During our last trip to Singapore, we wanted to go somewhere nice for lunch (ie fine dining) but only after booking our flights did I realise that the day that we arrived was a public holiday in Singapore. In Singapore, most fine dining restaurants do not open on public holidays and they also close on Sundays. No Tippling Club, Jaan or Iggy's for me :(
Anyway after doing some research online for a nice place to dine, I discovered Novus Restaurant & Bar which is located inside the National Museum of Singapore. I browsed through their website and was impressed with the beautiful food I saw (see here and you'll know what I mean). Furthermore, I read several good reviews about the place, especially about their 3-course set lunch for S$40.
National Museum of Singapore
Unfortunately a few days before we were due to dine here, I saw on their Facebook page that they have gotten rid of the set lunch and replaced it with an all day brunch menu as well as an a la carte lunch menu. I did not like anything from the brunch menu at that time, but consoled myself that there were a few things on the a la carte lunch menu that I could have. And since I have already made a reservation via email, we decided to stick to the plan and go for lunch.
The National Museum of Singapore is a stunning building. The white walls and nice design certainly made it stand out. Novus is located at the entrance of the museum and serves modern European cuisine (however I just checked their website and it looks like their previous head chef has left). The restaurant is quite small but tastefully decorated, I especially liked the tall French windows and mirrors on the ceiling.
When we were seated, we were given the all-day brunch menu. I was a bit surprised, as I thought the lunch menu would also be available. I enquired and they said 'sorry but you can only order off the brunch menu'. I was crushed, to be honest. Hubby sensed my disappointment and asked the manager if I could order some of the other "restaurant specials" which I saw on their lunch menu (I later saw a lunch menu at the entrance and it clearly stated that it was available on Saturdays too!! So no idea why they only gave us the brunch menu!) To cut the story short, I managed to order a starter and dessert that I wanted.
Hubby ordered the Norwegian Salmon Carpaccio (S$15) which looked really pretty on the plate, thanks to the use of vine cherry tomatoes, cucucmber and dill. Unfortunately that's where the compliment ends. It was so bland that we had to ask the kitchen for salt to try and save it.
I had the foie gras anglaise (S$15), a goose liver custard with duck confit, gingko beans, truffle salsa, and Parmesan foam. The portion is a little small but the flavours were good. However, those who dislike foam should avoid this since 75% of it is literally foam. However, I enjoyed it.
Hubby and I decided to share a mains and order two side dishes since we were planning to have macarons later. I was honestly disappointed with the presentation of this dish after seeing all those lovely photos on their website. And seriously, did they need to serve it with 5 condiments/sauces? This was highlighted as a chef's special but the pork belly was also too fat to enjoy properly and only 1 piece came with a crispy skin, despite it being called crispy pork belly (S$24). The pork has been braised for 48 hours.
We ordered a side of mushroom risotto (S$12) and foie gras poutine (S$16), both came very poorly presented. However the risotto was very delicious and perhaps one of the more tasty dishes we had here that afternoon. The poutine was a letdown, it was merely fries drizzled with some foie gras sauce and served with a miserable looking poached egg. I really did not enjoy it. (I see that they have now removed both of these items from the menu)
By now, I was feeling rather disappointed with the meal. I had been looking forward to it very much. Luckily the Varlhona Chocolate Test (S$20) saved the day. Varlhona chocolate of 5 different percentage of cocoa mass is served in 5 different ways, namely aerated mousse (Orizaba Lactee 33% cocoa), souffle (Equatoriale Noire 55% cocoa), sorbet (Alpaco 66% cocoa), warm custard (Araguani 72% cocoa) and dehydrated chocolate (Abinao 85% chocolate). The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less it tastes like "chocolate", does that make sense? Anyway it was certainly interesting tasting all the different flavours and textures, and I especially love the mousse, souffle and sorbet. I wouldn't mind having this again.
Aerated mousse - with those little chocolate popping balls
Souffle - yummy
I'm happy again :)
Nice bar on the other side
Here are some photos taken outside the National Museum of Singapore:
Nice roof /ceiling inside the museum
I believe National Museum of Singapore is a popular place for pre-wedding photos.
National Museum of Singapore is located right next to Fort Canning, the most historic place in Singapore.
Look, there is an elevator in the park!
*Note: Having just checked their menu online, it looks like they have revised their brunch menu, the items are different from the ones we were offered at that time.
Verdict: The restaurant has a nice ambiance but the food wasn't that great, considering the meal's price is equivalent to lunch at Cilantro KL.
Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here.
Price: Total bill S$117.70.
Location: Novus Restaurant & Bar, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, #01-02, Singapore 178897
Tel: +65 6336 8770
Nearest MRT: Dhoby Ghaut
*All photos taken with iPhone4S.