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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

[Media Invite] Dinner at Ash & Elm @ Intercontinental Hotel Singapore

80 Middle Road, #01-00 Intercontinental Hotel, Singapore 188966
Tel:  6825 1008

After the closure of Olive Tree Buffet Restaurant at Intercontinental Hotel, the renovation is finally over and has rather recently re-opened as an entirely new Modern European restaurant, Ash & Elm. The a la carte dining restaurant exudes an intimate, exquisite ambiance with its dimly-lit decor; service was polite and professional as well.

The new restaurant also features a Cheese and Chaturie Room, a large Wood Fire Oven and an Open-Grill Kitchen; these 3 are all located after the entrance, so dining guests can get an eyeful before being seated. There is also a Bar Counter area that also doubles up as a breakfast buffet section in the mornings.  Further in, there are various types of seating areas from cushy booths to buttery leather couches as well as a couple of private rooms for functions.

This was a media invited tasting attended by representatives from Hungrygowhere as well as a number of other familiar reviewers / bloggers.

Their menu comprised mainly of modern European dishes at reasonable prices; there are pasta dishes, meat dishes, seafood dishes, salads, cheese platter, and a kids' menu made up of very healthy ingredients.  This would make this restaurant perfect for bringing family here for meals too.

We started with an Ash & Elm Platter consisting of Home-cured Beef Pastrami, House-smoked Pork Loin, Air-dried Pork Belly, Cold-roasted Beef and Presse de Foie Gras with Smoked Duck. Save for the rich, creamy foie gras, the other meat items were moist and tender; making for a lovely start to the meal. We had a glass of Prosecco each for this starter.

The Bread Platter consisted a good variety of tasty bakes - baguette, crispy bread sticks, etc, paired with butter and house-special Seaweed Butter. The bread was fresh and lovely, of course.

Beef Tasting Platter was next, paired with a glass of reds.  There were USDA New York Striploin, Australian Rib-Eye Steak and French Bavette D'Aloyau, served with sides of vine tomatoes, asparagus, mashed potatoes, sautéed mixed mushrooms as well as potato wedges. Sauces comprised Bearnaise, Peppercorn and Natural Jus - I enjoyed Peppercorn the best as it added a tangy touch to the meats.  The beef were tender, juicy and deliciously-marinated.

Following that, the Pumpkin and Bacon Flat Bread - bacon, pumpkin, nutmeg, sage, mascarpone and parmigiano reggiano .It was favourful, with a doughy texture. I personally enjoyed the sweet and savoury combination as well as the chewy texture of this item.

Mains were served next, starting with this French Free-range Yellow Chicken Supreme, made up of 30 day grain-fed chicken from Savel. Served with it were thyme, rosemary, creamy polenta, sweet corn with bacon and mushroom sauce.  Chicken was beautifully-infused with the heavier gravy, and had a delicately tender texture.

Seafood Linguine was unlike any other that I have ever tasted in a western / European restaurant. The pasta (made of wheat?) looked and even tasted like the Chinese ee-mian; only smoother, finer in texture. The seafood portions were generous and comprised scallops, shrimps, squid, clams, olives tossed in a basil and crustacean sauce. Palatable was the name of the dish and this dish left a deep impression on me - something to order when I return.

We had the Spanish Slow-grilled Iberico Pork Chop next - succulent and well moistened bone-in slab of sweet black pork. The sides had the faintest hint of crisp and smokiness, seeping into the natural flavour gently.

Tasmanian Salmon Fillet A La Plancha - a pretty dish made up of sustainably-farmed Tasmanian salmon, grapefruit hollandaise  and mixed vegetables. Salmon skin was unbearably crispy, teasing the palate before the smooth, flakey flesh of the saccharine red fish sweetened.

Finally, time for desserts. We began with Chocolate-Hazelnut Pizza that contained chocolate brioche, 3 types of chocolates (dark, milk and white), praline, marshmallows, cocoa granite and white chocolate ice-cream. It is a chocolate lover's dream come true, all on a rich, delicious chocolatey cookie base that crunched and melted in decadent pools in the palate. I kept having craving for its unique texture and taste for days thereafter.

Following that, Apple Tatin - créme chantilly, granny smith (apple) chips, and calvados ice-cream. I enjoyed the puff pastry, flakey with the sweetness of apple as well as the crunchy granny smith chips.

Next, Salty Caramel Rum Raisin - 64% chocolate, rum-raisin creméux, sea salt caramel, chocolate foam and cocoa nib ice-cream. Loved the soft, fluffy chocolate cake that was rich and creamy without being overpowering; the pairing with rum and raisin gave me the best of both worlds - two top favorites combining into one.

The Peach Melba was up next - ruby peach parfait, almond strawberry genoa bread, and strawberry tuile looked too pretty to be devoured. Peach parfait was gorgeously flavoured with peach's natural flavour so distinctive, heightening the flavour of the pastry. The berries added a zesty hint to this lovely piece.

Finally, Yuzu-Citrus Combination with its colorful presentation, especially the alternating colors of grapefruits as plating. Lemon sable breton was a crunchy pastry base with citrusy notes, tuned up by lemon curd, mandarin orange reduction and yuzu sorbet. This was the perfect ending to a heavier-flavoured dinner, refreshing the palate and senses totally - an invigorating dessert dish.

The overall dining experience here was fabulous - good food, intimate ambiance and excellent service. Thank you Ash & Elm for hosting this meal, and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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