Alkaff: Second Chances

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Second chances don’t come by easily.

With Alkaff mansion, its’ redeeming opportunity came shortly after the first (my cousin’s wedding, unfortunately during which the food, fell short of expectation).

Stepping into the grandeur and romantic atmosphere of the mansion, one can’t help but feel the rush of unexpected expectations surmounting.

We kick-started the meal with a Caprese salad amuse bouche. Meh…

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The wait drew in the next victim to go under the knife, the Marinated Scottish Salmon ‘Carpaccio’ with Yellow Frisee Salad with Salmon Roe, this dish was light, appropriately seasoned to bring out the savoury goodness of the expertly sliced salmon. A dish definitely worthy of a young chef’s repertoire.

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the Handclosed pumpking casoncelli with taleggio cheese fondue and veal jus unfortunately failed to impress. I do confess my deep love for taleggio cheese in any sort of pasta. Unfortunately, this rendition did not cut it. The veal jus failing to gel with the subtle creaminess of the taleggio cheese and the sweetness of the pumpkin puree within; confusion on a plate.

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Mains that followed were a feast for a gargantuan carnivorous appetite. First, the US prime beef short ribs with potatoes ‘charlotte’ and chestnuts fondant($42). The short ribs yielding to the slow cooking process like a fat kid to cake, cushiony soft, the individual slabs of flesh yielding to the knife like warm butter. The accompanying chestnut fondant contribute earthy flavors to the tantalizing mix.

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The Slow cooked suckling pig ($42) served with celery root and wild berries sauce did not fare as well, to my dismay. The attractive golden sheen of the crackling atop the flesh, winning votes amongst my fellow diners; its mouthwatering bubbling uncovering a hint of charred flavor; however, what lay below was slightly disappointing with the overbearing porky flavor. I must admit the marriage of the celery root and acidity of the berry sauce with the protein definitely helped to cover up some of that.

Lamb Lovers will take to the Oven baked lamb rack ($44) from England with glazed pearl onions and grain mustard sauce. Cooked to pink perfection, this gamey meat yielded with zero contention to the knife. Its assertive flavors only enhanced by the slight sweetness of the mustard sauce drizzled over. Definitely the highlight of the night for me.

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Finally, end the meal with the White Chocolate and Coffee ‘Parfait’ with Espresso Sauce and Hazelnut Meringue ($14); the play of flavors, textures and colors on the plate are sure to cause a swirl of emotions. I first met the dish with much contempt, as do I contemplate most plated dishes that appear all ‘dolled-up’ at restaurants; this time it was different, this dish surely impressed with the luxuriously smooth cubes of white chocolate mousse flavored with coffee, the sweet crunch of the hazelnut meringue playing up the perfect match of flavors between nuts and coffee. The Valrhona chocolate cake ($16) with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce was mediocre despite its provocative flashing of the lux ‘V’ branding. The following Alkaff Mansion Tiramisu ($14) ending the night on a low with its lackluster flavoring.

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Below are the dinner items from the ‘first chance’ that was granted to Alkaff Mansion. Canapes which I hardly recall the details to, except for the extraordinary foie gras tartlets.

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Appetisers, the Marinated Scottish Salmon ‘Tartare’ with Yellow Frisee Salad with Salmon Roe which similar to my latter experience was spot on in terms of seasoning, the minced up form of salmon allowing the marinade’s flavors to shine through better.

Mains: The US prime beef short ribs once again, was miles apart to the tasting portions in terms of gastronomical satisfaction. This could have perhaps used a couple more hours of braising, the flesh slightly tougher than I would have liked it.

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As far as consistency goes, Alkaff Mansion has much improvement to be made in this department. Without a doubt, the ambience here is attractive, so much so that people are blindsided to the quality of the food here given its price point. However, if food standards were to continue in the light of the night where second chances were granted, I would be proud to promote Alkaff as the go-to and fail safe destination for an affirmative wedding proposal dinner. But until then, I will only take my chances with that.

Alkaff Mansion Restaurant
10 Telok Blangah Green
Singapore 109178
T: 6510 3068

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