Beautifully plated dishes, modern cooking techniques, and ingredient quality a cut above the rest. The best part? You don’t have to pay through the nose for a meal. Affordable fine dining is no longer an oxymoron with
Sorrel: Most bang for your buck
It takes a while to wrap your head around the idea of a fresh-faced 24-year-old helming a kitchen, but Johnston Teo has the experience (he cut his teeth at Jaan and Tippling Club) and a certain chutzpah that frees him from the restraints of typical fine-dining cooking. These have helped him come up with unusual ingredient combos (like langoustine and foie gras in a dish we once had) and seasonal dishes that lovingly highlight the quality of the ingredients. The food is of unmistakably fi ne-dining calibre, yet easy enough to understand, and kind to the wallet. Grab a seat at the bar counter in front of the kitchen so you can watch the young and energetic team work its magic.
A two-course set lunch starts at $38 while a five-course dinner starts at $88.
21 Boon Tat Street, tel: 6221-1911, www.sorrel.sg
Bridge: Most attractive plating
Dark-coloured tabletops and dim lighting don’t make for the most eye-catching set-up, but the recently revitalised Bridge has something else working in its favour: its impeccably plated, modern European creations by chef Sky Chan, who has plenty of fine-dining cred from his years at Joel Robuchon and Corner House. This gives us signatures like the scenestealing Whole Boston Lobster with Kombu Couscous ($48), which features a whole live Boston lobster, first cooked sous vide at 56 deg C, then seared. The side of kombu couscous – fragrant and toothsome thanks to bits of diced squid – is no sideshow either.
A three-course set lunch starts at $29 while a four-course dinner starts at $55.
31 Seah Street, tel: 6333-4453, www.dineatbridge.com.sg
Violet Herbs: Great for fine-dining newbies
This has a rather garish interior – a pinkpurple theme (or violet, as its name suggests) reflected in its furniture – in place of the de facto hipster-chic facade. Funnily enough, this makes it less intimidating for those new to the world of fine dining. Less flashy too is executive chef and owner Edward Hoe’s brand of cuisine – proof that casual fine dining can also be about elevating familiar dishes in understated ways. A sweet mirin shoyu sauce in his roasted and poached foie gras appetiser ($24) cuts through the richness of the foie gras, while beetroot puree in the black miso marinade for the cod ($33) adds depth to the flavours. His piece de resistance: a simple roasted lamb rump ($32) prepared sous vide, then pan-seared to a knife-tender medium-pink, and served with a test tube (yes, really) of delectable lamb jus.
A three-course set lunch is priced at $32, a four-course dinner menu at $48, and degustation menus start at $98 for six courses.
81 Tras Street, tel: 6221-3988, www.violetherbs.com.sg