December 18, 2013

Makan 2013 Day 3: Iggy pop

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The fine dining leg of my trip begins tonight, with a long-overdue return to Iggy's.  I went to Iggy's a couple of times between 2005 and 2006, and liked the modern, more innovative style of cuisine.  I was not surprised to see it receive accolades in the subsequent years, but I never had many chances to return due to my absence from Singapore.  This trip, though, I thought it was high time I revisited the place and see if it's still as good as it was.

Two out of three of us tonight are on diet (well... I'm temporarily off the reservation this week), so we chose the shorter menu with 6 courses.  We figured it would be enough to allow us to judge the overall quality of the cuisine.

Wakasagi, dill salt, tomato beer - not sure what, if any, the connection between the two was...

It's been sooo long since I last had wakasagi (ワカサギ) in Japan, and I've always loved these deep-fried fishies.  Interesting that it should be served with dill, which isn't used in Japanese cuisine much.

The "beer" is actually tomato essence, which was light and refreshing.  The only thing is I thought it was a liiittle salty.

Smoked eel, blood orange, avruga, silver - the eel parfait was pretty nice, and I didn't mind the smoky flavors being a little too subtle.  The blood orange purée had nice flavors and helped balance out the salinity of the caviar.

Tuna belly, pinot noir, yam, garlic oil - this was pretty good.

The tuna belly (I didn't ask what kind of tuna) was obviously a little fatty.  There was brunoise of what I thought to be bamboo shoots on top, finely chopped spring onions as well as spring onion sprouts.  The garlic oil was very fragrant, and the pinot noir provided some acidity against the fatty elements.

Cappellini, sakura ebi, konbu, shellfish oil - oh yeah, this was yummy.  I love sakura shrimp (桜海老) but I would have preferred them to be a little drier.  Nevertheless this was a bowl of seafood goodness, and it was gone in no time.

Maori Lakes lamb saddle, risotto, tomato puree, grelot onion, wang tai miu, turmeric oil - the lamb was pretty good.  Very tender, with the right amount of fat, and that nice "lamby" flavor from the fat.  The execution was just about perfect.  The risotto with tomato purée was delicious - despite borderline mushiness - because one side of it was charred like Chinese rice crispies (鍋巴) or socarrat of a paella.  There was a little bit of so-called "emperor's vegetable (皇帝菜)", which is supposed to be the same as chrysanthemum greens (茼蒿), but I thought it tasted more like pea sprouts (豆苗).

Ball in the bunker, cereal, passion fruit, ginger, milk ice cream - creative in terms of presentation.

Breaking the shell of the golf ball reveals a passion fruit center. The "sand" added lots of crunchy texture on top of the milky ice cream.  A little bit of ginger kept it interesting.

Hinoki chocolate box - blood orange jelly, black truffle macarons, and white chocolate with pop rocks inside.  I thought the pop rocks resurgence had died down a couple of years ago, but I guess I was wrong...

Yes, with the Specialist present, we all carried our own wines from Hong Kong.

1999 Coche-Dury Meursault - pretty heavy toast, lots of toasty corn.  Pretty ripe and a little sweet on the palate.  Acidity is definitely on the low side.  Later on very sweet and buttery.  What I would expect from Coche-Dury.

1996 Les Forts de Latour - very solid and classic Pauillac, with lots of smoke, pencil lead, a little earthy, a little sweetness on the palate.  Very nice concentration.

1982 Beychevelle - a little muted at first.  After more aeration the nose was a little smoky and a little grassy.  Drank reasonably well after being shaken up on the plane.

Overall this was a pretty good meal.  No failed dishes, and certainly all the ingredients were premium and tasted good.  But the one thing that was glaringly lacking was "Wow!"  For a number of years, this place was voted the "best restaurant in Asia"... by a group of obviously Singapore-centric voters.  Today, though... it's got serious competition from not just elsewhere in Asia, but on its home turf.  I guess I'll go and try some of the other places in town before thinking about returning...

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