26th February 2014.
Xin Li, Rui Xiong and I went around to East 8 for a gathering, which also doubled up as an impromptu birthday celebration for Xin Li. The eatery had a welcoming ambience and its space was split between an indoor seating area surrounded by glass walls and an al fresco section that was within the building. The dim lighting that came on when the sunset was upon us lent itself very well to a romantic atmosphere, perfect for dates, although soft jazz or light lounge music would have made for an even more pleasurable experience.
Upon settling down, we were each served a complimentary shot of the cold sake sangria. I found the drink to be a very refreshing aperitif that was smooth on the palate. Rui Xiong and I also ordered the Tribeca (yuzu citrus sparkling sake) and Peanut Butter Jelly (blackcurrant, peanut, Frangelico, Baileys), respectively. I preferred the Peanut Butter Jelly for its thick texture and creamy richness with fruity hints, which were absolutely reminiscent of the American classic of peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
We started with the Hokkaido scallops with yuzu miso dressing and shiso. The briny flavour of the scallops was evident and the richness of the roe accentuated the umami. The yuzu miso dressing provided a nice, mild touch of citrus to the dish to add a note of refreshing contrast.
To accommodate Rui Xiong's penchant for yuzu, we went on to have the soy yuzu beef infused torch sliced Argentine tenderloin. While the beef was cooked to a perfect medium rare, the flavours of the soy and yuzu were not brought out in the dish as much as we would have liked them to.
The final tapas dish that we had was also the best executed dish of the night - marinated Chilean seabass in miso and wine with buttered Shimeiji mushrooms. The miso and wine enrobed the fillet with an appetizing glaze that was deliciously aromatic as well. The flesh was perfectly cooked, yielding well to a light touch of the fork. The Shimeiji mushrooms were the crowning glory of the dish with its al dente texture and natural sweetness complementing the fish, the whole ensemble enlivened by the savoury sauce.
All in all, I thought that the drinks were mostly the stuff that made East 8 stand out and the food was really only second fiddle to the innovative concoctions of the mixologist, with the exception of the outstanding seabass. Also, on a separate note, drinks go 1-for-1 on Wednesdays if a lady is in the party, so sadly, we could not make use of that promotion...
10 Coleman Street #01-21/22
Grand Park Hotel City Hall