Conceptually, the Japanese-tinged Italian cuisine was sound, albeit a smidge pretentious. But that was frustrated by the produce, which was notably lacking in freshness. The seafood, in particular, reeked of a fishy taste, and so did the wagyu beef, which fatty texture couldn't mask its gamey odour.
So even if the plating was inspired, and the ambience intimate and cosy, we thought the 5-course degustation dinner ($168) a memorably lackluster and pricey affair.
The first of the quartet of snacks, the Le Bonnotte Potato with bafun sea urchin and caviar, was such a fishy assault on my senses, I couldn't finish it.
The Canolo in Mortadella Mousse and crushed pistachio, was much more balanced.
The Egg Sabayon with Escargot was pretty decent as well, the springy snails lending texture to the velvety richness of the sabayon.
The last of the snacks was a trio of crackers, of black rice, saffron, and poppy seed. These were very mellow, subtle, almost plain.
The Hokkaido Pen Shell with oscietra caviar needed the bite of the prickly pear sauce, piquancy of the marinated tomatoes, and heat of the shiso flowers, to counter the fishy undertones of the scallops.
This was perhaps the only dish that really passed muster, fat stalks of Germany White Asparagus, burnished with black truffle shavings and a yuzu cream, and paired with an organic egg souffle that I thought the dish could do without.That said, I still don't get the fuss over white asparagus...can anyone enlighten me, hmm??
The Boston Lobster Parpardelle was the worst lobster pasta I've had in a very long time, and really because of the shellfish, which tasted more frozen than fresh. The Chinese in me really wanted to finish it, because, 'don't waste food', but the gourmand in me left half of the lobster meat uneaten.
The Saga Wagyu Beef A3 was decadently sumptuous, but I needed all of that wholegrain mustard to mask the gaminess of the meat.
The Yoghurt Panna Cotta with strawberry sorbet and Japanese strawberries was a mixed bag. The sorbet and panna cotta were alright, but the strawberries were grimacingly sour.
Petit fours, chocolates, candied gummies, yoghurt lumps, and soft nougats, that were a welcome relief from the sour strawberries.
The bread selection was commendable too, and the only other highlight as with the asparagus; we loved the focaccia and the bread roll was some kind of wonderful...so simple but so good!!
29 Scotts Road
Tel: 6733 0209
Open weekdays from 12noon to 2.30p for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner;
Saturdays from 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner;
Closed on Sundays