The Moluccas Room
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands #L1-81
2 Bayfront Avenue
When we think of Indonesian food, a handful of basic dishes with nasi goreng (fried rice) or mee goreng (fried noodles) generally come to mind. The Moluccas Roomis about to change all of that.
With ground floor windows onto Marina Bay on one side, and MBS “the mall” peeking in through the other window, this smart restaurant furnished in dark woods and glass combines the interesting ingredients and authentic flavours of Indonesia with the sophistication of French cooking methods.
This is a restaurant to impress your guests from out of town guests, with the perfect blend of exoticism, originality and fine dining. Only when you have experienced the rough charm of hawker market Indonesian dishes will you realise just how far they have come in the skilful hands of the charming, Indonesian-born and French-trained Chef Alicia Tivey.
Obligatory sate hits the mark straight off: a deliciously tender beef sate Angus ($25 for 5)and flavoursome grilled chicken sate ayam Madura ($22 for 5)with excellent complementary sauces. There’s also beef tongue sate for the adventurous; perhaps something of an acquired taste.
Menu highlights include ikan bakar Jimbaran ($35), a fresh and succulent fish fillet cooked sous-vide with sweet tomatoes, pickled cucumber and sweet and spicy sauce. Also not to be missed is the Angus steak Rendang ($35), a tender grilled steak with lashings of Javanese-style Rendang sauce; and confit Sakura ayam tuturaga ($33), chicken slow-cooked in French confit style. Most of the dishes have a good karate chop of chilli heat and complex blends of spices are used throughout. Noticeable is the absence of pork from the menu, true to Indonesia’s predominantly Muslim culture.
The cuisine at The Moluccas Room makes it a welcome addition to Singapore’s melting-pot dining scene, and outstanding service makes it even more so.
New Mediterranean at The Knolls
Capella Singapore, 1 The Knolls
“Never trust a skinny chef,” it’s been said, and here’s the exception that proves the rule. Slim-hipped, choirboy-faced Swede Jakob Eske is the executive chef who has come up with this scrumptious Mediterranean menu, with the help of marginally more rotund sous chef Cristia Nou Picart. Although he’s from Barcelona, he knows everything.
To be honest, this not exactly the kind of Mediterranean food that keeps cholesterol low and hearts beating past their usual sell-by date. Tapas-style starters include hearty Spanish meatballs ($12), toast topped with crab and lemon mayonnaise and foie gras on toast with a dab of rhubarb compote ($16 each) – nice, but the last two on too much bread. We’d already tucked into assorted breads with a spicy hummus dip to counteract the effect of the amazing house Margherita, which features a refreshing blend of citrus fruit juice.
Fish is heart- and health-friendly, isn’t it? Perhaps not entirely so when it’s The Knolls signature pan-seared sea bass on pungent, truffly risotto ($34), or the oven-baked cod with creamy saffron sauce, seafood and poached potato ($36). Still-pink slow-cooked beef cheek ($38) has been in the oven for 24 hours and falls apart at the hover of a fork; it comes with smoked potato and roast tomato confit.
All three mains are fabulous, and so are the desserts: crèma Catalana ($14), chocolate fondant ($16) and, perhaps best of all, gossamer-light churro s ($14), that Spanish doughnut-like treat, served here with dipping bowls of chocolate, lemon and whipped cream.
It’s a gorgeous setting, of course, with uninterrupted views off the Sentosa shoreline. Get there early so you can have an alfresco drink before retreating to the comfort of air-conditioning. Highly recommended; a real treat!
8 Rochester Park
For those nights when she wants Japanese and he wants rack of lamb – or in the case of my relationship, vice versa – B@Rochester ends the dilemma. The first and only modern Japanese restaurant in Rochester Park, B serves up everything you’d expect – mouth-watering sashimi and a hefty sake and shochu selection – as well as items you don’t: foie gras with caramelised green apples, seaweed cocktails and, yes, rack of lamb.
Speaking of seaweed cocktails ($18) – start your night with one of these pearly white concoction and the sashimi moriawase (around $28). The duck breast with Chinese snow pear ($20) and the stewed somen with scampi prawns ($28) are impressive, but the award for best bite of the night goes to the butter garlic prawns ($18). Sure, you can grab this dish all over town, but B’s version is far better. Hint: it’s listed on the outdoor snack menu, but you can order it inside.
For dessert, we favoured the umeshu sorbet ($18) and the choux bun stuffed with homemade vanilla ice cream ($12). If you’ve only room for one, stick with the choux bun.
B@Rochester beckons guests to kick back, relax and just “be” – so we did, a casual group of friends to our left, and an immaculately dressed couple celebrating a special occasion to our right. Sophisticated and versatile, B is a must to try.