Imagine sitting back in a very beautiful garden backdrop with the cool wind brushing against your skin, the ambient lighting of the sky itself creating the serene atmosphere, and then tucking yourself in to an exquisite form of unpretentious cuisine with no secrets for your tastebuds.
For that experience, we have ROAST @ 1-Rochester.
It took some time for me to find 1-Rochester’s entrance as it was hidden amidst the lush greenery. And at the time of 6.30 in the evening, the sun’s slow set into the horizon begun to cast the entire setting into a very comfortable and cozy atmosphere.
And it is not hard to imagine the restaurant being a popular location for small gatherings such as weddings or birthdays. Just before the start of dinner, a private wedding was being held just behind the main dining areas under the pavilion. Exquisite.
My mum and I had the communal menu and also ordered a-la-carte the house’s specialty and popular picks from the guests.
I selected our appetizers to be The ‘Nibble’ Platter. A select combination of herb crumbed stuffed olives, potato skins with sour cream and ocean trout caviar, radish, tapenade and crudite, foie gras parfait, game terrain, cured hams and pickles, this was one spread of appetizers that would surely be a conversation starter and definitely one to whet an appetite.
I was particularly impressed with the Herb Crumbed Stuffed Olives. Battered and deep fried to a crunchy delight, these were quick poppers into the mouth to reveal bursts after bursts of intense savoury yet slightly salty flavours.
The foie gras parfait however was reminiscent of ordinary pate with a tad too strong aftertaste. The potato skins with sour cream and ocean trout caviar were a delight to mum but I personally felt it could do with some stronger tasting caviar or simply top it up with delicate portions of the foie gras parfait for increased flavour.
When it comes to the parma ham and the game terrain, tastes and textures were adequately pleasant with the rustic flavours of the meat well retained within. But when it comes to quench all that savoury appetizers, the assortment of radish, tapenade and crudite was excellent in providing an overall sense of refreshment and natural flavours to rejuvenate the tastebuds.
As suggested by Ain our waitress, we had the Tiger Prawn Salad with cous cous, pomegranate, mint and Persian feta ($16/22). I generally felt this was one salad with light yet well balanced flavours blending well with each other. The choice of adding pomegranate is particularly interesting as its use provides an excellent source of colour, sweetness and crunchy texture to the dish. For the tiger prawns, they were decently cooked though some carried a slightly heavy aftertaste, which is not really an issue as the flavours of the salad combine very well together.
This was also another dish recommended by Ain. Grilled Cheese Soufflé, it impressed me with a ‘wow’.
Light and airy with a very generous spread of light tasting mozzarella, it was tempting after each bite. And it was hardly any effort to finish this dish. Oh, the pleasures.
Next up, the main from the communal selection. Baby chicken wrapped in proscuitto with pine nut, raisin and truffle stuffing, quince and pear relish. I was particularly impressed with this creation as the chicken was very well marinated. The meat retained its juiciness and the earthy scent of truffle permeated through the flesh.
The use of proscuitto ham to wrap the chicken and thereafter roasted creates an outer skin like layer on the chicken which carries a robust savoury flavour. The burnt bits of proscuitto was particularly tempting as it was the best part of the dish.
Side of Herbed Leaf Salad provides refreshing relief from all the delicious meat dishes.
My main, I called for the Slow Braised Lamb Shank with Moroccan spices,cous cous, apricot and roast almonds. This was one lamb shank that was exceptionally tender. I even had trouble piercing it with my fork as the meat kept on breaking apart into chunks.
Still, the meat was soft and well braised with the marinade and spices. A recommended dish for meat lovers. Though, I think the cous cous were a little too much as most of the gravy was absorbed up and in overall it could achieve one step closer to perfection with slightly more fat layered on the meat itself.
Sides of Cauliflower Cheese Gratin was served up together with ‘Roast’ rosemary potatoes throughout the meal. The cauliflower cheese gratin was light tasting and airy with the top being a beautiful golden brown. Naturally delightful, it was not too heavy.
For the communal set desserts, this time round I called for the Selection of Artisan Cheeses with Muscatels and Quince paste. For the average cheese lover, basic selections such as brie and blue cheese were served up together with pieces of water biscuits, sliced guava, a chunky slice of quince paste and a handful of grapes. It was something I enjoyed to a T.
But the dinner does not end here. After the entire entree, I ordered a serving of Fine Apple and Frangipane tart with calvados ice cream ($14). It was beautifully presented with a shiny glaze topped with a stick of vanilla.
Served up warm from the oven, this was simply apple tart with vanilla ice cream. Yet, it is the creative balance amongst apples, tart pastry, and ice cream which provide contrasts in tastes, textures and temperatures. Very good.
And now for my article image, the “Deconstructed” Strawberry Shortcake. This was one dessert that I enjoyed very much. The layered technique in providing different “suprises” after each bite is definitely an adventure each time round.
Immediately, the most striking image would be the giant strawberry sliced beautifully and then topped at the side with a serving of pink ice cream and finished off with a piece of syrup lattice. The next layer would be the pieces of strawberry sponge that gave a wonderful soft texture amidst the coolness of the ice cream. Finally, bits of filo pastry mostly adorn the bottom to give a crunchy crisp texture. Layered enjoyed, nothing less.
When it comes to dining at 1-Rochester, it was a very pleasant experience throughout. Excellent service, fantastic ambience and food that brings the best out of every ingredient. It surely is a place to remember. For value, the price equates to the worth as it will be a spot to impress. One that is hidden from any busy life in the city.
Many thanks to Juwanda, Manager, Chiew Yen, Online Marketing Executive of the 1 Rochester Group for inviting me to this tasting session. Compliments to the service staff for the excellent service.
This was an invited session complements of the 1 Rochester Group
No 1 Rochester Park
Tel: 6773 0070