SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) In Singapore's culinary scene, five years in the business is an achievement. Coriander Leaf is in its 14th year.
Chef owner Samia Ahad's menu - pork-free and meats from halal sources - remains a culinary tour of Asia. Collaborating with her chef Iskandar Latiff, the food is now served in small plates to be shared.
It is a concise menu with five categories (Fresh, Familiar, Spicy, Umami and Sweet) and each category sees culinary influences across Asia.
I ate there twice (the first time unannounced) and found the food enchanting. The presentation is Instagram-worthy and the service is excellent.
When I returned for a hosted visit, I found that standards had wavered. Nonetheless, Coriander Leaf, now in a new location, is a Singaporean institution we can be proud of.
It's always great to have a delicious vegetarian option. The grilled eggplant, chickpeas and browned butter ($12) was hearty and soulful.
My first encounter with the sea urchin ($25) was a great one. I loved the robust and hearty prawn sauce. But when I came back, the egg was dry and the sauce lacked punch.
I love duck egg but the soft shell crab with salted duck egg yolk sauce ($16) didn't quite hit the mark. The sweetness of the crab was overpowered.
Will try again
I'm still undecided if I like the Szechuan cold poached chicken ($15). The chilli oil sauce was tasty, although the chicken could have been more juicy. But I would probably order it again.
The steamed Venus clams ($12) have the loveliest calamansi sauce. But when I returned, it was disappointingly timid.
What: Coriander Leaf
Where: #02-01 Chijmes
When: Monday to Thursday, 6pm to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 6pm to 1am
This article was first published on July 08, 2015.
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