Ph.Ds of FOOD

Singapore Food Blog

Matsu – Contemporary Japanese Cuisine

leave a comment »

Restaurant Week is here! An annual event where top restaurants in Singapore offer a 3-course lunch/dinner at $25/$35++; it’s an event that we have been looking forward to. Amidst all the checking and last minute resevrations, we managed to snag a dinner for 3 at Matsu @ Gallery Hotel.

Matsu serves contemporary Japanese cuisine, a fusion of French-Japanese food. It was like making use of European cooking techniques on European and Japanese ingredients.

Chicken Mousse with Capsicum Mayonnaise and Salad

Chicken Mousse with Capsicum Mayonnaise and Salad

Cream of Beetroot

Cream of Beetroot

Complimentary Sesame Bread

Complimentary Sesame Bread

We had 2 choices for appetizers – Chicken Mousse with Capsicum Mayonnaise & Salad and Cream of Beetroot. There was a faint, but not overwhelming, taste of garlic in the mousse. Texture wise, the mousse was not as soft as the conventional cake mousse. Rather, there was still a bit of bite due to the tenderness of the chicken meat. The capsicum sauce was made from 3 different bell peppers – yellow, orange and green – and tasted strongly of the typical vinegarette soaked pickles. The Cream of Beetroot was very thick (much to our liking!) however, it lacked in beetroot taste. In fact, ignoring the colour of the soup, we might actually mistake it to be Cream of Mushroom, or other cream soups. The complimentary sesame bread was decorated with black and white sesame and packed a strong sesame flavour.

Grilled Chicken with Yuzu Miso Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Yuzu Miso Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Yuzu Miso Sauce – A grilled chicken leg was served with yuzu miso sauce, accompanied with baked butter potato cubes, rice and seasonal vegetables. The chicken meat was tender, but rather bland. The yuzu miso sauce packed a strong and refreshing yuzu taste, but the miso taste was not very detectable. The potato cubes were baked with butter, nothing too fantastic, but might have been better if it was baked in cheese instead. The rice was slightly moist and somehow reminded us of nasi lemak. 

Miso-Marinated Norwegian Salmon with Japanese Egg Yolk Sauce

Miso-Marinated Norwegian Salmon with Japanese Egg Yolk Sauce

The Miso-Marinated Norwegian Salmon with Japanese Egg Yolk Sauce was accompanied by the same side dishes. The salmon skin was well prepared,  pretty charred and had a nice aroma and burnt taste to it.  The salmon didn’t seem to carry any strong miso flavour, though bits of saltiness could be detected. The salmon could have been more tender, and the preparation of a partially well done salmon (grilled to perfection on the outside but yet semicooked in the inside) could somewhat add a French touch to the Japanese cuisine. There was no hint of egg york in the sauce either but its foamy texture complemented well with the salmon. 

Grilled Kagoshima Kurobuta Steak with Truffle Salt

Grilled Kagoshima Kurobuta Steak with Truffle Salt

The Grilled Kagoshima Kurobuta Steak (black pork) with Truffle Salt was a very unique dish. Looks wise, it does resemble a beef steak and typically, beef is served semi-cooked. In this case, we had semi-cooked Kurobuta Steak! The center of the meat was on the pinkish, slightly raw side, while the outsides are charred and cooked thoroughly. And due to the semi-cooked regions, the pork had a very chewy and rubbery texture. It took us quite a number of chews just to get the pork down our throats. It was a pretty interesting experience as we have never had semi-cooked pork meat.

Singapore Sling Mousse Cake with Dragonfruit Sauce and Mascarpone Cheese Ice Cream

Singapore Sling Mousse Cake with Dragonfruit Sauce and Mascarpone Cheese Ice Cream

The Singapore Sling Mousse Cake was served atop the Dragonfruit Sauce, paired with Mascarpone Cheese Ice Cream and a small bowl of coffee. The mousse cake had a mildly sweet sponge base which we didn’t quite like. Usually, we would prefer the base of our cakes to be on the crunchy side, with a digestive biscuit like texture. The mousse cake was softer and more pudding like, compared to the mousse we had for appetizers. There wasn’t much alcoholic taste but rather, a strong pineapple flavour. The cake could have tasted better if the Singapore Sling added was of a right composition of alcohol and pineapple juice. The dragonfruit sauce was on the bland side and did little to accentuate the taste of the mousse cake. Something commendable was the mascapone cheesecake ice cream. It was thick and rich, residing more on the sweet side with no suggestion of any typical saltiness of cheese. There were bits of cheesecake cubes in the mascarpone cheese ice cream, which added an element of surprise to this seemingly usual dessert. It would be awesome if served alongside a good old creamy American cheesecake. The manager’s suggestion was to pour the coffee into the ice cream. However, we felt that the strong coffee overpowered the mascarpone ice cream such that the bitterness from the coffee was all that we tasted.  Perhaps she was trying to get us to reproduce the taste of tiramisu here, which in such a case, we thought would be better if the coffee was replaced with a small serving of Irish/coffee liquor.

Ambience wise, the place was pretty cosy and exquisitely decorated. There weren’t many tables around as well, hence this place would not be overly crowded. Matsu adopts an open kitchen concept, hence we could sneak peeks at the chefs preparing our food, and at the same time, the aroma of freshly prepared dishes whetted our appetites even before they were served. But a room for improvement could be in the presentation/plating of the dishes. Guess they were adopting a minimalistic and simple approach to the presentation of their food, but somehow, we did expect a little more from such a casual fine dining restaurant. And it probably isn’t a very good idea to have both potatoes and rice as the accompanying side dishes for the main courses. For those who are trying to watch their diets, 2 starchy carbohydrates side dishes seem rather overwhelming.

For the night, though there were essentially only 2 waiting staff (the lady manager and a lady waitress), they were very prompt in clearing our plates and serving the food. They were very patient and detailed in their food introduction. The smiles on their faces plus their warm hospitality made the entire meal a delightful one. The manager was very thoughtful; we did not specify the splitting of the bill three ways but she calculated the amount that each of us had to pay and wrote it on the receipt. The service at Matsu really comes out tops, kudos to them!

Matsu
#02-02A Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Road

Advertisements

Written by foodphd

March 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: