Full post with photos: http://www.alexischeong.com/2012/10/food-review-fern-kiwi-restaurant-at-01.html
Was kindly invited by the folks from Fern & Kiwi Bar and Eatery again for a proper food tasting after they had their Grand Opening in September. Spoke to many people that night - the very friendly PR guy, the restaurant manager and the chef.
The big question was "What IS New Zealand food?"
Being the first authentic NZ restaurant to set up shop in SG, they are by default a representative of the country. Huge responsibilities!
After some explanations and the proof in the pudding, the answer was clear.
New Zealand food is quality.
It is the best of nature's offerings because the country is in the middle of no where but receives the best in rainfall, clear ocean waters and rich volcanic soil. What that gives is rich agricultural produce, good beers, the best fish and cattle.
Even though they are also very close to Australia in the types of food, in terms of cooking style they have more Maori influences.
Well then, let's walk my epic meal of that night then shall we?
The restaurant was moderately filled on a Wednesday night. The tables and chairs are laid out quite comfortably on the second level above the bar.
We started with a Super Cold Steinlager. It was.. really quite cold. A very light beer that is not too dry, which I liked a lot. But this has to be drunk before it gets warm!
At first glance, the menu is very 'Western', with the usual entrees, salads, pizzas and main courses of meat. But if you look closer you will see that the items are there for a reason.
Prices are slightly on the high side, but that is because most of the ingredients are imported from New Zealand, and very fresh.
Now on to the dishes! First up - hand cut 'lady claire' fries ($8). Apparently they tried to use the potatoes from around here but found it unsatisfactory so they flew in their own. It had a stronger 'potato' taste to it, and was very satisfying. It also goes very well with beer!
Next we tried the Pizza Flatbread ($14) which is caramelized onions with Gruyere cheese and rock salt. It is a very interesting pizza as an appetizer - the caramelized onions was sweet and lent a fragrance to thick crispy pizza bread.
We then had the mini burgers or sliders in the 2 flavors - the Cajun Kingfish sliders ($16) and the NZ Beef and Venison Sliders ($15). Notice the beetroot in the beef and venison slider in the middle. It's inserted on purpose to give the slider that twinge of sweetness that comes from beetroot. Very creative, and the pairing is perfect. I also really liked the fish slider with the homemade tartare sauce. Super fresh fish and its gone in a bite!
Next up, the Green Lip Mussels ($17) coated with tomato sauce. Shellfish is not my favorite, but I had a couple because I don't mind it that much when cooked this way. I do find them a bit tough though and would advise that you check out other entrees if you do not have a craving for mussels.
The classic pork spare ribs - a Lone Star classic ($18.50) was obviously also a Fern and Kiwi hit because almost every table that night had a rack of it. For a ENTREE it is also humongous! 2 people can eat this as a main course, really.
Coated with honey bbq orange glaze, the pork ribs were simply amazing. The meat melted off the ribs so easily in a medley of fats, tender fibers of pork and juice. If you ever had a hankering for pork ribs, you know where to go. It's really good. Highly recommended!
Hot off the heels of that amazing rack of meat is finally a main course dish - the 'Canterbury Plains' rack of lamb($37) with port wine jus and twice roasted potato mash. Don't you think this looks like the paw of some monster?
Oh but, the lamb was so good. Mary must have been proud. It was soft and the gamey taste of lamb just enough to differentiate it from beef, but not too strong to overpower. It was juicy and not too salty. The buttery potato mash also acts as the perfect background to the masterpiece. Again, I have to recommend this if you are looking for some lamb in your belly!
You would think the delicious overeating will be over after all that but no! The kicker of the night and the most surprising part came in the form of desserts. Well, there is always room for some.
The desserts blew my mind. I don't say this lightly, but they did.
It's probably the best desserts I've had in 2012.
We start with the Miniature Pavlovas ($12). It is like a giant macaron with the sugar hard crust outside, that is filled with diced kiwifruit and passion fruit with chantilly cream inside. You will not expect how they complement each other so well, with the different textures and taste of sweet and tangy and creamy all together. It's a party in my mouth! All the time!
And then came the Moro bar and Kahlua Cheesecake ($13) with moro bar and kahlua, finished with a ginger syrup and an orange mint salad. This made ZQ make a very funny expression as well. And so did I because the first thing you experience when you put it in your mouth is ok, cheesecake. Then it kinda swirled around and you will taste the texture and richness in flavour. And then it finally hits you that you just had the most amazing dessert ever. WOW!
Just. go. eat. it. already.
And so that officially concluded our meal. It was really quite epic. I hope you've made it to the end of this post even.
Consider Fern & Kiwi Bar and Eatery next time you are thinking of a great place for a authentic NZ meal that is full of goodness from the Earth itself. Prices might be high, but if you order wisely and try their desserts, you can be assured of a good time.
I made a booking for lunch on Sun at 12pm via this website. The booking was successful, and I even received a confirmation email.
Yet when I reached the restaurant, it was closed.
Why take a reservation for a timing when the restaurant is closed?
For the complete review and more photos, click here!
The menu prices are not ordinary. It costs $35 to $45 for a main dish, and appetizers are well above $10. It's for tourists, set in a touristy area, so, wallets, be well prepared. The service is great, staff prompt and friendly. Just don't sit on the second level, near the kitchen, if you want to enjoy your expensive dinner like a fine dining place. You'll hear the grumpy chef lecturing the servers, or shouting out your orders in a very unglamarous way. We started off with an appetiser, Southern Ocean Chowder ($19.50). Green lipped mussles, sea run salmon and scallops, in a light creamy fish broth with potato chunks, this soup looks pretty when served with the oil floating nicely on top. However, we had to add quite a bit of salt and pepper to season it... It is a really big bowl, easily serving up to 2 persons. There's all sorts of ingredients from the main dishes that you'll see inside the soup- cod fish, salmon, potatoes... A group of 4, we ordered steaks, Pure South New Zealand Beef Sirloin ($41.50) and Pure South New Zealand Beef Ribeye ($41.50), both veiny (grass-fed... ...), not juicy and marinated. Overall, nothing impressive, especially with the normal salad by the side. The Oven Baked Cod ($39.50) and Canterbury Plains Rack of Lamb ($39.50) fared better than the steaks, and had more interesting side dishes ,like grilled asparagus and sauteed haricot beans. The Cauliflower gratin with Upper Moutere cheese ($10.50) was not as cheesy as we had expeceted, but the light, fragrant natural taste of Cauliflowers brought out the taste. The Haricot Beans and feta cheese with almond flakes ($10.50) is average as well, but we thought our zhi-char stall could've done better, as they tasted quite similar... Appetiser Southern Ocean Chowder ($19.50) Green lipped mussles, sea run salmon and scallops, in a light creamy fish broth with potato chunks Pure South New Zealand Beef Sirloin ($41.50) 225grams of grass fed sirloin Pure South New Zealand Beef Ribeye ($41.50) 225grams of grass fed sirloin Oven Baked Cod ($39.50) Served with roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus in a Fern & Kiwi special sauce Canterbury Plains Rack of Lamb ($39.50) Coasted with trio of peppercorns and grilled garlic served on mashed potatoes and sauteed haricot beans Sides Cauliflower gratin with Upper Moutere cheese ($10.50)Haricot Beans and feta cheese with almond flakes ($10.50)
For the complete review and photos, click here!
Located next to the taxi stand at Clarke Quay, Fern and Kiwi is more of a drinking hole, with the food to support it.
At a recent visit, I had some beer and whisky, but what stood out for me was that the pub grub that came with it was pretty good by itself. Recommended is the fried fish, huge onion rings, and the must try, the roasted pork belly which melts in the mouth. Pair these with a large mug of beer and it is the ideal formula for a great night with friends.
Service was generally efficient in a relaxing atmosphere.
The food at Fern and Kiwi was very good indeed. For starters, we had the beef carpaccio (which i really liked), the foie gras (was nice) and the salt&pepper squid (good but the batter could be better. They use the body and tentacles. Not the usual squid rings) The lamb rack I had went well with the peppery sauce and mash. The Cod on the other hand was a little dry but still nice. I didnt get to try the steak but the portion looked big. Great atmosphere and great staff, especially from Nigel who was nice and helpful the whole night. He even cracked a joke to lighten the atmosphere. Price would be on the high side though. If only it was a little more affordable.