The Black Swan

The Black Swan is one of my colleagues' favourite lunch spots; they're big big fans of the burger and steaks here. And while the invitation to lunch at The Black Swan has been extended several times, I've opted to hit the gym instead. You see, burgers and steaks weren't an appealing enough diversion from my regularly-scheduled lunch-time workouts.

But late one night, my friends and I were in the vicinity looking for sustenance, when we happened upon The Black Swan. Celebrated as one of the best supper joints in the business district, we thought to reward ourselves after a long hard day with some red meat and burgers.

I don't know why I took so long to visit The Black Swan. Straightforward and unpretentious, the classic European fare was excellent. The food favours tradition over the trendy, so there's none of that fusion-this or nitro-that. Just good, solid cooking that does justice to good, solid produce.

The plump Pan-Seared George Bank Scallops ($29), wonderfully caramelised with a gorgeous char, was set on a creamy corn puree and topped with micro-greens and chicken skin crackling.

The Crab Croquettes ($26) was lush with jumbo crab lumps, topped with Kaviari caviar, and slicked with a touch of tartar sauce.

The Mac & Cheese ($12) was outstanding in its simplicity. Just good cheese, and lots of it, al dente elbow pasta, and a burnished crust.

A signature, the Black Swan Burger ($32) was classic done right. One of the very best burgers we've ever had, the juicy medium-rare patty was lined with streaky bacon, melted mature cheddar, and a sunny-side up egg. Thick cut fries, a thousand-island dressed side salad, and tomato sauce sided this.

The vegetarian Roasted Cauliflower Steak ($26), complemented with crunchy puffed grains, black truffle, a wobbly slow-cooked egg, and maitake mushroom slivers, was so awesome it beat the rest of the meats. There was symmetry on the plate: flavours were balanced and a lovely contrast of textures. A must-try as well.

Another signature, the Stockyard Wagyu Ribeye ($64) supplemented with a halved portion of Grilled Maine Lobster ($30) was a mixed bag. We requested medium-rare, but the steak was done to a medium-well. That, on its own, wasn't a big deal because the steak was sumptuously marbled. It was just that we've had better steaks (like at our fallback at Ruth Chris). Then again, at the pricetag of 60-odd bucks, the adage of "you get what you pay for" rings true. The lobster was excellent though, swimmingly fresh and its delicate sweetness jazzed up by oodles of melted butter.

While flavoursome and boasting a beautifully crisp skin, the Duck Leg Confit ($32) was a teensy weensy bit dry. A little fat lining the meat would have served this dish better. Still, it was a commendable effort.

Complimentary starters of cheese puffs were so scrumptious on their own the butter was rendered redundant.

The Black Swan
19 Cecil Street
Tel: 6438 3757
Open Mondays 11.30am to 11pm;
Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11.30am to 12midnight;
Fridays from 11.30am to 1am;
Saturdays from 5pm to 12midnight;
Closed on Sundays
Website: www.theblackswan.com.sg

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