Rookery Tasting Session

May 26, 2019 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Rookery Tasting Session
16 Raffles Quay
#01-02A Hong Leong Building

168 Robinson Road
#01-08 Capital Tower


Opening Hours:
Mon - Fri: 8am - 11pm,
Sat (Hong Leong Building Only): 11am - 9pm,
Closed Sun



https://rookery.sg/

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session.
Attended with representatives from Chubby Botak Koala, msginginly, Purple Taste, Little Tiny Sun, Her Pen And Fork, Ken Poon, Esther Teo, Yong Kai, Kevin The Hiak, and Epicurious Caniggia.



Smashed Avocado Toast (SGD $15)



Try-Hard Full Flavoured Casual Dining

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 5
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 5
Service: 6
Value for Money: 5
Budget about SGD $48 per person.


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Founded in December 2014, Rookery is a cafe by day and gastrobar by night. Inspired by modern American casual dining, Rookery is named for a gathering of seals, penguins, or crows; and aims to be a relaxing communal dining space. The 3 owners - former radio disc jockey Daniel Ong, along with friends Quek Sue-Shan, and Michelle Quek, offer a wide variety of beers, wines, spirits, and cocktails on their menu.

Rookery Signage
Rookery Signage


Rookery Exterior
Rookery Exterior


Rookery Interior
Rookery Interior



Ambience at Rookery has a modern industrial theme. Decorative light bulbs hang from the high ceiling, and the spacious seating area is neatly lined with sturdy metal and wooden furnishings, in colours of black, red, and wood. There's indoor and outdoor seating, high tables and benches, communal spaces and private spaces. They even have a small area for a live band, which I understand plays every Thursday and Friday night. The bar is attractive with its well stocked shelves. Pretty decent place for drinks and snacks.

Band Stage
Band Stage


Seating


Seating
Seating


The Tank
The Tank



Service at Rookery seems hurried. Staff are polite and professional, but because of the size of the place, it's sometimes difficult to attract their attention. They demonstrate competent product knowledge of the menu, sufficient to offer recommendations, but not describe dishes. I wish staff would also be more proactive in checking up on diners, as we ran out of drinks for awhile, and had to actually go call them... which is an unusual behaviour for a bar. Would also be good if they could clean and clear away finished plates more quickly.

Kitchen
Kitchen


Bar
Bar



Food at Rookery is Modern American, and Modern European cuisine. My biggest complaint is that nearly everything is full flavoured, and really salty in taste, which I suppose is the point, because they wish to push drinks. That said, I wish the kitchen would be better at balancing the flavours in their dishes, which would make for a more pleasant dining experience. Portions are medium to large for individuals, and most dishes are designed for sharing. Their drinks are much better. Prices are reflective of a gastrobar, budget about SGD $48 per person for a meal with drinks here.

Rookery Menu
Rookery Menu


Us



The Beer Connor's Stout Porter (SGD $11 / $16) is a British porter, brewed by Carlsberg Group. This nitrogenated draught stout is brewed, not blended, and has a deep coal black colour, with aromas and tastes of roast malt, toffee, star anise, and coffee. The body is smooth, balanced, and dry, with a creamy white foam head, and a grainy sweet toasty flavour. Finish is creamy, thick, and soft. A decent stout porter.

Beer Connor's Stout Porter (SGD $11 / $16)


Beer Connor's Stout Porter
Beer Connor's Stout Porter



The Cocktail Elderflower Mojito (SGD $13 / $17) features a blend of white rum, mint leaves, brown sugar, lime juice, and elderflower liqueur. It has a bright, herbal sweet sour floral boozy flavour. Interesting take, nice refreshing thirst-quencher.

Cocktail Elderflower Mojito (SGD $13 / $17)


Cocktail Elderflower Mojito
Cocktail Elderflower Mojito



Aptly named, for the Cocktail Mixed Berry Cheesecake (SGD $13 / $17) is like drinking a liquid cheesecake. It features a blend of vodka, Crème De Cassis blackcurrant liqueur, lemon juice, heavy cream, and Torani cheesecake syrup. Has bold cheesy sweet sour fruity flavour, almost similar to a New York Cheesecake. Garnished with a slice of strawberry, this is a love-or-hate drink.

Cocktail Mixed Berry Cheesecake (SGD $13 / $17)


Cocktail Mixed Berry Cheesecake
Cocktail Mixed Berry Cheesecake



The Cocktail Tokyo Martini (SGD $13 / $17) is far removed from a regular martini, because it more closely tastes like a umeshu. It features a blend of vodka, Choya umeshu plum liqueur, sour plum juice, and dry vermouth, garnished with a pitted green olive. Has a fruity floral sweet flavour on the palate, with a hint of earthy sour notes.

Cocktail Tokyo Martini (SGD $13 / $17)


Cocktail Tokyo Martini
Cocktail Tokyo Martini



The lovely Cocktail City Of Passion (SGD $13 / $17) features a blend of vodka, orange curaçao liqueur, lime juice, passionfruit juice, cranberry juice, and black treacle / molasses. Garnished with a caramelised lemon slice, this has bright fruity sweet flavours, with a zesty citrus note. Dainty, will appeal to most.

Cocktail City Of Passion (SGD $13 / $17)


Cocktail City Of Passion
Cocktail City Of Passion



Actually, the Smashed Avocado Toast (SGD $15) was better than I expected. The difference here is they've mixed the mashed avocado with corn kernels, creating a creamy grainy guacamole. Served over crisp toasted sourdough bread, with bright cherry tomatoes, soft avocado slices, nicely poached eggs, crisp red radish, and sprinkled with crunchy furikake bits. Has lovely vegetal eggy sweet bready sour flavours. Would order again. Good!

Smashed Avocado Toast (SGD $15)


Smashed Avocado Toast
Smashed Avocado Toast


Smashed Avocado Toast



The Signature Scramble Croissant Smoked Salmon (SGD $22++) is decent. It features a crisp flaky croissant, plated with fresh crunchy mesclun salad (spinach, red radish, cherry tomatoes, chard, curly endive / frisee, sorrel, radicchio), tender halloumi cheese, and soft creamy scrambled egg omelette, dressed with rich honey mustard mayonnaise. The best thing here is the scrambled egg omelette, which has a lovely eggy sweet flavour, yum.

There's options to add-on ingredients, like smoked salmon or house bacon. The smoked salmon is alright, straightforward with savoury salty flavour. The house bacon isn't that great though, having a soft chewy texture and lacking the robust smoky salty savoury flavour of bacon. I would be fine without either, as it's expensive compared to the other brunch dishes. Could be improved.

Signature Scramble Croissant Smoked Salmon (SGD $22++)


Signature Scramble Croissant Smoked Salmon
Signature Scramble Croissant Smoked Salmon


Signature Scramble Croissant Smoked Salmon


Signature Scramble Croissant House Bacon (SGD $22++)


Signature Scramble Croissant House Bacon
Signature Scramble Croissant House Bacon


Signature Scramble Croissant House Bacon



Loved the Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa (SGD $17), which is a decently healthy brunch bowl. A base of grainy quinoa is topped with crunchy roasted cauliflower florets, crisp red radish, refreshing cucumbers, bright cherry tomatoes, and juicy pomegranate seeds. Completed with strips of tender halloumi cheese. This has bright vegetal smoky sweet savoury flavours, very tasty. Good!

Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa (SGD $17)


Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa
Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa


Roasted Cauliflower & Quinoa



Disappointed with the Fried Chicken Sandwich (SGD $21), because the bread was too thick and firm, while the fried chicken was thin, dry, and tasteless. Could be improved.

Fried Chicken Sandwich (SGD $21)


Fried Chicken Sandwich
Fried Chicken Sandwich


Fried Chicken Sandwich



Loved the Truffle Cheese Toastie (SGD $15), with its crusty toasted sourdough bread base, topped with truffle oil pasta tubes, coated in a gooey stringy triple cheese blend of parmesan, gouda, and mozzarella. Has a bold earthy savoury cheesy salty flavour. Aromatic and appetizing, although it's carbohydrate heavy. Good!

Truffle Cheese Toastie (SGD $15)


Truffle Cheese Toastie
Truffle Cheese Toastie


Truffle Cheese Toastie



Disappointed with the Gambas Al Ajillo (SGD $18), because the prawns weren't fresh. Could be improved.

Gambas Al Ajillo (SGD $18)


Gambas Al Ajillo
Gambas Al Ajillo


Gambas Al Ajillo



The Beef Meat Balls With Herbed Breadcrumbs (SGD $17) features tender bouncy beef meat balls, in a rich tomato sauce, coated with herbed breadcrumbs and gooey parmesan cheese, served with crisp sourdough toasted bread on the side. While I like the bold meaty savoury sweet salty flavours, this full flavoured dish could be toned down, as the combination of salty seasoning and cheese made this really cloying after a few bites. Could be improved.

Beef Meat Balls With Herbed Breadcrumbs (SGD $17)


Beef Meat Balls With Herbed Breadcrumbs
Beef Meat Balls With Herbed Breadcrumbs


Beef Meat Balls With Herbed Breadcrumbs


Beef Meat Balls With Herbed Breadcrumbs



The unanimous best dish of our visit was the Scallops With Seaweed & Miso Butter (SGD $22). While the bouncy succulent Hokkaido scallops had a beautiful sear and lovely smoky sweet savoury flavour, the star is actually the addictive seaweed and miso butter gravy. We couldn't resist soaking up the beautiful fragrant savoury sweet salty gravy with the side of toasted sourdough bread... and actually wished for more bread. Delicious. Highly recommended!

Scallops With Seaweed & Miso Butter (SGD $22)


Scallops With Seaweed & Miso Butter
Scallops With Seaweed & Miso Butter


Scallops With Seaweed & Miso Butter


Scallops With Seaweed & Miso Butter



The Grilled Mackerel In Garlic, Tomato, White Wine Stew (SGD $24) is a seasonal special, and it's decently tasty. Large fillets of grilled mackerel fish are served with a lovely gravy of tomatoes, garlic, and white wine, along with tender roasted baby potatoes. The fish is flaky and moist with good salty savoury smoky flavour, complementing the bright vegetal sweet notes of the gravy. Portion is meant to be shared. Worth ordering!

Grilled Mackerel In Garlic, Tomato, White Wine Stew (SGD $24)


Grilled Mackerel In Garlic, Tomato, White Wine Stew
Grilled Mackerel In Garlic, Tomato, White Wine Stew


Grilled Mackerel In Garlic, Tomato, White Wine Stew



Disappointed with the Sakura Ebi Capellini (SGD $14), which was so salty, my tastebuds were numbed... just like everyone else at the table who ate this. Even the public relations person who invited us admitted this needed work. Hopefully it's just a once-off drop in quality. Could be improved.

Sakura Ebi Capellini (SGD $14)


Sakura Ebi Capellini
Sakura Ebi Capellini


Sakura Ebi Capellini



Felt the Crab Meat Tagliatelle (SGD $24) was alright. Large flat tagliatelle pasta noodles are tossed with deshelled blue swimmer crab meat, in a sauce of tomatoes, cream, garlic, herbed breadcrumbs, and parsley. Nicely sweet savoury salty in flavour, would have liked the option to add chili for a spicy kick. Worth ordering!

Crab Meat Tagliatelle (SGD $24)


Crab Meat Tagliatelle
Crab Meat Tagliatelle


Crab Meat Tagliatelle



The Kurobuta Bone-In Pork Chop (SGD $29) was alright. Served with fresh crunchy mesclun salad (spinach, red radish, cherry tomatoes), and crisp potato curly fries, the large pork chop has a tender juicy texture, with good smoky savoury salty flavour. Rather thin though, would have liked a thick cut for a more satisfying bite. Worth ordering!

Kurobuta Bone-In Pork Chop (SGD $29)


Kurobuta Bone-In Pork Chop
Kurobuta Bone-In Pork Chop


Kurobuta Bone-In Pork Chop



The Chocolate Lava Cake (SGD $14) is served with a rich creamy scoop of French vanilla bean gelato, plated with a mixed berry compote (strawberry and blueberry), and grainy almond crumble. The dark chocolate lava cake has a moist, warm, soft spongy texture, with bold chocolatey bitter sweet flavour. However, the filling of chocolate sauce could be more generous, as it barely flows out when cut. Still, a tasty dessert. Good!

Chocolate Lava Cake (SGD $14)


Chocolate Lava Cake
Chocolate Lava Cake


Chocolate Lava Cake



Overall, I loved the drinking experience at Rookery, with their varied selection of drinks. The ambience is chill enough for relaxing, although the service could be more proactive, and the quality of food slightly more balanced in taste. Wouldn't mind returning to the Rookery for drinks and snacks after work!


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