciously poured us each a cup of vintage sake which paired very well with the gula melaka.

10) Dessert #3 (above) – My Jap-foodie-GF and I were curious about their a-la carte menu and we decided to try more. We were given a tasting portion of the Wild Rocket strawberry cheesecake. I spied from other table that the usual portion of this dessert was served in a martini glass.

11) Dessert #4 (above) – Again, we were greedy and ordered more from the a-la carte menu. And this would be the tasting portion of gong tng Chinese peanut candy with peanut butter ice cream.

So yes, one would probably get 1 or 2 desserts for the omakase menu. My Jap-foodie-GF and I had 4 desserts because when we were to be served our desserts, we were still feeling a little hungry (or rather, greedy) and curious. So we ordered more. Ha. And it was a very nice gesture when the staff said he could do tasting portion for us when we were contemplating between 2 of the 3 desserts on the a-la carte menu. In fact, I really appreciated it that the staff did not recommend us to try the ‘pandan-infused panna cotta’ from the a-la carte menu because the chendol from our omakase menu had a small portion of the panna cotta too.

Will I recommend Wild Rocket? Definitely. Rather, it’s a “What are you still waiting for?” Lunch omakase ranges between $80 to $120 while dinner omakase ranges from $120 to $160 per person depending on the ingredients used for the meals. Our meal came up to $135 (before GST and service charge) per person. I am already thinking of heading back to try their a-la carte dishes since what was offered in our dinner omakase is different from what’s available on their a-la carte menu.

Speaking of which… I thought I should share this too. On the night we were having our dinner, chef Willin was also playing host to a group of friends who came to dine at his restaurant. I appreciate it that chef Willin still made the effort to introduce most of the dishes personally, rather than leaving it to his co-chef or waiting staff. And as we stood up to make our way out of the restaurant after having made payment, chef Willin even walked us out. Thumbs up!

WILD ROCKET
10A Upper Wilkie Road, Hangout Hotel, Level 1, Singapore
6339 9448, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8