Ash & Elm Tasting Session

March 24, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Ash & Elm Tasting Session
80 Middle Road
#01 InterContinental Singapore


Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 2:30pm (Lunch), 6pm - 10:30pm (Dinner)



http://dining.intercontinentalsingapore.com.sg/

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, Forbes Asia, The Arctic Star, Epicurious Caniggia, and The Hungry Bunny.



Beef Tasting Platter (SGD $108)



Modern European Gourmet Brasserie

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 9
Ambience & Setting: 9
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 8
Value for Money: 8
Budget about SGD $70 ++ per person.


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Taking over from the defunct Olive Tree as the InterContinental Singapore hotel's in-house European restaurant in September 2015, Ash & Elm is poised to be amongst the trendiest hotel restaurants around. The 150-seater Ash & Elm boasts sexy and elegant ambience, no less than 3 culinary theatre kitchens, fantastic service and big name chefs, with a wide variety of modern European food, much of it made in-house!

Ash & Elm Signage



Ambience at Ash & Elm is modern and sleek, courtesy of design firm FBEYE. Modern dark wooden, light wooden, marble topped furnishings, comfortable and plush booths, all lit by white, pink, blue, and purple lights from the hand-cut crystal chandeliers overhead. Private alcoves offer a measure of intimate privacy, but those who want something more exclusive may opt for the private sound-proof dining rooms! Of note here are the 3 culinary theatre kitchens, the charcuterie and cheese room with its meat aging freezers and carving station, the open wood-fired oven area where you can watch bread or pizza being baked, and the open-grill kitchen where all other dishes are prepared.

Ash & Elm Exterior


Ash & Elm Interior



Service at Ash & Elm is professional and refined, befitting a fine dining restaurant. Staff are friendly and welcoming, quickly seating diners. They demonstrate good knowledge, being able to describe each dish when it's served, and they also assist to arrange space on the table when serving orders. However, I note that staff don't clear away empty / dirty tables quickly, leaving the mess to sit for awhile, I guess mainly due to the low manpower. But they're proactive in ensuring the comfort of diners, making sure water glasses are filled, accomodating requests when asked, and checking for feedback on the meal. There usually is a short waiting time for orders, about 15 minutes or so.

Seating Arrangement


Seating Individuals


Seating Groups


Seating Booth


Seating Open Kitchen


Seating Private Room



Food at Ash & Elm is modern European, inspired by French, American, and British cuisine, with a focus on aged meat, steaks, cold cuts, bread, and pastries. Generally, I find that much care has been shown in the preparation of food here, with a lot of hand made items, and taste is usually above average. Dishes are crafted with 1 or 2 main ingredients highlighted, with other supporting ingredients enhancing the overall flavour. Portion sizes are large for individuals, and sharing is recommended. Prices reflect the gourmet dining status of the restaurant, budget about SGD $70 ++ per person for a meal here. Great for special occasions!

Lamp


Lamp


Open Kitchen


Meat Aging & Carving Room


Wood-Fired Oven Area



On a revisit, I tried the Cocktail Ash & Elm Sour (SGD $19), a light, sweet sour, fruity blend of bourbon whisky, red wine, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and egg white. Nice overall taste, light in texture, makes for a decent apertif!

Cocktail Ash & Elm Sour (SGD $19)



Loved the Assorted Home Baked Bread Basket With Seaweed Butter & Salted Butter (SGD $ Complimentary), with their range of assorted, fragrant bread, all baked in-house! With a crisp, crusty exterior and a soft interior, the bread is tasty on its own, but even better with the earthy, creamy, salty seaweed butter! I especially like their French baguette bread, the dark rye bread, and the breadsticks. Wish there was some sourdough bread though.

Assorted Home Baked Bread Basket With Seaweed Butter & Salted Butter (SGD $ Complimentary)


Assorted Home Baked Bread Basket With Seaweed Butter & Salted Butter



The Ash & Elm Platter (SGD $24 / $42) is a charcuterie platter with house cured beef pastrami, house smoked pork loin, air-dried rolled pork belly, cold roast beef, and a presse de foie gras with smoked duck. Served with pickled gherkins, olives, and chilled roasted bell peppers / capsicum on the side, this hearty cold cut meat platter is recommended for sharing between at least 4 people. My personal favourite here would be the savoury beef pastrami with a nice tender chew, and the salty smoky pork loin with a cool smoothness in texture.

Ash & Elm Platter (SGD $24 / $42)


Ash & Elm Platter



The hearty Pumpkin And Bacon Flat Bread (SGD $18) features a thin, fragrant, crispy flat bread, made and baked in-house! Topped with sweet tender pumpkin, salty bacon, creamy mascarpone, capers, sharp parmigiano-reggiano cheese, and a combination of aromatics including nutmeg and sage, this was incredibly satisfiying. At once sweet, savoury, salty, earthy, and cheesy, I found this to be really tasty! Best shared between at least 2 people. Highly recommended!

Pumpkin And Bacon Flat Bread (SGD $18)


Pumpkin And Bacon Flat Bread



Ash & Elm was initially conceptualised as a premium steakhouse, and they've retained that meaty beefy spirit. This is most evident in their star offering, the Beef Tasting Platter (SGD $108), a giant sharing platter with 3 premium cuts of beef steak, served along with 3 sides, and 3 sauces (bearnaise, peppercorn, natural au jus). The beef has a medium rare doneness (the default), yields easily to the blade, and carries good savoury flavour, all charcoal grilled with Manuka wood chips from New Zealand. The huge portion is best shared between 4 - 5 people, though I think 2 - 3 big eaters could possibly nail this as well. Be warned that this requires a 30-minute preparation time. Highly recommended!

Our revisit saw this fare just as well, thumbs up for the good consistency!

Beef Tasting Platter (SGD $108)


Beef Tasting Platter



Of the 3 sides, the Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms (SGD $12) has a nice earthy flavour, with a mix of shiitake, button, and straw mushrooms, but is overall just decent, not spectacular. I was more pleased with Grandma's Mashed Potatoes (SGD $12), and its creamy smooth texture that isn't clumpy. The Hand-Cut Baked Roseval Potato Wedges With Paprika Rosemary (SGD $12) is thickly sliced with good potato flavour, a savoury salty taste, and you can just about taste a hint of the herbs and spices used.

Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms (SGD $12)


Grandma's Mashed Potatoes (SGD $12)


Hand-Cut Baked Roseval Potato Wedges With Paprika Rosemary (SGD $12)



Of the 3 cuts of premium beef steak, the USDA New York Prime Beef Striploin (SGD $45 / 200g) was decent, tender and medium rare, savoury and juicy, completely straight forward. This solid steak cut uses 100-day corn fed prime beef. Loved the Australian Black Angus Beef Ribeye Steak (SGD $56 / 300g), whose medium rare doneness is the most tender, with a nicely moist, savoury taste. This 120-day grain fed black angus beef has a marbling score of 2. While the French Bavette D'Aloyau flank steak wasn't available, we got to try the Australian Black Angus Beef Tenderloin Steak (SGD $56 / 200g) instead. This hormone-free, pasture fed black angus beef is naturally tasty, with hints of fields and grass!

USDA New York Prime Beef Striploin (SGD $45 / 200g)


Australian Black Angus Beef Ribeye Steak (SGD $56 / 300g)


Australian Black Angus Beef Tenderloin Steak (SGD $56 / 200g)



The French Free-Range Yellow Chicken Supreme (SGD $29) features a 30-day corn fed chicken sourced from Savel, France, really tender, clean-tasting, moist, and sweet, flavoured with house grown thyme and rosemary herbs. Served on a bed of creamy polenta, smoky roasted sweet corn kernels and crunchy baby corn, with salty smoky bacon. A rather weak mushroom sauce rounds out the dish. Still, it's pretty good overall, with decent flavour. Worth ordering!

French Free-Range Yellow Chicken Supreme (SGD $29)


French Free-Range Yellow Chicken Supreme



The meaty Slow-Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork Chop (SGD $39 / 200g) is served on a solid metal carving plate, with sides of smoky grilled corn, juicy vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, zesty lemon slice, and a gravy. Felt the gravy did little to add to the overall flavour, and personally, I didn't like it. The pork chop itself is juicy, meaty, savoury sweet, easy to cut through, with a nice smoky grilled flavour. Also possibly the thickest cut of Iberico pork I've seen. Loved it!

Slow-Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork Chop (SGD $39 / 200g)


Slow-Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork Chop



The Tasmanian Salmon Fillet A La Plancha (SGD $46) has a medium sized, sustainably farmed, fresh fillet of Tasmanian salmon fish, done medium rare, which results in a light pink colour, a smooth and moist texture, a fresh sweetness with some oily fattiness. The skin is crisp and salty, crunching beautifully in the mouth. Sides of mixed vegetables, including sharp zesty grapefruit chunks, tender zucchini, soft spinach, and crunchy edamame soy beans round out the plate. The modern grapefruit hollandaise was unique, tasty in its own way, but a little too odd for me.

Tasmanian Salmon Fillet A La Plancha (SGD $46)


Tasmanian Salmon Fillet A La Plancha



If the Seafood Linguine Pasta (SGD $31) tastes familiar, know that it's likely inspired by the flavour of the Chinese Zi Char seafood yee mee / e-fu noodles dish. Bearing the same prawn taste and slippery texture, the linguine pasta noodles is moist with a soft texture, topped with a fresh assortment of seafood, such as scallops, squid, clams, de-shelled prawns, and finished with olives and basil. The flavour of the seafood crustacean stock used to infuse the dish is robust and intense. The ladies loved it!

However, on our revisit, this was disappointing. The taste was vastly different from the first time we tried it, lacking the robust crustacean flavour, and missing the fragrant aroma of prawns.

Seafood Linguine Pasta (SGD $31)


Seafood Linguine Pasta



On a revisit, we tried the Line-Caught Yellowfin Tuna Steak A La Basquaise (SGD $30). This was pretty good, with the fresh yellowfin tuna fish steak fillet done to your liking (we got it medium rare), with a fresh, clean taste, and a meaty flavour that is savoury sweet. Loved the medley of smoky grilled vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers / capsicum, zucchini, eggplant / aubergine) on the side. The bed of sweet smoky basquaise sauce (tomatoes, bell peppers / capsicum, onions) lends a bright freshness, and pairs well with the deeper flavour of the tuna fish.

Line-Caught Yellowfin Tuna Steak A La Basquaise (SGD $30)


Line-Caught Yellowfin Tuna Steak A La Basquaise



Touted as the star dessert here, the Chocolate Hazelnut Pizza (SGD $24) is a sharing dessert featuring a deep, robust tasting chocolate brioche pizza crust, topped with dark, white, and milk chocolate, nutty pralines, gooey marshmallows, and crunchy cocoa granite chunks. A creamy white chocolate ice cream is served on the side. Loved the strong combination of chocolate flavour, but could be better if the brioche crust was less dry, although this may be because we let it sit for too long.

Chocolate Hazelnut Pizza (SGD $24)


Chocolate Hazelnut Pizza



Loved the Apple Tartin (SGD $14)! A satisfiyingly crisp, flaky pasty crust holds sweet caramelised granny-smith apples, garnished with creme chantilly, a crunchy apple chip, and a scoop of creamy, milky calvados (apple brandy flavoured) ice cream. Loved the intense apple flavour and contast of textures in this dessert, crisp, crunchy, smooth, creamy, juicy. Completely delicious, I felt this was the best dessert here. Highly recommended!

Apple Tartin (SGD $14)


Apple Tartin



The Peach Melba (SGD $14) features a creamy smooth ruby peach parfait on a fluffy almond strawberry genoa bread, surrounded by caramelised peach cubes, tart sour raspberries and blackberries, a quenelle of creamy vanilla ice cream, topped with a crunchy sweet strawberry tuile. This decent dessert is decorated with gold leaf, and it's interesting watching the pastry chef handle this delicate topping!

Peach Melba (SGD $14)


Peach Melba



The refreshing, perky Yuzu-Citrus Combination (SGD $14) has zesty yuzu curd on a crunchy lemon sable breton (shortbread crust cookie), with slices of fresh, sour sweet grapefruit and mandarin orange, glazed with a mandarin orange reduction. A zesty yet cooling yuzu sorbet, and sticks of chewy marshmallow, round out this pretty looking, delicious dessert. Highly recommended!

Yuzu-Citrus Combination (SGD $14)


Yuzu-Citrus Combination



The modern Salty Chocolate Rum-Raisin (SGD $14) dessert is an eye-catching, palate teasing combination of 64% chocolate, rum-raisin cremeux, sea salt caramel with a light chocolate foam, and a bittersweet cocoa nib ice cream! The flavours of bitter, salty, sweet, and boozy work well together, and the different texture lend a whimsical, playful element of fun to this dessert. Good!

Salty Chocolate Rum-Raisin (SGD $14)


Salty Chocolate Rum-Raisin



Overall, Ash & Elm is a good fine dining destination restaurant, suitable for special occasions. The ambience is lovely, the service friendly and efficient, and the modern European food is well executed, tasty, and served in large portions. Rather quiet, as Ash & Elm doesn't get many walk-in customers. Be prepared to splurge if dining here, but know that you're getting good value for money!


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