Ash & Elm
80 Middle Road Level 1
T: +65 6825 1008
Located at the foot of Intercontinental Singapore, adjacent to Parco Bugis Junction, and opposite the National Library. Simply put, almost impossible to miss. Intercontinental put on a major overhaul to the lobby lounge area, and Ash & Elm is now the new incarnation of where Olive Tree once stood.
Upon entry, I was greeted by one of the largest swing door-wall feature panel that I’ve seen in the dining scene, the sight of almost an endless straight line dining hall, with nicely spaced our seating arrangements. Sleek & Chic with dark timber furnishing & marble surfaces, doused with a good dose of magenta hue from the back lit barrisol ceiling, and decked with huge custom chandeliers.
Available are open seating, semi confined seating, as well as private rooms that accommodates different sized functions.
In all, there are three theaters in full public view; a full glass windowed charcuterie and cheese room that holds like two dozen variants of cured meats, seafood, and visibly at least 10 types of cheeses, a wood-fired oven for breads and baked dishes, and a lengthy open-grill kitchen for all to marvel in anticipation for food to be served. Not far from the main event, there is a standalone dessert station where the elaborately plated sweets are presented to cap the meal.
The very experienced & versatile Executive Sous Chef Philippe Duc orchestrates the full works, and defines European gourmet dining experience in the menu, on the plates, at the table and more importantly in the mouths. In lieu of the open concept, it’s not every day that one gets to witness the big kahuna in the thick of action.
For this media invite, in attendance were folks from HungryGoWhere, Forbes Asia, Ivan Teh-Runningman, The Arctic Star and The Hungry Bunny. We were given a tour around some of the stations to witness the chefs & crew in action. When craft is married into culinary, it brings the dining experience to a whole new level.
A platter of complimentary in-house firewood oven baked breads, varying in textures & flavors; baguette, rye bread and bread sticks. The breads were already good on their own, but accompanied on the side, two solid chilled butter; seaweed (salty) and the good old plain. The fragrance of the firewood, charred crackles on each bite was so enjoyable, I had to be reminded to save space for the rest of the night’s arrangements.
The Ash & Elm Platter – the kick off begins with an assortment of charcuterie, comprising of house cured beef pastrami, house smoked pork loin, air-dried rolled pork belly, cold roast beef, and a presse de foie gras with smoked duck. Accompanied with pickled gherkins, olives, and chilled roasted bell peppers / capsicum. As a meatarian, my pleasure for this platter would be biased. But if I had to choose just one, I’d be split between the air-dried pork belly and the smoked pork loin.
Pumpkin & Bacon Flat Bread – looks like a pizza, but it just isn’t. I’m rarely a fan of pumpkin in almost any form other than tempura. However, I found this to be interestingly good. There’s sweet from the almost pureed pumpkin, savory from the bacon, cream from the mascarpone, haziness from the Parmigiano Reggiano, along with nutmeg, sage & what seems to be melon seeds.
Beef Tasting Platter – five six pick up steaks, thank God for meat, glorious meat. Flanking the Australian Rib-eye (middle), USDA NY Striploin and the French Bavette d’Aioyau. This platter that feeds 3-4pax, takes up to half an hour to prepare, but for any meat lover, it’s worth the wait. Though I think should feed a pair of meat lovers on any given day. The doneness for this platter is medium rare, but it’d really make my day if they have been rare or blue rare.
The drizzles and dips to go along with the cuts; Bearnaise, Peppercorn & Natural Jus
Side dishes to go with the steak: hand cut Roseval Potato Wedges with Paprika Rosemary, Grandma’s Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Mixed Mushrooms, Grilled Green Asparagus.
French Free-range Yellow Chicken Supreme – this 30 Day corn fed chicken from Savel, France… I’m not kidding but the meat is sweet, and I wouldn’t doubt it that it was corn fed. There’s the creamy polenta and mushroom sauce to give some dynamism to the taste.
Seafood Linguini – at first sight, given the appearance of the linguini (the girth & texture) I almost mistook this for Chinese Ee-noodles. Scallops, shrimps, squid, clams are no secret for this dish, but there’s something unique about the crustacean sauce that lingers nicely in the mouth, after each bite.
Tasmanian Salmon Fillet A La Plancha – sustainably farmed, fresh fillet of Tasmanian salmon fish. Nicely charred crispy salty skin, crackles and breaks down like wafer. Doneness medium rare, has a smooth and moist texture as the teeth sink in with nice natural fattiness. The grapefruit hollandaise offers a new perspective to grilled fish.
Slow-Grilled Spanish Iberico Pork Chop – I’m more of a beef person, but this tipped the scales quite a fair bit. Probably the thickest slab of Iberico I’ve come across, the mild charred crust, juicy sweet tender texture, and certainly the only whiff of smokiness that bodes well. There’s also grilled corn & succulent vine-ripened cherry tomatoes on the side.
Chocolate Hazelnut Pizza – chocolate brioche, chocolates (dark, milk and white), praline, marshmallows, cocoa granite and white chocolate ice-cream. Word has it that chocolate triggers endorphins, then, rightly so, this would make a good remedy after a hard day’s work.
Apple Tatin – Crème Chantilly, Granny Smith Chip & Calvados ice-cream. All things apple, not overbearingly sweet, packs a tinge of octane in the ice-cream.
Yuzu-Citrus Combination – vibrant colors on a platter with arrangement of mandarin oranges & grapefruit wedges drizzled with mandarin orange reduction, yuzu curb neatly piped on the lemon sable Breton, decked with tiny sticks of marshmallows, a scoop of yuzu sorbet on the side. I actually enjoyed the zesty tingle that led almost to a cringe, but quickly fades away to a sweet after taste.
Peach Melba – a ball of smooth & creamy ruby peach parfait, perched on a spongey almond-strawberry genoa bread, and scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of tiny caramelized peach cubes with bits of berries, topped with a wafer of crunchy sweet strawberry tuile. And I had the pleasure of chugging down the gold-leaf.
Salty Chocolate Rum-Raisin – it looks like a scene from the movie Black Hawk Down, comprising of 64% chocolate, rum-raisin cremeux, sea salt caramel with a light chocolate foam, and cocoa nib ice cream. What worked for me were the rum-raisin cremeux, salted caramel & somewhat bittersweet cocoa nib ice cream.
Amidst the widespread anticipation of an impending recession, therein lies the opportunity for the need to heighten networking activities, to meet with counterparts, to commune, impress and ink some agreements. I see Ash & Elm just the right place for business dining.
Some say the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. Given the amount of space & privacy, it’s pretty appropriate for couples dining. A place to pamper your significant other. Ladies, if your man is to shower you with gifts, be nice, do unto him as you would him to you… feed him well.