Paul Longworth, former chef at Au Petit Salut, took the staff along with him when he set up Rhubarb Le Restaurant. Little wonder many things were smooth during our visit: the service had no hang-ups of new restaurants; the decor was impeccable; and the pricing wasn’t cut-throat.
Amuse bouche: roe in cone, too sweet for my liking
But unlike the critics’ glowing reviews–I read those reviews only after I visited and made up my mind about the restaurant–I found Rhubarb tired and unmemorable, something that had been done a thousand times, a million times, done to death. There wasn’t anything refreshing or edgy about the restaurant.
Starter: pork & pistachio ballotine. Tasted like a salty pate. Like that lor.
This is not to say the food wasn’t good; the food was not bad. As a starter, the white onion veloute was a play on the classic French onion soup–it was nice (shrugs) but one-dimensional.
Main: Lamb Rump
Main: Norwegian ocean trout
For the mains, my favorite was the quail, aromatic and flavorful. The wagyu onglet ($52) was tender, and moist, but slightly rawer than the medium-rare I requested, upping its gooey factor. But I didn’t mind it.
Dessert: Chocolate and cream
Desserts were their weakest link: all three we had weren’t bad, but they were easy, familiar, and not creative.
Dessert:Sorbet and fruits
Objectively, everything was predictably competent and I give this restaurant an A-. Subjectively, I was bored by the end of the meal. (I admit I’ve the attention span of a goldfish, but still, I was irrevocably, undeniably, categorically bored.) In American Idol terms, the restaurant had chosen a safe song to sing. But if you sing the same old tired songs as others, if you don’t aim for the high notes, how can you expect to wow a blase audience? We paid $52 each for a 3-course lunch. Expect to pay $120 for a 3-course dinner.
Wait, what restaurant am I reviewing now? I don’t even remember.
Rhubarb Le Restaurant
3 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089589
T: 8127 5001
M-F 11.45am-2.15pm, 6.30-10pm; Sat 6-10pm
Rating: 3.650/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.