Lunched at the Tiffin Club yesterday. It's nearly 4 years old, but only came to the forefront of culinary news in Singapore when its relatively new chef Iskander Latif won the ChannelNewsAsia TV-reality show, The Perfect Meal Asia. The show pitted 6 Singaporean chefs against each other, with one being eliminated each week. Chef Iskander emerged the eventual champion.
So, we did go there with heightened expectations. The restaurant's bright, airy dining room was extremely pleasant, although a bit spartan in its decor and lacked some greenery/plants.
What we ordered -
1. Tiffin Appetiser Platter, consisting of Laksa Croquettes (loved the concept, but came across pretty bland - we couldn't really discern the laksa scent); Tauhu Telor (crispy egg tofu, with sweet dark-soyasauce & peanut dressing) was fine though not memorable; Chicken Satay (very generous portions of barbecued skewers of chicken meat, served with a thick peanut sauce) and green mango salad. We loved the presentation, just wished the flavors were stronger;
2. Tiffin Satay Platter - these were similar to the satays in the appetiser platter. These were accompanied by cubes of Nasi Himpit rice cakes, and crisp slivers of cucumber & raw onions. The sauce was passably nice: thick & chunky with chopped peanuts - we only wished it tasted better though. There seemed to be a lack of "oomph" in the sauce, the X-factor you find in good satay sauces with that perfect balance of spices.
1. Laksa Lobster, served with poached egg, asparagus spears & tiny potato pearls, sprinkled with orange-colored tobiko (flying fish) roe. Again, the flavors of the laksa sauce was hardly discernible. Perhaps subtlety was the keyword here, in which case, it might not suit local palates which are more adapted to robust local flavors.
2. Duck Confit Rendang, served with Nasi Ulam & Petite Salad tossed in Orange Vinaigrette. Wholly underwhelmed by the duck, which was NOT confit at all! It was pretty tasteless, in fact. The "rendang" sauce was a misnomer, it lacked the punch of a real rendang, which would have been bursting with flavors. Again, nice concept, but very disappointingly executed. The saving grace was the herb-tinged green Nasi Ulam accompaniment - this was great, perhaps one of only 2 items we had which I really enjoyed.
3. Chilli Crab Linguine, topped with quail's egg & tobiko roe - this was the dish I enjoyed best. Again, its flavors were decidedly understated and blander than "real" chilli crab sauce. But the crabmeat was fresh, and the flavors were perfectly balanced. Delicious. If I ever come back here again (not that I would in the near future), this dish would be at the top of my list to order.
We skipped the desserts as the meal was a bit too heavy for lunch. All in all, we love the bright ambience and the wonderfully attentive & professional service. Pity about the food - we certainly expected more from Chef Iskander.
16 Jiak Chuan Road
Tel: 6323 3189
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am-11pm.
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