What’s the difference between a good ol’ American steakhouse and a French steakhouse, I guess one of the distinguishing factors would be the dishes that are served along with the steaks. But when it comes to steaks, Hippopotamus Restaurant Grill serves a pretty decent spread of specialties from Prime Rib, Heart of Sirloin, Rump, Sirloin, Top Sirloin, Ribeye, T bone, Tenderloin “Chateaubriand” and even “discovery” pieces known as the Hanger Steak or the Skirt Steak. And that is only one section of the whole menu.
I was pretty fascinated by the selected choices from the Starters menu as well. Quite thorough European flair with Hot Goat Cheese Salad, Cretan Salad or Beef Carpaccio with Goat Cheese, and for something more classical, there is the Bone Marrow, Escargots, Foie Gras and the all popular French Onion Soup.
Each meal is started off with this home made Potato Chips. Crispy with minimal seasoning, they were pretty addictive.
First up, the French Onion Soup ($8.90). Described as a truly tasty tradition, this French concoction has an abundance of onions and melted cheese. One might marvel at the sour sweet notes from the broth to even the slightly stretchy melted cheese floating atop. Its satisfying as a decent starter especially on a cold wintry night. (ok, we do not have wintry nights in Singapore.)
For something a little more meaty and salad rich to start with, there is the Beef Carpaccio with Goat Cheese ($8.90). Thin slices of marinated beef, served with tasty hot goat cheese on grilled toast make up the platter. A little ordinary though, but I liked the cheese, even with its slight pungent nature.
The Foie Gras ($12.90) is simply a slice of Duck’s liver served with toast. Even the presentation was a little, dismal.
But I must say that the way the Escargots ($11.90) were presented au nature in their shells with the delightful fragrance of butter and garlic were more impressive. Buttery with the touch of garlic aroma, the meaty escargots were good to the bite. Still, something within me urged for more garlic, more garlic.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I knew I had to try their Tartare ($17.90) A full 180grams of raw beef served with a yolk and onions, parsley, chives, capers and tartar sauce. I felt it was very fresh with a lovely mix of sweet flavours and full bodied textures throughout. But while the menu stated minced meat, my serving was chunky minced meat. I wonder if this is how the French like their Tartare.
A step aside from all the meats, for the night I also had Shrimp Potato Twists ($12.90 for 6 pieces). Shrimps rolled with strands of potato all about and deep fried, these are served with a sweet sour sauce that brightened the flavours up a notch.
As a classic, I’ve always had the Asian delicacy of Tulang Merah, but this is my first for Bone Marrow (300g $10.90) served with a fine slice of toasted bread. Lightly seasoned with pepper and salt, the bone marrow was very smooth and fatty with a melt in the mouth texture that was akin to cream making gentle waves in the mouth. Described as a connoisseurs item, this was a unique experience for me.
For the mains, I had the Heart of Sirloin (750grams for 2-3 persons $79.90). It was first presented to the table with the outsides of the meat being nicely seared all around to keep in the juices.
And then the meat was sliced into serving portions for the table to view the fresh hues of the meat before the final entrance to the kitchen. A nice pinkish red all within.
The Heart of Sirloin was requested to be cooked Medium-Rare. Since it was cut into 3 portions, each piece was approximately 250grams. That’s a lot of meat. I found the portion to be very juicy with the meat tender and crisply flavoured. The Heart of Sirloin was not rough but yet tender in its own natural way. The mains are served with a choice of 5 sauces of Barbecue, Bearnaise, Stewed Shallot, Pepper and Roquefort Cheese. I especially enjoyed my steak with the Sea Salt that was also served. The salt nicely brings out the earthy meat nature from within in a slightly sharp manner that impresses the flavour with the first bite.
All mains are served with up to 3 side dishes. There are 6 selections to choose from. Namely, fries, potato gratin, green beans, baked potato, ratatouille and basmati rice. I especially enjoyed the Potato Gratin and Ratatouille though it would be perfect if the gratin had more cheese. The basmati rice which is slightly coated with butter was also an excellent choice as well.
What good meal would it be without desserts. First up, Floating Island ($6.90). A full fluffy souffle nicely paired with vanilla custard, almonds & caramel, this was the KING MARSHMALLOW. The sauce mix of vanilla and caramel complement very well with each giving a different level of sweetness. Almonds slices add that extra crunch and texture to the dessert cloud in a bowl.
What’s a classic without the Creme Brulee ($8.90). And seriously, the portion is huge. Apart from which, I think the huge serving size and depth of bowl might cause a ratio problem between the caramelized brown sugar and the cream. Still nice, but definitely great for sharing.
For something lighter on the palate, there is the Roasted Pineapple ($6.90) to try. A slice of pineapple roasted in glamorous honey and adorned with a scoop of vanilla ice cream sounds good. Honestly, I think its for those with acquired tastebuds.
Perhaps the most classic way to end the meal, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake ($8.90). Velvety smooth and rich chocolate layers with a thick crunchy base that sometimes proved a little hard to cut through. Rich impeccable sweet flavours of chocolate and hazelnut are a good marriage, and all essence of the meaty meal just moments before are a memorable thing of the past.
Hippopotamus on a whole serves up a decent slate of dishes on its menu with a rather good way for its steaks. Though there are some dishes which might have a stronger French taste, the unique slate of desserts and starters are worth a visit for especially with a group of friends and family since the portions are quite huge itself. And its not everyday you come across a French Steakhouse.
Oh by the way, they do not serve hippopotamus here. I’ve checked.
Many thanks to Dennis from Publicist PR Comms for the invitation
|Hippopotamus Restaurant Grill
6 Raffles Boulevard
Marina SquareReservations : 6338 5352
Opens from : 11am-10pm