Oh don’t you love it as the year draws to an end? Before we begin indulging in all that festive holiday goodness, Truffle Season in November comes as a great starter. Quoted as “diamonds of the kitchen”, these highly prized (and priced) mushrooms offer a new aromatic dimension to the simplest of dishes.
Six & Seven was fortunate enough to be invited down to Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, to sample their Double Truffle promotion from both of their in-house restaurants – Jiang-Nan Chun and One-Ninety.
I loved the ambience One-Ninety offered. Stepping in, you will be greeted by the friendly wait staff and the earthly-cum-nature theme of the restaurant. From the wooden floors and tables, to the lights and curtain railings looking like tree branches, the only things missing were dried leaves on the floor and the sound of crickets to remind me of my treacherous army life.
We began the meal with dishes from Jiang-Nan Chun.
First to arrive was the Fresh lobster and asparagus salad with truffle and salmon roe. Needless to say, the lobster was, as aptly described by the adjective in the menu, fresh. The salmon roe went perfectly well with the asparagus salad and its dressing. Though after the dish, I wondered which element of it was Chinese.
You’re probably thinking now as to why I had not commented on the truffle. It was, after all, a dish in honor of truffle season. Sadly, with the dish’s complexities in flavours, it killed off the truffle. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the dish; the presence of the truffle however, was insignificant to its taste.
Next on the menu was Truffle-baked codfish with sautéed egg white. The codfish was cooked to perfection, with its flesh sweet and firm. However, the truffle marinate of the fish was masked by its other stronger flavours. Nevertheless, some of the truffle found its way to the sautéed egg whites, and it was heavenly. The plain taste of egg whites gave room for the truffle flavours to shine. Truffles always go well with simpler tasting food (who could forget truffle fries?), and this was evident in the sautéed egg whites.
The last dish from Jiang-Nan Chun was Braised 6 head abalone and beancurd with truffle. The “head” describes an abalone’s size, with a smaller number indicating a bigger abalone (and more expensive). The broth, which the beancurd sits on, invites you with a quick hint of truffle, before the traditional flavours of the dish take over. While fleeting, I liked how well it complimented the beancurd. The vegetables would mask the taste of the truffle, so do eat that separately. Sadly, the abalone was a tad undercooked, which resulted in its tough texture.
We now began on the dishes from One-Ninety.
We started with the Charred beef carpaccio with herbs, parmesan and black truffle ($42). Nothing much stood out from this dish as it tasted like regular beef carpaccio. While the chef was generous with its servings of truffles, the dish suffered the same fate as the lobster salad earlier on.
I sat in front of the next dish with my runny nose, and the truffle smell pierces through my thick mucus to give me a warm comfort in my extremity. The Risotto carnoroli with toma piedmontese cheese and alba truffle ($68) was divine!
Dressed up with high quality ingredients from Italy such as cheese from the region of Piedmontese and white truffles from Alba, this was a classic example of how truffles heightens the flavours of a simple risotto to new levels. The al dente risotto was cooked to perfection, while the slightly mild cheese allowed the truffle flavours to envelop the dish. I think the fact that this was the first risotto I have finished by myself (not a huge fan of cheese) is testimony of how good it was.
Desserts finally. We were served the White truffle cheesecake with pear compote ($38). After the risotto, I had not expected to blown away again. To be honest, I was mildly skeptical about having truffles in dessert, but the adventurous nature paid off for the chef. The smoky white truffle taste infused in the cake was simply divine. The cheese was of a smooth consistency, and I loved the hint of truffle at the end. While the pear compote was a tad stiff, I usually like my compote softer but it was of no huge issue to me.
Imagine a girl walking down Orchard Road decked from head to toe in various brands – a Gucci hat, Prada shades, a Dior dress and Louboutin shoes to match; and she carries an Hermes bag. Not an ordinary Hermes, but an Hermes Birkin – a simple classic bag, and recognizable to those in the know. Wouldn’t you think that the focus of the bag is lost in the sea of other brands?
The same logic applies to truffles. Its simplicity is also its vulnerability; many a times a chef tends to overwork a dish to the extent of killing the truffle with the dish’s overwhelming flavours. It is always the simplest of dishes, like the risotto at One-Ninety that the truffles truly enhanced the dish.
One-Ninety’s truffle dishes have faired better than Jiang-Nan Chun. Looking past the disappointing beef carpaccio, the risotto and dessert definitely made up for that. If you’re as truffle crazy as me, One-Ninety’s truffle menu is worth a try. Do hurry as this special menu is served till the end of this month. The prices may seem a little high, but 24-carat diamonds never come cheap.
Did it turn us on?
It was a diamond-studded light bulb. Immensely luxurious, greater clarity, but at times unneeded.
Tel: +65 6831 7250
Mon-Fri: Lunch 12noon – 3pm; Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm
Tel: +65 6831 7220
Mon – Sat: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner 6pm – 10:30pm
Sun: Dinner 6pm -10:30pm
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard