There is a new dining spot along the Singapore River at Robertson Quay that hopes to bring you on a new culinary adventure.
It is different, I must say.
Beast & Butterflies is the F&B outlet of the newly opened hotel, M Social, that has added a refreshing vibe to the Robertson Quay dining scene.
Both hotel and restaurant are designed by French icon Philippe Starck, so you won't be too disappointed in the aesthetics department.
It's a visual drama the minute you step into the restaurant with dangling chandeliers and lava lamps lighting up the place. The ambience is further accentuated with one-of-a-kind furniture such glowing translucent tables that have been paired with benches, and two exclusive sets of beaded arm chairs that were hand-picked by Starck and imported all the way from Africa.
The restaurant is great for hosting or mingling, as the name Beast & Butterflies suggests. The Millennium & Copthorne group which owns the hotel, believes that food and drink would bring people together, hence it created a social space for that.
On the menu is a series of a la carte dishes, created by Chef Bryce Li, who has had 16 years of culinary experience. "Borderless" cuisine is featured, showcasing a mixture of East and West ingredients in a way that I found surprising and entertaining.
Here are 7 memorable dishes that I had at a recent food tasting session, worth the occasional indulgence.
1. Duck crispies ($18)
Memorable factor: This appetiser dish was perfectly crisp. While it was probably deep fried, it was not burnt. The duck filling was also not too overwhelming as some duck flavours can get at times.
2. Simply Scallops ($24)
A dish of carpaccio Hokkaido scallops marinated with yuzu and ginger. The yuzu was forgettable for me since I couldn't taste any of it at all, but what was memorable were the bits of fried onions that were sprinkled all over the dish. They gave a nice crunch at the end as you slurp up the thinly-sliced scallop. And they also help to take away any potential fishiness, not that there was any when I had the dish.
3. Lobster Porridge ($28)
Done in the traditional Chinese Teochew style, this porridge dish is the ultimate comfort food.
Served with half an umami-laden lobster and some abalone slices, the soup had an excellent broth. While the dish really warmed my tummy, I wondered if I'd pay $28 for a bowl of porridge - with lobster or not.
4. Great Rack of Lamb ($36)
Who would've thought to eat lamb with glutinous rice? Well, Chef Li did, and paired the Oriental-spiced lamb rack with a small portion of steamed glutinous rice. The result was a surprisingly fitting union.
I particularly liked having the lamb with the home-made Sichuan sauce, which was sweet and sour, giving the dish yet another nice twist.
5. Ham Hock ($28 for half; $38 for full)
This pork knuckle dish is one of my favourites. Pork knuckle lovers will understand that the crispiness of the skin is a make-or-break factor. Over at Beast and Butterflies, it was done well - yet not overdone.
Each slice, complete with the layers of skin, fat and meat, is delish when you have it with the nam jim (Thai dipping sauce) that Chef Li created. The crispy skin melts in your mouth as the oily 'goodness' oozes out of the fatty meat. As sinful as it sounds, I have no regrets even if I probably had one too many slices that day.
6. Yam Brulee ($10)
If you are just visiting for drinks and desserts, then this dish is a must-try. Admittedly, the only time I'm exposed to yam desserts is at wedding banquets so I rarely have it any other way than a traditional scoop of yam paste dished into a porcelain bowl, served with a token ginko nut.
But at the restaurant, the yam paste is served with a caramelised sugar carapace and coconut ice cream that tasted like sorbet.
The yam paste was creamy, just the way I like it, but yet both the yam and coconut did not clash and was not overly sweet as Chef Li had a way of toning down the flavours of each item to achieve a perfect balance.
7. So-Shiok (salted egg yolk waffle with durian pengat) ($18)
I'm not a fan of durian but this dessert actually worked for me!
The crispy waffle didn't have salted egg yolk oozing out but you can taste it as you bite into it. The flavour isn't too overpowering, which is probably why it went well with the durian pengat - a rich and creamy, sweet and luscious puree that turned out a winner.
Photos: AsiaOne & M Social