Monthly Archives: September 2013

Singapore Daily Deal Review – Fern & Kiwi

50% off Fern & Kiwi: $10 for $20 Cash Voucher for Food Items at Fern & Kiwi, Clarke Quay – Use Unlimited Vouchers Per Bill & Enjoy Mouth-Watering Dishes Like Oysters, Mussels, Pork Belly, Ribs, Beef & Many More!

Fern & Kiwi is a Clarke Quay restaurant that sits breezily along the river’s glitzy, touristy main watering hole. It aspires to embody everything New Zealand, from its national symbols, sports, and uh, cuisine, whatever New Zealand food is supposed to be. After dining at this blissfully nationalistic establishment, I’m sorry to say I’m still none the wiser as to what Kiwi food is, besides nebulous generalizations like indistinct at best and disappointing at worst.

A quiet evening with lovely ambience, and the promise of delicious food.

A quiet evening with lovely ambience, and the promise of delicious food.

I guess if I was forced to conjure a description of ethnically Kiwi food based on my experience at Fern & Kiwi, I would go with Western with delusions of fusion – the restaurant has a heavily meat-centric menu (all good, in my book. It only tastes good if it bleeds sums up my food philosophy) with seafood and pizza thrown in for good measure. But at almost $20 a starter, $10 a side and $30 to just under $50 mains, that certainly made me feel slightly queasy.

That being said, if the food was worth the price tag, I would definitely find myself returning. For a quiet afternoon, a small gathering with friends, or a romantic night out (I could easily envision a girl being impressed with fancy restaurant prices and the fancy restaurant that came with them) it was perfect.The dining area upstairs had large windows framing lush, street side greenery, and  letting in lots of natural light into the spacious interiors. The tables were dabbed with small, classy touches, like white table linen, flowers, and complemented with wood paneled walls adorned with themed abstract art.

Keeping it classy at Fern & Kiwi.

Keeping it classy at Fern & Kiwi.

I was equipped with a $40 voucher dining deal (which I paid $20 for), and I figured that would trim down the bill somewhat significantly. The dinner party comprised a friend of mine, me, and my husband. We had had a late tea shortly before so we ordered food to share – a Crusty Cheese Loaf, a cauliflower gratin, a main course of Classic Pork Spare Ribs and my fine dining staple, truffle fries. Truthfully I am in search of the perfect truffle fry, and once I catch a whiff of the oil wafting out of the kitchen, the impulse to order it is a purely physical reaction.

The Crusty Cheese Loaf - simple and good.

The Crusty Cheese Loaf – simple and good.

First to arrive was the Crusty Cheese Bread which was described as a freshly baked “Vienna cheese and garlic loaf” with “whipped garlic butter, olive oil and sea salt”. And it was all of those things. The texture was light and fluffy, and the bread pulled apart gently and easily, as if it was baked two minutes prior to serving.

Classic Spare Ribs with Fries. The fries were the better half - a carnivore's tragedy.

Classic Spare Ribs with Fries. The fries were the better half – a carnivore’s tragedy.

The ribs soon followed, served with a side of “rustic, hand cut ‘lady claire’ potato fries”, for we all know that the best potatoes are named after people, and the upper crust of that cohort are named after nobles. The fries were good, served in nice chunks of universal appeal. The Classic Pork Spare Ribs, however, was merely a pretender to the throne – baked in honey, hoisin and orange glaze, I highly doubt the pedigree of the dish and its classicalness. The meat was tender, but was sadly outstripped by the cloying sweetness of the glaze, and the Asiatic notes of hoisin, when doused disproportionately in honey, ring too close to US Chinese take-out.  And at ~$35 a plate, I expected something a whole lot closer to unadulterated yum.

 

Cauliflower gratin - Something I Would Eat.

Cauliflower gratin – Something I Would Eat.

The cauliflower gratin with Upper Moutere cheddar performed more solidly, but frankly speaking I can’t say I was expecting a whole lot from cauliflower, but it made the prospect of eating something good for you at least somewhat enticing, which I suppose passes for success in the vegetable arena.

And finally, my resident truffle fries review. At first I couldn’t tell the difference between the truffle fries and the regular (but delicious) ones. Only occasionally when the stars aligned were the fries adequately baptized with truffle seasoning and worth remembering; subtly and deliciously flavored, with crisp, generous wedges of potato with the privilege of playing conduit to this perfection. But I would take this with a pinch of salt, however, as I only had maybe three to five truly truffle fries spread out through a serving of normal ones that I diligently worked through.

 

NZ beer - it's just beer.

NZ beer – it’s just beer.

According to my husband, the NZ beer was just what it professed to be, stark, modest, and naturally brewed, and nothing much to write home about. The service, however, was pretty abysmal even by Singapore standards. Water took ages to be served, and when it was, they forgot to mention it was $12 a bottle, I suppose it just slipped their mind. Perhaps it’s just too classy a place for me – maybe the patrons who aren’t clutching dining deals have too much money to notice the price, the poor service or the lack of (justifiably significant) quality. I had expected a Kiwi restaurant to feel more like New Zealand – pleasant, laid-back, presented with fresh, unpretentious food, but perhaps it’s my fault; I should have known better than to trust a predominantly European country with fusion.

Rating: 3/5 stars

This daily deal review was posted by Janice

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