After watching the Toque 12 series featuring Tippling Club, I was motivated to dine there. The final straw came when a friend visiting from Australia asked my wife and I to take her to a restaurant that would wow her regardless of the price.
I had my reservation at 7.30pm on a Friday. When we got there, there were only 2 other tables. We were given the option of sitting at the counter facing the open kitchen and we happily took it so we could watch the chefs in action.
Feeling hungry and ready for a gastronomic adventure, I went for the 10 course Gourmand menu. About 5 minutes after ordering, the first of many snacks came our way. We had salted fish with seaweed cracker, curry pops, peppers in charcoal dust, smoked quail’s egg and tomato lava lamp. I thought the flavour of the peppers coated with charcoal dust and deep fried was really good. The tomato juice with olive oil and basil was really interesting as blobs of green basil could be seen rising to the surface, very much like a lava lamp.
The meal proper started with small lumps of snow crab mixed with crème fraiche and chive oil and topped off with onion ring. Onion ring was light, crispy, flavourful with an interesting texture. I felt the crab meat was drowned out by the flavour of the onion rings though. For the second dish, we had the Scottish razor clams soup with purple garlic, parsley root. The soup was really good and tasted like vongole sauce with cream added to it. The pieces of clams provided a nice chew to this dish. The third dish called WD 50 is probably a tribute to the U.S. restaurant named WD 50 that closed down at the end of November 2014. This consisted of a block of foie gras mousse that contained liquid plum juice that flowed out when you cut into it, pretty much like a chocolate lava cake. It also had pieces of poached plum, dehydrated plum and plum foam, so light you can’t really taste anything when you try to consume it. The foie gras was a little too thick and concentrated for our liking and it was at this point that my wife declared she was full. This was also the point when we noticed that the restaurant at 9.15pm was packed!
|Pulled Iberico pork belly|
The fourth dish was pulled Iberico pork belly served with radish, seaweed cracker, oba, pork crackling and dashi. I prefer eating pork belly whole rather than pulled and especially iberico belly which would be meltingly tender. For the fifth dish, we had Bacalao served with confit egg yolk, fried shallots, sea herbs and topped off with bone marrow jus. The Bacalao (salted cod fish) served here was a lot better than most places I have tried in Portugal. It was not too tough nor salty and the thick bone marrow jus complemented it very well. The confit egg yolk looked like small pieces of carrots and had a sticky jelly like texture to it.
The sixth dish was the sous vide lobster with baba ganoush, cauliflower and raita emulsion. Baba ganoush is a Levantine dish consisting of eggplant blended with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and spices. This was topped off with the raita (seasoned yoghurt) foam and accompanied with dehydrated cauliflower and eggplant. Again a beautifully presented dish however I felt like the lobster was lost in all the other ingredients. The main course was the cured Omi Wagyu with artichoke and fruit tomato. The thin slice of cured beef was the blanket to 2 more cubes of cooked wagyu beef and artichoke. Unfortunately my cubes of beef was almost like pieces of fat and I didn’t enjoy it like the cured beef which was full of flavour.
The seven dish was a cheese dish which changes daily. I did not catch the name but it was a semi-hard cheese with a herb crust and was beautifully presented. At this point I was bursting at the seams and out came a flurry of sweet treats before desserts. There was cheesecake pills which was served in a container and looked like medication. Chocolate balls and burger looking pastry was served on funky apparatus which according to the chef is custom made for them. The fizz bomb was eaten whole and the outer paper like coating melted to reveal a fizzy candy within. The Tippling Cereal and Sorrel desserts were as delicious as it looks but by that time, we were so full that it was really hard to enjoy them. We ended the meal at 11pm which was 3½ hours of marathon eating!
I felt the dishes at Tippling club were presented with lots of creativity and fun, the ingredients used were interesting and the methods were mind blowing. It was certainly an adventure into the unknown, into what was possible with food and the latest trends. I would be happy to come by and explore every time they change the menu which is every 3-4 months if money was not an issue. I did wish that some of the dishes had a bigger wow factor when it came to taste. Many chefs have their signature dishes which have been perfected over years so I know it is hard to constantly change dishes and still be top notch in flavour. I guess when you pay that price, you start to expect perfection.
Tippling ClubAddress: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088461
Reservations: Click here
~ Andre Huber