We chose Bacchanalia as the venue for Supper Club Part 3, our third get together with friends where we look to explore different restaurants across Singapore. It isn’t always easy given we tend to need a space for around 25 foodie friends. In the build up to the evening the staff were amazing, guaranteeing us the private space at the back of the restaurant & building a special 3 course menu that sounded intriguing & offered something for everyone. I was excited to go given it has a fantastic reputation, plus I walk past it most days as I head to my favorite breakfast & coffee spot at Ronin, also on Hong Kong Street.
This hot reputation is boosted by the Head Chef who has a formidable CV. Ivan Brehm has worked in some impressive restaurants including Per Se in New York, Mugaritz, in Spain & the Fat Duck a little closer to home in the UK. So our expectations were high.
It is a beautiful venue where the barriers between chef & diner are broken down. The wood-paneled venue has an open kitchen sitting in the heart of the space with tables dotted around, all in sight of the cooking action. We were the exception since we had the private room at the back, which when the sliding doors are in place, makes for a private room where we could make as much noise as we liked without annoying other diners. So, everyone was happy.
Onto the food, which led to much debate amongst the group. Half were impressed by the flavour, presentation & inventiveness, whilst the other half were disappointed by the portion sizes, which it has to be said were pathetic.
For my starter I had ‘Uni Pasta’ which was a beautifully made chocolate, buckwheat pasta in a creamy, egg sauce with sea urchin sitting on top. It was absolutely delicious, although could have been a touch hotter. The vegetarian option was the ‘Beetroot Tartare’ a case-in-point for the debate which was an absolute piece of art, super tasty but can’t have been more than a quarter of a beetroot.
To follow I went for ‘The Lamb’, a stunning piece of pink loin with charred eggplant, mung beans & mint. Alongside it came kibbeh lamb ready to be rolled in a small roti-style bread. I enjoyed it a lot but I could have eaten it 3 times over, & it
was crying out for some good carbohydrate side dishes. The vegetarian main course was perhaps the greatest victim of stinginess, entitled ‘Carrots’ & it was, well, a few carrots that looked very pretty but was still just a few carrots. To be honest, those that chose this were rightly
annoyed given it was a pricey menu & that was their main course. Even the restaurant admitted it was far too small when complaints were made, pretended the chef had made a mistake & supplemented those diners with a delicious take on a french onion soup.
To end it all I had the ‘Chocolate Tart’ which was unbelievably good. Delicate chocolate, encrusted in sweet, short pastry with subtle grapefruit jam, pecans & super smooth Assam ice cream. The other puddings were also well received, with ‘Sesame Cake’ & pink guava sorbet getting rave reviews.
Of all the 3 courses, it was the pudding that was most complete. The starter & mains were tasty, beautiful, well cooked but simply too small to be dishes on their own.
I am torn on whether I would recommend this restaurant or not. No question, the food is exciting & full of surprises & the service is impeccable. But for the price we paid we all left feeling short-changed & to be honest, hungry. It might have been because we were a big group our menu was not reflective of the normal experience, but nonetheless this would have been a wonderful dinner if only they put on some sides.
The Kitchen at Bacchanlia, 39 Hong Kong St