Last Updated: February 19, 2018
The Shangri-La is a name synonymous with distinct taste and exceptional comfort, at least when it comes to their hospitality side. But it also extends to their culinary offerings, as exemplified in their latest restaurant opening with the Origin Grill & Bar.
Meant to take diners on a mini expedition through flavours, the pristine, natural light-flooded restaurant is meant to make you feel like you’ve walked into a train station.
The furniture takes on natural hues and is simple, yet classy, all while evoking a sense of wanderment. The ceiling is intentionally designed to mimic the raw, industrial building of underground rail stations, while the benches will make you reminisce old school movies where lovers part ways at the platforms.
Even the bar is set apart from the dining area, with frosted glass, to simulate the whizzing visualisations one would observe from their cabin window.
The bar area is intimate and decked out with shelves of spirits, including bottles of their own homemade gin. The icing on the cake is the great attention to detail with their hand-stitched upholstery and plush leather seats.
Enough of the ambience, for now. The real question is, where will the food take us?
From the Express Lunch Menu ($34 for two courses/$44 for three courses), we were first served the Soup Of The Day, which happened to be Sweet Corn And King White Crab. We’re not crazy about corn, but the creaminess and sweetness of this starter got us close to licking the bowl clean.
Our next starter was a simple classic — Heirloom Tomatoes With Buffalo Mozzarella. It had a sweet basil, balsamic reduction and extra virgin olive oil drizzled to give it some acidity.
But to be honest, the buffalo mozzarella was good enough to be enjoyed on its own, given its luscious and milky consistency.
We are always excited when grilled octopus is on the menu so we had to jump at the opportunity to order the Octopus Charred With Smoked Paprika, served with spiced tomato jam, eggplant puree and fava beans.
The octopus leg was cooked sous vide, and it was just the right amount of bouncy and meaty, along with a smoky edge that made the dish really irresistible.
For mains, there was no question about it, but we had to order the steaks. The first was the Rangers Valley Black Market 100% Pure Black Angus 300 Days Grain-Fed MS 5+ Sirloin 105g. It came with an amazingly smooth potato puree, along with the Origin mushroom brandy sauce.
Cooked medium-well, the meat was tender, juicy and almost effortless to slice through. The brandy sauce didn’t overpower the dish too much and the mushrooms lent an earthy note that actually brought out the robust flavours of the steak.
For those who have a larger appetite, you may wish to order from the a la carte menu for a larger portion of the steak (striploin) (300g) for $68. Funny enough, this version proved to be slightly tougher than the former, and as it was dressed down (sans sauce), we could taste a lot more of its heartiness.
We also had the Jumbo Butterflied Prawns ($52), with yuzu lemon and fines herbs whipped butter. They were plump and fresh, and dressed with a refreshing and zesty film that, I would imagine, make a great summer dish.
No delightful meal is complete without dessert, and here, they know how to treat those who have a weakness for cake. The Express Lunch Menu entitles the diner to choose from the daily selection of Origin Signature Cakes, of which, on that day, we had the choice of either Cranberry Tea Cake, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Strawberry Pistachio Tart or Yuzu Caramel Cheesecake.
The Chocolate Fudge Cake had to be one of them, and let’s be honest — if you’re a chocoholic, you’ll go gaga for this moist, dense and decadent dessert. The generous sprinkling of cocoa powder on top creates a contrasting texture, while the fudgey layers make every forkful a caloric sin worth committing.
It’s tough to find a solid, wholesome cheesecake in Singapore, but this came close. The Yuzu Caramel Cheesecake was made very palatable by the slight tang from the yuzu, as the caramel layer glazed on top brought a sumptuous element to the slice. If you like your desserts only mildly heavy, then go for this.
Wanting to have a try of their plated desserts as well, we also ordered the Vanilla Crème Brûlée ($18) off the a la carte menu. We definitely weren’t expecting the presentation to be as such, but we must say, it adds flair to an otherwise visually flat sweet ending.
Below the crispy hat that the bowl wore lay the real deal — a creamy, subtly sweet pudding-like crème brûlée that had just the right amount of crackling on top to give it that crunchy finish. It was certainly one of the better versions of this under-appreciated French dessert we’ve tried in some time.
So, what would we call Origin Grill & Bar? More than just a restaurant, it’s an opportunity for diners to immerse themselves in a dining experience that will allow them to taste hearty global recipes that highlight some of the best Southeast Asian ingredients and produce.
We recommend that you come slightly early before your meal to have a drink at the bar, and see where your appetite takes you. Who knows, it may just inspire your next trip!
Expected damage: $30 – $80 per pax