FORT by Maison Ikkoku, like its name suggests, is located at the top of Fort Canning. Still, it's less straightforward when it comes to really getting yourself there by public transport, because you have to climb the hill from any nearest bus stop (Hotel Rendezvous/Dhoby Ghaut). The place has launched its Chinese New Year 12-course omakase set ($88++).
The place is a bar-restaurant, with a semi-open concept kitchen where you can see the chefs working. Cocktail concoctions, which can be customised to individual preferences, These range from $25-$30. Just let the bartender know - they have all sorts of houseemade-infused liquers, which the place experiments freely with.
Take for example, my cocktail that has Earl-grey infused gin. This I am pretty sure, is one-of-a-kind cocktail in Singapore. It is mixed with passion fruit, lemon juice and lemon grass. The end result is a sweet cocktail with an earl-grey aroma, surely appealing for ladies.
Omakase means that the chef decides the dishes. Part of the fun likes in the surprise element, so this review will only include some of highlights.
To start off, the appetiser of the day. This was the Seasoned Lotus Root for us. Crunchy, well-seasoned in a soy mixture. It set the tone for the Chinese-style dishes that were coming.
Fatt Choi Lou Hei (Yu-Sheng) 恭喜发财
They have reinvented the yusheng here to be in a personal-toss portion. This includes 4 slices of salmon sashimi and salmon fish ikura (roe). The sweet-sour accompanying sauce, which has plum and sesame mixed into it, whets the appetite.
What really sets this apart is the little rum-raisins at the side. Don't be fooled by its ordinary appearance, the rum inside is so strong you might as well be having rum itself in raisin form. Rum-raisin fans will take to this.
While it's easy to eat, I think I may prefer my yusheng to be a group-tossed one, for the fun of it. Nothing on the taste though - this has all elements of the traditional yu sheng and more.
Swordfish Carpaccio 年年有余
Think steamed fish sauce concentrated, with the flavours of coriander, spring onion, garlic and ginger. The raw swordfish meat is supple and smooth - very easy down the throat.
Buddha Jump Over The Wall吉佛献瑞
The Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, which is one of the centrepieces at CNY meals, had fish maw, pacific clam and mushrooms. The ingredients aren't much to shout about, but the deal is in the broth, which is extremely full of herbal flavour and concentrated sweetness. No drop went to waste.
Lobster Udon 龙马精神
One of my most-favourite in the entire omakase, was this. I was prepared to leave the carbs to save space for the later dishes but this was irresistible after the first mouthful.
The little chunks of lobster meat were sweet and sprightly in texture while the udon noodles were al-dente and supple. All cooked right to a T. Then comes the broth, which is so very full of the 'lemak' (coconut milk fragrance typical in laksa) taste and slightly spicy-sweet (but not cloying).
If served in a bigger portion, this may be too heavy towards the end but in this sizing, it was just nice. Loved it.
Cheese-baked Live Irish Oyster 好事发财
This set turned out to be a sight for the eyes too. The baked oyster, topped with cheese, comes in front of the eyes with dry ice. One of the dishes before had fire elements too. Not a connoisseur of oyster, but I know this was fresh. Personally, I thought it'd be better to serve the oyster as is, as the cheese covered the sweetness of the oyster, though it still tasted fine.
Otoro Nigiri 如鱼得水
Everytime I see otoro, I know it's most likely not going to disappoint. Otoro is the supreme part of the underbelly and as it's highest in fat content, the texture is slippery smooth and melts in the mouth. The result is sensual and the whole luxurious freshness of the fish slice comes out.
This had a drop or two of oil dripping as I picked it up with my chopsticks. Superb.
Miso Abalone 招财进宝
One of the items where you get your cash's value back. It's the whole abalone to yourself. The miso may be slightly salty for some though.
Unagi Don 满地黄金
Served in a cute little round bowl, the unagi has that hint of smokiness with a little stickiness. The texture is succulent and smooth texture, giving way easily to the spoon. This was savory sweet, with the sauce. The rice could be more moist, but overall, still more than decent.
Homemade Matcha Creme Brulee Tart 甜甜蜜蜜
This was one dish that was unanimously agreed among all of us as a favourite. The matcha is sufficiently present, but not overpowering. The custard is wobbly soft, very smooth, and not too sweet. Together with the light and crumbly tart cust, this was so precious that I didn't want to finish it in a mouthful, choosing to savour a little by little.
I could easily have 5 more of these in a sitting.
Overall, there were a lot more hits than misses in this 12-course omakase set. While not for big family groups, it's a good choice to consider to treat a loved one (or a small group) for a meal with all the CNY trimmings, and a quality one at that. Be sure to reserve ahead if you are intending to visit.
Many thanks to FORT for the invitation.
FORT by Maison Ikkoku
5 Cox Terrace, Singapore 179620
Tel: 6336 0507
Opens Sun-Thurs 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat 4pm-2pm
Wrote by HerPenandFork