18th November 2013.
But honestly, you can’t be picky at Morsels when most of the food I had here was pretty delicious. Morsels, located at 35 Mayo Street, occupies the former premises of Black Sheep Café before Chef Ratha went to head Masons (now Black Sheep Café has reopened again at Sin Ming).
At first glance, one might think Morsels has a bit of identity issue when it seemed like Spanish, then reads like Japanese and then it is also local. However, after deeper understanding of the concept behind Morsels’ inspiration and the background of the chef, it is actually the amalgamation of various cuisines like the Californian scene the chefs were inspired by. And yes there are one or two things that come across as familiar but there is always a fascinating factor to each and every dish at Morsels that makes it unique (with a good result).
The Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche is one such dish which is Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche, Compressed Plums, Tobiko, Cilantro, Red Onion served with Homemade Tortilla Chips (17 - 25 SGD). From the ingredient alone you can see a fusion of Japanese and Latin American taking place here which works amazingly well for me. The addition of ‘crunchy’ tobiko is simply brilliant. Furthermore, this dish is surprisingly simple to prepare as long as you can get your hands on some sashimi-grade fresh scallops which you could find in Isetan or Mediya if you plan to get Japanese scallops.
Next up is a rather well-rounded salad of Compressed Watermelon, Mixed Greens, Homemade Basil Ricotta Cheese, Green Goddess Dressing and Candied Pumpkin Seeds (13 SGD).
For entrees, I really enjoyed the Steamed Clams, Fig Broth, Homemade Kimchi, Pickled Wakame and Spring Onion (22 SGD), a dish with a distinctive Korean flavour. Who knew you could eat it like a moules marinieres with crusty bread?
Morsels have their modest herb garden just along the five-foot way in front of their restaurant which has a plethora of herbs and plants such as thyme, rosemary, basil, peppermint etc. However their prized possession is the notorious habanero, known for its fiery spiciness. However, when placed into the Singaporean context with our sambal, belachan and chilli padi. It’s nothing a Singaporean can’t tackle. It is fiery spicy but nothing compared to those sambal Squid Bombs at Immigrants Gastrobar or curries at Sammies.
Morsels uses the herbs and spices harvested from their mini garden for the concoctions at the bar and garnishes in the restaurant. The habanero was made into a pesto for a pasta dish: Firecracker Pulled Pork Conchiglie Pasta, Habanero Pesto, Sour Cream and Spring Onions (16 - 24 SGD). The portion was rather big and I think it would get a bit monotonous for me after a while.
Another unique dish at Morsels is the Grilled House Poached Octopus, Squid Ink Risotto, Salted Egg Sauce, Tobiko and Wasabi Sprouts (25 SGD, +7 for extra octopus) . Yeap “salted egg”. The salted egg sauce gives this dish a really fascinating dimension with its savoury saltiness and the squid was succulent and beautifully grilled. The combination works but similar to its pasta, this dish is meant to be shared or else it could get a little heavy on palate for one.
For the carnivores, the Ume-Sake Braised Beef with Okinawan Sweet Potato, Ume Koji Wasabi and Naibai (30 - 38 SGD) was really delicious. The beef was very tender and comes coated with a sweet and sticky marinade made of ume and sake. The sweet potato mash is really interesting too.
And the last among the mains, there is the Butcher’s Secret: grilled bavette, pickled grapes, shishito peppers, fingerlings, onion jam and chimichurri sauce (28 SGD). “bavette” is another name for flank steak. My fellow diners seemed to enjoy this dish a lot and I could understand why. Unlike the braised beef, the bavette does not rely on marinades or sauces; the beef by itself was excellent and a condiments that came along with it doesn’t overpower it.
Then there were the desserts. There was the Homemade Almond Milk Panna Cotta, Candied Orange and Port Reduction (8 - 14 SGD) and the Morsels Signature Milo Tira-miso (12 - 16 SGD). Despite its fanciful name for the panna cotta, it tasted like a really good traditional almond pudding. My vote for the dessert goes to the Milo Tira-miso for its nostalgic flavour. When I was a child, my sister and I used to make “Milo Ice Cream” which is actually a mix of condensed milk and milo powder chilled in the fridge. The Milo Tiro-miso brings back that memory but in a more refined form.
Lastly I ended the meal with a cup of Cappuccino (5.50 SGD). Morsels uses coffee by the Nylon Coffee Roasters, a local coffee roaster.
As energetic as the folks at Morsels, Picky is a mobile food app that allows you to vote and rate restaurants on the move and from your ratings, the app will be able to build a sort of makan profile for you and make recommendations for you in the app. The app also has featured sections where you could browse depending on what you are looking for like an up and coming place or a place to chill out or if you are feeling generous perhaps a place to splurge, Picky has all that laid out for you.
Looking at the attention to details Picky did for launch from a special cocktail to biscuit letters and little prints on the jars in the launch goodie bags. I hope that attention to details will carry on in the further development of the app.
Many thanks to Roxanna and Lucas for the invitation to the launch of Picky at Morsels.
35 Mayo Street