Munching at Mimolette Singapore
Published 01 December 2007
Melanie Lee goes down a long and winding road to find the latest secluded restaurant in Singapore to capture the hearts of the fine dining crowd.
The idea of secluded, back-to-nature dining has proven to be extremely popular in urbanized Singapore these last few years. However, this means that initially quaint spots like Dempsey Road and One Rochester are now packed with increasing crowds and new establishments. As a result, these places are now about as swamped as any other decent restaurants on a Friday night.
As such, I was absolutely delighted to discover the rare isolation of Mimolette Restaurant. The taxi took a good ten minutes to go down a long windy road before reaching a charming country manor house. I alighted to be greeted with two horses grazing on a small field, swishing their tails. Next to Bukit Timah Saddle Club, the surroundings consist of just plain fields and rainforest trees, while the air was crisp and fresh after a light afternoon shower. I felt a lighthearted skip to my step as this part New Hampton/ part wine country environment transported me away from the daily traffic congestions and bustling crowds. Inside, I settle myself in its elegant, old-world compounds and soon, a waiter serves me a warm, freshly baked light orange bun baked in-house using, but of course, Mimolette cheese.
Very quietly, Mimolette opened its doors earlier this April and soon garnered a strong following amongst the affluent with its countryside setting and interesting cuisine concept of New American comfort food with a little French influence. Helming its kitchen is Chef Kelvin Lee (formerly from the renowned San Marco restaurant at the Fullerton Hotel), who is raring to create new and exciting dishes for this unique gourmet hangout, which is why the menu gets updated constantly. Over the meal, Chef Lee shares his meticulous culinary experimentations and expresses his commitment to freshness with accounts of setting up a herb garden behind the restaurant, and going to wholesale fish markets early in the morning to get prime pickings for the restaurant. “Cooking is both an art and science. And cooking is done best when fuelled by passion,” he says firmly.
I sample a range of dishes from their Chef’s Set Lunch (S$42++) and am impressed with the details that go into each dish. The pan fried foie gras with buttered puff pastry, caramelized pear-raison and balsamic butter broth is a perfect combination of textures and taste, and amazingly enough, the sweet, tangy sauces and meaty creaminess are accompanied very well by the flaky pastry. The petite mini-wagyu burger with caramelized onion marmalade, roasted mushroom and mix mesclun is a burst of succulent goodness (and best all eaten together with just a few bites), made all the more heavenly with truffle oil. Next up, the pan-roasted white cod with country mash potato infused with rosemary balsamic vinaigrette and shaved asparagus salad provides the lightness after the two previous dishes and is incredibly fresh, all the way down to the rosemary herbs straight from the restaurant garden. There is also the braised osso bucco with sauté baby vegetables, mushroom ravioli and beef consommé, a tasty double-boiled concoction that one would feel compelled to slurp up to the last drop. Lastly, there is the triple delight for dessert and it is a pretty sight to behold, rather like a candy cane version of a kebab and provides sugary goodness in the form of dark chocolate crushed pistachio, classic cinnamon sugar and condensed milk white chocolate balls on a stick. To wash it all down, a smooth affogato with vanilla ice-cream is served on the side. It is a beautiful finish.
As I contentedly observe tables being filled up with happy, relaxed customers, I realize that besides being a restaurant with an interesting menu and an enchanting ambience, this is one of the few restaurants that have achieved the effect of feeling like someone’s cozy (albeit fancy) home, and we are somehow privileged enough to be invited to this chi-chi lunch or dinner party. It is the perfect place for a lingering, contemplative meal, warm conversations and a chance to absorb nature’s beauty and creatures in all their wonder.