Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A review of Aura, National Gallery Singapore (4 Hands Kitchen)

👍 Imaginative Dishes, well-balanced flavours and textures. Gorgeous dining area.
👎 Nothing much ... except maybe for the fish.

Last week the darling and I spent a few hours in Aura's super gorgeous dining room, stuffing ourselves on terrific Italian fare from both resident chef Beppe de Vito, and visiting chef Luigi Taglienti (who hails from one-Michelin-starred Lume Restaurant in Milan). Although Aura itself isn't Michelin-starred (yet?), Chef Beppe's other Singapore restaurant - Braci - is also one-starred, so we go in with pretty high expectations!

Aura National Gallery Singapore

To start - warm, buttered foccacia bread, served with a delightfully fragrant extra virgin olive oil (though strangely, no balsamic vinegar).

Aura National Gallery Singapore Focaccia Bread

The dinner then properly starts with the first amuse bouche: Chef Luigi's White on White (Passion fruit cream sandwiched by rice crackers & topped with edible flowers). Flowers, as always, are really just for show (they're pretty much tasteless), but the airy, light, crisp rice crackers & just-the-right-hint-of-sour passion fruit cream really do whet the appetite.

Aura National Gallery Singapore White on White

Chef Beppe's amuse bouche is the Uni and Scallop, which - as you may have guessed - is Uni and a Hokkaido Scallop. Topped with caviar and wrapped in a shiso leaf. I'm not really sure that Italians traditionally eat uni and scallop like this, but there's no need to complain when the bite tastes this good: Creamy, briny, sweet, salty ... and that nice ever-so-slight pungent flavours from the shiso leaf.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Scallop and Uni

We move on to the first of the hot dishes then, with Chef Luigi serving up a Squid Scampi in Black and White: Tender, juicy scampi with mushroom, sunchoke (jerusalem artichoke) puree and a pork jus. Probably the standout plate of the night for us.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Scampi

Chef Beppe then serves up his Coho Salmon, White Asparagus and Wild Garlic. The salmon was cooked ever so slightly to a 'barely rare' temperature, which was amazing texture-wise. The asparagus was likewise also delicious. We didn't like the crisp skin, though. It seemed to have been cooked and then flattened in the dehydrator, which did result in it being terrifically crispy, but also tasting too much like scales.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Salmon and White Asparagus

We continue again with Chef Beppe's dish: Lobster Tortelli, Fava Beans, and Yuzu Salmoriglio. This was another terrific hit. Perfectly portioned and textured tortelli with just the right amount of well cooked lobster meat. The accompanying lobster broth was perhaps just a tad bit salty, but nevertheless had an amazing depth of (lobster) flavour.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Lobster Tortelli

Chef Luigi's Seabass and Celeriac, however, was a little anti-climactic. The fish itself was juicy and at just the right temperature, but seabass is a very mild tasting fish, and its flavours were totally overpowered here by the strong tanginess of the celariac.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Seabass & Celeriac

The final hot plate of the night ended with Chef Beppe's Kagoshima Wagyu, Kale and Wasabi Oil. As you'd expect from a proper wagyu steak, it was juicy and sinfully oily, and seasoned with just the right hint of salt. The accompanying kale (crispy and light: probably deep fried) and kale puree were nice, but really our opinions are that good steaks are perfectly able to hold the stage alone without needing any supporting cast at all.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Kagoshima Wagyu

For dessert, chef Luigi's rendition of a Black Truffle Tiramisu was a revelation. The truffle-laced mascarpone cream was came in a chocolate / fingers / biscuit-like casing, sprinkled with chocolate powder and topped with more truffle. Utterly delicious.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Black Truffle Tiramisu

And finally to end the night: Chamomile Tea (complimentary) and Petit Fours of Olive Oil macaron, chocolate tart, and limoncello-laced strawberry.

Aura National Gallery Singapore Petit Fours

For just under a hundred (nett) per person, we thought that the dinner was good value, and thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes (except for the seabass)!

Aura is on the fifth floor of the National Gallery Singapore (which, by the way, has free entry for Singaporeans and Singapore PRs). Reservations Recommended; Non-Halal.

3 comments:

  1. uni and scallop are two of my favorite ingredients, so enticing.

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