Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Element and Element on Tras Street

To be very honest, I did not have any good and lasting impression of the old Element restaurant before this invitation. I remembered the restaurant used to run Groupon deals for their International buffet to attract customers, a sign that business was bad. So I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find out that the establishment had recently underwent a complete interior facelift coupled with a new integrated dining concept and a new Chef de Cuisine.

Although I did not have any memorable experience there previously, I have always liked the name Element. Mention the word element and the first thing that comes to my mind is the five elements philosophy of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water that determines our entire physical, psychological and emotional balance. The Elements represent the transformation that occurs in the world around us and how things interact and relate with each other in harmony. Beautiful, mysterious and zen!

I believe the same set of underlying principle now drives the vision and defines how the newly revamped Element and Element on Tras Street at Amara Singapore operates as it strives to offer an array of diversified multi-concept culinary experiences catered to different needs and groups and yet they nicely complement and synergize with one another under one roof.

The restaurant now has an open and fluid interior that allows the kitchen to flow freely into the dining area allowing a clear view both ways. Immediately the space feels updated and inclusive. One outstanding showpiece is the 27m long buffet counter that sprawls nearly the length of the restaurant. Seating throughout Element is varied and customers have the luxury of choice from banquettes and high chairs to bar stools and Eames dining chairs.

The International Buffet

I am not a big fan of buffets but I must say that at $45++ (Lunch) - $55++ (Dinner), Element offers excellent value for an all-you-can-eat feast. The well-spaced buffet stations, spreading across the stunning 27m counter, include Japanese, Seafood, Charcuterie, Carving, Local and Dessert selection. I am particularly impressed with the freshness and quality of the seafood (Oysters, lobsters, crabs, prawns etc) offered, almost endlessly.

With the coming on board of the new Chef de Cuisine, Mikel Badiola, from Basque Spain, the buffet menu also features Spanish delights including the Spanish seafood paella.

Ala Carte Selections

Chef Mikel Badiola hails from the Basque region which spans across the border between Spain and France. With the sea on one side and the Ebro valley on the other, Basque cuisine displays an abundance of sea produce but also plenty of fresh and cured meats.

Element showcases the intersection of traditional and modern Basque cuisine by Chef Mikel with an Ala Carte menu guided by quality ingredients. We were served an array of Northern Spanish pintxos (pinchos) which are small snacks typically eaten in bars (similar to Tapas).

I love 5J jamón Ibérico (Iberico ham) for its 'nuttiness' and 'porkiness' and consider it the best cured meat in the world. Therefore without any doubt, my favourite pintxo that evening had to be the Pantumaca - 5J jamón Ibérico was thinly sliced and served on toasted baguette with grated tomato. So simple but yet so so enjoyable. Buen provecho! 

Another pintxo that tickled my palate that night was the Basque fish soup. The soup was thick and had a real depth of crustacean flavor similar to that of a lobster or crayfish bisque. A dash of cayenne gave the rich soup a spicy kick. Shiok!

Toast of grated tomato and iberico ham (5J) - $15
Brocheta de champinon con salsa Oporto
Mushrooms brochette in Oporto Sauce (minced pork, shallots, Port wine sauce) - $12
Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de bacalao
Cod fish bechamel filled in piquillo pepper - $12
Tortilla de Patata
Spanish omelette with Potato and onion - $10
Chef Mikel personally served us the tasty Basque fish soup
Sopa de pascado
Basque fish soup cooked with oven-roasted bread (with cod fish) - $16

I was almost full after the pintxos but the mains looked appetizing enough to arouse my desire to eat again.

Marmitako is a traditional stew that combines Basque products from both land and sea with chunks of fresh tuna fish and potatoes as the main ingredients. It is a very simple dish but one bite and I could understand why this traditional dish is so popular. This is a perfect 1-dish meal, tasty and filling.

I had hit my daily carbs limit when the squid ink Paella was served.  But the rice looked so shiny black that I just wanted to have a bite. I enjoyed the paella still slightly firm and the squid ink added richness to the rice.

The porter house steak was a bit of a let-down. It was slightly tough and chewy for my liking and I thought it could be the cut itself as T-bone is a relatively lean cut, without much marbling.

Marmitako de Atun
Basque tuna stew with potatoes and pepper - $28

Squid Ink Paella (2-4 to share) - $38
Chuleton a la Parrilla
Char-grilled Porter House Steak (500g for 2 persons)
Clockwise from Left:
Gazpacho de fresas con brocheta de frutas
Cold strawberry soup with fruit brochette - $9

Copa de gelatina de miel, yogur y intxaursalsa
Honey jelly yoghurt with walnut cream - $9

Tarta de queso
Cheese cake - $9

Element on Tras Street

Although not new, I always like the concept of a Gastropub – simply gastronomy in a pub setting. The Element on Tras Street is the extension of the indoor Element and offers a place to unwind after a busy day sightseeing, to meet friends for a Pre-dinner drink/snack or to continue your dinner conversations.

If you are looking for decent tunes with DJ without the hassle of hardcore clubbing, Element on Tras Street is a good choice.

The bar serves a wide selection of International beers including Italian Peroni beer on tap. DJ music spins every Monday to Saturday evening 6-10 pm.

Ladies Night every Wednesday when cocktails on tap are available at S$2.98 each.

Try "Amaria" - Amara's take on the delicious Spanish wine punch

The complete makeover of Element and Element on Tras Street unveils a unique restaurant that draws its allure from a synergy of different gastronomic options. 

The revitalization plan works. Check it out soon.

Element (Entrance through hotel lobby)
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
(Lobby of Amara Singapore)
Singapore 088539
Tel: (+65) 6 879 2555 (Hotel mainline)
Tel: (+65) 6 879 2607 (Direct)

Breakfast (Daily): 6am - 10.30am
Lunch (Monday - Friday, except Public Holiday): 12pm - 2.30pm
Brunch (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday): 11.30am - 3.30pm
Dinner (Daily): 6.30pm - 10pm

Element on Tras Street (Entrance from Tras Street)
100 Tras Street
Singapore 079027
Tel: (+65) 6 879 2555 (Hotel mainline)
Tel: (+65) 6 879 2607 (Direct)

Sunday – Thursday / Public Holiday: 11am - 1am
Friday, Saturday, Eve of Public Holiday: 11am - 2am


  1. Nice place, impressive...and the food looks good too. I wonder how much the buffet would cost per head...normally.

  2. That Squid ink paella looks fantastic! If I'm ever back in SG, I'll visit this restaurant just for that. :)

  3. All those food! I envy you.


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