ADRIFT by David Myers launches new, tantalizing menu with team of new chefs!

ADRIFT by David Myers has always been one of my favourite restaurants at Marina Bay Sands. When it first launched two years ago, I remember the contemporary take on Asian-inspired food that David Myers and his team brought to Singapore’s culinary scene. It is, therefore, with great excitement when I heard that a new menu was being launched, albeit this time round with a new slate of chefs on board to freshen the line up.

The new menu is a creation of Chef David Myers, Executive Chef Wayne Brown, and Sous Chef Kamarl John. While the dishes still feature the signature use of Japanese ingredients with a playful use of Southeast Asian spices and Californian techniques, the lineup is definitely new with a brighter punch in flavour and textures.

From the new menu, I highly recommend ordering the Heirloom Tomatoes ($14++) and Hamachi ($19++). The Heirloom tomatoes were lavishly portioned in a bed of sauce made with myoga, smoked chilli oil and tomato vinaigrette. Hidden beneath was a layer of delicious buffalo cheese, and the surface was topped with crisp, toasted quinoa. A wonderful contrast of bright flavours paired with refreshing textures.

The Hamachi, on the other hand, comes served as fresh sashimi sliced and presented in a sauce made out of Japanese pepper and pumpkin juice. Needless to say, the visual appeal of the dish was striking and the orange hues lent a sweet imagination to the overall portrayal of the dish.

If more snacks are needed around the table, opt for the Spiced Beef Tartare ($6++ per pc). Raw beef is marinated with bright flavours of korean chilli and served in a roll topped with seaweed – definitely a satisfying mouthfull to kick off the meal.

From the Skewers selection, go for the signature Glazed Ox Tongue ($16++)Spot Prawns ($18++) and Japanese Eggplant ($16++). I adored the use of gyu-tongue that while deeply savoury with touches of sweet charred sesame soy goodness, is paired delightfully with tangy sudachi apple and pink pepper. The Spot Prawns  comes wrapped with pancetta and would definitely be a crowd pleaser in bringing together complementary flavours from the land and the sea. But it is the Japanese Eggplant with a  chunky serving of chicken miso that stood out for its heartiness, and provided a wholesome, fulfilling flavour in the middle of the meal.

Stand outs from the mains (and also the Coals & Teppan category) include the Kagoshima Wagyu Katsu Sandwich A4 ($55++) and the Roasted Young Chicken ($30++). The Wagyu sandwich featured a meaty, and well marbled beef patty that comes topped with a layer of black truffle aioli. Though the truffle aromatics was almost fleeting, I especially enjoyed the katsu crust that gave a delightfully pleasant crunch in each bite.

The roasted young chicken, served with a side of burnt citrus and lemon miso paste, was tender, well marinated and when paired with the side of sweet fermented soybean, had its flavours brought to another level. Great for sharing!

For desserts, one simply cannot go wrong with the Roasted Pineapple and the Chocolate Tart. I enjoyed the tropical brightness of the roasted pineapple cream, and the sublime textures of the chocolate tart was one of the best I’ve had so far.

Of course, the new menu is not without its misses. The Potato Hash ($8++ per pc) was rather ordinary (despite the caviar), and the dessert made out of soured milk, passion fruit and mango was a touch medicinal.

Still, from the dishes I tried at ADRIFT, I must say that the innovativeness from Chef and his team never fails to amaze me. While some might associate inventive, new gastronomic ideas with haute cuisine, I am well contented with this playful take on inventive dining that is both casual and refreshing. And for diners who are unable to decide on what to order, a six-course tasting menu at $88++ per guest is also served during dinner. It is on occasions like this when you might just want to let the chef decide what to serve you. ADRIFT by David Myers? I’ll definitely be back.

Thank you Adrift for the invitation.

ADRIFT by David Myers
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Hotel Lobby Tower 2
Singapore 018956

Reservations: 6688 5657
Website

Opening Hours:
Lunch (Mon to Fri): 12pm- 2.30pm
Dinner (Daily): 6pm to 2am
Brunch (Sat and Sun): 12pm to 3pm

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LeVeL 33 Teases A Promising New Menu Inspired by Brewing Techniques!

A stunning view, gorgeously plated dishes, delicious beers brewed in-house, and maybe a glass of sweet wine to end the night: LeVeL 33 at Singapore’s Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 is probably one of those places in Singapore you would want to visit for that great night’s out to impress and unwind!

Yet for all that is already exciting, LeVeL 33 has refreshed its menu lineup! Starting this month, the microbrewery, already famous for its crafts beers made in house by its resident brewmaster Gabriel Garcia, is taking a leaf out of the brewmaster’s handbook to incorporate brewing techniques within each dish that is created.

Executive Chef Jimi Tegerdine akins this move as a revisit to the “heart of LeVeL 33’s DNA”. Dishes are inspired, and crafted, out of the brewing process, with an idea to elevate the accompanying drinking experience. It is in essence a marrying of the two key strengths of the microbrewery and restaurant. With visions for such harmony, high expectations are set. Yet for the deep talks about harmonizations being highlighted, there was still little clarity on how the incorporation or inspiration of brewing techniques have necessarily made things different. Nevertheless, in terms of the dishes’ flavour, presentation styles, the accompaniment of delectable drinks, LeVeL 33 definitely does not disappoint!

Impressive Starters – Go for the Japanese Deep-Sea Crab

Dinner got off to a great start with the Japanese Deep-Sea Crab ($28++; tasting portion depicted) that featured a play on both flavours and textures. The crab legs were poached in butter and served alongside variations of corn. With inspiration taken from the microbrewery’s brewing tube, one variant saw the creation of a corn cannelloni sitting alongside nicely with slices of charred corn and a smattering of popped corn. A wonderful presentation! In particular, I found the use of intense, acidic rich lime-gel beautiful. It was gorgeously paired with the sweet crab, cutting through the flavours every now and then. The toasted curry leaves sprinkled over the top also lifted the dish a notch, and lent a delicate spice to what would otherwise be a different dish altogether.

The Hokkaido Scallop ($27++; tasting portion depicted) that was served next looked like something that was served straight out of a landscape painting. Presented in bold strokes, and layered with two to three tones of colour, the scallops invoked pause for appreciation. Lighty poached in dashi, and then served with orange caviar made from agar and blood orange juice, together with a sprinkling of bonito flakes on the top, the scallops were left meaty, sweet and clearly the highlight of the ‘painting’.

Leaping forward with a delightful Kangaroo beetroot main!

Before I get into the what was a personal highlight of the meal, vegetarians would be delighted to know that the Truffled Kumara ($28++; tasting portion depicted) is one main that they can look out for. In fact, the needs and sensitivities of special diets can largely be catered by the restaurant’s kitchen – one would simply need to ask and inform the staff beforehand. That said, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the Truffled Kumara. Although the idea of Kumara sweet potatoes served three ways with trumpet mushroom, sake-fermented leek and truffles sounded exceptionally appetizing, I did not take to the oily sweet potato leaf. The ‘ravioli’ made from sweet potato was also a touch uninspiring, and rather ‘flat’ in my opinion.

I am glad that the popular Kangaroo dish from LeVeL 33 will be left on the menu ($37++; tasting portion depicted)! Kangaroo loin is firstly sous-vide for 10 hours, before it is removed and char-grilled. The portion of meat is then garnished with slivers of beetroot leather, drops of beetroot vinaigrette and puree, and then served alongside a turnip puree. There was a nice smokiness from the grill, and the sous-vide method of cooking ensured that the kangaroo loin remained juicy and tender. Not exceptionally gamey and yet brimming with a subtle intensity of savouriness and the occasional rooted sweetness, I marvelled at the simplicity of this dish. Just a slight shame that the tasting portion and the overt use of beetroot vinaigrette made it all look a touch ‘bloody’. Rest assured that the original portion is much more vibrant and delectable!

One main to share amongst a table of 2-3 is the NY Strip ($135++; original portions depicted). 8-weeks dry-aged French sirloin is lightly roasted to a beautiful medium-rare and then sliced into meaty portions which are then recommended with sides of Butternut Squash ($15++; original portions depicted) and Spinach ($15++; original portions depicted). I am an advocate of LeVeL 33’s butternut squash: sweet, wholesome; and utterly satisfying, it was a perfect accompaniment and staple to the steak.

Desserts kept simple and satisfying!

For the new menu, LeVeL 33 has also crafted, specially, a selection of desserts to lend a sweet smile to diners around the table. Cereal ($13.50; tasting portion depicted), made from shaved macadamias, beer malt praline, almond milk mousse and lemon curd, has been touted as a must try at the restaurant! Light but decadent, the dessert was a homely affair in rounding up the meal with notes of delicate sweetness, and, a satisfactory creamy indulgence.

Alternatively, if you are in the mood for something along the lines of refreshing clarity, go for the Strawberry ($15++; tasting portion depicted). Bits of home-made meringue is plated with a strawberry syrup glazed around a scoop of sorrel ice cream. However, as I was lactose intolerant, the kitchen kindly created for me a portion of sorbet and berries dusted with icing sugar as a sweet treat to finish the night!

Beers, Cocktails, or Wine?

Being a microbrewery, LeVeL 33’s has quite a good selection of craft beers, all made in-house. My favourite had to go to the Session Pale Ale – a creation that though low on alcohol, was remarkably crisp and exceptionally delicious to savour. For the dinner, we had a flight of beers to partake in: Lager, the seasonal Session pale ale, the English IPA, the German Wheat Beer, and the English IPA. A remarkable range, and exceptionally heartening to know that the beer is fresh straight from the tap.

If, however, beers are not your thing, the restaurant does offer quite a decent selection of cocktails. For the night, I partook, first, in a glass of Sundown ($23++). Made from Canadian Club, passion fruit syrup, fresh kumquat and soda, this was probably one refreshing drink to beat Singapore’s sweltering heat. The Skylight ($23++) was made from Ketel One, spicy mango syrup, fresh lime, white sugar and soda. Indeed, as the ingredients would have suggested, this concoction definitely had a lot more zing and zest in each sip.

And if the desserts on the menu doesn’t strike your fancy, there is always the option to tuck in to, and to my surprise, a beautiful selection of sweet wines. I ordered the Zweigelt Tschida ‘Schilfwein’ ($20++ per glass/ $92++ per bottle). Hailing from the Neusiedlersee region in Austria, this particular selection of fruity dessert wine was remarkably crisp, luscious, with just the right balance of honeyed notes and floral scent. Even though LeVeL 33 is hailed as a microbrewery, I would definitely pay a closer attention to the wine list the next time round!

Verdict: Deserves a return visit!

LeVeL 33 at MBFC Tower 1 certainly has my seal of approval as the place to visit for great food, great drink, and great scenery. Though not all the dishes on the new menu were distinct hits, the overall quality and flavour makes the dining experience notable. And the best part to complement the entire meal? A sublime selection of desserts and drinks. An overall package that the restaurant can be proud to say is their own!

Thank you LeVeL 33 for the invitation.

LeVeL 33
8 Marina Boulevard #33-01
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1
Singapore 018981

Reservations: 6834 3133
Website

Opens Daily
Mon to Thu 11.30am to Midnight
Fri to Sat 11.30am to 2am
Sun 12pm to Midnight
Eve of PH – Restaurant closes at 2am
PH – Restaurant opens at 12pm

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Spice Up Your Dining Experience at the Halia (Now Halal Certified)!

I must admit I’ve always had a soft spot for Halia. Set against a backdrop of lush greenery and ambient birdsong, it’s easy to forget that you’re just a little walk away from urban Singapore. With the botanic garden’s recent UNESCO appointment, the grounds have become even livelier, but never too much so – it’s still the very picture of serenity.

Today, I couldn’t wait to check out Halia’s menu revamp, which it undertook after being awarded a Halal certification. I was eager to see if the restaurant still retained their tasteful flavour combinations and creative use of spices, and in these the restaurant did not disappoint.

Halia couldn’t have been sited at a better place than the middle of a spice garden – the kitchen does an exceptional job at showcasing the wide range of spices available in the tropics, employing them in a number of creative ways (even the restaurant’s name features this play on spices, with Halia being the Malay word for ginger).

Being Halal-certified, Halia no longer serves alcoholic beverages. You wouldn’t miss the lack of booze though, for the restaurant has conjured up an alluring range of specialty drinks and herb infusions that bring together wonderfully complex flavour profiles. Consider tasteful titles like the Grapefruit and Tarragon ($8++), which features Earl grey tea, fresh grapefruit juice, house-made tarragon infusion and soda, or the Cucumber and Basil ($8++), a mix of Tulsi (holy basil) tea, Japanese cucumber and a basil infusion.

But it is with its food that Halia really shines, with its beautifully plated dishes and whirlwind of flavours. Large dishes at Halia are particularly appropriate for sharing, and you may want to select a variety of them to taste all of them with your friends.

Beautifully plated dishes and a whirlwind of flavours

The first dish to arrive was the Lightly Smoked Kingfish ($17++); clean and fresh on the palette, it really gets the appetite going.

Coming alongside was the Caramelized Onion and Beetroot Tart ($17++), my personal favourite of the starters. The beetroot is cooked perfectly, robust, and with a savory, almost meaty texture. It is savory-sweet, pretty as a manicured garden, and sits atop a delightfully crisp puff pastry. Attractive aesthetics, complementary flavours and contrasting textures – this dish is a star example of Halia’s capabilities.

The Charred Caesar Salad ($17++) is an intriguing starter, looking a little like it was doused in squid ink, except for its creamy taste of garlic aioli. It is refreshing and addictive, albeit slightly dangerous for those wearing white shirts.

The first of the large mains to arrive was the Slow Cooked Tender Chicken Breast and Braised Minced Leg Potato Gratin ($29++), a great one for sharing given how it’s practically two dishes in one. The chicken breast is moist throughout, and is accompanied by “wok-hei” cabbage – the veggies are a hit, with their lightly charred flavour and satisfying crunch. The gratin has the character of a shepherd’s pie with lots of gravy, and is hearty and comforting.

The Pan-fried Barramundi ($28++) arrives in a burst of colour and dynamism; the fish sits atop a bed of what looks like risotto, but which is actually pignolina pasta. Fun fact: Orzo is rice-shaped, whereas pignolina has a slightly longer and more slender look that is very similar to pine nuts. It is a thoughtfully balanced dish, ranks for me as the best of the mains.

The Lamb Rack and Braised Spice Islands Marinade Rump Stew ($46++) is our third main to arrive– or should I say, third and fourth main. This wonderful dish comes in two parts – the first is a classic combination of lamb rack and spinach, robust and flavorful. The second is the rump stew, which is reminiscent of a sweet, dry rending, set atop pearly white bulgur wheat.

Desserts that knock it out of the park

Halia’s desserts really knocked it out of the park (or, gardens, as it were) for me. All parts of each dessert were made in-house, and to very high levels of detail. First to arrive was the Yuzu Gateaux ($13++), with the yuzu imparted its characteristic bright and citrusy perfume to the dish.

Second was the Fig Tart ($11++), perhaps the star dessert of the day. Caramelized fig, yoghurt and turmeric foam are arranged delicately on a wonderfully crisp and crumbly speculoos tart base. It is wholly addictive, and took the better part of self-control to not order another.

The Ginger Garden ($14++) is a classic of Halia’s. Here, it’s undergone a re-imagination of the original hit and, in my mind, they’ve taken an already great dessert and elevated it once again. Sporting an intricate butterfly lattice that’s almost too pretty to eat, the garden hid delectable galangal (blue ginger) poached apples. The Ginger flower sorbet is fragrant and refreshing, and was wiped clean by our party.

Patting our satisfied bellies, I think it’s safe to say that Halia’s decision to get Halal certified was both well thought out and executed. The dishes are as inventive and flavorful as they were before, and now even more of us can get a little taste of that creativity. It sure looks like Halia’s set to spice up the dining scene once again.

Thank you The Halia for the invitation.

The Halia
1 Cluny Road
Ginger Garden
Singapore Botanic Gardens (enter via Tyersall Avenue)
Singapore 259569

Reservations: 8444 1148
Website

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thurs 9am to 9.30pm (last seating)
Fri and Eve of PH 9am to 10pm (last seating)
Sat 10am to 10pm (last seating)
Sun and PH 10am to 9.30pm (last seating)

Brunch Weekends and PH 10am to 5pm
No reservations on weekends and public holidays from 10am to 6pm

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Foraging for new flavours at Audace!

Audace takes over the space held by the much vaunted Cocotte, housed in the eclectic Wanderlust Hotel just off Little India. The outfit is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Gillon, a passionate and affable maverick in the kitchen.

Gillon experiments extensively with techniques that extract the essence of the more than 28 rare foraged herbs that he has in his store, each gathered, dried and shipped to Singapore by his friend in the French Alps. A distinct flavour profile is identified for each herb. It is then carefully coaxed from the plant, with certain taste dimensions amplified and others dialed down. Some are made into syrups, others into crunchy bits of crumble, yet others turned into pastes and sauces. Each is unique, wild, and a fine specimen of food alchemy magic.

Delight in contemporary French Cuisine

We started off our afternoon with the Green Peas Salad, Apple, Reine Des Pres, Almond, a refreshingly green appetizer that exhibits the bright tanginess of green apple alongside the earthier flavours of almond and peas. Reine Des Pres can be found in the damp meadows of the west, and brings with it a subtle, sweet aroma in the form of an amber syrup.

The Egg Yolk Confit, Smoked Foie Gras, Mushroom Consomme arrived next, a show-stopping force of distilled umami essence. It is a play of smooth textures and deep flavours, each ingredient coming together into a comforting whole.

Our third dish of Braised Octopus, Grilled Onion Salad, Roasted Hazelnut, Basil was competently cooked, with the octopus braised to just the right bite. However, while the browned sweetness of the onions and hazelnut aromas worked well together, I find the nuttiness didn’t have the same complementary effect on the octopus.

Following not long after was the Steamed Mediterranean Seabream, Broccolis, Salted Lemon Paste, Black Olive Powder; delicately cooked fish dusted with a black olive powder that surprises the palate with a bittersweet affect.

Arriving next was the meat dish of Striploin Beef, Banana Shallot Papillote, Tarragon Coulis, Dry Capers and Anchovy; the beef was succulent, and imparted with a sweet-salty depth by its accompaniments.

A Ganache with Sorbet to look out for!

Dessert came in the form of the Dark Chocolate Ganache, Roasted Coca Nibs, Monarde Sorbet, a wholly refreshing sorbet set atop luscious, silky-smooth ganache. The Monarde doesn’t shy away, with its bright red petals and alluring, floral fragrance. Together with the crunch brought by the roasted coca nibs, this was one addictive way to round off the meal.

As we sit back with some coffees and pat our satisfied bellies, Gillon walks over and greets us with a wide smile. After a brief round of introductions, he invites us over to explore his extensive collection of herbs. It is an impressively diverse range of flora, and you can tell from the excitement in his voice the profound joy he has from not only bringing in precious specimens harvested from the wild by hand, but also from discovering new ways to unlock surprising flavours from each of these gifts of nature.

It’s rare to find such a combination of passion and skill in taking what the wilds have to offer and making this accessible to diners the other side of the world whom may never have tasted, let alone heard of some of these herbs. But that’s precisely why we should be rooting for mavericks like Gillon, and why we can’t wait to see what alchemy he works next at Audace.

Thank you Audace for the invitation.

Audace Bar & Restaurant
Wanderlust Hotel
2 Dickson Road
Singapore 209494

Reservations: 6298 1188
Website

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday
Lunch 11.30am to 2pm
Tea 2pm to 6pm
Dinner 6.30pm to Midnight

Sunday Brunch
11.30am to 4pm

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Chic, Snazzy Vibes at Ginett Restaurant and Wine Bar!

I used to regularly drink on weekday nights when I worked in town, but since I moved out of the civic and commercial district for work, it takes something special to lure me back for a weeknight out. Ginett, however, provides the perfect reason for me to head down to the city centre. On top of its unique array of dishes from sharing platters to absolutely fantastic desserts, their wine selection and prices are an absolute steal! Will I be back? Yes!

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Decadent Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet at Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Singapore!

Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Singapore is proud to launch their weekly decadent, gourmet buffet delight – the Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet! With a stunning view of Singapore’s Marina Bay and the South China Sea through the restaurant’s ceiling-high windows from the 32nd floor of Asia Square Tower 2, diners are promised a spectacular afternoon away from the crowds.

Featuring a smorgasbord of mouthwatering delights, tuck in to a generous selection of fresh seafood, roasts, classic international brunch dishes, local and regional favourites, all on top a free-flow selection of champagne, wine, beer, selected cocktails and soft drinks! The champagne brunch buffet is available every Sunday at $148++ or at $88++ (with only one glass of champagne or drink of your choice). And without further ado, here are some gorgeous pictures to whet your appetite further.

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