Decided to splurge a little for our 3rd year wedding anniversary. Heard good things about Blu in Shangri-La so decided to give it a shot. Located on the top floor of the hotel, the panoramic window views of the city was amazing.
Too lazy to make proper decisions about food, so we settled for the Experience Menu consisting of 6 courses as well as wine pairing.
Both variants of the bread were great, soft and delicate but each with their own distinctive aroma. Preferred the potato-onion-thyme over the tomato-parmesan flavour although the potato-based bread did get a bit chewy as it cooled. Instead of oh-so-boring butter, aioli mousse was proffered instead. Although I was worried the garlic flavour would overwhelm the tongue for future courses, it was actually quite smooth and washed away quite easily.
“Roasted foie gras mousse, hoisin, crispy passion fruit meringue”. On paper, this sounded fantastic: heavy earthy foie with the sweet hoisin and sweet/tart passion fruit should have been a great combination. Unfortunately, it just didn’t balance well as the passion fruit flavour was far too strong and overpowered the other flavours. Conversely, the foie mousse didn’t put up much of a fight and was too light (maybe insufficient quantity provided!).
“Australian spanner crab meat, BBQ pineapple, peanut, Thai perfume”. My interpretation is that the “perfume” refers to the bouquet of herbs surrounding the crab, which worked quite well. The peanut powder didn’t really belong though alongside the other more rustic and down-to-earth components; I would also have liked the crunchiness of the peanut here. The pineapple was a bit too tart as well, a bit more sugar glazing would’ve been ideal.
The wine for the first two courses was a brut by Chandon. The bubbly was sweeter than champagne and more floral as well, which worked well for us as we find champagne a bit too dry usually.
“Sauteed lobster meat, sweet and sour eggplant, passion fruit, kaffir lime essence”. This dish worked simply with the sweet lobster, an incredibly thick semi-gelatinous gravy which screamed of dead crustacean essence, and finally the rather exotic kaffir lime aroma emanating from the dish. The passion fruit crackers were an interesting touch too. The tempura-like eggplant was nice in its own way, although it felt a bit like a third wheel in this dish.
“Poached farm egg, mushroom floss, stewed prune, spiced tomato puree”. To be completely honest, I was really tempted to ask for a swap for this when I saw the menu; ultimately we decided to give it a chance though. Unfortunately, I should have stuck to my gut instinct as I didn’t like it much. The egg was beautifully poached, and the pepperoni and tomato puree felt like a good pair, but unfortunately the prunes were far too sour. Also, the mushrooms were strangely sour, almost pickled in flavour (I was expecting a mushroom version of pork floss and was soundly disappointed).
A white Cloudy Bay was given, which was robust enough to stand up to the lobster and overall very pleasing.
“Pan-seared kurobuta pork chop, steamed clams, celery root, hazelnut, melon broth”. The pork was perfectly cooked and quite tender, although the PigPig found it a tad porky. It went rather well with the sweet melon based broth (I suppose the inspiration comes from prosciutto and melon?). However, it really needed the extra aroma and flavour from the shredded celery and clams (the clams were invisible too; we could taste it but not find it anywhere!). Lastly, the occasional crunch of hazelnut with its burst of nutty flavour was much welcomed.
A glass of Californian McManis cabernet sauvignon was rather husky and oaky, but felt a bit better after left to breath for a bit.
“Warm Valrhona chocolate mousse, Tahitian vanilla ice cream, cookie crumb”, or rather more affectionately described as OREO by the waiter. The latter description fit it rather well actually. The combination might be somewhat uninspired, but it was perfectly made and tasted fantastic.
The glass of Inniskillin icewine had a beautiful heady aroma of peach/mango and went down a treat.
Since I made a mention when making the reservation that it was our 3rd year wedding anniversary, the kind folks at Blu gave us a complimentary chocolate cake as well. Unfortunately, it had a bit too much chocolate cream and too little cake (just a little sliver at the bottom) for us.
Last but not least, a tree of petits fours appeared. Speared by the branches were balls of passion fruit cotton candy. The soil was coffee beans with a hint of chocolate coating, and the leaves were dark chocolate. We found them all pretty good and very interestingly presented, while I loved the “soil”.
Altogether, the bill for the pair of 6 course tasting menus with wine pairing came up to $450, including a 15% online booking discount. Service throughout was brilliant, as befitting a restaurant from a top-class hotel.
While the food was bold and courageously innovative as befitting a chef who had trained in Arzak and El Bulli, some of the dishes felt a bit disjointed and lacked harmony and balance. Several of the dishes had elements that were too sour for my taste buds. Also, chef Kevin Cherkas’ passion for passion fruit was downright obsessive at times!
Best bit: the lobster dish.
Worst bit: staying awake till 2 am after eating the coffee “soil” from the petit four.
Level 24, Tower Wing
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: +65 6213 4598