Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It is difficult for this Les Amis partnership to disappoint. Michael Han and his team formed an unparalleled kitchen. The former known for his brainy diversifications on a plate whilst the ex-Fatduck Leandros excelling in pastry realms. I was impressed by the geniality in his desserts.

Lunch at 53 was back-to-the-basics yet out-of-the-worldly amusing at the same time. Therapeutic settings juxtaposed gastronomic creativity.

The double-storey shophouse houses no more than 5 tables and a private dining room. Soothingly wood natured with a slash of modern zen. Even the menu adopts a minimalist approach- strictly Set Lunch ($45) & Set Dinner ($180), foolstop.

a stick of charcoal to absorb impurities

Potato crisps with salt and vinegar powder

The difference is clear from how the meal started. Wavy Potato crisps with salt and vinegar powder accompanied the concise menu to keep our hands busy. Looking like an artpiece, thin as paper. A ton more meaningful than the vulgur commercial chips.

Buckwheat Rolls with buttermilk butter

looks just like a muffin!

Then came Buckwheat breadrolls in a sack, an amazing clothsack fitted with heated cherry stones that retains heat for 20 minutes. how cool is that! The bread's not your usual fluffy fleece but instead tough-crusted chewy, very rustic and buckwheaty. Served with smooth buttermilk butter & toasted buckwheat sprinkles. No barriers between me and a warm healthy-everything bread!

Air Cured Wagyu & Hisbiscus, Beetroot & Apple

Scallop, Buckwheat & Chicken Oysters

Computing every detail in Fiftythree's food would be an assiduous task. From the highlights to sides to finishing touches, Han's effort is conspicuous. Take for instance my wholesome starter of a tender oil-glossed scallop brightened with creamy carrot puree, bits of buckwheat & watercress, and a bland soybean powder to poise the flavours. Oysters? Round chicken pebbles you mean.

Just count the number of ingredients invested.

Beef Cheeks and Onions, Pearl Barley & Watercress

Barramundi, Blackberries & Green Beans

I enjoyed the fancifulness of my main course too. Poaching the Barramundi fillet before searing imparts an extra depth of flavour, so much that it became a tad too salty. Thank goodness it had those sweet viscous pear puree and blackberry jam to neutralize the sodium. Plus those thoughtful inclusions of onions, shredded chestnuts, chestnut chips and tissue-thin ciabatta... flaw completely nullified.

Fig & Sweet Olive Tapenade, Green Szechuan Peppercorn Icecream

Chocolate Caramel, Enoki & Raspberries

Apple Risotto & Rosemary

Awesome was the word for desserts. One look at them and you know its not child's play. The Figs & Sweet Olive Tapenade, Green Szechuan Peppercorn Icecream was an incredible masterpiece. So incredible that an anti-figs&olive person like me would fall for it at first bite. Figs were pleasantly soft. Grainy tapenade kept free from the usual olive pungency. Icecream tasted lavendar-ish, if not already pre-identified.

And i so loved my choice of Apple Risotto & Rosemary. A warm, golden mound of extremely FINE-CHOPPED apple bits put in place of the creamy carbs. Each minute bit translucent on the outside yet bore a crunchy innermost core. Amazing little softies contrasted with some tigernut crumble, a touch of invigorating ginger and airy puffy rosemary foam in the backdrop.

Gin & Tonic Jellies

That's not all. A meal at Fiftythree wouldn't be complete without their exclusive Gin & Tonic Jellies. I took it in timid, tiny quarters and gradually felt the alcohol strengthening in my mouth. The works of molecular gastronomy.

And this is the man behind it.
Chef Leandros! A remarkable talent indeed.

Said my piece. Fiftythree is all about sincere details. Seemingly unassuming dishes that beckons attentive exploration. I'm glad i got to explore Fi53ftythree.

53 Armenian St
6334 5535


  1. thx for the review babe! fantastic write-up and beautiful pictures as usual :) after seeing yr entry it really makes me wanna go there immediately, but i'm cutting down to only 1 fine dining meal a month, and i'm going to braise nx haha. looks like i can only make a date with fifythree in sept. and 180 for dinner? *blinks* still cheaper than jaan i guess, that one is 280 haha.

    i'm totally curious about the gin & tonic jellies. i hope they still hv it by the time i go there :D and enoki in dessert? that is new.

  2. i am impressed with the food, esp the charcoal in the ice water. a good review.

  3. hello elaine! i've long heard about this restaurant but this is the first review i read. this place and it's novel food offerings seems definitely worth the visit! =)



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