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When I was recently invited to a tasting by the folks at The Exchange, I was intrigued to see how it would fare because I'm not usually a fan of restaurants smack bang in the heart of a financial centre. BUT I'm delighted to say that on this occasion, The Exchange was a firm exception because it really does serve up some rather good food.
Opened back in November and located in the atrium of Asia Square Tower 1 which big guns like Citibank like to call home, this is far from a stuffy CBD restaurant. More a large, light, open hangout with a buzzy vibe, bar and not to mention a rather large open kitchen.
What I like about this place is though contrary to its location, it really feels like the kind of place that you could enjoy a good meal whether you're work lunching, weekend lunching, relaxing over dinner, or having a post-work drink or few. It can sometimes be tricky when a restaurant tries to be everything to everyone, but somehow this time The Exchange has lucked in.
Helmed by Group Exec Chef Kacey Whaitiri-Roberts, a Kiwi who perfected his trade under amongst others Gordon Ramsey at Claridges in London, this place is all about the Australasian.
Now before we get on to the food - let's talk drinks. The Exchange not only offers 80 labels of wine (predominantly new world to accompany the fare) but also 30 whisky labels and a healthy selection of cocktails. Being lunchtime and still feeling the effects of a heavy weekend, I only managed a Mojito. It was not too sweet or wimpy as sometimes they can be, with just the right amount of punch.
And on the wines, yes these guys are serious about wines because they have one of the largest wine fridges in Singapore!
Now on to the main event - the food. We started out with the Duck Liver Pâté ($27) which was served up on sweet toasted homemade brioche and beetroot marmalade. Now I have to warn you this is very moreish and that's thanks to the rich smooth velvety texture of the pâté, which was complemented perfectly with itsdelicious port glaze, and the sweet earthy, slightly spicy tones of the beetroot marmalade. Mmmm looks good doesn't it? Yes, that's because it is!
Following that came the Prawn and Scallop Ravioli ($20). Served with lemongrass emulsion, the ravioli was perfectly soft and plump like little pillows and the combination of East meets West flavours made for a wonderfully unique slant on ravioli that I have never tasted before.
The starters had set the standard high and so I was looking forward to seeing what the mains would bring.