Monday, March 19, 2012

The Tastings Room

We were drawn to this place because of the Palate promotion and also the restaurant name itself – The Tastings Room. Not for the spelling although I thought “The Tasting Room”  (without the ‘s’) would have sounded better. The name itself reminded us of our numerous vineyard and cellar door hopping experience. It sounds like a place to sample wine before deciding which bottle to buy - the experience to examine (sensory), explore and evaluate wine.

Last Friday evening, before our show at the Esplanade, we headed for The Tastings Room in search of that “Tasting Room” experience. First thing that caught my attention when I stepped into the establishment was the bright red walk-in wine cellar on the left. Although small, the cellar holds quite a wide collection of wine around the globe. Upon request, the Manager Jay gave a brief guided tour of the cellar and explained the concept behind the restaurant - to make food and beverage pairing a painless experience with suggestions within the menu at an affordable price – sounds good.

The Tastings Room Cellar

After settling down on our table and placed our order, my focus moved from the menu to the furniture. Usually I do not comment much on the interior design of a restaurant, but I thought the furniture used in the restaurant really pull down the score specifically on the coziness department. This is supposed to be a place for one to taste good food and wine in an ambient environment but the hard, unattractive wooden tables and chairs fail to provide that. I also observed that the 2-seaters tables were placed too close to one another that made cozy and private conversation near impossible.

Restaurant Interior

While I do not appreciate the restaurant interior, I must admit that the restaurant owner had put in a lot of effort into the menu, especially the wine menu. I find the wine educational tour a very interesting concept especially for wine novice. For just over $30, one get to sample 4 to 5 glasses of wine from the region of your choice. If you are not into the wine sampling, for every food item on the menu, there are 2-3 wine pairing suggestion - thoughtful. There are also some very attractive on-going promotion such as all-day 1-for-1 house wine and they allow BYO on Sunday without corkage charges.

The wine menu

As we were rushing for the show, we did not really have the time to sample some of the interesting wine on the menu but opted for the 1-for-1 house wine. For food,  we ordered the calamari rings and truffle cream fettuccine with wild mushroom for the kids. Wife had the Sous Vide pork belly and I opted for the Ribeye steak with truffle fries. Serving portion was good but food standard is slightly above average, at best. When it comes to proper dining, I personally think that food presentation is every bit as important as flavor and taste. In this area, I thought the plate presentation here lacks the “fine dining” element and creativity.

Calamari Ring with home made tartar sauce

Truffle Cream Fettuccine with Wild Mushroom

Steak Frites - Ribeye steak with sautéed mushroom and truffle fries served with red wine bordelaise sauce

Sous Vide pork belly planted on mash with rose wine apple sauce & finished with crackling pork skin

Overall, I have mixed reviews for The Tasting Room. The establishment scores big on the wine menu and concept but needs to fine tune the overall food quality, presentation and atmosphere.

Having said that, I truly support and really like the restaurant’s idea of offering wine pairing with food at affordable price which is lacking in Singapore. I will definitely be back to render my support.

The Tastings Room

6 Raffles Boulevard
Marina Square
#01-08 Singapore 039594

Tel: +65 6338 1829

Operating Hours:

Sun, Tue–Thu: 10am – 10pm
Fri–Sat: 10am – 12am
(Closed on Mon)

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