Food Review: Lewin Terrace | Japanese-French cuisine @ Fort Canning Hill Singapore
The Place If you were to ask what I like most about Singapore’s colonial times, the classic black and white bungalows will inevitably come to mind. It is rare to still see preserved colonial bungalows in modern Singapore, which is an even rarer occasion when you an dine in one. Housed just beside the Registry of Marriage and Fort Canning Park, one year old Lewin Terrace feels out of the world, at least to me. It is amazing how this former residence of Major-General Lewin back in the colonial days have transformed to a modern Japanese-French restaurant. Taking a short stroll from Cityhall station to the foot of the restaurant, for a fleeting moment it feels like I was on an expedition in a foreign land to find a restaurant which I had pinned down on my map. I was greeted by a flight of stairs set in a beautiful garden style, which psychologically makes the climb a rather pleasant one.
Imagine dining alfresco while overlooking the lush greenery, the setting of Lewin Terrace is classy yet I do not find it overly imposing. It is quite hard not to feel romantic in such a setting, or be inspired to do something romantic during your meal, which is no surprise that it is such a popular wedding venue as well. The interior setting of the restaurant is intimate, with its high ceiling and well lit ambience.
The Food Helmed by Chef Ryoichi Kano who specialises in Japanese-French cuisine, lunch sets are at $38++, $58++, $108++ per person, while dinner starts from $108++ per person set, and $168++ per person set.
There is an extensive bar at Lewin Terrace, which carries a wide variety of Japanese Sake and wines from various regions. How about starting with the Gold Ornament ($18) cocktail? This is a play on Dark Rum, Lemon Juice, Ginger Indi’s Liquor and Turmeric syrup.
Before our sumptuous meal, we tried some of the freshly baked homemade breads, with fluffy texture which tastes good even without butter.
No Japanese meal is complete without sipping some sake. At Lewin Terrace, there is the choice of Sake pairing and Wine pairing which is supposed to enhance the flavour of each dish. Do consult the friendly sommelier for some really good expert advice.
We started with some Tsukasabotan Senchuhassaku from Kochi, which is perfect at the start of the meal due to its light and aromatic taste.
The Hassun (second course) of our meal is unmistakably Japanese. Served in typical Kaiseki fashion, this dish sets the seasonal tone of the ingredients the chef chooses to showcase. The colours are typically vivid with an intent to arouse the appetite of the diner. Some of the highlights include the Sea Urchin with lady’s finger jelly, Baby Squid curry oil powder with Balsamic sauce, Scallop with Koshin daikon, and Salmon & Squid sushi made with Yumepirika (a Hokkaido rice brand).
One of the entrée selection we had is the Foie-gras terrine with smoked Duck ($28), tastefully wrapped in pickled radish. The element which caught my eyes is not the foie gras, but the crystal like layer atop it. It is hard to imagine this paper-like layer is in fact potato chip, which I can only credit to the skills of the chef in literally putting this piece together nicely. No complaints about the foie gras, with its taste well-balanced by the fruit puree, a refreshing combination of mango and passionfruit.
The Amadai (Japanese tile fish) tea rice style ($54) is something new to me. One of Chef Kano’s cooking philosophy is to make the best of every part of the ingredient instead of putting it to waste, hence the idea of frying the fish scales, something which is usually scraped off for a typical fish dish. The fish scales added another layer of dimension to the Amadai, crunchy and surprisingly tasty. The pairing of the Amadai fish with the tea rich is quite a refreshing idea as well, especially when eaten with the clear fish stock poured over the rice.
My favourite part of the meal has to be the moment when the Wagyu Toubanyaki ($64) was served. I get to cooked the beef on the hotplate provided to the degree I wish, which is reminsicent of the Ryokan meals I had while in Japan. This is one part of dining I enjoy, being able to have my hands on some of the dishes.
The wagyu meat is really succulent, much to my surprise. I would recommend cooking it for less than 20 seconds on each side to enjoy the most out of the prized meat.
Before desserts are served, we tried the Lewin Terrace Cocktail ($18), which comprises Boujifu Sake, Yuzu Juice and Cherry Blossom Syrup. It is a refreshing touch on our palate, largely due to the Yuzu and Sakura elements, perfect before embarking on some sugar rush.
The Japanese-French style of desserts is usually quite intricate in terms of techniques, even though it may sound simple. We tried the Chocolate Lava Cake, Lemon Meringue and Jelly Compote, all at $18 each.
Rants If you are expecting Kyoto Kaiseki standards, you will probably leave disappointed. There is still a gap in comparison to the dining experience I had in Japan before but this is definitely one of the closest I can get to Japan at the moment.
Will I Return Again? The ambience at Lewin Terrace is fantastic for a date, or to celebrate any special occasions. In fact, it is also a very ideal venue to hold private events. But first, I need to work harder to earn my next meal here.
Make your reservation instantly at Lewin Terrace here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
21 Lewin Terrace, Singapore 179290
Tel: +65 6333 9905
Monday to Sunday: 12pm – 2pm, 6.30pm – 9.30pm