Tippling Club has launched a new menu.
Introduced in September, both the Classic (S$160++ without pairing, S$260++ with pairing) and the Gourmand menus (S$265++ without pairing, S$420++ with pairing) build on a solid format of snacks, mains, cheese, pre-desserts in the case of the Gourmand menu only and desserts mapped out on Clift’s stylized menu.
The Gourmand Menu which we sampled, is Clift’s 4 hour-long tour de force that is worth skipping lunch – and breakfast – for. On paper, the menu proffers 12 courses but with snacks weighing in with 9 items and pre-desserts with 5, the 24 item-long menu remains one of the city’s most ambitious.
During our dinner sampling of the new menu, Clift was absent but his head chef, Paul Gajewski, rose to the occasion effortlessly.
|Margarita pizza flavoured “beef tendon”|
|Tom yum mousse|
The new menu made its strongest entrance yet with the snacks course – 9 morsels of bite-sized delights invigorated with more punchy flavours. Some were reimagined returning favourites like “beef tendon” (3.75/5), which came flecked with heady seasonings of margarita pizza and “styrofoam” (3.25/5), which re-appeared with a cloak of white truffle oil flavour. But the standouts were reserved for newbies like the chorizo sandwich (4.75/5), a sliver of chorizo sandwiched between 2 rectangles of brix pastry topped with tomato fondue and olive oil caviar. And the nondescript-looking but dizzyingly toothsome tom yum mousse (4.75/5) that refreshed the palate with a mélange of vibrant flavours from the laksa leaves, textures of coriander (puree and tempura) and freshly grated coconut. On the downside, bak kut teh mousse (2/5) with poached salsify underwhelmed with the overwhelming flavour of commercial seasoning that tasted nothing close to the pork rib soup that we adore. (Average rating for snacks: 3.8/5)
Just as before, the game at mains was fairly strong.
Poached Canadian lobster arrived with dollops of sea buckthorn puree, fragrant herbs and a thin film of taste-less milk skin clinging onto the crustacean for its dear life. Adorning the plate was a thin spread of chive puree and clumps of horseradish snow to cut any hint of richness. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect composition although we couldn’t figure the value-add of the milk skin. (4/5)
Showing a rare comforting streak, poached Scottish razor clams made a welcomed appearance alongside parsnip root, parsnip chlorophyll and parsnip chip basking in a savoury broth of milk-braised Brittany purple garlic strewed with tarragon flowers. The garlic flavour was sweet rather than sharp, thanks to the milk braise. It was a highlight at dinner. (4.75/5)
The foie gras dish – which was enriched with brandy, tempered at 50 plus degree C and served with textures of apple, gaufrette biscuit and hibiscus – was not mind-blowing but it worked. (3.75/5)
|Australian snow crab|
Steamed Australian snow crab kept the momentum strong. The mound of crabmeat was tossed with nothing more than lemon, olive oil and nashi pear, then served with tomato heart and discs of thinly sliced frozen kyoho grapes that were individually crowned with shiso flowers. Others would do well to take a leaf out of Tippling Club’s light and refreshing approach here (4.5/5)
Next, the coveted Mangalica pork of Hungary made a grand entry. The pork collar was slow braised and teamed with nuka fermented carrot slices and cucumber, fried nori and golden pursalane (from Tippling Club’s rooftop garden at Wheelock Place) and it was swiftly accompanied by an aromatic cinnamon-infused dashi poured at the table. Our only complaint: the dashi was lost when teamed with the richness of the Mangalica pork (which turned out a tad dry). But the dashi, it was spot-on. (3.5/5)
Offering a needed reprieve from the rich and savoury pork course was smoked ox tongue paired with slices of smoky hay baked beetroot, pickled pearl onion, beetroot infused quinoa and dollops of horseradish gel for vibrancy. Great dish. (4.25/5)
|A4 Toriyama beef|
The dinner hit a climax with the last savoury dish of A4 Toriyama beef, a marbled slab served alongside Japanese fruit tomato, pickled Jerusalem artichoke, Hokkaido burrata infused with horseradish and a sheet of kombu-cured wagyu. The richness of the beef was counterpointed by the pungency of the horseradish with hints of acidity from the remaining ingredients. If we could venture a guess, this could well be the top pick of many diners. (4.5/5)
Sentiments plummeted with the ensuing cheese course – 2 rectangles of Manchego cheese with jamon on Manchego sauce-stuffed puffed bread, puffed quinoa, pickled globe artichoke and basil pesto on a generous disc of Manchego cheese. Apart from having too many distinct ingredients that were not palate buddies, this was one dish that could have gone easy on the Manchego. Remember, less is sometimes more. (2.5/5)
|matcha yuzu feuilletine|
Our mood was lifted momentarily by the succession of pre-desserts, of which many like the passion fruit fizzbomb, matcha yuzu sorbet coated with chocolate feuilletine and “strawberry cheesecake” pills were returning fixtures. (3.5/5)
New dessert, crumble of blackberry financier with blackberry sorbet, rambutan, wood sorrel as well as granita of apple and celery brought interesting flavours to the table although not in expected ways. Diners who are not fans of celery would be wise to brace themselves. (3.25/5)
Perhaps the weakest link in the entire desserts line-up was mandarin cheesecake. Freeze-dried and thyme oil-marinated fresh mandarin orange slices were paired with black molasses-caramelized yoghurt, crème fraiche ice cream, lactose “paper” and edible branches. It was refreshing until we bit on the fresh mandarin slices, which were let down by the dull marinade of thyme and olive oil. Don’t get us wrong, we love our thyme and olive oil, just not as a marinade for sweets. (2.75)
Even if some of the courses were not up to expectations, you would find most of the snacks excellent, pre-desserts mostly fascinating and mains compellingly delicious.
Reasons to make a reservation at Tippling Club you think?
38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088 461; +65-6475 2217; tipplingclub.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.