Many are wondering how Tippling Club was passed over for a Michelin star. But seriously, who cares? Ryan Clift and gang have been serving up thoughtful and inventive cuisine for the longest time now, and my recent visit showed no signs of the team pulling back.
The word here is team. It’s not just about the head chef, and that’s evident when each chef who prepared their dish, comes out to present the dish to you.
I am wondering though, whether a chef’s oratory skills are like a doctor’s writing skills? The words haemorrhage out of their mouths at lightning speeds, and then they bolt off like Usain and I’m left to my own imagination as to what is in front of me.
(Kidding. It’s just a joke. Writers like to think of ourselves as an amusing bunch)
On to the food. We had a choice of 2 degustation menus for dinner – 5 course at $170 and a 10 course at $270.
Both menus include Snacks and Sweet Treats. We chose the 5-course. Actually we wanted to have one of each, but the same type of menu had to be ordered by all at the table, so we stuck to the 5-course.
You can also be tipple indulgent and add on the wine pairing at another $105 each, but 1) we’re not big drinkers and 2) I choose wine pairing where the additional premium appears reasonable by my standards, but at a 100% increment, it didn’t sound like good value to me.
(I used to select expensive wine pairings before, but came to a realisation that sometimes, you’re better off with a bottle or just individual glasses)
And Tippling Club has a reasonable range of biodynamic wines by the glass, so you’d be wise to give those a shot, instead.
Ok, back to the food at last!
We started with 5 Snacks. They are a great way to get a feel of the restaurant’s forte and what’s to come.
Here’s a Prawn Cracker with garlic aioli and sakura ebi. Who doesn’t love crispy bits with dollops of aioli?
Then came the perennial classic snack of Tippling Club – the Charred Pepper with Wasabi Mousse. Perennial because I had the same snack 2 years ago when I was there for lunch. The mousse has an intense soy and wasabi taste, so just a little dip of that for the peppers is enough.
Then came a manchego cheese with pastry, a nori roll with wasabi mayo and seaweed and a shot of gazpacho. My favourite of the lot was the gazpacho – with drops of basil oil floating in a light, refreshing tomato soup, it was like a mini lava lamp.
And then the meal proper commences.
First up – Crab that’s rolled in layers of nashi pear. The crab was zesty and sweet and additional burst of coolness was provided by the semi frozen grapes. I loved the tree motif that was made out of shiso puree too.
One of my favourite dishes of the night was up next. Scallop in roasted purple garlic soup. The garlic soup had just the right tinge of garlicky goodness that didn’t overpower the amazingly sweet slivers of scallop.
The fish course sees a seared Kingfish with masala veloute and roasted cauliflower puree with raisin gel. And cauliflower being the vegetable of the hipster moment, it was also featured as fermented and fried pieces.
It’s a good dish. Fish cooked to perfection, flavoured up thanks to the masala veloute and a silky mouthfeel added thanks to the smooth cauliflower puree.
Chef Ryan Clift comes out to describe the next dish – the Lamb. Speaking with enthusiasm, he explained how the lamb shoulder had been poached in sea water from Kyushu prefecture in Japan, hence providing a natural briny flavour.
Served with a classic accompaniment to any lamb dish, mint puree, the flavours were good, but I didn’t quite understand why the lamb shoulder was served like a lamb tenderloin.
Being a tough cut of meat, the shoulder really should be cooked till fork tender, but here it was a tough piece of meat and I have to say, a disappointing element to the degustation meal.
Thankfully, that was the only letdown from the meal because the desserts were bang on.
Sweet Treats preceded the actual dessert course. One was the strawberry shortcake pills but I preferred the second treat – the mandarin orange and madras curry bauble. At first I couldn’t make sense of the orange and masala combo, but as the outer shell gave way to a sweet white chocolate interior, it made complete sensory sense.
Dessert proper was Textured Milk and it was awesome. Melt in your mouth macadamia marshmallow and almond meringue provide structure to a creamy yogurt ice cream.
A serving of petit fours – a crunchy nougatine and cheesecake and a perfect dark chocolate, ends the night.
Tippling Club reminds me of my dining experiences in Michelin-starred restaurants in Copenhagen. Inventive and showcasing the chef and the restaurant’s personality (cue Joy Division and Duran Duran as a soundtrack to your meal), Tippling Club is definitely worth a visit.
Not everything was perfect, but I can certainly appreciate the sense of adventure and creativity. I look forward to more innovation and exciting dishes from the Tippling Club gang!
Address: 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461
Contact: 64752217 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lunch: 12-3pm (Mon-Fri)
Dinner: 6pm-Late (Mon-Sat)