Friday, March 3, 2023

Au Balcon at Summerhouse: French classics in romantic garden setting

Summerhouse has reinvented Au Balcon or The Balcony on its second storey overlooking its picturesque garden space. It's pretty, it's cosy and certainly a lovely romantic spot to hang out with loved ones. In the lush greenery of Seletar surrounded by colonial bungalows, this place is truly an escape from high-rise living. 

Not only that...guess who came here to dine too?

Barack Obama, my man! I guess they wanted to bring him somewhere truly nice with an air of exclusivity. And where they can organise something with all that top level security for two heads of state! I feel safe here now. 

I really like this picture. Captures the chill vibe that this POTUS always has had. 

I wonder what they ate. I wonder what the Secret Service ate. If they did, at all.  

The cuisine is French classics given a little twist. For appetisers, you might find the Nicoise Salad which features a smoky, tender grilled octopus leg on a bed of fresh butterhead lettuce, sweet cherry tomatoes, haricot verts, olives, fingerling potatoes and local Kelong-farmed prawns. We will have to try that on our next visit. But what we had was just as amazing. Here, see...

Beautifully caramelised Seared Atlantic Scallops (S$24), served on on a swath of smooth, vibrant romesco sauce, topped with sweet caper raisins and coriander cress, fresh from The Summerhouse’s edible garden. This was an excellent starter and really raised expectations for the rest of the meal.

Florentine 65°C Organic Egg (S$18): tuck into a decadently creamy sous vide farm fresh egg on a bed of garlic sauteed spinach, and cauliflower puree that's tastier than mash. This is all topped with the lightest of fresh truffle shavings, pecorino and truffle vinaigrette. 

These two starters were my absolute favourites for the evening. 

For the mains, there's a selection of Inka oven charcoal-grilled proteins, such as the Wagyu Striploin (S$98), a generous cut that's got its best flavour on those charred edges, served with a buttery, smoked potato puree and crisp broccolini. It's pretty filling, but don't let that stop you from trying other stuff.

The Inka Grilled Iberico Pluma (S$48) is a gorgeous piece of seared pork but perhaps a little too thin and dry. The sweet-sour apple celeriac puree is rather mild, so it doesn't quite cut through the fat. However, the garlic brussels sprouts and toasted almonds add textural layer and interest. 

If you're eco-conscious, you can go for the sustainably sourced Seared Kuhlbarra Barramundi (S$36) with creamy polenta, and roasted heirloom carrots. I love fish panfried til crisp like this. What was really interesting was the deeply savoury crustacean reduction that tasted like shrimp/lobster bisque and tied everything together. 

Room for dessert? French desserts include Citrus Creme Brulee (S$16), an updated take with the addition of orange zest in the vanilla custard, and topped with fresh berries. This one is kept really simple. Maybe a little too simple for the price tag. 

Their version of the classic Paris Brest (S$16) looks more like an open face version. Normally the hazelnut praline is piped between two halves of a choux pastry ring, but this one sits on top of a whole pastry ring. Still, it looks pretty. Both desserts are served with a quenelle of housemade ice cream.

After dining at Au Balcon, you might like to explore the whimsical gardens at The Summerhouse that recently went through a S$300,000 overhaul, including upgraded Garden Domes. The Summerhouse is quite ideal for charming soirées, wedding parties and outdoor birthday parties alike. After all, if it's good enough for Barack...

Au Balcon at The Summerhouse’s new dinner menu is available daily except Tuesdays from
1 February, alongside a refreshed brunch menu that is served on the weekend. Reservations
are available online and via 8809 5840. 

3 Park Ln, Level 2, 
Singapore 798387
Tel: +65 8809-5840
Dinner : Wed to Mon, Eve of & PH 6PM to 10PM
Brunch : Sat, Sun & PH 1130AM to 3PM

Many thanks to The Summerhouse for the invitation

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