rice cake confessional

adventures in eating

tippling club, singapore

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Any culinary capital wouldn’t be complete with a little molecular artistry thrown in, right? I found out about Tippling Club through Therese who read about it in a magazine. Therese and I have been talking about going FOH-EVAH but until this weekend had yet to make a reservation. Before we take a walk down Tippling Club lane…

1. This is not a cheap meal. We’re talkin’ 3 digits per person. Think of it as us doing our part to help the economy.

2. We went for dinner and the place was dark. As always with my full disclosure, the pictures below have been adjusted for brightness and contrast.

3. I’m going to explain the dishes to the best of my memory but am no where near precise. The courses are best explained by the chefs and their staffs obviously. The preparation and detail that goes into each plate and glass is pretty complex. Don’t let my subpar descriptions fool you.

Where it is.

Ugh. I have a love hate relationship with Dempsey Hill. First of all, it kind of reminds of Palo Alto. That’s partly good (bc aw… a slice of the Bay) and partly bad (bc hmm an often bougie and snooty part of the Bay). Secondly, it is downright irritating to get in and out of Dempsey Hill unless you own your own vehicle. Make sure you have the taxi people on speed dial or else you’ll be stuck there for goodness knows how long.  Lastly, it is so darn confusing finding things. Left, right, one way, that way, up the hill, down the hill. Madness.

Tippling Club is located next to House which is a huge artsy restaurant bar complex thingy. It’s behind the line of buildings that holds Jones the Grocer and other eateries. Once you get to the House complex, head down the stairs and make a left. There should be servers and hosts outside to help you.

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The place is dominated by a huuuuge bar in the middle of which is a science lab/kitchen. You have alcohol hanging from the ceiling, brown chem lab bottles of goodness knows what, syringes and dry ice, and glasses and plates of all shapes and sizes.

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You *could* sit at one of 3 tables available but the idea is to get a seat at the bar. That way you can get your food ‘splained to you for maximum appreciation. Check out DJ Macbook at the counter there.

The menu.

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They have a regular style menu but most people come here for the set tasting courses. You get your choice of 5, 10, or 15 and with or without the drinks. The starting price for the 5 course menu with no cocktails is SGD125. With the cocktail will set you back SGD195. Upgrade to the 10 course and you’ll need SGD230 (without the drinks). You get the idea. Since this was our first foray into molecular gastronomy and wowza food price tags, we kept it simple with the 5 course + drinks.

On to the food (finally).

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First up is the amuse bouche (ah-mooz boosh). A little nibble. A little taste. These were mint julep grapes that were infused somehow so that they were carbonated inside. Bite into the grape and get fizziness and mintyness. Little shot glass, giant piece of ice in the shape of said glass, 3 fizzy grapes, slivers of mint on top.

Story time. We got a set of these and then the Head Mixologist actually came by and gave us another round (he didn’t know we already had it). Whoops. We were semi-stunned and then overwhelmed by guilt. So we said sorries. Hopefully he didn’t hate us too much. Anyhow, I liked these. They were refreshing. All grapes should be fizzy.

Time for the actual first course.

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Tippling-style breakfast! One egg perfectly cooked at 62 degrees, bits of pancetta (fried, I think), some parmesan cheese, cubes of garlic bread, and that red stuff on the egg is something fancy that I can’t even remember, the green bit is a fried herb. The texture of the egg was weird in an awesome kind of way. The yolk was thick and runny while the white was fluffy and foamy. The server recommended that we mix everything up which we all did happily. The saltiness and crispiness of the pancetta and parmesan cheese was a good compliment to the egg. The garlic bread cubes were not dry like croutons. More toasty – crisp on the outside but still bready on the inside.

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Coffee to go with breakfast. Unless you live in Singapore this will make no sense to you. Kopi-o (as this drink and the drink it’s paying homage to is called) is a Singaporean breakfast staple. If you get it ‘to go’ at a coffee shop (no, not like Starbucks) then you’ll get in a baggie like the one pictured. TC’s version has a real glass on the inside and the bag on the outside. Strong coffee, sweet liquor, very tasty.

Second verse.

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Clams and slices of fish with herbs and flowers. I missed the photo opp but before diving in they pour a hot broth made with dashi (one of the ingredients they use in miso to make it taste good) and little basil seeds. The basil seeds were fun to pop in your mouth and were very flavorful; they look a lot like the jelly beads they put in desserts here.

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This was the surprise drink of the night for me. Served in lab beakers and spilling over with vapors. The Mixologist Master told us that it was more for the aroma but he is selling himself short. This is vermouth infused with chamomile and elderberry. In each beaker is a chunk of dry ice. Do yourself a favor and don’t mash the dry ice up. Unless you like the vaporness to come out your nose. I don’t think I even like vermouth but apparently if you make it be friends with chamomile and elderberry it makes for a surpringly sweet and smooth drink.

Episode 3.

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This was super decadent. A slice of foie gras paired with an orange that had a thin layer of orange jelly all around. The roll thingy is an orange sheet with foie gras mousse inside. Sooooo rich. Very buttery. You know I love the lightly browned bits on the outside. The green decoration on the plate is green tea.

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The drink to the left goes with this course and its a white wine made of Kyoho grapes. Such a tasty, tasty wine. If you recall my post on Kyoho grapes you won’t be surprised to hear that I was portioning off this drink so I could savor it. To the right is a Cab with a bit of Merlot. I’ve never heard of having a wine that was mixed like that. It was my least favorite of the drinks but then again I’m not a red wine fan. I found it a bit watered down in the taste department. If you’re interested it’s from Dugal.

Act Four.

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To go with the cab/merlot was pork belly (oh man) and scallop with some spiced butternut squash puree, micro coriander, candied walnuts, and rehydrated grapes. At least I think that’s what it was. I almost forgot my name when I bit into the pork belly. So bad for you but so good tasting. The scallop was perfectly cooked. Had a bit of spring but was soft and tender too.

Finale.

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A lot going on here for dessert. Peanut crumble, sour cucumber gelee, lime sorbet, manipulated chocolate ganache, coconut flake, and chocolate crumble (under the sorbet). On the menu this doesn’t sound so exciting – cucumber coconut. Who knew?  This is best eaten with a bite of everything – a little bit of cucumber, some sorbet, a bit of chocolate, some peanut. The combination is very good and shockingly none of the flavors overpowers the other. Even the gananche behaves and doesn’t try to steal the show. The texture of the chocolate was somewhere between candy bar and mousse. The flake of coconut went from standing at attention to bowing gracefully over the sorbet. It was less coconutty than I thought it would be.

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With dessert came mojitos. To the right you can see the remnants of the first glass. A sprig of fresh mint doused in hot water. Take in the steamy minty aroma and follow it with the ice cold, double glass held, fizzy, rummy drink. A nice way to wrap things up.

Encore.

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I went to the bathroom (unisex, cloth towels, fancy soap – if you’re wondering) and came back to these clouds. I thought they were the passionfruit clouds listed in the ten course menu but they were Christmas-spiced cotton candy. I have no idea if this is a holiday bonus or what but we happily enjoyed it.

The verdict? Awesome.

The food is interesting. Dehydrated this and powdered that and micro somethings and clouds. It’s executed well. Not an ill seasoned plate in sight. The drinks are surprising stars on their own. The staff is awesome. Chef Ryan came by and explained several of the dishes to us himself. Same goes for Lord of the Drinks. The servers seem to be having a good time. They chatted it up, answered our questions, and were all around cool cats.

Best of all the place is not snotty. You can pretty much roll in wearing whatever you like. We went straight after work and our Casual-Friday-I-work-at-a-tech-company gear was a-ok. People smile and have fun and laugh. If you’re a lightweight like we are, that many drinks is good enough to at least get a good buzz goin. It also helps that I went with people who were down to have a good time. Shout outs to Therese, Cathy, Jay, and Steph for being great company.

On our way out we got free bags of Tippling Tea from MakatiJosh- chocolate chips, chamomile, spearmint, and other stuff. How nice!

BTW before you trek it on over to TC you’ll need to make reservations. Now, who wants to try the 10 course with me? Better yet, who wants to treat me to the 10 course? Heh heh.

The Tippling Club (beware of very artsy but hard to read website): 8D Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill, Singapore +65 6475 2217

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Written by joann

December 7, 2008 at 2:10 am

One Response

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  1. […] House is right next to Tippling Club in the most annoying place in Singapore – Dempsey Hill. Sigh. Okay I’m exaggerating but […]


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