Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brown Sugar, Stardus Clubhouse

The food at this rather pleasant little place (Stardus Clubhouse #01-04, 277 River Valley Road S238318, tel:3336612) turned out to be pretty good despite the mild feeling of apprehension when I first arrived. The clean and modern looking decor somehow gave me the impression that there is more polish than substance, but clearly, this restaurant was a lot better in the whole execution than what my preemptive judgment had initially passed. Having said there, the only gripes that I had were that some of the portions of the servings came out a little too small and the disorganized looking service staff reeks with an air of arrogance. I wonder if I'm the only person that felt that way about some of those waiting people at the place.

The food here as you can see is probably best described as modern European. Surprisingly tasty for me was the layered salad of deconstructed apple, walnuts, brie cheese drizzled with an apple balsamic dressing which was very clean and refreshing for taste and much more enjoyable than I had thought. I had the impression that these modern "deconstructed" tend to be more of a gimmick but this one turned out simple and delicious. I guess the choice of ingredients here struck a good balance and being deconstructed here also meant that there was no mess for flavors that will overwhelm one another. The foie gras was quite decent, done with a nice char surface and comes in more generous portions than something else that I had recently which was rather expensive and what I felt to be a waste of money. The oils that settled at the bottom of the plate made a great sauce to mop up with bread. It probably would have been better for me if the piece of liver weren't so artfully sliced up.

In spite of being tempted by the wagyu burger, I ended up going with the tenderloin with cheese spinach ravioli, roasted baby carrots and blueberry infused jus which turned out to be a very good choice. The meat, although small was really done a very good medium rare and filled with juices. The only other flavors apart from the almost subtle tasting blueberry infused jus was just pepper. Which was a good thing since that allowed the taste of the tenderloin to still be in each bite, which is the way I like steak. The accompanying vegetables (including a couple of garlic segments) turned out to be very lightly roasted and I actually liked the crunchy carrot. Another deserving mention goes to the pan roasted cod with squid ink pasta tossed with baby clams, asparagus and tomato beurre blanc. The fish came in surprisingly generous portions, half cooked, firm and filled with it's oily flavor. The sauce tasted like a creamy tomato with a subdued tang which I found really quite likeable. The squid ink pasta below was quite pedestrian, but is indeed resting above a small bed of little clams.

Brown Sugar didn't fare too badly in the department of desserts. The ubiquitous chocolate fondant cake turned out pretty decent and rich while the butter bread pudding in butterscotch was actually pretty good with a nice crispy top. If only it were served hot rather than lukewarm.

I wouldn't mind returning to this place given the opportunity.