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Sunday, 10 July 2016

[Media Invite] Dinner at Beast and Butterflies @ The M Social

90 Robertson Quay, Level 1, The M Social Hotel, Singapore 238259
Tel: 6206 1888

Operating Hours

Mon to Fri :     7.00am - 10.00am
Sat, Sun an Public Holiday : 7.00am - 10.30am

Daily:  11.30am - 2.30pm

Daily: 5.00pm - 10.30pm

Weekdays:  last order 12 midnight
Fri, Sat and Eve of Public Holidays: last order 1.00am

Walking into Beast and Butterflies Restaurant was like a dream literally, dimly-lit with colored lights and comprising different sections, from retro to modernistic; all eclectic and interesting. The whole interior feels like stages of walking through the times, yet everything flows together beautifully despite their contrasting differences. This new restaurant is situated at the new boutique Hotel M Social, and although both are designed by innovative Philippe Starck, the hotel and restaurant seek detachment in terms of branding and connectivity (no entrance from interior of hotel directly).

The main dining section is characterized by lava lamps and retro-themed sofas, with tablets mounted against the walls as though they were rock-climbing literally - not in any organised arrangements, but various heights. Then one crosses a pool table and enters rows of lit, rectangular tables that look almost futuristic. If you care to look up to admire the beautiful chandeliers up at the ceilings, you'll see video projection circling the lamps brilliantly.

I was honoured to be invited for media tasting with fellow reviewers / bloggers as well as representatives from Hungrygowhere.   If I had thought - and expected - just another East-meets-West fine-dining restaurant, I was way wrong.

Helmed by Chef Bryce Li, and going by the motto to "find new ways to gather people and every meal is an interesting and different one", the dishes reflect the bold creativity of the interior décor perfectly. Don't be surprised to find items such as Collagen Soup and Tomato Latte for starters, followed by Lobster Porridge or Lala Bee Hoon for mains on the menu, as well as an extensive array of desserts and cocktails.

We started with a very nice tasting menu comprising of interesting signatures, starting with "Bar Snacks" of Crispy Spinach (SGD$8.00) - crunchy large leaves of lightly-battered spinach garnished with garlic powder to jazz the flavour up. We also had the Ham Hock (SGD$28.00 for half / SGD$38.00 for whole) - crispy German Pork Knuckle with Asian Sauerkraut and served with Nam Jim Sauce. What's not to love of a dish with crackling skin and succulent flesh?

Oyster Shot (SGD$10.00) - Thai infused oyster shooters, served in interesting porcupine-like glassware - well, these tangy shooters definitely pierced my tongue the right way, making me yearn for more.

Duck Crispies (SGD$18.00) - deep-fried Duck Rillette dumplings (known as wantons in Chinese context) and served with pickled cucumber slices. Artfully arranged, this union of French and Chinese cuisines brought about a delicious dish featuring crispy skin with chewy, flavorful coarse pate terrine of shredded duck flesh.

The Simply Scallop (SGD$24.00) - Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio, infused with Yuzu and Ginger Marination to give it burst of zest and spiciness amongst the lightly saccharine flavor of the fleshy scallops.

Finally, before our chosen mains were served, we got to try the signature soup named Fragrant Sea (SGD$26.00) - clear seafood Bouillabaisse, Jasmine and Osmanthus tea bag and sweet crab broth served in stone bowl, filled with generous variety of seafood such as crab, prawns, squids, mussels and clams as well as puff rice (served on the side for your own dousing). I thought I would like the concoction very much, seeing as it comprises most of my favorite items such as seafood and tea all in one - but instead I found the floral and sweet crab soup base too sweet for my liking, and there was a slight, stale, acquired flavor I could not put my fingers to.... My fellow reviewers seemed to enjoy it though, and I would still compliment the freshness of the generous seafood in this soup dish.

Moving on, our chosen mains were served. We ordered one item each to share, so we could try more items.

Lamb Rack (SGD$36.00) - tender, moist and devoid of the usual strong gamey hints - this dish was uniquely marinated in Szechuan peppercorn and served with Chinese glutinous rice, giving a touch of spice to the taste and I loved the grainy texture of the flavorful sticky rice. Add on to that crispy lotus root chips and broccoli florets - and you get yourself a balanced, sumptuous dish.

Next, Chic and Chorizo (SGD$26.00) - succulent, juicy sous-vide chicken breast nicely-grilled, served with scallion oil and a crispy, battered roll of mashed potatoes and chorizo croquette. The latter was tastier, even the potatoes were nicely detected within the croquette stick, in terms of flavour and texture.

Then we had Beef Ichiban (SGD$68.00) - soy, mirin wine and garlic marinated U.S. Wagyu Beef served with Masala potato gratin, U.S. asparagus and natural beef jus. This was an exotic dish and we loved the tender, moistened Wagyu beef that knives slit through easily enough, as well as the spiced Indian-inspired masala potato gratin - strangely the flavor complemented the beef's sweeter tone rather than clash.

Lobster Porridge (SGD$28.00) was earmarked by me the moment I read the menu, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Served in stone bowl, made up of luscious clear crab broth with grainy white rice a la Teochew-porridge style, there were also half a lobster, slices of abalone and dried scallops in this rich concoction. The broth was incredibly palatable, it was like drinking in the goodness of the sea; but I must admit that it would've been perfect if the lobster had been firmer, more springy in texture than soft. Nonetheless, I still loved this item.

Finally, Cody Mee (SGD$28.00), looking deceptively simple just like your zichar store's crispy noodles. However, note that steamed Atlantic Cod Fillet is used here, with crispy Hong Kong crispy egg noodles and served with bailing mushroom so often associated as "mock abalone" in vegetarian restaurants.  Flakey, snowy cod was of course, freshly sweet in taste, enhanced by the superior soy sauce it was immersed in - this was a favorite of most of us that evening.  I would love to see some beaten-egg sauce over the noodles, to give it that traditional touch, but that's just me.

Desserts came next - whether you would like to have individual servings, or a sampler set herein known as The Extravagance (SGD$25.00) - consisting of 4 mini desserts such as Sawadee (mango sticky rice), Yam Brulee, Yogurt and Lime Mousse as well as Chocoholic - they have it all here.

Sawadee (SGD$12.00) is basically your favorite Thai dessert - mango sticky rice, with black sesame and coconut sauce. Loved the sweet, juicy mango slices and fragrant coconut sauce as well as the sticky glutinous rice.

Chocoholic (SGD$10.00) - a chocolate and banana sphere where we watched the servers dousing rich molten liquid chocolate over the dark chocolate ball, dramatically reducing it to a collapsed heap of chocolate and banana cubes infused with Szechuan pepper sauce. Loved the decadent burst of flavours - sweet and spicy. Also enjoyed the zesty passionfruit sorbet and chunky brownie pieces served on the side, adding texture and flavors. This was my favorite dessert of the night.

Yam Brulee (SGD$10.00) - thick, creamy taro paste with crusty caramel sugar coating on top, both sitting temptingly beneath a scoop of coconut ice-cream redolent of the natural fruit's sweet taste. This was a beautiful Asian dessert with a Western twist of preparation.

The Yogurt and Lime Mousse (SGD$11.00) - topped with red fruit emulsion and almond crumble - the healthier version of an ice-cream sundae. Yogurt and lime mousse were zesty, citrusy and refreshing, so was the strawberry emulsion, so the overall dessert was sweet and sour - nothing distinctive, but good for after-meals digestion I guess, especially for the health conscious diners.

Polishing off the night were some interestingly-concocted cocktails and test tube wines, impressing us with the "beastly" side of the restaurant - yes, they have some cocktails in demonic looking glasses, such as the Cocktail Devil's Horn and Cocktail Beast Scully, etc. We also had Enchanted Garden (SGD$26.00) served in a light bulb glassware, Asian Beauty (SGD$26.00) which was a zesty delight with lovely gold glimmers, South Pol (SGD$28.00) served in teapots and teacups, as well as Test Tube Red Wine and Rose Wine (SGD$18.00 each).

Overall, we enjoyed the tasting session featuring many types of creative, eclectic Asian fusion modern dishes, in bold, sensational settings and the professional service executed by the crew. I have already (via the Hungrygowhere site) made reservations to come back for more good food next week, bringing along some girlfriends!  Thank you for hosting us, and the delectable dinner, Beast and Butterflies; and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.

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