Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Knolls at Capella Sentosa - A Perfect Romantic Dining Experience

Sentosa may be a bustling resort for tourists and foreigners, but for locals seeking a quiet and romantic getaway, The Knolls at Capella may prove to be a compelling choice.

Situated far away from the theme parks and busy aisles of the more tourist friendly sections of the small island, Capella bears more resemblance to an island chateau or mansion.

Buried deep within the lower layers of the hotel resort, The Knolls is located next to the scenic pool which overlooks the sea.

Decked out in soothing beige tones, the restaurant is spacious with the terrific high ceilings and perfectly chosen furniture and other classy woody pieces that adorn it.

Foodwise, it is modern French as the head chef is a French lady. She has infused local influences into her cooking and the result is a classy set of modern plates that will please the most ardent of diners.

Octopus Ballotine

The first appetiser is a beautifully constructed plate of Octopus Ballotine. Dressed in a gorgeous and delicious orange martini sauce, the eight legged beast is tamed into a tender submission and perfectly garnished with simple cherry tomatoes. Light, refreshing and uplifting. A nice way to begin the meal.

Open Ravioli

Otherwise known as the high class wanton soup, the lady chef was indeed inspired by our local wanton dish. She uses Asian flavours in a duck and foie gras filling and the entire ravioli aka wanton is then bathed in the subtle duck bouillon. The resulting flavours are wholesome in a Chinese way with a predominating clean flavour and gentle aromas permeating the bowl.

Grilled Marinated Beef Short Ribs

The short ribs are executed marvellously, with a perfect medium rare consistency in every piece. A truffle mash provides the mandatory potato base and gherkins to give it a slight burst of acidity to counter the fats.

Nothing too fancy, and every component of the dish executed to a tee. A classic flavour profile that is hearty in its origin, and every bit as good in its final presentation.

Seabass with Orzo Pasta

The seabass is similarly seared to a perfect crisp skin exterior, and though the fish could have done with a minute less of cooking, the meat is still enjoyable enough on its own.

Paired with the orzo pasta, it is a revelation of sorts. The Italian risotto rice is incredibly flavourful, and has a longer, thicker grain characteristic when compared to classic risotto. That makes for a delightful crunch and makes the ideal accompaniment to the fish. The aioli is superfluous by this point, but it is still very well made.

Lamb Confit

Elsewhere, the lamb confit is way too gamey to be likeable. The bell pepper coulis does little to relieve that gamey odour, and overall, it is less successful of a dish when compared to either the beef or seabass.

Desserts

The desserts are pretty stellar. The cassatta is a marriage of cold raspberry sorbet, pistachio sponge and candied fruit. Looking like a cross between a bao and a mini baked Alaska, cutting away reveals the sorbet and sponge with its culmination of icy, citrusy, sweet and nutty notes all dancing joyously on the palate. Lovely.

The profiteroles are wonderfully made too. Well judged choux pastries with the cold injection of vanilla ice creams are as classic as French pastries can get. Very little to nitpick here to be honest, except to just enjoy the luscious rich pastries on offer.

The pandan creme brûlée takes the usual egg custard and it is infused with local pandan flavours to give it a Singaporean touch. Overall, it works and the creme brûlée is again, very well executed.

Churros

I was told that their churros is one of the better ones around town and I was not disappointed. It is, indeed, very crisp on the outside and maintaining a nice chewy sponge within. Served almost piping hot, they come with a trio of dips. Lemon curd and chocolate sauce are my usual preferences for churro dipping, and they are both excellent here.

I like how the service is unobtrusive, and the ample space between tables here. It means you have genuine privacy and this alone makes it a suitable getaway for that romantic liaison or special anniversary.

It is also the perfect first date choice to impress that special one.

1 The Knolls
Capella Singapore
Sentosa

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