Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Suparb" Bar-Roque

It was an email from a friend who gathered this group of foodies (some camera shy :p) on one weekday night at a new restaurant in town- Bar-Roque Grill. A familiar name mentioned in that email caught my attention- Stephane Istel.

I first met Chef Stephane when he was the Executive Chef of db Bisrto Moderne at MBS. Two things made an impression that evening- his excellent sauces and his infectious, boisterous personality.

Together with Kori Millar, the former GM of Sky57 at MBS who is also Stephane's life partner, Chef Stephane is now the proud co-owner of Bar-Roque Grill. His new baby is stylish, cosy and comfortably dim (if you are not taking photos), with an interior boasting a playful mix of rusticity and luxury.

Chef whipped up a big feast that evening until desserts were in danger of being left out! Moohehe.

So enough with the rambling and let's see what dishes made their way to our long communal table.

Dinner kicked off with a rather locally-inspired dish. Braised Pork Belly Buns with Pickled Cucumber, Leeks & Espelette Pepper ($6/piece). The pork belly was marinated with pineapple which sounded interesting. Unfortunately, this dish didn't appeal to me. I found its flavours a little confusing and the pork being lost in it.

Then out of a red cast iron pot came forth a homely Chicken Soup inspired by his mum. It was rich, sweet with root vegetables though a tad salty. Chef shaved some black truffles for an indulgent touch.

Spinach Salad, Goat's Cheese, Dates & Almonds ($16) was a pretty good salad with varying flavours and textures. A smattering of fried shallots added a local touch.    

The Char-Grilled Octopus, Arrugula, Tomato Confit, Almonds & Romesco Coulis ($24) featured lovely, tender octopus pieces. Lightly seasoned, the dish allowed the natural sweetness of the octopus to come through. Very nice paired with the crisp, minerally Alsace white wine.

Mooving on to the main courses!

I was blown away by the New Zealand Little Neck Clams, Garlic Pork Sausage, Mushrooms, Parsley, White Wine & Grilled Sourdough ($22 as appetiser; $32 as main course). A hedonistic mix of lovely flavours! The bit of gravy was so good for dipping a crusty bread into.

There was a tomato-based variant too with a tangy-sweet gravy. Tasty but I mooch preferred the white wine version. :)

Then a whole smorgasbord of goodies from the huge rotisserie appeared! It felt as if the clouds had parted and a legion of angels sang. Ok sounds a bit dramatic but you should have seen the buzz when all the roasts were taken out of the rotisserie and laid out on wooden boards! A pwah mooment.

The Prime Ribeye ($198/kg; shown above in the background) was my personal favourite. Plus-sized, simply seasoned with a nice bite and sweet beefy flavours that are released upon chewing. The French Free Range Chicken ($20 for 1/2; $38 for whole) had pretty good flavour but was just a tad dry. Chef uses a French breed of chickens farmed in Malaysia. In short, French citizen, Malaysian PR. Moohaha.

The Pork Knuckle ($58 for a serving for 2 pax) looked promising but was decent rather than outstanding. I was expecting moore robust flavours I guess. Expectations are dangerous. Le sigh.

The Roasted Suckling Pig ($380 for whole pig) was also more visual pleasure than taste. Sorry Chef, I lean moore towards the Chinese-style suckling pigs. :p

While the piggies were relatively disappointing, the wooden board brought another star to the table. The Challans Duck ($250 for whole bird) featured blushing pink meat, a thin layer of fat and five-spice-rubbed skin which added another taste dimension to the meat's deep flavour. Went excellently with the young Cote du Rhone red.

For a hearty carb dish, try the Ravioles "Royan" & Wild Mushrooms. The rich, creamy sauce and earthy mushrooms provided warm comfort.

Desserts made their appearance with the clock almoost approaching midnight. Cowabunga! But end on a sweet note we moost.

Apple Pie "Mum's Recipe" ($12) was homely with baked pieces of apple that were soft but not mushy. Lightly spiced with cinnamon and served with rum & raisin ice cream.

Dinner ended with the Traditional Creme Brulee ($12). Scented with vanilla and with a lightness that made this perfect after all that food (this cow ain't complaining though!)

Then it was time to bring out the wheelbarrows to ferry stuffed diners out.

But wait, kudos to Chef Stephane, Kori and their Sous Chef Alex for the beautiful dinner experience. Their aim is to deliver "love on the plate" and that was evidently seen in the food that evening.

Thanks to Andrew, Bing and David for putting this together and SGFoodonFoot for his power LED light which provided mooch needed illumination, otherwise this would look like an Earth Hour post. Moohahaha.

It was a great night of food and company around the table. To borrow chef's word, "suparb'!

Wheelbarrows not inclusive.

Bar-Roque Grill
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: 6444 9672

Chew On This: Enjoy the whole animal on Sunday with Bar-Roque Grill's "nose to tail eating" dinners!

No comments: