Sunday, January 22, 2017

Forest 森 - How Did This Place Receive a Michelin Star?

Forest 森 is owned by local celebrity chef Sam Leong (formerly from Tung Lok group) and one of four restaurants (and the only Chinese restaurant) within Resorts World Sentosa to receive Michelin stars but as with Osia, the decision wasn't without controversy.

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The Place

Tucked in a corner of Equarius Hotel, Forest's interior seemingly revolves around a rainforest theme; earthen colours with alot of wood and pillars that soar towards the high ceiling and branch out to resemble foliage.  

As it was a Sunday, the wife and I decided to partake in their Sunday set lunch menu ($68++/pax) which, I quote, is "An 8-course lunch comprising 13 dishes in tasting portions will be served, showcasing the sheer breadth of Celebrity Chef Sam Leong’s culinary invention."

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Double Boiled Soup Of The Day

The soup of the day got things off to a decent start; light yet appetising but would have appreciated a more robust soup.

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(top) Chilled Pork Shoulder Marinated with Hot & Sour Five Spice Powder, (bottom) Pan Seared Foie Gras Marinated in Red Wine Sauce Served with Baked Bread

The chilled pork shoulder was rather chewy and lightly sweet (from the apple and carrot salad beneath) with a touch of spiciness (hot & sour five spice powder). A tad too porky for my liking.

The foie gras wasn't quite up to scratch in my humble opinion. Though smooth and coated with black sesame seeds to accentuate the taste and texture, the mousse was literally drowning in the taste of the red wine.

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(top) Steamed Egg Chawanmushi with Crab Meat, (bottom) Pan Seared Wagyu Beef Roll with Enoki Mushroom Served in Black Pepper Sauce

I thought the chawanmushi was quite good; smooth and silky without coming across as overly eggy and topped with shreds of crab meat, crisped rice and roe for that extra crunch and pop.

A slice of less than tender, lightly sweet beef wrapped around crunchy enoki mushroom; drenched in black pepper sauce that killed off every other taste.

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(top) Deep Fried Hokkaido Scallop Coated in Salted Egg Yolk Mayo, (bottom) Deep Fried Prawn Coated in Crispy Cereal

Although I really liked the salted egg yolk mayo coating and the crisp flour shell, the scallop itself was way too soft for my liking; almost mushy in fact. A pity really.

A singular, fresh tiger prawn coated with rather dry and tasteless cereal. Another shame and honestly, some of the cze char stalls do it better.

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Deep Fried New Zealand Cod Fillet with Thai Style Sauce

On to the deep fried cod fillet with minimal but very crisp batter; rich, mildly sweet and spicy from the Thai style sauce. Coupled with mango slices providing a sweet yet tangy tinge. Pretty good in my humble opinion.

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Oven Baked Chicken Chop with Sand Ginger Sauce

Unfortunately the chicken chop didn't quite do it for me. I appreciated the crisp layer of chicken skin but the taste of the galangal was a little too strong for my liking. Not quite my cup of tea but definitely palatable. 

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(top) Japanese Pearl Rice Topped with Abalone, (bottom) Braised Ee-Fu Noodle with Crab Meat

I liked the texture of the pearl rice but found it very bland with only the faintest hint of egg and ginger. The tender abalone couldn't make up for it and the end result was half a bowl of leftover rice.

Shreds of crab meat floating atop a semi viscous broth filled with limp Ee Fu Noodles that had a nauseating effect after a few mouthfuls.

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Forest Delight

A small cube of smooth New York Cheesecake sprinkled with cookie crumble paired with rather refreshing lemongrass jelly with mango and coconut chunks for extra sweetness and texture. Not a big fan of lemongrass but this was pretty decent.

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At $68++/pax, I personally found the lunch big on variety but relatively small on quality. The only thing I liked about the lunch was the environment (quiet and largely void of customers) and the decent service. How Forest can be awarded a Michelin star seriously befuddles me.

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Food: 6/10
Price: 5.5/10

Overall: 6.5/10

Address: Equarius Hotel™, Lobby

Contact: 6577 7788 or 6577 6688

Opening Hours:

7.30am - 10.30am
(Daily, walk-ins only)

Lunch (Mon - Sat):
12pm – 2.30pm
(Last order at 2.15pm)

6pm – 10.30pm
(Last order at 10pm)

Sunday Lunch:
12pm – 3pm
(Last order 2.30pm)


Monday, January 02, 2017

Drury Lane - Just Another Cafe

We were in the vicinity of Tanjong Pagar one weekend and decided to pop by Drury Lane (one of the numerous hipster cafes that have been sprouting up like mushrooms in the past few years). Getting a table took a while and it seemed filled with youngsters in their teens to mid twenties.

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The Place

Seating is rather limited on the ground floor where the ordering counter and kitchen is. The second level offers more seats but comes across as cramp with tables small and packed rather tightly together. One major gripe I have is the lack of air-conditioning. We had a table at one of the corners and believe me, it was warm and a little stuffy. To be fair, fans were placed at certain locations but it only benefited those who were seated directly in front. Water is self service from one of the counters located near the stairwell.

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Half Sized Cheese Toasties

To start we had the mozzarella and turkey bacon cheese toasties (half sized). Nicely grilled on the outside but sadly, the gooey cheese and turkey bacon didn't quite feature in the taste department. Nowhere close to Toastface Grillah's but decent for the price ($4).

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Monterey Chicken with Avocado and Sriracha Butter

The chicken came across as nicely grilled but a touch too salty whilst the whole grain bread was just dry. I liked the gooey cheese but not much of a fan of Sriracha. Average overall.

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Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Eggs Benedict with Grilled Prawns

This was a rather interesting - Runny egg yolk atop a lightly sweet but mildly dry mantou and drenched with a rather diluted salted egg yolk custard that could use a little more robustness/richness. Packed with three decent sized, crunchy and relatively sweet prawns to justify the comparatively expensive (as opposed to other items on the menu) $17 price tag. Pretty decent dish.

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Drury Lane serves up relatively inexpensive food in general (prices are nett) but quality hovers around the average mark. In short, just another run off the mill (but reasonably priced) cafe. No idea about the coffee though!

Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6/10 (a little cramp and warm)
Food: 6/10
Price: 7/10

Overall: 6.33/10

Address: 94 Tanjong Pagar Rd

Contact: 06222 6698

Opening Hours:

MON - TUES / 8AM - 6PM
WED - FRI / 8AM - 9PM
SAT - SUN / 9AM - 6PM