Monday, October 11, 2010

Matsu, Gallery Hotel

I had been wanting to try Shibaken's Japanese-French fusion cuisine for a few years but somehow the procrastinator in me kept on, well, procastinating. By the time I got around to making serious plans to dine at the restaurant, it had been renamed as Matsu, with a new head chef Motomatsu Takashin (who was formerly sous chef to Shibaken's original chef).

Since I was not too hungry, I decided on the 3-course Olive set lunch (SGD28) although the Bamboo (SGD 48) and Pine sets (SGD 58) looked terribly tempting for a future occasion.

Matsu_california salad

Starter: California Salad

Avocado, cucumber, shredded crabsticks (surimi), and mixed salad greens tossed with a light mayonnaise sauce - this was light and refreshing, a precursor of the dominant taste theme for Matsu.

Matsu_japanese mountain vegetable pasta

Main Course: Japanese Leafy Mountain Vegetable Pasta

Frankly, I wasn't expecting much since this seemed like such a simple and basic dish, and anyone with a mere modicum of skill can manage to cook al dente pasta properly. But with my first mouthful, I was pleasantly suprised by how very well executed this was, with clean, pure flavours that simply leapt from the plate. My guess is that the vegetables and the pasta were cooked in konbu / bonito stock because of the sheer umami-ness of the taste. According to Connie the manager, chef Motomatsu also added in a small touch of sesame oil.


Dessert: Custard Pudding with Ice Cream

Again, nothing to fault here. A wobbly smooth panna cotta pudding paired with cute little dollops of matcha ice cream, strawberries and blueberries.

All in, this was a delightful first meal at Matsu that left a good impression on me - something slightly unique and different but not too avant-garde or experimental - polished cooking that allows the natural flavours of the food to shine through. I've gotta persuade E to bring me there to check out their kaiseki offerings!

#02-2A, The Gallery Hotel (

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