I’ve always had a tremendous soft spot for garden dining. There’s just something about thick green foliage and abundant sunshine beaming through floor-to-ceiling glass that just feeds my soul. Don’t get me wrong, I love the conveniences of living in an urban jungle. But I’m really most at ease around nature.
So I decided to take my mom and sister out to Corner House, a gorgeous restaurant tucked away in the lush greenery of the Botanic Gardens. And in terms of ambience, it definitely did not disappoint.
Why Corner House, you ask? Well, the house was named after E.J. Corner. He was a British botanist who was also Assistant Director of the Botanic Gardens from 1929-1945.
Old photos at his desk show him working in an environment that was bright and airy. And that passion for botany really showed in the character of the house.
I loved the tranquility and colonial aesthetic. Very elegant and soothing. For better or worse, I would say the ambience was really the highlight of the place.
Overall: ★★★1/2 Decent fare, slightly muddled service.
But let’s get right to the food! We ordered the 4-course meal ($82++) which gets you two starters, a main and dessert. Here are the options you can choose from:
First up, the Jerusalem artichoke.
It comes with an eclectic mix of Foie gras, Iberico ham, grape, hazelnut, black truffle. All rather rich flavours, tempered slightly by lighter and somewhat fluffier or crispy textures. Quite interesting.
And you’ll also get a second starter of Hokkaido scallop with Fennel, cucumber, burnt orange, goma (sesame).
I’m a big fan of light refreshing flavours in seafood, so this really hit the spot. The tangy citrus of the burnt orange went perfectly with the fresh, succulent scallops, crunchy cucumbers, and fragrant basil oil (which seems to be a popular accompaniment to raw seafood or ceviche dishes of late).
And then you can choose from one of three main courses:
We went with Patagonian toothfish with squid, romaine lettuce, tomato, seaweed.
The fish was essentially a type of Chilean Sea bass. The meat was tender, oily and the flavours were kept simple so as not to overwhelm the fish. Good but not exceptional.
Mommy seemed to like it though (:
You also get to choose Pork Jowl from among the mains, but I went with the beef instead. Here’s the Westholme M7 Wagyu beef (Supplement $8). This was accompanied by red onion, balsamic, leek, ratte potato.
The beef was done medium rare, but not seared enough for my liking. The caramelised red onion was a lovely accompaniment to the otherwise simple dish. And paired with a sour balsamic reduction, horseradish and leeks, had good flavour. (It might also have tasted a bit better if the meat hadn’t been sitting for awhile and served to the wrong table before being brought back to the kitchen and served to me 5 minutes later.)
And then, we were all set for dessert. Again, there were three to choose from. The first is the Soursop with watermelon, rose, rambutan.
If you like your dessert cloyingly sweet, refreshing and someone perfumed, you might want to pick this one. Otherwise, you’re better off going for their signature favourite instead.
Their My interpretation of kaya toast with Pandan, coconut, gula melaka, muscovado sablé and pineapple was exceptional! Highly recommend this one.
If you love your gula melaka and coconut flavours, this is going to be your playground. Having them all coming together in different surprising textures also made it a really fun dish to eat. I particularly loved how the pineapple sorbet actually cut through the richness of the brown sugar to leave a pleasant tropical aftertaste on the palate.
But if you’re a chocolate fiend, go for this – Chocolat “Earl grey Yin Zhen”.
40% Jivara, 70% Guanaja, yuzu, pistachio, kumquat came together in a textured palate that was so much fun to take apart.
Of course, we were stuffed by that time. And what better way to digest a lovely meal than to take a stroll among the colourful flower orchards, trees and herb gardens in the sprawling park?
Would definitely be back if only to see the place at night and try out their full gastro-botanica dinner menu. Watch this space!
Address: 1 Cluny Road, E J H Corner House
Singapore Botanic Gardens (Nassim Gate Entrance)
Phone: T: +65 6469 1000
F: +65 6469 0136