I have discovered a wonderful Modern European restaurant and bar hidden like a gem within the hustle and bustle of City Hall. Going there is like a reprieve, a quiet spot for good food and thoughtful service. Bathed in dim lights, the neoclassical and contemporary style of the place seems to transport me to another place and time, an unhurried era with easy elegance.
Chef Armando Aristarco
The restaurant is helmed by a relatively young Italian Executive Chef, Armando Aristarco, but it is obvious that he is talented. Chef Armando came out to greet us and told us his story of how as a teenager, he told his father, a chef at a restaurant, that he wanted to work in the kitchen and be a chef. In a bid to deter him, his father placed him in the pot scrubbing section for three months. When his father asked him again if he wanted to be a chef after three months, Armando resolutely said yes. To cut a long story short, Armando went on to culinary school and has worked in restaurants such as two Michelin star Oliver Glowig, Park Hyatt Milan and Ritz Carlton Bahrain. One has to admire his dedication to pursue his passion for food.
At Tablescape, Chef Armando applies an interesting food philosophy, that is to limit the number of ingredients in a dish to three or four, instead elevating the dish by presenting the same ingredient cooked in a different style and through textures. Go expecting good food rooted in classical European style, with a contemporary twist.
The restaurant is proud of their bread trolley and it is not difficult to see why. Baked in-house daily, the breads are served warm and fresh. Guests will be offered a selection of four types of bread along with their choice of unsalted or freshly salted butter. The butter is churned in-house. We tried the Brioche, Coriander, Ciabatta and Rye bread. While the rest were ordinary, the Brioche really stood out for its crispy sides and its soft and naturally sweet centre (4.5/5).
62℃ Egg, Asparagus, Parmigiano and Black Truffle
For starters, I highly recommend the 62℃ Egg, Asparagus, Parmigiano and Black Truffle ($28, 4.9/5). Covered with a parmesan fondue and with generous slices of black summer truffle, we have never tasted an egg more decadent, luxurious and opulent. It was hard for every mouthful not to elicit a sigh of contentment. Now this is also where the bread comes in handy to mop up the remaining delicious runny yolk and creamy rich sauce left behind on the plate. I promise you a satisfied smile at the end of this dish.
For mains, I had the Iberico pork ($42, 4.5/5). This generous portion of very tender pork is marinated with salt, sage, thyme, black pepper and grilled to perfection in a Josper Oven. Charred on the outside, but pink and succulent on the inside, this dish is highly recommended for anyone who appreciates a good pork dish.
US Black Angus Rib Eye
I also tried the US Black Angus Rib Eye ($52, 4.2/5). The medium rare was impeccably executed, juicy and tender on the inside, with a beautiful char on the outside that left the fatty sides oozing with spectacular fragrance when placed in the mouth. While there was nothing exceptional about the steak, it was pure comfort food done well. It is served alongside roasted potatoes with crispy garlic and paprika, and buttery sautéed vegetables.
In the midst of my dinner, Chef Armando surprised me with a creamy cauliflower risotto ($38, 4.2/5). The risotto was topped by amazing thin slices of smoked duck, that tasted freshly smoked as the smoky aroma escaped from the casserole the moment Chef Armando lifted its lid, and delicious chunks of foie gras that were perfectly charred on the sides and bursting with sweetness. What a treat!
When it was time for dessert, I was spoilt for choice. Tablescape rolled out a dedicated dessert trolley that they cheekily nicknamed the “temptation trolley” for me to select my desert. I tried the Champagne Jelly (4.8/5), which featured champagne jelly with mascarpone cheese and candied orange peel garnish, atop a generous mix of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. The champagne in the jelly came through beautifully and paired well with the tartness of the berries, leaving a light refreshing after-taste in my palate.
Another winner was the Chocolate Mousse Cake (4.2/5). The rich Valrhona chocolate mousse was balanced out nicely with a chocolate genoise sponge and at its heart was a tangerine jelly made from mandarin orange puree, lemon juice, lime and orange zest. The marriage of the chocolate and the tangy citrus was delightful to end the already-splendid meal experience.
Tablescape is the kind of restaurant that I will go back to again and again. It exudes a quiet confidence and a level of sophistication that is perfect for a business lunch, and yet is versatile enough for me to want to spend an intimate dinner there with my loved ones. Paired with good food and service, what is there not to like?
Level 3, Grand Park City Hall
10 Coleman St
Singapore 179809Opens daily from:
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm
Bar: 5.30pm to 12.30am
Weekends High Tea: 3pm to 5.30pm
Phone: 6432 5566
Email: [email protected]