The divine “Black Forest” dessert
The name of this restaurant is definitely a mouthful. Thankfully, the restaurant with the name of Sir Stamford Raffles’ first wife, has been shortened to a much easier to remember, OCF.
Set in the beautiful Arts House in central Singapore, Chef Jonathan Koh brings sophisticated French dining in the elegant ambiance of the restaurant.
During weekdays, they serve an executive lunch set, which changes according to seasonal produce. You can select from three entrees, three mains and three desserts.
Our amouse-bouche was egg tartare (a combination of all the elements of a classic tartare sauce – think a softly tangy egg salad), ratte potato and smoked trout, topped with Kristal caviar. From our counter seat, we could see the kitchen is relaxed, but focused. An explosion of complementary flavours in a spoonful that really set the tone for the rest of the meal.
Foie gras terrine with heirloom beets and chervil root
Starters was a foie gras terrine, with heirloom beets and wafer thin slices of chervil root and a hint of truffle oil to tie all that earthiness together. The terrine was dense and smooth and rich and so full of flavour, with the fresh chervil root adding a light balance to the dish.
French seabass, artichoke barigoule
Second course was a pan-fried French sea bass, served with the scales still on, with artichoke barigoule (artichokes braised in a white wine broth). The texture of the skin is thicker than you expect with the scales on, but the scales add a crunchy texture which contrasted well with the lightness of the sea bass.
Iberian pork saddle, parsley root, yellos chanterelle
Next up was a true revelation. Iberian pork saddle with parsley root and yellow chanterelles. Looked like beef, smelled like beef, moist and soft and tender like beef, but the flavour of pork. Just simply pan-fried with a thin drizzle of jus, the pork is cooked so that it is juuuuust cooked, which keeps the texture unbelievably tender. This is the dish that I had high expectations for, given that my friend had shed a tear the week before when he had his first bite – and it didn’t disappoint.
Dessert was chef’s “Black Forest” – black cherries and balls of chocolate ganache on a dense layer of cake, topped with a crisp layer of caramel with cocoa nibs, served with vanilla ice-cream and luscious salted caramel cream.
The wait staff are friendly and competent, and maître d’, Nova, will happily talk you through all the food, and will also share his crazily detailed knowledge about the selection of wine offered.
OCF are opening up another restaurant at Boat Quay with a different menu to cater for the lunch crowd, and so lunch at the current location will stop (good to know why – they struggle getting good staff, and don’t want to spread themselves too thin). No firm date given yet but will be close to Chinese New Year (end Feb 2015). I’ll definitely be visiting them again before they close to catch the lunch menu.
Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt
The Arts House
1 Old Parliament Lane
Tel: 65 6333 9312
Lunch from 12:00 to 2:30pm
Dinner from 6:00 to 10:30pm