[email protected] is a contemporary restaurant and bar featuring state-of-the-art cocktails and modern Japanese cuisine. Set amidst the lush foliage of Rochester Park, the picturesque bungalow provides a wonderful getaway from the bustling city.
There are two levels of dining space. The first level is the main dining area where the ambience is intimate and cosy, complete with candlelit tables – perfect for a romantic date.
The variety of seating options include a private room as well as an open concept sashimi bar counter.
The second level emits a warm homely feel, replete with a balcony and bar.
In the 5-course dinner (S$78 ++, drinks are excluded), the aesthetically pleasing Momotaro salad is composed of fresh Japanese tomatoes, mesclun lettuce, crispy anchovies and bacon infused with shoyu and mirin, then artistically drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and mayonnaise. The bacon adds a smoky flavour and saltiness to the salad, and the tasty dressing perks up the greens. The juicy tomatoes are soft but nowhere near the state of mush, while the anchovies add a nice crunchy texture.
The salad can be paired with the Unusual Mixology cocktail, a refreshing mix of dragonfruit, kiwi liquier, lime and pineapple, jazzed up with tequila. Rich in vitamins with a tropical note, this concoction is worth a shot.
To warm your tummy, the Bonito broth with seafood and Shimeji mushroom is an exemplary option. It comes with seafood swimming in a house-made dashi of kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna). The prawns are crunchy and scallops delicately tender.
You can squeeze the calamasi into the broth to balance out the natural seafood sweetness. Personally, I prefer the broth as it is, without the acidity. I would gladly have a second serving!
The next course is a trio of Saikyo miso codfish, baked diver scallop with fish roe and mozzarella cheese and French duck breast au jus accompanied with Chinese snow pear.
The luscious codfish is sweetened with teriyaki and further accented with a saltish miso. The fish is sensually tender sans the fishy stench.
The scallop is absolutely divine; it is tender and delicate, with a mozzarella cheese topping that is baked to perfection. The saltiness of the cheese elevates the natural sweetness of the scallop and harmonises well with the fish roe.
Mildest in taste amongst the three components, the duck pales in comparison to the other two. Personally, I’m no fan of duck due to its leanness and I find this too chewy for my liking. It lacks a sauce, and is underwhelming compared to its impressive counterparts.
The entrée can be paired with the black tea martini. Fabricated with Earl Grey black tea, lime, orange zest and rose syrup with a gin infusion, this concoction is sufficiently inebriating.
Soaked in delicious lobster broth are stewed sōmen (Japanese rice noodles), cooked al dente. The large prawns come off the shells easily and the langoustine chives add an enlivening touch to a dish that is bursting with lobster richness.
To offset the richness of the main course, the dish can be coupled with the Healthy Indulgence drink, conjured up with pear vodka, fibre jelly, puréed rock melon and sour sop with an Earl Grey infusion. Loaded with ingredients and antioxidants, you can sip on this smoothie-like cocktail all night long without feeling too intoxicated.
To end the meal on a sweet note, the palate-cleansing Umeshu sorbet is served. It is topped with passionfruit purée and sprinkled with a dash of fresh blueberries, pomelo bits and pomegranate that add a crunchiness. This light and nutritious dessert is not too sweet and you should definitely leave room for it.
The up-scale and solicitous service is praise-worthy, with each dish being explained briefly as it is served. If the night is still young, you can proceed to the alfresco bar after dinner for more cocktails; the bar closes at 1am on weekdays and 2am on weekends.
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8 Rochester Park
Tel: +65 6778 1788
Opening hours: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm (Closed on Sundays)