Wednesday, August 5, 2009
1 Cuscaden Road
I don't plan on spending a lot of time revisiting/reviewing restaurants of the past, however, since my last visit to Iggy's was less than a month ago I'll make an exception.
This is our (as in myself and my wonderful wife Carolyn's) second visit to Iggy's, the previous one being almost a year to the day and was a self-gift for my birthday. I was looking forward to my return trip because a) it was very good last time and b) it recently jumped well in to San Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list at 45 from 77 the year before and wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference.
First impressions were the same, hidden up on Level 3 in the Regent with a concealed entrance that takes you in to a 12 seat counter with a windowed view in to the kitchen. Lighting, spacing, noise are all spot on, not so quite that it is awkward, not too noisy to be too difficult to communicate. There are some non-counter tables, however, watching the kitchen in operation makes it the must-have seat for the dinner.
The restaurant manager Paolo greets us, shows us to our table runs through the menu and asks about any variations/challenges which is always nice for a restaurant at this level to do. It is all good to have a set menu, but if one has a particular dislike it isn't doing anyone any favours mandating this is what you must have. As an individual who is not in to clams, my request was for "Something with some Foie Gras perhaps?" to replace the razor clam dish, when offered a "Trio of Foie Gras" I simply replied with "How could I refuse since it is after all my birthday tomorrow". Similarly my wife declined upon the Snapper with aubergine and was offered their signature dish of Ebi Cappelini. I kind of screwed up my face as if to say "not fair" which Paolo picked up on and said "I will give this to you as an extra course if you wish sir?" response - one word "absolutely".
Upon finalising the menu and taking up the option for matching wines we could now settle in and enjoy. By the way, I did qualify to ensure that Iggy's did not indulge in a pet hate of mine with matching wines, which is only pouring a thimble full of wine which is gone in two sips let alone lasting the courses to match.
potato, onion, avacado, frisee, truffle jus
Everything was off to a great start, when the first course is presented with a nice big sliver of Truffle on top, light delicate and flavoursome. This was followed with a nice piece of seared sashimi tuna and next was a Foie Gras fanatics fantasy - Trio of Foie Gras
TRIO OF FOIE GRAS
foie gras brulee, pan fried foie gras, deep fried foie gras
This is not very PC, but quite possibly the best dish I have ever had, the crumbed deep fried foie gras simply melted and oozed in my mouth. The pan fried foie gras an example of something so good needs little done to shine and the brulee where the sweet complements the richness is about as good as it gets.
Next was a piece of sous vide snapper that was spot on and then came the signature dish of ebi cappelini. This is appears to be a simple dish, but what makes it so great is the mix of japanese, italian and the use of whole baby shrimp, the dish is simply cappelini, scampi oil, baby shrimp and little flecks of konbu. No real luxury ingredients, no molecular gastronomy or sous vide trickery, but inventiveness and a great mix of flavour and texture.
The courses kept coming, a wonderful slow cooked suckling pork with crackling that broke like a piece of glass and a perfectly cooked slide of top grade Wagyu rounded off the savoury courses.
asparagus, apple, potato, turmeric
carrot, beetroot, mushroom
The obligatory palate cleansers broke things up, a clear tomato soup and tempura tomato was served mid course, then the little Soursop dish below was served to break up savoury and sweet. Nice, clean and nowhere near as pretentious as some other restaurants (hmm I am thinking of Attica's Terroir but will cover that in future posts)
Deserts were quite good, a mango mille-feuille for me and a chocolate bar for my wife and being a birthday I scored a bonus - cake, eggy bread and a mini-malteser milk shake!!
The deserts had the right levels of sugar and butter to be delicious, the trend of being light simply results in blandness in my opinion. Deserts should always be slightly decadent or more, here they hit there mark spot on.
Last but not least was a clever little petit four to finish with Lemon and Banana, the lemon was a spherical lemon ball in a light sugar syrup that popped, the banana was a cream served in a candy casing that had pop rocks. very clever.
This wraps thing up, but what are my parting thoughts? I felt that Iggy's has certainly lifted up a step from an already impressive benchmark set the year before. If the Michelin guide were to cover Singapore, I am comfortable saying that this would certainly pass for 3 stars, in fact it would probably my second best restaurant experience after our trip to San Sebastian's Restaurant Arzak.
Every course was impeccable, there was creativity with great flavour combinations and presentation. Further to this, you feel as if you are really in Ignatius "Iggy" Chan's own little world, the service from the small team was exceptional and carried a certain level of pride, something they are certainly entitled to feel. 18.5/20
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