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Rhubarb Le Restaurant - 1st Feb 2015


I first tasted Chef Paul Longworth’s cooking at Wine Universe. I did not have high expectations as it was an English person cooking French food. To my amazement, the dishes were superbly executed. Since then he has gone on to helm Au Petit Salut’s kitchen and recently, he left to start his own restaurant, Rhubarb, in August 2014. Rhubarb is located at Duxton Hill and just a few doors down from Sabio. Expect to be greeted by restaurant manager and part owner Jerome Desfonds as you walk in. For some reason, the restaurant looks expensive. I think the combination of the minimalistic design and layout coupled with the greyish tone gives it that image. There is a semi-open kitchen that lets you partially see what is happening but most importantly allows the chef to have a full view of the kitchen.

 
cured and seasoned chopped fish, 
topped with red and black cavier and 
served in a charcoal cone
 

We were first served an amuse bouche of cured and seasoned chopped fish, topped with red and black cavier and served in a charcoal cone. The saltiness was surprisingly not overpowering and the balance of flavours just perfect. This certainly made me look forward to the meal. We decided to share the appetisers which was good as it allowed us to taste various dishes however as the plating is not big with different components, you only got a bit of each dish. For the foie gras, a thick slab of duck liver was well seared on the outside and served with green apple, rhubarb and rose relish and cacao powder. The rich and robust tasting liver was well balanced with the bitter cacao and the tart rhubarb relish and green apple.

 
 Norwegian King Crab served with
pearl couscous
 

The next one I got a mouthful of was the Norwegian King Crab served with pearl couscous, pomelo and ikura (red cavier). The crab meat was shredded and mixed with all the components. It was a pleasant dish but my least favourite among the selection. The vegetarian main dish of artichoke was ordered as an appetiser. Nicely roasted artichokes was served on top of finely diced carrots, onions and celery (mirepoix) along with cottage cheese fritter and a green olive relish. I really enjoyed the green olive relish which was tart and a good companion for the creamy artichoke. 
 

onion emulsion with truffle dressing and 
topped with basil oil and shaved black truffle

The highlight of the appetiser has got to be the onion emulsion with truffle dressing and topped with basil oil and shaved black truffle. You are encouraged to use a spoon to scoop downwards from top to bottom so as to get some truffle dressing which is at the bottom with each spoonful. There are some dishes that just make you go Wow, well this is one of them. The light airy and earthy mushroom emulsion is given a further burst of umami by the truffle. The basil oil helps to break up the strong flavours. 
 

Chef Paul’s signature dish - pigeon

 

Most of us except for Dad elected to go for the pigeon which I hear is Chef Paul’s signature dish. The dish was beautifully presented but it tasted even better than it looked. The pan seared breast of the pigeon was cooked medium rare. Though it seemed scary at first sight, a bite into this will put all your worries behind. I was expecting the meat to be soft and squishy but it was firm yet tender. Unlike the gaminess of most pigeons, this one had a sweet delicate and refined flavour. This is probably a farmed pigeon with special feeding. Though it may not be what pigeon normally taste like, Singaporeans would love this version. I for one did not grow up eating pigeon so the flavour of this suited my taste buds. The legs of the pigeon was confit to break down the muscles resulting in tender and juicy meat. The dish was served with you guessed it, rhubarb and rose puree and green grapes coated with sesame seeds. Though it said grapes on the menu, this felt and tasted like gingko nuts to me. Nevertheless it was good and a good complement in this truly wow dish. 

wagyu onglet rolled and shaped like
a fillet steak

I had a slice of my dad’s main course of wagyu onglet. The onglet here is rolled and shaped like a fillet steak. It was cooked perfectly and the resulting meat was more tender than fillet steaks with an intense flavour. Wagyu does not normally have an intense flavour but this cut is one of the tastiest parts of the cow. How the chef got it so tender is beyond me. My only complaint is I have to come back again to have a full portion of this to myself.

Rhubarb joins a growing breed of restaurants where the chef/owner helms a small restaurant to ensure that the quality is top notch and consistent. There are not many places where there is a dish that makes me go wow and this place had a couple of them. The best part about such restaurants is though the quality is top notch, the prices are often very reasonable because there is less wastage and the desire of the chef/owner to provide value to the customer. 


Rhubarb Le Restaurant
Address: 3 Duxton Hill Singapore 089589
For reservations: 81275001


 

~ Andre Huber
Executive Director

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