March 08, 2016

999.99 Five Nines @ Keong Saik Road ~ Modern European Restaurant Sets The Gold Standard

There are no 999.99 gold bars for purchase at the recently-opened 999.99 (Five Nines) restaurant along Keong Saik Road, but you'd find a repertoire of modern European dishes waiting to get into your tummy instead.

If you're wondering how the name came about then, it's because the owner came from a precious metal industry background where 999.99 is the finest form of gold and is considered the gold standard.

The team at 999.99 holds themselves to this in serving food in its purest form in quality, service and presentation, priding itself on its ability to serve guests luxury ingredients at affordable prices.

Helming the kitchen is Executive Chef Masano Saito who obligingly posed for a picture at our request. ありがとう!

His illustrious career saw him working through the ranks from an Italian restaurant in Tokyo, to the Japanese Embassy in Sweden where he served Japanese Kaiseki and French cuisine to Japanese and other dignitaries, before moving to Singapore to head up a Japanese restaurant, and now 999.99.

Wow! Can cook Italian, can cook French, can cook Japanese fare (stop swooning, girls! #会煮饭的男人很帅)! We saw him bringing together the best of his culinary experiences into 999.99's menu which is neatly categorized into Cold Bites, Hot Bites, Pasta & Risotto, Main Dishes and Desserts.

Noteworthy dishes include Tuna & Peach Salad ($140, Burrata & Tomato Salad ($14), The Rossini ($29), Smokey Lamb & Eggplant ($22), as well as the must-have Lobster Gratin ($29) which showcases a whole lobster mixed with creamy béchamel sauce finished with melted cheese topping.

Every day, 20 early birds will be able to enjoy The Rossini and Lobster Gratin at a special price of $19++. Once the 20 portions runs out, the dish returns back to its regular pricing.

The Lobster Gratin is also featured in the 2-course and 4-course lunch menus which are priced at $19++ and $29++ respectively. A 5-course set dinner is also available at $59++ per person.

Croquette might have its origins as a French dish, but the King Crab Croquettes ($13) served at 999.99 leaned towards the Japanese "Korokke" interpretation with a coat of panko deep-fried to golden brown crispiness.

Its filling of pillowy soft mashed potato was all too lovely and distracted me from the fact that we couldn't really detect traces of crab meat nor flavor of what is supposedly to be in a king crab croquette, until my dining partner highlighted it. That aside, it was very enjoyable as a whole.

Another warm starter which I enjoyed was the Oyster Ajillo ($13) for its garlicky aroma complemented with a tinge of spiciness. Though I do take raw oyster occasionally, this sautéed version resonate with my tastebud better.

All that glisten is not just gold but also the black pearls of caviar that adorned the Chilled Caviar Capellini ($20). The cured fish roe did provide a bit of saltish profile to the dish, but otherwise the pasta itself was in dire need of a stronger hand in flavoring.

Besides the Lobster Gratin ($29), the following main dishes we had left a good impression as well. Grilled Swordfish & Spring Onion ($15) surprised with the use of swordfish over the more popular cod or seabass, but I guess the intent is to provide an alternate option to the usual. The choice of fish did give the dish a meatier "steak-like" bite in a pleasing way though I still prefer the delicateness of cod.

Next up, Beef Tenderloin & Foie Gras ($29). The "Rossini" was said to be invented in tribute of the famous music composer, with fundamentals of beef, foie gras and truffle coming together as one dish. That minute piece of foie gras we had was nondescript, a stark contrast to the flavorful tenderloin that was well-executed to medium-rare tenderness. I will order this dish again just to savor more of that beef.

Desserts are also well thought-out, with choices varying from the classic Tiramisu ($8), an indulgently-rich Pistachio Chocolate Cake ($9), to the light and refreshing Lemon Granita & Mango Panna Cotta ($8).

999.99's open kitchen concept lends it a convivial atmosphere, and we had fully felt the energy of the kitchen team from where we were seated (at the counter).

For a more intimate setting, do ask for a table along the side when calling for reservations. The restaurant was fully packed when I visited on a Wednesday evening, so prior bookings are strongly encouraged to avoid disappointments.

Everyone is going for gold!

999.99 (Five Nines)
Address: 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136
Contact: +65 6221 7098
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-2.30pm & 6pm-12am / Sat & Sun 6pm-12am

Prices stated are in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST.

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