Thursday, November 22, 2007


C says:

Once again, I can’t believe how time flies. It’s our fourth anniversary today - another year of wedded bliss for me, another year of pain and suffering for A…

As per tradition, we celebrated with dinner at Ember. You can read about the place in detail in our previous post; we’ll just dive in now with a lowdown on what we had tonight. There’ve been a number of revisions to the menu since last year, but mostly to the appetizer section. The desserts were more or less the same as before, so we decided to order more appetizers to share, and only order dessert if we had room to spare.

For our starters, we decided to be adventurous, and passed on our usual fried oysters in favour of the new items on the menu. We had the seared scallops wrapped with parma ham, the spinach salad with bacon and gorgonzola, and the angel hair pasta with sakura ebi and lobster oil.

You couldn’t really taste the parma ham on the scallops – they just added a bit more saltiness and depth of flavour. I must say I didn’t expect the dish to have quite as much salad as it did; I just expected a few scallops on a bare plate, not the mountain of greens in the centre. The citrusy salad dressing was nice, though.

We ordered this because we thought we’d have some greens, not realizing that the scallops already came with more than enough. As a result, we felt a bit cheated that we unintentionally were so damn healthy in our appetizer choices. Still, as spinach salads go, this was pretty good – well-balanced dressing, and the gorgonzola, an unexpected ingredient in spinach salads, added a nice touch.

Because it was the least healthy, this was also the best appetizer of the night. The sakura ebi – Japanese for baby prawns – were crispy yet not so hard that they poked the roof of your mouth. The flavours were light and delicate, but if I were to nitpick, I’d say the one at Iggy’s is still better.

So far, we were slightly let down by the appetizers, but the mains somewhat saved the day. A had the roasted rack of lamb with szechuan eggplant and gratin potatoes. The eggplant was good but slightly out of place, because the sauce was very strong and threatened to overpower the lamb. The lamb itself was incredibly tender though, and when eaten with the eggplant (in sparing portions), it was a good pairing.

We almost didn’t order the Chilean seabass this time, but I thought we had to have SOME element of tradition, so I ordered it and I’m really glad I did. This was the highlight of the meal for me. Everything about it was just right – the fish was done perfectly, the bacon and mushrooms added just enough but not too much flavour, and the sauce was indescribable. As long as it’s still on the menu, I think this looks set to be our anniversary dish. Random bit of trivia: the real name of this fish is the Patagonian Toothfish. It’s been renamed “Chilean seabass” to make it more palatable for diners.

We still had some room for dessert because portions aren’t huge here. On the menu, they have a banana tart with lavender ice cream, but A wasn’t too keen on the lavender so we asked them to change it to vanilla. They nicely obliged, and as a result dessert was perfect.

Last year we told ourselves to come more often, but the year simply flew by and we never got a chance to. Only time will tell whether the next time we write about this is on our fifth anniversary.

A says:

I was really impressed by the selection of appetizers even though the taste fell just short of great. I liked the spinach salad but it could have done with a bit more dressing. The scallops were excellent but predictable. And the mini shrimps really aren’t my thing.

As for mains, it’s a good thing the portions are small and C and I shared and swapped. Because the flavours are so strong, you tend to get a bit of an overdose if you have a full portion.

Dessert wasn’t bad but I’d rather have the Normandy Apple Pie at Café de Amigo.

While the service here is really fantastic, I think that for food, this place has an excellent selection that is very good, but not really great.

And I think why we don’t go back so often is that we decided that for the price, Buko Nero is way more worth it.

Restaurant Ember
50 Keong Saik Road
Tel: 6347-1928
Monday to Friday: Lunch 11.30 am – 2 pm, Dinner 6.30 pm – 10 pm
Saturday: Dinner only
Closed Sunday

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