One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Ate. Nine. Ten.
Esplanade we were at, yet it certainly didn’t feel anything like Esplanade. The al fresco area was within the ground floor, yet while sitting there and people-grazing, the mood was out away from this world.
Service was almost impeccable. Since most of the tapas were off-the-menu, we wanted to know what we were eating and started asking the staff a lot of questions. Initially when they served us the first few appetisers, they were not sure of the names, and the ingredients in it. But they got used to us asking questions, and when they served the rest of the tapas, they made sure they checked the names and ingredients. Well we did make them stress that day, akin like taking a spelling test. Nonetheless, the staffs were always cheerful and friendly.
In the time of recession where people cut down on their expedition, it takes a brave soul to come out with interesting dining concept. The idea that the chef serves whatever he wants, is actually not new. But there just isn’t much places doing it, most people after all, aren’t adventurous enough and want to have a say in what they are eating. 7atenine. Catchy name, check. Unique concept, check. Ambience, check.
There’s something about Salmon which makes them irresistible to ladies. For some unknown reasons which continue to elude me, most ladies seem to love them. The salmon tartare. For the ladies! Fresh crunchy salmon in lemon cream sauce, with walnuts & some leafy greens providing the crunch. What impressed me was the effort entailed in preparing the cucumber. Instead of short slices, the cucumber was peel off vertically, in a long string. This, surely warrant our praise.
What I liked about the Taco cerbice was the simplicity of the dish. The crunchy sour dough plus the smooth octopus meat. Topped with greens, it further beautify and added balance to the appetiser.
Like couples who are always together, ham always comes with cheese. The dish is a basically an appetiser of ham & cheese. Cubes of green apple, cheese, and ham. While there’s nothing intriguing about the combination, it’s a simple dish to kick-start the meal.
I always remember the significant and special food that I’ve before. Like the best mushroom soup, the best dim sum, all those are deeply engraved in my memory. And the Beef roll on hot stone, would definitely be the latest addition to my memorable list. Putting the thinly-sliced beef rolls on the heated up stone, a brilliant idea! The usage of salt to bring out the natural taste of the beef, with the hot stone keeping the beef warm at optimum temperature. Divine.
Tangy, was the best way to describe the lobster gaspach. Shredded lobster fried was good on its own. But having left it too long in the slightly sourish sauce, it was soggy when we tried it. And did I mention I loved the way 7atenine decorated the bowls with a brush of the sauce. A stroke of genius.
With the pairing of cheese and anchovies, the Mozzarella cheese with anchovies certainly let our imagination ran wild. Just exactly what does the humble small salt-water fish and cheese have in common. Well nothing, but that’s what makes the pairing unique. The presence of bell pepper and tomato brighten up the aesthetic aspect. Much as I’m for creative cooking, this dish didn’t exactly impress.
The best. Mushroom Risotto. 7atenine rendition was done close to the porridge form, quite unlike the harder glutinous-rice like version I had before. Boiling several types of mushrooms to get the stock, the end result was a strong mushroom infused flavour in the risotto. The presence of strong cheese taste was a plus. I do not think words alone can describe the goodness of the risotto. Comfort food.
Again, we see the use of raw salt to bring out the natural flavour of food. Poached lightly, the Salmon with potato wrapped bacon was another worth mentioning dish. Even when eaten on its own, the salmon was fresh, but when you dip it with the sauce, it brought it to a brand new level. The bacon bits, by the side, was salty and flavourful. My date enjoyed her roast mini potatoes, although I didn’t quite fancy that.
When ocean meets farm, the Seabass in celery cream. Sprinkled with bits of salt, the seabass reminded me of my mom’s home-cook fish. The fish was better eaten alone, rather than together with the brown sauce. The mesh celery represented the farm.
At first look, we were guessing the ingredient used to “dye” the calamari black. Guess guess, squid ink! An interesting twist to the otherwise boring calamari. The tomato salsa was refreshing, but other than that, there wasn’t much wow factor. The crusted calamari.
A cheesy pasta. The spaghetti with ham symbolised every aspect of the cheese pasta. A simple dish done right. We were wondering what ham was used though.
If 7atenine is all about interesting new dining concept, then the sizzling wings would definitely be the best representative. Using the pegs (for hanging clothes) to hold the chicken wings so that diners were not dirty their hands. Bravo! While the effectiveness of the peg remained to be questioned, we should applause the innovation. On the other hand, the chicken wings were nothing to shout about. I was pretty astonish when they served the wings, since nothing in my dictionary told me that wings were classified under tapas.
The beef flank was the last main course that we had before serving desserts. The meat was tough and inelastic actually. I didn’t touch much of it. Well, a disappointing anti-climax for the main course.
Caffe latte trifle was the first of the three desserts we started with. Everything coffee. From the ice cream, meringue, to the thin layer of sponge, all of them are coffee flavoured. There’s rice krispies on top too.
With a base of berries, there’s the strawberry ice cream and vanilla bean on top. The execution of the simple strawberry gazpacho was enough, for us to end the meal on a sweet note.
We were surprised by the inclusion of vanilla bean ice cream since the sight of the normal walls ice cream was so common everywhere else. I liked the fact that they spreaded some Oreo crust by the side. I can taste vanilla bean, and with some help from the crust, it turned into Oreo ice cream. And oh yes, warm chocolate brownies must always be eaten together with chilled, cold ice cream.
Total bill was $86.58 for 2, lunch unlimited buffet. In my humble opinion, my date and I agreed that 7atenine is the best new restaurant in 2009, that is until i try a better one. Although not all the tapas impressed me, but the food taste is more on the extreme ends, it’s a case of whether you love it or hate it. Personally, I felt food lovers will generally accept this concept better than the rest, especially so if you are the type that are adventurous and love to try new creations.
It is definitely fun to be keep in the suspense, and wondering what is coming next. Of course, with expectations there will be disappointment. I’m sorry if you do not agree with me. But I love this type of dining concept, the playful presentation of food, the friendly services, bold creations, the ambience and the amazing value. Of course, the company of my date plays a vital part as well. This year, the best meal I had so far, 7atenine!
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-10/12 Esplanade Mall
Tel: 6338 0789
7atenine is listed as one of ladyironchef’s favorite restaurants in Singapore