The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 15 March 2013

It's All About TASTE @ Ibis Hotel Bencoolen, Singapore

After a whole day out at Sentosa, we were pretty knackered by the time we got back to the hotel in the evening. It was almost bedtime for the boy, so hubby and I decided to eat dinner at our hotel's restaurant rather than venture out. My younger sister and her boyfriend joined us for dinner after the heavy rain foiled their plans for a romantic Valentine's day dinner. TASTE is the flagship restaurant and bar of the Ibis Hotel on Bencoolen, and the food "is about simply trying everything". The restaurant serves an international and local menu between 12pm and 10:30pm, and it includes an innovative tapas-style menu of around 20 iconic Singaporean dishes served in mini portions so that you can indeed try a bit of everything. TASTE also serves a decent buffet breakfast from 6:30am to 10am, which we know because our check-in guy gave us a nice little upgrade on our room rate to include daily breakfast (he probably felt sorry for us that the three of us had to squeeze on a queen bed, which wasn't actually too bad, but it's not something we can do for much longer because our son is already 4.5 years old and not getting smaller). From the list of 20 local specialties, we could choose three, four or five dishes for S$15, S$18 and S$22 respectively (service charge and taxes were extra). This was pricey considering that we could get full portions of the real deal less than two blocks away at the Bugis Street market, but we needed dinner that didn't result in getting wet and a later bedtime for our son so we willingly paid for the convenience. And we were still pretty full from our lunch so the small portions weren't unwelcomed. The food was pretty good, and I don't think anyone had any complaints (except the carrot cake came out not quite what we expected - more on that later).

Fish & Salad (instead of Chips), which seemed like the safest option for our boy who suffers from multiple allergies. We swapped the salad for the fries that came with my sister's boyfriend's burger set because potatoes are not allowed in his paleo diet. The fish strips were real fish that looked like they were cut, breaded and fried in the kitchen, and was a good non-Asian choice:

The Cheeseburger with Fries. My sister's boyfriend removed the buns and didn't touch the fries (the paleo diet is helping him cope with his IBS issues), but nothing was wasted as we used the buns for the curry below, and there was no shortage of people wanting the fries:

The rest of us opted to share five tapas-style local dishes, and it was hard to pick only five from a list of 20! There was even Chili Crab and Pepper Crab on the list (which we didn't order because of the potential mess factor). This would be a nice way to introduce overseas guests to the local food, in air-conditioned comfort and small serving sizes.

Wok-Fried Vegetables, Roasted Duck, and Carrot Cake, which we'd presumed to be chai tau kueh but it arrived looking more like an omelette. I wished for a bigger serving of vegetables as it was our only vegetable intake for the day and also the cheapest thing to buy and cook. However all the three dishes were tasty and enjoyable to eat:

Fish Curry with Roti Prata - a delicious choice. Bread goes hand-in-hand with curry, and the sesame bun was no exception:

Beef Hor Fun - a very good version with tender strips of beef and flavourful egg sauce:

For a real local experience, go out to the nearby New Bugis Food Village and try the local dishes in a hawker environment. However, if you happen to stay at the Ibis Hotel on Bencoolen, and it's raining with a 4-year-old to be put to bed real soon, the TASTE restaurant is a good albeit more expensive option for a small meal.

TASTE Restaurant
Ibis Hotel Bencoolen
170 Bencoolen Street
Singapore 189657
Tel: +65 6593 2886

No comments:

Post a Comment