Australian-born Heather Barrie, who has been in Singapore for more than 20 years, started a gourmet catering company, creating the menu from scratch, making each sauce. She has also catered for Elton John when he was in Singapore last year. If it’s good enough for Elton John, it’s good enough for me. I’m not picky at all. Her clients suggested that she should open a restaurant so that they could eat her food everyday. That’s how Fine Palate is conceived.
Situated at the old Catholic High School, a historical building where our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used to study, the atmosphere, with the hot Singapore weather, is like a cat sleeping in the sun, leisurely and carefree. A sanctuary from the busy crowd only a street away.
Brunch is served on weekends. 2-course set lunch for $26++, 3-course $30++. A pity they don’t open for dinner.
Forget the freshly squeezed juices; go for the milk shakes ($10). It’s MUST ORDER. The lemon meringue milk shake, which has bits of meringue on top to provide texture, is very well balanced and perfect to the last drop that I sipped everything down in a shot and was almost too full for anything else. The three of us shared a chocolate brownie milk shake, also with brownie floating on top, is rich, dark but not jerlat (excessive).
For starters, we sampled quiche of the day ($12, in this case, it’s bacon-and-spinach quiche), calamari ($14, pictured above), crispy chicken triangles ($8, or samosas with very fragrant lemongrass, pictured left), trio of bite-sized teriyaki chicken burgers ($15).
While the starters are decent, nothing to write home about, the main stars of Fine Palate are really the mains.
The cold tuna and capellini ($20), for example, is a refreshing main. Capellini, slightly fatter than angel hair pasta, is tossed with a Japanese-tasting and creamy sesame shoyu dressing and topped with a very clean-tasting seared yellow tuna.
The other two pasta dishes we tried are the vegetable lasagne ($16), decent but not great, and capellini alla bolognese ($20), which is Ms Atas’s favorite. She said it is hearty and its simplicity is pleasing. There is something inexplicable about the classic bolognese sauce that is addictive.
The star dish may possibly go to the char-grilled rib eye steak wrap ($24). The medium-rare juicy steak is accompanied by mixed greens, beetroot and hummus (which gives it almost a cheesy taste) in a tight, hot, crispy wrap. The different flavors and textures play off each other so magnificently. A simple dish but hard to find its better.
Another hot favorite is duck leg confit ($26), with braised red cabbage, roast potatoes and fresh asparagus. The duck leg is huge enough to take up the entire fine plate, and is rather unique in that it is more sweet than salty, unlike other restaurants’.
The catch of the day ($20) is snapper in garlic and butter sauce. It is such a beautiful and fresh fish that falls off cleanly (not in flakes) when cut. I usually disdain eating fish in restaurants because they are usually bland but the sauce is beautifully absorbed by the fish, giving it a buttery taste.
We had tiramisu ($10, pictured below), baked oreo cheesecake ($10), lemon tart ($10, more like a pie), and dessert of the day, brownie ($10). We’d recommend the tiramisu, which is a tad dry but has a strong scent of rum, and oreo cheesecake, which is lighter than elsewhere’s.
T-F: 11am-4pm (lunch)
Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm (lunch and brunch)
Rating: 3.750/5 stars
PS: Thank you, Ananya, Marina and Fine Palate, for the invite.