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Corner House - 1st Aug 2015


I have read numerous good things about Corner House and finally I made a reservation for dinner when my Japanese Wagyu supplier was in town to meet Chef Jason.

Corner House is situated in a two-storey black and white bungalow built in 1910. E J H Corner lived there when he was Assistant Director of the Botanic Gardens from 1929 to 1945. The restaurant is found in the Botanic Gardens at the Nassim Gate Visitor Centre. I drove into the sheltered carpark via Evan’s road. It is not easy to find the restaurant especially if you do not spot the small sign. Asking the staff of Casa Verde, another restaurant close by, would be your best bet.

I was led upstairs to a section of the restaurant with a floor to ceiling high glass walls with a lovely view of the lush greenery of the gardens. There were a number of couples seated by the glass wall, testament to the romantic ambience of the gardens at night.

The first few courses of amuse bouche were a great introduction to the rest of the meal. We had uni (sea urchin) on cracker and kombu, a cucumber jelly and a folded raw leaf! I didn’t get the name of the leaf but it was as good as a leaf could taste and made more pleasant with a drop of apricot jam.


Carabinero prawn

The first dish was Carabinero prawn served with a variety of best season tomato, vintage sherry and Kristal de Chine caviar. Carabinero prawns which are also known as scarlet shrimps are a large deep-sea prawn species that hail from Eastern Atlantic into the Mediterranean Sea. They are renowned for their jumbo size and striking bright red colour. The prawn was simply poached and this allowed me to fully appreciate the strong yet sweet flavour of the prawn. The meat texture is very firm. The antennule of the prawn has been battered and deep fried and boasts crispy texture with a robust flavour. The humble tomato was prepared in a variety of flavours, its sweetness complementing the prawn.


Corner House’s signature dish, The Onion Revealed


Onion Tart


An onion chip


Onion Tea

The next dish that came was Corner House’s signature dish, The Onion Revealed. Before the first of four part was served, the server presented to each guest a specially designed card with the inside pages resembling a three dimensional onion. The card explained the Cevennes onion as a heritage ingredient of France and that it is tender, superbly sweet and without pungency. The first dish, named baked onion cup, is a whole onion, baked and hollowed, then filled with onion puree and a sous vide egg, sea salt, chives and black truffles. It can be best describe as spooning pure comfort into my mouth. The next dish, named onion tart, is onion confit on crispy filo pastry and topped with parmesan cheese. The confit is made from thin hand-sliced onions slow cooked in butter for 6 hours. The crispy thin slice of tart was bursting with sweetness and balanced with some saltiness from the cheese. The third dish is an onion chip. A thin slice of onion is dehydrated for 24 hours then lightly salted to bring its delicate flavour to a fore. The last dish is named onion tea and it is the most expensive of components as 3kg of onions and 2 days of work are needed to produce a mere 200ml. The teacup holds an emulsion of onion confit and cream. An earl grey infused onion tea is poured on it, creating a duality of sensations. This is truly the closest you will experience to drinking an onion. This signature dish was life changing for Chef Jason and I can say it was life changing for me too. I still think about this dish and personally it has to be in the top ten dishes I have ever tasted in my life.


New Zealand cod served with squid, ginger, soya,
beurre noisette and poultry essence

Next up was the New Zealand cod served with squid, ginger, soya, beurre noisette and poultry essence.  The cod had the scales on which were fried so crispy that they become a delightful contrast of texture to the fish. The first time I tried crispy scale fish was at Narisawa, Japan’s most highly rated restaurant, and have since fallen in love with this method of preparing fish. I thought the meat of the tilefish at Narisawa was juicier and more tender than the cod used at Corner House. Nevertheless the cod with the brown butter sauce was good. 

 


Mangalica pork served with momo peach, wasonbon, ginger, endives,
apple gel and natural jus


Japanese A4 Toriyama beef. It is served with sweet corn,
yellow mustard seed and natural jus

The next dish was the Mangalica pork. The neck meat is cut into a rectangle shape and served with momo peach, wasonbon, ginger, endives, apple gel and natural jus. The pork was basically as soft as the fish before and it literally melted in your mouth. The sweetness of the peach and apple went well with the pork. The final main was the Japanese A4 Toriyama beef. It is served with sweet corn, yellow mustard seed and natural jus. Toriyama wagyu is known for its high levels of umami and the way Chef Jason prepared it was excellent. Normally when you eat Japanese wagyu you feel like you are eating fat with some meat which can be quite sickening but this felt like you were eating meat with a good balance of fat.

For dessert, my wife got Chef Jason’s interpretation of kaya toast. I had the French flat peach which consisted of a Champagne sorbet, greek yoghurt, crème fraiche and meringue. The dessert was topped off with Champagne out of the bottle. The dessert mainly tasted sour which is not my favourite way to end a meal. Perhaps I should have had the kaya toast.

The menu we had was specially arranged by Chef Jason and though it wasn’t cheap, it made me a very happy man by the end of the night. 

Corner House
1 Cluny Road, E J H Corner House
Singapore Botanic Gardens (Nassim Gate Entrance) 
Singapore 259569

Tel: 6469 1000
Click here to make a reservation

~ Andre Huber
Executive Director

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