After a spiffy lunch time-out, the gang was back in full force to also celebrate L’s birthday at Rhubarb.
Given the fussy eaters amongst us, there were a lot of questions to sort out before we got down to ordering from the 3-course set lunch menu ($42++) – what is “veloute”? is the soup a red meat based broth? which two ways are the quail done?
We were impressed from the word “go”, or rather, right from the amuse bouche. It was ocean trout with rhubarb sauce in a charcoal cone, topped with tobiko. Lovely presentation. The sourish sauce complemented the seafood flavours well. The softness of the fish, with the hardy cone and bursts of rubbery tobiko was a good play on texture.
White onion veloute
Translation: white onion thickened soup. I stretched to reach S’ soup from across the round table (very unglam, but sacrifices are needed for this review). It was creamy and sweet, thick like a potato soup, but nothing too fancy.
Pork & pistachio ballotine
Translation: Cold pork roll with pistachio nuts. I didn’t quite like it texture-wise – slightly dry and flaky. Taste-wise, it was briney and tasted so-so with the sour gherkin.
Salad of Little Gem “Achoiade”
This was N’s healthy choice, as the server put it – salad with cheese and anchovies.
(Soup and Salad photos courtesy of N)
Quail two ways
Two ways – breast meat “plunger” style (I swear I heard “plunger” but now I can’t be sure but it was seared and transferred to the oven to bake) and drumstick confit style. The quail was excellent! Would rank as one of the best quail dishes I have had; the meat held together well and was very tender and succulent. Even S and J (who are not fans of meat) liked it!
After the lesson on “veloute”, we had lesson #2 on that green layered vegetable in this dish – (huge) spring onion and leek were tossed up. But after checking against the menu, “endive” was the only item we couldn’t place. This led to frantic googling amongst the group (nerds, I tell you) and somehow all sorts of images came up! So it seems there is a whole family of various sorts, but yes, it is an endive.
Z ordered this medium, the recommended style, and it was superb. Soft, tender, and dripping with iron juices, without being gamey. Z had high praise for the accompanying bombay onion too. It is a tough fight between the quail and lamb for best mains for the day.
Norwegian ocean trout
I thought this was pretty, with blushes of yellow, pink and green peeking out from under the white foam. Really wasn’t in the mood for fish so here is S’ review: not bad, but maybe very slightly overcooked, could have been tenderer.
Chocolate and cream cheese mousse
A few of us ordered this and I was the last to be served. This meant I observed this plating from different angles and … I’m sure it is not just me… but never mind… let’s focus on the taste. 😉 The chocolate mousse was extra rich and creamy (I guess from the cheese); it was not overly sweet but was a tad hard and quite difficult to scoop with a spoon. The biscuit bits added crunch and brandied cherries are always well appreciated.
Pistachio meringue, bergamot curd and vanilla ice cream
The various flavours came together nicely and made for a light and refreshing dessert.
(They also had a choice of sorbets and fruits which none of us picked given the other exciting options.)
Overall, interesting and well-executed dishes. Service was slow (could be initial kinks). Pretty posh ambience, without coming across as trying too hard or making one feel out of place. I would return for a special occasion.
3 Duxton Hill
Open (Mon-Fri) 12nn-3pm; 7-10.30pm / (Sat) 7-10.30pm