4th Dec 2014
By: Mu Yao
With an ambitious aim to ensure diners "eat their fill" when enjoying fine dining, BRIDGE claims to "revamp fine dining without fuss nor pinch." So, this is fine dining that's also value-for-money too? Sounds like a winner to me already.
Freshly opened for the past 3 months or so, Bridge has taken time to fine-tune its menu without much fanfare. Describing it's cuisine as "Modern European", it's one of the few restaurants of its price range to take the claim of "only the best ingredients" seriously — from importing truffles straight from the source to making their own butter. Owner Lawrence even claims that he plans to shave whole truffles live in front of the diner to make sure they know they are getting the real deal when they order something truffle-related. Like the truffle honey waffles for example.
The decor here is a little industrial-chic (which is very common nowadays), but Xinli and I liked the thoughtful touches that they have put in place. The chairs were all generally very comfortable and are well-suited for long conversations, and they have a variety of seating configurations (which seat up to 10 people a table) that make this a good place for gatherings and functions. I also like the fact that they have a comfortable sofa area and many power plugs — secretly good news for university students like me who are always looking for a quiet place in town to study. Certainly, this place is more than just looks.
Chef Daniel Grobnik, who has 15 years of culinary experience and worked for the acclaimed restaurant Saint Pierre previously, has presented a very thoughtful and value-for-money festive menu for the upcoming Christmas season. This festive a la carte menu that we tried, considering the quality of the ingredients used, is a pretty decent option for those who want to eat well but not bust their wallet.
They also offer a 3-course Christmas set dinner at $68+, making this one of the cheapest set dinners around town. Items include a Foie Gras & Liver Parfait for starters, pigeon and pork belly (braised for 36 hours!) for the mains, and a cinnamon panna cotta for dessert. Bridge is certainly making good on the promise of providing unbeatable value to fine dining.
We started off with Scallops Tartare in creme fraiche ($22), served with caviar, chives, lemon, cucumber and wasabi mayonnaise. The presentation had a certain wow factor comparable to more expensively priced counterparts like Stellar at 1-altitude or The White Rabbit, because it was served on a chilled granite slate plate. The scallops were sweet and refreshingly light. Melded together with the creme fraiche, the dish was light and was enhanced by the floral scents of the blue and pink cornflower petals that went beyond tickling the taste buds. I liked the fact that the chef smartly chose not to pan-sear the scallops as well because it would have made the dish too heavy as a starter, losing the delicate sweetness of the fresh scallops. The caviar also added a salty burst of flavour as a playful contrast to the rest of the ingredients, which was a welcome touch for me. What Xin Li and I really enjoyed too, was the fried lotus root — crisp and a touch of saltiness to complement the very full-bodied flavours from this dish.
The main was a Beef tenderloin poached in red wine ($42), accompanied by roasted celeriac, carrot, and pumpkin balls, cherry tomato confit, with truffled mashed potato. The beef tenderloin that was served to us was a nice pink medium, and could be cut pretty easily. The texture was probably attributed to the low cooking temperature (68 deg, I was told) of poaching the meat in the red wine. On the downside, we did find this tenderloin a little on the dry side.
As this was a part of the cow that has relatively less fat than the rest, don't expect the flavour of a T-bone steak or sirloin. However, the lighter umami taste of this cut of beef made it an excellent accompaniment to the rest of the ingredients, especially the truffle mashed potatoes. It was as smooth as paste, and complemented the sweetness of the vegetable balls well. Throw in some shaved black winter truffles with the rich red-wine sauce, and you get a very satisfying main that was both substantial but not overwhelmingly heavy. Something different to all the heavily salted meats (Gamon ham and seasoned turkey, I'm referring to you) available this Christmas season. The kind that makes you gelak once you had your 3rd bite. Eating well during this festive season doesn't always mean you have to be a medieval glutton — this offering by Bridge is a fairly sufficient answer to this.
|Decadent endings in desserts don't always have to make you feel like you've got to go renew your gym membership for the coming year. Just a touch of gold flakes will do.|
Tell me you didn't drool looking at this picture. Hello food porn.
And just to PG-ify things a little bit, here's Tintin and Snowy looking at the aftermath.
With white thick sauce dripping down on something Look at their surprised expressions!
We ended off our tasting with a nice cup of Flat White. Lawrence, the owner, told us they use a custom blend of coffee beans. Which I felt could have been stronger, but was definitely okay for an evening coffee (unless you want to sleep at 2am in the morning, or if you claim otherwise, coffee certainly doesn't have an effect on you).
Bridge offers a very promising answer to an increasingly overcrowded pool of fine-dining restaurants, all vying to charge top dollar by maximising fluff over celebrity chefs, fancy ingredients, location and decor. Bridge is a quiet way of telling us consumers that even in the fine dining circle, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Or in my case, pudding.
We thank Lawrence for the invited tasting.
31 Seah Street
Tel: +65 6333 4453
Mon to Thurs: 11.30AM - 10.00PM
Friday: 11.30AM - 12.00AM
Saturday: 10.00AM - 12.00AM
Sunday: 10.00AM - 5.00PM