If you thought Nigella Lawson was the epitome of food pornography, then it is obvious there are two things wrong with you. One, I think it is time you gave your optician a call. (Have you seen how much she ballooned over the years?). And two, you need to make an appointment down to Keystone, located at Stanley Road.
A friend invited me out for dinner at Keystone a couple of weeks back. While I was making my way through the dark alley, I began to get a tad apprehensive about dinner. With dubious looking roti prata stores and a couple of empty tenants, I half expected a mob to jump from behind the car and rob me of everything.
There, then, tucked in the heart of Stanley Road was Keystone. I heaved a sigh of relief knowing the modernistic façade of the restaurant offered me a safe haven. Stepping in to the restaurant, I was mesmerized by how well the restaurant blended together with an overarching theme – stone. The furniture, utensils and plates were a seamless mix of modern kitchenware with a touch of Zen. The amount of detailing that had gone into the concept of the restaurant was indeed, most impressive.
As my dinner host was running behind time, the waitress offered us some bread to start off our dinner while waiting. It is good to note that the grandeur design of the restaurant has not been wasted on hiring inexperienced staff.
Bread served was the Rosemary focaccia bread. I was so fixated on the bread that I just could not bring myself to eat it. Not that it was bad, but because it was like a work of art. I did not dare touch it for fear of destroying the arrangement – ohmygodsoprettyican’ttouchphobia. The bread was charcoaled black, presumably to compliment the theme of the restaurant. The focaccia not only looked good, but went well with the aged balsamic vinegar (I can tell when restaurants stinge on the age of balsamic vinegar)
For the amuse bouche, the chef served us with Eggplants in porcini sauce. Porcini is a type of mushroom, so essentially it is eggplants in mushroom sauce. While the porcini sauce may have muted the eggplant taste on the lower layer, the other slice of eggplant was allowed to flourish in all its natural goodness in the dish.
Ordering may prove a tad difficult given that the description of each dish mostly states the exotic ingredients the chef has used. While true connoisseurs would not be troubled, the common man such as yours truly was looking through Wikipedia half the time. Not that it is a bad thing, as I was able to learn about the exquisite choice of ingredients in each dish. Further, the friendly staffs have been well versed with the menu.
For the starters, we had Jamón Ibérico ($28). As one of their signature dishes, the starter held up in both design and taste. The layout of the food, as we have come to expect, was immaculate. Reblochon is a French cheese from the Alps region; it was fried and wrapped in parma ham (I think?). The dry texture of the ham goes well with the lightly breaded cheese. The sweet fig was a cherry on top of the cake. The passion fruit sorbet though, felt a little out of place in a starter.
We also had the Sarlat foie gras ($26). The foie gras, in all fairness, was nothing too fantastic. I do however, love the sea salt drizzled on the top as the piercing taste enhanced the flavours. The hazlenut sponge was an interesting choice, but perhaps the chef should have stuck to plain old bread to allow more room for the flavours of the foie gras.
The last starter we had was the Hokkaido scallops ($25). While I shall not comment on the fact that a European restaurant serving Japanese themed dishes, I would however, say the dish was not great. The scallops, which were not the freshest to begin with, were coated in a tad too much pepper. The petit poi purée however, helped to salvage the dish. Needless to say, presentation was top notch. The black crackers, which tasted like your traditional prawn crackers but soaked in black dye, helped to set the theme of the dish.
Moving on to the mains, we had the Wild monkfish ($44). The roasted olive topping was a great welcoming taste, aptly short-lived, before the natural flavours of the monkfish set in. The crustacean bisque, which was enhanced by the langoustine (i.e.: Norway lobsters), was an insanely rich taste of the ocean flavours. If you have the balls, please ask for more bread that as it would have gone so well with the bisque; we had 3 servings of bread by this point and didn’t want to overstep our welcome.
The Berkshire suckling pig ($43) was next for the mains. As to be expected from this high quality pork, it was flavourful but laden with fats. I do attest that the pork was a tad tough, and chewing it was like a gymnastic workout for my jaws. The dish was nothing too impressive.
Finally after all that debauchery, we settled for the healthy Roulade of chicken ($39). The boston lobster, which can be found in the chicken roulade, would have gone amiss to the blunt eye. The chicken was a tad dry, and the dish came across separated. It certainly was not as well put together as the other dishes. Nevertheless, how often does healthy food impress?
Desserts time! We had the Brûlée valrhona tart. When the dish was served, the first thought that came to mind was asteroid crash! The green tea and rosemary ice cream was such an interesting combination of flavours. The spice of the rosemary came as a great after taste to the green tea, which in itself has a sharp taste. Oddly, they do not overwhelm each other. The chocolate tart oozed out like magma, which went really well with the mildly sour passion fruit curd by the side.
Our final dish was the Mango and apricot clafoutis ($15). This dish, sadly, was rather disappointing. The mango and apricot did not bring much burst to the table. I would have gladly traded in for another chocolate tart!
Van Gogh has come alive people; and he is busy doing his masterpieces in the kitchen of Keystone. Food wise, it has been pretty much 50/50. It is interesting to note how avant-garde the chef is, especially with the layout of food, and the attempts to incorporate interesting ingredients (like dessert elements in starters). Tired of how art museums only allow you to see the paintings? Make your way down to Keystone, where you can see, touch, and even eat the works of art.
Did it turn us on?
I was blinded by the light – visually stunning…
As we value honesty and integrity here at Six&Seven, all food reviews have been paid for by our writers.
11 & 12 Stanley Street
Tel: +65 6221 0046
Lunch: 1200h to 1500h (last order at 1445h)
Dinner: 1800h to 2230h (last order at 2230h)
The restaurant is closed on Sundays.