Shelter in the Woods – Singapore
I never made it to Shelter in the Woods prior to its temporary closure earlier in the year and I was disappointed as there was much fanfare about its food, especially the French rotisseries. When the place finally reopened on Nov 12, I hopped to it and went about two weeks ago to try its new menu.
Shelter in the Woods reopened its doors with a new chef at its helm. Chef Masashi Horiuchi (obviously not French) has trained in Europe for the past 20 years in Michelin-starred restaurants. Just before coming to Singapore he was stationed at L’Atelier Joel Robuchon in London.
Shelter in the Woods in known for its hearty French food such as roasts, pâté and quiches but with the chef’s background, most of the rustic foods are given a touch of refinement. My dining companions and I started off with the Shelter Charcuterie Board which came with three different pates – a pâté duck a l’orange, pâté en croute and a roquefort and walnut pâté.
I highly recommend the Pâté Duck a L’orange which comprises a smooth blend of duck liver, duck meat, pork liver, pork meat, port wine, Grand Marnier and more. For the festive period, a slab of foie gras pâté lies in the middle of the slab for a touch of lux.
The refinement is most evident in the chef’s tarts and quiches. The Shelter Quiche is essentially a hearty mushroom quiche but the tart shells from Shelter in the Woods is not a buttery as a pâte brisée (say: pahte breezay) but more like a sweet and fine pâte sablée (say: pahte sab-lay).
(Ok, I’m not trying to sound pretentious here, so I’ve linked the words to what they are.)
We also had an eggporn worthy Salade Lyonnaise. The sherry vinaigrette frisee salad comes with coarse cut Dutch bacon, confit pearl onions and croutons. But now, on to the real food.
The Creamy Corn Soup Trio is pureed corn with kernels of roasted and slightly burnt corn thrown in, topped with popped corn and a drizzle of olive oil. Incredibly addictive with its smokey-sweetness.
I must admit it took me a while to get over my squeamishness over consuming raw meat and egg but after I discovered steak tartare. I was sold! The one from Shelter in the Woods features a hand-cut tenderloin with capers, cornichons, beets, onions and chives. You have to mix it in yourself with the raw quail egg, gather it all up on a crusty baguette and bite down on heavenly fresh meat. Mmmm!
The old-style flame rotisserie can be seen through the kitchen window and it made me excited for the next few rotisserie dishes to come. The Rotisserie Suckling Pig was the bomb (do people still say that?)! It was roasted until the skin crackled and it was served with a side of roasted pineapples and veal jus. Imagine the crackle of the skin giving way to the fatty interiors before tasting the smokey-sweet pineapples. In my opinion, the veal jus was not needed as the suckling pig was moist enough.
The chicken was also incredibly tender, even the breasts that can be a little dry. However, the chef sprinkled some sea salt on the chicken before it was served and I got a clump of salt in mine. Oops!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I don’t like lamb or mutton, but if I say I like it, its good. And boy, was it good. The carre d’aigneau is herb crusted and basted with garlic confit oil before being roasted and served, resulting in a tender juicy lamb with comes off the bone with minimal effort. Plus points for the mild scent.
If you didn’t have the suckling pig earlier, you can still try the roasted pineapple as a dessert. The pineapple is spiced with star anise, cloves and cinnamon, and served with a side of crumble and a quenelle of vanilla ice-cream. But, I think the Raspberry Clafoutis stole the show with its refined crust and filling with spots of tart raspberries. Sometimes clafoutis can be a little lumpy, but not this one. Smooth as silk.
The prettiest dessert on the menu is definitely the Meringue Glacee. Ready your cameras for this. Two scoops of house made raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice-cream comes topped with baked meringue “kisses” and chopped pisachios. It comes with a little pitcher of mascerated berries which I think can be tipped into the glass for a satisfying sundae of sorts.
Who says hearty, rustic French fare has to always be rough? Plus, it’s not chichi food, meaning no small portions on large plates. 😀
Happy Holidays, everyone!