Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Boathouse (and Prelude) - A Marvellous Find!
One of my happiest discoveries from the Fullerton Heritage series of food tastings is Boathouse. This cosy restaurant serves contemporary European cuisine, and is located above Le Saint Julien's at the Fullerton Waterboat House. I hadn't heard much of Boathouse (not to be confused with the Bacchus Boathouse that it took over), and didn't know what to expect. It's really new, just opened in Jan 2010, but if this preliminary tasting is anything to go by, I think it's going to be one of my favourite eateries.
Walking in, you feel transported into a different world. The interior is stark, spacious and lofty, dominated by whites and natural woods. Historical photographs and decor pieces lend an air of classical sophistication, as befits the building's heritage. Full-length glass doors open out to the vast wooden deck but seating is only indoors and is limited. In fact, Boathouse's full capacity is only 40. Tables are spread a good distance apart for dining and conversation privacy. You won't have to tolerate elbow-to-elbow dining like you get at some places.
[UPDATE 18 Feb 2010: A group of 4 bloggers reported a disappointing experience, possibly due to the restaurant still finding its feet within 1.5 months of opening. I'd be glad to hear anyone else's feedback in the comments. But anyway, it's always wise to temper your expectations, or allow them a couple more months before trying them out. I'm still going though! I really enjoyed the dining experience there. But of course, I had marvellous company, so what can I say!]
But of course, we're all here for the food. Fortunately Boathouse delivers, and with bright, strong flavours.
The Amuse Bouche - perks up your palate for the good things to come. This had hints of mint, peach and melon in it. The amuse bouche may vary according to the menu or meals chosen.
Fish Chowder Sea Bass Carpaccio (S$15) is one of their signature items, and I recommend it as a must-have. You are first presented with a delicate rosette of raw sea bass slices. But no, we are not having sashimi.
The waitress then pours hot chowder in circular movements around the carpaccio until it is almost fully submerged. The heat of the soup cooks the fish slices just perfectly.
A dash of black pepper completes the presentation. The chowder is not only dramatic, it is extremely delicious. Possibly one of the tastiest I have ever had. It was a "wow" moment for me. We were almost licking the remnants clean.
For the mains, Brad and I both had Wagyu Beef Ribs with Aged Red Wine Jus (S$33). The ribs are appropriately fatty and fall-off-the-bone tender. They've been braised 6-8 hours, so they've soaked in all the flavour too. The creamy mash potatoes too are delicious - they've got cubes of potato in them for added texture.
I didn't try the Atlantic Pink Snapper (S$25) with truffle mash in a fish bouillon, but it sure looked appetising. Ju said it was very good. Portions at Boathouse are not large but satisfying and just enough to leave you wanting more.
Tagliatelle Wild Mushroom in a Truffle Sauce (S$19) - the sauce is incredibly umami from a seafood bouillabaisse stock. The intensity of flavour might be too overwhelming and salty for some, but the pasta carries it well. I love the little mushrooms bits in the creamy sauce. And to top it off, the truffle oil is truly fragrant.
As if that wasn't enough carb, we went for more of their sundried tomato bread and glorious fresh butter. I also used this to mop up the sauce from the pasta and beef ribs. [NOTE: they serve only one to two of these slices as complimentary bread. The platter shown above was given after we all requested extra bread halfway into the meal.]
This is the bookcase bar. They have a selection of fine wines, whisky, champagne and rare vintages to complement the menu.
And now for desserts. Caramel Apple (S$15) comes with toffee, walnuts and sorbet or ice cream. Normally the apple tart is bigger than shown above - these are three tasting portions with hazelnut, coffee and vanilla ice cream (customers get to choose flavours). Loved the ice cream, even though melted by the time we finished photographing everything. [UPDATE 18 Feb 2010: seems the restaurant reduced the price to S$12 but served this mini tart portion shown above, which is still really too tiny. I sincerely hope the owners will take the feedback into consideration.]
Creme Brulee (Traditional Custard Caramel, Lemon Verbena and a most interesting Licorice Reduction). The custard is exceedingly sweet and I was afraid to pour on the licorice reduction lest it added more syrup to the equation. But I should not have hesitated, because the brown licorice wasn't sweet at all. Instead, it added a slightly bitter but refreshing herbal taste that took the sweet edge off the custard and balanced the dessert perfectly.
Panna cotta isn't on the Boathouse menu, but from the rooftop bar Prelude upstairs. Smooth and sweet.
White Chocolate Semifreddo (Gelato-based) with Fruit Compote. The tart berries cut the sweetness of the semifreddo. There's real chocolate in the centre of the pyramid too. Some of us liked this the best.
And upstairs, we have the rooftop bar called Prelude. They serve different items here, including a reputedly good tiramisu.
It is gorgeous up here! With the stunningly lit Fullerton Hotel on one side, and Marina Bay/Esplanade on the other.
A panoramic view of the Esplanade and Marina Bay. It's nice and breezy up here too.
The place has a laid back vibe, and is marvellous for chilling out. You can't help but feel relaxed.
In all, this is a fabulous find. And all you people working near Raffles Place who are always having a headache as to where to eat (I know I used to be one of you), fret no more! Just walk over to the Boathouse and be transported into a peaceful haven of pleasure for an hour or two.
For the quality of food, the prices at Boathouse are really affordable too. Check out their lunch sets (2-course for S$22; 3-course for S$29). Their entire menu is online too, complete with prices. They also have Valentine's Day menus too, that include wine or champagne (see photo here for full description).
If you are driving, please park at the nearby Fullerton Hotel or One Fullerton. There is a valet service in front of the Waterboat House.
Thank you, Fullerton Heritage for arranging this tasting session. Warmest thanks also to Sophia and Kannan of Boathouse for hosting this fabulous dinner. We enjoyed ourselves very much and almost didn't want to leave!
#03-01, The Waterboat House
3 Fullerton Road
Open Monday – Saturday
Lunch 12pm to 2pm
Dinner 6.30pm to 11pm (last order 10.15pm)
Posted 2:55 PM