I was recommended by Adrian K of Jewel to check out this new place, Bacchanalia, which apparently boasts a really outstanding chef, Ivan Brehm - I checked up his credentials and they were really impressive - stints at Fat Duck and Per Se, among others. So it was with great anticipation that I trooped down to Bacchanalia on a Tuesday night to check out what the fuss was all about.
We were greeted with an impressive dining room that frankly felt that it belonged more to New York than Singapore - totally extravagant, luxurious, and with that classy aura. The pictures that I took - posted here - don't do it justice, you have to go there to actually experience the ambience. Beautiful beautiful lights.
The menu is divided into vegetables, seafood, meats, and desserts - and having 3 boys at the dinner table, most of the food we ordered came from the meat section - I think we ordered 4 meat dishes, and 1 vegetable and 1 seafood dish (seriously can't care for veggies that much).
We helped ourselves to a bottle of Gevrey-Chambertin 2010 that had a delicious nose, but was far too tannic and young - which was a pity.
The first course was actually really delicious - a prawn risotto. The sweet flavours of the prawn was expertly extracted into the stock to render the risotto a delicious mess. In fact, reading off the menu - there were strawberries and burrata as well - indeed there were some hints of other ingredients that lifted the taste in a subtle way. It was delicious, albeit just too little for all of us 5 hungry people! (8.25/10)
The second course we had was a delight as well - Cauliflower Gratin. This was deep fried cauliflower florets with white truffle and cheese foam and gremolata. Whatever gramolata is/was, I couldnt' care - the cauliflower florets were deep fried and went extremely well with the foam. Nice combination. (8/10)
Next up was the 15 hour Pork Belly - crispy pork belly, braised red cabbage, granny smith apple and giant capers. It was just lovely - the pork belly was so juicy and crisp, and what was really delicious was the vegetables coated in that fruity-sweetness from the apples. Capers were lovely as well. (8.25/10)
Duck Confit was perhaps a tad disappointing - spinach wrapped confit duck and cucumber, corn and cucumber dashi. To be honest, it tasted much like Peking Duck. But apparently the angmohs love it. Okay, let me put it another way - it's perhaps an 'elegant' Peking Duck. (7/10)
Foie Gras Satay was another interesting East-West combination - the menu states: sous-vide foie gras with lemongrass, tamarind fluid gel, grated chestnuts and peanut satay. Well, whatever it is, it was interesting; the tanginess of the lemongrass and tamarind cut through the richness of the foie gras very well - and I have to say the foie gras was expertly done, just the right amount of sear while having a good texture inside. (8.5/10)
Last savoury course was the Steak and Eggs - here, the eggs was created by Japanese yam; and the rib eye cap was just delicious - sooo flavourful and tender and beefy. No wonder everyone loves rib eye cap. (8.25/10)
Desserts came next - we had a cherry rice pudding which came with Morello Cherry Sorbet, almonds and cherries. This wasn't bad but I wasn't that impressed - seems a bit one-dimensional. (7/10)
Overall, Bacchanalia makes for a great date venue. However, the portions are, unfortunately, small - for the price; it's probably in the same price range as Lolla (which is, unfortunately, more than what I can afford to it on a weekly basis). Still, the chef displays lots of creativity in the flavour pairings, constantly experimenting with new combinations instead of sticking to the tried and tested, which of course makes things fun. However, the menu is rather limited at the moment (4 of each category), and they may want to think of expanding their menu to attract return guests - since it wouldn't be long before we try all the dishes! Another thing is that the food took rather long to come - some bread at the start would have helped ease the hunger. I counted that the food came only 30 minutes after we ordered - which was a tad long.
Service was excellent and the decor sublime, it has to be said.
Worth a visit!