Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saving The Best For First

When I was a child I used to love mixing up my food. It took me a long time to realise that layhdies did not eat like that. I loved mushing up the vegetables with gravy and creating a bowl of chup-py rice. I love gravy, I am part Hakka after all. When it came to chicken, I always saved the best, the drumstick, for last. It was only until calories became a factor that best came first. Always. If it ain't worth the calories, I ain't eating it. So I am going to blog about the best meal in Singapore which happened on the last night of our holiday. I had heard many good things about Ember. Its attached to a boutique hotel called 1929 in Chinatown. Its a small restaurant that seats not more than 30 I reckon. Be advise that you need to book in advance and that their opening hours are very restricted. Lunch from Monday to Friday. Dinner on Friday and Saturday only. Now I remember why I never made it to Ember all those other times. This trip I made it a point to plan out our meals. After a disgusting pre-show meal at the National Library the night before, we were really looking forward to Ember.

Its a sizeable menu considering how small the space. The space is modern but cosy with surprisingly well lit tables. How blogger friendly! They served us piping hot tomato bread from the oven which I made a point to not eat too much of but we still asked for a second loaf. What makes this place different from the fine dining restaurants in KL is the service. The service here is very personable. I believe the manager actually touched my shoulder when she was talking to me. It was done so naturally that it did not feel out of line. It friendly and familiar vibe not associated with these kind of restaurants. I enquired about one of the starters which had piqued my interest. "Crispy tofu with foie gras-mirin sauce and truffle oil". Does that not sound gross to you? In my head, the combination just didn't seem to work. She assured me that it was a house specialty and I should definitely try it. Must've been the shoulder touching thing because I believed every word she said. There was an option of adding deep fried stuffed zucchini flower for an extra SGD5. What the heck, I wasn't about to scrimp now. When the tofu arrived, I contemplated the foie gras sauce which was in an unfortunate shade of something that did not belong on a plate. The moment the sauce hit my tongue I was in shock. "This sauce is FUCKING INSANE!", was what I said to Hunky before shoving some tofu and sauce towards him. It was quite an amazing dish. The tofu was delicate on the inside but completely crispy on the outside. There was also a thin layer of paper thin mushroom slices between the tofu and crispy crust. The subtle, almost bland tofu complimented the intense sauce so well. It really was as exquisite as the manager had described. The zucchini flower although delightful, merely paled in comparison. Hunky's scallop and parma ham salad was lovely and light on the palate. The scallops were lightly seared and plump like a well fed cherubic baby on the beach. 

For my main course I had the Chef's special for the evening which was miso crusted lamb rack. It was served with a tiny serving of potato gratin and what tasted like teriyaki flavoured aubergine. I was told that it was a special sauce which ingredients cannot be revealed. But the manager did tell me that the aubergines were "specially grown...from Gent-ting". Anyway, the chops were served medium rare which was a tiny bit bloody for me. They were flavourful but I don't think you can really go wrong with a good piece of lamb anyway. Hunky ordered pork of course. If there is pork on the menu, he will zoom in on it. When the belly pork arrived, it looked subdued and almost plain compared to my robust chops. Pan roasted belly pork on a bed of savoy cabbage with pomme puree and pork jus. It was simply, in Hunky's words, "Fucking fantastic! Best roast pork EVER!". I must say it was particularly nice piece of belly pork with just the right amount of meat-fat ratio. The tender succulent meat flaked off with a mere caress of the fork. Fanbloodytastic I tell you what.

Hunky managed to fit dessert in. I don't know where he finds the space and where does it all go? So unfair! I can put on weight just looking at cake. He ordered (also his default dessert if available on the menu) warm valrhona chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream. According to the expert, the one at Tanjung Jara is still the best. Overall, its one of the best meals I've eaten in awhile. We both agreed that it was even better than both our favourite restaurants - Frangipani and Cilantro. Service could be better. Apart from the manager, the other wait staff were not great. Still I highly recommend the place. Even if its just for the tofu dish, simply because its so unique.  
We payed SGD200 for both of us with a two glasses of wine & bottled water. Ember is located in Hotel 1929, 50 Keong Saik Road, Chinatown. Tel +65 63471928/1929

8 comments:

  1. "specially grown...from Gent-ting".

    I dontch know why but I cracked up so hard laughing at this line. :P

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  2. And after this it was truly the best occasion (what happened when you were watching TV!).

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  3. arghhh! i think my fellow malaysians are eating wayyy better food than me in singapore!

    yeah, you need to book in advance, especially for the lunches, which btw, are really worthwhile i heard. hmmm, maybe there are reasons to stay in singapore for the weekend afterall..haha!

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  4. erm.. so it was good then.. ? (kidding!) hahaha...ya lar, from the number of expletives the meal must have been bloody marvelous. jealous!

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  5. Kenny I'm glad I made you laugh! :-) Notice non-malaysians always say Gent-ting. Nothing gentile about the place thats for sure.

    WMW - heh heh heh. Hai lor!

    HB - I'm sure! I love how alot of the restuarants have "recession set lunch"! :-)

    Ciki- I should be jealous since you had the pleasure of one very sought after hairy berry! ;-p

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  6. Now that's a fine piece of siew yoke!!

    Gent-ting.... hahahahahaha. Now that you've mentioned it, ya la hor. Same over here, but then again Sporeans should better mah..

    I'm like you - whenever I am bowled over by something, expletives start shooting out! Somehow normal adjectives are too insipid!!

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  7. i like how vulgarly good the meal was...200sgd..it had better be hor..

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  8. GFAD - tell me about it. Hunky and I were just talking about planning another eating trip to Sing. Dang, never thought I;d hear myself say that!

    It was Joe, it was worth every bloody SGD! :-)

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