You have to enter the Chinese departmental store at Yue Hwa Building at Chinatown and take the lift to the 6th floor to reach Restaurant Eclipse. The restaurant reminds me a little of the Gotham building’s Atlas Bar, gothic with plush red seats and dark taffeta “storm clouds” looming overhead. It also has a romantic outdoor garden which overlooks Chinatown (see instagram) ; it could very well be a marriage proposal venue.
The restaurant is helmed by Chef Samuel Quan, the Apprentice Chef of the Year 2017 World Gourmet Summit, who honed his craft at Les Amis, the defunct Joel Robuchon, and three Michelin-starred Aponiente in Spain. He is aided by head chef Lee Jing Peng who worked at Tippling Club, Les Amis, and Joel Robuchon.
The cuisine here is best described as borderless, using Western culinary techniques with some Asian ingredients. The 5-course tasting menu goes for $168++ but there is also the a la carte menu. Starters range from $16 to $28; mains $36 to $72; and desserts $15 to $23. For our tasting, we received the tasting menu.
A tasting menu is supposed to show off the best of the chef’s skills. There is some effort to innovate the food, mixing Western and Eastern elements. And certainly there is some form of taste, for example, in the second course which was introduced to us as “hamachi tartare.” It is in fact closer to a poke bowl with its cubes, not minced. The fish luxuriates in a myraid of different sauces, kimchi, kohlrabi (German turnip) juice, lime; littered with pickled ginger flower, shiso, nashi pear, and Kaluga caviar. It takes a certain genius to pair so many ingredients together and make the dish work; piquant, appetising, tantalising.
But ultimately the food lacks confidence and finesse. They sound interesting on paper but taste so-so in the mouth. The pumpkin laksa soup, with a seafood tortellini of tiger prawn and scallop, and the tender chicken breast (pictured below) lined with a spiced mousse of lime leaves and lemongrass leave one uninspired. They make me want to eat proper laksa and Thai food.
The main course, beef done two ways (pictured below), is not only the least interesting among the courses, it also tastes the most mediocre. The braised short rib with hoisin is okay, but my mom cooks it at home, and they taste the same. Tajima wagyu is supposed to be tender, but this one, which is medium-rare, is tough and lacks juice.
Perhaps it is a matter of supplier for the beef, as it is for the seafood. Every seafood course, from the slow-cooked salmon in the amuse bouche to the seafood tortellini in the pumpkin laksa soup, tastes fishy.
You can tell that desserts aren’t the chef’s strong suit and so they keep it simple. But, for the orh nee-inspired dessert, the puff pastry that holds the taro mousse isn’t crisp enough, and it may be better to add a pinch of salt to the coconut ice cream to create a more layered taste.
At this point, the new restaurant requires some tweaking of its food. I’d recommend readers to visit the restaurant for the drinks and sit at the rooftop garden that offers a lovely view of Chinatown. Their bartender, Pranisa ‘Niza’ Treechanasin, has worked at several top-notched bars in Bangkok.
We were not full and went down to the market to eat char kway teow and oyster omelette.
Yue Hwa Building 6th floor, 70 Eu Tong Sen Street, Singapore 059805
t: +65 6908 0880
Tue – Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm, closed Mon
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This is a media invite. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.