Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tippling Club: the good and the bad

I like what they are doing at the Tippling Club. They are a breath of fresh air to our local dining scene with their sense of taste, modern techniques and interactive dining layout. And their cocktails are clever and sophisticated or as a friend of mine would describe as “a party at a high level”.

They initially only served dinner and post-dinner drinks and tapas but that proved to be too intimidating for many, including me, so they introduced lunch sets with a tagline that tried to demystify the notion that a meal at the Tippling Club was too expensive an experience for many and to perhaps quash the joke going around that it should be named the Rip off club. The lunch thing worked, priced at a more accessible level we managed to round up a group of five that were willing to try the Tippling Club.

The only drawback about lunch is that instead of the cocktails, which are really half the show, they don’t come with lunch but a unit of alcohol is allotted to all diners – choice between white and red but that issue can be easily solved by ordering your cocktails by the side. I’ve had lunch at the Tippling Club twice. They change the lunch menu on a monthly basis, making eating here on a regular basis possible without being bored. I adored eating here for a number of reasons.

One. The food is cleverly convivial. Their first offering was fizzy rum infused grapes. Bubbles are always fun. Charred peppers, which are given an extra charred dye by a squid ink batter and served with a soy sauce-based foam and eaten with these long pincers.

Two. The plating is stylish. The plates are a combination of many labour intensive intricate pieces pulled together.

Linguini Carbonara, wild mushroom puree, crispy bacon

Three. The combination of flavours and use of textures are inventive and imaginative. Foams and jellies – will, needless to say, appear on the plates but so will other surprising elements, so go with an open mind to be entertained and fed.

four textures of parmesan and rocket emulsion

whipped gorgonzola

Four. Their cheese courses are divine. On the first visit I had a whipped gorgonzola that was served with edible flowers, capers and broken pizza bread and on the second visit I had Parmesan in four ways and both were absolutely delicious.

Five. Cocktails. Two words, smoky bastard.

But for all the good things that are happening at this place, its Achilles heel will be spotty cooking that was sadly consistent on both visits – one dish was under salted, another was too salty and then very tragically my pasta was soft to the point of mush despite its beautiful appearance and wonderful flavours. I would love to continue supporting this place for its potential and what they do but a poor execution of a good idea is a culinary tragedy.

The Tippling Club
8D Dempsey Road, Singapore
Phone: 6475-2217

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last Friday I had the 17 course set with cocktail pairings. This is definitely one of the places you go for the experience, not to eat.

The food and drinks were definitely creative. The majority of the food was good and well executed, desserts being the least (but this could be due to palette fatigue... and chocolate and cucumber?) and the drinks were very interesting. Sadly I think only 50% of the food and drink combinations worked. Also you can see a wide range of techniques used by other avant garde chefs and mixologists, not to the extent of Aurum though.

The biggest disappointment was the service. This place has the foundations of a world known venue, but needs to work a bit harder. For example, when I left, I was handed a packet of tea "to continue the experience". It was a bright idea but would of worked more if there was not a used by date from last year on it.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah, i remembered ANthony Bourdain reviewed this place on his show..very unusual and tempting to be there for an experience !

1:05 AM  
Anonymous michelle said...

the food. looks. AMAZING. I am so going to go there some day after reading your post, it looks super exciting - I love creative presentations of food!

mind if I link you on my blog, btw?

9:13 PM  

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