I’ve passed The Tavern multiple times on my way to Mohamed Sultan road, but have never really peeked into this inconspicuous restaurant along the road. But boy was I in for a surprise.
The Tavern offers Swiss and Continental in an intimate shophouse, seating just 45 persons. Not something I expected amongst the roadside coffeeshops just beside.
Known for its great service and excellent traditional European food, The Tavern is a popular haunt with the rich and famous of Singapore. A lot of emphasis is placed on hospitality and the owner is always ready to go the extra mile.
The interior is really quaint and intimate, which strongly resembles my experience dining in Europe. Rustic yet aristocratic plates are used to further create this special ambience.
The Tavern restaurant sees mostly a host of regular customers, and do not have a table menu; Most of the regulars already know what to order. If you’re new however, there is a separate appetizer and main course menu mounted on a board in the restaurant.
Other than the out-of-Singapore in The Tavern, the high quality steaks are really well known as well, which was what guided me here. Today, we’ll be tasting 3 premium steaks from 3 different countries.
Chef brought out the raw beef meats to let us have a preview of what’s to come.
Japanese Miyazaki A5 Wagyu ($65/100g). A5 is the highest marbling grade of Wagyu beef in Japan, you can just see how intricate the fat patterns are on this steak.
Australian Stockyard Wagyu Ribeye MBS 7 ($45/100g). Stockyard specializes in fattier grain-fed beef, which while not as heavily marbled as the Japanese beef, should provide some contrast and different flavours.
U.S Certified Angus Beef Prime Ribeye ($39/100g). In all of the US, less than 2% of all beef is graded USDA Prime, which indicates good marbling ratio and younger age beef for finer texture.
Escargot “Madagasy” half dozen ($16.50). Huge baked escargots with a runny cheese cream and garlic under tones. Juicy and flavorful without that raw gamey taste.
Soup of the day: Oyster Chowder ($11). This was really flavorful, but I wasn’t very used to having diced carrots in the soup, which added some sweetness to the heavy cream base. My guess is that chef added carrots so it wouldn’t be as repetitive or ‘jelat’, as the oysters with cream as well gets very heavy on the palate after a few spoons.
Lobster Bisque ($13). Some lobster bisque over extract the shell flavours to a point where it’s almost bitter, but I liked the Tavern’s version. A lot. The sweetness of the lobster flavour shines without being overpowering, while the generous lobster tail makes a scrumptious mouthful.
Pan-fried Hokkaido Scallop ($34). Sweet and big Hokkaido scallops which are significantly sweeter than normal scallops. There is a small piece of orange segment at the side to add some acidity and sweetness, while the salad had a spicy, sour vinaigrette.
After your steak is cooked, it is brought out table side and sliced in front of you according to how thick you want it. I would advice at least an inch thickness per steak, but we were having a sample portion on all 3 meats thus a thinner cut.
As expected, the Japanese A5 wagyu was extremely buttery and literally just melts with each bite. If you’re not used to such heavy marbling, it might get very monotonous after just a few bites. It’s best to wash this down with an acidic and tannic red wine to counter the heavy mouthful of fats.
The mustard and greens on the side also serve to bring more balance to the meal.
I found the Australian Wagyu and US Angus to be more to my liking, which doesn’t just ooze marbling and fats, but have a bit more character and beefiness to the meat as well as being tender. Very little tendons in between, and definitely excellent choice cuts that are well cooked.
Passion fruit sorbet. You get served this simple sorbet to cleanse the palate from all the heavy umami beef. A simple, sour, icy dessert that is surprisingly tasty.
Rhubarb Crumble ($14). Topped with Caramel ice cream, the rhubarb appears to have hints of bitterness and wasn’t as sour as we liked. Good baked crumbs though, and the combination of sweet with sour, cold with hot was excellent.
Gaelic Coffee ($16). Also known as Irish coffee, this is a cocktail composed of hot coffee, sugar, cream and of course whiskey (there’s some Drambuie as well). The whole creation of this drink is a table-side show, with the sugar being caramelized and alcohol being flamed theatrically. Thick cream is then topped off to finish this hot cocktail.
A very strong and warming drink, this would be perfect in winter or cold weather, and definitely pleases my alcoholic and caffeine addiction- A digestif and after-meal coffee all in one. Consider getting the Cherries Jubilee or Crepe Suzette as well, which also promises some showmanship.
Classic table side service, top-notch hospitality, The Tavern restaurant epitomizes the old-fashioned European fine-dining concept. A big thanks to Mr Poh for having me at the Tavern. It was truly enjoyable and a top choice for dinner and romance, although definitely not a casual dining price range.
Expected Damage: $180-$220/pax