I was looking for a place to catch up with a long lost friend, and found one at The Black Swan.
The wonderful thing about this place is that it goes to the wee hours in the morning. Thus, one can get a full meal and chat it out over some wine. Despite having a rather posh setting, one can get a bottle of wine at a little more than $70, which is very reasonable.
My meal started with a Gazpacho ($18), chilled tomato puree, kept even more chilled at a longer temperature thanks to a frozen ball of gazpacho "sorbet" in the middle of the soup. A bite into the mashed ice ball will also contribute to opening up the palette for the rest of the meal.
I also had a small plate (starter) of Crispy Calamari ($18), fried squid without batter that was not too overfried and was able to retain its natural flavours.
For my main course I could not decide to go sea or land, so I did both with the Lobster and Striploin ($58) combination. Half a large Maine lobster with about 250grams of quality medium rare beef was hearty enough for me.
By then I was too stuffed for dessert, so I just spent the rest of night chilling with some Cabernet Sauvignon. Overall, an enjoyable evening in a chic setting in the CBD area. Service was also very professional.
Escargot with bone marrow - average / Bread - over toasted (Have to order separately for $6) / Spaghetti Vongole - Over boiled soggy pasta with an Asian fusion twist with sesame seeds and bonito flake broth, which doesn't go well with the rest, as the rest is not Asian fusion. / Beef steak - Very good. / Glass of Pinot Noir - OK $18 / Tables - too close with your neighbors. / Reservation - tells you that you have your table only for 1hr 45mins only 5 hours before the booking time, despite I spoke with them twice over the phone about booking beforehand.
The Black Swan is situated in an art deco building in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD), a distinctive building that has changed hands a few times, including having housed the exclusive all-females only W Law Firm some years back. The cafe, restaurant and bar concept evolves around muted gold settings, giving the place a sophisticated feel; they serve European classics dishes.
For starters, we had the Farmer's Salad, comprising of arugula, apple, celery, red onions, walnuts, cranberries, Fourme d'Ambert and balsamic vinaigrette. The lightly-tossed salad was devoid of sauces, so it was light, crispy and refreshing with rocket leaves and dices of cheese. It was a lovely starter.
I chose the Pan Roasted Red Snapper with egg sauce and leeks two ways. The snapper was pan-roasted to a crackling texture, peaking its texture and flavour. The creamy egg sauce gave the crispy fish a smoother edge, making for a sumptuous dish.
Finally, we concluded the meal with Dark Chocolate Dome. The beautiful cake had a glossy, sticky layering of dark chocolate, and a soft chocolatey interior with a vanilla heart. It was saccharine without being overly sweet, bringing out the richness of chocolate very well. The velvety texture melted easily in the mouth as well.
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Had the set lunch with my friends and the food was exquisite and well executed. We thoroughly enjoyed the beef tartare, seafood linguine, foie gras, steak, wild swan burger and desserts.
The service was mixed. The food server was lovely as he clearly knew the proper way of serving the food to guests. However the some of the staff exhibit horrendous customer service. I suggest that they need to go through re-training.
When I made reservations on the phone a few days ago, I was told that we would be seated at the high tables and can be moved to the short/proper ones later. When I was at the restaurant, I reminded the woman who looked like the manager (at the door) about my request twice. But we were never moved to those tables even when they were empty at 2pm. We gave up asking and were left seated at the tall tables for another hour. To make matters worse, each time I told the same woman about needing to move as there is a 3 year old child with us (so obviously high stools and tables are not suitable), she gave me a condescending look. Looking at the number of office people from the tall tables that she moved to the shorter ones, clearly there is biasness in her attitude.
The door staff was just as bad. Not only did they not help my friend to bring in the baby pram, they did not even bother to hold the door for her when we enter and exit the restaurant.
Yes I realized that this resturant is meant to cater to the chic Raffles Place office workers, but this is no excuse for poor attitude and service. We have been a number of posh resturants with a child but never one with such horrid service. So much so that I am compelled to write this review on hungrygowhere.
ps. Just in case you think that the child was noisy, I would like to inform you that she was rather demure and well-behaved. She sat down the whole time, except walking to check out the christmas tree towards the end when there were less people.
Had a few drinks after work. Nice dark quiet setting upstairs. But the food and drink selection is nothing special. Go there for no thrills chill out in a decent atmosphere. I noticed most of the blokes were normal. However, the women looked miserable especially the expat ones who, well, were trying too hard shall we say.