Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gunther's, Purvis Street

T'was an evening shrouded in mystery. With only vague suggestions of "the letter G" and "meet at City Hall MRT", I was extremely curious and excited to know what  had up his sleeve. I had some suspicions but was led to Gunther's instead (which is located right next to Garibaldi, my initial guess)!

 I was a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of dining in the one of the world's best restaurants. However I knew this was a (surprise) special occasion so we both relished in the experience. Stepping into the restaurant I knew that service was not going to disappoint!

 After a bit of deliberation we both decided to go for the tasting menu. This would be a great way to sample what Gunther's have to offer.

To our delight (more of mine I think!) the friendly maitre d' introduced the day's specials by bringing out an entire tray of fresh, quality ingredients and talking through each one. I fought the urge to approach the tray and pick things up to feel in my own hands.

{ Tempura prawn }

 We hardly waited a few ticks before the bread & amuse bouche arrived. The bread was served warm alongside room-temp butter (so important!!) and was excellent. I thought the amuse bouche - nicely fried tempura prawn - was okaay but maybe a bit boring.

 The bread was absolutely brilliant - a mini-baguette if you will, crispy, sweet and chewy and the butter was awesome. Unfortunately no flattering photo of the simple bread made it past the lens! The prawn was really fresh and just lightly battered.

{ Cold angel hair pasta, Oscietra caviar }

 First course was their signature caviar pasta. Every bite was full of flavour (that is quite distinct from the japanese roe variant I am more familiar with) and there is a slight oily richness that could have been 'too much' if the portion was larger. I thought that the pasta was just a tad too cold and chewy.

 Whoa ... this tiny portion was surprisingly heavy. Lovely texture on the pasta and the caviar adding that sprig of sea-saltiness to every bite. The plate was ice-cold and I think the coldness really made the oil denser and richer somehow (?) but it realllyyy brought out the flavour.

{ Crispy egg with truffle (+$30) }

 For myself, the next course containing egg I requested it to be changed to this funky crispy version with a hillock of truffle. It's actually deep fried hard boiled egg, which turned out quite interesting considering the heat from the deep frying should technically cook the egg through - but there was still runny yolk! I very much enjoyed this combination. The truffle bits itself looked quite abundant but the aroma wasn't as strong as expected.

 I had the regular egg dish on the degustation - unfortunately again no flattering picture made it past the lens! A poached egg with iberico ham and celeriac - I thought it was an interesting combination but tasted just quite alright.

{ Roasted Carabinero gambas, tomato pilaf  }

 Next course was roasted shrimp with pilaf rice. I made a small mistake of beheading the shrimp, letting the wonderful essence in the shell flow all over the plate. Very fresh and tasty! Rice was really good too, having been cooked in the juices of the shrimp. A standout dish for me.

{ Wagyu (Kuroge) Steak (+$65) }

 I had intentions to upgrade the "Cocotte of French Chicken" main to a beef main - not sure if it was a curse or a blessing that the only available for swap was the Kuroge Steak which was part of the daily special. $65 top up was hefty!!!! But I've always wanted to try Japanese Wagyu done proper steak style ... and what better time to just go for it. The plate arrived rather bare, and with good reason - there is no need to dress up this unassuming yet sumptuous piece of meat. The rich marbling, tasty fat and how delicate the meat breaks as you chew ... I feel myself salivating as I write. Definitely glad I made the switch!

{ Pan Seared Cod }

 For my main course I opted for fish. I was not expecting much of pan seared cod but when this was placed under my nose I was won over by 2 things: the presentation (I liked how the vegies are spread out - too many places shove vegies under the fish - highlighting the cod in the middle) and that crispy skin (look at that colour!) The cod was fresh and delicate. Just the perfect 'lightness' of flavours I wanted.

{ Plateau of French farm cheeses }

 At this point I was quite full already but how can one not look forward to dessert? :) the cheese platter had 4 different types of cheese and all pretty good! My favourite was the creamy one.

 Silly silly me, when presented when the option of "Cheese and Apple Tart", I expected to get a cheese tart and an apple tart. Till they wheeled out a small cart with 4 different farm cheeses - can't say I remember the names but I remember them as "Creamy", "Gooey", "Hard" and "Blue". All went great with dried fruit and crackers.

{ Fine apple tart "a la dragees" w/Havana rum raisin ice cream }

 We also chose the apple tart which was done quite differently in a kind of filo pastry and served with a rummy R&R ice cream. Very good! Sweet and delicious.

 You know the pacing and portion for this meal is just right when the coffee comes and you have just the right amount of room left to enjoy it.

{ Petit fours }

 And ending off with the petit fours, the macarons were a little too sweet for my liking, but hey, it's dessert!

Lovely dinner for a lovely occasion! Gunther's pride themselves for fresh ingredients, and S$128++ for a tasting menu is one of the more affordable ones you can find this part of the world.

36 Purvis Street

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HGW (72% recommended at time of posting) :
Rating (out of 4) : 

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