A Candied Onion Gratin For My Birthday Dinner!


The Gong has struck. I am now 20. Goodness! Who knew I would be hitting the second decade so soon? Yet, it is a moment of celebration, a moment of coming to terms that now it is perhaps time to be more professional in both outlook and perspective.

And it is on the 29th that I had to celebrate my birthday. Saturday was deemed to be taken up by secondary activities, but now that it has been cancelled, I can still go out and enjoy my “extended” revelry.

This year, I had my birthday dinner customized by Jonathan, head chef of Miss Clarity Cafe. All I need to do is quote a price for each person (I said $50), and he went to work his magic in the kitchen. Of course, this was pre-booked a week ago, but it is just the strangeness of expecting the unexpected in your very next dish that made tonight’s dinner all the more exciting.


As a starter, I had the the Carpaccio of Swordfish Belly with Beetroot Dressing. Very interesting for me as the idea of fusing both lightly seared swordfish belly with a tangy sweet beetroot sauce created a refreshing albeit slightly bitter aftertaste.


Yet, each slice of swordfish carried a delicate hint of the ocean that was not too overpowering. Mild sprinkle of herbs added a subtle sweetness to the overall taste.


Next up, its the Tasting of Foie Gras with Lemon Creme & Lemon Tomato. Expectedly, since vegetables is Jonathan’s specialty, the use of lemon and eggyolk to form a slightly thick tangy cream contrasts the fattiness and indulgence of foie gras quite well. The confit cherry tomato was drenched in hot lemon juice, soaking the vegetable in soury goodness that was fantastically juicy, light and airy with a burst of freshness in the first bite.


The Candied Onion Gratin is Jonathan’s piece de resistance. Simple and plain looking as it seems, the finely grated white onion is beautifully caramelised to give a well rounded taste of sweetness, savouriness and crisp clear texture that could only be distinctively found in onions.


This dish received accolades around the table, with everyone remarking how fantastic a simple dish could be.


First fusion, then French, now its time for a Spanish dish. Jonathan whipped up a Spanish Bucalao with a 2 hour poached egg and potato emulsion. First impressions? The dish looked entirely like an egg, complete with a slightly soft yolk in the center.

But beneath the fluffy goodness, is a well combined blend of fish, potato and egg. The potato emulsion provided the savoury hearty hint for the dish while the fish gave the delicate lasting feeling of umami after each bite.


For me personally, I enjoyed the Polenta Bianco with Chestnut, asparagus and Scarmoza Cheese. Filled with nutty, earthy goodness of chestnuts, the dish is reminiscent of mother nature’s natural flavours. A little acquired in taste as the chestnuts can be a little overbearing.


For the main, I had the Slow Roasted Bordos Short Ribs with Spiced Parsnip and Sauce Bordelaise. It would have been an excellent dish for me, if not for the the unfortunate choice part of short ribs served up.


The meat, medium rare, was brimming with juicy goodness and the flavours were mild, not too strong yet delightful with the sauce, but the texture could be improved. While roasted for two hours, the tough,sinewy piece of beef I had didn’t go down well. Otherwise, I would have marvelled at the entire piece’s fatty yet tender texture that could have received top marks.


The dishes are coming to an end, and for dessert I had the Texture Of Lemon. Lemon sponge topped with lemon creme and served as a side to a dallop of lemon snow, it was uniquely combined. Sweet, tart with the lemon snow acting to quell any fullness, it would make me say that there is always room for dessert.


Nora (owner of Miss Clarity Cafe and Jonathan’s mum) presented to us the final desserts for the day. Colourful home baked Macarons that were light, fluffy and crisp in each bite were called for. Though a little sweet, I have always enjoyed the vibrant hues.


In matching perfection, this day, Jonathan whipped up a batch of homemade marshmallows. Very soft and just right in sweetness, it was a good way to end the day.


Will surprises never end. My birthday cake was specially crafted for me in the house’s specialty of Twin Divine. Lightly decorated with an assortment of candied goodies, it was especially, if I may say, divine.



(Jonathan, Nora, Justin)

It was a remarkable evening at Miss Clarity Cafe. For a customized dinner, this is one of the most special meals I have ever had. All thanks go to the team at the cafe for tonight’s creation. And that $50 per person budget? It is definitely well worth it.

IMG_2585 Miss Clarity Cafe
205 Upper Thomson Road
Tel : 6256 2008
Opens : 11am to 11pm
Closed on Mondays (Thomson Branch)

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