Wandering around the Botanic Gardens in the dark is no fun, but it can have a delicious ending if you’re going for dinner at Corner House.
We came across a bright signboard after heading in the direction of where I remembered Au Jardin to be. The two-storey colonial bungalow, built in 1910, used to house the French fine-dining restaurant and, decades before that, late botanist Edred John Henry Corner, whom Corner House is named after.
The air-conditioned bungalow is beautifully furnished in shades of grey and has a washroom with open windows and a view from the second storey. It was surprisingly pleasant to experience a cool evening breeze and hints of greenery in the shadow of the night in a washroom, of all places (please forgive my weirdness).
On to the food!
We tried the four-course dinner menu ($98). There is a six-course option ($148) as well.
To start, we were given amuse bouches (above) and bread.
For the appetisers, we had the Hokkaido scallop and French royale oyster.
The Hokkaido scallop (above), miso, Ikura roes, burnt orange, yuzu, rice cracker.
The French royale oyster (above), au naturel, plum granité, basil seed, caviaroli. It was a fascinating dish, from the mist created by the dry ice to the flavours, but I prefer a fresh, plump and juicy oyster highlighted with just a splash of lemon instead of muffled with toppings.
For starters, we had the New Zealand cod “Crispy Scales” and Oignon doux des Cévennes.
The New Zealand cod “Crispy Scales” (above), salt baked French beetroot, lemon, aged Shaoxing emulsion. Interesting technique, but tastewise average.
The Oignon doux des Cévennes (above), 62 degree egg, buckwheat, noisette croúton. My companion could not stop exclaiming about this, which I have to agree was really good.
For the main, I ordered the Free range chicken (above), foie gras, romanesco, sauce. I would not order foie gras if I had a choice, but I didn’t eat the other option offered. I must say the fattened liver was perfectly cooked, although I would have preferred more textures to contrast with the sous vide chicken.
We were given a palate cleanser (above) before desserts. My companion was very excited about trying chef Jason Tan’s famous kaya toast. We had My interpretation of kaya toast and Durian BB Pudding.
My interpretation of kaya toast (above), pandan, coconut, gula melaka, muscovado sablé and yuzu. It was good, but I don’t having to combine so many separate components.
Durian BB Pudding (above), kopi ice cream, caramel, evaporated milk anglaise. I really enjoyed this. It looked like a cute overgrown mushroom, the flavours went well together and I kept wanting more.
To end the meal, we had salted egg yolk macarons (above), which were unusual and quite good. Despite the “Happy Birthday” piping, we were charged for them, which is strange as most restaurants usually offer something complimentary for diners celebrating a birthday.
I think one could leave Corner House either impressed or finding it just average, depending on the dishes ordered. With the amuse bouche, palate cleanser and cookies to bring home in a tin, I think $98 for the meal is not exorbitant. I do look forward to trying it again when the menu is updated, though some dishes would be missed if replaced.
1 Cluny Road, E J H Corner House
Singapore Botanic Gardens
(Nassim Gate Entrance)