Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cafe Melba Halloween Menu and Movie Nights with FIJI Water

Oh what a lovely discovery so near where I stay.

Cafe Melba at the Goodman Arts Centre is a casually chic place with an industrial edge, but in a verdant setting. Natural light must be abundant here in the day with extra tall glass windows at this building with the roof slanting down. There's an open patio shaded by ancient Angsana trees, and a huge grass field where kids can run about and play. Yes, this place is kid-friendly, and pet-friendly too.

The Melba does not refer to the peach melba dessert (in fact, peach melba was not even on the menu until recently). Melba here is an amalgamation of the words Melbourne (MELB) and Asia (A). They serve interpretations of Australian cuisine, and it's all-day casual dining here with a laid-back vibe.

Pizza bread with three dips
Oooh, look, crispy pizza bread, with three kinds of dips.

Group Executive Chef Kacey Whaitiri-Roberts previously worked for Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's and Emmanuel Stroobant's Saint Pierre group of restaurants. Now at Tadcaster Hospitality, the native Kiwi takes a very hands-on approach with the teams at all five of the eateries under it - The Exchange, Café Melba, BQ Bar, Molly Malone's and Bull and Bear.

Keropokman and I came here to check out the Halloween set dinner (S$45). This is available all throughout October, and there are even free outdoor movie screenings on Thursdays. Movie listing at the end of the post.

It's three courses with options for starter and mains. Oh, they all look so good, I would have had a hard time choosing. Well, the great thing about having foodie friends is - we will all pick one of each, and share! Many of these are also on the regular menu, so I'm glad we can come back for more, after the October promotion is done.

Wild Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil
Wild Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil
Chef uses four kinds of mushrooms for this - shiitake, ceps, button and portobello. It's beautifully balanced and tastes just right.

Saku Tuna Carpaccio with Guacamole and Bloody Mary
Saku Tuna Carpaccio with Guacamole and Bloody Mary
Oh this is not aesthetically arresting, but tastes amazing too. I love how it all came together - the tuna, creamy avocado, salty caviar and tomato. Oh please put this on the menu!

Oven Baked Sea Bass with Smoked Tomato and Fiji Water Consomme
Oven Baked Sea Bass with Smoked Tomato and FIJI Water Consomme
A lot of us liked this one, which kinda reminded me of the daurade at db. Yes, it's a good-sized slab of sea bass, but seared and salted just a tad too much on the skinside. Rest of it was still tender though.

The consomme is where it gets interesting. Apparently chefs are starting to cook with FIJI Water, because of its taste and mineral qualities. Here, they smoked the tomato and then used FIJI Water as the base for the consomme. It was light, smooth (FIJI Water always has that smoother mouthfeel thanks to the presence of silica), and had a distinct Japanese signature to it (konbu, dashi?) apart from the subtle smokiness.

Beef Rendang with Shoe-String Fries and Pizza Bread
Beef Rendang with Shoe-String Fries and Pizza Bread
This photo does not do the dish any justice. Wow, this rendang is actually pretty impressive. We learned that the Managing Director Tony Coughlan has an Indonesian mother-in-law, and he got her to teach his crew how to cook her fabulous rendang.

The funny thing is, instead of rice, he preferred to eat it with fries. So that's how it's served here too. You know what - I never thought of eating it this way, but it really works! Like steak and fries. Beef and potatoes just go together. And the fries are super crisp and addictive! There's also pizza bread for you to mop up the awesome rendang gravy.

Peach Melba
Peach Melba with vanilla ice cream, raspberry puree and toasted almonds for a sweet end to the meal.

The menu options appear quite balanced. Something light, something heavy. You can go all the way light or heavy, or a bit of both. So big eaters and small appetites can tailor their own meal.

Well, if you'd like to explore beyond the menu, here are some other dishes they have. We also got to try some of their signature pizzas and pastas.

Three Little Pigs Pizza
Three Little Pigs Pizza
What a cute name for a pizza featuring three pork ingredients - home-cured bacon, honey ham and pepperoni. Lovely thin crust and chewy mozzarella. Tastes as good as it looks.

Tandoori Chicken Pizza
Tandoori Chicken Pizza
Interesting rendition, with yoghurt as a sauce base. Tandoori chicken, onions, coriander make this come together well. I was half-worried it might taste dry, but it was not at all.

Crayfish Linguini
Crayfish Linguini with roasted crayfish, red peppers, rocket with crayfish bisque

This is one you'll be gulping down in savoury slurps. I really liked this one, although I wish they used a lighter hand with the oil for the pasta.

Tuna Tataki Salad
Seared Tuna Salad with fine beans, baby potatoes and kalamata olives

I did not get to eat much of this, but it sure looked good.

Mini doughnuts with chocolate sauce
Mini doughnuts with chocolate sauce
These are a bit more like dense doughballs. I like that they were not sweet (I suppose the chocolate sauce takes care of the sweet aspect).

Here's the movie listing. There are two movie slots at 7pm (kid-friendly movies) and 9pm (something more grown-up).

And you can opt to have a Gourmet Picnic Basket, which gives you a floormat, mini fish & chips or mini sliders, potato chips or nachos, popcorn or kachang puteh, and two bottles of FIJI Water or soft drinks. Please call (6440-6068) two days ahead to reserve your basket.

Your movie picnic basket!

Follow them on Facebook for more updates.

Meanwhile, I'm making plans to come for the weekend brunch. They have a bouncy castle for kids! Nadine and Jolie will go nuts for a few hours and perhaps let me eat in peace.

90 Goodman Road
Goodman Arts Centre
Block N #01-56
Singapore 439053

Tel: +65 6440-6068

Open daily
Weekdays - 10.00am - 10.00pm
Weekends & Public Holidays - 8:30am - 10:00pm


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