“Hidden Treasure in the Woods”
Hidden treasures are abundant in this Little Red Dot. Tucked in the cove of Greenwood Avenue in Bukit Timah, is one of my most significant gastronomic treasure find this year – Shelter in the Woods. This rustic restaurant serves one of Singapore’s best European classic dishes.
Currently at helm in their kitchen is Consultant Chef Masashi Horiuchi. He is among the elite chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe and the United Kingdom, which include the L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London. Masashi-san brings his decades-long European experience and Japanese precision into the kitchen, culminating in a consistent, bold and yet delicate gastronomic expression.
Dining on the Huntmen’s table, surrounded by rustic decor transforms your dining ambience into that of a medieval European royal dining hall. At the end of the dining hall, you can see the gas-flame rotisserie that will only be fired up when you have been served the house-made Charcuterie – this will ensure that the texture of the rotisserie meat to be just right when it is served.
On the Charcuterie board ($12 per slice of 100g), you will have a choice of Burgundy terrine with fine herbs, Foie gras au torchon served with mini brioche, Pork Hat terrine with mustard and gherkins, and Pâté en croûte.
My personal favourites were the Pork Hat terrine and Burgundy terrine – their ingredients and seasonings were perfectly balanced and if you let the meat linger a little longer over your taste buds, you can sense the flavours of the different ingredients used to make such simple but oh-so-delectable charcuterie.
For those who prefer to start healthily with salads, may I suggest – the Endive & Roquefort Salad ($14 – entree size; $26 – larger sharing portion) or Lyonnaise Salad ($12 – entree size; $20 – larger sharing portion).
My personal choice is the Endive & Roquefort Salad – I found that the Belgian Endives were so well flavoured with the in-house honey dressing. Combine that with walnuts, Roquefort cheese, green apple strips, mini beets and cherry tomatoes, you get a low-calorie salad that is perfectly adequate as a starter salad.
Have a preference for pastries? Try the Shelter Quiche ($12.50, whole pie), a restaurant signature. The perfectly brown, short crust pastry with bole porcini mushrooms and gruyere cheese are the main features of this tantalising quiche. The entire quiche is also available as a take away, perfect as a gift for Christmas dinners.
If you were more inclined to eating something even lighter, you could consider the Creamy Corn Soup Trio ($12.50) that is made with boiled Japanese corn and onions, mixed with roasted corn. To add texture, milk is added and all these are blended and sieved. Each bowl of soup is garnished with roasted corn (which adds a wisp of smokiness), pop corn and parsley oil.
At the end of the hall, the highlight of your dinner – the suckling pig*, lamb ribs, and roasted chicken – can be seen being prepared through the kitchen window. I must compel you to order all three of these – I say this because I have loved all three of them and I would loathe it if you’ve missed tasting them!
*Remember to pre-order the suckling pig (if you want the whole pig) 3 days before your dining date. Otherwise, it is on a first come, first served basis.
The rotating spit of the gas-flame rotisserie ensures that the meat texture is evenly roasted and the lack of direct flaming prevents the skin from being blistered. This is the case of the Suckling Pig ($35), where the skin is delicately crispy and fragrant but barely blistered. As such, the pork underneath remains tender and juicy.
Topped off with veal jus (gravy) and caramelized onions, all three varieties of rotisserie – the Suckling Pig ($35), New Zealand Lamb Rack ($39) and Roasted Chicken (half chicken $19; whole chicken $35) are equally heavenly.
If you crave for seafood, you should really try the Seafood Casserole ($35). It is a hearty pot of harvest from the sea with seasonal fish, prawns, mussels, clams, and served in a deep rich seafood broth made from fish soup, fish, prawns, lobster with fennel, leeks, celery, carrots, tomatoes and saffron. The broth should not go to waste – dip some crusty cheese croutons into it, to enjoy the aroma of the seafood broth.
There is also a choice of beef. The Do-It-Yourself Australian Black Angus Beef Tartar ($18 for 100g portion) is made from top-notch quality beef, made medium rare. Chef Masashi’s precision in cooking ensures that this is precisely medium rare.
When your server serves you the palate cleanser, you know it is time for desserts! The palate cleanser, by itself, is a feature. Called the Hibiscus Rum Granita, this alcoholic concoction is made in-house, and it serves to reset your sense of taste, in preparation of the true flavours of the next bite. I was hoping that they would serve me a few more of these slightly intoxicating thing-a-magic!
Atop the gas-flame rotisserie, a few pineapples may have caught your eyes earlier. These are used to make the Rotisserie Pineapple Crumble ($14) – a generous slice of the roasted pineapple is spiced with cinnamon, star anise and cloves, and is served with house-made vanilla ice-cream and crumble dough. I must assure you that the pineapple is oil-free because it is roasted at the top rotisserie spit, above all the roasted meat. My personal favourite!
Try the Thin Crispy Apple Tart ($12) that is made with French Brisée pastry which is a short crust pastry. The thin, crispy tart is topped with Fuji apple and is served with house-made vanilla ice-cream. Perfectly balanced in taste and not overly sweet. This was my second dessert helping of the night.
The house-made ice-creams have their own featured dessert, too. The Meringue Glacée ($12) is served with a scoop each of house-made raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice-cream, topped off with baked meringue cones, pistachio and macerated berries. Your children (or the child in you) will enjoy this!
If you still have some space in your bingy, make sure you do sneak in a few of the Classic Financier biscuits!
Shelter in the Woods will certainly and heartily fill your tummy with their repertoire of rustic European gastronomic offerings. Forget about the pretentious and costly choices at Marina Bay Sands (MBS). Instead, bundle up your best friends and bring them to this restaurant in the enclave of Greenwood Avenue. You will concur with me that Shelter in the Woods is on par with, if not better than the puissant db Bistro Moderne (by Daniel Boulud) at MBS!
Expected Damage: $80 – $100 per pax