Dinner @ Tippling Club

May 8, 2016 in European by thywhaleliciousfay

My friend and I meant to head somewhere else for dinner. But something happened which had me needing good food to cheer me up. And thus, a reservation was made at Tippling Club for 2 at 7pm on the same day my friend and I were to meet for dinner. Oh yes, if one noticed… Good food does wonder for me. Especially when it’s fine-dining and I haven’t fine-dined in a long while. Keke.

While making reservation over the phone, I enquired about the menu. Because I was surfing their website prior to the call, and realised they had no a-la carte menu. And I was told by the staff that my friend and I had to order the same set-menu. Hmm… And not wanting to drag our tele-conversation, I told the staff I would further enquire when we reach later in the evening.

Locating Tippling Club was pretty easy. It’s an estimated 8 to 12 minutes walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. My friend drove and managed to get a parking lot at the open-air URA (gantry) carpark located at the intersection of Duxton Hill and Duxton Road. Instead, the tricky part (for me at least) was guessing which door was the main entrance. Haha. And the entrance is the door that’s nearest to the street, just in case you were wondering. =)

As with most fine dining restaurants, food menu was only handed out after everyone arrived. So if one is coming in a group, do be punctual. Else, be the last one to arrive if one dreads waiting? o_O Haha.

Their food menu (pages 1, 2, 3) was straight forward with only 2 sets. Classic menu at $170 and gourmand menu at $270. And for both sets, one could opt for wine pairing at $275 and $430 respectively. I was keen to try their $270 menu (with no alcohol) while my friend was “Anything goes for me.”

Since it was not in our original plan to dine at Tippling Club, I enquired with the waiting staff if it was possible for us to order different menus. I felt guilty that my friend had to splurge with me lah. However, the staff was adamant that all parties at the same table have to order the same menu. On seeing an empty table beside ours, my friend jokingly asked if he could then sit at the empty table beside me so that we were sitting at separate tables (for us to order different menus). Make sense too, right? Haha.

And in all honesty, I felt the staff could have handled the situation better. On seeing how stubborn we were, the staff should have checked with the kitchen. I mean, at least put up a show and pretend to go to the kitchen to ask. I am not trying to be a difficult customer, but I have been to restaurants when the chef happened to walk past us and graciously acceded to our request when the waiting staff were going “no, no, no.” But I digress…

In the end, my friend was left with no choice but to order the more expensive set menu. And with that, we started our $270 gourmand-menu dinner with:-

  
  
  
  

1) Snacks (above) – What we didn’t expect was for a simple word ‘snack’ to comprise of many small bites. We kick-started dinner with coriander tempura paired with tom yum. It was impressive that the tom yum, although served in the form of foam, contained the slight tangy-ness and spiciness of tom yum. And that was followed suit with sandwich of chorizo, tomato sauce and olive caviar, and sushi roll where we got to ‘play with our food’ by squeezing the sauce with a bulb syringe. We were also told to use the bulb syringe as a toothpick to ‘pick’ our sushi roll up. Other snacks included smoked charred bell pepper, sakura prawn cracker and puff styrofoam with truffle oil. And for palette cleanser, we were served ‘lava lamp’ made with basil and tomato water. For this, the staff poured the liquid into the cup before us which allowed us to witness the caviar floating up. Just like a lava lamp! And despite being served many deep fried items, it’s amazing we didn’t have that sick feeling in the stomach that comes with eating too many fried items. In fact, the fried items were light, crispy and good. Yum!

2) Lobster (above) – Sea buckthorn, chive puree, horseradish, aromatic herbs. I felt the portion of the Canadian lobster was a little on the small side. My friend event went, “Is this prawn?” o_O Haha. There was no doubt about the freshness. Instead, I was amazed at the purée. It was so beautifully and intricately done that I thought it was the design of a patterned dish. Overall, this was good except for a certain (non-identified) ingredient that left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

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3) Razor clams (above) – Purple brittany garlic soup. A bowl containing Scottish razor clams that’s steamed in white wine and herb was placed before us, to which the staff continued to pour the soup (into the bowl). And the soup, rich with the claim essence, was creamy and good. We were told it was blanched with milk 4 times and was also blended with purple garlic. Yum! And this dish was also picked as the standout dish when Tippling Club was ranked 31 on S. Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016.

4) Foie gras (above) – Apple textures, gaufrette biscuit, hibiscus. Foie gras came in the form of cream, served alongside biscuit and apple of various states; Dehydrated, jelly and fresh (original state). We were told to crush the biscuit and hydrated apple and have a bit of everything for explosion of taste and texture. And this was really good! Every mouthful was a different treat of salty, savoury and sweet since one would always be picking different components with every spoonful.


5) Snow crab (above) – Nashi pear, tomato heart, olive oil gel, hanaho flowers. A very refreshing dish with lots of fruits. The pear and grape complemented the snow crab well.

6) Mangalica pork collar (above) – Nuka vegetables, nori, cinnamon infused dashi. I couldn’t help but first notice that the pork looked really pink. As though it was still raw. But when I poked it with my fork, that’s when I realised how tender the (cooked) meat was. The pork tasted like a cross between smoked meat and ham to me. Ha.


  

7) Main course (above) – The original main courses were smoked ox tongue and A4 toriyama beef. But because my friend and I don’t take beef, these were replaced with mushroom and cauliflower served with buffalo mozzarella skin, roasted tomato risotto, and pigeon. Pigeon was served medium raw which I didn’t like. It’s a personal preference that I like my pigeon well done. But the deep fried components of the pigeon dish was good. Like the deep fried bits of pigeon and the deep fried tempura which I spied had sea urchin in it.


8) Cheese (above) – A daily creation from the pastry kitchen. I was impressed with this. Yum!

  
  

9) Sweet treats (above) – For pre-dessert, we were given strawberry cheesecake medication. Ha. Such an interesting presentation. Followed by a ball of yuzu matcha sorbet coated with white chocolate, which was so good!

10) Blackberry financier (above) – Blackberry sorbet, apple & celery granite.

11) Mandarin cheesecake (above) (above) – Thyme sable, mandarin, lactose shard.

12) Latte, Complimentary (above)

Tippling Cub certainly deserved its spot on Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016. Food was impressive. Every dish was also served by someone from the kitchen who would introduce the dishes. And if I did not recognise wrongly, chef-owner Ryan Clift came out to personally introduce one of the dishes too.

Beside the inflexibility from the waiting staff who took our order, service at Tippling Club was fast, attentive and efficient. Our neighboring table had a lady feeling cold, to which the manager noticed and brought her a scarf. Wow.

However, Tippling Cub being a fine dining restaurant, would hold the dishes when someone leaves the table. And sadly, my friend had to excuse himself from the table at least 3 times. So our dinner was often put to long pauses. What was supposed to be an estimated 1.5 hour dinner became a 2.5 hours dinner because service also became significantly slower after 9.45pm. We didn’t have to wait for more than 5 minutes once our plates were cleared. But once it hit 9.45pm, our next dish would take up to 15 minutes before it was served as the kitchen was ‘closing’. So yes, I can’t imagine if a big group came to dine and everyone took turn to leave the table.

TIPPLING CLUB
38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore
6475 2217, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8