a six-course meal, including wine and a dish looking like this?
Actually the dish looked a lot better and tasted good enough, but as mentioned by ChubbyHubby, the lighting in the grey-black restaurant isn’t made for great pix taking.
The place in question is Gunther’s, in Purvis Street, nearer the North Bridge Road end. Opened last August and graced by no less than our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong*, it’s certainly the place patronised by the rich, famous and those like me, wanting to be famous, hehe!
*This is based on Chubby Hubby’s blog (10/8/07) which said “The country’s Prime Minister has already taken his family to dine there, giving the restaurant an unofficial First Family stamp of approval…
The night we were there, we spied Wee Ee Cheong, president of UOB, his sister (I think) and others who looked like family members in the “private section” of the restaurant.
And if minimum spent per head was anything like our table (where we strenuously declined all and every inducement to have a glass of champagne by the waiters), then the 50-seater restaurant would have pulled in $15K that night, not a heck of a lot of money, considering there are rent, wages, utilities and ingredients to cover, besides the capital costs of sets of crockery and cutlery, the last I’m happy to say were changed with every course!
Careful tho we were about our budget, we did order one bottle of French wine (year 1996) that knocked us back by $260+ and probably contributed to the total of $300 per head bill.
Also, altho four of us opted for warm water, two of us had “still” water and that cost money.
And somewhere along the line, we were all seduced by the spritely waiter of indeterminate European descent to accept his offer to design us a tasting menu, even tho two us (not me) had been steadfastly looking at the promotion tasting menu going for $128+++.
This was probably because five of us were hosting the sixth, the birthday boy, and it would be a bit mean, if we were to insist on having the best value for money, which invariably would be equivalent to “cheapest” available in the house.
Frankly, I don’t begrudge paying my share of $60 for the birthday boy, as that’s what an average hongbao would be anyway. It was my own share of the food bill that I found slightly difficult to swallow.
The angel hair pasta was followed by carpaccio of scallop, four slivers (that couldn’t have come from more than two scallops) and then one lobster shared among the six of us (so that the “tasting menu” isn’t a misnomer!).
We were then shown half a roasted suckling pig to be shared. It was whisked away to return as six portions, where each was given a piece of crackling, a thin and tiny rib, and some meat + a sweet cooked date.
We joked it was just like Bali’s babi guling but in my view it wasn’t much better. I definitely prefer the Chinese suckling pig, any time.
I don’t know how much that particular dish was priced into our specially designed menu but I daresay for the same price i could have two portions of genuine good old Chinese suckling pig with lots of sweet sauce at Crystal Jade.
The piece de resistance was wagyu beef* with caramelised onion for the other five.
(*Apologies, not wagyu beef but Kobe, the difference as put by one in the party is as follows:”kobe beef is only produced in japan, obviously from the kobe region whereas wagyu is the “foreign” version of kobe produced in countries incl Australia and America. Kobe beef is obviously the best known of Japanese premium beef to foreigners but the Japanese themselves are of the view that there are better beef locally but production is too low to satisfy foreign demand. In that sense, kobe beef is the only mass produced premium beef from japan available to consumers outside japan”).
Since I don’t eat beef, I was given exactly four conch-shaped pasta shells, boiled till soft, and four paper-thin pieces of grilled Kurobuta pork, a sprinkling of high-end salad leaves which name I can’t recall. There was a whiff of truffle oil and definitely some cheese sauce.
This course was the most substantial of what was served so far but by that time, what with the earlier courses and our continuous gorging on Gunther’s super excellent elongated bread rolls that had plenty of bite, enjoyment of the food was tailing off. At least for me and one other who could manage only half of her thin piece of Kobe steak.
The spritely waiter of indeterminate European descent waltzed back and asked about dessert, coffee or tea? One of us wanted souffle but since none wanted to share with her, we all settled for apple tart with ice cream.
It was a good choice, as the tart was individually portioned, with just a bit of stewed apple encased in crisp philo pastry. The ice-cream was just a tiny knob. Everyone cleared his/her plate, even tho I had protested originally that I don’t usually eat ice-cream, crackling etc.
Our spritely waiter was back be4 the apple tart’s arrival to try and push some sweet dessert wine to go with the dessert but alas, like the champagne he had no luck and left us to be served our tea and coffee by less exuberant and enthusiastic colleagues.
And two plates of petite fours with exactly enough portions to satisfy six: there was bitter chocolate, cookies and a kind of cake (apparently canaleit was!) that none of us were particularly familiar with.
So, was the meal worth $300 for each of us, net of the birthday boy’s share (five of us paid $362, to be exact)? For the verdict, go to the post immediately above this.