The Place Why the name Subrosa? You might have walked past this restaurant along Jalan Besar without realising its existence. Located right beside Char restaurant, Subrosa Private Dining restaurant stems from Latin language, which means under the rose. The idea is to create a private dining experience for guests in a restaurant setting as opposed to private home dining, where there is no walk-ins and reservations have to made 48 hours in advance.
The setting of Subrosa is a mix of dark blue, white and dotted by a red rose napkin on each table. It occupies a two-storey shophouse space, where level two is reserved for private booking with bigger group. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Steven from the UK, along with Chef Francis from Singapore, both with wide spectrum of culinary experiences.
The Food The cuisine here traversed east and west, with a focus on fresh and locally sourced ingredients where possible. There is no ala carte menu, with 5-course and 7-course from S$108++ and S$148++. I had the 5-course experience, where I started with some freshly baked breads like sesame bun along with truffle butter.
The Amuse Bouche highlights the fresh produce concept quite well, aptly named Fresh is Best. It is a colourful plate of freshness, dotted with a sashimi grade scallop cured with butter, fermented melon, cucumber, dill, lemon and topped with smoked trout roe. The green sauce on the spoon is a concoction of sriracha and wasabi, a well-balanced flavour which is poured and mixed well together.
The first course proper is The Cocktail, which turned out to be one of my favourite courses. It is quite a surprise as I am not even a cocktail person, but the only element closest to a cocktail is the Bloody Mary tomato. Beneath the cocktail glass is strands of crab, either locally farmed or Sri Lankan flower crab. Above the crab, there is the aerated shrimp which is a nice mix of crispy bits of the shrimp head and slight creaminess of the shrimp paste. The tomatoes are cured for five weeks, and the zesty flavours cut through the seafood flavours of the crab and shrimp well, akin to a much needed intermission.
The second course is the Quaking Cod That, cod fish paired with duck consommé. The cod is sous vide then charcoal grilled with nori seaweed, which acts like a natural seasoning to the fish. Beneath the cod fish is Shimeji mushrooms, and topped with deep fried shallots. The oriental finishes to the dish is the duck consommé which is poured over the cod, and the overall flavour is like a hearty duck broth dish with fish.
Up next is the refreshing palate cleanser, lychee sorbet with mint leaves along with crushed raspberries.
The third course is a meat dish, the Golden Duck. The restaurant uses duck from Malaysia, raised in an organic way though the farm is not organic-certified. Regardless of that, the duck meat is quite flavourful, prepared by first sous vide before it is pan-seared. As you may have noticed by now, almost every dish has some picked elements and this is no exception. The duck is also served with pickled blackberries, shallots and carrot purée.
Moving on to the last savoury dish, I had the Who Niu, an Australian wagyu beef paired with foie gras. There are elements of truffle and wasabi sauce here, which are quite mild. The beef texture is quite succulent, while the foie gras is just sinfully tender.
For dessert, it is a Tropical Passion of coconut, mango, lime and passionfruit. A refreshing mix of ingredients to conclude the meal, though it pales in comparison to the savoury dishes.
Rants The decor and ambience doesn’t resonate with me. I find the mix and choice of colours a mismatch, which is a pity.
Will I Return Again? While the dishes are competent, Subrosa Private Dining is in an awkward position sandwiched between a regular restaurant experience versus a private home dining experience. Other than the fact that we need to reserve well ahead, the overall experience is not much different from a regular restaurant dining. It is not exactly fine dining, yet the dishes are definitely not your usual casual fares. I am ambivalent about Subrosa, and time will tell if this concept works in the long run.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Subrosa Private Dining
369 Jalan Besar
Tel: +65 6610 0555
Daily: 11am to 12am
Ranted by The Ranter