Ox tongue sets at Gyutan-tan
Restaurants featuring various premium beef options and cuts are aplenty, but few focus purely on ox tongue or gyutan.
The 82-seat Gyutan-Tan restaurant, which opened on Oct 27, does just that – and at reasonable prices using tongue from Australian Angus cows.
Lunch sets – priced from $18 to $30 – give the best value.
My pick is the Sumiyaki Gyutan Combo Set ($25), which comes with thin and thick cuts of charcoal-grilled gyutan simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Both cuts are delicious, but the thicker one is more tender.
The set comes with mugimeshi (a mix of rice and barley), two kinds of Japanese pickles, salad, tororo (grated Japanese mountain yam) and a choice of oxtail or miso soup.
Although the oxtail soup looks deceptively plain, it has a lovely beefy flavour.
Pick a sauce (which comes with each order of a gyutan dish) to complement the ox tongue – original housemade soya sauce, ponzu oroshi, sweet and spicy Korean, lemon pepper and negi shio.
The meat is tasty on its own, but you can go with either the lemon pepper or negi shio for added layers of flavour.
The dinner menu offers a wider variety of a la carte dishes. Highlights include the Premium Gyutan Shabu-Shabu ($28); Gyutan Demi-glace Stew Set ($24), with chunks of gyutan braised for four hours; and Cold-roasted Gyutan Carpaccio ($15), with thinly sliced gyutan topped with arugula, pickled white radish, parmesan and a sweet balsamic glaze.
Desserts are not overlooked here.
Try the Matcha Afo-Guard ($10.50), with bittersweet matcha poured over vanilla ice cream, white chocolate, warabimochi and kuromitsu (black sugar syrup); or the Tiramisu Parfait ($11.50), a rum-infused dessert with whipped mascarpone and coffee jelly under a layer of nutty kinako, dango and vanilla ice cream.
Where: 41 Tras Street
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Open: 11.30am to 3.30pm, 5.30 to 10pm, Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Altro Zafferano’s Revamped Experience
After 10 years, Italian restaurant Altro Zafferano – formerly known as Zafferano – has undergone a revamp.
The energy of the refreshed space starts from the 12m-long open kitchen counter, where chefs are busy plating dishes on the pass.
The spacious 75-seat main dining area includes a private room for 16 people, and a section – which can be configured into two rooms – that can seat up to 60 people.
There is a three-course weekday set lunch ($78++ a person), but you should go for the four-course Experience menu ($148++), which is available for weekday dinners and on Saturdays.
There are choices for each course, which come in generous a la carte portions – sans the usual higher a la carte prices.
If you do not know what to choose, here are my picks.
I start with the Hokkaido scallop dish with smoked pear, potato mousse and guanciale, followed by the pasta dish of housemade tagliolini, langoustine carpaccio, Amalfi lemon garum and sea grape.
Executive chef Andrea De Paola’s pasta never disappoints, and his tagliolini comes perfectly cooked in a rich langoustine bisque with extra briny pops from the sea grape.
For the main, I go with the Roaring Forties Lamb with goat ricotta sfogliatella and green peas and, to finish, the beautifully sour Amalfi lemon with pink pepper and Limoncello dessert.
The Australian lamb comes two ways – charcoal-grilled lamb rack and lamb neck braised with Aglianico wine. It is accompanied by sfogliatella – a cone-shaped puff pastry from Naples that gets a savoury spin with thin ribbons of potato swirled around goat milk ricotta.
The Amalfi lemon dessert is one of the best lemon treats I have had in a while.
The fruit, which features in the sponge cake and curd, packs a sharp punch and is paired with Limoncello granita. It is a refreshing way to end the meal.
Where: Level 43 Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay
MRT: Raffles Place
Open: Noon to 3pm, 6 to 11pm, Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Autumn at Restaurant Jag
The one-Michelin-starred Restaurant Jag celebrates the autumn harvest with its current vegetable-forward menu showcasing items such as Jerusalem artichokes, pumpkins and kohlrabi, which are highlighted in various layers of flavours and textures.
Lunch is priced at $228++ for 14 plates, while dinner is $338++ for 17 plates. Full vegetarian menus are available too.
Some of my favourite dishes from dinner include a celebration of mushrooms – ice cream, confit, jus and pickled; and Chestnut, which is roasted, pureed, sauteed, shaved and siphoned.
The chestnut is complemented with uni, coffee foam and coffee salt, with freshly shaved chestnut to finish.
The main highlight is parsley root cannelloni topped with sapin (pine) gel and served with venison and a green sauce made with parsley root chlorophyll infused with fresh sapin.
Save some room for the offerings from the cheese trolley, followed by the final dessert of kumquat confit and sorbet on white chocolate cream and crumble.
Yes, the meal is quite a journey, but it is worth setting aside a few hours for.
Where: Restaurant Jag, Level 1, 76 Duxton Road
Open: Noon to 2pm, Fridays and Saturdays, 6 to 10.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays