A trip down to Hotel 1929

Restaurant Review: Ember
Head feeling just a lil heavy
Two special occasions marked on my calender this very day. First, Dad's Birthday and secondly Mum and Daddy's 26th year wedding anniversary. Figured it out yet? These two remarkably on the same day to wipe out the inconvenience of having to remember two dates... how clever... Guess this failure to recall dates habit runs in the family. haha.

My choice for a dining place, Ember sitauted in Hotel 1929 along Keong Saik Street. Just to set the records straight, I do eat lots of chinese food. In fact, we eat the normal fare at home everyday and only splurge on such occasions. Point of information for the many who bear the impression that I live on 'ang moh' food day in and day out. What a thought too.. haha.

Upon setting foot into the dining area, I was at first struck by the size of the restaurant. It was small and crowded. However, I was also impressed by what they had managed to achieve with that small space. Reproducing a chic dining experience in that tiny space, surrounded by posh furniture and not to mention upmarket cutlery (steak knives especially!). I was a bit edgy about the heavy leather covered chairs as they were so bulky it made moving about a difficult task. Thank God they were comfortable though. Pardon my finicky comments.

We proceeded to ordering our foods soon after seating. The menu was an interesting mixture of fusion dishes showcasing bold pairings of flavors and meats. One thing that interests me the most was the relative size of the appetiser section to the mains. The former was almost as long as the latter!? oh well.. In the end, I had the pan seared scallops wrapped with parma with a side of citrus salad (appetisers), the Chilean Seabass, mushroom and smoked bacon ragout with truffle-yuzu butter sauce sauce (main) and finally the warm banana tart with homemade lavender ice cream (dessert). Whereas the others ( ZH, Mum, Dad and Weiquan) covered the various courses such as foie gras, pork belly, beef tenderloin, apple tartin, warm chocolate cake, wasabi soft shell crab. Whilst waiting, we were immediately served water, our wines and the compliementary bread; This deserves special mention as it was so good, it sent my brother on an eating frenzy. Laden with oregano and other herbs, the bread was irresistible when served warm with a generous slice of softened butter. An excellent start to the meal.

The foods were soon served and the entire dinner service a whirlwind romance with food and its arty-farty presentations yet holistic value. The verdict: This place was a gem.. serving up some of the best mains I've eaten ever.

The best of the lot and definitely the most memorable was the chilean sea bass. The truffle yuzu butter sauce serving as an excellent companion to the buttery flaky fish that perpetually melted once convened in the mouth. The carpet of bacon and mushroom ragout that the fish sat on was divine as well providing textural contrast to the entire composition. I was taken by the freshness of the fish, it's succulent flesh studded with tiny bits of crispy skin that had been perfectly scored prior to cooking for the effect. A MUST-HAVE!

The others traded in for a fare score. my mum claims the foie gras here to be the best of the 3 eateries, Brown sugar, the universal bar and bistro and Ember. I guess with all her acquired taste 'experience' in the field, she was most apt to judge. However, i felt that Brown Sugar dealt better with the pork belly than Ember; producing a juicier feel, richer in flavor than Ember. The Pan seared sea scallops wrapped in parma got a thumbs up from me as well; however ZH felt that the addition of the wrapped bacon somehow stole a little of the characteristic flavor of the scallop. It's all subjective than again. The beef tenderloin was nothing out of the ordinary and definitely won't be trying that again on the next visit.

Desserts department, the apple tartin scored the highest followed by the much coveted warm banana tart with lavender ice-cream and last of all the warm chocolate cake which i suggest everyone not to have (Brown sugar does a much better rendition of this classic.. nothing lost here if you don't order it).

Total damage done $417 for the 5 of us including corkage fees for 2 bottles of wine. (in case u might be wondering, the corkage fees are $20 per bottle (red/white) and $25 for champagne; note that the cheapest wine sold in house is at least $80 so do consider B.Y.O).

Ember, a place definitely to be seen and also a dining location worth the splurge. With spectacular cuisine and fresh and bold flavor combinations, it's hard just resisting the urge to pop your head into the kitchen to sneak a peek at the chefs in charge.

Finally, I would like to end off the post with a lovely dedication to my parents!

To the best parents in the world. May the both of you stay happy and united for the longest time!


Fen said...

That is so sweet... Glad that you had a wonderful dinner on such special occasions....

Hmm... it seems like you are a supporter of HungryGoWhere, keke

SiHaN said...

Fen: Yeh..it's great isn't it that my mum suggested this place. hehe. Lucky me! fan of hungrygowhere arh? It's a good website mar and i enjoy writing reviews for restaurants anyway. Give and take!