In one of my earlier entries, I wrote about a pleasant dining experience I had during a wedding dinner at Halia @ Raffles Hotel. Today, I’m pleased to share yet another delicious banquet and dinner option. The quality of the steak served during dinner was a bonus for me, since it allowed my hunt for the best steak in Singapore to continue while still being a part of my friends’ special day.
Aura is a brilliant looking restaurant that serves classic Italian cuisine in an elegant setting. According to them, inspiration is borrowed from Italy’s homely recipes and generous flavours. They have an impressive number of dishes but what really takes the diner’s breath away has to be the view from their Sky Lounge. This remarkable section creates a warm (literally as well, since it’s Singapore) and pleasant setting for brunches in the day, before turning into a viewing platform after 5pm, where patrons can admire the spectacular night view of our city while sipping on freshly made cocktails.
Right then, on to the food.
Not surprisingly, I chose the Beef Sirloin with Red Wine Sauce over the fish option. The steak was a tender, juicy sirloin that was pan fried to a lovely colour. Flavours were superb and I was just enjoying one bite after another. Might have been smiling to myself too…hmm. The bed of creamy mash potatoes was light enough to go with every piece of the meat without masking it’s texture or taste.
One thing I have to highlight was that the steak was cooked to a perfect medium. Considering that it was prepared en masse, I found this truly impressive. There are steakhouses that can’t get the done-ness right even on quiet nights, let alone during a banquet. So a firm pat on the back for the chefs that night.
Since I try to be as objective as possible during my reviews, I tasted the vegetables as well. Surprisingly enough, they seemed to have been prepared for carnivores because I actually found them edible. Even the Brussels sprout and onion was not too bad and considering that I detest them, this was a momentous milestone in the making.
For starters, we had Sunchoke Cream with Porchini Mushrooms. This is the first time I’ve tried sunchoke (aka Jerusalem Artichoke) in any form and if this is what artichoke tastes like, then serve it to me any day of the week. The soup had a smoky aroma…so I’m guessing that the artichoke was roasted before being incorporated into the dish. Taste wise, it was light yet tasty. The croutons and mushrooms provided for a nice balance of contrasting textures.
As we moved on to the appetiser, Trofie Pasta with Lobster Bolognese, I was once again greeted with delicate and fresh flavours. The pasta was cooked just right, with it being just firm enough. As for the bolognese, the tomato’s essence was certainly there and it went very well with the pasta. The lobster flavour wasn’t too obvious though.
I would have preferred pasta options like linguine, fettucine or simple spaghetti. Trofie just doesn’t provide that wholesome mouthfuls I associate homely pastas with. But I guess being an elegant setting and all, Trofie pasta helps avoid a potentially ‘messy’ meal.
When dessert arrived, a dining companion commented on how good the Hazelnut Feuillantine looked and I couldn’t agree more. What’s better is that it tasted as good as it looked. The initial layer was smooth and delicate chocolate mousse, with a touch of coffee (if I’m not mistaken). As for the next few layers, I think they consisted of a dark chocolate ganache, some sort of nougat crumble and sponge cake.
The accompaniment was what I assumed to be brandied cherries and chocolate dirt. A nice salty and tangy addition to the dessert, but I preferred indulging in the Feuillantine by itself.
I could tell that the pastry chef’s skills were well-honed, since the beautiful product held its shape right to the end, while still remaining soft enough for satisfying consumption. Definitely the perfect end to a lovely meal.
I have to applaud Aura’s banquet management, with all the food served on time and at the right temperature. And when you throw in the clean and crisp plating, you know that these guys are highly experienced in handling crowds. If this is the standard of their food during a banquet, I can imagine that their a la carte dishes promise to be a delightful experience.
Like the quality of food, the service was above average. Most servers were prompt and swift, without being too intrusive. The ambience was very comfortable which I found surprising since I’m not very comfortable with posh settings. Maybe it’s because I was in the company of familiar people, but I think it’s partly how they did the decor.
Should You Try It?
Yes for both a wedding venue and dinner destination. I’m confident that a la carte dining here will make for a memorable meal. It would make a great choice for romantic dates, catch up dinners and even drinks with the regular drinking kakis. To fellow meat lovers, please try their steak!
1 St. Andrews Road
#05-03/ #06-02 National Gallery Singapore
Mon – Sun: 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm (Lunch)
Mon – Sun: 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm (Dinner)
Mon – Sun: 11:30 am to 1:00 am
Tel: +65 6710 7804
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