We always take the shortcut through Winstedt Road home, and have passed this place by dozens of times. While I'd taken note of Skyve, mostly because of its amusingly kitschy name, we never quite had the impetus to venture in.
Until the good people of FoodNews PR extended an invitation for dinner at Skyve Wine Bistro to sample a bunch of their new creations. Apparently, the chef, Jachin, is the brother of the owner here, and with his return to the fold, revamped the menu with influences from the Golden State. In so doing, Skyve has also rebranded itself as a wine bistro with a focus on wine pairings. Here, they try to inculcate an appreciation and eventual love of wines, and so, every dish on the menu has a recommended wine pairing. Brilliant for wine noobs like me!
As per invited tasting S.O.P., the Hubs and I returned the next evening for an incognito revisit, and found the fusion fare here consistent with the stuff served up at the tasting, and definitely more than decent. However, their price points aren't particularly competitive. Beware the bottles of mineral water pre-placed on every table, you'll need to tell the staff not to open them for you, and ask for iced tap water instead.
Service was commendable both at the tasting and revisit; friendly and attentive. For dog lovers, you may be interested to know this: the nearby residents walk their dogs past the restaurant at night, so be sure to keep a lookout for them. There's one in particular, Phoebe, a goldie, who comes by every night at about 8.30+ pm with her owner, and she's the sweetest, most well-mannered thing ever!
At the tasting, we got to sample a tasting portion of the Sleeping Oysters, a trio of fresh oysters plump with the clear briny taste of clean seawater. Here, you eat from right to left, starting with the plainest one, and ending with the most embellished.
The Chilean ($34 for half dozen), with serrano, lime juice, red wine vinegar and a sprig of cilantro, is most favored by the purists, with the least adornments.
The Mentaiyaki ($34 for half dozen) with mentaiko, ebiko, lemon juice and aioli, was a hit with the mentaiko lovers. The rich creaminess complemented the seafresh oyster very well.
The Kilpatrick ($34 for half dozen) was my personal favourite, with lardons of bacon, worchestershire and chives. Mostly because bacon makes EVERYTHING better. This was lightly cooked and served warm, best for the uninitiated to raw seafood.
The Petuna and Ume Somen, hits both the savoury and refreshing buttons as an appetizer. A 2-inch square piece of trout, very much like salmon, is seared to perfection for a paper crisp skin and moist flesh, set atop cut mangoes, and served alongside the pink-hued somen dressed in a sesame yuzu, ebiko, and chilli dressing, and mesclun salad.
At the return visit, the Hubs enjoyed the Petuna and Ume Somen ($20) very much. The fish was again, perfectly cooked, and the somen (a prettier version of soba noodles) is delightfully chewy and soft.
The Skyve Beef Tartare, is topped with a truffled egg yolk, and seasoned with aromatic thyme sea salt, anchovy chilli aioli, while toasty pizza-ish flatbread and cilantro capered pickles provided company.
At the revisit, the Hubs liked the Skyve Beef Tartare ($20) very much, balancing me out, seeing as I ain't as fanatic about beef as he is. This was lightly torched, so it stayed moist and juicy, and the truffled egg was perfectly done. A wonderful confluence of flavours.
The Polenta Mushroom Stack, with a grilled portobello wedged between polenta cakes smeared with homemade pesto, served together with mushroom fricassee and seasonal vegetables, was surprisingly good. And I'm not a fan of polenta, so that's saying something. Apparently, this dish was conceptualized as a vegetarian option. Finally, a vegetarian dish yummy enough that even non-vegetarians would order.
At the revisit, the Polenta Mushroom Stack ($34) was probably our favourite of the mains. The polenta cakes were seriously good, moist and fluffy, with the pesto lending a flavourful herby fragrance and taste. That said, we thought its 34-dollar pricetag was a tad excessive for a vegetarian dish.
The Sous Vide Poulet, glazed with apricot, was succulent and juicy, while the pomme puree was whipped light as air. What stood out was the candied pecans, it's like nibbling on caramel popcorn.
At the revisit, they were more generous with the candied pecans atop the Sous Vide Poulet ($34), which I liked. The flavoursome chicken was sufficiently tender and juicy, but like the polenta, this wasn't mind-blowing enough to justify its pricetag.
The Spicy Kalbi Beef Short Ribs were also cooked sous vide style, and it was robust and sweetly marinated, but it lacked that melt-in-your-mouth texture. I'd "dabao-ed" home this dish home for the Hubs after the tasting, and he wasn't super impressed by this, even if he liked the Korean influences in the ribs. I liked the crispy yam and sweet potato ribbons, which got really addictive!
We tried 2 of their signature desserts, and I loved the Mango and Cheese Semifreddo, with frozen lime foam, sablee cookies and rippled frozen mousse. Edible flower petals were thrown in for good measure.
At the revisit, both the Hubs and I gravitated towards the Mango and Cheese Semifreddo ($12). In spite of its dense texture, it managed a lightness that was so refreshing.
The Snicker Bar is Skyve's deconstructed interpretation of the beloved chocolate bar. Layers of salted caramel pudding, peanut butter, chocolate ganache and feuilletine were balanced against flambéed bananas and a scoop of vanilla gelato.
The Snicker Bar ($12), a dense confection that was sweet but nuanced, would probably be preferred by chocoholics. I liked that the vanilla gelato balanced out the richness of the chocolate layers.
While we weren't served any bread at the tasting, the Hubs and I were quickly given complimentary Bread Rolls, evidently fresh out of the oven, as these were warm and soft. Me likey.
Skyve Wine Bistro
10 Winstedt Road
Block E #01-17
Open daily from 10am till late (last order for food at 10.30pm)
Tel: 6225 6690