Friday, August 6, 2010

Dinner at Chef Daniel's Kitchen @ Iluma

After trying out their lunch menu, I have been wanting to find an opportunity to check out their dinner menu, at $28nett for a full course dinner, it was worth the curiosity!

Yesterday presented the perfect opportunity to visit Chef Daniel's Kitchen again, I made a reservation for 4 pax and headed down to the restaurant on the 7th floor roof top of Iluma right after work.

The restaurant is also now featuring the 3 dishes that Chef Daniel concocted in China during the shooting of the current TV reality show on Channel U - 名厨出走记. I made up my mind to try all 3 of the dishes in addition to the dinner set menu, furthermore, the restaurant is offering a 15% discount in August as part of the Singapore 45th National Day Celebration!

The Potato Dumpling with Minced Meat Sauce was an interesting dish, the potato dumplings doesn't have any filling and in itself is rather chewy and tasteless. The accompaniment of the mince meat fried with garlic, however, gave the dish it's much needed fragrance and taste. This dish would have been better if the minced meat sauce was more abundant!

The white asparagus salad was light and refreshing and because of the choice of using the white asparagus instead of the regular green asparagus, the salad wasn't too fibrous and the asparagus went well with the radishes, rockets (arugula) and the other veggies.

The mushroom rice, probably the most popular amongst the 3 dishes had a more traditional taste to it. It almost tasted like the Chinese lotus leaves dumpling made of glutinous rice and mushroom meat fillings. The strong flavors of the mushrooms again lent much savouries to the plain rice. I'm a mushroom-lover, especially when the mushroom is done Chinese-style which significantly enhances the natural fragrance of the fungi.

As part of the set dinner, we were presented with the soup of the day, which was Potato-Leek Soup and the standard slice of herb bread. The soup was decent, nothing too spectacular. It was served in an over-sized soup bowl which was fine except that the tables were simply not big enough for it, especially since we were still having the first 3 dishes and our drinks on the table. I would definitely suggest that they change their soup bowls unless the tables get bigger! The other thing that I found surprisingly lacking was that the waitress who was serving out table doesn't understand English at all! I tried ordering the from the menu which was in English and she asked me in Mandarin if I can order in Mandarin instead! I would think that the restaurant would minimally train the serving staffs to understand the restaurant's own menu in English!

The lamb shank was a little dry to start with but it became increasingly moist when it reaches the portion that was soaked in the gravy. It's more a fusion style cooking and different from the traditional western styled lamb shank. This dish resembled more of a Chinese lamb stew.

The Black Cod Casino was again a fusion between a western style ingredient with a twist of Japanese influence. The cod fish was fried and baked with a layer of fish roe which gave it that very Japanese presentation. The taste however was a little too sweet to my liking.

The Ribeye Steak was probably the only dish we had that was true to it's origin. Served with a portion of Caesar's Salad, I had my steak cooked to medium well and it suited me well. The steak was still moist and juicy within and very minimal fat.

The standard dessert of the day that came with the set dinner was brownie served with vanilla ice-cream. Another minus point to note is that the house pour that were featured in the menu wasn't available so we were told to order a whole bottle from the wine menu instead.

Being a new restaurant and all, I think that they are doing decently well but unfortunately flawed by the small details such as the non-English speaking staff, the table layout for dinner as well as the missing house-pour. Hopefully they will be able to iron out these issues as they continue to gain more visibility and popularity.

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