Fine Dining

Fine Dining

Featuring The Masses, Salted & Hung, Spago by Wolfgang Puck, BRIDGE, Les Amis, Corner House, FOC Restaurant, Restaurant André, Meta Restaurant, Aura
Jason Wong
Jason Wong

It was refreshing to see Singaporean-inspired desserts on the menu. Of course, they came with Focal's own unique twist, such as this riff on kueh salat which sees pandan custard replaced by corn. Each slice is brushed with smoked maple and brown butter glaze. I think a hint of salt as a counterpoint to the sweetness would have made this even better, but the soothing hot corn tea served alongside complemented the kueh very well as it is.

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The fatty Hokkaido Snow Pork lent itself well to being grilled on the barbecue. Perfectly cooked, the fat to meat ratio was to my liking, and the unabashedly flavour-forward combination of coffee oil and chicken jus that graced the protein only served to amplify its savouriness. On it's side sat a pile of crunchy you mai cai that had a delicious smokiness from spending some time on the grilled. This was topped with an intriguing dehydrated celeraic "katsuobushi".

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Watching the chef duo meticulously prep the separate elements before assembling the dish from our front row seat into the open kitchen only heightened our anticipation for the final product. Masterfully tossed wok-fried premium Japanese Koshikari rice, fragrant with the aroma of ulam herbs, was the main component of the dish presented in a large claypot. I felt it was under-seasoned however, although that was probably due in part to me not following instructions to break apart and mix in the piece of barbecued Ebodai(Butter fish) . Which personally I feel, would have been a waste as it's exquisitely glorious melt-in-your-mouth texture and buttery flavour would have been muted amongst the grains.

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The duo of young chefs here have a storied pedigree, both hailing from acclaimed Whitegrass and Magic Square, with separate stints in Odette and Naked Finn. Their fine dining experience is evident in our first appetiser - practically an amuse bouche - a powerhouse of flavours crammed atop miniscule squares of crisp brioche. The freshness of the raw fish melded with the lush richness of crab fat spread for an intensely umami single bite. What an excellent start indeed.

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Drawing flavours from around the world and applying it in our local context, @restaurantfocal.sg 's "Progressive Singaporean" cuisine certainly intrigues the palate, what with left-field combinations such as Laksa leaf pesto and Chalet D'Alpage Cheese. The former cedes slightly into the background due to the latter's potent pungency, but nonetheless worked well as a whole on the tender if slightly dry frog legs.

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While still uncommon, it's been in vogue for a while now to use vegetables in ice cream. The flavour on this one's subtle, with the nutty sweetness of the root vegetable barely registering. What it is though, is well-executed ice cream, spiked with fermented strawberry gel and sandwiched between Salted & Hung's signature honeycomb burnt butter tuille and a dark chocolate cracker.
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Taste: 3.5/5

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Inspired by childhood memories of his family's farm back home in Australia, this dessert from chef Drew sees lacto-fermented apple brunois and crumble garnishing a sharply refreshing ginger & apple sorbet, which in turn sat atop a beautifully pearly white sphere of ginger semifreddo. I loved the palate cleansing combination of fresh fruit and iced confectionery, but found the semifreddo a little powdery and dry.
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Taste: 3/5

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Probably the most straightforward of courses during our lunch so far, but no less delicious for it. Stupendously good Wagyu beef cheek that literally melts in your mouth, its meaty unctuousness lavished in savoury jus. Alongside it, a disc of creamy salt baked potato blanketed in vinegar cream and a dollop of caviar. There was also a refined yet punchy garlic puree to accompany the beef. A more luxurious steak and potatoes I have not had in recent memory.
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Taste: 4.5/5

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Summer sang from this plate of the sweetest scallops adorned with translucent discs of paper-thin daikon and pear, whose crunchiness played off the soft shellfish beautifully. Buried under, discreet dobs of apple gel added spikes of fruity tanginess, whilst the modern art-esque riot of green and yellow lemon herb cream sauce was the perfect zesty and bright counterpoint to the raw seafood.
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Taste: 4/5

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Whilst the firm and fleshy barramundi was impressively well-cooked, it was almost upstaged by the glorious ode to umami that was the shellfish emulsion it rested in. Light and frothy yet intensely punchy, I could not help but wipe the plate clean long after I had no more fish left to accompany the sauce. The ebi dust sprinkled atop was a small yet well-thought out touch that elevated both the flavour and complexity of the dish even further.
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Taste: 4/5

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Like a bejeweled crown of ruby shards and tangerine pearls, the atypical combination of Yarra Valley trout roe and frozen grapefruit provided simultaneous bursts of briny fishiness and semi-sweet bitterness, playing off the salty umami-ness of the creamy soy panna cotta below.
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I must admit my taste buds were initially confused, but I was quickly won over by the refreshing coldness and harmony of flavours in each spoonful. To seamlessly weave such seemingly disparate components is no easy task, but here it is achieved with masterful aplomb.
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Taste: 3.5/5

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Punching way above their diminutive weights were these gorgeous golden balls. Inside the crisp deep-fried sourdough batter spheres sat on mounds of celeraic puree, was unctuous slow-cooked pork with onion, just bursting with an intense, sweet, meaty savouriness. Probably one of the most memorable amuse bouches I've had at @saltedandhung.
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Taste: 4/5

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