Jasmine: Andrew and I have been talking about splashing out on a fine dining restaurant, so we finally took the plunge (what’s with all the aquatic metaphors) and went to Iggy’s during the June holidays!
Andrew: Iggy’s is one of the two Singapore restaurants that has made it onto Pelligrino’s list of top 50 restaurants in the world. Lunch was the best time to go as you get to try all their unique cuisine at practically a third of the price of the dinner sets. Of course, the selection is more limited.
Jasmine: Our tomato-themed amuse bouche had tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and strangely enough, tomato jelly. This wasn’t to Andrew’s taste at all as he generally avoids tomatoes if he can help it. Even I who don’t mind tomatoes found the taste of tomato in the jelly rather bizarre as it was a tad acidic.
An amuse bouche differs from an appetizer in that it is offered free of charge to all patrons. It is meant to be a tour de force of the chef’s inventiveness and finesse, albeit in bite-sized portions.
Andrew: One important thing to appreciate in all these top notch restaurants is the aesthetics of the dish. I was ready to be amazed when I saw the petals and tomatoes as I thought, perhaps this will be a tomato dish I like! However, I really didn’t like this dish at all. The sourish taste was way too overpowering, added with the fact that it was cold (there was shaved tomato-flavoured ice? heh) just added an extra sting to the sourness.
Andrew: Another thing to note about these restaurants is that their portions are extremely small – as you will notice later. However, Iggy’s more than made up for it with free flow of bread rolls freshly baked in their own oven. They offered a choice of garlic crusted bread or sour-dough bread. The garlic crusted bread was fragrant and crisp. I had 3 pieces of that throughout. The sour-dough bread was softer and went better with their special home-made butter sprinkled with salt (shown below). I loved the butter a lot, but I still felt the butter at Forlinos was more addictive due to its texture.
Tua tua clams with buratta, sago and sudachi
Andrew: Now, this was the dish that really started off the gastronomic adventure that I had looked forward too at Iggy’s. There was an amazing mix of colour, texture and flavours in this dish. The clams were cooked to perfection – they were chewy and burst with umami goodness with every bite. It went perfectly with the sticky texture of the rice below and the light yet subtly sweet melt-in-your-mouth sago below. (Unfortunately, you would notice that dread red thing – a tomato once again! – but I just separated it and didn’t allow it to affect my enjoyment of this dish. Heh)
Foie gras with creme de cassis and figs
Jasmine: Due to limited budget as an undergrad, foie gras is one of those delicacies that I have only discovered and grown to savour in recent years. In fact, one of the most inspired comments that I came across when researching foie gras geniously described the dish as "meat that wants to be butter". That could most certainly be said of Iggy’s foie gras, which was a lovely rich brown hue. The taste of liver was subdued and every creamy bite melted effortlessly on the tongue. My only beef with it (no pun intended) was that the exterior lacked that delicious hint of crispy fat.
Andrew: As with all fine dining restaurants, the knives are changed very often, but I’ve never quite seen a special knife provided just for foie gras. You can see how gentle and blunt the “blade” (if you can even call it that?) on this knife is, just enough to cut through the foie gras. (Jasmine: Dear, I think that was the butter knife!)
Tortellini with veal cheeks, wild asparagus and turnip
Jasmine: I ordered this dish because I generally gravitate towards stuffed pastas, but perhaps my Pastamania-bred tastebuds were too unrefined to appreciate the nuances of the tortellini. I know veal cheeks are supposed to be milder in flavour and tender than beef cheeks, but they were so mild that I barely registered they were there.
Spaghettoni with poultry jus, summer truffles and parmesan
Jasmine: This was really quite special. The spaghettoni was supposed to be one of Iggy’s star dishes, and it lived up to its stellar reputation. Though not as aromatic as winter truffles, the inclusion of summer truffles was perfect for June, as the truffles imparted a subtly earthy, musky taste to the pasta.
Andrew: This was special, but I wasn’t quite amazed by it. Yes, the truffle taste was good and the spaghettoni was prepared to just the right texture. But I was expecting a bit more – a burst of exciting, refreshing and new flavours with every bite. Perhaps a lot of craft and ‘food chemistry’ went into this, but the result wasn’t amazing. It didn’t give me the ‘Wow’ that the crab rucola salad at Forlinos did.
A glimpse of the kitchen where all the gastronomic delights are being prepared
Change of knives again for the next dish
A lovely centrepiece for the table – with all the petals and flowers in their dishes, you could almost imagine this being a table snack!
Wagyu tenderloin with brussel sprouts and asparagus (?)
Andrew: This was very well-prepared wagyu tenderloin, subtly seasoned to bring out the meaty, juicy goodness of a piece of wagyu beef. The vegetables were all seasoned too and I loved the dashes of green throughout the dish, highlighted nicely in this picture.
Rack of lamb with green olive tapenade, spaghetti squash and blood lime
Jasmine: Once again, this lamb rack was succulent, juicy and flavorful, though not exceptionally so. To my surprise I found the bed of greens far more appetising. I attribute that to the unconventional and appetite-whetting combination of pulpy, semi-nutty spaghetti squash, and the salty zing of green olive tapenade.
Guinness with salted peanuts, Milo crumble, potato chips, marshmallow
Andrew: When I first saw the description, I thought it’d be an interesting mix of salty and sweet. However, the taste turned out to be rather conventional, even when I tried eating the salty peanuts with the milo crumble in one scoop. Yes, it wasn’t as overpowering or heavy as most chocolate desserts are and once again, there was a good mix of items of different textures, but the result wasn’t as exciting as I thought it’d be.
Rhubarb with salted sable, vanilla beans and blood orange
Jasmine: Seems like my selection of courses for this entire meal was based on comfort and familarity with foods I relish, such as foie gras and tortellini. In contrast, I tend to avoid conventional, overly sweet desserts, and favour unexpected pairings.
The rhubarb was refreshingly sour, though I thought the colour could have been brighter and redder to match the blood orange (which is one of my fave dessert ingredients because of how its tartness provides the perfect counternote to sugary confections). The vanilla bean ice cream was also note-worthy. It was hardly "plain vanilla" as it was delectable, creamy and smooth.
Jasmine: Oh, and our outfits today. My outfit is brought to you by my favourite Korean shop at Far East Plaza, and my macrame necklace was hand-beaded by a very macho-looking, dreadlock-sporting guy at an open-air market in Finland! Andrew’s shirt was bought on sale from one of his go-to brands, P.O.A.
Andrew: All in all, it seemed like Jazzy had a more enjoyable dining or ‘lunching’ experience than Andrew. Heh. In spite of the comments made, I still enjoyed the meal, but I believe we both agreed that while the food was well prepared, it wasn’t as exciting (taste-wise) as we thought it’d be. Will we be back again to try their dinner? Perhaps after we’ve explored the other outstanding/Michelin star restaurants in Singapore.