Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Forest by Sam Leong

Saw that Chef Sam Leong, the celebrity chef that so many housewives know about, has opened a new restaurant! So the parents and I went to try it out last Saturday (Mar 3 2011) and we were quite disappointed to say the least.

The decor of the hotel is minimal but homey and quite comforting. The restaurant is on the first floor and the entrance is quite unassuming! Pardon the poor quality of these pics! They're taken by the iPhone 3G and well, cant expect much haha.

The food here is fusion, contemporary Chinese food, so they say, but most of the time, you dont know what you're eating because there are so many things vying for your taste buds' attention! The chef uses quite a lot of Thai herbs and Thai style stuff because his wife's Thai and the restaurant's named after her!

He has discovery menus, 8 course at 180++ and 10 course at $250++ as well as the ala carte menu with dishes mainly around the 20-40 range! The waitress will tell you the ala carte is more for a single-person's share but I really dont think you'd want to eat all the food alone. I think you can order and just share! Especially if there are just 3 or 4 of you!

All the dishes we ordered were from the ala carte menu because both discovery menus come with beef and we dont take beef! They offered to change it for us from wagyu beef to champagne ribs, but hello, its obviously of diff value! So we declined and ordered from ala carte. Weirdly (or to me at at least), the waitresses asked the type of water we wanted and not the type of tea, which is really a Western style approach. I thought this was more of a Chinese but with a Western twist.

The ceiling that most pics will show you. The interior of the restaurant is actually not grand, wouldnt associate it w a fine-dining restaurant. More so like a normal restaurant by the beach kind of feel?

Amuse boche - Pickled tomato and sorbet

This was like eating suan mei yknow? A lot of the things in there were like that haha certainly quite appetising! Never had such things as amuse boche. Sorbet.. Couldnt tell what flavour it was and I think it was a v small portion of sorbet only cos I only rmb eating the suan mei like food. Suan mei is those sour plums!


We ordered everything on the appetizer/soup menu so here they are:

Pan-seared Foie Gras with Smoked Duck Breast on Home-made Crispy Beancurd Skin 26

If you eat this as a whole, I can almost guarantee you, you wouldnt taste the foie gras, somehow it gets lost in the taste of the beancurd skin? Duck was not bad, but couldnt tell it was smoked though. 3/5

Charcoal Grilled Lemon Grass Boneless Chicken Leg with Green Apple Salad 15

This has Thai influences, especially the salad! Salad was not bad, but not totally Thai style also because its not v sour nor spicy? My mom's piece of chicken was not cooked though the rest were okay. But still, it was a bad impression. 3.2/5

Tempura Australian Oyster coated in Curry flavour with crispy sweet pumpkin 22

Honestly this dish was bleh. I ate the whole thing at one go and couldnt tell at all what I was eating? No curry flavour, no pumpkin, no oyster taste. I dont know what covered what, but I couldnt tell anything apart! And ok tempura + crispy, so its supposed to be crispy and crackly right? Nope, it was quite mushy in fact. 1/5

Hot and Sour Seafood Broth with Hokkaido Sea-urchin 28

We were initially very intrigued by this soup because its something special that we had never heard of before! We thought the sea-urchin would be used in the soup but a'las it was not. It was served grilled in that metal spoon on the side and really didnt do much to add flavours or wtv to the soup. It wasnt particularly sweet either, quite normal. The soup though had quite a few pieces of scallops and real crab meat. The broth is like a white tom yum soup, not too spicy so no worries! More sour than spicy! 3.4/5


These dishes are under "Chef's Sam Creation":

Crispy prawn stuffed with Smoked Australian Oyster and Mango Salsa 18

Ate this as a whole again, this time could taste more of the oyster, prawns werent that crispy, mango salsa was almost non-existentent unless you smeared the thing continuously in the sauce? Quite average tastes I'd say. 3/5

Chef Sam Leong's Special Recipe of Milky Chicken Broth with Morel Mushroom and Wild Bamboo Piths 28

Apparently this is one of his signature creations and it was quite good!! The broth was silky and smooth, as if there was quite a bit of collagen inside! Like the way its presented! We enjoyed this soup and my mom said the soup was rich and yummy! 3.7/5

Pan-seared French Wild Turbot Fish with Black Truffle Sauce 48

They serve it with a rather big piece of truffle on top. The sauce is infused with black truffle with small truffle pieces everywhere and certainly does taste of the earthy aromatic truffle. The fish, flesh was okay, a little overcooked I'd say but went well with the sauce. 3.7/5


These are from the "Mains" menu:

Pan-seared Norway King Scallops with Sauteed assorted Mushroom in Black Bean Sauce 48

2 plump huge scallops were given but the sauce was a little too salty. I suggest you scrap away the sauce and eat the scallop as it is then you'll be able to taste the sweet juicy flesh of the scallop! (: the mushrooms (we didnt get assorted ones, just shimeji) were good because they were crunchy and had this lemongrass-y taste that was quite refreshing! 3.5/5

Steamed Chilean Seabass with Ginger Flower, Lemon and Kaffir Lime Leaves 38

This seabass was done nicely, oily flesh which was soft and nicely cooked! Enjoyed this dish a lot for its lightness! 4/5

Soft Barley infused Porridge Risotto with Barbecue Roasted Duck and Ginseng 20

Dont see how this is a risotto though it certainly is barley porridge. This was like a good bowl of porridge that made me think of the ones at home!! Plus the condiments given are exactly like the type you'll eat with at home so yup this was comfort food for a cold night! 3.8/5

These dishes came v quickly, appetisers came all at one shot, next the mains came at all one shot after we finished the appetizers and we ordered desserts when the appetizers came but after our mains, we waited a LONG LONG while and our desserts never came. Here's the story:

We wanted to catch a movie after dinner but was afraid we wouldnt make it in time 'cos we wanted the 9.45pm show at AMK Hub but we were at Sentosa and we reached the restaurant at about 7.15pm? We ended mains at 8.30pm and then my Dad told me to book movie tickets, so I checked the website and the seats available sucked so I booked 9.20pm at Balestier instead. I assumed that since the dishes came so quickly in concession so far, desserts would come quickly as well and we can leave by 9pm and still make it in time! I told my Dad to get the bill first because their service isnt the most efficient one I've seen, quite slow actually. Its like they cannot cope and the restaurant's not even full.

We told the waitress serving us to check on our desserts at around 8.50pm and she told us they were making it already. Come 9.05pm, it was STILL not here. We asked the woman, whom I presume was a captain because she was wearing a suit, to check on our desserts cos we have a movie at 9.20pm, she went and NEVER came back to us to update us abt it. I kept trying to get her attention but nope, either didnt see or ignored. In the end she came back and told us there was a mix-up and that they are already making it. We told her no, we want to cancel and so she said ok. She walked to somewhere and came back with the dessert below and said its complimentary and kept apologising. 

Chilled Lemon Grass Jello with Thai Sweet Mango, Young Coconut and Wolfberries 22

This was one of the desserts we ordered (they only have 3) and truthfully, I didnt know the orange slices were mango! I thought they were canned peaches when I saw them hence I didnt eat them. Coconut flesh was crunchy and nice. The jello was quite fun to scoop up haha and tasted nice as well! Light refreshing dessert that we certainly would have enjoyed better if we werent in a rush and it was 9.15pm already. 3.9/5

We quickly went to the counter to get the refund cos my Dad used credit card and drove to the cinema. Luckily we didnt miss much of the movie cos traffic was good and my Dad drove q fast! Of course, no speeding haha. We all thought the desserts would come quickly and got really bored + annoyed for waiting so long for them! The desserts we thought, would take much lesser time to prepare as we ordered the 3 desserts on the menu which is much lesser vs the dishes we ordered! And the desserts mainly consists of things that we suspect we already made so it didnt make sense for them to take so long! Besides the one on top, the oth 2 were Chocolate banana ganache served with thai-teh ice cream and golden pumpkin glutinous rice, ume coconut frozen parfait "fak-thong". The desserts sound interesting and I would really have loved to try them.

Sad to say, our experience was greatly marred by this episode and the food we all agreed, was average. Not worth driving all the way to Sentosa to try it. Service staff while friendly, were really unable to cope w the demands on a Sat night. The table behind us complained abt not having water for 15mins and her son was really thirsty. The wait time between asking a wait staff for sth and it actually materialising in front of you was really quite long vs oth restaurant. These teething problems must go away for this restaurant to improve. But, my family would not be returning. 

Though I must commend them for serving the appetisers and mains so quickly even though there was a rather big group who ordered before us (think they ordered set!)! Oh and Sam Leong did come out and talk to that big table and another table, not everyone though. The open kitchen concept is quite cool, but unless you get a table closeby you cant see the chefs and it DOES smell of food. So beware.

Forest by Sam Leong
Equarius Hotel Lobby

Directions for getting to Equarius Hotel: you just follow the signs to RWS Convention Centre then on your left you'd see a sign that says Equarius Hotel (its before Hard Rock!) and then just turn in and you can park at the carpark of the hotel itself!

Edit: a HGW reviewer said that the 10 course menu is good, maybe cos I didnt try the tasting menus? The 8 course one I tried 3 dishes, and the 10 course one I tried 2 dishes. So maybe the tasting menus are really better? Not all the dishes can be found in ala carte. If yall want the menu, can leave a comment w your email! I took pics of them so I can email them to you (:


  1. Good review. BTW, under each picture of dishes, is the number after the name the price?

    1. Yes it is the price! Sorry about that! Think there was some publishing error!


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