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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

[Media Invite] Dinner at Queen's Garden Restaurant @ Changi Village

33 Hendon Road, Lobby Level, Raintr33 Hotel, Singapore 509673
Tel: 9647 1378

Located at the lobby level of the upcoming Raintr33 boutique hotel is none other than the gorgeous Queen's Garden Restaurant. Today I am honored to be one of Hungrygowhere's invitees for food tasting at this trendy and exquisite restaurant.

Set in dim lightings and bold, passionate colors with a charming quasi-Old World feel to it, this cosy and stylish restaurant serves Western-fusion dishes that emphasizes on its quality and aesthetic aspects.

One could choose to dine in the elegant comfort of the indoors, or choose to sit closer to nature and gorgeous views at the alfresco dining areas -  intrinsic to a good restaurant.

I was curious about these colorful, multi-flavored mini lava cakes, and was informed by the friendly owners that these would form part of the tasting menu later on.

Here is the Tasting Menu, to be shared amongst 6 - 7 of us.

Once seated, we were served water - on a glass with pretty flower coaster. This bottle of expensive mineral water tasted refreshingly good in its nakedness.

Bread rolls were served first - I tried the Focaccia Roll that was so soft, the bread sinks in when pressed. It was sweet and fluffy, and went well even without the olive oil or butter served alongside.

We started with salads - lots of exotic salads!

This is the Beetroot Salad (SGD$14.00) - served with feta cheese, watercress, pistachio and red wine vinaigrette - a favorite of the Europeans, but I was hooked as well. The combination of beetroot's sweetness, the crisp fresnhess of the watercress and salty immersion of the feta cheese was a powerful tease on the palate for sure.

The Smoked Salmon Salad (SGD$13.00) - consisting of Norwegian salmon, semi-dried tomatoes, garden greens, onions and lemon citrus dressing - tantalizes the palate with the bouncy texture of the fresh salmon slices lending credence to the lush greens.

Next, the Prosciutto Salad (SGD$14.00) - with arugula (fresh rocket), cherry tomato, pistachio, red Bombay onion and black truffle vinaigrette - another dish seeking to invoke all the five senses with its sweetness, spiciness, saltiness and crunchiness (of the pistachio bits). The ham was tender and not overly salted, which was appreciated.

The Spinach Salad (SGD$14.00) - the tossing together of baby spinach, confit portobello, Queen's green olive and cherry tomato - a healthy tasting dish enhanced by the exotic flavor of juicy portobello slices.

And finally, the awaited Pasta Salad (SGD$13.00) - chilled angel hair pasta, black truffle sauce and flying fish roe - slim strips of springy textured pasta tasting almost luscious in the sauce, pairing perfectly with the crackling roe.

Then the mains began to replace the appetite whetting salads.

This Crab Meat Pasta (SGD$24.00) - comprising of linguine, crab meat, pine nuts, chilli in tomato sauce - a delight for crab lovers for sure, with its soft and sweet crab meat coupled with tangy pasta. Personally I would prefer it more spicy, but I guess this balance is just right so as not to taint the taste buds.

There is the Risotto (SGD$22.00) - with wild mushroom, truffle oil and parmesan cheese - the arborio rice was cooked to softness but still retained its chewy texture. I suspect that the flavor could have been heavier, but was played down to suit the tastebuds of one of the guests; but even so, the distinctive flavor of mushrooms was not lost on us.

Next, the Marinated Chilean Seabass (SGD$34.00) , also known as  "cod" -  served with fine beans, fried herb potatoes and tomatoes. Under normal circumstances I already love cod, but trust me, this is no ordinary cod. The grilled exterior concealed a very succulent, smooth and moistened flesh that caught us off guard - almost juicy in its deliciousness. The fried potato went well with the low-key flavor of the fish, easily making this my favorite dish of all.

Then the Duck Leg Confit (SGD$34.00) - soft polenta, sauteed wild mushroom and Balsamic reduction encompassing a crispy-skinned dish. While flavor was done just right without being too heavy, I had hoped that the meat was softer.

Following that was the Wagyu Beef Burger (SGD$28.00) - with tomato, cheese, country-style tomato chutney and garden greens on the side. The first thing that caught our eyes was the thick layer of almost translucent cheese atop the beef patty - for it to be able to melt so gracefully, I knew it was a thick slice of cheese.

I have eaten burgers people held high praise for, but the burgers did not impress me. Nothing prepared me for this burger with its thick, juicy patty jolting me to my taste sense literally - it was a steak in itself without the fatty bits that patties contain, and the smoky flavor of the beef added to its piquant taste.

Last but not least, Angus Ribeye Steak (SGD$48.00) - succulent and thick slab of juicy grain-fed (200 days) beef steak, with potato puree, asparagus and red wine reduction. From the first cut to the last, this steak continued to please the palate.

Finally, Char-grilled Lamb Cutlets (SGD$45.00) - served with potato puree, asparagus, tomatoes and red wine reduction. While it was tougher than the steak, this lamb cutlet was considered rather tender in its texture, and cooked to scrumptiousness without the redolence of lamb's gamey taste.

Time for desserts after a short break.

This tiny array of Molten Lava Cakes - delightedly colorful and alluring with its interesting flavors - raspberry, lemon, green tea, chocolate and cookies & cream. The textures were a little rough overall, and there is no "flowing center" if one expects it. As for the flavors, I'd say everything was rather lovely (especially the chocolate one) and it is a very creative concept - but the green tea ones tasted kind of rubbery with no hint of "matcha" at all

The Creme Brulee - traditional cognac creme brulee topped with berries -  a sweet and crispy caramelized facade giving way to very smooth, soft and creamy custard. The touch of fruits not only added to the visual beauty of this dish, but also gave it a "healthy" overture, not to mention adding on a touch of refreshingness to the gently-sweet flavor as well.

Then the Chocolate Mousse - with coconut cream and topped with seasonal berries. I have been warned of its richness beforehand, but when the first mouthful hit , there was no stopping the waves of palatable pleasure. This chocolate mousse was creamy and rich and was just like a chocolate lover's dream come true.

Following this was the Apple Crumble - apple, homemade crumble, almond flakes, topped with vanilla ice-cream - best eaten warm. An all-time favorite of mine, this wholesome dessert with its sweet apples, fresh crumble and generous spread of almond flakes scored high points as well.

Finally the Panna Cotta - vanilla panna cotta topepd with infusion of strawberry jam -  a cream dream that slid down the throat so smoothly, yet its luscious flavor lingered deliciously in the mouth.

Whether one plans on having a date or unwinding with friends over good food, this place has it all - ambience, impeccable and quality dishes with unique twists of creativity.

Thank you Hungrygowhere and Queen's Garden - for the introduction to these divine dishes and fabulous company of representatives of HGW and Ivan (Running Man) etc.

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