Monday, February 4, 2013

Ember Revisited

 It's been a while since I visited Ember, the last time I went there was during my birthday last year. Ember recently celebrated its 10th anniversary - which shows the longevity of the restaurant and its continued popularity in the midst of the ever-fickly restaurant scene in Singapore, where the average "shelf-life" of most new restaurants is a year, max.

The 4-course set dinner at SGD85 per person is always good value since you get a good selection of the restaurant's specialties, which include the pan-seared Chilean seabass and the Pan-roasted foie gras with fried maitake, porcini sauce and 1-hour poached egg.

I started off having the fresh Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with ponzu and sesame vinaigrette. This was quite refreshing - as you would expect, it's tart, light, and allows the sweetness of the scallops to shine through. A good appetizer. (7/10)

Next up, for the 2nd appetizer, I couldn't resist having another stab at the pan-roasted Foie Gras with 1 hour poached egg, hence I ordered it. There was a nice liver taste, in fact a rather strong liver taste. Although it was pan-fried, there was, sadly, not alot of charred flavour - would have preferred a stronger "charring" of the liver (guess I was spoilt by the renditions at 11 Madison Park and Novus). Still it was good, although not superlative this time (I gave it 9/10 the last time but this time it's reduced to 8.25/10).

For my mains, I didn't want to have the usual pan-seared Chilean seabass because everyone else was having that, hence I opted for the spiced crusted Welsh lamb rack. There was a strong hint of cumin on the lamb which was interesting (although not entirely novel) - giving it a Medittereanean twist. That said, however, I don't really like cumin on my lamb but that's just personal preference. The lamb was fatty enough, however, much to my delight (and to the sadness of my cholesterol levels and already bulging waistline). (7.5/10)

I opted for the cheese platter for dessert - it wasn't bad, a piece of Camembert? one blue cheese, and another soft cheese. Wonder what it was, actually, since they didn't say.
I had a pleasant time talking with the chef Sebastian afterwards, asking him a few things about his inspiration, how he finds produce, the challenges of a restaurant, what were the meals he really enjoyed and where he likes to eat, and so on. He told us about his experience working under Gordon Ramsay, and in the different kitchens in Japan etc. It was a pleasure chatting with him and his wife who runs the floor. Overall Ember's a great restaurant, and recommendations are definitely required on weekends. The set lunch at SGD55 is a steal as well, very popular. 


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