Monday, October 25, 2010

Flutes at the Fort: Fire Chief's Residence turned restaurant

with Eddie, Prof Massi, SJX

Flutes at The Ford is an interesting restaurant. With almost no visible frontage at all, it is tucked between the buildings at Fort be exact, right behind the Singapore Philatelic Museum. It used to be the residence of the Chief Fire Marshall of Singapore, and indeed, is connected by a walkway through a set of stairs to the Central Fire Station.

The restaurant is housed in a very residential looking, black and white bungalow. Seating can be either outside on the verandah, or in the air-conditioned space within.

The decor is quite nice, I must say...with huge paintings depicting a somewhat colonial environment. The food, is decidedly modern Australian, I guess...with emphasis on fresh ingredients, simple cooking but fortified by sometimes strong sauces.

We had the set lunches...two sets are in somewhat more detailed as I ate it, and the other I show pictures and offer my eating companion's views.

First off...the bread...typically I don't mention the bread unless it is exceptional for one reason or another. And this bread is freshly baked, warm when served, and excellent.

Nice, soft, fluffy. Goes perfect with the extra virgin olive oil.

I started with a pan fried foie gras, with pineapple and chocholate:

I found the foie gras to be a bit on the small side...especially when it commands a $8 supplement over the set lunch price. And the liver itself to be slightly overcooked...not to the extent of being rubbery, but the consistency within was a bit less than, shall I say, melt in your mouth smooth creaminess. The pineapple was a grilled affair on which the foie gras sat on. And I must say the pairing of a light chocholate sauce is quite brilliant. Nice complement.

The other starter, also a $8 additional cost item, was the seared Hokkaido Scallops with cauliflower, curry and celery.

This was rather interesting. The top of the scallops looked like they were charred over hot coals...indeed this was the case, though the scallops were coated in a sauce or condiment before searing. The dark, seared parts were well done to a crispy consistency, but the insides remained soft and succulent. I tried one scallop offered to me by Eddie...and it is a sweet, delicious one!

I went for the duck confit...being a sucker for this dish...heck the fat, cholesterol and calories:

Confit du Canard is a deceptively difficult dish to pull off successfully. Not only must the duck be rendered perfectly with its own fat, but it also must not be too salty, and the final cooking before serving must make the skin super crispy. The best example I have eaten, bar none is found at Chez Dumonet Josephine in Paris. But in Singapore, the best I can remember and still serving is at Black Sheep Cafe. Chef Ratha gets it almost right.

At Flutes, they almost get it right too...but a bit further along the continuum than Ratha. The meat was a bit too salty, and the skin not crispy enough. Not disappointing, for it was still quite nice to eat...though a touch too salty, but nowhere near where the masters of the confit can make it.

The other set was grilled fillet of cod.

I didn't try it, but Eddie offered that it was excellent. The fish looked cooked nicely.

OVerall, Flutes was a good place to bring a business associate for a quiet lunch to discuss business. It has tremendous ambience, quiet, and very good service...and it is within the CBD without being overcrowded with office lunch crowd. The food was good, but not at the level to command multiple returns for me...the ambience might make me want to return to entertain clients, but the menu is not inspiring enough.

Flutes at the Fort
21 Lewin Terrace
6338 8770
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm
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