|If you go down to the woods today – well, Greenwood Avenue to be precise – you’re in for a big surprise. Two new spots have just opened up…|
22 Greenwood Avenue
Shelter in the Woods, Greenwood Avenue’s new “tavern”, serves up hearty European fare (think pies, quiches, pig-on-a-spit) and a wide range of macerated rums.
The signature drink ($7.50) of basil-infused Belvedere vodka, lychee rose rum, citrus and grenadine smelt divine; it had a dry hit followed by some sweetness, but it wasn’t overpowering.
Chicken liver and foiegras parfait served with toast ($13.50) was melt-in-the mouth. The country-style pork terrine ($12) was also good, but, as always, if there’s even a whiff of foiegras on the table nothing else gets a look in.
Next were the pies. The seafood pie ($11) of hake, prawns and mussels marinated in chilli crab sauce, was a hit. The chicken pie ($10) had an interesting creaminess to it, which came from a layer of Emmental cheese in the middle.
The star of the meal was the rotisseried suckling pig ($35), served with silky, creamy mash and gravy. The pork was so tender it just seemed to dissolve, and the skin was deliciously salty and crispy.
Chocolate tart with salted caramel and peanuts ($7) was a favourite, and the Saint Honoré($8) went down well too. Chosen from the specials board, it’s a bundle of puff pastry, caramelised sugar and crème chiboust (think millefeuille cream).
We enjoyed a 2010 Buisson Charles Bourgogne ($15 per glass; $70 per bottle), before polishing off some of the restaurant manager’s “babies”, his flavoured rums ($7.50).
I will definitely return, hungry and with my drinking boots on.
Must-try dish:Rotisseried suckling pig
18 Greenwood Avenue
Peranakan restaurant The Patio aims to fill a gaping hole left in this popular Bukit Timah restaurant strip. I’m ashamed to admit that this is the first time I have tasted Peranakan food, but I’m game for anything.
First upwas the nonyangohhiang ($8), a fried pork, prawn and waterchestnut roll in beancurd skin, served with sweet dipping sauce. The secret spices used to flavour the filling were subtle but gave it a lovely warm flavour, which the dipping sauce complemented nicely. In contrast to the sweetness of the roll and dipping sauce, the itektim ($18), a duck broth with vegetables, was a sour and salty sensation.
A claypot vegetable stew called chap-chye ($15) was next. Its aroma was immediately familiar: I’ve noticed it wafting around many a hawker centre and food court. It also included glass noodles, black fungus, mushrooms and prawns, along with a prawn broth. I’m not a huge fan of particularly fishy tastes, and this one didn’t quite push my buttons.
The two main courses did, however. The nonyalemak ($13) was a rich, coconut milk curry, with sweet potato and spinach. Little red flecks of chilli swam in the sauce, and it had just the right heat. Chef Emily Goh produces and sells her homemade sambal ($7) at the restaurant, and this can be added for an extra kick.
My dining companion, Ceri, tucked into the babipongteh ($13), a braised pork, potato and mushroom dish. Once I’d finally wrestled this off her I understood why she didn’t want to share. The pork was soft, succulent and exceedingly more-ish.
Still in the sharing mood, we ordered a burbor cha cha ($7), a sweet potato, yam and coconut dessert with pieces of freshly made tapioca jelly. It was surprisingly light and sweet without added sugar, but we just couldn’t resist a generous pouring of the homemade coconut sugar syrup.
Must-try dishes: Nonyalemak, and burbor cha cha.