Daily: 12:00 - 14:30
Daily: 06:00 - 22:00
Located in the Flower Dome of Gardens By The Bay, Pollen offers modern European cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean influences. With Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton as its chef director, this 2 storey restaurant with a sitting capacity of 120 is a must go for any food enthusiast.
The wife and I were both on leave and were eager to try out Jason Atherton's (former protege of Gordon Ramsay) Pollen @ Gardens By The Bay, which is similarly named after his Michelin starred restaurant in London, Pollen Street Social. Expectations, expectations, expectations.
Situated within the world's largest glass greenhouse, Flower Dome @ Gardens By The Bay (free buggy ride and entrance), Pollen occupies two levels within the dome, with the upper level (terrace) serving up a selection of dishes in a garden like, cafe setting and the lower level boasting a proper restaurant with a dessert counter where you can choose to have your desserts and/or view them being prepared. I appreciate the novelty of dining in a chilled greenhouse surrounded by nature and sunlight but would appreciate more greenery being incorporated into the restaurant. Still cosy nonetheless.
Complimentary Bread - The homemade white sourdough bread sported a crusty surface with a lightly spongy center and came served with hummus and mustard butter; both of which I'm originally not quite a fan of. However the mustard butter surprised me; smooth and creamy with an ever so slight hint of mustard. Pretty decent.
Amuse Bouche - Our amuse bouche for the afternoon. a steamed bun with Gorgonzola and truffle oil - fluffy and chewy with a hint of truffle oil and a mild pungency of the cheese. A rather interesting and decent start to our lunch.
Cured Trout, Dill Sago, Japanese Cucumber, Ikura, Yuzu - Topped with frozen (by liquid nitrogen) cucumber (tasted like sorbet) for that smokey visual effect, the cured trout had a delicate sweetness to it coupled with firm, mildly chewy flesh. The saltiness came courtesy of the ikura (fish roe), balancing out the mild rawness from the cucumbers. Nice.
Seared Foie Gras, Poached Quince, Walnut Cream (+$12) - Though quivery, the foie gras could do with a little more searing on the surface whilst the sweetness of the walnut cream and walnuts helped to cut through the gaminess. The latter also provided a nice crunchy element. What was new to me was the quince, which tasted a little like peach to me, albeit a little tougher. It apparently belongs to the same family as apples and pears and can't be eaten raw. Most interesting.
Roasted Barramundi, Cauliflower, Grapes, Curry Cream - The roasted barramundi was pretty good; crisp skin coupled with firm, flaky flesh and drizzled over with a non spicy curry sauce, all on a bed of deliciously roasted cauliflower. I'm usually not a huge fan of fish but this was interestingly good.
Roasted Butternut Risotto, Honey Croutons - Although I liked the butternut risotto for its creamy al dente-ness, chewy honey croutons and crunchy pistachios, I couldn't quite get over the fact that there was no protein in it; a vegetarian option. Portions were quite substantial and too much proved a tad nauseating, to me at least.
Due to the word limit, see my entire review and pictures here.
Called Pollen on a Tues to make reservations for dinner on Saturday. Was informed promptly that dinner is strictly walk-in for Terrace and reassured that they will still send a buggy to pick us up when we arrive at the main entrance and call them. This was what subsequently happened on Saturday:
1. We arrived and called Pollen 6x. Nobody picked up.
2. Assumed people were busy and we walked to Pollen taking a while to find the elusive entrance from outside the Flower Dome.
3. Saw a Pollen Buggy driving towards Pollen and then out of Pollen. Was told by buggy driver that Pollen is closed.
4. We walked to Pollen entrance and it was locked. Discovered restaurant area was empty. Waved at a staff to let us in.
5. Staff informed us that Terrace is closed for private reception. We explained that we had earlier tried to reserve and was not told of this. Staff made no attempt to apologise and repeated that "Terrace is closed today. If you want, you can sit at bar for drinks,"
6. Thanks but no thanks, Pollen. Never coming back again.
i will not come here to eat again. my first and last. food taste was ok. can eat here when u r super duper hungry and really dont have other choice to eat. or lazy go out n find food outside the dome. the food is overprice.and service is very bad.all of the staffs look very demotivated maybe becoz of the manager which i think is too bossy n unkind to staffs n customer.
Dear Pollen team
I visited Pollen Terrace yesterday at about 3pm.
While I applaud your initiatives to offer something to the local culinary scene, you might want to look into the service aspects.
Firstly, you seemed to be scarcely understaffed. There was no greeting at the entrance when my friend and I walked in, everyone was occupied, till we got the attention of an obvious newbie to get us a seating.
Why charge 10% service when we are to walk to the counter to make an order?
This I find rather odd, we were told there aren't any afternoon tea selection at 3pm, while it was being served to those who reserved. Is the afternoon tea selection for reservation only?
Both your food and beverage portions are small, it does not seem like a worthy offer for the price stamp it comes with, but I do understand having an exclusive set up and rental costs money.
I must compliment your buffalo bruchetta it was heavenly, we ordered it twice. Why is your menu choices limited, your website shows otherwise, we were only offered the terrace menu, is this practice a norm at 3pm?
Your waiters and staffs were a let down. Most do not communicate, they remove items from the tables without asking, they present items and leave without introducing what it is. Was I in a Kopitiam? My only grouse would be with the Malay gentleman clad in black, who seems like a supervisor of some sort.
While he took time to converse and explain the menu of day to a select few i.e. the whites, the locals were left with one word replies with hardly any smile one was even given faces for being 'difficult'. This should be dealt into as this reflects on the overall professionalism of your establishment. I would have never expected staffs of a Michelin restaurant would poorly perform.
Having said that one of your Malay female waiter was friendly she smiled when there were eye contacts, this simple gesture makes all the difference. She was approachable though she did not serve us.
I do hope my next visit to render a better image of Pollen.