Fine Palate, the novel bistro off 51 Waterloo Street and near the Singapore Art Museum, is proud to present the launch of their dinner selection for all to whet their appetites with. Since my last visit a little more than a half year ago, I can still remember the excellent brunch items of crisp Spanish Style Omellete and Country Style Granola. However, can the bistro live up to the delectables served up during brunch? Read the full article to find out!
Stepping in to Fine Palate during dinner time was a stark contrast from my last visit during the afternoons. Gone were the interesting placemats that held memorable quotes. And with the array of cutlery neatly laid out with lights slightly dimmed, the bistro added little touches to recreate that cozy little corner perfect for dinner.
As a pre-dinner drink, I started off with the Bright Ale ($12), a crisp and slightly mellow drink that was more rustic than crisp and bright. Yet, an enjoyable drink that is slightly neutral and one that refreshes the palate.
Warm, toasty buns served with olive oil and vinegar
I begin dinner with an assortment of plates to share. The first, Kofte in Tomato Concasse ($12), was an ocean of redness. The tomato concasse deceptively hid the pork and beef balls within, and while the visuals might be overpowering, I found the flavours of salty and tangy to complement the meaty aromatics pretty well. Umami, savoury flavours in every bite. Best had with bread to dip through the gravy!
For a drink that is a tad lighter, fruitier and a little snazzier, there is the Pipsqueak Apple Cider ($12). The cider is quite calm in both flavour and texture, and not excitingly bright like a good bottle of Somersby. It reminded me of a good ol’ rustic offering that will go well with dinner than as a party drink.
I was slightly perturbed by the next dish of Hash Brown Wedges ($12). It looked like a party snack meant to be served at catered buffet events than at a proper sit down dinner. I appreciated the flavours of meaty potatoes, silky prosciutto and herbed cream cheese coming together though but thought much more could be done for the presentation. And this is best eaten with your fingers.
The entree of Foie Gras ($18) is possibly a classic in its own right. Seared foie gras on homemade brioche is complete with a tangy sweet cherry compote. A wholesome fatty piece that goes excellently well with the slightly sweet bread, and contrasted with the streaks of acid here and there. The most unique takeaway for this dish are the piece of jelly cubes that added a touch of texture spectacle.
I was very impressed with the Tuna Tonnato ($18) and this will be a must order when I’m back here for dinner. Seared yellow fin tuna is drizzled with tonnato sauce, itself made from tuna, anchovies and capers to name a few. The sweet flavours of the sea is lightly complemented with the more meaty, earthen flavours from the tonnato, leaving a hearty scent in the mouth after each bite. Delicious.
Trio of Oysters ($15) served with daikon pickle, nam jim sauce and au naturel
For an entree that is both a Vegetarian option as well as a personal recommendation, go for the Beetroot Carpaccio ($14). Thinly sliced velvet beetroot is given a play on flavours with its marinade of citrus infusion, creating a complex sweet sour refreshing taste. The side of coriander walnut salsa lend a nutty crunch to the dish, and is best accompanied with the extremely crisp yellow frisee.
I ordered the Seared New Zealand King Salmon ($32) as my main for the night. A whole, generous piece of salmon fillet is served with an excellent cheesy potato gratin with a light side of asparagus and salsa verde. The Salsa verde, made from parsley, vinegar, capers, garlic, anchovies and more gives an interesting take to the otherwise naturally richly flavoured salmon with a savoury herbed blend. Decent!
I was most taken aback by the Kurobuta Pork Cutlet ($38). When the staff told me it was a very big portion, I told him to just go ahead and make the order. Boy, was it big. However, the more impressive moment was the sweet spiced aromatics that struck me. I noted cloves, star anise and a delectable amount of soy sauce infused throughout and glazed about the meat. The kurobuta, itself a fatty cut for the night, gave a thumbs up moment with the melt in the mouth fat. Its unique, deep intense pork flavour stood out well with the sauce, a unique cut that cannot be achieved with the more common porcine. Excellent, and best for 2 persons to share. Though, I would probably have this all by myself.
The dessert options for the night were a simple selection of 4 varieties. The White Chocolate and Pistachio Bar ($13) reminded me of an enlarged piece of nutty, sweet nougat. With its serve of vanilla ice cream, a lighter note was added to the chocolate. And the tangy raspberry coulis cut all flavours even further, freshening the tastebud for another go at the pistachio bar.
However, as my dessert tooth preferred a lighter selection for the night, I would have to say that the Mango Soup ($13) stood out even more for me. A martini glass of mango ‘soup’ was served up with slightly citrus sweet blood orange and topped with sour raspberry candy. The candy was the tipping point that made this dish delightful as its flavourful and textural contrast brightened the end of the meal to a refreshing note. Though I do note that the mango ‘soup’ was a little sweet and concentrated with little textural fibres that would have enlivened the dish even more.
Having dinner at Fine Palate was in overall a decent, quiet affair. As the bistro is tucked neatly out of view, visiting the place is like a distant part of Singapore altogether. Most of the dishes were acceptable, with the highlight being the Kurobuta Pork Cutlet that could make its rightful place as a signature of the restaurant. And after such an experience, I am eager to recreate the flavours back home with my own tried and tested recipe.
Thank you Fine Palate for the invitation
51 Waterloo Street
Reservations: 6336 5120