On a recent trip back home over Christmas, I had the opportunity to dine at The Best Restaurant in Asia 2012 (according to The World’s 50 best restaurants). Iggy’s has been on the list for 4 years, and serves mostly modern French/European with an Asian (in my opinion, Japanese) touch. The reservation was made approximately a month in advance for 3, and needless to say, as the days drew nearer, all 3 of us (or at least, I was) very excited to dine at Iggy’s…
Iggy’s is named after its founder Ignatius Chan, an ex-sommelier and one of the most celebrated restaurateur in Singapore. Despite his family’s humble beginnings, his mother used to bring him to fine dining restaurants. His fondest memory was a meal at the-then Gordon Grill in Singapore, and that sparked off his passion and love for food.
We arrived at Iggy’s on a Friday afternoon, and was greeted by Ignatius Chan himself at the reception area. I was very pleasantly surprised to see him there, taking us to our table etc. Personal touch perhaps? The restaurant is very cosy and intimate, with about 9 tables in the room we were in, and a private dining room next door. The chefs work in a glass enclosed kitchen, and it was possible to see them at work from where we were seated. There was only 1 option for lunch – the set lunch tasting menu. And since there were 3 of us and 3 options for each course, we essentially ordered everything on the menu.
Unfortunately, I did not note down what the amuse bouche was. I remembered that there was blood orange in it, and it was a very refreshing dish.
My dining partners both had the Foie Gras with pear, balsamic and shiso. While I had the Gillardeau Oysters and champagne
The foie gras at Iggy’s tasted exactly like what pan fried foie gras should – cripsy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. However, nothing very unique or special in my opinion. The oyster starter on the other hand…wow. Two pieces of oyster, pan fried, in a sea of champagne foam, topped with caviar. So delicious. The champagne foam and oyster complemented each other very well – who would have thought?
I had the spaghettini with ebi prawns. It was a very interesting pasta dish. Did not taste italian at all. Tasted Japanese, yet very Singaporean at the same time. I thought it tasted a little like economical bee hoon (rice vermicelli) which is a breakfast dish that you can find in Singapore hawkers. Very unique dish indeed…
Unfortunately, I do not remember what Dining Partner 1 had. But, I remembered him saying that it was excellent.
Dining Partner 2 ordered the maitake mushroom risotto topped with egg yolk. And to make the dish even more decadent, she ordered a couple of grams of alba white truffle to her dish. It was served to her covered, with a little hole for her to smell the truffle. The moment the waiter removed the cover, Dining Partner 1 and I could immediately smell the heavenly scent of truffle. Needless to say, the dish was fantastic as well. True decadence.
I ordered the Pigeon which came with beans and an orange sauce. I had been pretty disappointed with the last couple of pigeon dishes I had in England, and didn’t want to order the pigeon at Iggy’s initially. However, I was glad that I did. The pigeon was very tender and juicy, unlike pigeons that I usually have. The meat was not tough at all and the sauce added a tangy sweet salty taste to the meat.
Dining Partner 1 had the Kinmedai (English name: Splendid Alfonsino). The fish was semi-cooked, and placed at the edge of the plate. While the vegetables, gingko and a jelly like substance (no idea what it was) was “swimming” in the centre. Dining Partner 1 preferred the pigeon and I preferred the fish so we exchanged our dishes halfway through.
Dining Partner 2 had the Lamb. Perfectly cooked, medium rare. Tender and full of flavour. I think the only criticism we had about this dish was that the portions were a little small! The two pieces of lamb were about the size of two small figs.
I ordered the “Kaya and Teh Tarik“. Kaya (local coconut jam) toast and teh tarik (local pulled milk tea) is my favourite local snack food. I love them so much that I actually bring bottles of coconut jam and packets of tea to the UK so I can make it myself whenever I missed home. So, as you would expect, when I saw this dish on the menu, I knew that I had to order it. Iggy’s version of the traditional Singaporean kaya and teh tarik comes in the form of a toasted brioche (I love brioche!) with a side of kaya (or coconut jam) custard, and teh tarik (milk tea) foam. This was my favourite part of the entire meal at Iggy’s. His take on this Singaporean favourite of mine was fantastic. I was still savouring every bite of this dish even after my dining partners had finished their respective desserts.
Dining Partner 2 had the “Tomato“. No, it was not a real tomato, but a sorbet-like dessert in a shape of a tomato. It had strawberry and rosemary elements in it. And like the Forest Berries dessert, very refreshing (unlike my kaya and teh tarik dessert).
Overall, our meal at Iggy’s was very enjoyable indeed. The dishes were all excellent, unique and cooked perfectly. I enjoyed the oyster starter and my kaya teh tarik dessert the most and would definitely return for those two dishes. I think my main criticism with the meal was that the portions were way too small. We were somewhat full when we left but after about 2 hours later, all 3 of us felt hungry and went for our “second lunch”. And all 3 of us consumed a very frightening amount of bread at Iggy’s (the sourdough bread was fantastic. 1 of us actually had 6 rolls of it!). Despite this, I would definitely love to return to Iggy’s again soon. We felt very welcomed at Iggy’s and it was definitely great to see Ignatius Chan in the restaurant, making sure everything was in order.
The Hilton Hotel
581 Orchard Road
Ambience: 4.5/5 Forks
Service: 4.5/5 Forks
Food: 4.5/5 Forks