Some things do come better with age. Dry-aged beef, is what I'm inferring to, which is also the star of Opus Bar & Grill at Hilton Hotel Singapore. Many may perceived restaurants in hotels to be less exciting than what we have today, perhaps due to their strong corporate identities. However, Opus Bar & Grill identifies itself strongly to us as an independent restaurant with something more to offer than what its predecessor Checkers Brasserie used to be. It continues to provide hearty buffets by day, however, by night, it will close its specially designed dividers to form a more cosy and intimate dining space. The tables for the buffet are also customised to be used as tables for food preparation.
Using a specially commissioned Himalayan salt tile cabinet and charcoals, the Opus culinary team seeks to deliver some of the best meats that you might ever tasted in Singapore. The fresh, marbleized meats are aged between 14 and 36 days to create a rich depth of flavour. 'Letting quality ingredients speak for themselves' is the philosophy behind Opus, which is reflected by their adoption of simple cooking techniques combined with the purity of grilling.
Onion Cheese Bread 4/5
To get our engine started, we were first served a warm Onion Cheese Bread. Sweet & savoury works for me always, which is why I even kept some aside to accompany my dinner throughout.
Hokkaido Scallops 4/5
For starters, we have the recommended Hokkaido Scallops ($22.00) and Tartar of Bluefin Tuna ($17.00). The fresh green colour somehow eased my tired eyes. The edamame puree was smooth and its delicate taste balanced that of the smokey-savoury blood sausage. As tiny as the blood sausage may seem, it imparted whole of flavour to the scallop.
Tartar of Bluefin Tuna 4/5
Tuna Tartar has always been my favourite and theirs just affirm my liking for this dish. Fatty and creamy with abit of zest, I could easily wipe the plate clean.
Halloumi with Eggplant and Squash 3.5/5
King Prawn Skewer 2.8/5
With charcoal grills, there is skewers. We had 2 of them, Halloumi ($16.00/$22.00) and King Prawn skewer ($20.00/$30.00). Halloumi a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese. Due to its high melting point, it is very suitable for grilling. It looks like Dougan, doesn't it? But it is much firmer, with a rubbery texture. It is mild and a little savoury which I quite like. I can imagine having it with something sweet and crunchy, rather than grilled eggplants and squash. The latter pales in comparison to Halloumi for its lack of novelty and average taste. The green chilli at the side, however, manages to up the taste by a notch.
Himalayan Salt Dry-Aged OP Rib 800g 4/5
The mains was the reason behind all the wait. What are on the menu is a premium selection of hand-selected Australian Prime Cuts of marble score 4 to 6. Sitting on top of the list is their Opus signature Himalayan Salt Dry-Aged OP Rib ($110 for 2 pax), the slab of meat that people come for. Juicy, bloody you called it, there are people who just love it. OP rib, even before it is being dry-aged, is known for its intense flavour and richness. After being dry-aged, it is even more so. Aging harnesses the microbes and enzymes present in the meat itself to behave in a certain manner, giving you a steak that is more tender, coupled with a more intensified flavour due to loss of water. In particular, the steak will gain a 'blue cheese characteristic'. Given my untrained palate, I miss out on that. Hence, do take an extra second to savour its taste.
Australian Tajima Wagyu, 220g Sirloin 4/5
For something more ladylike, you can opt for Tajima Wagyu ($88.00). It is still flavourful and fatty, and give you more spaces to try the rest.
A few personal touches to note from the Team. Customers get to choose their respective steak knife from the collection, according to the color of the handle that caught their eyes. It was quite a delight when I was approached with their collection. 3 different types of salt were given, and a list of sauces to choose from. The recommended ones are Bone marrow with red wine sauce, as well as Black truffle & mushroom sauce.
Smoke Risotto, Leek & Pecorino 3.8/5
We also had a few sides to accompany our steaks. What I find more interesting is their Smoke Risotto, Leek & Pecorino ($6.00). It is one of the most mildly flavoured risotto I have tried, akin to a thick white porridge but grainier and creamier. Half of it was gone, fast.
36-hours Pork Belly 2.5/5
36-hours Pork Belly ($36.00) is one of their new hot items. It came elegantly glazed and garnished with pickled beets and I couldn't wait to dig my fork into its tender fats-flesh. However, what really happened was that my fork couldn't seem to find an opening to penetrate it. It seems that all the fats and muscles had seized up to form a wall. A pity.
Glacier 51 Toothfish Fillet 4.2/5
Their Toothfish Fillet ($49.00) picked me up from my disappointment with my highly anticipated pork belly. High in fat, this particular fish boosts rich flavour and sweetness, which is well complimented by the savoury dashi and the sweet-smokey leeks. The charred broccoli nuances the dish with its hints of bitterness and crunchy texture. You will enjoy this dish even more, knowing that it was sustainably caught. The same goes to a few other seafood dishes as labelled in the menu. Opus prides itself for being environmentally friendly having achieved the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)'s Chain of custody certification prior to opening.
Charcoal Grilled Banana with Smoked Salted Caramel, Coconut & Calamasi Ice Cream 4.2/5
Do leave space for their signature desserts - Charcoal Grilled Banana and Grilled Honey Pineapple dessert ($12.00 each).
Charcoal Grilled Banana was better than expected. I appreciate the fact that the banana was caramelised with its skin attached, hence retaining its firmness. Given its mealy texture and savoury sweetness with the salted caramel, pairing it with sweet and sour coconut ice cream couldn't have been a much better choice.
Grilled Honey Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream, crumble & Rum Sauce 4.5/5
You can see the excitement in my eyes when I heard about their Charcoal Grilled Honey Pineapple. I first got acquainted with it when I was at FYR. Served as a juice, the smokey sweet taste of the pineapple acquires the taste of a rainforest. As for this, coupled with homemade vanilla ice cream and crumble, this is a much more luscious version of your usual apple crumble.
From 18 Jan to 31 Mar, enjoy special beverage offers with any order of Opus Beef Selection (Prime Cuts from $58++ only). Free flow of sparkling, white & red wines from 7pm to 9pm (Mon to Thu), 50% off on wine by the bottle (Fri to Sun).
Nature has a lot to share, so long we know how to harness it in a responsible way. Basic ingredients can form fine dishes, so long they are in good hands. That is what I see in Opus.
Photograph and written by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.
Opus Bar & Grill
Hilton Hotel Singapore
581 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 67303390
Nearest MRT: Orchard (NS Line)
Daily: 630pm - 1030pm
1) Alight at Orchard MRT station. Take Exit E. Walk towards Wheelock Place via ION. Exit Wheelock Place and turn left towards Liat Tower. Continue walking along Orchard Road. Journey time is about 8 minutes. [Map]