Tuesday, January 9, 2018

VENUE By Sebastian @ Downtown Gallery

Heard that the food was good, so went to experience it with a few friends. The food served was described as European with selective Asian influences and tapas-portioned. Reservation is necessary especially on Fridays.

Its menu was printed on a single-paged A4 sized paper so there wasn't any difficulty in choosing our plates. To start, we had the burnt toast. This was ordered more out of curiosity but I think this will be useful to mop up the sauce for other dishes such as the Chilean Seabass.

For a group of 4 pax, it is recommended to get at least one pasta and two main courses, with one or two sides and two desserts.

The service staff has informed that the food will be served as soon as they are ready. Burnt toast was as its namesake. Toasted bread it was.

Burnt Toast @$3

The lamb riblet was just a stick of lamb satay. Hmm, I wouldn't order this again. The whitebait with chili salt was nice and we can't stop eating it. Thus far, all these were like bar-food.

Lamb Riblet @$5 per stick
Whitebait with chili salt @$9

And of course, we had our drinks to go along with the food. Guess which of the drink below was my order.

Yuzu Uijin @$15
C.O.T.M (Check Out These Melons) @$17
Fair Lady @$16

Was delighted with mine, the Fair Lady which was a refreshing cocktail concocted out of tequila, st germaine, cucumber syrup (didn't know this was a thing!) and apple tea. Tasted like apple tea infused with cucumber but has an alcoholic punch to it. It tasted like a thirst quencher but that would probably knock me out thereafter!

Next up was yet another appetiser. The tofu and the octopus. Oh boy, the flavours from the tofu and foie gras mirin were superb. But just two pieces, definitely not enough! Those iced lettuce were genius as well.

Homemade tofu, foie gras mirin sauce and iced lettuce @$12
Grilled octopus, bean puree, capers, burnt butter @$27

Grilled octopus was expectantly tender and enjoyable. Good with the drinks. But we were still hungry. Thus, a pasta dish (or two) is an absolute necessity. Unless you're only there for drinks.

The handcut pasta with duck ragout was an explosion of strong flavours. That pasta texture was unforgettable. Best texture I've tasted from a pasta dish! It surpassed all our expectations and is a must-order. Totally recommended. Will gladly have this again but won't be willing to share! Ok, maybe I'll share it if you have the Chilean Seabass.

Handcut pasta, duck ragout, parmigiano reggiano @$21
Chilean Seabass. mushroom-bacon ragout, truffle yuzu butter sauce @$36

It is of little wonder that the Chilean Seabass is a signature dish at VENUE. Everything on that plate was on-point. Fish was cooked perfectly and the golden top was like a crowning glory. That mushroom-bacon ragout was just so tasty and the yuzu butter sauce, that we made sure it coated every side of the fish. Even contemplated on whether to order another set of burnt toast to mop up those delicious sauce with!

Having had those two outstanding plates, it widened the contrast gap when we tried the duck confit. The duck confit was good with crisp skin and tender meat but it paled in comparison with the handcut pasta and chilean seabass.

36 hours duck confit, truffle emulsion, mesclun, lemon-mustard vinaigrette @$19
By now, our tummies were feeling slightly full and our last main course made its appearance. The fennel crusted lamb belly. Oh my gosh. This was another pleasant surprise. Lamb lovers, please order this plate. It is definitely a must-have! Had a bite of those lamb belly and I went straight up to belly heaven. Seriously good. Those yellow things on that plate which I don't know what it was, we just lapped it up. Very very tasty and wished we had more bread which we would, if we weren't feeling full already by then.

Fennel crusted lamb belly spicy breadcrumbs, romesco @$18
But, we could not leave without first trying their dessert. So we had not just one but two dessert! We had the tiramisu and the financier.

Tiramisu, kahlua, wild cherry in kirsch @$12

The kahlua in the tiramisu was rather mild, and the tiramisu was so light, I could have eaten it all by myself. Ok, I admit. I ate half of it! Those crunchy choco balls on top gave that much needed contrast in texture. But where was the wild cherry?

digging right in

Did not expect the financier to be of such a big rounded piece. The pistachio sauce was the highlight on that plate. So good that most will clamour for it to be bottled so that we could take it home. The financier itself was sweet as expected and rich tasting. Good with a cup of black coffee. I wondered what would be the difference between 'hand-squeezed' coconut versus a machine squeezed one. Fancy.

Pistachio financier, hand-squeezed coconut sorbet, raspberry yoghurt @$14
pistachio financier

Would highly recommend the handcut pasta with duck ragout, the chilean seabass and the fennel crusted lamb belly.

Expect to spend about $75 per pax (inclusive of an alcoholic drink). Happy eating!


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