Marco Pierre White has opened The English House at Mohamed Sultan where Madam Wong used to be. I’ve been his fan since his reality TV show Kitchen Wars (2012). He used to be the youngest chef to get 3 Michelin stars but when he “retired” in 1999, he returned his stars.
In Singapore, he refuses to allow the restaurant to be listed in the Michelin guide (although I don’t think the restaurant is good enough to be in the guide anyway). When you enter The English House, you will be greeted with a statue of the Michelin Man placed in a prominent spotlight. It’s a huge middle finger to the guide.
The decor is rather grand: a colonial English chic, not dissimilar from Raffles Hotel’s. They import many knickknacks from England, including a food trolley from The Savoy which has served the Queen and British ministers; Rolls-Royce boardroom table and chairs; and 1940s toiletsign statues. These items are juxtaposed with the iconic round marble tables and dark wood chairs of Malaya.
They even poach Raffles Hotel’s Sikh doormen who are in Crazy Rich Asians; and in addition to just hiring waiters, who wear the classic white tux uniform, they also hire busboys. Very extra.
Although most people would be impressed, I was uncomfortable with the glorifying of colonialism. It was a time that the British should be ashamed of themselves. It’s pure arrogance that they glorify a shameful past. #DecoloniseSingapore
As the name suggests, The English House serves English cuisine with local twists. The 4-course lunch set starts from $65. But a la carte options are available.
For starters, the foie gras parfait is so-so. The parfait itself is gamy, and when eaten with the raisin jelly, the sweetness overwhelms the taste of the parfait.
The omelette is named after the British writer Arnold Bennett best known for his novel Anne of Five Towns. It’s merely an omelette with smoked haddock and Mornay sauce (a béchamel sauce with cheese). Although it is a little salty, it’s orgasmic. Egg, cheese, smoked fish–what can go wrong? The caramelised layer not only provides a crisp texture, but also an unexplainable complexity.
But the shepherd’s pie is bad, so bad we left the $68 dish half untouched. Not sure if it is a cultural thing but the texture of the minced lamb is weird, granular, too individualised. They use thyme as the sauce. I usually like thyme but this one is dark and earthy and licorice-like. Although this dish serves two, I was so dissatisfied that I had to order another main to get rid of the bad memory.
And then we sent the steak back to the kitchen. On a rating scale of 0-10 for saltiness, it ranks “The Dead Sea.” Hello, NKF called. It wanted to know where kidneys go to die. It was so salty that my tongue burned like Lot’s wife. I told the server a lot less salt, a lot less. And for the second time, it is a smidgeon less salty but still extremely salty, and this is coming from someone who likes salty food. It’s cooked nicely: good-quality steak in medium-rare. But why can’t they get the salt correctly? If they can’t salt it properly, then DON’T. Let the customers salt it themselves.
We gave up. We decided to cut our losses and not order any desserts. We paid $226 for two persons. Guess we now know why Marco Pierre White refuses to allow Michelin Guide to list the restaurant.
The English House by Marco Pierre White
28 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238972
Tel: +65 6545 4055
M – Sat 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 12am
Sun 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 9pm
Price / Value: 6/10
Decor / ambience: 8/10
You may be interested in…
–Subrosa Private Dining, Jalan Besar: 🌹 to the Occasion
–Restaurant JAG, Duxton: Eat Here Before This French Fine-Dining Restaurant Gets a Michelin Star
–Forlino, Fullerton: No Big Names but an Easy, Excellent Fine-Dining Meal
–House of MU, Mohamed Sultan: A New Gem Serving Fine-Dining Modern European Cuisine at Affordable Prices
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.
Categories: >$60, Dates, English, Large Group, Robertson Quay
Seriously? Decolonise Singapore? The country is 70% Chinese and run by a Chinese elite. I don’t think you are indigenous to Singapore no were any of your ancestors forced to come here. As for national shame, perhaps you should look to China’s actions in Tibet, Xinjiang and the South China Sea before you criticise other nations. Your hypocrisy is breathtaking.
Oh dear white man. We are not China Chinese. We identify with Singaporeans. If you don’t even know Singapore history of colonialism, you’re not the right person to defend colonialism.
What does it matter what you :”identify” as? Your ancestors are no more indigenous to Singapore than mine. As a matter of fact, Malays are at the bottom of a society dominated by ethnic Chinese. You are not the right person to criticise colonialism.
And how do you know I am white or that I am not a Singaporean myself, or Black or Chinese American or British? Could it be your own racial bias? To reply to me “Oh Dear White Man” is plain offensive and, if I had offered the equivalent greeting to you, you would have been the first to cry racist. I suspect I know a little more about Singapore’s history than you do. You appear to know only what you have been told in Singapore schools.
Because if you were black or Asian, you would know the oppression of white men. Your white male privilege is so blatant.
To suggest that anything about this admittedly overpriced restaurant ‘glorifies colonialism’ is absurd.
Oh dear! Is this low level of food punditry (Shepard’s Pie always has granular meat content) and ill informed comments typical of this website? I think you could all do with educating yourselves on colonial history by reading up on the Roman Empire, the Age of Discovery, the British Empire and now today into a post-modern globalized world we all inhabit. If you like wine, thank the Romans for laying out vineyards wherever they went; if you respect the Common Law and Rule of Law, ditto thank the Brits on their global wanderings; if you find cricket boring, yah-boo the Brits; if you are a restaurant-going “foodie” [sic], thank the Chinese who were the first to write down recipes & establish a network of inns on domestic trade routes thousands of years go. The pros and cons of colonialism are two-sides of the same coin. And remember, the most popular dish ordered by the Brits en masse in the UK is Chicken Tikka Massala, except that these are not Indian restaurants as 95% of eateries are owned & operated by British Bangladeshis; and Chicken Tikka Massala does not exist in India! For those Brits who are to be damned in your eyes, this is undoubtedly a case of the local colonial chickens coming “home” to roost for a spot of colonial civic and gastronomic activity in reverse. There you go…
Seems like the chip on your shoulder about historical British colonialism got in the way of your objectivity. You had decided not to like the restaurant before you had even tasted the food, it seems from your tainted words. Shame.