Dining at Singaporean culinary institution Iggy’s in the Orchard Road shopping district has always been an experience since it came into being 12 years ago. Shortly after their long-awaited revamp, they’ve added another element to the restaurant that promises more great experiences to come: a pocket gastro bar that seats eight. Tucked away in a corner – this also enforces a more separate identity – away from the main dining room, the comforting, hearty dishes are deliberately priced to be more accessible to diners.
That said, you can trust that the food displays the same level of craft and is executed with the same finesse. If you’re also a vino lover, it’s quite difficult to say no to their red and white wine flights ($65-$95 for three glasses) – the best way to experience some of the best appellations found in the Burgundy wine region, from Iggy’s 25,000-bottle cellar, we reckon. There are also 18 wines available by the glass (ranging $19-$69 per glass), amongst which you’ll find vintages like the 2004 Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Duc ($25).
We start with a couple of Head Chef Aitor Orive’s signature appetisers, including a twist on the Pintxos (four pieces, $26) that features lightly pickled kohada, a seasonal Japanese fish similar to mackerel, and escalivada (roasted eggplant, capsicums and tomatoes, Catalan-style) on toast, and the luxurious, velvety Egg & Eggs (two pieces, $39). The latter is definitely a treat with four grams of Kaluga queen caviar topping a 63-degree Japanese egg and truffle potato espuma.
I’m usually not a fan of cold starters but I would order the Tomato Garden ($18), a simple dish that’s full of surprises since four different types of tomatoes are infused with and compressed in flavours like honey and apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar – and finished off with capers, cucumber sorbet and a tomato water snow. The theatrical snow can also be found in the Irish oyster Ceviche ($28). Tossed in a Peruvian fish and citrus-based marinade, the oysters are served with finger lime, shallots, silvers of pickled onion, coriander oil, and lime snow. Tart, creamy, and refreshing.
For something familiar but no less satisfying, go for the semi-cured Toriyama Wagyu tenderloin Carpaccio ($20), served with simple accompaniments of pickles, grated tomatoes, and crystal bread. The same can be said for the Capellini, which is cooked and tossed in lobster oil and kombu. The fragrant strands of pasta are then topped with a generous helping of crispy sakura ebi. Pastas at Iggy’s gastro bar are served in two sizes, which is great, as we recommend ordering both the capellini and the Bucatini (both $26/$34). The thicker, al dente pasta comes cladded with a slow-cooked oxtail that sees the inside of the braising pot for at least eight hours. The shavings of black winter truffles lift the dish with its earthy aroma.
If you don’t mind your hands getting a little messy, have a go at the Fish Tacos ($22), where Chef Aitor pays tribute to our unofficial national dish of sambal stingray with skate fish on a spinach corn tortilla accentuated with spicy sambal, coriander and lime. The other half of the pair presents more Mexican flavours with crunchy prickly pear, avocado mousse, and chipotle on a piece of Spanish mackerel tempura.
Our last main was the Cocotte ($24) a comforting, and wonderfully textural Spanish-style stew of beef tripe, Jamon Iberico, and blood sausages. Each piece of tripe is consistently soft and gelatinous – we guarantee you’ll lap up every bit of it with the slices of toasted bread on the side.
Basically, if you’ve never dined at the one Michelin-starred Iggy’s but you’re not ready to commit to a dinner in the main dining room, booking yourself a seat at the gastro bar is a good way to experience the world of culinary excellence and fine wine painstakingly built by founder Ignatius Chan over the last decade.
Iggy’s is located at Level 3, Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883, p. +65 6732 2234. Open Tue-Sat 12pm-1.30pm (last seating), 7pm-9.30pm (last seating). Closed Sun & Mon.