FiftyThree aims to offer a personal rendition of cuisine inspired by their natural environment and its diversity. Ingredients that are foraged, raised and grown with ecological sound and sustainable practices are used to create a cuisine with natural pure flavours.
Tue - Sat: 12:00 - 14:00
Tue - Sat: 19:00 - 22:00
$198 based on 42 submissions
Quiet (18 votes), Dinner (17 votes), Fine Dining (13 votes)
Having heard and read so much about 53, it is difficult not to have high expectations of it. But hey, I wanted to have some good food, so I made reservations for lunch for two on a Saturday.
We were greeted very warmly at the door, led in and upstairs typical of a conservation shophouse: narrow stairway, but still preserving its natural wood flooring. Our waiter that day was very grounded, unpretentious and friendly - and these traits are consistent with all other wait staff that lunch - they were all impeccably dressed, polished, but they had no airs, and were warm and friendly. I always, always appreciate that.
The second level was spacious. After reading all reviews and editorials, I thought it was a cramped space - oh but it wasn't! High ceilings, stained windows of conservation shophouses, exposed cream brick wall, thick wooden planks on the floor, and gorgeous Scandinavian-style, sand-grey furniture. The glassware were beautiful. Everything was understated, but not the cliche, cheesy Balinese-zen like understatement. I was already in a good mood.
We tried the sparkling jasmine white tea, and had plain water (yes, poured from a flask with a stick of Japanese charcoal).
The complimentary paper-thin crackers were made of tapioca, with some walnut essence on the side as a 'dip'. If I could buy a tin of those crackers, I would. And hog it all for myself.
The bread, hmmm the bread! That must be my favourite 'dish'. There were two types of bread on offer: both were made with potatoes and yoghurt, and the only difference between the two is that one had charcoal powder added to it, resulting in it being soot-black. Muffin-shaped, they were served toasty in a grey, clay tub. Butter? No, not just your usual butter as it was made from buttermilk, with toasted barley laid on top of it, and it was so addictively good - a perfect combination of smooth rich velvet 'butter', the crunchy smokey barley and the crusty soft bread. Sigh.
53 offers set lunch menus, priced at S$53 (without GST), excluding supplements (I doubt that was deliberate - the 53 and $53), offering a choice of starters, mains, and desserts. I chose scallops, wagyu cheeks (supplementary $10), apple & rosemary. My partner had crab meat (supplementary $10), pork belly, and pineapple.
Scallop starter had no real chunky scallops, but small pieces with some fruity granita, and several small flowers on it. I like having flowers in my dish. Especially when I bite into it and there is a surprising flavour. I did wish for larger scallops, though. Crab meat was very well done.
The wagyu cheeks were braised over 40 hours in 60 degrees C, and it showed - it was mouthwatering tender, and soaked up the onion stock with glee. Again, there were flowers - this time, they were wild primrose. Together with the leeks, this dish was a success. My partner's pork belly was also done very well; the apple gel was a perfect complement, however, the portion was too generous and it became very heavy-going.
The dessert was the only real disappointment. My apple and rosemary was a concoction of apple risotto, i.e. super-finely chopped apples, with half the plate filled with white rosemary foam. On it were two red hibiscus flowers - very ugly plating indeed! And the rosemary foam was overpowering. The dish could probably do better in taste and looks with just a dollop of foam. The pineapple dish - baked pineapple with coconut shavings was decent, but the brie ice cream - yes you heard right - brie ice cream was just plain weird. I love my brie, I love moldy blue cheeses even more, but an ice cream that has that strong cheesy smell was simply not right. It was wrong.
Our total bill came up to about S$180 for two. I find that pricey, but it was worth the splurge. This Les Amis restaurant definitely trumps some of the others, like Aoki. Good job!
Artistic creations, but mixed reactions to the taste, flavours and price. Will probably be back for a visit if I am back in Singapore, but doubt I would venture beyond a set lunch. Also, a leaky/dripping air conditioner certainly ruins the ambience to an otherwise contemporary setting - one
FiftyThree is at best a mid-tier european restaurant masquerading as modernist cuisine. The decor is a pleasant spartan rustic; the service is generally good, and the dishes are competently plated. The failure though is with the food itself.
For lunch, other than the excellent slow roasted pork
The overall setting is comfortable, not as "stressful" as fine dinning restaurant. I went with the knowledge of the cost, but just wonder why there is no price printed anywhere or did I just miss it? The food is interesting, and somehow "Spa-ish". Good but not impressive, the only taste I seem to