Last week, my wife and I took a break from our usual routine of cooking dinner at home and decided to head out to town to have a nice casual meal. After having read about a new moules frites restaurant several months ago in a Malaysian food magazine called Flavours (http://kuali.com/flavours/), we decided to make reservations for this supposedly up and coming place.
Even before going to Brussels Sprouts, I had high expectations for this establishment since I had heard good things about Emmanuel Stroobant. I had seen him in a few episodes of “Chef in Black” during my business travels on a plane and was visibly impressed with his skills and food knowledge. As such, I had high hopes that this was going to be a meal worthy of my hard earned cash. To ensure a seating for the evening, I made a reservation directly with the restaurant.
On the evening upon our arrival at Brussels Sprouts, we realized we had come to this place several months before with a friend to have casual snacks and drinks. My wife and I did not pay too much attention to the name of the establishment at that time since our friend had brought us there for post-lunch snacks and we were more interested in his company than the restaurant we were going to. All we remembered was that the light food we had was mediocre but the drinks were quite refreshing. After this realization, we were very skeptical about dining at Brussels Sprouts but decided to move ahead since we already had reservations for the evening.
We were seated outside at the tall tables. The tables were rather small and it was obvious to us that this restaurant was not suited for comfort dining (same feeling we had the last time we were there). Although the menu consisted of appetizers, mains, and desserts along with their signature moules frites dishes, we felt that the design of the restaurant was suited for finger foods and drinks in a very casual setting. As such, we opted to focus on ordering finger foods that we could share throughout the meal. We ultimately decided to order three items,:
The Brussels Sprouts Platter (SGD$25), Moules Frites (Vin Blanc) (SGD$18), and the Forest Fruit Crumble with Balsamic Scented Pear, Fruit compote and Ice Cream (SGD$10).
The Brussels Sprouts Platter
The Brussels Sprouts Platter consisted of the following items: Meatloaf with Gherkin Dressing, Ham, Caper and Gherkin Salad on Toast, Chilled Slow Braised Pork Belly with Mustard, Mussels marinated in vinegar, Frites. We were quite disappointed with most of the items on the platter. The meatloaf was quite bland (even with the dressing) as was the braised pork belly. The mussels marinated in vinegar was passable but the highlights of the platter were the ham, caper and gherkin salad on toast and the frites. We particularly enjoyed the flavour contrast of the savoury nature of the ham with the sourness of the capers and gherkins. As for the frites, it was well textured and fried to perfection (although it was a little cold by the time it arrived at our table).
Moules Frites (Vin Blanc)
The mussels arrived at our table in a small pot along with a small bucket of chips. The first thing we noticed were the mussels’ large shell but upon further inspection, we found the meat inside was rather small. Undaunted, we forged ahead and ate the mussels with anticipation. To our dismay, the flavour of the wine was overpowering and the vegetables in the broth (celery, onions, and parsely) were just too bitter to consume. While we were looking for subtlety in the wine taste, we got far more than we expected and the dish just didn’t work with respect to flavour balance. In the end, we felt we were just eating bitter tasting mussels.
Forest Fruit Crumble with Balsamic Scented Pear, Fruit compote and Ice Cream
With the disappointments we were facing that evening, we were looking forward to having our dessert. The dessert arrived at our table nicely plated with fruit compote topped with broken biscuit wafers and a scoop of cinnamon ice-cream. The combination of the cinnamon ice-cream contrasted very well with the caramel flavoured biscuits and the sourness of the fruit compote. There was however, no sign of any balsamic scented pear in the dessert. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the dessert sans-balsamic scented pears.
The service at the restaurant was quite attentive considering it was a full house that evening. I, however, have to make one comment about an incident at the restaurant that evening. My wife likes to eat her chips with chilli sauce. The waiter duly fulfilled our request promptly. When we asked for a refill of the chilli sauce, the waiter took our condiment dish away and refilled it in the same dish. Now, I typically would not make a big deal out of this type of situation if I was eating at a low end restaurant or a hawker stall but I was very surprised this happened at a type of restaurant like Brussels Sprouts. Service needs to be polished a bit further if they want to charge the prices they do.
Value for Money (3 out of 5)
Service (3.5 out of 5)
Food (3 out of 5)
80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-12
Tel: (65) 6887 4344
Tue-Thu noon-3pm, 5pm-midnight;
Fri noon-3pm, 5pm-1am;