Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New Restaurant: Tess Bar & Kitchen

Following the explosion of cafes in Singapore, the new trend seems to be cocktail + tapas-style food joints! One such place opened recently and with an experienced bartender (ex Bitters & Love), and chef (ex L'Atelier Robuchon), I told the boy "Okay we're eating here this Friday!" and he was like "but there's no menu online and the instagram posts of the food looks q limited!" but I insisted knowing it'll likely be good. Am v happy I did! He was v happy too that dinner turned out to be good :)

We arrived at about 6.30pm and managed to snag a lot along the street outside the restaurant! Its quite difficult to park along that road so I suggest leaving some time for finding parking space. 

They were having happy hour till 7pm and I must say, their happy hour deal is quite attractive! 30% off all house pours, 10% off all alcohol. 

I really love the atmosphere of the place and we were greeted with really awesome hospitality. Very sincere and friendly! Initially I did not want to sit at the low tables (foreground of the picture below) as I do not like having to bend down to eat, and compressing my stomach (damn uncomfortable!?), so we moved to the bar seats. However the bf wanted to sit at the table (cos we usually order a lot and well, its more spacious) so we kept looking over. Then the same staff came over and asked if we changed our minds, then convinced me that its not so bad and gladly told me that she'll give me the corner seat (initially ours was in the middle) with the cute doggie armrest haha. So we moved there and it really wasn't that bad! 

The space at night


So the staff will explain the drinks + food menu to you upon sitting down and I think this is sorta an added value to the experience! I wouldn't go as far to say that all restaurants should do this cos I know manpower issues and all, but its a good plus point. 

Do note that the tiger prawns for small plates is actually 6 pieces (photo later) -> they're still in the process of tweaking their menu!

Their very interesting cocktail menu!! I remember we were recommended Dawa for sth sour, and scandalous pear for sth sweet! I really like their mix of ingredients for the cocktails and makes me feel like trying 'em all! Cocktail review coming up after the food review below!

Bohemian Vegetables Love
Grilled zucchini, bell peppers wrap in aubergine with pepper coulis 

Basically its grilled veggies served in a wrap form accompanied by a slightly tangy but slightly sweet coulis that was served cold. The grilled veggies were hot of course. So this was quite a good contrast and well its hard to fault these sweet veggies 3.8/5

Triple truffle fries
Yukon, idaho, sweet potatoes, deep fried and seasoned with truffle oil + salt

The boy said this was a little dry and honestly the way they cut it? More of wedges haha except maybe the sweet potato ones. The truffle oil taste wasn't strong. 3/5

Crispy pork belly
Served with spiced Asian dip

Sea bass, Momotaro & Arugula
Seared sea bass slices, momotaro tomatoes sliced and topped with arugula salad

Please do not order this. Its such a waste of money! The fish was dry and unflavourful. Saving grace was the very crispy skin. The tomato, honestly maybe momotaro tomatoes or not in season or sth but this tastes like our regular tomatoes and nothing like the ones I've had at Tatsuya or other Jap restaurants. And if putting a few strands of arugula is considered salad… I have nothing to say. I won't even give a grade for this

Tiger prawns in Herb Garlic Butter
King prawns seared to perfection

This was very very juicy, bursting with flavours. Can really taste the butter in the sauce but the herbs didn't really shine through. 3.6/5

Seared Smoked Duck Breast + Foie Gras
Served with braised lentils & blueberry compote

Really really love how they used lentils as a side dish cos not many places in Singapore use lentils and I love lentils! The Foie gras is on the left and its average at best. Blueberry compote was good, but hard to go wrong. The smoked duck was beautiful. Just a tinge of saltiness, with a rather firm but still a little soft kind of texture, with a mild duck taste. This was quite a good rendition of duck I must say! Not too fatty either :) 3.9/5

Tess Wagyu Cubes & Bone Marrow
Seared wagyu beef cubes on bone marrow glaze with veal jus

This was very good according to the boy! The sauce was very flavourful, the marrow melted in his mouth and went beautifully with the amazing wagyu cubes! You've gotta scoop up the marrow from the bone which adds an element of "fun" to this dish. The wagyu cubes were very soft and bursting with flavours from the sauce. 4.5/5


We didn't order any desserts because they did not interest us.

Bespoke cocktail - refreshing + no bitter taste

I can't really remember what was in my cocktail but it was refreshing! :) These bespoke cocktails are charged based on the alcoholic base they use and the prices of these "bases" can be found in their menu. You can tell them whatever you want, or don't want and something will be created for you :)

Monkey Shoulder scotch whisky, Disaronno amaretto with cigar smoke

We were curious about the cigar smoke! You gotta breathe in deeply + quickly when you open it as the smell dissipates really quickly!

Wild Turkey 81 whiskey, home made fives puree, fresh lemon with tonic

Was very intrigued by figs in cocktails as I've never had such a drink before. However there was barely any fig taste in the drink! :/ it was quite refreshing though

Their cocktails are really easy to drink and thats dangerous haha cos you can just keep going on and on like you're not drinking alcohol cos you don't feel any burning in your throat or difficult to swallow or whatever.

Service: friendly, good, rather prompt
Ambience: bar + tables w seats, industrial kind of decor, quite pretty at night!
Food: above average food
Cocktails: creative! Would like to try more

Tess Bar & Kitchen
38 Seah Street S188394
Mon- Thurs 1130am-1am
Fri 1130am - 2am
Sat 430pm to 2am
closed Sundays


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