Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Which season is the most.....
Our perpetually sunny Singapore might not be in a locational position to live through any weather changes of the four seasons, but we are blessed to be a gastronomic island where different periods of the year can be experienced through..... food!
Starting this September for 3 months, Lewin Terrace presents flavors of Japanese Autumn through beautifully-crafted Japanese-French fusion dishes in its latest Sho-Mi menu.
Lewin Terrace is rather well-known as that Japanese-French fusion restaurant nestled in a black and white bungalow at Fort Canning Park where many occasions such as corporate events, weddings, birthday and anniversary celebrations have taken place.
It was only until my recent visit when I saw for myself how gorgeous and charming the building is. Its grounds is beautifully surrounded by lush greenery, with views best enjoyed when dining in the alfresco verandah. Though I must admit the air-conditioned indoor area will be more comfortable in our humid weather.
Nevertheless, the tranquil and elegant ambience immediately set me in off in a mood to relish in some culinary creations by the restaurant's Executive Chef Keisuke Matsumoto.
The seasonal Sho-Mi menu features the distinctive ingredients native to Japan available during the Autumn season.
What we can expect is the delicate and refreshing taste of the ocean through dishes like Hokkaido Crab with Japanese Apple, Sea Urchin and Yuzu, as well as Amadai served with Black Truffle, Koshihikari and Seaweed.
Succulent favorites highlighting the menu also include Wagyu Beef Cheek, and Chef Matsumoto's renowned interpretation of a French classic, Japanese Wagyu Steak Nippon-Rossini-style.
The Autumn Sho-Mi Otameshi menu is available for Lunch (12pm to 3pm) and Dinner (6.30pm to 11pm) and is priced at $118++.
We had the Autumn Sho-Mi Wakon Yosai menu which is more luxurious and available for dinner only.
At $188++, the price is not exactly friendly for most wallets. But okay lah, can indulge once in a while.
Our dinner commenced with some Freshly-baked Bread served in a mini sack filled with heated pebbles at the bottom which kept the bread warm. Best with generous lashings of creamy butter. No-carbs diet? After this, please.
The trio of Amuse Bouche that followed in quick succession were equally delightful. There was the firm Japanese Whiting fish slices, Hokkaido Scallop crowned with caviar on a crunchy tapioca chip, and my favorite of the lot, the distinctively sweet Corn Mousse topped with popcorn in an impossibly cute egg shell holder.
Moving on to the menu proper, the Spanish Red Urchin made its attention-grabbing entrance amid gentle clouds of smokiness which cleared quickly to reveal a slab of smoked tofu topped with a pair of sea urchins.
One is of Spanish red variety with a briny taste, the other is of the Japanese's sweet and creamy type, both combined to bring forth an unique, contrasting taste. The 10-years miso sauce accentuated the dish with another layer of savory intensity, while the fried green beans gave it some crunch. Very engaging on the palate as a whole.
I wasn't sure what to expect of the Mushroom Soup with prosciotto blancmange as blancmange is typically a sweet dessert. The taste turned out to be savory with the infusion of prosciotto into the blancmange, and complemented the earthiness of the thick mushroom soup well. Though it got a tad rich after a while, the light coffee foam and crisp garlic chips provided some respite and rounded off the little soup cup just nicely.
The next dish was contrastingly bright and invigorating. Chunks of Hokkaido Crab together with Japanese apple and celery root balls are encased in a translucent layer of tangy yuzu jelly and presented on a rock salt base. It can be enjoyed as it is, or pour together with the mildly-spicy watermelon gazpacho into the plate that was sprayed with sherry liqueur for a medley of refreshing tastes.
A siphon filled with fish broth made its appearance next, teasing our senses as we waited for the content to be extracted to their fullest flavor potential.
Up and down the glass chambers, the broth was finally ready to be poured into the Amadai which was brought out subsequently. Wah, this was really testing my tummy's patience haha.
The entire Amadai dish turned out to be such a memorable, delectable delight, as much as it was a visual one.
Moist and buttery fish fillet. Crispy, aromatic deep-fried skin and scales. Sweet, flavorsome broth. Premium Koshikari short-grain rice pre-baked to risotto-like stickiness. Shaved black truffle for a luxurious touch. Strings of seaweed for some crunchy texture. Checked. Checked. All checked. Each component was executed to brilliancy. It was altogether love Love LOVEly!
I jokingly told my dining companions, "Hey this is super atas Teochew fish porridge! Or is it Japanese chazuke?", while being intoxicated in each comforting mouthful. That was before trying to scrap the plate clean haha. My favorite of the night definitely.
Another highlight was when Chef Matsumoto brought out his signature Japanese Wagyu Steak, a full slab of medium-rare roasted beef which was carved and then plated at the table.
If you're wondering what Rossini-style is, it's essentially a French streak dish named after composer Gioachino Rossini whom the dish was especially created for. Usually the steak is topped with pan-fried foie gras and truffle slices.
The interpretation at Lewin is characterized with foie gras terrine, truffle paste and Japanese autumn ingredients including yellow and red beetroot, onion and taro ball. Doesn't the warm hues of yellow, red and brown bring images of the romantic Autumn season to mind already?
We all had a revitalizing shot of Passion Fruit Slurpee made with passion fruits, mikan juice and lychee jelly as a palate cleanser before digging into the Yaki-Imo for dessert.
The sweet potato chips and chocolate were intricately plated to resemble scattered Autumn leaves, and complemented with sweet potato mash, caramel ice cream and maple syrup for a tinge of sweetness. What an alluring piece of edible art.
I almost "surrendered" at the sight of Small World which comprised of an assortment of mini treats, as my bursting stomach had nearly no more room but I did not want to leave any room for regrets, especially when fellow diners are waxing lyrical about how good the silky, bitter-sweetness of white chocolate & matcha mousse is. It is not to be missed indeed, concluding the meal on an exceedingly satisfying note.
Getting to Lewin Terrace itself can be tricky as the building is not visible from the main road. The entrance is through the red gates of 23B Coleman Street, right next to Singapore Philatelic Museum. Walk straight in and take the flight of stairs of Fort Canning Park which will soon lead you to the restaurant.
Parking is available at Singapore Philatelic Museum and free valet service is provided for Lewin Terrace’s guests.
Address: 21 Lewin Terrace, Singapore 179290
Contact: +65 6333 9905
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun Lunch 12pm-3pm (last order at 2pm) & Dinner 6.30pm-11pm (last order at 9.30pm)
Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.