Aubergine Restaurant Patisserie, The Fort
H and I had dinner at Aubergine the Saturday before my birthday as he had a business trip the following weekend. I haven’t eaten at the famed restaurant yet, but he has a couple of times, and his reverence for it has stoked my curiosity for quite a while now.
H asked me what I wanted to do and where I wanted to eat, but frankly I had no idea what I wanted to do so I asked him to give me a number of choices and i’ll trim it down to 3 and then he can choose which one. He came up with dozens of choices from “the best of” articles online, but the three choices boiled down to Je Suis Gourmand, Aubergine and Red.
We drove down to The Fort, and Aubergine it was. Our table was originally supposed to be a small table smack beside a long table full of what seemed like American missionaries (although I doubt that) in their 50s & 60s. I asked the waitress if we could transfer somewhere more private, but it seems they’re booked and the only available seats are in the chef’s table. I was fine with that, I just couldn’t imagine us having an intimate dinner literally a foot away from the grannies.
Our table afforded a view of the kitchen and H was really happy to see the proceedings full-on. I really loved the interior, dimly lit, opulent and textured you may say without being garish. We were given a choice between french bread and potato bread as antipasti (is it still called antipasti even in a French resto?) and were given a small plate with a dollop each of whipped butter and cream cheese with chives (or spring onion?).
I ordered from the degustation menu, where you get to sample manageable portions of different dishes. I chose the chilean sea bass in corn pilaf, while H had the — lo and behold — lamb shank. He could never resist lamb shank in a menu, just as I couldn’t resist sinigang in the office pantry.
He only ordered the mains so parts of my degustation kept on coming in and we shared that. For the first time in my life, I tried foie gras, commenting “this is made from goose liver isn’t it?” to which H said “better not think about where it came from, just eat it”. I had a small bit and i’d have to admit, it’s nowhere near how I thought it would taste like. It lay on a bed of creamy artichokes and it was seared and smooth and buttery and totally decadent. I thought i’d wiki it that night and a few hours later I wasn’t feeling so good about the foie gras.
It came with assorted greens on raspberry vinaigrette and my favorite of the lot, smoked salmon rolled with something creamy, and a scattering of (what looked like) salmon caviar. Pardon me, I wasn’t able to take note of the exact dish components. Next came the essentce of duck, a dark broth with little floaties that looked like toys and buttons, so cute. It was fantastic, I loved it.
Next came in the lobster tail, which was.. well, one single tail. as big as one small shrimp. It was good, as I love lobster, but i didn’t really find any intricacy there. It was fancily presented though, as when it was brought by the waiter, I stopped myself in time from saying “no, I ordered the sea bass”.
A tiny ball of raspberry-aloe vera sherbet came next as a palette clearer, served fancily over what seemed to be a porcelain tea pot with a block of dry ice fizzing inside. Then came the mains.
My fish was lightly seasoned, with the true flavor of the sea bass coming through. I love the lightness and flakiness of the sea bass that’s why I try and order it when we splurge. It was topped with fine salsa and served on a bed of corn pilaf with asparagus shoots. I enjoyed it in the sense that I was tasting the fish clearly, which was lovely. But in terms of flavor, if you’re expecting an explosion in the mouth, there’s not much of that intricacy here.
H’s dish was the exact opposite, it was a medley of herbs and spices in a plate. The rice was particularly rich with the strong flavor of mushrooms, it was wonderful. I would have eaten more but I was so full.