Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Delicious Thai Fusion Fine Dining at Tangerine, RWS/ESPA.

👍 Interesting (and mostly delicious) Thai/Fusion Fine Dining. Good service.
👎 Mediocre desserts. Location is really inconvenient for public transport.

Resorts World Sentosa has a host of restaurants that the darling and I have never visited: mostly because Sentosa is kind of annoying to get to for those of us with no wheels. So when we heard about a Thai Fusion / Fine Dining place there named Tangerine, we decided to make a reservation and head on over to check it out!

Tangerine is located inside ESPA, the health and wellness complex located along the western edges of RWS. This makes it really quite out of the way, but persevere and you'll soon be seated in a comfortable, quiet dining room surrounded by greenery and man-made water features. It's a comfortable place to be, if perhaps not particularly posh-feeling.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining

The meal starts off with warm, freshly-baked spring onion brioche, served with an amazing lemongrass and basil dip. I liked the buttery fluffiness of the brioche, but the lemon-y, minty basil pesto was the star of the show. A perfect way to whet the appetite.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Spring Onion Bread

For my starter, I chose the off-menu King Salmon Pad Thai. Strips of raw King Salmon (I did not ask if it was farmed or line-caught), tossed in pad thai flavourings and condiments. The lime juice, fish sauce, and cilantro flavours - with the texture from the chopped peanuts and slight heat from the chili flakes - complemented the fish perfectly. I would consider a return visit for this starter alone.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining King Salmon Pad Thai

The darling's starter - Pork Manaow (Pork loin with chili lime dressing with flowers and vegetables from the garden) - wasn't quite as accomplished. While the dish is really pretty, we thought that the chili lime dressing was a little too strong, and flavour-wise overpowered pretty much the entire dish.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Pork Manaow

For my hot starter I chose the Bamboo Clam and Angel Hair Pasta, with Mexican Tarragon and Lump Fish Roe with Seaweed Sauce. This was a pretty good dish - al dente pasta with just the right briny salt from the lumpfish roe. I would've appreciated a little more flavouring otherwise, though, as the bamboo clam and flowers were a little bland on their own.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Bamboo Clam and Angel Hair Pasta

The other hot starter we shared was the Yuba with Organic Onsen Egg (Japanese Bean Curd Skin, Hon Shimeji Mushrooms and Ginger Flower with Garlic Parmesan Foam). The use of the bean curd skin as pasta was quite interesting, and the onsen egg and parmesan foam tying everything together as a luxurious, creamy, "pasta" sauce.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Yuba Onsen Egg

The standout dish of the day for me was the Beef Short Rib and Foie Gras, served with Long Beans, Heirloom Tomato, Spicy Shallots and Cilantro with Yuzu Dressing. The beef was slow-cooked to glorious, fatty, melt-in-your-mouth luxury, and perfect on its own. I also really liked how the accompanying vegetables (especially the long beans) and cilantro/yuzu sauce gave the dish a noticeable Thai flavour profile, which is something I haven't had the fortune to try in fine dining restaurants in the past.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Beef Short Rib and Foie Gras

We weren't quite as enamored with the Pan-roasted Farm Seabass though. Served with Summer Pea and King Oyster Mushroom with Citrus Sauce, the fish itself was cooked very well - nice, crispy skin, and a moist, firm flesh. However we weren't so convinced by the foam, the texture of which - in our opinions - really distracted too much from the fish and the overall dish.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Pan-Roasted Farm Seabass

For desserts, we first shared a Madagascar Chocolate and Tofu Mousse, served with Thai Farm Honey and Pineapple. The chocolate mousse (couldn't taste any tofu flavour) was ... decent, but overall it really was quite a simple dessert.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Madagascar Chocolate and Tofu Mousse

Likewise, the Jasmine Panna Cotta (Rice Puff, Dragon Fruit and Berries with Sweet Potato Crisp) had decent execution, but in comparison with the savoury dishes was perhaps a tad bit underwhelming and unambitious.

Tangerine Resorts World Sentosa Thai Fusion Fine Dining Jasmine Panna Cotta

The 4-course lunch above is priced at sgd58++ per person (with an sgd8 and sgd5 supplement for the bamboo clam pasta and beef short rib respectively), which is fairly good value. If you're a MasterCard holder you really should head on over to their 1-for-1 dining deals page (running til 30th June 2019), which brings the price down to an extremely attractive sgd29++ per person!

Drinks extra, of course.

Tangerine is at ESPA, Resorts World Sentosa. It's probably easiest to just drive or take a taxi/grabcar here, but if you're a staunch supporter of public transport, it's about a 10 minute walk from the huge Universal Studios Globe. Non-halal.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Dinner at Monti (at Fullerton Pavilion): A Citi Four Hands Kitchen review.

👍 Food was generally pretty good, and the view of Marina Bay is gorgeous.
👎 Service was a little hit-and-miss. Pacing of the dishes a little inconsistent.

The Mar 2019 edition of Citi's 4 Hands Kitchen features Monti at the Fullerton Pavilion: A gorgeous Italian restaurant perched on the edge of Marina Bay! Monti's head Chef Felix Chong - with 15 years of experience in Italian fine dining - hosts Chef Guy Grossi, who visits from (among others), restaurant Grossi Florentino in Melbourne.

Did we mention that Monti is gorgeous? Well ... it is!

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

Inside, the restaurant seating is designed to maximize Marina Bay views. Thanks to the high ceiling & tall windows, you get a very nice view of the Marina Bay Sands side of the bay even if you're not seated right by the windows. It's a nice place to bring a date.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

After we're seated we whet our appetites with some Onion, Thyme and Sea Salt bread. The bread is flaky and buttery (sort of like a croissant), and the added aromatics worked really well.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

The Amuse Bouche comes from Chef Felix's world: Marron with Lardo, Mortadella Mousse in Peroni Beer Bread, and 'Lasagna' Bolognese Espuma with Crispy Pasta. These 3 snacks were pretty delicious! We especially liked the Marron with Lardo: The fat from the ... well, fat (Lardo is cured pork fat), gave the bite a terrific oily (but not exceedingly so) mouthfeel.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

We then move on to the first of Chef Guy's dishes: The succinctly-named King Prawn, sourced from the Indian Ocean and served with tropea onion and pantelleria capers. The prawn stole the show, being perfectly cooked & seasoned.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

Next up: Roasted Bone Marrow by Chef Felix, served with 18 hours sous vide Wagyu Beef Short Rib, Saffron Risotto Cracker, and Gremolata Sponge. We didn't really feel that the gremolata (chopped herbs) sponge added much to the dish other than perhaps to soak up a little of the oiliness of the bone marrow. If you're comfortable with animal fats though, you'll love the combination of oily bone marrow and the beefy, super tender short rib on its own.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

Next up, also from Chef Felix: Squid Ink Lobster Tortelli, served in a spinach & tarragon broth, and accompanied by artichoke chips, fennel & lemon, and smoked vinaigrette. First the tortelli: It was very good. Well executed al-dente pasta hiding well seasoned lobster inside. The spinach & tarragon broth was also delicious, but we weren't so convinced by the grapefruit and citrus adding - in our opinions - a somewhat excessive sour note.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

The final dish from Chef Felix was the Crispy Skin Tile Fish 'Amadai,' served with perfumed fruit, celeriac & chive, and basil seeds. This was very interesting to us: The Amadai was deep fried (presumably only on the skin side) without any descaling, thus curling and crisping up the scales into a light, airy, crispy crust. The texture of this scales crust was a perfect contrast with the moist flesh beneath.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

For the final main course: Chef Guy's Mayura Full Blood Wagyu Tri Tip (MBS 9+), with onion, creamy mashed potato, and a watercress gravy. The steak (essentially) was sublime: It had a terrific crust, with a distinct nutty, earthy flavour. And being a from a full blooded Wagyu cow, the meat was naturally fatty, oily, beefy, and delicious. So delicious, actually, that we felt the watercress sauce actually hampered enjoyment, so we left most of it untouched.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

Finally, for dessert, Chef Guy bids us farewell with his Buttermilk Panna Cotta with latte, malt, and white chocolate. It was a pleasant, light dessert and a nice end to the meal.

Monti Fullerton Pavilion Dinner

To conclude: The dinner was quite satisfying. We were also quite appreciative of the generous portion sizes. Food was also good: Good enough that we would consider at least two return visits: Once to sample more of Chef Felix's Italian dishes, and once to try the 1.1kg Mayura T-Bone Steak!

Monti is in the Fullerton Pavilion building across the bay from Marina Bay Sands. Non-Halal.