Al fresco dining is often not as popular amongst us locals in Singapore but if there's one place I have to choose, it has to be the redesigned Pool Grill on Level Five of the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. I stayed at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel last year during the Christmas season and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of accommodation - particularly 4 hours of unlimited alcohol in the evening. During my latest stay in one of the beautifully-appointed Pool Terraces, I decided to drop by the Pool Grill since it has a brand new à la carte, brunch and set menus.
SET LUNCH EXPERIENCE
Even though it was a rather warm afternoon, I really wanted to sit by the tables near the pool as it was one of those rare few afternoons where the city wasn't shrouded in eternal hazy death. The Pool Grill offers a really value for money Set Lunch (S$33++) from Mondays to Saturdays from 11AM to 3PM and this includes a choice of starter, main, dessert and complimentary iced teas and hot beverages. Since I was there with a friend, I also made use of the opportunity to try out some of the dishes from the new à la carte menu.
To beat the sweltering heat, I started off with a glass or two of the signature Iced Lychee Tea - if you do not like your tea sweetened, be sure to let the staff know before they add the sugar syrup in. While it wasn't a busy afternoon, the food did however take some time to come so do take that into consideration (especially if you are in a rush!).
The Set Lunch menu changes on a weekly basis so chances are you are not going to see the dishes featured here when you visit. For just S$33++. the Set Lunch as I have mentioned before, is really a great deal. I chose the Deep Fried Prawn, Parma Ham, Celeriac, Apple as my starter and while it wasn't at all substantial, the execution was excellent. I love the light batter on the fresh prawn and the saltiness of the parma ham complemented the naturally sweet flavours of the crustacean. Apart from the dish being beautifully presented, I also liked the sharpness and tartness from the celeriac and apple.
My choice of main was perfectly executed and because of this, I looked at the possibility of getting a Club Marriott membership (which gives you up to 50% off your dining bills). Visually, the Pan-fried Seabass, Broccollini, Shimeji, Mash, Parsley, Black Olive was stunning. The fish was seasoned (on skin) and then cooked to perfection - moist, firm and succulent. The firmness of the luscious flesh went well with the smooth and consistent mash underneath while the Shimeji mushrooms provided a little bit of bite. This dish alone is already well worth the S$33++ price tag.
For dessert, as part of the Set Lunch, I chose the Chocolate Antilles Tart with Salted Caramel Sauce. I did find the chocolate tart to be a little too sweet for my liking but since I do not generally enjoy desserts, it may actually be just fine for other diners. The dessert component is possibly the weakest link in the whole Set Lunch experience but honestly, you're not going to get anything remotely good for this price in Orchard. Also, do note that the Set Lunches are excluded from any discounts and promotions (including Club Marriott benefits).
À LA CARTE MENU EXPERIENCE
I also picked out a couple of interesting dishes from the new à la carte menu. First up, the Pan-fried Duck Foie Gras (S$28++) was served with an apricot comfiture, toasted pistachio and vincotto. The dishes here all seem to be amazingly stunning - even this duck foie has been given so many dimensions by simply plating.
The Wild Mushroom Soup (S$14.50++) which is served with shaved truffle is one of my favourite soups here - it's hearty and unpretentious.
Finally, the decision to go for Pool Grill's signature Seared Lamb Loin (S$46++) was an excellent one. Inspired by a traditional Wellington, the lamb loins are extremely delicious. Like all other dishes that are served here, it is stunning in terms of looks and flavours. I love the slightly charred sides and the seat of the meat. If you are usually put off by the strong gamey smell of lamb, you will not have to deal with this here. The only issue I have with this dish is the price - at S$46++ it can be rather costly for a serving like this but the flavours cannot be faulted in any single way. I love the taste of anise in the sauce and the different components of the dish that make it whole. With that being said, if you do hold an American Express Platinum Credit, Charge or Centurion Card, you can enjoy up to 50% off the à la carte menu.
The Pool Grill at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel definitely took me by surprise (especially with its wallet-friendly lunch menu prices and superior location). If you are looking for a lazy afternoon or evening, give the Pool Grill a go - just remember to bring along some weekend reads with you (or choose from a selection of international papers there).