In the heart of Joo Chiat, an area known for it’s sleeze, how apt it is that there there lies a restaurant named Private Affairs
. And despite it’s recent initiation in Singapore’s fine-dining scene late last year, it has already made headlines with the whole IronLadyChef
fiasco about 3 months ago. I shan’t rake up the past or go into a debate on the ethical issues surrounding this whole not so Private Affair, so this will just be an objective portrayal of my lunch there yesterday.Private Affairs
serves “Modern European Cuisine with a Touch of Asian Flavours”
, offering an affordable 3 and 4 Course Set Lunch at $28++ and $38++ respectively
. I took the opportunity to patronize them because Citibank Card holders now enjoy a Buy 3, Get 1 Free for their Set lunches, as well as 15% off Wine Bottle purchases!
This promotion is ending within this week so do make a call and enquire if it’s still on.
I like the chic contemporary design of Private Affairs, with its classy chandeliers and tilted drinking glasses (which I noticed are the cupped-sized version of the maple syrup shot glasses found at Strictly Pancakes
). Service was always attentive but never once felt intrusive, which is unfortunately often the case in many fine-dining establishments where you constantly feel the staff breathing down your neck.
I jest you not, but the complimentary bread
here is so good that we all asked for a second helping in unison. There was a buttery Mini-Croissant (which was amazing and I would have gladly paid for it) as well as a Basil flavoured Bun. I just love it when restaurants make it a point to freshly toast your bread before serving!
We officially started the meal with the Vine Ripened Tomatoes, with Rhubarb & Horseradish Espuma and Black Olive Crumbs
. More of a creamy moose than an Espuma (which means Foam) was what I thought of it. When eaten together with the tomatoes, it proved to be a pleasant combination.
The 2nd and what I feel to be a better Choice of Appetizer is the Pan-fried Foie Gras (requires a $10++ supplement)
, which had a zesty orange glaze made from Grand Marnier Orange Liquor. A nice thick slab of Foie Gras never fails to make my day, and this was very well executed. The extent of melt-in-your-mouthness wasn’t the highest I have encountered but this was done purposefully so (and definitely not due to overcooking), to ensure a firmer and flavourful bite.
Only 1 Soup is available, the Caramelized Onion Soup, poured over Chicken Tatami, Grilled Mushrooms and Salsify Puree
(a root which is supposed to taste like Oysters when cooked). This is without doubt the best Onion Soup I have ever eaten in my short 21 years of life. I’m not sure why Chicken Tatami is called as such, but I postulate it’s because the chicken paste looks like a Tatami-mat used in Japan.
Next up, we had the Mains. The Western answer to the Chinese 燒肉 came in the form of the Sous-vide Roasted Pork Belly with Plum Salt, Brussel Sprouts, Carrot Puree and Raisin Sauce
. Expertly done and though the Roasted Pork Belly itself differed little from the Chinese-styled ones, I thought that the side of creamy carrot puree was heavenly. And instead of the mustard sauce usually served in Chinese restaurants, used to dispel the unctuous and gamey Pork Belly taste, Private Affairs goes with a tangy raisin sauce which proves to be a winner.
The Seafood Risotto
is pretty decent as well, though it would be my bottom choice of the 3 Mains available. It’s just a hearty risotto with mussels, squid and a prawn. The cheese isn’t overpowering, ensuring that the risotto doesn’t get “gelat” too quickly which is a plus point.
My favourite of the 3 Mains would be the Smoked Salted Cod (requires a $10++ supplement), served with Bacon Crisp, Purple Cauliflower and Branded Espuma
. The Cod has a slightly firmer texture after the smoking process, and if you like Smoked Salmon, you will definitely take to this as the Smoked Salted Cod tastes like a hybrid between Smoked Salmon and Miso Cod, except that for Miso marinated Cod, the marinate doesn’t infuse as deeply nor as thoroughly. I detected a light flavour of Wasabi within the Espuma but I thought that the Cod was fine on its own even without it. The Bacon Crisp was damn good and reminded me of Pork Floss! And I do applaud the wonderful plating, the whole dish really looks like a sophisticated garden.
Finally, it was time for Dessert. There’s only 1 choice (or no choice) available for Dessert which is the Sphere of Passionfruit Moose, consisting of Coconut Sponge, Roselle Jelly, Mango Yoghurt and Pistachio Crumbs
. It has a certain je ne sais quoi quality about it, with complex textures and mystifying flavours. A play on the senses with a mix of sweet, sour, crunchy, colourful and cold, it is a great round up to a fabulous meal.
I wouldn’t be very far off in saying that this was the best meal I have had so far this year and I do look forward to my next visit to Private Affairs.
For the full review/pics, do visit http://yumyumformytumtum.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/private-affairs-best-meal-of-this-year/