Restaurant Week 2013
For those of you who have not heard of restaurant week, its basically a week where participating restaurants serve you a special set lunch or set dinner for $25++ and $35++, with an additional fee of $15 for the more high class restaurants. Restaurant Week is a global event, and I had the fun of taking part this year.
I booked a reservation at 211 Roof Terrace Cafe for their set lunch, so here’s how it went.
Located on the 4th floor of 211 Holland Avenue (hence the name), 211 Roof Terrace Cafe is a serene hideout, popular with expatriates. Lined with pretty fountains and luscious greenery, the alfresco dining area would be a nice place for dinner (not lunch, the sweltering heat will leave you melting… definitely not the ideal dining experience). Since I went at lunch time, I sat in the air conditioned area, at the far end of the restaurant.
Before I begin my review of their Restaurant Week set lunch, I would just like to highlight their other offerings which are quite reasonably priced. Its a good place to go for a quiet breakfast or for high tea with your friends. (I saw quite a few groups of ladies having their cakes and a cuppa)
Now, on to the Set Lunch!
This is their menu, specially created for Restaurant Week. You won’t find these dishes on their menu. I ordered the Roasted Tomato Soup, Prawn Gnocchi and Molten Lava Cake.
Their dinner menu was slightly different:
Quite worth it, if you can appreciate foie gras. Its not for me though.
Tomato Basil Soup
The Tomato Basil Soup was very nice, topped with pesto, the tartness of the tomato and the strong flavors from the pesto really helped to ‘wake up’ my taste buds, in preparation for the food to come. There was a single Spinach Ricotta Ravioli inside the soup as you can see below.
However, I felt that it didn’t contribute to the dish in any way, and may in fact have spoiled the dish since the pasta was hard, and the filling was dry and tasteless.
My foodie-in-crime ordered the Salad Nicoise which was topped with a perfectly poached egg and seared tuna.
The salad was not bad too, but I didn’t really like the horseradish sauce drizzled over. Also, the seared tuna seemed a little dry to me, in fact it tasted almost like dry chicken meat.
On to the mains! Prawn Gnocchi sounded interesting since I’ve never tried gnocchi before, and the other option of duck did not appeal to me at all. After all, the only duck I’m willing to eat is in Braised Duck Rice.
Two generous portions of prawn gnocchi.
There was basil pesto drizzled over the Prawn Gnocchi as well. The dish was extremely rich, and after a while, it became rather monotonous. There was no oomph, just a super thick sauce, with thick pasta. I felt that it needed something to balance it out. It was my first time eating gnocchi, and this dish reminded me of korean rice cakes and mee hoon kway, although I think I prefer those to this dish. There were also chunks of butternut squash mixed in, but once again, it didn’t help to add any dimension to the dish.
Kudos to them for the homemade gnocchi, which was al dente and nicely chewy. Not sure if gnocchi is meant to be like that, but if the texture is supposed to be similar to that of Korean Rice Cakes, then they did it correctly.
Given the price we paid for lunch, I expected better quality prawns, so I was disappointed to be served frozen prawns which cheapened the entire experience. The main course is supposed to impress, after all.
On the whole, I did not really like this dish.
Thankfully, the dessert was a saving grace. They certainly saved the best for last, with their yummy Molten Lava Cake!
Unfortunately, the cake they served my foodie-in-crime was already broken, so the lava was already oozing out. But it was rather picturesque in its own right, so I began snapping photos of it.
My foodie friend was hilarious, she tried to turn the side with the flowing lava away from the camera, saying that “Don’t take this side, its broken already. Its so messy.” I burst out laughing, saying that the lava was what people wanted to see, rather than the ‘neater’ side.
The lava cake was topped with a delicious Vanilla Bean Ice cream (yes, they did use real vanilla beans, you can see specks of it) which scored many brownie points. I am very particular about the use of vanilla beans rather than vanilla essence, especially in restaurants. Also, this time round, the little touches did make a difference! The raspberries were tangy and juicy and served as a nice contrast to the creamy ice cream, and rich chocolatey lava. The sweet and crispy crumble sprinkled on the plate also added a nice crunch. The Molten Lava Cake was perfect in so many ways.
I certainly wished it could have flowed more, after all, that’s what a lava cake is about eh? Then again, the serving size was perfect for dessert, leaving us satisfied rather than stuffed.
One improvement they could make would be to use suitable cutlery and a smaller plate. By serving us the cake on a dinner sized plate, the cake appeared even smaller. Also, they served us the dessert with a normal sized fork and spoon. A dainty dessert calls for a dainty plate and dessert spoons!
Finally, ending off on a sweet note, the chocolate lava cake was intensely and deliciously chocolatey, with a hint of hazelnut, and none of that artificial sweetener nonsense. Cold and warm, sweet and decadent, crunchy and smooth, all at once. This dessert was a stunning end to our meal. (you probably can tell from my endless raving about it)
Here’s a peek at the scenic al fresco dining area, before I conclude this review:
With above average food, (spectacular desserts!) and a nice atmosphere, this would be a nice place for a casual lunch or dinner. However, in terms of value, I feel that a restaurant like Wild Honey, gives more bang for buck.
Nonetheless, I’d recommend you to come down for a slice of cake to escape from the hustle of city life, at least once. Or at least to try their Molten Lava Cake 😛