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Ember Revisited @ Keong Siak Road

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Ember turned 14 last month and in its 14 years, I was probably a fan only in the last 7 years. Fortunately or unfortunately I follow chefs quite a fair bit and since the previous chef moved on, I also stopped patronizing Ember till recently.

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Same, same but different somewhat thought the interior was largely retained.

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Italian craft beer was a rather odd choice for pairing with the menu but the companion went ahead anyway. Light and crisp, was what this lager beer was all about.

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The crusty sun-dried loaf had me looking forward for quite some time - the previous Ember had freeflow of bread. Served with a mushroom butter, I thought we were back to the good ole' times until we were reminded that a refill would come at an additional cost.

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A medley of appetizers ensued.

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Light and crispy rice crackers with these quinoa pops on a savoury foam. Both were fancy and forgettable in my opinion.

The set dinner comprised of 4 different courses and try as I might to pick those that were previously showcased to have a sort of accurate comparison with the past and present. I already sound like a sentimental ex-girlfriend who refuses to let go of the previous glories.

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Market Pumpkin
Galanga, Pumpkin Seeds

While I do not remember having soup courses before, this presented a surprise - first, there was no mention it would be soup. Secondly, this was actually pretty good though quite watered down. Loved the spices and heartiness of the broth. 

And once again, having consumed the bread too quickly and refusing to pay extra for refills got us into a fix. Have soup no bread, boo.

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Angelhair
Jicama, Bonito, Shimeiji

A vegetarian version of cold angel hair pasta - portions were ridiculously puny. Let's give this maybe three forkfuls and it would be gone. Umami was barely, just a chilled noodle dish tossed in oil and topped with mushrooms.


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Foie Gras
5 Spice, Rose Apple

Foie gras was usually always on the supplementary menu and on days that I felt richer, I would go for that option. The sweetness of the poached rose apple and that seared foie gras was frankly tasty, the sticky five spice sauce however reminded me too much of rojak. Hence, a really luxurious version of rojak.

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Ah Hua Kelong Seabass
Tomato Butter, Wild Fungus

Ah Hua turns out to be a brand of seafood that already made a name for itself. Perfectly grilled with those crispy sides and flaky fish meat, tomato butter made the dish pop in taste and colours. Loved this!

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Local Duck Leg
Wild Mushrooms, Puy Lentils, Caramelized Onions

The duck confit was less of a surprise with predictable flavours. Credit is due with that incredibly crispy skin and lentil soup, otherwise none too remarkable.

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Venison
Pea Shoots, Banana Shallots, Wild Rice

I was drawn to the wild rice kernels on the plate and pea shoots actually. The condiments worked really well in accentuating the dish.

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And a really rare venison - adored the colour and doneness.

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Granita to cleanse the palette though I felt it was superfluous since the flavours presented were not exactly so strong tasting anyway.

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Kaffir Lime
Coconut, Lemongrass

I would have gone for the creative sounding lup cheong dessert if not for the less than desirable reviews. Kaffir lime was however as bland as the reviews on their dessert say - lemon grass icecream with a coconut pudding and kaffir lime rocks. One would have expected this to delight the tastebuds - as dessert is usually the last shot at trying to impress.

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Assorted Farm Cheeses
Nuts, Market Fruits 

It was not wow, neither was it bad. Just one of those cheese platters I could have put together at home for nibbling on the couch and my favourite movie on the telly.

And this was how my visit ended. Quite abruptly, little of their previous glory was experienced - service has since been relegated to lip service and lukewarm, food is delicious at best and it has become just another family restaurant instead of the casual fun vibe with familiar faces. A huge pity, unfortunately.

Ember
1929 Hotel

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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