Friday, April 04, 2014

Tippling Club

Snack of smoked quail egg with kombu.

Now that Tippling Club has moved to Tanjong Pagar, thought I should give it another shot. Didn't totally appreciate its earlier flavors or its textures. It's smaller and to me, feels less uppity than its previous location. It now looks like fun science laboratory. Five years on, I'm liking the maturing creativity of Chef-owner Ryan Clift in the restaurant's snacks (amuse bouche), appetizers and mains.

A gastronomic delight, absolutely. But because Tippling Club offers only degustation menus, I don't think I'll step in that often. My stomach can't handle it, and it's tough to shift food preferences. The table doesn't take foie gras. I personally dislike the taste, texture and smell of it. Our request to swop it out with a vegetable or something from the lower-priced menu was countered with the server's suggestion of razor clams. Then we were met with a "Oh I need to charge you S$15 extra" for each "because it's a premium ingredient." I was like, okay, but wasn't pleased. I didn't understand the logic and said so. After a few minutes, they came back to say that they would waive the surcharge. Fine.

I don't like its selection of dessert at all. In fact, I left all three selections untouched after one tiny bite. The first savory dessert of a cheese sandwich thing was just too much for my bursting stomach. Also, one, I'm not big on anything sweetish; two, I really don't like ice-cream, soufflé or meringue thingies.

What I did appreciate were the snacks and mains. The snacks were delightful. Bite-sized portions, but they served like...four of those before the appetizers, and it was just mind-blowingly...appetizing. I LOVED that smoked quail egg with kombu. It hit every favorite of mine. Heh. There is a vegetarian menu. But do request for it way in advance when reservations are made. Items of snow crab with celeriac and jamon de bellota, and monkfish with lime tofu and green curry were exquisite. The meat lovers at the table went nuts over the ridiculously tender and crisp flavors of an Iberico pork belly with lobster, leek and bronze fennel, and the cured omi wagyu with artichoke, dashi vinegar, burrata and horseradish.

Each course, every item was beautifully presented and effort taken to explain it. There were drinks. Gin was preferred for the night to keep the tastebuds nifty. Dinner took ages. 3.5 hours, to be exact. All made for a rather wonderful evening.

The second out of four main courses: monkfish with lime tofu and green curry.

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