Every year nearing my birthday month of November is a time for feasting for me. I am swarmed by invitations to catch up for meals by friends and relatives that I am overwhelmed by their generosity to splurge and binge. What’s great about this is that I get to try restaurants I have never been to. In that sense, I am a country bumpkin, whose restaurant radius is restricted to around my neighbourhood, or those few that I have been to in town.
Bee was excited about bringing me to Restaurant Ember which she was sure I would love, which makes me feel embarrass for bringing her to Shin Yuu for her birthday only two weeks before, for that was a disappointing meal. I know this is not a competition but the thought behind that counts. I also know she knows I am a country bumpkins when it comes to choosing restaurants.
Restaurant Ember is a cozy restaurant located in a small boutique hotel Hotel 1929 in Chinatown Keong Saik Rd. Upon hearing the location and seeing my expression, she quickly added that they provide valet parking for $5. (One reason I am not so adventurous trying out new restaurants – parking problems.)
This is a fine-dining restaurant with casual sitting. The small area makes seating too close for comfort and if you mind people listening in to your conversations, this may not be a place for that romantic date. We were seated at a stairway corner table next to a wall, rather claustrophobic.
The set menus are affordable, especially for lunch and costs $88++ for dinner, consisting of two appetizers, a main, dessert, coffee/tea. The names of the dishes in this meal are purely my own as I couldn’t remember the names listed in the menu. But since there is only one such item, there shouldn’t be any confusion if you want to order the same. While waiting, we munched on the delicious rosemary and thyme bread.
For the first starter, I ordered lobster soup and Bee ordered the foie gras. The waitress came with table setting after taking our orders and placed a soup spoon on Bee’s side. Bee immediately gave me the spoon. We were surprised at the mistake, but the mistake was ours instead.
My soup was served in an expresso cup, the body of the lobster encased in deep-fried popiah skin. The waitress suggested chewing on the crispy head. I was going to even if she hadn’t suggested but the head wasn’t crispy enough to be chewed. I tried to sip on the soup but it was too delicious and too little and I finished it in no time.
Bee’s foie gras was presented next to a poached egg and deep-fried onions. The waitress took another spoon for Bee and explained that she should eat the three together for full flavor.
Next was my handpicked crabmeat salad which I love. The pine nuts and dressing was refreshing and whipped up my appetite.
Bee ordered the scallop sashimi, which she gave me a piece. I would have preferred the scallop cooked, but Bee loves it.
For main, Bee chose the roasted belly pork.
The plate was a work of art itself and the waitress took pains to describe the dots and strokes on the plate, dips for the pork. On the plate was a test-tube of applesauce. I love these masak masak extras which makes eating so much fun. Bee loved her belly pork, and this was her repeat order since she had been here before.
My own beef tenderloin wasn’t so fancy. A note here that the restaurant does not serve their beef well-done, which is fine by me. I didn’t find anything special with my dish.
After the mains, we were served orange sorbet to cleanse palate. A nice touch.
For dessert, I couldn’t resist the chocolate lava. (Which women, or for that matter, men, can?)
Dark warm molten chocolate oozed out of the sponge cake, which was nice accompanied, or not, with the vanilla ice cream.
Bee resisted the chocolate lava so that I could experience a different dessert. Her choice of apple pie, with its crispy shell, was a good combination of tart and sweetness, although I can’t say if I would forgo it for the lava.
The restaurant is closed on Sunday and I was told it is closed for Saturday lunch as well. The group of ladies who served us were attentive and cheerful, and took pride in their food, patiently explaining to us the work of art lovingly like a museum curator.
Just writing this two weeks after eating at Ember makes my mouth water. I hope you are drooling as you read this as well.