GRAZING REVISITED AT 'THE HARBOUR GRILL & OYSTER BAR' IN SINGAPORE
'The Harbour Grill & Oyster Bar' has been featured on this website a few times.
The current Chef-in-Charge is Julien Jouhannaud (Senior Sous Chef), which probably means that he reports to an Executive Chef but really runs the restaurant! Julien is a protégé of Alain Ducasse...hmm...was it Dubai or Las Vegas? Anyway, he has been at The Harbour Grill - Singapore for about 8 months. As rumours abound about his eventual departure...(not started by me)...I thought that I had better post my delayed review now from the truffle-fest we had in November 2006.
Actually, our most recent visit was on 2nd May 2007 when guest chef, Roland Chanliaud (Michelin star) from 'Le Jardin des Remparts' in Beaune helped Julien featured a Burgundy tasting menu with accompanying wines. There is a French Festival during the month of May 2007 in Singapore called Voi-lah!, which plays on the Singaporean tendency to use "-lah" as an ending to most sentences e.g. "Don't be so presumptious - lah!"
The next guest chef, Laurent Peugeot (Michelin star) from 'Le Charlemagne' in Pernand Vergelesses will be presenting his menu with Julien from 14 - 19 May 2007.
Back to our truffle-fest degustation menu:
Common-or-garden Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial
Creamy, toasty malt, easy-drinking Champagne, with hints of lemon just to kick off the evening.
Amuse bouche - Hard-boiled egg with piquant pepper sauce
Amuse yeux - Daniel Roth Moonphase WG Ltd Edn 50 pieces
Eggs Florentine with Black Truffle Jus and Sevruga Caviar
One could argue about what to drink with eggs, truffle and caviar forever but I think that a crisp non-vintage champagne does well. In fact about the only drink that goes with poached or scrambled eggs is champagne!
This was my favourite dish but I did not know that until we got to the end of the tasting menu. What is it about unctious, warm, egg yolk in a delicately poached egg white, swirled around with truffle and the occasionally popping caviar that sets my emotional peptides wild with desire? Oh! - did I forget to mention that gloriously refreshing feeling of perfectly cooked spinach mopping up the egg as it slides down my gluttonous gullet?
Pan-fried Diver Scallop with Marmalade of Fresh Porcini Mushroom, Raw Witloof and Shaved White Truffle.
Simple ingredients prepared simply but expertly to bring out the best flavours. This had us reaching for more champagne - always a good move. The scallop was crispy brown outside but tender inside. The whitloof (endive) was just coated with porcini marmalade and the white truffle shavings just warmed enough by the scallops to release their heady aroma.
Carnarolli White Truffle Risotto, Veal Jus Reduction and Old Parmesan Tuile
But where's my truffle?
Ahhh.....there they are.
The creaminess of carnarolli rice made with the richness of veal jus and chopped truffle, warmed the garnish of truffle shavings kept warm by the parmesan tuile. At first, I thought the risotto lacked seasoning until I realised that balance was restored by the matured cheese - such attention to detail!
Oxtail Beef Consommé with Large Tortellini of Confit Duck Liver and Truffle
Somehow, foie gras and truffle is another culinary marriage made in Kitchen Heaven. Our soup course heralded the transition to the main courses.
Barbera d'Alba 2004, Elio Altare, Italy
We chose this fresh and fruity red wine from the same locale as the Italian white truffles. Indolent with plum, berry and cherry aromas, the medium body and crisp light tannins complemented the delicate flavours of the degustation menu.
Braised Wild French Turbot with Truffle, Jerusalem Artichoke Cream and Chips, and Black Truffle Vinaigrette
Something like this used to be a signature dish at the old 'Harbour Grill & Oyster Bar' as a meaty fish goes well with truffles. This was better than the sea bass with truffles that we had a few weeks earlier at 'Pontini' Italian restaurant:
Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with Honey Truffle, Fresh Sauteéd Chanterelles and Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi
The tender Wagyu beef was transformed by judicious cooking into melt-in-your-mouth morsels of mellifluous delight.
Iced Truffle Nougat served with Seasonal Berries in Balsamic Reduction
Well - that was a surprise; truffles for dessert! It seems to me that truffles goes well with foods with either high fat or 'umami' content and even 'iced cream'. By the way, the berry tuile was a nice touch, serving as a tart, crispy, counterfoil to the rich nougat.
The usual platter of petits fours
Alas, a menu like this only comes round once a year but is well worth waiting for. Through this menu, Chef used all three types of truffle - black, white and grey - the full house.
Of course, even without the fancy (and expensive) truffles, this restaurant usually delivers fine dining. One of my previous decadent indulgences was a large serving of Sevruga Caviar with the usual trimmings (blinis, chopped onion, minced boiled eggs and all) and frozen vodka, followed by half a dozen fresh oysters. I say "previous" even though those items are still on the Oyster Bar portion of the menu but I'm not allowed to partake........damn those doctors!
Still one of my 2-thumbs up restaurants; well at least whilst Julien is still in-charge.....
Photos and Text Copyright Melvyn Teillol-Foo, 2007.
All rights reserved.