Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Tippling Club – menu and details

Every time I go to Singapore, even if it’s just for a few days, I make it a point to try a new restaurant.  Sometimes it’s fine dining like when I had lunch with a friend at Iggys in April or just fun dining when we splurged on a Japanese robatayaki meal at Akanoya last November.  On our last trip a few weeks ago, we had dinner at the Tippling Club.

Tippling Club is a funky bunker in hip and happening Dempsey Hill.  It’s basically a steel tent covered structure that looks like it could be packed up in a day.  The interiors are simple, with a large counter dominating the whole room with lots of stools lined up.  Right behind the counter is a large metal rack where liquor bottles hang from s-hooks like an art installation but which in fact is their actual working bar where their famous cocktail concoctions are prepared.  Further down the middle are several open shelves filled with identical-looking labeled brown glass bottles filled with powders, spices and all sorts of ingredients.  Towards the back is the bright open kitchen where British chef Ryan Clift sends out his experimental creations.  On the other end of the bar is another large metal rack where more bottles hang from s-hooks.  These ones are for members of the Tippling Society who purchase the liquor at a discounted price and then leave their bottles there for when they come over for a drink and join the monthly cocktail-paired tasting menu.

Tippling Club Amuse-Bouches

Tippling Club is open only for dinner (except for Saturdays where a reasonably-priced lunch menu is also served for S$55++).  There are about tow dozen seats at the counter where the two tasting menus are served: the five-course Classic menu (S$145++ or S$230++) or the ten-course Gourmand menu (S$240++ or S$390++) – the first price for just the food and the second one when paired with cocktails and wines.  We all chose the Classic non-pairing menu but switched the first course of Ocean trout with the Gourmand menu’s foie gras and apple.  From their extensive wine list, we chose a Pinot noir, the 2008 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune du Chateau, 1er cru (S$165) to accompany our meal.  Before we started, J also chose a vodka martini that was served smoking from a classic glass – a sign of the food and drinks alchemy to come.

We started out with several amuse-bouches (tiny appetizers) that came one after another: the first came in a glass yogurt container and was a yellow-colored curry flavored mousse topped with dehydrated yogurt crystals and mint – it was served at room temperature and was an like a modern take on classic Indian flavors.  Next up, and the most unforgettable starter of the meal, were two fried Spanish green peppers served on a slate with what looked like a raw egg-yolk and surprisingly, some metal tweezers.  The crispy hot and slightly spicy pepper was to be dipped in the yellow wasabi-soy egg-yolk looking sauce.  The flavor combination of the two was stunning and such a creative way to present a traditional Spanish dish and give it an Asian-inspired twist.  Three other one-of-a-kind amuse-bouches followed (as you can see what was supposed to be a five-course menu is in fact, ten courses when all the tiny starters are added too): vichysoisse, cold potato soup, in a glass tube with some caviar on jelly, then there was the pickled quail egg on a bed of powder and finally, a tiny glass beaker filled with a clear liquid of tomato soup that was to be sipped using a basil-infused straw.

Tippling Club Classic Five-course Tasting Menu
After those tiny bites, our menu started off with the Foie Gras Apple – raw foie gras mousse with granny smith three ways: a small wedge of fresh crispy green apple, dehydrated as a chip and in a gel, topped with a spiced gaufrette (tuile-like thin crispy cookie) which we were instructed to smash onto our foie gras in shards before eating.  Next up was the fish course – his version of the classic Singaporean Chili Crab which was deconstructed into chunks of crab meat with celery and roasted cashews served alongside a chili-infused broth.  A pasta course of Gnocchi followed which were classic potato gnocchi accompanied by crispy shredded leeks, grain mustard and a hot onion soup – another classic rendered in a creative way, the soup was so flavorful yet the dish seemed so simple.  The meat course came next – Wagyu beef cheek cooked sous-vide (cooked in a bag in water kept at a very low temperature) which was an all-red concoction of beef, roasted beets and red wine quinoa.  At this point, we were about to be served dessert when we swerved off-piste after seeing our next-counter diners having a squid dish which we decided we had to have as well.  The extra Scampi course was slightly poached and served on top of warm, squid ink flavored kuzu noodles.  At this point, I was full but not yet stuffed and there was still dessert to contend with.  A moonscape looking creation of a large gooey white ball, like a marshmallow but not soft, filled with white chocolate with crunchy black meringues scattered around and another egg-yolk looking thing at the bottom which was actually lemon curd.  I struggled through this last course and there were still the mignardises (tiny sweets) to end the meal: a raspberry flavored cone filled with (was it?) yogurt or fromage frais and several flavored chocolate truffles, one with cherry liqueur, another with coffee and a few others and finally, espressos for us and cafe lattes for them to end our two-hour tasting evening.  We staggered out of there with our stomachs full and our pockets empty because as expected, dinner in a place like the Tippling Club is eye-wateringly expensive.  Was it worth it? Yes.  Would I eat there again? Maybe.  The food was good but it’s not the kind of place you would walk into mid-week for a quick satisfying meal, it’s more of a once-in-a-while kind if place. Word of advice, snag one of the terrace tables and try the food from their limited terrace menu where you can experience an affordable version of Tippling Club’s modern cuisine along with their designer cocktails.
____________________________________
Tippling Club
8D Dempsey Road
(in Dempsey Hill)
Singapore 249672
Telephone: +65 6475 2217
*Open for dinner Mondays to Saturdays and lunch on Saturdays only.
*The tables and the stools on the terrace are strictly for drinks although a simple bar snack menu of salty bites and some desserts is also available.
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