February 22, 2015

Rhubarb Le Restaurant @ Duxton Hill ~ Safe, Predictable, Hard-To-Go-Wrong French Dining

Rhubarb Le Restaurant sounds impressive enough to warrant a visit from the group of us. Here's talking about a contemporary French restaurant which aims to serve fine cuisine with personalized service, and boasts of Chef Paul Longworth and Restaurant Manager Jerome Desfonds who are alumni of Au Petit Salut. Besides, the reviews I've read so far skewed towards the positive.

Nestled within a conserved shophouse in the charming enclave of Duxton Hill, the restaurant's interior exudes understated elegance in shades of grey. Even with cloth-draped tables and plush carpeting, the feel is more chic than stiffing kind of formal.

Our table is one of the seven on the first level where the semi-open kitchen is also located. For bigger groups or private functions, the upper level dining space completed with a lounge area will serve the purpose well.

For a restaurant that named itself after a plant, I had expected to see a more rhubarb-centric menu but the only items featuring the reddish-hue ingredient are Foie Gras ($32) and Pigeon ($64) with rhubarb & rose puree, as well as Rhubarb& ($18), a dessert of rhubarb sorbet served with vanilla ice cream and crumble.

Considering that Starters are priced from $16 to $32, Mains from $28 to $64 and Desserts from $14 to $20, the 3-course Set Lunch that we went for is quite a steal at $42. There were 3 choices for each course and we ordered everything plus an additional main to share among us (which raised more than a few looks from the eyes around. Oops).

In a mood to splurge a bit more? A Special Chef Menu is available at $68 for lunch and Degustation Dinner is at $138. Of course, there is always the ala-carte selection.

The amuse bouche of Duck Rillet topped with fish roe and served in a charcoal mini-cone was quite an interesting start with its contrasting flavors. Following soon were a light Salad of Little Gem 'Anchoiade' and saltish Pork & Pistachio Ballotine which tasted like pâté or an atas version of spam. Pardon my lack of a better description, but I meant it in a good way :p

White Onion Veloute
might not looked photogenic, but was real easy to like with its natural sweetness from the onions and velvety smooth texture of the soup.

Moving on to the mains, the Quail with endive, baby carrots and pea pulp was tender albeit a tad dry, but nonetheless enjoyable as the meat's aromatic flavor was slowly released in each chew. Nothing to fault of the Norwegian Ocean Trout which was well-cooked and flaked to creamy softness at the gentle nudge of my fork.

Rump of Lamb with king oyster mushroom and balsamic braised Bombay onions was decidedly delicious, though my favorite dish of that afternoon went to the Wagyu Onglet ($52). Executed to my preferred medium-rare doneness with much succulence and served alongside with pickled walnuts, salsify and sweet herbs, it was altogether delightful.

Desserts like Pistachio Meringue and zesty Rhubarb Sorbet were nice but not exactly memorable, though I must say the dome-shaped Chocolate & Cream Cheese Mousse elicited more than a few chuckles from our imaginative minds and was rather unforgettable in a different way.

Service was efficient and faultless, there is nothing to fault about Rhubarb Le Restaurant really. Perhaps the food came across as being rather safe and predictable, when our palates were hoping to be surprised.

Still, I would recommend this as a hard-to-go-wrong place for business lunches or quiet dinner dates away from the shopping mall crowd. When talk become serious or when you start gazing into each others' eyes, food would then most probably become of secondary concern.

Rhubarb Le Restaurant
Address: 3 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089589
Contact: +65 8127 5001
Website: http://www.rhubarb.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rhubarb-Le-Restaurant/1505748192995678
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11.45am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10pm / Sat 6-10.30pm / Closed on Sun

All prices stated are subjected to 10% service charge and 7% GST.

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