Thursday, February 15, 2007

Iggy's, The Regent Singapore

Black truffle risotto, pan-seared scallops, and shaved winter truffle

Iggy's (1 Cuscaden Road, Level 3, 6732-2234) is one of those places that has been put up on a pedestal and raved about lately, especially after British Restaurant magazine named it to one of the top 100 restaurants in the world last year (98th, to be specific). I wasn't completely convinced though, seeing that my criteria for food are usually quite different from those of high-end restauranteurs; I really don't care if the food looks pretty, if the decor is elegant, or if the wine list is well paired. If it doesn't taste good, then plain and simply, it's a waste of money to me, regardless if it's $1.50 or $150 (the latter of which in Sing dollars was the price of the 8-course tasting meal here, with the option to pay S$25 more to upgrade to the truffle-based course...that translates to US$95 and US$110 courses for stateside readers).

Mosaic of maguro and hamachi, yellow frisee and foie gras sauceSo how was this place? Perhaps not surprisingly, many things here were very much "truffle this, truffle that," even on the non-truffle menu. Each plate that arrived of course was aesthetically pleasing, used exotic ingredients, and was certainly very original. They also came in very small portions, which probably wasn't any huge surprise, but nonetheless became a bit frustrating after a while given the pace at which the dishes came out. I did like most of the food though, most notably the slow-cooked salmon, which was very rich and tender, all the while having a very subtle bite of salt on the side for extra character. Many of the other dishes were indeed quite innovative too, and you've gotta give these guys loads of respect for that. There's no way in the world that I could have done any of this, even if I had a gun pointed at my head.

Still, that was pretty much the extent of it for me. The entire course took a whopping 2.5 hours to complete, which in many ways was just as painful as the actual dollar amount required from my wallet. If you're one of those folks that enjoys spending time over a slow meal, contemplating the virtues of one vintage of wine versus another and that recent real estate investment that you just made, then this place is for you. But if I had to spend this much money again, I'd rather go to Morton's. The food there is by no means innovative, but to me is so much more satisfying and filling (both physically and emotionally)...and I could probably even save a few bucks in the process.

Regardless, lots of respect is in order for this place, and yeah, I suppose that the 98th ranking is well deserved here (I don't regret coming). But admittedly my proletarian stomach did think a couple times about Pepper Lunch down the street as we tapped our fingers tonight waiting for the next truffle-laden plate to come out of the kitchen.

9 comments:

D said...

Amen to that brother!

Kathy said...

I'll second that. I'm suprised that you are still paying for expensive food here.

This brings to mind something you said on a previous post ranking the top five cities for food in the world -- that the food in Singapore is not something that will make you want to go back for.

Most of the food here is exactly that. The cooking is ok, but it's not memorable, unlike a street side stall in Bangkok or a tonkatsu shop in Tokyo where the food is so good, one can actually recall the memory of eating it.

Out of curiousity, of the many things you have eaten here, is there something that you will miss when you leave Singapore?

bma said...

That's easy: bak chor mee, bak kut teh, and kambing soup. Those are indeed very memorable, and very unique in the world. I mentioned them in that posting that you referred to as well.

Kathy said...

Haha. Missed that. Hmm. You seem to appreciate soups.

There's this "steamed soup" shop at the food court of Amara Hotel, which is pretty good. I remember you hate carrots, but the carrot + corn soup there is divine.

They also do chinese herbal soup if you are game to try.

bma said...

Do you mean these guys?

Flavor.sg said...

Iggy's! great down to earth review... and agreed their target audience are accomplished people who want to sit back, take 2.5 hours of their life to truly enjoy the finer things in life.. =)

Randy said...

I dined at Iggy's last week. While the food is good, it is not memorable or comparable to other fine-dining" establishments in the world. Makes me curious how it consistently makes the Top 100 Restaurants List, since I can think of more than a dozen oteh deserving eateries. The food was overpriced. I guess this is the price I'll have to pay for being obssessed with wanting to eat at "great" restaurants each time travel.

Bertram said...

have you ever tried Le Pont de Vie? This is one of my favorite restaurants in Singapore located in a beautifully renovated shop house at 26 Kandahar Street in the Kampong Glam district near Sultan mosque. Great modern European food matched with excellent French wines and not over the top prices either.
Bert

Ken said...

Thanks for your comments! I had lunch at Iggy's the other day for the first time and was so disappointed. Being Singapore, I felt so embarrassed to say that I didn't like the food, because Iggy's is supposed to "Singapore's best restaurant". But, no, unfortunately, I wasn't impressed at all. I agree, even for lunch, it was all - truffle this, truffle that!