Queen's Garden Tasting Session

September 09, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Queen's Garden Tasting Session
33 Hendon Road
Raintr33 Hotel Lobby


Opening Hours:
Wed - Mon: 11:30am - 10pm, Closed Tue



http://www.queensgardenchangi.com/

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from HungryGoWhere, and The Artic Star.



Excellent European Food, Scratch Made Fresh Daily

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 9
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 9
Value for Money: 8
Budget about SGD $45 ++ per person.


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Inspired by her travels around Europe, food science and business administration graduate Ms. Chang Weng Lok jumped at the chance to open her own restaurant, when a family friend behind the soon-to-be-launched Raintr33 Hotel made her an offer. With the support of her family (mom and dad both help out in the restaurant), Ms. Chang opened her modern European fine dining restaurant, Queen's Garden, in August 2014.

Queen's Garden Signage



Ambience at Queen's Garden has a serene tranquility, exuding old-world charm. Located at the lobby of the boutique style Raintr33 Hotel, in a restored colonial building along the quiet Hendon Road, the decor at Queen's Garden evokes the sense of a rustic countryside, with faux stone walls, pictures of long winding roads, and floral greenery framing the doorways.

Yet, Queen's Garden also has elements that lend an air of colonial elegance, with its crystal chandeliers, dark wooden furniture, and gleaming cutlery. Tables are sturdy and spacious enough for several dishes, but the small floor space means a slightly tight layout, and trapped noise from conversations. The serene al fresco dining area is lovely though, especially during dusk. But if there is high ambient temperatures at midday, or wet weather, the mood will be ruined.

Raintr33 Hotel


Queen's Garden Exterior


Queen's Garden Interior



Service at Queen's Garden is welcoming and homely. The Chang family runs the place, and extends their distinct hospitality to diners, almost as if you're a guest in their home. Expect warm, friendly conversations (if you so choose to engage), water glasses topped up efficiently, recommendations on the menu, empty plates cleared quickly, or changed upon request. They even offer off-menu dishes for guests looking for something special!

A team of 5 chefs man the kitchen, with the executive chef bringing to bear his experience in French and Italian cuisine, gleaned from working in several International hotel chains, creating dishes that are aesthetically pleasing, yet packed with flavour. And with their background in food science and good relations with suppliers, Ms. Chang and family ensures that only the freshest, quality ingredients are used in preparation, keeping each dish at a consistently high standard.

Group Dining Area


Al Fresco Dining Area


Table Placement



Food at Queen's Garden follows a simple philosophy; where fresh ingredients shine through on the plate. This means the taste of each dish is derived purely from the ingredients, with little use of sauces or spices. In fact, Ms. Chang states that the only seasoning they use is salt, pepper, and herbs, nothing else. The result is remarkably clean, tasty, modern French and Italian dishes, where each ingredient complements the others, packing a lot of flavour in each mouthful.

Even more outstanding is that Queen's Garden hand makes the majority of their food from scratch, with dishes cooked to order. While this means a waiting time of about 15 minutes or so, the amount of effort and thought that goes into each dish is evident. Portions are large for one person. This high quality also carries a rather high, but reasonable, price tag, expect to pay about SGD $45 ++ per person per meal, with average pricing at about SGD $14 per Appetizer, SGD $34 per Main Course, and SGD $12 per Dessert.

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I actually feel that Naked Water is more refreshing, more 'atas' than regular water, with a smoother texture... or perhaps it's because it's branded? The Bread Platter - Multigrain, Focaccia, Parisette Roll, Kaiser - With Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Dip (SGD $6) is great for sharing, and I love the fragrant aroma and soft texture of the breads here!

Naked Water & Floral Coaster


Bread Platter - Multigrain, Focaccia, Parisette Roll, Kaiser - With Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Dip (SGD $6)



The Norwegian Smoked Salmon, Garden Greens, Semi Dried Tomato, Lemon Citrus Dressing (SGD $13) features fresh rocket leaves and red onions, that carries a nice, slightly sour, slightly tart, zesty tang from the sauce. The salty smoked salmon lends depth of flavour, while the sun dried tomatoes are like little nuggets of freshness that burst in the mouth. A very good salad!

Norwegian Smoked Salmon, Garden Greens, Semi Dried Tomato, Lemon Citrus Dressing (SGD $13)



The Beetroot, Feta Cheese, Watercress, Pistachio, Red Wine Vinaigrette (SGD $14) salad is unique for its contrast of taste and textures, with the firm and mellow beetroot contrasting the soft and sharp feta cheese. The fresh watercress leaves are offset by the crunch of pistachio nuts, while the sauce lends a floral, slightly fruity finish, to tie the dish together. An acquired taste, definitely different.

Beetroot, Feta Cheese, Watercress, Pistachio, Red Wine Vinaigrette (SGD $14)



I like the Baby Spinach, Confit Portobello, Queen's Green Olive, Cherry Tomato (SGD $14) salad, with its earthy, soft, tender confit portobello mushroom slices, and the freshness of the baby spinach. But I especially love how big and juicy the green olives and cherry tomatoes were, bursting with flavour!

Baby Spinach, Confit Portobello, Queen's Green Olive, Cherry Tomato (SGD $14)



Now the Prosciutto, Arugula, Cherry Tomato, Pistachio, Red Bombay Onion, Black Truffle Vinaigrette (SGD $14) is a good salad, with its earthy black truffle vinaigrette and salty prosciutto ham. But I felt the overall combination of flavours is too intensely overpowering, though the others liked it.

Prosciutto, Arugula, Cherry Tomato, Pistachio, Red Bombay Onion, Black Truffle Vinaigrette (SGD $14)



Said to be their most popular appetizer, the Chilled Angel Hair Pasta, Black Truffle Sauce, Flying Fish Roe (SGD $13) is a fusion of influences from Japanese and Italian cuisine. This modern interpretation features chilled angel hair pasta in place of chilled soba noodles, and cream sauce in place of soy sauce. The garnishes of flying fish roe and black truffle sauce lend a briny, earthy flavour, while bonita fish flakes complete this unique dish.

Chilled Angel Hair Pasta, Black Truffle Sauce, Flying Fish Roe (SGD $13)



I loved the aromatic and earthy Risotto, Wild Mushroom, Truffle Oil, Parmesan Cheese (SGD $22)! The wild button mushrooms lend a sweetness, and the risotto rice has the correct Italian texture, slightly firm with some bite, not soft or mushy. Very satisfiying and filling, our youngest diner gave this a 10 out of 10!

Risotto, Wild Mushroom, Truffle Oil, Parmesan Cheese (SGD $22)



The Linguine, Crab Meat, Pine Nut, Chili, Tomato Sauce (SGD $24) won high praise from our group, for its generous portion of fresh crab meat in the pasta. The pine nuts lend a crunchy contrast to texture, and the linguine pasta is cooked perfectly! What I found rather odd, in a pleasant way, is that the dish looks and smells spicy, but actually isn't spicy at all.

Linguine, Crab Meat, Pine Nut, Chili, Tomato Sauce (SGD $24)



The Duck Leg Confit, Soft Polenta, Sauteed Wild Mushroom, Balsamic Reduction (SGD $34) was the weakest dish we had, with the duck leg meat being stringy, tough, and slightly dry. But the soft polenta was excellent, with a soft, nearly buttery texture and the slightly sweet taste of corn and wheat. For the price though, the overall quality of the dish should have been better.

Duck Leg Confit, Soft Polenta, Sauteed Wild Mushroom, Balsamic Reduction (SGD $34)



The Marinated Chilean Seabass, Fried Herb Potato, Fine Beans (SGD $34) was the best dish we had, truely excellent, and left us craving for more! I still think about the soft, tender piece of fresh Chilean seabass fillet, the flesh of the fish is so smooth and sweet! The fried herb potatoes were surprising, with a crisp outer crust, almost like a crouton, but a soft, warm interior like mashed potato. The fresh string beans and cherry tomatoes were sauteed perfectly. I commend the chef's skill in this dish, and it's highly, highly recommended!

Marinated Chilean Seabass, Fried Herb Potato, Fine Beans (SGD $34)



The Angus Ribeye Grain-Fed (200 Days), Potato Puree, Asparagus, Red Wine Reduction (SGD $48) features a large, thin, flavourful slice of beef ribeye, with a good depth of beef flavour due to aging. The meat is tender, slicing through easily, and still retains its natural meat juices. The potato puree is smooth and slightly creamy in texture, while the vegetables are sauteed perfectly. My only minor quibble is the sauce is slightly thin and watery, making the plate look messy.

Angus Ribeye Grain-Fed (200 Days), Potato Puree, Asparagus, Red Wine Reduction (SGD $48)



The Char-Grill Lamb Cutlets, Potato Puree, Asparagus, Red Wine Reduction (SGD $45) have lamb ribs that are nicely grilled, still juicy and moist while retaining a good, meaty bite, and nice flavour. I also like that the gamey taste isn't overpowering. However, the thin, watery sauce messes up the plating and presentation. A side of mint sauce or mint jelly would also be appreciated.

Char-Grill Lamb Cutlets, Potato Puree, Asparagus, Red Wine Reduction (SGD $45)



Thumbs up for the meaty, juicy, well-grilled, hand formed beef patty in the Wagyu Beef Burger, Tomato, Cheese, Country Style Tomato Chutney, Garden Greens (SGD $28)! Absolutely delicious! The modern twist in this burger is the tomato chutney, which lends a sweet, tangy taste to the meat.

Wagyu Beef Burger, Tomato, Cheese, Country Style Tomato Chutney, Garden Greens (SGD $28)



The Vanilla Panna Cotta Topped With Infusion Strawberry Jam (SGD $12) was the weakest dessert on the menu, due to the sour, sharp taste of the concentrated strawberry jam, which was too overpowering on the palate. Most of us couldn't continue with more than 1 bite! Pity, because the vanilla panna cotta itself is pretty good, smooth textured with a hint of sweetness and the fragrant essence of vanilla. They just need to tweak the intensity of the jam, and this'll be a great dessert.

Vanilla Panna Cotta Topped With Infusion Strawberry Jam (SGD $12)



I like that the Granny Smith Apple, Homemade Crumble, Almond Flakes, Topped With Vanilla Ice Cream (SGD $12) has fresh, medium size cubes of granny smith apples, baked till the natural fruit sugars have just slightly caramelised. The home made crumble crust topped with almond flakes is very good, with a satisfiying crunch and a light sweetness. I also commend the hardiness of the vanilla ice cream, which doesn't melt too easily. Best eaten quickly while it's warm!

Granny Smith Apple, Homemade Crumble, Almond Flakes, Topped With Vanilla Ice Cream (SGD $12)



The taste of cognac isn't distinct in the Traditional Cognac Creme Brulee Topped With Seasonal Berries (SGD $12), but I loved the crisp, slightly thick caramelised sugar crust, which shatters easily when cut. The creme brulee is perfectly soft and wobbly, with a nice floral fragrance. Not too sweet, I thought it's very good, even if it's served without fruit toppings.

Traditional Cognac Creme Brulee Topped With Seasonal Berries (SGD $12)



If you could only have 1 dessert here, let it be the Chocolate Mousse, Coconut Cream, Seasonal Berries (SGD $12). I think a bulb lit up over my head when I put the first spoonful into my mouth, it was so, so good! Totally unstoppable, smooth, creamy, balanced sweetness, rich chocolate flavour cut through with the nutty, fruity zest of the coconut cream frosting... I daresay it's the best dessert on the menu!

Chocolate Mousse, Coconut Cream, Seasonal Berries (SGD $12)



Normally served in a duo, the Assorted Lava Cake With Vanilla Ice Cream - Raspberry, Chocolate, Lemon, Cookies & Cream, Green Tea (SGD $30) features 5 different, in-house creations. All have warm, oozy flowing centers, but the standouts for me were the Raspberry Lava Cake, which has a nice contrast of sweet and tart, and the classic Chocolate Lava Cake with its rich, deep flavour. The Lemon Lava Cake is unusual with its sour and tangy taste, but the texture of the cake itself was slightly limp. The weirdest was the Green Tea Lava Cake, which tasted nothing like green tea at all, and the texture was a little off as well.

Assorted Lava Cake With Vanilla Ice Cream - Raspberry, Chocolate, Lemon, Cookies & Cream, Green Tea (SGD $30)



Overall, Queen's Garden is an excellent restaurant, providing fresh, beautifully plated, delicious modern European food with friendly, welcoming service. Prices are upper mid-range to high, but the quality of the dishes more than justifies the cost. With a young entrepreneur, who is willing to push boundaries and experiment with food, at the helm, Queen's Garden looks set to carve out a place for itself in East Singapore's competitive food scene.





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