Saturday 20 April 2013

Iggy’s, Singapore (Revisit)

Speaking to a few locals, recent opinions over Iggy’s are divided.

Restaurant Magazine, who organise both The S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, can’t even agree with themselves…

On the current ‘World’s Best’ list Iggy’s is ranked at number 26, making the highest placing for any Asian restaurant but in the Asia specific list it is ranked at number 9 – and therefore not even Singapore’s best, with Andre at No.5 (see here).

I loved Iggy’s when I last visited (in 2011); this time, not so much.

Getting to Iggy’s for us was very simple as we were staying at the Hilton on Orchard Road where the restaurant is currently located. With it’s sleek black, dim lighting and modern geometric design the décor definitely seems inspired by the Galactic Empire school of design… when the doors slide open, I always expect to be greeted by Grand Moff Tarkin.

After the usual amuse and bread courses, my wife and I both chose to start with the Foie Gras dish that was served with white asparagus, Alba black truffle, cherry jus and a purée made from “Tanba black beans” (aka ‘kuromame’ premium black soya beans).

Our problem with this dish centered on the kuromame puree; not because we didn't like it but because there seemed far too much of it to balance with the other ingredients. For us, the subtle flavour of the white asparagus was sadly lost.

For her fish course, I recommended to my wife that she have the Cappellini with Sakura ebi, konbu and shellfish oil. I had this dish on a previous visit and loved it but this time the flavours did not deliver the same punch. The shellfish oil, which made the dish last time, certainly did not seem to have the same depth of flavour.

My chosen fish course was Ravioli with Hotaru ika, sabayon, bamboo shoots, cauliflower and omelette. This was a tasty dish - packed full of flavour and it's a rare treat to eat firefly squid but it was also very rustic and didn't sit well as part of a fine dining experience.

For her main, my wife opted for Pork Belly with Gobo, yam and mikan (Satsuma). She didn't enjoy this dish at all and ended up giving most of it to me – I agreed with her that the pork and root vegetable components were quite bland but I, at least, enjoyed the bitterness from the citrus and bitter elements.

For a dish that promised so much on paper, my main of 70°C Wagyu Cheek with Pinot Noir and mustard was another anti-climax. The presentation was beautiful and the wagyu had the most wonderful melting texture but the other components (particularly the jus) failed to enhance this dish further.

My wife chose another dish that she didn't eat and passed to me, Tomato with strawberry and rosemary ice cream. It made for an acceptable ‘pre dessert / plate cleanser’ but I too would’ve been disappointed if this had been the end to my meal.

My dessert was Kaya & Teh Tarik a ‘clever’ play on two Singaporean/Malay breakfast specialities. The ‘Kaya Toast’ element was wonderful - made from a cube of crispy caramelised brioche with a delicious buttery centre and smooth coconut and pandan crème. The Teh Tarik part of this dish was less of a success the tea ‘soil’ and ice cream was good but the tea foam tasted to me like how I expect the foam from dirty dishwater to taste… un pleasant!

We had been very keen to return to Iggy’s – I doubt this will be the case next time. 

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