13 March 2012
Buyan, Russian Fare…….Singapore
“Game for Russian Fare?” my epicurean-friend approached me. “Why not?” I replied her spontaneously. And Buyan, here we come:
Perched on 9/10 Duxton Hill, Singapore; two quaint colonial-era shophouses integrated into one beautiful Buyan, a Russian-owned restaurant where you can experience 4 intriguing dining concepts.
A bar counter serving over 50 variants of Vodka, Russian Beer, Russian Champagne and more. Not forgetting, Caviar, a delicacy of Russian Cuisine which is not to be missed out either. A small section here is reserved for casual dining.
Private Dining Room (Ground Floor)
A 20-seater across a 7.5m long Chef’s Table is open for private booking. This exclusive room is also the only section overlooking the main kitchen where you can watch the chefs perform their culinary stunners. Also storage to the world’s oldest champagne, 1841 Veuve Clicquot which costs €30,000 and an impressive few-million-worth of wine collection that will make any wine connoisseur lust after: 1821Chateau-Chalon Vin Jaune, 1854 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1859Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1877 Chateau Margaux, 1907 Heidsieck & Co, to name a few.
Fine Dining (2nd Floor)
Frescoes adorn the walls to ceilings mythically, giving me the vibe ofBuyan, which is named after a mysterious island in Russian folklore that has the magical powers of appearing and disappearing in the ocean.
The design concept behind is set to emulate a Russian Monastery’s canteen which explains the bench-like chairs, candelabras, oil paintings & pseudo stained-glass windows.
Seated not long, my epicurean-friend pointed out the top right-side of my robust, woody chair. A good idea for patrons to hang their pocketbooks! We are given iPad menus to look at the 'actual dishes', with short descriptions for some. So far, as to my knowledge, Buyanis the first and only restaurant in Singapore to serve iPad menus. I applaud their hi-tech move in the local dining scene.
Cutlery is uniquely designed; I simply love their curvy forms!
Even the toilet’s tap is specially retrofitted to give you the mythical vibe.
Waitstaff are attentive and caring. During my course of dining, I saw the bartender helping a lady-diner who is feeling cold to put on a Russian shawl.
Mors – A traditional Russian thirst-quencher made from a wholesome bunch of smashed and strained berries: cloudberry, cranberry & lingonberry. Refreshing and ‘berrylicious!’
My epicurean-friend pops open a bottle of Abrau Durso Champagneand offers me a few glasses. A remarkable, well-flavored Russian sparkling wine that ends with a sprightly, fruity note.
Caviar Platter – Renowned as ‘Treasures of the Black Sea’; only a mother-of-pearl spoon is fitted to scoop these tiny black gems onto the Blinis, thin pancakes (crepe-like) to avoid tainting the natural flavor. The caviar on its own tastes piscine. But when you spread some onto a blini, sprinkle a bit of finely-chopped onions, chives, scrambled eggs, drizzle atop their sour-cream relish and start rolling like a cigar, you will find your palate on its way to caviar’s premium taste!
Borscht – A beetroot & cabbage soup with complements of Beef Strips; a good symphony of sweet and tart flavors contained in a velvety-smooth texture. Taste so moreish, that I wish my bowl is ‘The Magic Porridge Pot’.
Pelmeni – Dough pockets that resemble Chinese Dumplings, stuffed with minced beef and pork filling. Dough texture is on the thicker side and as I bite a mouthful, an undesirable unctuous gravy squirts out. I must say they are chewy and delectable though; however only if you are not health-conscious.
Beef Stroganoff – Sous vide (Slowed-cooked) tenderloin served with Isigny cream sauce and sautéed Chanterelle mushroom. The beef is succulent and the sauce taste more like Carbonara pasta sauce to me. The only problem I have or should I say ‘we have’ is, this dish tends to be too generous with the salty-flavor. The saltiness overpowers the beauty of this creation.
Chicken Kiev – Chicken breast pounded, breaded and fried. Mushroom sauce drizzled over it and comes with some sautéed potatoes & broccoli; a dish that has to be savored on the spot while it is crisp and blistering-hot.
Perhaps, both of us are too ambitious to drink and eat heartily at the same time. I have too much of a drink or drinks (Mors & Champagne), thus unable to enjoy better the latter courses. I will bring more epicureans my next round for better order-strategy.
Baked Apple - This lovely Afters comes at the right moment; a breaded green apple baked and drizzled with berry compote. Crisp and tartly-appetizing to conclude our Russian Fare for the evening!
In my humble opinion, Buyan truly deserves your patronage, especially if you aspire to be a gastronome!