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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Dinner at The Royal Mail Restaurant and Bar @ The Ascott

It was time for catching up with three pretty girlfriends, and the chosen venue was The Royal Mail Restaurant & Bar located at 2 Finlayson Green, The Ascott Raffles Place, Singapore 049247 and the number to dial is 6509 3859.

An elegant restaurant cum bar that serves modern European cuisine focusing more on British flavors, the concept here was actually inspired by a vintage brass mail chute located in full view at the lift lobby of The Ascott. A concept exuding Old World charm dating back to the days of Doris Day's letter writing era, Grace Chang and policemen in shorts (and possibly, handsome postmen on bicycles).

The first level comprises of the bar area, and this flight of stairs lead diners to an elegant, quiet restaurant specialising in classic British fine-dining dishes.

The restaurant itself comprises of a circular dining hall where our white table-clothed tables were lined, plush carpeting and then it leads out into a larger dining hall that looked fit for functions and events. I liked the dim lightings and sleek interior of colonial charm, with comfortable tones and furniture where diners could dine in style in complete repose.

They brought us the warm Bread Roll upon placing orders. At first we were concerned that they did not serve butter or olive oil to go along with the bread roll, but once the first piece of bread entered our mouths and our palates immediately swooned, we understood why. The bread roll aka Cheese Gougere itself was cottony soft, and the flavor of the herb and cheese was a surprise delight. I could have asked for another one....

Then they served us the complimentary starter of Smoked Salmon topped with cream - fresh, delectable and one of my favorites anytime, anywhere.

My main course was served first - the Pan Seared Duck Breast (SGD$32.00) - served with Celeriac puree, vegetables, cranberry sauce and groittines. Taste-wise, I thought it was rather good - the sweet-sour, smooth puree lending credance to the stronger flavor of duck meat. However, the texture was rather hard, and it was bloody, I had to admit that throughout the meal I had really thought I was eating medium-rare steak (no joke!). As a steak, it would be really tasty - it was only when we looked the bill then I remembered I was actually eating duck.

*Sharona had the Lobster Linguine (SGD$28.00) - with galic, semi-dried tomatoes, chilli oil, lobster and squid ink espuma. The flavor was light and the pasta was kind of hard as well, but the chunks of saccharine-fresh lobster and sapid squid ink espuma made up for everything else.

And *Natalie had the Lamb Fore Shank (SGD$32.00) - braised in rich tomato gravy, with rosemary, daikon and carrots. The lamb was startlingly tender, and there was no hints of the distinct "musty lamb" odor at all.  The savoury gravy was tinged with refreshing sour-ness of tomato, infusing the lamb in its richness, a marriage of superbly combined flavors.

Finally, the Cod Fillet (SGD$38.00) that *Chantal ordered was being served - with grilled fennel, onion confit, pea and tomato mash, saffron beurre blanc and razor clams. The latter got her attention first - and it was so chewy and springy in our mouths that we thought it a good choice. The cod itself was another scrumptious pick as well - sweet in its freshness, buttery soft and the light flavor being uplifted by the ingredients that topped it off beautifully.

Overall, it was a lovely dining experience here, undisturbed by noise or rowdy diners, and the service was rather affable.

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