Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Private Affairs @ Joo Chiat

This food tasting session was made possible with the hospitality of Veronica of Sixth Sense Communication and the amazing team (particularly Chef Paul Ng, Ross, Melanie and Sharon) from Private Affairs.

Joo Chiat has always been close to the heart for various reasons...Fei Fei Wanton Noodles, Kim Choo Kueh Chang, Chilli Padi and Dunman Food Centre are a few of the familiar. Recently opened Private Affairs is a breath of fresh air amid the area long dominated by strong local flavours.

Chef Paul Ng helms the kitchen and has had an illustrious career in the kitchens of Les Amis, Saint Julien, Pierside Kitchen and Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai!

A foreward; Everything happens for a reason, the same way ingredients are placed...for a reason.




Shophouse turned sparkly gem.



Homemade Bread rolls fresh off the kitchen, these are baked upon request. Foccacia and Hazelnut and Walnut bread rolls paired with a platter of condiments.



Tangy sauce or crushed hazelnuts as dips.



The first surprise encounter comes in the form of olive oil-balsamic vinegar tubes for you to squirt onto the piping hot bread rolls. Private Affais' breadrolls are spongey-chewy, my only grouse...they are so petite, makes popping more than one, effortless.



The customised menu aimed to tease and excite.



Sparkling wine to set the mood right.



Vined Ripened Tomatoes
Horseradish Meringue, Green Pumpkin Seed Oil & Ginger Flower

I did a double take on horseradish; almost like fresh wasabi the grated horseradish meringue found a fan in me. Potent and nostril freezing, the acute icy taste of horseradish outshone the tomatoes. Firmer baby tomatoes would have been a better option than the slight mushy tomatoes used.



I liked the idea of having the horseradish placed on a upper plate, for you to blend in with the tomatoes and adjust the level of horseradish accordingly.



Duck Carpaccio
Granny Smith, Scallion Gel Duck Consomme Jelly

Beef Carpaccio is familar ground, duck? That, was a first. A well assembled dish, the gel baubles and green apple squares on a layer of delicious marbled red sliced so fine..the fork naturally started folding in the layers. I willfully ate the ingredients separately, stark contrast was all I got.




Cured meats usually come across as over salted, not Private Affairs. Theirs is cured for three days before being air-dried. The balance of flavours is exquisite with the sweet and salty, delightful forkfuls of pleasure it was.



White Lobster Bisque
Salmon & Lobster Cannelloni, Capsicum, Lemongrass Crumbs

White comes from the cream used. First up, a deconstructed lobster bisque is served. A tantalising trail of saffron orange followed the main attraction; the cannelloni so painstakingly put together. Squid ink, spinach and egg pasta rolled like a cigar and stuffed with salmon and lobster.




Lobster bisque is then poured over the beautiful display. Once again, impressed. The flavours well executed. When eaten separately, they stand strong; the bisque salty and the cannelloni full bodied yet when eaten together, the melody of flavours makes me a soup convert all over again.



I'm never a soup person when it comes to starters but for Private Affairs, I'll gladly make that exception.



Hokkaido Scallops
Corn Noodle, Bed of Corn, Smoked Miso Powder, Bonito Flakes

By now, the expectations have been set with the first few stellar dishes both in looks and taste. Similarly, the rich daffodil yellow used largely in this dish won votes for its stunning outlook. Twirls of sweet corn noodle made me grin deliriously. Who'd have thought the humble kernel could have such a gorgeous makeover. The bed of corn transformed into a pasta sheet lookalike, peppered with bonito flakes and smoked miso powder. The sweetness and saltiness once again so well balanced.

Then, it does not end.



Hokkaido scallops peeps from below the corn blanket. A great pity these were seared a tad too long, resulting in a bouncier than usual scallop.

If this dish were a fireworks display, dazzling and worthy of awe, my only grouse is, if only it had that scintillating ending.



Wagyu Beef Cheek
Duo of Potato, Chinese Kale Royale, Curry Leaf Couscous, Tomato Chutney, Port Wine Grapes Reduction

Defined must try, by the kitchen. I shall give the must try all the honours by segmenting the pretty-full dish;

Kale Royale had the consistency of cottage cheese with bits of kai lan encrusted and spinach to colour. I loved it though the vegetarian in me says, I'll like to see vegetables as I eat them.

Duo of Potato, the battle between potato mash and the crispy ring. A draw was reached as both pleased.





The 12 hour effort was reduced to nothingness in less than 10 minutes flat. Wagyu Beef Cheek spread with Curry Leaf Couscous and Tomato Chutney. Braised to such tenderness, teasing the meat apart is almost effortless. Personally not quite a fan of braised meat, I found it too soft. The Port Wine Grapes Reduction was slightly sticky and reminded me of char siew sauce, somehow.



Pre Dessert
Chef's Specialty Dessert of Mangosteen and Lime Granita



Mangosteen foam with icy lime granita, a refreshing watered down palette cleanser.



Pistachio Tuile, Cheese Sandwich
Passion Fruit Coulis, Strawberry, Basil Gel

Cheese Sandwich and shaped like one with wafer-like biscuits holding the cheesecake together. Not quite your usual dense, rich fluffy cheesecake, this is way lighter on the palette...lighter than souffle even.



Prod any further and passion fruit coulis spills out excitedly. Toss in sweet strawberries with a hint of basil, it's one light dessert to round the otherwise heavy meal up!



Chocolate mousse lipsticks and pistachio financiers. Yet another surprise sprung by the nifty fingers and creative minds. Who'd have thought of a better alternative to lipstick holders? Found the financiers hovering on the sweet edge.

The greatest privilege always, is being able to speak to the chef in a bid to get to know his thoughts and inspirations. Chef Paul Ng came across as earnest and jovial throughout, very graciously accepting photo requests from us, like ardent fans.

The immense amount of effort placed into every dish is bewildering. Positioning in particular, seemed like rocket science to me. The mere sprinkling of miso powder or dusting of lemon grass crumbs...the pieces all came together like art.

Amazing is an understatement of what Chef Ng and his team are capable of. Each dish attempts to wow, either visually, scent-sationally or tastefully. I wish all dishes were exceptional in taste, the most outstanding for me were the bread, Duck Carpaccio and White Lobster Bisque. Taste aside, the meal in entirety was a masquerade; visually surprising and there were occasions I expected a certain taste but ended up with a totally different experience.

Control, is what Private Kitchen offers each diner. The ability to shape the meal accordingly. You adjust the ingredients to your tastebud's fancy.

Here's a peek at what the rest had during dinner, a hint of the magic the kitchen can conjure up!



Beetroot and wild flowers




Foie Gras




Seared Scallop
Chardonnay packet, Celeriac spread, Apple chip, Green peas and Fennel foam



Glazed Lobster
Espelette jam, sauteed Blue Foot Mushroom with Lardoon and Purple Carrot paint, Alaskan crab & Cauliflower foam



Chef Ng passed the Blue Foot Mushroom and Purple carrot (airflown from France) around which elicited oohs and aahs.



Monkfish cheek
Fermented Garlic & Oyster glazed, Purple Carrot, White Asparagus

An intimate experience is what Private Affairs seeks to offer, highly customizable from the very start. Lunches, dinners, corporate events, weddings and parties are up for selection.



Sky garden dining for you?



A cosy Private Lounge II on the second floor, only accessible via a secret stairway unveils the other side of Joo Chiat I never saw.

Here's a roundup of the various affairs up for offering at Private Affairs;

Private Lunch; 3 course $38++, 4 course $46++
Chef's Signature; 7 course dinner; $138++
Private Affair Set; 4 course dinner; $98++
A Luscious Affair; 7 course dinner, $168++
Sunshine Brunch $68++

Hop over to read the other food bloggers' experience; Kaelyn, Elaine, Harris and Glenn.

http://privateaffairs.com.sg/

Private Affairs
45 Joo Chiat Place

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