We’ve waited a bit before doing a review on this chic restaurant with its cool, minimalistic interior. This is because we’re keen to know how its young but no less talented chef’s flavours will evolve and mature. And we’re glad we did because the results were as decadent and luxurious as the place itself.
At a recent wine dinner, six elegant Torbreck wines paired with six of Chef Lance U’ren’s creations. His bergamot smoked salmon did a slow, seductive dance with Torbreck’s understated 2010 Woodcutter’s Semillon while moss green, creamy spinach soup held hands with the firm texture of smoked black lip mussels while unravelling the somewhat tight flavours of the 2011 Cuvee Juveniles red wine to reveal ripe, dark berries with just a hint at spiciness.
Not forgetting how Lance’s chargrilled wagyu steak with polenta and carrot puree thickens red wines such as Torbreck’s The Struie of 2010 vintage and brings the 2008 Descendant to a sweeter crescendo. However, a surprising coupling is the classy but opinionated 2007 Run Rig red wine that brings out a concentration of fruity richness with brie or the distinct jackfruit jam served during dessert. And how The Bothie, Torbreck’s sweet wine, explodes in lychee sweetness when confronted by a salty-sweet scoop of caramel ice cream.
Nevertheless, one of Lance’s strengths, it’s safe to conclude, lays within the details that help along in terms of texture and punch – strips of cucumber pickle with his salmon, crunchy crumble that coats his cubes of foie gras and rich, syrupy Perigueux sauce that holds its own while accompanying red meat.
Having helmed the Dining Room’s menu for close to a year now, Lance has matched the restaurant’s sophisticated ambience with quiet playfulness. It’s an obvious evolution and not a bad one either! Despite their chic interior, there’s also a kid-friendly menu available. Kitty Kaye