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Corner House by Jason Tan, Singapore

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Corner House is named after EJH Corner, a previous assistant director at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. It occupied the previous Au Jardin by the Les Amis group, in a converted bungalow with plenty of atmosphere. Chef Jason Tan brings "Gastro-Botanica" cuisione, whereby "plants are given fuller elaborations, and garnishing becomes a highlight in its own right."

Amuse Bouche: Top left, home made fish cracker with creme fraiche and tobiko. The cracker is very flavourful but not fishy or oily. The creme fraiche gives a slight balance. However I didn't find the tobiko added much and made it too salty. Top right, slow cooked Norwegian salmon with yellow pepper. Bottom left, gruyere sponge. Very light cake with just a hint of the cheese. Needed a little bit more something though. Bottom right, steamed brioche with egg yolk. Perhaps a play on a macaron, but the egg yolk needed far more flavour. It didn't taste much of egg, nor indeed of anything in particular.

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Carabinero Prawn. The plate was beautifully presented, and the prawn was very sweet. Nicely counter balanced by the variety of tomatoes prepared via different techniques from a dehydrated fruit to a sorbet.

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Cevennes onion done 4 ways. Onion with 62 degree egg and black truffle; dehydrated onion;
onion confit and cheese on filo pastry; onion tea.

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I think this was inspired by French onion soup. Inside the onion is a poached egg, which was beautifully done as it was lovely and soft. It was then topped with grated black truffles and truffle oil. Although told the entire thing is edible, sans the skin, it was quite difficult to actually get the onion flesh out to eat. However there was an overall infusion of sweet onion flavour without the funky smell sometimes associated.

This was further epitomised by the onion tea. It may sound appalling but chef actually made it work very well. It tastes like what I would imagine the essence of a sweet fresh onion would taste like. The earl grey tea was overshadowed by the onion though.

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Foie Gras a la Chinoise. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the absolute massive generous serving at Pollen, but this felt a little small. The three slices of foie gras was very nice but I would have preferred a compote or sweet preserve to go with it. The accompanying pickled mago was too sour.

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Maine Lobster. The poached lobster was again perfectly cooked and very sweet. A crustacean emulsion on top helped intensify the flavour too. The rizo pasta was mixed with bits of squid for extra texture.

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New Zealand Cod "Crispy Scales". Cod pan seared to such a crisp that even the scales were edible. The fish remained juicy and tender despite the crispy scales. It sat atop some petit vegetables and a sabayon sauce that had a good balance of flavour and creaminess. A hanaho flower (I think it's also known as shiso) added a slight bouquet.

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Japanese A5 Omi Beef. The day's cut was a striploin, ordinarily not really a cut I go for but the beef is already so marbled and tender even this relatively unfatty cut was amazing. A short selection of beetroot, whole and puréed, added a sweet yet earthy companion. The black garlic crumbs however was a bit too mild, lacking any significant garlic aroma.

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The palate cleanser was a little bit more complicated than usual. Basil sorbet sat atop a jelly of what felt like yuzu, with some pineapple and mango scattered about. There was also a little mound of sago jelly, which didn't really have a big impact on the dish.

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We asked to have one of each dessert to share which they kindly obliged. 

My Interpretation of Kaya Toast. Pandan, coconut, gula melaka, muscovado sable and yuzu. The chef's version of local favourite kaya toast was a decent attempt, but quite frankly it just didn't have enough kaya flavour to it. Without being told beforehand, I may not have recognised it. Also the cracker "toast" was a bit too hard, in the sense that it was difficult to crack it into smaller pieces to eat. I ended up biting into it and the "kaya" smeared all over the place.

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The chocolate "pebbles" was a much better dessert dish. The chocolate mousse was shaped to look exactly like a rock, but was in fact creamy and soft. It had just the right level of richness without being too overpowering, while the chocolate "soil" added more chocolate flavour and much needed texture. The larger mushrooms were marshmallow, cutely shaped, with a few real mushrooms thrown in to confuse some people.

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Petit fours. From left, macadamia with dark chocolate powder; choux pastry with chantilly cream;
macaron with salted egg yolk. The salted egg yolk had a decidedly bold flavour which actually worked well with the sweet macaron pastry.

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Overall, the bill came up to about $580 for the dinner discovery menu for 2 people, without drinks.

Corner House
E J H Corner House, 1 Cluny Road
Tel: +65 64691000


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