The much beloved Nude Seafood, a casual lunchtime joint at MBFC, has opened Nude Grill at Marina One, a contemporary Asian grill house. (Contemporary grill houses are one of the food trends in 2017.) They get some of the meats from Japan and New Zealand; and grill them over binchotan (Japanese charcoal) and almond wood. Chef Tan Kee Leng, formerly from Bacchanalia and Les Amis, helms the kitchen and employs Western modern culinary techniques on Asian ingredients.
Starter: The cuttlefish risotto ($18) is the best thing we ate, but unfortunately, they have taken it off their menu at the time this is published. We were encouraged to mix the ingredients together but it is really better to eat it as it is. The black barley risotto—nice bite without that barley earthiness–is mixed with Chinese salted black bean butter that tastes like cheese. The celery here is sweet, not sharp, and the sweetness undercuts the butter. The tangy mandarin orange peel provides an unexpected tang, and the ikura, exciting pops. Eating it without mixing, you get surprises and different flavours with each spoonful.
The other starter, pork jowl ($18), is more run-of-the-mill. It is overly sous vide, making it overly smooth, without texture and without bite. But the flavours are complex with shoyu-cinnamon glaze and celeriac puree.
For mains, Nude Grill is proud of their beef, especially the 45-day dry aged US prime rib cote de boeuf ($19/100g). But we ordered the oyster-blade steak ($35), which uses 150-day grain-fed Angus. Again, like the pork jowl, texture is off, but different flavours of charred cabbage, eggplant puree, cured hamachi roe, candled cashew, red wine shallot jus, come well together. The hasselback potato is sliced like an accordion, and it is so tasty.
The other main, the better one, poussin ($29), is where sous vide works: very tender chicken done to a medium texture. It sits on a still-crunchy emerald green that soaks up delicious jus. Not sure why the onion rings—they call it onion tempura here–are there but ok, I’ll take it, they are tasty. The chicken comes with a glutinous rice in a bamboo container. It is simply cooked with scallops and shrimps, without any salt, the par excellence of glutinous rice.
The PB & J ($16), for dessert, has been taken off the menu, and rightly it should. I’m bored of restaurants deconstructing PB&J as desserts on their menus; it’s way too ubiquitous. And besides, while this version does contain elements of PB&J, the taste doesn’t come together as whole. It consists of peanut dacquoise, milk chocolate ganache, peanut brittle, grape jelly, and brown butter ice cream.
Overall, Naked Grill is fantastic and is perhaps one of the best restaurants we have eaten this year. Except that there is too much sous vide going on, which destroys the textures of meats, the complexity and multi-layering of flavours make the dishes interesting and, sometimes, damn umami and satisfying. It’s expensive for a casual night out but it is definitely worth coming here once in a while, which is what we are going to do. Including two drinks, we paid $174 for two persons.
Marina One East Tower, #01-22/23, 5 Straits View Singapore 018935
tel: +65 6581 9306
11.30am-2pm, 6.30pm-9pm, closed weekends
You may be interested in…
–Butcher Boy, Keong Saik: Asian-Inspired Grill Restaurant by Cure Is Up to Par
–Blue Lotus Chinese Grill House, Tanjong Pagar Centre: Good Food but Confusing Menu
–Bar-roque Grill, Tanjong Pagar: New Michelin Bib Gourmand Recipient, Meatcentric and Borderless
–Coriander Leaf Grill, Ann Siang: A Contemporary Grill With Asian Influences, Everyone Has a Different Favorite
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.
Photo credit: The interior shot of the restaurant is taken from their site. I took a photo but somehow deleted it before I transferred it to my computer.