FORT by Maison Ikkoku
2016 food trend alert! I foresee there will be many more of the Japanese omakase-cocktail pairing type of restaurants popping up next year. Yes you heard it here first! I first experienced this at Kakure by Ki Sho. Sushi Mitsuya does it as well, and then recently at the spanking new FORT by Maison Ikkoku. Yes our favorite brunch co. now has a cool and classy restaurant-bar sister at Pinacotheque De Paris on Fort Canning Hill. The menu sees a line up of bespoke cocktails alongside pretty plates of mod Japanese food, and the entire concept is developed by the familiar Ethan Leslie Leong, who is both the Executive Chef and Master Mixologist
I first met Ethan at Drink Culture and he already wowed me with his cocktail skills then. Now add chef to the mix, and interior designer too?? The 30 seater restaurant is also designed by him and it's super underground chic. Love the vibe here!
Much thought has gone into the cocktail pairing multi-sensory dining experience at FORT by MI. Expect to be surprised by the changing scents, textures, sounds, flavors, and techniques showcased in the food and tipples preparation. It's a F&B lab with the -insert chemical process here- processes going on right before our eyes.
Some highlights from the a la carte dishes here. The Sea ($38) is a pretty sashimi platter which layers on Hokkaido Scallop, Irish Oyster, Seaweed, Ikura, Tobiko and Ebiko on a bed of sea salted ice. It's gorgeous, but the overall flavor was a little too salty for me with all that roe, and it got fishy as well.
The Nest ($28) is such a festive plate! Doesn't it remind of Easter? Think of this as a western chawanmushi which combines hot melted Mozzarella and Parmiagiano-Reggiano with free-range chicken eggs. Not a fan of the smoked hay (it smelled like gym socks), but I guess that adds to the overall rustic appeal of the fish.
A mod sushi roll which is quite fiery is the Spicy Maguro Hand-roll, The Fort [4 pcs $18 (4pcs)/ $28 (8pcs)]. The heat comes from a special Asian chili sauce added to the minced tuna, which was a bit mushy but the overall bite was quite shiok.
This holiday, FORT by Maison Ikkoku presents a Three-Course Festive Menu (20 Nov - 31 Dec 2015) which is priced at $38/pax + $20 for 2 cocktails. This includes a surprise starter of the day, a main, and dessert.
I enjoyed the main of Holiday Turkey, comprising two succulent turkey breast medallions marinated with a mix of herbs and spices and cooked sous-vide style. So tender and juicy! Truffles have been infused into the meat and a sprinkle of cinnamon for good (holiday) measure!
I highly recommend drinks pairing for this. The Santa Red is such a mellow sweet cocktail with a port-like red wine reduction and perfumed with bergamot.
To end off the dinner, the delicious Martell Cordon Bleu Lavender Crème Brûlée. Silky custard infused with the subtle lavender and a buttery caramel cognac. End the night perfectly with The Snowman, a concoction of spice rum with buttered popcorn, hazelnut and milk, which is another dessert in a cup!
I'm definitely coming back for the super affordable 12-course Omakase for just $68/pax. Ethan definitely has many more tricks up his sleeves!
Bespoke cocktails are priced at $18, and infusion shots at $10.
FORT by Maison Ikkoku
5 Cox Terrace, Fort Canning Hill, Pinacotheque De Paris, S179620
Tel: +65 6336 0507
Daily: 4pm till late