The unassuming location along the first floor of Marina Square does not quite prepare you for the exquisite dining experience behind its doors. The Tastings Room embodies both the pleasures of gourmet food and wine, minus the exorbitant prices.
As you enter, on the right sits the glass-encased wine cellar that holds a phenomenal offering of wine varieties. The dining area exudes a casual vibe; the interior bears no resemblance to elegant and upscale French restaurants despite the dominantly French-influenced menu.
Executive Chef Elvin Chew helms the kitchen and is no stranger to accolades. Among them is the Gold Medal award in West Australia Oceanafest Restaurant of Nation Culinary Competition. Here’s to supporting our local talent!
The Tastings Room makes food and wine pairing a painless experience with 3 wine recommendations within the menu for each dish –no more fretting over which wines to choose or awkward moments of choosing the wrong wines. The best thing is that you can order wine by the glass without having to purchase them by the bottle –you can choose to have a full glass or a smaller portion, with most under $10.
If you are seeking for a more private dining experience, there are 2 private rooms –an all black or an all white room, separated by a full-length mirror partition that can be opened up to a larger space. Entering a different dimension from the dining area, this private room speaks chic and classy.
TTR Signature Heirloom Tomato Salad $13.90
For a healthy prelude, the Heirloom Tomato Salad boasts juicy tomatoes, chunks of buffalo cheese, fresh basil, herbed croutons, pickled red shallot rings and rocket greens all tossed in a balsamic dressing. The buffalo cheese is light and delightful, adding just the right amount of saltiness and creaminess to the well-seasoned salad.
Truffle Mushroom Puree Soup $8.90
The Truffle Mushroom Puree Soup comprises of button and shitake mushrooms, pureed, with sautéed mushrooms and a touch of truffle oil and truffle foam. I enjoyed the earthy flavours of the soup and the coarse textures within, but it doesn’t top the list of the best mushroom soups.
Seafood Smoked Vine Tomato Soup $9.90
The Seafood Smoked Vine Tomato Soup boasts tender pieces of fish and fresh succulent prawns. The soup has a smooth consistency with a hint of spice and is sufficiently thick. Between the 2 soups, this one is a clear winner. I could go for a second serving!
French Foie Gras de Carnard Cru $19.90
The foie gras is drizzled with orange cranberry chutney and sits on a crispy ginger scented toast. The sweetness of the chutney pairs perfectly with the savoury foie gras, hitting all the right notes.
TTR Tastings Platter $28.90
Instead of ordering the finger foods separately from the menu, I opted for the TTR Tastings Platter that comprises of an assortment of finger food including Spicy Chicken Wings $12.90, White Truffle Salted House Fries $9.90, Calamari Rings $12.90, Marinated Chicken Skewer with Leeks $12.90, Chipolata Sausage wrapped with Parma Ham $12.90 and Battered Dory Fish $12.90.
The White Truffle Salted House Fries is their signature dish, and a vegetarian option. The fries were tossed with white truffle salt and truffle oil, but the flavour was so subtle, it tasted like regular fries to me. It may have been due to the richness of the food consumed earlier on, that was too overwhelming to my palette to detect the slightest hint of truffle. On a positive note, the thick-cut fries boasted a golden crispy exterior with a fluffy interior.
The Spicy Chicken Wings were not too spicy according to the Asian taste buds; arrived with both the mid-joints and the drumlets, I enjoyed the mid-joints that are crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.
The addictive Calamari Rings were not rubbery, and the golden brown crispy exterior makes it a nice snack to munch on.
The Marinated Chicken Skewer with Leeks were not exactly as tender as I hoped they would be.
The Chipolata Sausage wrapped with Parma Ham is not something that I will order again; it is forgettable and nothing spectacular.
The Battered Dory Fish, on the other hand, was remarkable; despite the fact that they do not specialise in fish and chips, the fish was so moist and tender, with a light crispy batter –perfectly executed.
Saffron Seafood Risotto $21.90
For the mains, I would recommend the Saffron Seafood Risotto to cheese lovers. This dish is Mediterranean-inspired, comprising of fresh seafood and diced tomato, finished with dollops of light garlic foam.
The richness of the cheese is transporting; cheese lovers, like myself, will find themselves digging in spoon after spoon without feeling heavy on the stomach. My partner on the other hand, found the cheese to be too rich, but the wine pairing did aid in cutting the richness of the cheese.
This dish was paired with a Domaine Leflaive Macon Verze.
Confit of French Duck Leg $26.90
Served with grilled pear, the Confit of French duck leg is doused in a tangy orange sauce; this hearty dish will satisfy meat lovers. The duck confit boasts crispy skin with meat that falls off the bone so easily. Although I’m not a huge fan of duck for its chewy texture, my partner on the other hand found this dish to be pleasing and it is one of the best duck confit she had tasted.
To pair this dish with wine, the Pinot Noir provides the perfect foil for the savoury flavours of the duck confit; it does a great job of balancing the minimal juiciness of the lean meat.
Miso Glazed Seabass $25.90
I wouldn’t recommend the Miso Glazed Seabass. The fish is neither moist nor tender, it dried out in the oven process. The mashed potatoes beneath stole the show with its smooth and comforting texture, perfectly seasoned. If you are craving for a fish, a better option would be the Battered Dory Fish, although less healthy.
Rum Infused Vanilla Crème Brulee $9.90
The Tastings Room’s rendition of crème brulee is made with rum and vanilla pods, served with mixed berries. It contains 30% less sugar than regular crème brulee, great news for those watching their sugar intake. However, I felt that the crème brulee was lacking an element or two. Perhaps it didn’t satisfy my sweet tooth well enough.
Molten White Chocolate Fondant with Ice Cream $11.90
For a sweeter closure to the evening, the Molten White Chocolate Fondant with premium ice cream is an interesting possibility. Deterring from the typical molten chocolate cake, the white chocolate fondant is surprisingly satisfying. The molten is thicker and richer than the usual lava cakes out there, with a slightly dense fondant encasing.
The brunch menu is available till 4pm –great news for the late risers!
Egg Royale $15.90
A variation of the Egg Benedict, The Egg Royale consists of a poached egg wrapped in Norwegian smoked salmon, topped with fresh greens and dices of tomato. Egg Benedict is my favourite brunch item, and also a benchmark for any restaurants. If they can’t get the egg right, I’m guessing not much else will be right either. The Tastings Room didn’t disappoint. The egg is poached perfectly with yolk oozing out as my knife runs into it, beneath the smooth hollandaise that coats everything nicely.
A recommended pairing for Egg Benedict is with champagne; the bubbles of the champagne will gently enhance and amplify the flavour of the eggs.
Poached Eggs in Red Wine Hollandaise
Yet another Egg Benedict variation, the Poached Egg served with buttery hollandaise red wine reduction alongside bacon strips is executed perfectly. The red wine hollandaise is a delicious replacement from the customary hollandaise. Personally, I didn’t care for the bacon, but the dazzling red wine hollandaise was so palatable I finished everything, sans the bacon. It was plate-licking good, but of course I had to restrain myself from doing that.
For the quality of food presented immaculately, the prices are extremely reasonable. The desserts were not earth-shattering good but the foods were inspiring. The wait staff are attention and efficient in re-filling our glasses, although not all of them are full of smiles! The entire meal is no less than satisfying, I will certainly return.
Forenote: This is an invited review.
The Tastings Room
6 Raffles Boulevard
Marina Square #01-08
About the Author
Melissa Koh is interior design trained, with a strong passion in photography and food. Her dream is to travel the globe, experiencing different cultures, food and art, documenting every moment on camera. She can be contacted at [email protected]}