Thursday, November 8, 2012

Food Review: Rubato@ 3 Clover Way, Singapore.

I should have blogged this earlier but being sick right after being back from hols and catching up school work for my Jap test took up most of my time and energy.

Now that I am nicely settled back in again, before my next trip back to Singapore this Friday, I thought I should get my lazy arse moving and update my food review before I forgot!

This time back in Singapore, I headed out to Clover Way (Near Bishan/ Marymount Mrt) In late October to try out this eatery known as Rubato, serving Western Italian food.

Unassuming Exterior of Rubato

It was a "last minute" Sunday trip as my earlier email reservation 3 weeks before did not get a response until Saturday itself. I was kindly informed by Marcus that their email system had been down but they had booked us in for 4 anyway as per requested. That was nice, except that it was a desperate scramble to reconfirm if my original dining company was still free that Sunday on such short notice! Thankfully, they were! Phew!

Reaching there by car was easy but its not exactly a stone's throw away from public transport. Unless you know the private residential area well, walking there might be a real challenge esp from Bishan Mrt. I cheated and took a cab from town.

The setting is a small place. Sunday is their weekly buffet day too though we went ala carte since I wanted to try what exactly is their signature and recommended dishes.

Food thoughts.

1. The clams were good. Very sweet and succulent. (Pix in iphone. have to upload later). Definitely on my must order for shellfish lovers.

2. Their Signature grilled squid was nicely served moist, and cooked perfectly without becoming rubbery nor chewy. It was certainly a freaking huge squid by the way but shared between four adults, each still got a good tasting portion which works out great!

Signature Charcoal Grilled Squid.
 3. Honestly, I cannot rem the name of this as it was one of the seafood specials on the chalkboard that was heartily recommended to us. It was nice, but frankly, it wasnt their best work though I still love the clams.

4. The fresh pear salad. I definitely take issue with this. It was bland and the pear was not sweet. Ok, they are not in charge of a pear farm but if the fruit aint great, dont put it in and swap it to something else like red apple.

There was supposed, and I emphasized "suppose"to be balsamic vinegar in it but i tasted none. I'm not sure if it was because it took so long to deliver a simple salad that I had to enquire about it and Marcus took it out in a flash and someone in the kitchen forgotten the last dash. I did point it out to Marcus it was tasteless and he immediately whip out a separate dish of balsamic of vinegar, while explaining that they had gone "lightly seasoned". I didnt want to argue and have him taste the "TASTELESS" salad which did not had any hint or tinge of sourish vinegar. Only reason, service has been really fantastic to date and I was willing to overlook a simple oversight.

Seasoning aside, the salad was fresh and a good portion. Would suggest to go with a dash of mustard honey if I am the chef to give it a hint of sweetness in event the fruits are terrible.

Balsamic Fresh Pear Salad.
 5. Seafood rivioli.

I cannot comment since I didnt taste this but the company I had told me it was good. Reason why I didnt taste it was because I was getting rapidly filled up and the sauces across various dishes recommended to us were getting abit too similar for my liking.

Seafood Rivioli
 6. The pork belly....has got to be the only disappointing and terrible dish I had here today. The pork was chewy and definitely did not go well with the sauce. Sorry... crispy pork and that tomato sauce just dont go hand in didnt enhance the flavour or the natural sweetness that should come with fresh pork. Instead the accompanying sauce overwhelm my palatte and the tough chewy texture was pretty off putting. Sorry, gotto fail this dish and hope they take it off the menu or at least relearn to cook pork belly right. It should be soft and tender like braised meat with crispy skin that any chef worth their salt should accomplish easily, but not here. Avoid at all cost. Your $5 roasted chai siew pork belly from hawker is cooked way better than this. And living in HK where pork belly dishes are soooooo perfected as a staple dish, sorry, this pork belly is almost a cousin that should not be mentioned.

7. Ah...what meal is complete without the dessert. My good old choc fondant with ice cream, ordered with a cup of chamomile tea.

The cake was cooked perfectly. No faults there, yet equally no surprises there. I meant seriously, its decent but not wow woah spectacular. If you like normal, COMMON, comfort food type dessert, this is a fail proof order but its not mind boggling if you know what I mean. I am not expecting unsual creativity but at best, this is what any decent homemaker can make. Australia Sydney dining spots definitely serve way better desserts than this and I had more unique dessert downunder in smaller and more unassuming dining spots..

The next downside is the size of the tea. Seriously, for the amount that I pay, I expected a pot, or at least a bigger mug of tea. That cup worth only 3 gulp was frankly a little bordering on rip off. Dont serve in such a small cup. You can get bigger cup for that tea bag. Also, this place needs more variety in drinks such as offering fresh juice. Let's go healthy.

Now that we have gotten food review out of the way, let's talk about service.

Service here at Rubato is impecable in comparison to  general (APPALLING) Singapore hospitality service standard I am accustomed to. Marcus was friendly without being intrusive, food was served fast to a point we had to request the kitchen to slow down as we are still ploughing through 3 courses between the 4 of us.

However, the only small note was that the senior lady who was serving was so eager to recommend their signature dishes that I think she kind of overlooked that we over ordered. I really think that her knowing the size and portions should have controlled the items recommended as any good restaurants would. I am not at a Da Pai Tong or Steamboat buffet. So I felt we really over ordered and that did dampened the excitement by the end of it. However in the spirit that she had really wanted us to try the best, I could understand why she didnt rein us in. Secondly, seeing that many items we ordered had such similar sauces, she could have altered the order to a better mix. Like pizza or something. Then again, I guess this is when experience as a serving staff comes in.

While we were there, 3 other guests had their birthdays and all the staff sang birthday song. I did too with my added surround sound of sing along and clapping. Well, that's me. Of course unlike in Australia, where most birthday people will thank the crowd for joining in the birthday cheer, typical Singaporeans will just smile and ignore every other stranger seated around them. "Great" friendly attitude my fellow Singaporeans. Must be all those years of brain washing of "Never talk to Strangers" in case u get mugged or kidnapped taking a toll on the mental well being of these lot. You wonder why people are saying Singaporeans are a smile-less un-interactive lot.

Overall, I really dig this place and would come more regularly if only is was more accessible. However, I would recommend this place for sure for some of the great food highlights. Go check it out if you havent. You wont stay hungry for long in this dining spot. Just watch the waistline:)

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