Samuel  Lim (Year 1) – Winner of Week 9

My family enjoyed a nice lunch at the restaurant at the NUS Guildhouse recently (apparently the restaurant is called The Dunearn 0.o). Thankfully we were directed to a table in the air-conditioned section of the restaurant, although I suppose the Al-fresco section would have offered a better view of the Botanic Gardens.

As can be seen in the menu, the restaurant offers $30 3-course and $35 4-course set lunches (the 4-course will spare you the agony of having to choose between the appetizer and soup. The set lunches, in addition to the appetizer/soup, main course and dessert, also include bread, a choice of coffee/tea, and a choice of wine/beer/free-flow fruit juice.

Bread: Firm but not tough, the bread was quite nice.

 

Appetizers: Warm Smoked salmon with champagne cream and caviar

The smoked salmon was a tad too salty but not overwhelmingly so, and had a good texture. The caviar was fun to eat although I honestly am in no position to judge the quality since I’ve hardly had any experience eating it. Overall, the sprout garnishing and the lotus chip helped balance the saltiness of the salmon and it was a pretty good appetizer.

 

Soup: Shimeiji Mushroom Miso

I went for the smoked salmon over the mushroom miso soup as I’ve never really been a fan of miso, but I did taste a bit of my Dad’s soup. IMO it had the typical flavors you find in miso soup although I suppose it was pretty interesting to mix the miso and the mushroom. I’d still go for the smoked salmon between the two though.

There was a third option for the appetizer/soup: warm squid and mesclun tower with pesto cream and cherry vine tomatoes. However, none of us went for this dish (I didn’t even know what a mesclun was) so I suppose you’ll have to hear from the other lucky winners how it tastes.

 

Main: Grilled Pork Loin with Raisin Salsa and Capsicum Sauce served with Chunky Potatoes

The pork was well-cooked, and the amount of fat accompanying the meat was at just the right amount that you could enjoy the wonderful taste and texture of the fat without feeling guilty about it. The sauce went well with the meat, and the raisins and potatoes were also great additions that made for a well-composed dish overall.

 

Main: Pan Seared Mullet and scallop glazed with peppery white wine cream

The fish was fresh, and the white wine cream that accompanied it was a perfect fit. The scallop was quite decent. Both the main courses came with little brussels sprouts that helped me feel healthier too, which was nice.

There was also a third option of vegetarian lasagna for the main course but I didn’t go for it as I wanted meat. But yeah just an option for all the vegetarians out there.

 

Dessert: Strawberry shortcake with Lychee Sorbet

The Sorbet was really refreshing, not overwhelmingly sweet, and went really well with some crumbly thingy that they had sprinkled on it. The strawberries were fresh and I had fun eating them spread with the chocolatey X you see on the plate. The cake was good, with a nice crunchy bottom layer as well as just the right proportion of cake and cream. However, I felt there was just a little too much cake at that point as I was already feeling pretty full from the appetizers and the main. Though I suppose I should hardly be complaining about the restaurant giving too much food.

 

Guava Juice

 The Guava Juice was free-flow throughout the meal and really fresh and enjoyable. I didn’t try the wine or the beer there.

 The service at the Restaurant was both prompt and attentive. If I had to nitpick though, I suppose they could have done more to explain the menu.

In conclusion, The Dunearn serves relatively affordable and value-for-money set lunches, with the free-flow drinks a great icing on the cake. It also helps that students are exempt from service tax. The food was definitely above average for its range, and was good in terms of quality and quantity. The sets are also kept varied and interesting (they change every month). I would definitely consider returning to try their other options. Thanks for the meal, Justified and NUS Guildhouse!