Saturday, August 8, 2015

Restaurant Sela @ Seah Street

It was only in January this year, that I was at this same restaurant. However, since July, SELA is now helmed by celebrity chef, Benson Tong. Here's a link to a show that he had appeared in, way back in 2008.

SELA started as a restaurant offering modern European items in its menu. Now, with Chef Benson's culinary direction, it will steer more towards modern Asian creations with an European twist. By and large, you may not notice much difference. Restaurant decor is pretty much the same. Its ala-carte menu will look highly familiar. However, the largest single change would be its weekend brunch menu items. Where else can we find things like Roti Prata Burrito, Soft boiled Egg Benedict with Mantou, and Huat Kueh with Ice Cream in a brunch menu in a European looking restaurant? Probably only at SELA, probably...

our table, right infront of the kitchen

For starters, we sampled the Prosciutto Ham with Melon and the Pan Seared US Scallop. The rock melon was compressed, while the beetroot had undergone marination prior, so both sweetness were intensified while the earthy undertones of the beets were slightly reduced.

Prosciutto Ham & Melon @$16+
Pan Seared US Scallops @$16

The scallops were of a good size, and it was served sitting ontop a bed of forbidden rice (pulut hitam) with salted egg cream ontop. Sweet scallop, salty egg cream and slightly sticky purple rice. The saltiness was pretty intense for this dish. Suitable to have with drinks. Speaking of which, heard that the restaurant will be offering cocktails made with Ukrainian version of flavoured vodka.

Mernaya - Honey & Pepper

Had a taste of the Mernaya neat. For the Honey & Pepper flavour, the alcohol does shoot right up very quickly, followed by spiciness and an underlying tinge of mellowed sweetness.

For mains, we sampled the Miso Chilean Seabass, with shimeji mushroom, wilted arugula in lemon dashi broth. Actually, Chilean Seabass is not even a bass variant. It refers to Patagonian Toothfish. Its texture is more oily than a seabass.

Miso Chilean Seabass @$32+ ala-carte
closer view

For the next main course sampler, Chef Benson introduces the Kakuni Style Pork Cheek. Sounds like a Japanese-Chinese kind of dish. I'm a beef cheek kind of person, so while this dish was tasty, I still prefers the soft stewed braised beef cheek texture. However, I must say that the portion of pork cheek was generous and this is for those that liked their meat lean.  Beautifully plated too.

Kakuni Style Pork Cheek @$20+

Most of the savoury dishes would be perfectly at home with a bowl of hot steamed rice.

Chef Benson introducing his modern Asian menu

The desserts served were made in-house by their dessert chef. We sampled the Semolina Cake and the Dehydrated Pineapple Pavlova.

Semolina Cake @$12+
Dehydrated Pineapple Pavlova @$10+

Semolina refers to course middling of durum wheat. It has a grainy texture and can be cooked sweet or savoury. In our parts of the world, sometimes we hear the term 'sugee' flour, and that too refers to semolina. I remembered my late-grandma, whom used to heat up the wok with oil before adding curry leaves, and to 'fry' the sugee flour in it, then added some sugar, salt and some water. The result was some very tasty savoury sweet treat.

For SELA, it turned semolina into a sweet dessert cake. Looks pretty and for those that like interesting textures in their cakes. For me, I fell for the Pavlova. First without knowing the ingredients, can't really tell what was the taste of the dehydrated pineapple. Just knew that the flavour was from dried fruit. The vanilla ice-cream, a touch of paprika and thyme and salted caramel sauce worked well and my favourite, was that merringue shell. So good and melted in-your-mouth kind. A bit like space food.

SELA does offer a tasting menu at reasonable prices. A 5-course dinner tasting menu is priced at $40+ while a 7-course dinner tasting menu is priced at $50+. The difference is one additional starter and main course for the 7-course dinner tasting menu. Kindly note that the tasting menu portions are smaller than ala-carte portions. Oh, it comes with a glass of housepour too.

If you are around the Seah Street area for lunch, happy to say that they do Executive Lunch sets for just $15.90+. The set comes with a starter, a main course and a dessert.

Special thanks to Chef Benson and Restaurant SELA for hosting us. Thank you to Alvin and Malcolm for the invite. Looking forward to the next #foodiemigup experience! Click here to learn more about migme.

Fun Games
1. Dine at Restaurant Sela and take pictures of the food (and yourself) to post to instagram with #restaurantsela and tag @rain498 (or anyone that had recommended you to the restaurant)
2. The picture with most likes, will stand a chance to win a full course dinner for 2 pax in your own home, prepared by Chef Benson and his team.

Restaurant SELA

Location: 32 Seah Street, Singapore 188388
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