The Place Located at the now-defunct location of Black Swan at The Quadrant on Cecil, the first high profile restaurant opening this year is Rosemead, a modern Californian fine dining restaurant by Jigger & Pony Group. This is the group’s first fine dining concept, and the location in a 1920s heritage building in the CBD is especially charming. Rosemead is helmed by co-owner and Chef, David Tang (from Caffe Fernet, also by the Jigger & Pony Group) and General Manager James Moon (formerly from Esora, Cut by Wolfgang Puck and Mozza, Singapore), and the restaurant is named after Chef David’s hometown in California.
I was drawn to the high ceiling which evokes the sense of spaciousness at Rosemead. The interior is predominantly decked in neutral tones and woody touches, with seating layouts suited for groups or couples. At its entrance is a bakery which is slated to open soon, while there is also a soon-to-be-opened private kitchen at the basement ideal for small group dining with utmost privacy.
That said, the centrestage of the restaurant is undoubtedly the wood fire grill in the middle of the space. You can’t miss the heat as you stand right in front of the grill!
The Food The cuisine here presents Chef David’s take on modern Californian cuisine inspired by his taste memories while he lived in Los Angeles. Seasonal ingredients are used from various parts of the world and as far as possible, Chef David sources from producers in Singapore.
The menu is quite relatively concise, spilt into a few sections – Chilled, Vegetable & Grains, Cooked Over Orange & Lychee Wood Embers, and Dessert.
From the Chilled section, I had the Mangrove Crab Tartine, Avocado & Yuzu Citrus (S$33) and the Grassfed Wagyu Tartare Kampot Pepper Caramel & Lettuce (S$52). The Asian influence is quite strong in these two dishes, where the former is a refreshing start and reminds me of Japanese cuisine.
On the other hand, the Wagyu tartare strikes a familiar Korean chord with me, especially with the pairing of lettuce. Interestingly, there are also small edible herbs like basil along with the lettuce which adds that bit of nuances to the dish.
From Vegetable & Grains section, I highly recommend the House Rolls & Shiitake Cultured Butter (S$19). The freshly baked bread spots a soft, fluffy texture and after trying it, I am excited for the opening of its bakery. Spread it generously with the butter and I will gladly pile up for carbs.
The Chitose Farm Tomato & Basil Crackling Pork Skin (S$24) is a good example of using regional ingredients where the delicious tomatoes are sourced from Cameron Highlands. The surprising element here for me though, is the crispy pork skin atop the tomatoes, lending it an added crunch and texture.
The wood fire grill is definitely the highlight at Rosemead for me, including a list of dishes prepared over the orange and lychee wood embers.
I first had the indulgent sounding Slow-cooked Kagoshima Short Rib Black Truffle & Bone Marrow (S$85). Soft, almost melt-in-the-mouth tender texture of the beef is enhanced further with the truffle icing and bone marrow jus. I wish that the portion is bigger for its price because I can definitely stomach a few more bites of it.
For fish, the Grilled Ora King Salmon Chioggia Beet & Chermoula (S$68) can’t go wrong. It is my first time seeing cooked salmon paired with Beet this way, and it adds some nice contrast in flavours and colours at the same time. The texture of the salmon is just right along with its crispy skin.
However, the fish dish which surprised me more is the Canary Island Seabass Green Peppercorn & Sauce Of Iberico Ham (S$72). While it looks like an ordinary sea bass, that sauce is really the winner factor for me. Rich, creamy and slightly buttery, I really like how the sauce goes with the perfectly cooked sea bass. One of my favourite dishes for the night!
The last savoury main dish for the table was the Whole Roast Chicken & Smoked Leeks, Winter Black Truffle (S$80) and it turned out to be a crowd’s favourite. Expect a juicy chicken meat which is easy to share on the table as well where the chef went generous with the truffle shavings. The wood fire grill also imparts a flavourful profile to the whole chicken, where even the chicken breast is good!
For desserts, there are only three options on the menu at S$18 each – Chitose Farm Strawberry & Heirloom Beetroot; Burnt Honey Meringue & Malted Milk Chocolate; Sudachi Lime & White Chocolate.
My favourite of the trio is the Sudachi lime and white chocolate with bits of buckwheat biscuits, which is surprisingly not that sweet given that I’m usually not a huge fan of white chocolate. This is light and airy, and it’s how I like my dessert to be after a heavy meal.
For drinks, the bar menu at Rosemead is led by Jigger & Pony Bar Director Aki Eguchi and Bar Manager Davide Boncimino, with eight to 10 cocktails that changes based on seasonal ingredients. The Trigona Honey Bellini (S$28) for example, uses trigona honey puree gathered from stingless bees in Johor Bahru.
Rants I do wish that the portions for some of the dishes like the Kagoshima Short Rib can be bigger.
Will I Return Again? Fine-casual is the new trend in the past year and Rosemead is suited for communal dining with small groups of diners, or a romantic date night for couples within its heritage space. The meats prepared over the wood fire stands out most for me.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
19 Cecil Street
Tel: +65 9781 9084
Tuesday to Sunday: 6pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Mondays
Ranted by The Ranter