Went to the new place in Campbell shops tonight. ‘Lanterne Room’ was open for just its sixth sitting, replacing the venue ‘Chill’ once occupied, having opened last Saturday night.
The service was crisp and friendly, not over-bearing but very competent. The menu was narrow, though very engaging, and prices were about $17-18 entree, $25-28 main and for that very good value. Overall, my rating is ‘delicious!’ four stars (from five). The decor is very tasteful, with as many blends of different parts of Asia as the menu, but works very well. Tables nicely spaced so we didn’t feel crowded and word must have gone around already because the sitting was full.
In some more detail, four of us dined, bringing our own wine – though Lanterne Room is both licenced and BYO; I am assured the wine list is excellent, and with the guys from the excellent bottle-o setting it up, I’d expect no less – and a sumptuous and demanding choice for both entrees and mains. We went with three entrees, a half dozen oysters done with a light sauce and daikon, a whiting with fennel and carrot confit, and cripsy tofu and miso sauce with artichoke and aubergine – the tofu soft and delicious melting in my mouth. All three delightful and beautifully presented.
Mains saw us with black vinegar braised pork belly, a spicy galangal chicken and okra dish and I had a very Malaysian rice noodle cake marinara. I expected a crispy noodle cake but was offered a dish of slices of gelatinous rounds of noodle with prawns, fish, scallops and calamari in a deeply rich and yet delicate sauce – a delightful surprise and a texture you have to try!
The kitchen’s repetoire comprises about thirty dishes, of which about ten to twelve are offered at a time with the restaurant changing them every few days, so it will be worth revisiting. At the moment just two desserts were offered, an Indian cardamon and cinnamon ice and an outrageous tomato sorbet with goats cheese and a corriander drizzle. Apparently they toyed with adding anchovies to this as an entree but it was a divine and inventful palate cleansing and delicious dessert. The fruit of the tomato a novel and welcome treat.
Even the coffees were excellent – we four accrued a bil of about $250, so not too expensive but certainly not an every night affair. The staff were well drilled and friendly, the chef apparently has been working in Chairman and Yip’s kitchen working through the menu and it will be also open for lunches in a couple of weeks.