After almost 20 years, Intercontinental Singapore has kick-started its multimillion dollar revamp with the introduction of Ash & Elm, replacing its nostalgic Mediterranean predecessor, Olive Tree.
This contemporary European open dining concept breathes new life into the hotel, with a spotlight on three culinary theatres for dishes to be served ‘live’, in the Charcuterie & Cheese Room, the Wood-Fired Oven and an Open-Grill Kitchen.
The ground level establishment accommodates up to 100 guests not including the two intimate private dining rooms each seating 40 and 10 diners respectively. A skylight canopy runs the length of the restaurant allowing natural daylight to accentuate some of the original and preserved Peranakan shophouse details above, juxtaposed with the chic and modern marble, copper, aged oak timber and mosaic tiling used to furnish the space.
Start with the Ash & Elm platter (small S$24, large S$42) for balanced variety, straight from the charcuterie room with generous portions of the house-cured beef pastrami, house-smoked pork loin, air-dried pork belly cold-roasted beef and presse de foie gras with smoked duck. Alternatively, a seafood option is available in the “Surf” platter (small S$28, large S$48) which includes smoked salmon, smoked marlin, tuna tataki and cured sea bass.
While there are a number of starters and salads to choose from, we would recommend using that stomach space for some flat breads, particularly the pumpkin and bacon, crispy on the outside but pillowy and soft on the inside oozing smoky aromas of nutmeg and sage straight from the wood-fired oven.
Ash & Elm boasts an extensive and solid repertoire of mains. Take for instance, the Tasmanian salmon fillet (S$46) which is sustainably-farmed and drizzled with a wonderfully tangy grapefruit hollandaise with mixed vegetables on the side. The French free-range yellow chicken supreme (S$29), a 30-day corn-fed chicken topped delicately thyme and rosemary, and bathed in a mushroom sauce scattered with sweet corn is also a standout. The standout of the evening, however, was definitely the beef tasting platter (S$108).
Those who prefer a range of meats can opt for the meat tasting platter (S$95) but we’d highly recommend the trio consisting of a USDA New York striploin, an Australian rib-eye steak and a French bate D’aloyau plated with roasted vegetables. This sampling can also be ordered individually as mains, charcoal grilled with Manuka wood chips from New Zealand. But honestly, why wouldn’t you want to try it all?
If you’re a large group, opt for the decadent chocolate-hazelnut pizza for dessert. Each bite is a combination of fresh chocolate brioche spread with dark, milk and white chocolate and praline, pepper with marshmallows with cocoa granite and finished off with a scoop of white chocolate ice cream on the side.
Smaller desserts range from the artistic salt chocolate rum-raisin to the exquisite peach melba ruby peach parfait but the crowd favourite, is to order the refreshing yuzu citrus combination. The lemon sable breton topped with yuzu curd with a colourful side of mandarin orange reduction and yuzu sorbet is the perfect way to round out a rather heavy but delicious meal.
Intercontinental Singapore is undergoing an incredible and noticeable face-lift and we’re glad that the vibrant Ash & Elm is the first to be unveiled. Nostalgia aside, we think this new instalment will impress a new generation of Singaporeans and travellers alike. We’re looking forward to witnessing the next 20 years.
Ash & Elm, Level 1, InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966
+65 6825 1008, www.intercontinental.com/singapore
This post was originally published on Lifestyle Asia, Ash & Elm: Vibrant, contemporary European dining on 27th November, 2015