Looking for a second opinion on that Michelin-starred restaurant people won’t stop talking about? Introducing the Mitchell Lin Guide, where JUNK re-reviews Singapore’s Michelin-rated dining establishments. 100% local. 100% honest.
The first time we went to Iggy’s, it was before its 2010 move to The Hilton, when it was at The Regent and was still “odd” food… Airs, espumas, soils. In 2018, these are dreadful fine dining tropes that have lost their charm. We left The Regent version of Iggy’s bemused but with a firm, “No lah, also still so hungry.”
Iggy’s 2018 filled us with a bit of dread as we commenced. “At least this meal is claimable,” was how we comforted ourselves when we were presented with a bunch of Snacks before a rolling start into the 8-course menu. (As in, literally, “Snacks” was listed on the night’s gastronomic menu.)
The reinterpretation of sushi with crisp rice and torched wagyu collapsed into an ambiguous mess in the mouth. The curried scotch quail’s egg was pleasant but forgettable. The tempura of firefly squid felt more like beer batter, not tempura.
The blood drained from our faces when a whole chilli plant in a bonsai pot landed on the table with oversized and un-chilli-looking chillis dangling from the bottom left. “Eat only the red part,” we were instructed. When we cracked the red cocoa butter shell with our teeth, a sort of sardine and tomato reduction drained into our mouths. Okay… It tasted like savoury capsicum juice. Despite the dish’s initial blood-chilling effect, it was interesting.
And then, the meal started to pick up. The Hokkaido Scallop is unequivocally delicious; the Kabura & Abalone pork skin “noodle” tea is cooked well enough to make a dubious concept seem intriguing. Despite our initial misgivings, we were encouraged.
At some point, a risotto was slipped before us and we found ourselves thinking… “Wow. This is quite pretty?” Wait. We caught ourselves being drawn in. But it was genuinely pretty in a way that it was fine food presented as food and not as paint, or any other sort of product from Art Friend, aisles 2, 7 and 21.
At this point, the meal stopped being a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil performance and we started to drop our prejudices. The Boston Lobster Risotto and its accompanying squid ink aioli was yet another highlight – seasoned gently to push back on your idea of flavour, and textured immaculately with cooked and uncooked things (in this case, Arborio rice and diced vegetables).
Things kept getting better with the French Pigeon. Some might be put off by the honest gaminess of the meat – a by-product of dry-aging the meat – but we were thrilled. The beef that followed stayed the upward course of the meal; a clear demonstration of quality produce, combined with the kind of expert technique and finesse that lets you know you are in good hands.
So where were the airs, the espumas, the soils? The smears of purees? Nowhere. Iggy’s in 2018 became fine dining as most of us would hope for it to be. Pleasing to the eyes, the mind, and the tastebuds, while filling enough to be a meal.
Read the rest of the Mitchell Lin Guide here.
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