Saturday, October 17, 2009

Restaurant Ember

daDining with a friend

A trip to Ember is like reconnecting with an old friend and concluding (with much relief) that nothing has changed. The ever affable Sabrina fronts the restaurant with confidence and ease. Over in the kitchen, her husband Sebastian works his magic, churning out dish after dish of gastronomic masterpieces.

The restaurant usually runs at full capacity, especially during lunchtime where most opt for the highly popular SGD38+++ set lunch, comprising of a starter, main course and dessert (inclusive of coffee and tea). The crowd is predominantly local, with many hailing from the nearby Central Business District. Most are here for pleasure rather than business as the low lying ceiling tends to amplify noise, making conversation a little challenging at times.

Selections in the set lunch menu are extensive and would please even the fussiest of diners. An addictive home made warm walnut loaf is served to all guests on the onset, providing a lovely teaser to what lies ahead. Service is unpretentious and obliging- don't be afraid to ask for more bread! For set lunch that day, I opted for bamboo clams (Starters), miso cod (Main) and Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (Dessert). Every dish was executed beautifully and left me hankering for more.

Bamboo clams- A refreshing take on this dainty shellfish which is commonly served with garlic/soy sauce/black bean sauce in Chinese seafood restaurants. The slivers of crunchy white flesh came perfectly steamed and were paired with a shimmering mustard-like sauce. I was blown away by the unique blend of textures and flavours.

Miso cod- A perennial favorite of mine. The sweet miso sauce is well absorbed into the cod, resulting in luscious petals of caramelized flesh that effortlessly glide down the throat. Heaven.

Meatlovers to note: The restaurant does not serve its beef well done as this tends to give rise to dry and unflavorful meat. I'm not a beef lover so I will allude to the chef's (better) judgment on this one.

Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream- This dessert has been surfacing in numerous restaurant menus at an alarming rate. However, few restaurants can execute this dish as well as Ember. Everything about it is rich, sinful and downright delicious- from the molten lava to the pretty vanilla bean speckled ice cream.

Tea/Coffee- Love the way the restaurant thoughtfully throws in good tea/coffee as a finishing touch. My camomile tea (no teabags..they use the real thing) came with honey and was the perfect remedy for my restless weekday spirit. Better still, I got a whole teapot and a little cookie to myself.

Ps: I have a love-hate relationship with the restroom. Its retro design fits perfectly with the eclectic vibe of Hotel 1929, where the restaurant is housed. However, its also unisex AND super squeezy. I still get a little queasy when I use it. Guess this is a small price to pay for dining at one of my favorite chi chi lunch spots in Singapore.

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