I made dinner reservations with "One Rochester" (http://www.onerochester.com/home.htm)and looking forward to a nice al-fresco dinner and praying it wont rain.
Dinner was at 7pm and we got a cab without a hitch. It would have been alittle too much to avoid a cab from town to buena vista, no matter how much i wont want to suppose the 35% peak hour surcharge. The taxi driver was happy, delightful company, and bubbly. The fare came up to $19 after the surcharge which is a shocker since the usual price would prob amount to only $10-11 from town.
It didnt rain when we were there but it was showering and sprinkling abit and so the compound was wet. A pity because they do have a nice setup really. A couple was having a wedding reception indoors and they even had a pavillion set up for their vows.
The staff politely brought us to our sheltered tables, though I was alittle taken back at how small and cram the sitting area was. Tables were really packed close and near and luckily for me, I had a far corner seat. However, I still like the setting and it has a nice ambience to it.
However, what still saddenss me is how undiscerning some locals like to dress even when they go out for a nice dinner (as evidently shown in pix below). They come to a nice setting, a nice meal, and yet they just couldnt be bothered to make a little effort to dress the part. Instead they stuck rigidly to their ugly berms, worn out looking T-shirts and sandals for the nite. Whereas a typical expat would bother to dress in a nice shirt, pants and toes covering shoes.
I think its quite sad really, when customers do not make a deal to appreciate the effort on the sort of mood the establishment tries to invoke. Its not about being pretendious or "upmarket" which i read alot of comments in some forums. I think its is a wrong deliberate "cannot be bothered i wear what I want because i can pay" attitude in singapore. Its not "trying to be posh", and yes we indeed can get better food in hawker at fraction the price but that is NOT the point is it? Otherwise, why do we even bother to invent or buy anything different?
People forget going to restaurants are liken to being invited to someone's house for an special occassion with an approperiate dress code. Its simply a respect to the chef, to the place, and to other patrons who makes the effort and not ruin the ambience. Wearing the right clothes for the occassion is an etiquette, common sense, just like wearing the right shoes to suit different activities. I have witnessed more than once idiotic singaporeans who were told sandals was not allowed in a premise. A guy kicked up a stink with the waiter about "Its PRADA sandals" He has more cents than sense that bloke. People forget... "BRAND of footwear does not EQUATE to TYPE of footwear." I was glad the establishment held its grounds and the nitwit stormed off citing other restaurants....
Yeah, eating in a toilet loo would have suited him just rite too by all accounts.
Back to my dinner. We decided on ala carte menu as I thought the descriptions looks more appetitising than the degustation menu (Many establisments doesnt call them degustation but tasting menu.. i guess they didnt want to come off sounded too posh or french...)
My starter of stuffed squid with homemade chilli jam was ok but i feedback that the rocket salad was kinda overwhelmingly much. Plus a variety of greens with tomato or light cruchy cucumber would have enhance the flavour and enrich the dish, otherwise, its pretty boring as it is and i feel like part of a cow herd or bunny squad.
The other mushroom soup starter was pretty fantastic, full of flavour and hint of truffle oil which really went well with the overall taste. The waitress was pretty observant and offered to split the soup into 2 bowls for sharing without being asked to. A brownie point for that! While waiting for the main, the waitress came back with a refreshing sorbet (typicall reserved for those on degustation menu) as she said the chef said the main is taking slightly longer than expected. I liked the service. The staff seemed pretty well trained and know when to update the customer without prompting.
Just shortly after the sorbet, the lamb shank main i had was pretty tasty and I could see that the Australian chef and stuck to simple guideline of not being overly experimental, but stick to good solid recipe. I liked my gravy and soft melting meat alot.
However while everything matched up relatively to my expectations, my favorite and great compliments to the chef was their bread. Typically, restaurants served you sticks, dough, whites etc, but what i had tonite was sort of herb bread, totally soft and served warm. I never loved a starter bread as much as this and it was with pleasure i found it in Singapore. I couldnt stop and only had to because i didnt want to ruin my main.