The Vineyard Hortpark Restaurant is nestled amidst the tranquil and beautiful greens of Singapore’s Southern Ridges. With both alfresco and air-conditioned dining area overlooking a large pond and luscious greenery outside the restaurant, this place is also the perfect venue for weddings.
As you enter the restaurant, you will be greeted with shelves of bottles of wine. Then you walk into a cosy, bright, rustic and charming place with huge wooden tables. Tables say a lot about a restaurant. For me, the smaller the table, the faster I will move out of the place. The bigger the table, the longer I would stay with my friends. Somehow, large tables give you that communal feeling of bonding and sharing over food.
The Restaurant Manager, Christian greeted us warmly and offered us a seat by the window overlooking the park. I could imagine how beautiful and romantic this place will be at sunset. I went through the menu and found an interesting mix of French and Italian dishes. Christian enthusiastically shared with me that the restaurant practices the garden to table concept where possible.
They use herbs grown in their own backyard, they purchase seasonal vegetables and other ingredients. Hence they change their menu often. They also use locally sourced ingredients like bull frogs and fish from farms in Singapore. Seasonal ingredients are less expensive than off seasons. Personally, I feel that a restaurant’s kitchen and front staff won’t get bored preparing or recommending the same dishes repeatedly. Customers would then come back often to see what’s new in the menu.
We ordered several dishes and after the complimentary warm rolls with olive oil and balsamic dip, came the Crispy Battered Mushrooms served with Garlic Aioli. The meaty, button mushrooms were seriously crispy on the outside, juicy inside and ridiculously tasty. The garlic aioli could have been more garlicky for me, but the battered mushrooms did not need anything else to boost the taste – they were just perfect and irresistibly moreish.
Next came the impressive Vineyard Charcuterie Platter. It was enough to serve four persons. Duck Rillette, Aged Prosciutto Ham, Spicy Chorizo and Truffle Cream Brie Cheese were served with vine tomatoes, dried apricots, green grapes, gherkin, pickled onion and wholemeal bread slices. The mouthwatering spread had a variety of contrasting flavors and textures, for example the duck rillette had a lush texture and a fantastically rich and savory flavor. It was perfect when eaten with the bread slice.
The Grilled Caesar Salad was a medley of smoked chicken breast slices, charred Romain lettuce, bacon bits, garlic croutons, boiled quail’s eggs, cherry tomato halves and shaved Parmesan cheese dressed with anchovy dressing. I was a bit disappointed with this dish. I did not savor that touch of smoky flavor from the charred lettuce though it was not even crunchy inside. I think it deserved another minute of very hot grill time. The dressing was not garlicky, smoky, salty and lemony as it should have been and was too much.
I tasted the highly recommended Signature Farmed Poulet that my companion ordered. Poulet is “chicken” in French. It was a brined chicken leg on a bed of mashed potato, mushroom ragout and roasted zucchini and carrot slices. Below the beautiful hue of the flavorful sauce that covered the roasted chicken was the crispy skin. The meat was tender and moist.
I ordered the Seafood Bouillabaisse (pronounced booyahbase) a classic Provençal seafood stew from the French port city of Marseilles. At the Vineyard, the bouillabaisse had fresh scallops, fish, prawns, mussels and baked baby potatoes and the waiter, poured the soup at the table. The soup was robust with umami from the stock and the seafood used. Unfortunately, I could not finish all as I had to keep space for the dessert.
We ordered two desserts to share. The delicately sweet and impressive Vanilla Panna Cotta with tangy jam, mango gel, cut strawberries and kiwi fruit and crushed popcorn not only looked pretty but also tasted so good with the contrasting taste of the fruits. It quivered when I spooned it out of the glass, and I quivered at that sight. Not many places have even an almost perfect panna cotta.
Waiting in line was the signature dessert, Italian Tiramisu made with Bailey Mascarpone Cream and layered with Kahlua Espresso Soaked Sponge and dusted with finely grated rich chocolate and all these decadent stuff in a jar. Two great liqueurs to make one generous portion of luxurious, decadent dessert!
I had a short chat with Chef Immanuel Tee, the Executive Chef of the multi-concept group Creative Eateries. Looking still like a fresh graduate, thirty-one-year-old, soft spoken Chef Immanuel once owned a few restaurants before he joined the Vineyard. One can clearly see his passion through the dishes that are showcased in the Vineyard’s menu.
The restaurant has a few dishes that are suitable for vegetarians and diabetics. You can ask the staff to check to see if the kitchen can modify a vegetarian menu for you. With a fully stocked bar of beers, ciders and an extensive wine list of over 100 labels, the Vineyard will also please thirsty patrons of every taste. The restaurant has weekend brunch items and menu for kids too.
My meal was complimentary and the views expressed are my own.
Vineyard @ Hort Park
33 Hyderabad Road Road
#02-02 Hort Park
Tel: +65 6884 6884
Mondays – Fridays 1200 to 1500, 1800 to 2200
Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays 1100 to 1500, 1800 to 2200