Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pollen ... Michelin Star Fine Dining within the Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay

Michelin Star Chef Jason Atherton brought some magic Pollen from the renown Pollen Street Social to be aptly sprinkled inside the Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay. What manifested after that between Pollen's cuisine, the exotic flowers in the gardens and the magnificent views from the restaurant, was an ambience and dining experience unparalleled in our fine dining circle. Pollen serves Mediterranean-inspired modern European cuisine amidst the garden that some Singaporeans can never dream of. 

Have you even dreamt that in Singapore, you can walk into a restaurant and spotting naturally grown daisies and gerberas as you're ushered to the entrance? Never in my life until now.

We arrived at the restaurant via the buggy service from the main entrance near the Gardens by the Bay's reception. The buggy was able to ferry both me, HY, little Julien and also his "not-at-all-compact" stroller. The buggy service was most welcomed especially during lunch time under the scorching afternoon sun. Pollen is not a long walk from the main entrance but if you're dressed to the nighs and not want to risk wilting under the sun, take the buggy. We were settled in the lower space for indoor dining but still surrounded by the garden and definitely sharing the cool air, maybe even flower scented, within the Flower Dome. Even with the 9 metres long dessert bar, the dining area is still very spacious. Although touted as a fine dining restaurant, babies are welcome. They even provide Stokke high chairs for the little ones. I never like fine dining where I would cause stares when my steak knife would occasionally cause a clashing noise on the plate from my uncouth table etiquette. I was not worry about that at all in Pollen. In fact, I was very comfortable and the immaculate and warm service did help.

In Pollen, dining comes with a complimentary view of one of the world most recognizable attraction, the Marina Bay. 

The baguette and sour dough with the slab of rich but smooth butter was irresistible. I think I had 4 servings and cleared the butter on the wooden serving spatula.

Complementary Olives and Fish Puree as a bread spread. The fish puree with olive oil went well with hte sourdough bread. It taste a little bit like the cod fish oil that I ate as a child but just coarser and savory instead of sweet.

We ordered off Pollen's Set Lunch Menu at S$55++ which I thought was a real deal. You eat in the comforts of the Flower Dome that will cost S$20 per entry. Taking away the entry fee makes the meal almost the cost of set lunches in the more casual less chi chi bistros.

For Appetizers .... 

Lime-cured Mackerel, White Radish, Green Tea. If you like cured fish, this is the appetizer to order. Slightly seared on the exterior to give it a more smokey taste and the refined savoriness made by the touch of lime hits you when the mackerel flakes out when you bite through the mackerel bar.

Asparagus and Grilled Heirloom Tomato Salad. If you think you are gonna get a hearty meaty mains, this might be a good one for you. 

Slow Cooked Egg Chorizo, Patata Bravas. HY chose this eggy appetizer and I thought one of the best. Can you imagine the molten yolk bursting out of the curd liked egg whites mixed up with the fruity sweetness of tomato based sauce, contrasting with savory and slighty spicy chorizo and slightly browned cubed potatoes added up into a Spanish style explosion in a mouthful. Yummy.

As for Mains ...

Roasted Pork Belly, Broad Beans, Slow cooked squid, Chorizo. I wanted pig that day and what's most indulging than pork belly? The well roasted pork belly was of perfect tenderness. Like what I told my friends, when you want an excuse for fatty food like this, just say it's colagen rich! Good for the complexion. Adding chorizo to the dish added a multiplexing effect with tints of savory and herbs. Love this dish!

Line-Caught John Dory, Minestrone, Coco Bean, Baby Courgette. HY's John Dory was meaty and tender. The seared portion added a good texture to each bite. Portion was small though. Glad I had multiple servings of bread.

Last but not least ... Desserts
All of us love how innovative our desserts turn out to be. They all look pretty but taste creative and bold. That's the least we can expect from Pastry Chef Andres Lara, formerly from Iggy's Singapore and also El Bulli in Spain.

Crispy and Burnt Lemon Meringue with Cucumber Sorbet. Have you had cucumber sorbet? Well that was a first for me but I thought cool and refreshing cucumber contrasted well with the sweet meringue.

Coconut Mousse, Rhubarb Broth, Goat Cheese Ice Cream. Using cucumber for sorbet was creative but  I thought goat cheese ice cream was bold! The sweet coconut mousse was good with the sourish rhubarb but the goat cheese ice cream really made an impression due to the "goaty" odour.

Petit Fours were served and I liked the chocolate truffles best.

After lunch we proceeded to tour around the Flower Dome. I must say I was impressed although Ade didn't think so ... "All the flowers are wilting under the sun! or abuse by visitors!". Anyway, thanks to Ade for lending me her Nikon J1 camera. Brought my Nikon D800 along but left the batteries charging at home ....grrr.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-09
Singapore 018953
Tel : +65 6604 9988


red fir said...

Pollen truly didn't live up to its hype. Food was a disappointment, service left wanting, even the peanut butter jelly dessert was a let-down. This place lacks all the protocols of fine dining, if the restaurant is supposed to be of one. The only one thumb-up I can give was for the much welcome buggy service provided, and the delicious complimentary mini Magnum bar.

Esquina is miles better. Exemplary service (though there isn't any service charge), lovely vibes & awesome awesome food. Go try if you haven't already. It's seriously good.

Edsmond said...

Looks, tempting! Haha. Thanks for the review :D

Amasou Umasou said...

Haha, that's y i always carry at least 3 batteries in my bag, you will never know when you need it the most.

Unknown said...

Ice : My experience at Pollen was contrary to yours though. I was more cheap skate and settled with set lunch. Is there a term called Casual Fine Dining? That should sum it up ;-) Esquina serves tapas and $$$$$ so I'm not anywhere near it yet. Must save up.

Amasou Umasou : Need to go buy extra batteries ;-)

red fir said...

No, Esquina is not as expensive as you think it is. Expect to spend just a little above $100 (5-6 dishes) for 2 pax; it's even cheaper than Pollen's set lunch, if not more delicious. Your moolah will be well-spent for a much better dining experience, and you'd be rewarded with a very satisfying and FUL-filling (pun intended ;-)) meal indeed.

The only pain in the ass (pun intended LOL) is the uncomfortable tractor seat which your ass have to endure throughout LOL. :P But for excellent food meal & service rendered, everything is forgiven.


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