Kreglinger Wine Dinner at Friends@Jelita

collageThis blog firmly believes in a wait of 6 months to a year before visiting a new restaurant unless something catches his fancy.

This is because it takes a while for everything and everyone to settle in and find their groove, no matter how good the Chef is. This is why, for some new restaurants, opening night is staffed with more senior and experienced staff from a sister restaurant.

Yes, unless specifically requested to do otherwise, this blog prefers to visit established restaurants or those who’s had time to iron out their kinks and let the chasing of new restaurants to others.

The available blog budget of time and money is very limited.

Anyway, this blog has walked passed Friends@Jelita a few times and cannot help but think of the Pizza Hut that was here for more than 20 years. I guess it lends, unfairly of course, some sort of stigma to Friends@Jelita.

This blog finally went inside because of an invitation to a wine dinner by a friend at Friends@Jelita. And besides, it was on the way home.

The decor is as what you’d expect of a bistro, simple and clean with subdued lighting. The service was enthusiastic but uncoordinated as this blog was asked three times if he wanted still or sparkling water.

While I agree that water from different geographical locations taste different, the Singapore dining experience has not progressed to such esoteric levels where the food is fine-tuned to the mineral content of specific waters. No, this blog prefers water from the tap in Singapore, boiled if possible, cold is good and the only rocks required is ice.

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Dinner started with a Ninth Island Sparkling which is, announced the winemaker, appearing for the first time in Singapore because there aren’t enough of it to go around. It was nice; yeasty, slightly crisp with a medium finish whose bubbles disippated quickly and I was the only one that felt it was sweet.

The whole table, including the wine distributor, felt that I was wrong about the sweetness. This was amusing as later the table, including the wine distributor (who had “cleansed” his palate before the dinner with soda water), was describing the sparkling wine with “caramelized” flavours and it was like “drinking honey”.

In other (less pretentious) words, it was “sweet“.

After a long wait, the first course came out. It was the Seared Pacific Ocean Scallop with crumbed red dates on a Sesame Lime dressing.

Seared Pacific Ocean Scallop with Golden Crumbed Red Dates and Sesame Lime Dressing

When taking photos, this blog has to come close to the plate and steady the camera on the rim. The plate was shockingly cold.

Needless to say, the whole course became cold rapidly which made the miniscule scallops rubbery and tasteless. It was a pity because the crumbed red dates was very good with the Ninth Island sparkling wine.

This blog and his dining companions were now alerted to the fact that the evening is starting to go downhill. True enough, the next course of Chickpea soup combined with quail’s egg met our expectations.

Chickpea Soup combined with Quails egg with crispy Enoki and Onion

Cold mush, I can handle, but lukewarm mush? Sigh… Typically when you add mushy food like potatoes and peas, you subdue the flavours of the dish, which is why the slightly cooked quail’s egg had no taste. The table was frantically crushing black pepper over the soup in an effort to save it. The white foam tasted of white foam.

The crispy Enoki and Onion did a heroic job of adding some flavour to the soup. I felt that the sweet smoky fritters was done well enough to shine through despite the efforts of the lukewarm mush to subdue it. Alas, there wasn’t enough.

One look at the Victorian Kingfish with fritters and fennel dressing told me that it was overdone. Touching the rim of the plate while snapping the shot told me it was cold too.

Victoria Kingfish with fritters and Fennel Dressing

I was rather disappointed because I thought that the sauce deliciously tart. The cold hard fish let the whole thing down. This is because without the fish, the tartness of the sauce interfered with the wine. And besides, cold overcooked fish is unpleasant.

This caused a stir in the table as the time between each course was long and the food came out cold.

Fortunately, pasta is a dish that can be eaten cold. The Capellini with Portobello sprinkled with caviar looked positively inviting as it was placed in front of the hungry table.

Capellini with Portobello sprinkled with caviar

It was good too. The pasta was a little too soft for my tastes but that means it should be perfect for everyone else. The small sprinkling of fish roe served to liven up and bring out the flavours of the Olive oil in the cold pasta.

By this time, I was a little bored with the food. The last course of Kurobuta loin with caramelized mini Apples in a light yoghurt Tarragon sauce did not raise my hopes when it arrived.

Kurobuta Loin with Caramelized mini Apple and light Yogurt Tarragon

Fortunately, the Kurobuta pig makes a superior pork that is really difficult to make a mess out of. The fat made it moist and tender. The apple cubes and yoghurt sauce was just a distraction that did not make any significant contribution to the fine taste of the Kurobuta pork.

Jelita@Friends was kind enough to substitute the Kurobuta pork with a beef steak for those who did not take pork. It was pretty big.

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So huge that this blog got some of the love. 😉

And yes, it was cold too.

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After that, we could not abide the wait for dessert and left the restaurant. My friend was shocked : the chef, formerly from a swimming club restaurant, was supposed to be good.

The dinner was not a pleasant one. The quality and execution of the dishes was not worth the price tag. And the wines were mediocre and the pairing with the food was ill-advised. Fortunately the company was pleasant.

Friends@Jelita needs a lot of work. The service was clumsy but well-meaning. However the main issue is the cold food and the surprisingly long wait. I guess having opened only for a month, the restaurant has not found it’s groove and a good plate warmer.


Posted on 1st Apr 2007 in Bistro/Trattoria, Food and Drink

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There Are 3 Comments

 

umami commented on April 2, 2007 at 12:52 am


The pork looks weird, as if they microwaved it and then apply a kind of branding waffle to make the lines. The dishes don’t look or sound too complicated, a pity it was all so unsatisfactory.


 

Ivan commented on April 2, 2007 at 1:29 am


@umami: I know! It’s really sad as it makes me wish that Pizza Hut was still around.


 

yixiao commented on April 3, 2007 at 6:11 pm


what a chilling affair..


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