We have gotten quite bored with the same food near our office. It's always the same few stalls we go to. One colleague had been "very bored" with our "boring lunches" suggested that we venture out somewhere unknown places. Somehow, we ended up the NUS Alumni House. We have not been here for some time.
When we got there, we found nothing interesting in the building. We noticed a cafe by Pines. (by one of the food catering companies.) We remembered reading in the papers about a new place to eat in the Alumni House, we walked around the first floor and we can't find anything. We decided to asked the receptionist (who has been looking and us, waiting for us to ask her something haha) and she said, oh, that's on the 4th floor. Take the lift up and you will see it.
We got out the lift and was surprise to see such a cosy and classy place in the University! White table cloth dining at the University, what a difference from the Arts canteen nearby!
The University Club Lounge and Dining Rooms is run by The Prive Group.
This is the "Dining Room". A cosy dining room where we can even see the chefs preparing food via the 'one way' mirror. The "Lounge Room" is next door where they have an impressive 600 bottle wine cellar!
We had the set lunches. The 3 course set costs $28 and the 2 course set costs $25.
The serving staff told us the menu changes weekly, so we should come back again if we liked the food.
What impressed us was that the service staff knows what they are talking about when we asked about the food.You know fanciful restaurant have fanciful names for their dishes. We asked her what some dishes were, she knew exactly what we were asking and she replied with tact and eloquence too!
We took some time to look at the menu. So much choices. We wanted to try everything! We finally settled on our choices of Starters, Mains and Desserts. Here goes:
A basket of warm loaves was served shortly after we placed our order. Three white loaves and three wholemeal loaves with raisins.
We really like the warm raisin loaves. It came with salted butter and it gently melts as we spread it on the warm loaves.
After the bread basket was cleared, we were waiting for the starters to be served. The service staff surprised us with this amuse-bouche for each of us. Arugula that's rolled with smoked tuna. It went into our mouth and it sure was nice! The magic in the mouth: slightly crunchy arugula mixed with the slight saltiness of the smoked tuna and when you bite, the bursting of the black fish roe! Wicked!
Those are not the design of the serving dish. It's balsamic vinegar. Fanciful!
Our three starters:
HW ordered the Boston Lobster Cannelloni. It's too pretty to be eaten! Boston Lobsters with chopped coriander leaves, salted black fermented beans all stuffed inside the cannelloni pasta with Mornay Sauce. It's all about tantalizing your taste buds!
THY ordered the salad. It looks so healthy and light! Mini tower of stacked baby spinach layered with sliced portobello mushroom and sprinkled with sun dried tomatoes with bits of crispy shallots and raspberry shallot vinaigrette. Looks like a mini Christmas tree! The dressing is light and slightly tart. Nice!
I had the scallop carpaccio. Look how pretty they had 'carpaccio'-ed the scallop. So thinly sliced, the texture is like chee cheong fun. It really soaked up the black sesame and ponzu vinaigrette.
Our Three Mains:
HW had the braised duck leg. We knew he really liked it. Why? We saw him smile at himself a few times! We have been colleagues for so long, we know his mannerism! LOL. The duck leg was served on top of pearl barley risotto with pink grapefruit segments and duck jus.
THY has the lamb rump and it was good too. It was served with edamames, roasted heirloom tomatoes with thyme, garlic chips and lamb jus. We all gave bits of our mains to each other and this lamb was good!
I had the barramundi. Yes, the skin was really crispy. The fish below the crispy skin was juicy as if it was steamed. I got so amused, that the Holland baby carrot puree was served like a carrot! Nice baby food! I like the sauteed baby spinach. The vine of san marzano tomatoes that was roasted till the vine was crispy was good!
(Anyone knows where I can get vines of san marzano tomatoes in Singapore? I want to try it at home!)
Our three desserts:
We were recommended the apple crumble. It was spot on. The warm apple crumble went well with the honey and fig ice cream. Oh, the plate was really hot, so the apple crumbled stayed warm. The honey and fig ice cream had this acquired 'fig' taste.
That sugar deco makes it looks grand eh? Queen of the desserts?
Balsamic Marinated Berries with oh so yummy crème brûlée. Do I need to say more?
One bite into the sticky date pudding makes you want more! Oh the vanilla ice cream and butterscotch sauce with walnut. Yummy! If you think it looks familiar, it's the famous sticky date pudding from Prive. (Same company remember?)
A nice cosy place, with great food. Not that expensive too!
We will be back! The restaurant is open to public.
The University Club Lounge and Dining Rooms
Shaw Foundation Alumni House
11 Kent Ridge Drive
Hours: Closed on Sun and Public Holidays.
The Dining Rooms: Mon-Sat, 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm, 6.30 pm - 11:00 pm
The Lounge: Mon-Sat, 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm