Clarke Quay's First Gourmet Pop-up Event
Clarke Quay is synonymous with a good night out. With its large selection of watering holes and clubs, it's the undisputed choice destination for a weekend wind-down.
What is lesser known, though, is that Clarke Quay is also home to a host of sit-down gourmet diners. We were reminded of precisely that at Unexpected Gourmet, a pop-up dining party that took place on Read Bridge. That's right, we dined on the iconic bridge.
The concept was simple. To familiarise guests with their restaurants, Clarke Quay put together an extravagant 10 course wine-pairing degustation menu, with each course coming from a participating restaurant. Clarke Quay was set on showing it was more than just booze and supper at McDonalds, and spared no expense putting on a fine show.
The location was revealed to us only upon our arrival. It was unrecognisable after its complete makeover, with flowering vines, strobe lights and bouquets of white orchids. Guests were ushered into an whimsical air-conditioned dining space that looked like it came straight out of a fairytale.
Of all the pre-dinner cocktails and canapes, Beer Market's crab doused in Tiger Radler was particularly memorable and had us going back for seconds. Here's a look at the other highlights from their specially prepared ten course menu, which featured some of the best restaurants in Clarke Quay.
Chili Crab Canape and Freshly Shucked Oysters by Fremantle Seafood Market
Of the three oysters, my favourite had to be the massive Canadian oyster. Size aside, the shellfish was creamy, fresh and slid down my throat easily. Paired with a drizzle of chilli crab sauce and lemon juice, the explosion of flavour was satisfying.
However, the mini soft-shell crabs were a letdown. More chewy than crunchy, these little crustaceans sat on soggy man tous that did nothing for the dish overall.
Kanpachi Carpaccio and Shishamo Goma Age by KURO
The thinly sliced fresh yellowtail was drenched in aromatic truffle oil and served with glistening orbs of salmon roe. I have never had my sashimi with truffle oil – and now I'll crave it forevermore. The pungent aroma of truffle complemented the freshness of the fish in a surprisingly addictive way.
That said, the deep fried shishamo was a disappointment. It was chewy instead of crispy, and the coat of white sesame seeds left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. I gave up halfway through gnawing on this.
Yukbochae: Boss 6 Treasures by Boss BarBQ
I ate my Korean barbequed meats off a pretty plate instead of a hot grill. Once I bit down, I was welcomed by the familiar taste of bulgogi marinade. The sample of grilled beef bulgogi was tender and savoury from being slow-cooked over charcoal and marinated with their signature condiments, with just a hint of sweetness.
I also enjoyed the Dubu Kimchi, silken tofu served on a spoon with crunchy fried kimchi on top.
Canterbury Plains Rack of Lamb by Fern & Kiwi
This was hands down my favourite of all 10 courses. For starters, the juicy tomato confit was grilled to perfection. I ate it whole and thoroughly enjoyed the explosion of tomato and olive oil.
The mint mashed potato was a first for me. I don't usually enjoy mint with my food but I was pleasantly surprised that the aroma of mint was subdued and integrated very well into the creamy mashed potato. Be warned though, the mint makes it a hit-or-miss dish. Some diners were not too fond of it.
Finally, the lamb was pink and tender, easy off the bone and down the tummy. Perfect texture and accompaniment with the Pinot Noir infused rosemary sauce.
Clarke Quay has always been all about nightlife for me. The next time I head down, I might consider having dinner there before my drinks, but only if I'm in the mood to splurge.
Fern & Kiwi's gorgeous Canterbury Plains Rack of Lamb would set me back $46 for a plate. Boss BarBQ would probably be my next stop for some Korean barbecue. If I'm craving sashimi in a heady dose of truffle oil, KURO's classy Japanese menu would fit the bill for a special occasion.
Clarke Quay does offer a range of gourmet dining options – maybe not so much for a casual night out. However, it's very suitable if you want to impress your date before heading for drinks.
The foodies among you will also be glad to hear that the event is slated to return next year, where it will be open to public participation!
This post was brought to you by Clarke Quay.