The Place Chijmes at Cityhall has been undergoing a revamp of its mix of restaurants, with Raven being one of the newest kid in the block. With aplenty alfresco couches and a bar which greeted me at its entrance, it is not difficult to tell that Raven is set to soar within Chijmes. The concept of the restaurant bar is that of the The New Americas, with a take on North and South American food combined with an Asian twist. The interior of Raven is cosy, with plush leather seats and an art-piece piano taking centre stage, it is undeniable that art brings dining to an elevated experience. I am looking forward to seeing more paintings around the restaurant soon, which is currently in the pipeline.
Good news for all alcoholic folks, the Happy Hour at Raven lasts the whole day on Sunday. For weekdays and Saturday, you get to enjoy the Happy Hour promotions from 5 to 9pm, which includes 1-for-1 draft beers amongst others. For me, I prefer cider, hence my excitement to learn that there is Somersby on tap here. Other bucket deals include Bucket of 5 Coronas ($50++) and Bucket of 5 Kronenbourg ($55++).
The Food We had a good mix of small plates and mains, starting with the Tuna Tartare ($17), an appetising mix of Avocado wasabi puree, yuzu & soy vinaigrette, frozen Nan Shui pear shavings. The colorful combination was visually appealing even before trying it, and I was also surprised by how seamless Avocado and wasabi come together. The Rantee favoured this as well even though wasabi is not his calling, there is only a slight tinge of wasabi here.
The best element of our next small plate, the Steamed Little Neck Clams ($16) was undoubtedly the Bacon dashi, prepared from white wine and bacon broth. I had many versions of clams in white wine broth, but adding the bacon flavour simply heightened the dish.
I am not a big fan of corn, even though I do drink corn soup. One of the menu highlights is the Roasted Corn Niblets ($12), which surprised us by how a simple dish could overwhelm. Served with smoked sour cream sauce infused with chili, paprika and cayenne, be sure to dip the corn generously with the sauce for the best explosion of flavours.
Some balls leave a more lasting impression than others, such as this Fried chorizo croquettes ($13). The fried ball was filled with chorizo, bechamel and mozzarella, which explained the nice burst of flavours when I popped it. This is one of my favourite amongst the small plates. As a compliment to the fried chorizo croquettes, it is served alongside pico de gallo with jalapeño vinaigrette and house-made crème fraîche. Simply amaze-balls.I usually do not like to eat a whole tomato as it is, but this Burratina & Heirloom Tomatoes ($18) changed my mind towards this red dish. You have to eat the tomatoes with the buffala mozzarella, a cheese which was not too pungent for me, to fully appreciate this dish. The gula melaka balsamic, oregano, basil oil and dehydrated olives further enhanced the flavour of the tomato.
Moving to mains, the Crispy Nori Wrapped Salmon ($29) was not a salmon dish I expected. The Norwegian salmon was double-breaded in breadcrumbs, then double-fried; first at low temperature, before flash frying to give it the intended crisp texture. Topped with sago infused with ponzu, I like this added dimension to the dish, well-balanced by the accompanying fennel salad with lemon juice and olive oil as well.
For lamb lovers, the Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb ($37) is one rendition you have to try at Raven. Using Victorian lamb from New Zealand, I like it that the lamb was not gamy and cooked to the right degree with garlic and butter. The surprise flavour in this dish for me is the roasted potatoes, which was cooked with lamb fat, sinfully good. The accompanying honshimeji mushrooms was not to be neglected as well, roasted and glazed in chicken stock and finished with raw garlic and rosemary.
The only pasta we tried was the Handmade Open Beef Ravioli ($24), also one of the menu highlights at Raven. This was also one of my favourite dishes of the night, credits to the tender pulled beef which was braised for 16 hours. The whole texture of the ravioli was so soft that it was literally effortless eating it. I was upset it was gone so quickly from my mouth. And I can’t forget that carrot cream which the ravioli was soaked in as well.
The Chocolate Overdose ($13) was hardly an overdose for me, coming from a chocoholic. The platter of various degrees of Belgian chocolate certainly added much dimension to this dessert, such as bitter chocolate sherbet (70% dark chocolate), hazelnut mousse (33% milk chocolate), chocolate sponge (55% dark chocolate), dehydrated chocolate (55% dark chocolate) and milk chocolate. For a more unconventional option, The Raven Red Velvet ($12) got me all curious with its saffron ice-cream, which was quite an acquired flavour. If you are adventurous enough, go for this.
Rants I wish that the portions for the mains are bigger, such as the Crispy Nori Wrapped Salmon which was barely sufficient on its own. I guess the whole idea is to order more plates of dishes and share the calories?
Will I Return Again? The small plates surprises and impresses us more than the mains, which in my opinion are definitely a notch above most places as well. I will return for the small plates for sure, and maybe for the Happy Hour next time?
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
B1-01/02 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street,
Tel: +65 8798 2724
Sunday – Tuesday: 5pm – 1am
Wednesday – Saturday: 5pm – 2am
Ranted by The Ranter