Covid-19 is still around after it first landed on our shores since January 2020. The restaurants were just being allowed to open earlier this week, and here we are off to a restaurant to celebrate Claire becoming older. LOL.
It was meant to be a small surprise for Claire. I didn’t tell her where we’re going until we are there at the door of the restaurant. Rhubarb Le Restaurant was the choice, awarded 1* Michelin star for 4 consecutive years. A small, intimate restaurant with just 7 tables. It’s cosy though the introvert in me is complaining about having too much attention from the staff…
We did the usual checking in via TraceTogether app and measured our temperatures before being seated. There were only one other table that was occupied and the introvert in me cannot stop whining.
We were introduced to our very short menu and a comparatively much longer drinks menu. Our dinner menu only has 2 courses: 2 starters 1 main 1 dessert or 3 starters 1 main 1 dessert. We both opt-ed for the 2 starters menu and chose the same items. 2 out of 3 starters, 1 out of 2 mains, 1 dessert with coffee or tea. Confused yet? I sucked at explaining stuff, it was actually quite simple, really.
We were first served with an expensive bottle of still water. I say this because I’m a cheapskate, I cannot deny that. But I must say this about the service: the wait staff set out the utensils we would need for every dish before service and they took time to describe every.single.dish and they clear our dishes as soon as we set our utensils down.
Call me suaku I don’t care, I have never experienced such fine dining, literally, so I was pleasantly surprised. The staff were super attentive but never intrusive, the introvert here approves.
The first dish blown us off our feet. It was an explosion of flavours, I’m no foodie so I have limited foodie vocabulary, and I don’t know how else to describe it other than an ‘explosion’. We both looked at each other, seemingly saying ‘is it going to be like this from now on?’ We were full of anticipation.
Next was the crab salad: “Alaskan King crab, almond milk gel, creamed avocado and cucumber.” goes the guy who served us the dish (I’m still not used to this). Both our dishes were meticulously decorated, what am I saying, all the dishes were decorated like this. You can appreciate the effort that goes into the dish each step of the way. Taste, though, is very subjective. Simply put, it does not suit my commoner’s taste buds. Even though I liked mashed up food items, the combination of flavours in this dish doesn’t work for me. I must’ve done something wrong when scoop it up. Likewise, Claire thought the crab should be the star but she couldn’t taste it. We must’ve have done something wrong..
Next up, scallops! After watching so much Hell’s Kitchen, we were really excited to see scallops, this is a nicely plated scallop sitting on confit chicken leg, cauliflower and white chocolate pulp… wow, so many things! We both happily dig in, I was quite happy with the taste, but Claire disliked the cauliflower and white chocolate pulp/mash, too exotic to her taste. It is a little exotic to me as well but I can take it, I wasted nothing on her plate too, like the typical ‘dutiful husband’.
Mains, of course, is the most important dish to me. Everything we had before should be a build up to this dish. We both had the same, the pigeon. Roasted breast and confit leg ball, pickled endive, potato purée and pomegranate. Well.. The pigeon breast looks like medium rare, I think, so I was a little worried. The head chef came out to serve us this dish and he said “perfectly cooked” so I just went on ahead with it.
I must say, my mouth isn’t made for such exquisite cuisine.. I’m sure it will have its fans for sure, but the tastes were way too complex for this simple man. Exquisite indeed. So much so that it confused my taste buds.. I don’t how to better explain it, Claire piled most of her plate onto mine, and I finished them all. They were not bad, we just didn’t know how to appreciate it.
Dessert was the Strawberry lemongrass white chocolate dessert, with what looks like ixora flowers as garnish. Very interesting. I used to taste the nectar of ixora blossoms in my childhood. But I remember ixora have 4 petals..
Tart, sweet and creamy, me likes it. Claire, not so much. She can be a little fussy with her food sometimes.. So yes, I finish whatever’s left on her plate as well.. No wonder I’m gaining weight.
I think I told them about Claire’s birthday when I was making the reservation, so they presented her with an additional plate of desserts. Nice touch! Thanks!
During the end of the service, we were felt sorry for not being able to fully enjoy the food. The first dish was the one that stole the whole show. I felt sorry for my wallet as well. LOL. To sum it all up, I believe it was a cosy and intimate service that was rendered to us, I would easily gave them a 5 stars on that part. Food was great too, its just didn’t suit us, but taste is very subjective so please don’t write them off. I did manage to feel the heart and soul that was pour into creating each and every dish, that I cannot deny.
If a small restaurant with only 7 tables can survive 7 years in the middle of Singapore and 1.5years of Covid-19 pandemic, some more retained the 1 Michelin Star rating since 2016.. All that goes to show how good they are at what they do. Please give them a try. In the mean time, this rubbish mouth is going for some Nanyang style kopi.