|The Disgruntled Chef at Ann Siang Road|
Five years after rooting at Dempsey, The Disgruntled Chef (“TDC”) by Daniel Sia has birthed an offspring in the Central Business District.
Coddled in the recently re-launched The Club Hotel at 28 Ann Siang Road, TDC’s new digs is decidedly roomier, sexier and a tad sophisticated.
The 50-seat main dining room features a black marble bar and a mix of booth seats and banquettes in American leather matched with armchairs upholstered in Venetian fabric. There is also a 30-seat terrace for alfresco dining, or, if you prefer exclusivity, a handsome underground private room for 12 guests that comes complete with a glassed-in wine cellar.
Like its flagship, the menu of “small plates”, “big plates”, “sides” and “puddings” is modern European but that’s where TDC’s resemblance with its Dempsey outlet ends. While some dishes – like the seared scallops and crackling suckling pig – were initially exported from Dempsey for the opening menu, these are in the process of being phased out so that the menu here remains distinct.
|Wagyu beef carpaccio|
During our recent visit, a blanket of wagyu beef carpaccio (S$26) came to the fore with cep puree, crispy shallots, grated Parmesan cheese and a confit of egg yolk as centrepiece. We broke the yolk, mixed it with the cep puree and savored the spread. If anything could make this better, it would be a shower of black truffle shavings.
Burnt leek (S$21) was another highlight. While its name has an uncanny resemblance to a hugely popular dish of the same name at Burnt Ends, take heed that Sia’s rendition was more complex. The tender insides of the burnt leek was removed, mashed and mixed with sauce gribiche (a mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce) and morsels of bone marrow before it was returned to the grill. Served in its own black-as-coal “shell” with brioche crotons and one toast too many, the jazzed up leek was deliciously savory. Pity the “invisible” bone marrow, which probably melted before it could be given due credit for amplifying the appeal of the offering.
|Tomato and watermelon tartare|
If you like tuna sashimi, the vegetarian dish of tomato and watermelon tartare (S$21) may pique your curiosity. Semi sundried tomato and compressed watermelon were steeped in kombu, cubed and crowned with homemade togarashi and smidgens of yuzu-accented mayonnaise to yield a refreshingly savoury flavour that somewhat paralleled that of tuna sashimi. We were less fascinated with the trail of pimento rice puffs that adorned the plate.
The big plates were just as riveting.
|Surf & turf dish of Maine lobster and chicken pot roast|
There was an eye-candy surf and turf dish of Maine lobster and chicken pot roast (S$56) with fried quail’s eggs, porcini mushrooms and parsley. Apart from looking pretty, it won plaudits for being toothsome. The Maine lobster was plump and grilled to luscious perfection – it was first rate. On the down side, the first sous-vide then pot-roasted chicken tasted a tad dull but was saved by the deeply savoury porcini sauce that doused it.
Sia’s crispy beef shortribs (S$36) was a crowd pleaser. The bone-in meat was first sous-vide for 36 hours in a braising liquid, then coated in corn flour and deep-fried and served in its own braising jus spiked with gochujang (a Korean hot bean paste). To cut the richness from the meat, which was unusually fatty for a shortrib, it arrived on a bed of mayonnaise doused spicy kimchi with honey soy-glazed potatoes. Top marks for the fall off the bone-tender shortribs but the kimchi was divisive, one of us liked it and the other didn’t.
With these much food, we’d usually stop by now. But if you have space for just one more item, we’d say skip the desserts for the tasty truffle brioche with nori butter and sea salt (S$12). For the record, we did have the strawberries and mascarpone (S$16) dessert; it just didn’t rank as highly relative to the fore courses. If our dinner at TDC were any indication, there is really no reason why Sia should be disgruntled.
28 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 247 693| +65- 6808 2184 | thedisgruntledchef.com
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.