Monday, November 7, 2016

Upper Place @ Wangz Hotel - European Small Plates with Asian Influences


Upper Place located at the roof top floor of WANGZ Hotel offers European small plates with Asian influences. This latest addition to the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood's bustling F&B scene is helmed by Chef Gregory Lau with more than 16 years of experience working in top-notch restaurants and hotels. The indoor area is rather small, sits up to only 26 guests. However, the simple furnishings makes it very comfortable. The 50-seater alfresco dining area, decorated with lush planters is just as conducive for a chill-out evening.

Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare Tart 4.2/5

Tuna tartare is one of my favourite all time appetisers and their Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare Tart ($14) goes beyond my expectation with a much different style of execution. The tuna was fatty and full of flavour in my mouth. The tangy avocado coulis gives a lift to its flavour while adding on to its creaminess. I like the textural contrast of the savoury tobiko, as well as the sweet, buttery and flaky pastry underneath, which itself is pretty tasty. The onion truffle compote sandwiched in between brings the details together. Indeed, it was like a garden full of mini delights, though some say it looks like our galaxy with the avocado coulis forming the milky way. What say you?

Lobster Kueh Pie Tee 4.2/5

Perhaps Chef is a gardener at heart, to be able to plant 3 pots of Lobster Kueh Pie Tee ($10) so elegantly on the rice bed. The smokey lobster chunks filling comes with tomato chipotle, which was complemented by the mango espuma atop, just like a mango salsa combination! I really enjoyed the 'fullness' of it as I find our usual kueh pie tee too airy - crispy shell with a few strands of shredded greens.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly Tacos 2.5/5

Slow Cooked Pork Belly Tacos ($10) was just as aesthetic. I could smelled its Thai-ness the moment it came. I was expecting the taste to be refreshing but the pork belly dressed in homemade barbecue sauce was too salty for my liking.

Short Ribs Congee, Veal Sweetbreads 4.5/5

I was told that Chef's Short Ribs Congee with Veal Sweetbreads ($17) is so good that he could possible open a congee shop. And I didn't expect it to be this good. The whiff of sesame oil exuding from the veal sweetbreads was comforting. An offal meat but these nuggets ain't intrusive, they add characters to the congee like cockles in laksa. Cooked with beef stock, the congee was smooth and flavourful but not beefy. I love the idea behind the short rib nest which is to replace the usual you tiao. The ribs cocooned in the crispy nest was tender and rich, and eating it with the egg lava adds on to the satisfaction. I even scooped out braised peanuts!

Reconstructed Laksa Risotto 4/5

Laksa is a popular local dish where chefs love to deconstruct it or fuse its characters into their dishes. Some failed terribly but Chef Gregory's Reconstructed Laksa Risotto ($27) revive the concept again. Using premium ingredients - Boston lobster, Hokkaido scallop, market catch (soft shell crab), which were both sweet and meaty, the tangy coconut foam dotted with laksa leaves somehow lit up my mind. The risotto was pearly and al dente, robust with laksa nuances.

Matcha Parfait 3/5

We end the evening with the Matcha Parfait ($8). Partnering with its soulmate, the red stew beans. What I find interesting is the drops of olive oil on the thin layer of black sesame coulis on top, which makes it even smoother while infusing a subtle flavour into it. It didn't delight me as much as the one from Sen of Japan though. The Vietnamese paper tuile also gives the dessert a funny aftertaste which I did not enjoy.


European or western dishes with Asian influences are not certainly not a new concept. In fact, rather overused at times. However I feel Chef Gregory is able to grasp the essence of it and execute it in his own words brilliantly. These fine food offerings are price tagged from as affordable as $8 onwards too. I do hope that Upper Place will be the next shining gem of Tiong Bahru.

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. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Upper Place
Wangz Hotel
Level R (Rooftop)
231 Outram Road
Singapore 169040
Tel: +65 65951380
Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru (EW Line), Outram (EW Line, NE Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 11am - 1030pm

1) Alight at Tiong Bahru MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to bus stop at Tiong Bahru Plaza (Stop ID 10169). Take bus number 33, 63 and 851. Alight at 2 stops later. Cross the road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Outram MRT station. Take Exit A. Cross the road towards Singapore General Hospital. Turn right and walk down Outram Road. Continue on Outram Road onto Tiong Bahru Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 15 minutes. [Map]

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