Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fusion Food. Fancy Name For Rubbish?

Persimmon
Restaurant Review/ Taste Test
14 May 2008


Last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to dine for free at Persimmon, thanks to Yum.Sg, a restaurant review website.

I decided to take Erik with me because we all know how Americans are renowned for having good taste *choke*


Ok, I'm pretty new at this food review thing as I run a lifestyle blog and not a food blog. So I will just do what I always do on my blog, be brutally honest. And I promise not to use cliche's like "Gastronomic"!

If you've noticed, I've recently added a new category especially for food (look in the right column of this page). I titled it very simply : "EAT ME" restaurant and food review.

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THE RESTAURANT

The Name: Persimmon was chosen because it's an unassuming, very curious type of fruit.

Personally I feel that Persimmon is a great name for a restaurant, and it is indeed a dubious fruit. But it doesn't quite say Fusion. (But I nit pick)

The Location: Tiong Bahru itself is an estate rich in history. Something to do with the Chinese and cheap housing in the early days... but you know me and history. Go google it if you're really interested, better still, use rednano.sg search.
It's not in a busy, commercial mall. On the contrary, it's in a quiet little boutique hotel called The Link. This matches the quaint nature of the whole set up.
If you're driving down Tiong Bahru Road and you see these 2 brightly lit orange cyliners, it's Persimmon!

Layout: I found the quaint little old Singapore kopitiam look (complete with the kopitiam floor tiles) very appealing. Unlike an actual old kopitiam, the place is spotlessly clean and sterile looking. The atmosphere is quiet and it is spacious. However, the place was a little too brightly and harshly lit for a relaxing dinner type setting.
THE FOOD
These are new creations they're thinking of improving and adding to their menu.

Mushroom and Hsao Tsing Soup : Tiny bit of soup in a little shot glass. Very aromatic, tasted great. Very concentrated, so it warranted it being in a little shot glass.
Salad of Pan Seared Scallop, Glass Noodles, Cherry, Starfruit and Citrus Vinaigrette : This was a very light salad dish. I love the citrus taste and the bursts of refreshing sweet flavour that the Starfruit gave the dish.
Wagyu Beef "Char" Fettucine With Truffle Oil and Honshimeiji Mushrooom : Ok... to be honest, this dish was quite simply put, a bland version of Char Kway Teow. Erik thought the Fettucine was cardboard like.

I thought it was ok, just that it looks like Char Kway Teow, yet did not have the tasty Tau Yu taste that Char Kway Teow usually has. The Truffle oil smelled nice but didn't have the same oomph as that oily lip smacking experience you get from a $3 plate of Char Kway Teow.

If you're going to fuse something into a hybrid or whatever, it needs to taste better, not just sound better.

This dish also had generous, tender slices of wagyu beef and a nicely poached egg. But erik only likes his eggs hard boiled, so this is Erik pointing at his poached egg on his char kway teow... oops, I mean Wagyu Beef "Char" Fettucine With Truffle Oil and Honshimeiji Mushrooom. Nevertheless, my burly American ate everything.


Giant Prawn Chinchalok Thermidor: Now... here we have a Winner! They managed to turn chinchalok which is a salty-sour, eye-popping, face-scrunching preserved shrimp sauce, into something that tasted really yummy.

The Giant Prawn was just so tasty. Tender and fresh with just the right amount of tang provided by the chinchalok it was cooked with. It also had tiny crunchy bits of celery in it. Fantastic.


Ice Kachang "8 Treasure" Sundae: Instead of a mountain of shaved ice that a normal ice kachang has, this Fusion dessert had coconut ice cream. I'm not fond of any ice cream except my macadamia nut one, so I have to make it a point to be as impartial as possible. And I feel that this makes a nice twist. It had red dates, white fungus... to me it felt like a combi of cheng teng, ice kachang and coconut ice cream, served as a sundae.


I also had a Lychee Martini (not exactly new asian fusion... even Australia has picked up on lychee martinis)... but I dare say that they make the perfect lychee martini. I hope they'll venture into asian fusion cocktails. Mmmm....

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Is Persimmon for the Meek or the Adventurous?

Looking at their menu, I recognised most of the Asian aspects and ingredients, and was familiar with the western bits as well. So I felt like nothing was going to surprise me. Erik on the other hand found the menu and what he was eating to be slighltly more of an adventure.

There's Erik looking rather bewildered. Hmm... his sundae is full of surprises!

I guess most westerners would look at an Asian Fusion menu and feel as uncertain as I would in a French Restaurant with a full on french menu. But this should not deter one from eating at Persimmon because the owners Sharon and Helena and their staff are friendly and helpful. And besides, it's just food! It's not going to eat you. Don't be a culinary frigid.

Asian Fusion, Euro Fusion or Singaporean Fusion?
The elements of the Asian at Persimmon seem limited to Chinese Singaporean. Asian Fusion should include all the wonderful flavours of Asia... from authentic Indian spices to snot clearing Japanese Wasabi.

So, back to my original question in my post title. Fusion Food. Fancy name for rubbish?

If you just throw a bunch of different things together in the hopes of naming it fusion food, then, it will be rubbish. Not every one can splash paint about and become picasso. But Persimmon has quite obviously put in much research and thought and gone through a long process of trial and error before they present to you their menu.

Fusion food has been around for quite a number of years yet I still think that when people think FUSION they think it's novel and has an element of danger in it. Whatever you're looking for in your culinary quest (or just lunch!), you will find at Persimmon.

When it comes to food, novelty is not a factor for me. If I'm going to eat something, I just want it to taste good. I'll be back for that chinchalok prawn! (maybe throw in a little sambal too)








Persimmon
#01-07 The Link Hotel, 50 Tiong Bahru Road Singapore 168733
tel: 65 62272271 eat@persimmon.com.sg


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Special Thanks to Kyle from yum.sg for this great opportunity and Helena & Sharon from Persimmon for their hospitality.

3 comments:

  1. Wow... you are really efficient! Saw your review in yum.sg and here I am. Nice blog you have there!

    Oh I happen to spot that you are a writer as well. Any chance you do freelance copy-writing. Let me know!

    P/S: I was the guy sitting next to the girl beside you. :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wah, fine dining. Nice. Btw, I've tagged you:
    http://simonseow.blogspot.com/2008/05/japanese-name-meme.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous9:35 pm

    I need to hear exactly what Emmanuel has to say with this!!!

    -Warm regards,
    Luella

    ReplyDelete