Sometimes, it really does pay off being a passenger.
I’m normally the guy who’s picking the restaurants when dining; it’s not really a problem though, since I love making recommendations on great places to eat. But it does mean that my dining choices are fairly limited to places I know and/or cuisine options that I’m comfortable with – French 🙂
I was catching up with a new business colleague and his PA had selected the location, which truth be told I didn’t know existed, nor would I have chosen if I did…
Boy, was I glad I wasn’t in control this time, I’d have missed out on a simple, delicious and relatively cheap meal.
The selection was Glasshouse over at IFC. This option came as a surprise to me, not only because I’d not heard of it before, but also because of its location at IFC. I didn’t even know there was a 4th Floor dining area! I was quite taken aback by the superb views of the harbour and TST as I stepped out of the elevator and found myself looking for a spacious and modern looking restaurant.
As you’d expect with a place called the Glasshouse, the restaurant was predominantly made of glass and was super light and bright. Adding to its name, there was an abundance of hanging plants and greenery, that seamlessly integrated into the very modern looking dining room and open style kitchen. I could definitely see the inspiration for the name and felt immediately comfortable.
Once we were seated and menus provided, an element of doubt entered my mind; which showed how disconnected from mid-priced dining I’d become… The menu was made up of descriptions of the courses, as well as photos of each item and an associated ‘number’ – something I normally associate with cheap and cheerful places where not much English is spoken.
Aside from the fact that I could see what we were choosing, the style of the menu was very much Asian cuisine with a Western twist – more so, each of the photos made the food look eminently desirable and quite tasty! With a heap of options to choose from, you could say that I went with relatively safe options for my starter and main; but remember, I was still a little dubious in the way the menu was presented….
Which was dispelled the moment my bacon wrapped scallops with shrimp samble sauce and prawn chips was presented. With a simple presentation that highlighted the perfect sear on the scallops, not to mention the juicy looking seared bacon, I was literally salivating at the prospect of jumping in! Oh my, the perfectly cooked scallops were moist but springy and the caramelisation was delicious; but what made the dish was the wonderful balance provided by the salty bacon and the sweet scallop flesh. Each skewer was presented with two scallops, so I had four all up (but could have easily eaten ten or twenty)
Thankfully, I skipped dipping the scallops in the samble sauce, which when I tried after I’d finished, was so hot that it would have killed the subtle taste of the dish.
My dining companion on the day selected the tuna salad with butter lettuce and anchovy with a homemade dressing; it was really a tuna Nicoise salad with a twist. The fresh looking salad had lightly seared tuna, but instead of the typical olive and potato that came with a nicoise, there was a bean and corn salsa; adding an unusual twist to the flavours.
While there was a huge selection of interesting looking twists on your generic Asian cuisine for mains, we both selected the same item for our main, and we were both super happy with our choice!
The steak sandwich Korean style looked just like a typical steak sanga to me, but instead of toast the simple ingredients of juicy tender steak, tomato, cos lettuce and pickles came presented in a flat roll. Served with the steak sandwich was a handful of rough cut, skin on chips, which were suitably golden, crunchy and delicious. However, the main story was the steak sanga; there was a subtle bite to the steak, which was incredibly tender, as well as an overarching feeling of freshness from the included salad. It was a really good bite and I definitely enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
We skipped desserts though, I had to get back to work and didn’t have the luxury of hanging around for a sweet finish to the meal. Perhaps another time….
That there will be another time is without doubt…. The Gaia group of restaurants has a total winner on its hand with the Greenhouse. There was a feeling of indulgence that came from the premium produce that had been sourced both regionally and globally; and for the price, it was a total bargain to boot!
It was a shame that I couldn’t linger, I felt really comfortable in the open plan dining room, with its clean lines, high ceiling and open views of the harbour, it was a place that I could have lingered over the tasty food all afternoon.
No doubt, if I’d have stayed, there may have been another dozen or so of those sensational bacon wrapped scallops accompanying me…
Never had I been so happy to have been a passenger in the selection of a lunch spot!