Janice Wong at National Museum

I’ve never been to 2am:dessertbar, Janice Wong’s dessert restaurant, and I rarely go out of my way to have sweet stuff. But the pastry chef’s eponymous restaurant sounded fascinating with its whimsical creations, so I thought I’d stop by.

I promptly got lost right at the National Museum, where it is housed, as Google Maps couldn’t pinpoint exactly where it was. It being nighttime didn’t help. We walked around the museum foyer and spotted a tiny sign, sporting JANICE WONG, beckoning. Turns out the restaurant is found outside, with its own entrance on the leftside exterior of the museum.

Stepping in, I was surprised by how small it is. There’s a small area on the left set aside for ice cream (oh the myriad flavours), mochi, chocolates, and items found at her other boutiques, such as chocolate paints in a wide array of colours.

A panel dripping with said chocolate paint separates this section from the dining area, which is just slightly bigger. The eatery won’t accommodate many.

We came for her five-course dinner degustation menu ($68), but the choices were slightly different what we saw on the website.

To start, we were offered a celeriac shooter.

Oh dear, celeriac? That doesn’t sound appetising. Well it was warming and comforting, like potato soup pureed with a hint of veggies.

We all decided on the Hot Explosion XLB (xiaolongbao), in Foie Gras Pork Cherry and Truffle Cheese Chicken, for our first course. The other option was ratatouille siew mai. Each diner got two baos, each in its own steamer.

It was a indeed a hot explosion (one of my baos squirted its hot juice across the table), but also a hit and miss, with one of the baos tasting of just chicken – sans truffle and cheese.

Next was spinach tofu topped with cauliflower.

Yum! said the non-veggie lovers. Smooth and creamy tofu with the cauliflower providing a crunchy contrast.

For the main, we tried both the Scallop Somen and Crispy Charcoal Nest.

Sadly, some of the scallops were not seared, or barely seared. The salted egg yolk sauce was jarring and tasted out of place, while the noodles either stuck together at parts or made my mouth feel like an oil slick.

The collagen broth was poured over the charcoal noodles at the table. Watch the pretty mushroom poem paper disappear.

Unfortunately the soup was not hot enough and the noodles had the texture of half-cooked instant noodles. Pity, as the broth was praised all around.

The dinner ended with a choice of two desserts. Which was great, as they were the better part of the meal!

Shades Of Green (pistachio cake, pandan gula melaka ice cream, coconut foam, meringue) was plated beautifully and reminded us of our meal at Corner House. The familiar flavours complemented one another well.

Chocolate H20 (chocolate water mousse, yuzu sorbet, salted caramel, burnt caramel bavarois) arrived looking like a zen rock arrangement.

Strawberry Caprese (strawberry ice cream, raspberry fluff, sakura pearls, chartreuse) was pretty in pink and tasted almost as good as it looked, refreshingly sweet and sour. It was at parts bitter though.

The meal was rounded off with a sweet surprise of yuzu chocolate, instead of the usual birthday cake. It had a delicious yuzu flavoured centre.

The desserts being a sweet ending, we decided to try the popcorn and salted egg mochi, which looked so tempting in their display.

They are not made for sharing though, being so small. But the skin was soft and the thickness just right, and the filling rich and creamy.

The savoury dishes could use some improvement, but the desserts are worth a try. The ice cream flavours sound especially delightful and I think we may return to try some of them.

JANICE WONG RESTAURANT
01-06 National Museum Singapore
93 Stamford Road
+65 9712-5338

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