With a hectic sleepless week behind me, I decided that today was the day for some much needed respite. A good meal and a glass of bubbly was just the thing to do the trick. And Bistro Soori was the place.

Stepping into Bistro Soori, I immediately fell in love with the place. It was my kinda place. The decor boasts of artistic thought – black and cream furnishings set in a dark timbered interior amidst tastefully picked contemporary art. But I must rave about their kitchen. The kitchen takes on a snazzy open-concept; sleek, sophisticated, but yet it looks like you’re walking into someone’s kitchen. Though the area was pretty narrow, it looked neat and spacious with swanky equipment, tools and other cooking whatnots all fitting into their own nifty areas. Classy and homely: an epitome of what my dream kitchen will look like in the future!

We, of course, jumped at the chance to sit at the bar counter to watch the chefs in action. Sauces and soups bubbling over the electric stoves. Chefs plating up, putting the final pretty finishing touches. Everything working like clockwork.

Bistro Soori’s set lunch at $39++, comes with an espresso cup of soup and 3 courses of your choice, presenting us a pleasant problem choosing from the menu that had too many dishes that sound yummy. Asked executive chef Benjamin McBridge for recommendation and he said ‘Well, everything’s nice of course!’. A chef that’s proud of his creations, good sign of good things to come.

Indeed they were.

Duck Rillette, Gherkin, Tarragon Dijon – A generous mound of smooth rillette, with gerkin and pickled onion condiments, Dijon mustard and garlic butter baguette to construct your own rillette sandwich. I’m not a fan of rillettes. The City Nomad thought it was decent, but flavours slightly too mild.

The soup of the day was Cream of Tomato Soup. We were very very impressed with the soup. You could tell the ingredients were fresh, the natural flavours of tomatoes shine through. Definitely not something out of a can. The perfect balance between creamy and tangy, the portion was just right to leave us smacking our lips in satisfaction.

Scallop, Pistachio, Arugula, Truffle, Pear Vinegar Gelee.– The scallops were amazing. They must have been the freshest tasting scallops I’ve ever had, sweet and succulent, the texture was firm yet melt-in-your-mouth. The pistachio pesto had a slight burnt and bitter taste to it. It was relatively nice on its own, but perhaps overwhelmed the delicacy of the scallops a little. I think it’d have been nice if the pistachios were simply toasted, chopped and sprinkled over to give the dish some texture. But still, a fantastic starter.

Fish Of The Day, Fennel, Tamarind, Thai Basil – Pan-seared butterfish – this was ordered based on chef’s recommendation. Advice to all: when the chef raves over a dish, you’d better be ordering it. I’m glad I did because this was the best of the best today. Every element of the dish worked together: the butteriness of the fish, the nuttiness of the roasted fennel, the zing from the thai basil and the sauce. Oh my, the sauce. The sauce was extraordinary. It was so luscious, so velvety, and yet not too rich; made with tomatoes, tamarind, white wine and other stuff. I don’t know, I was too distracted to pay attention to chef’s explanation.  It was silky smooth like butter on the inside. This is going into my mental list of ‘best dishes I’ve ever had’.  It’s that good.

Braised Short Ribs, Polenta, Salad – The arrival of this dish caused a little bit of excitement.  Braised for 12 hours and seared in its own fat, the meat was gorgeously deep brown and had a deep smoky aroma that made our mouths water. Deliciously caramelized on the outside, the beef was fork-tender as it should be. However, I thought it was not as juicy as it could be. A shame, this dish would have been a winner. The star, surprisingly, was the polenta mash. Wonderfully creamy yet grainy texture, subtly scented with fresh herbs, Chef Benjamin really knows how to make good polenta.

Dessert. Full, but never too full to pass up a good ol’ cheese platter. Chef’s selection of five cheeses was an unusual selection of cheese – Gruyere, Morbier, a herbed goat’s cheese, Epoisses and another French cheese whose name I couldn’t remember. A welcome change from the usual boring Brie/Camembert, Cheddar, Blue combi. The honey with truffle salt was a nice touch.

Chocolate Mousse, Fresh Berries. My personal belief that fruit and chocolate destroy each other, disallows me from giving an objective review of this dish. The City Nomad however, loved it. Thick and sweet but yet slightly bitter with hints of orange chocolate. Chef proudly attributes the successful execution of the dessert to his new sous chef.

We had a fantastic 4-course meal with a glass of decent Cava at Bistro Soori. Service was personal and friendly, and the atmosphere felt elegant without being stuffy. I will definitely be back. Good food, good company, with a little mealtime entertainment: who could ask for more?