Thursday, November 23, 2006


C says:

Even though we’ve been eating so much and in so many places, one of our favourite restaurants is still Ember. We like the fact that it doesn’t try to be overly hip or excessively fine-dining. Staff are still very polite and friendly, and the atmosphere isn’t at all poncy. We’ve started to make it somewhat of a tradition to go there on our wedding anniversary (if you consider starting last year a tradition), so we happily went back on Wednesday to celebrate our 3rd anniversary. Time certainly flies – the last time we were there was on our anniversary last year!

Ember is a fusion restaurant located along Keong Saik Road, adjoining Hotel 1929. It’s run by a husband and wife team – Chef Sebastian Ng and his wife Sabrina. Since it opened a few years back, Ember has consistently been drawing in crowds; on Wednesday night it was almost full. It looks set to be a stayer in Singapore’s restaurant scene. I certainly hope so, because we need to come back here every anniversary!

The menu has changed and expanded somewhat over the past year. They’ve added an entire heading of “Foie Gras”, as well as quite a few new dishes, so it was quite a dilemma deciding whether to try some of the interesting-sounding new items, or go with our tried-and-tested old favourites.

In the end, we ended up with a combination of both. A’s starter was the half dozen deep fried oysters with an equal number of dipping sauces. Let’s see if I can remember all of them – Japanese mayonnaise, wasabi mayonnaise, tomato chutney, lemongrass and sweet chilli, soy and sesame, and peanut. *bow*

This is one of our favourite dishes, and it didn’t disappoint. The oysters were breaded and deep fried, with an amazing crispy crust and a still-creamy centre. Out of the dipping sauces, although all of them were yummy, my favourite was the Asian-inspired soy and sesame. A preferred the tomato chutney one, which wasn’t as sour as I expected it to be. In fact it had a slightly Indian twist to it.

My appetizer was a Maine lobster ravioli with lobster tempura in a beurre blanc sauce.

While the ravioli may have lacked the oomph of Chef Oscar’s at Buko Nero, it was still very good especially with the sauce. The tempura was also delightfully light and crispy.

The rest of the meal didn’t disappoint either. One of the dishes that at least one of us will always order here is the Chilean Seabass with Bacon and Mushroom Ragout in a truffle-butter sauce. In fact, we both almost ordered it this time but decided that that would be supremely boring. A ordered it, and I had the chargrilled US Angus beef ribeye served with gratin potatoes and fava beans.

The fish was awesome as usual. The fish was perfectly cooked, the heavier seasoning of the bacon and mushroom complemented the more delicate fish, and the sauce was just heavenly. I actually found this better than my steak which, while it was a very flavourful and perfectly medium rare steak, was still just a grilled steak. A felt differently – he found the fish a bit too gelak and thought the beef was better.

The dessert menu has also expanded considerably, much to my delight. Previously, besides the typical warm chocolate cake which is on practically every restaurant’s dessert menu, the dessert choices here were fairly limited. They had interesting but slightly oddball dessert combinations like banana tart with lavender ice cream, basil crepes and green tea/sesame crème brulees, and the one time we tried the warm chocolate cake, we were slightly disappointed. Thankfully they’ve introduced some safer options, like a regular vanilla crème brulee, and the two desserts that we ordered – the valrhona chocolate mousse with crispy banana, and the apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream. With A’s womanly tastes, no prizes for guessing who had which dessert.

Chocolate and banana is a foolproof combination, so the chocolate mousse was pretty good. The tarte tatin needed 30 minutes cooking time, and it was HUGE, but I’m not sure if it was worth the wait. The pastry was nice but there were too many apple chunks for my liking.

All in all, though, another very satisfying meal at Ember, which proved that even after a year, the standard hasn’t dropped and they are still consistently serving up really good food.

A says:

Food is generally guaranteed to be good or interesting or both. Oysters went down well but I had oyster taste in my mouth long after (which reminded me why I usually don’t do oysters anymore). First half of the fish is magnificent. Then 2nd half gets too much. Must be too rich for simple folk like me. I think I might go for the meat and potatoes next time.

The improved dessert selection now offers me too many choices. I’d usually go for the gooey chocolate pudding with ice cream, except my darling wife C makes a better one. Probably one of the reasons I’ve put up with three long years of pain and suffering with her.

If there’s anything I could complain about, it’s how bloody hard it is to find parking in the area. Luckily, we’ve found a place not too far away that I’m not going to reveal. HA! We’ve had bad service there only once (when they were jam-packed), but most of the time, the service is amongst the best I’ve had in SG.

Restaurant Ember
50 Keong Saik Road
Tel: 6347-1928

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