Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
The indomitable Travelling Gourmet finds ‘The Sleeping Rhino’ but not in darkest Africa…
MODELEG (modern elegant) casual dining with comfort food in generous portions is what smart diners enjoy in…wait for it…”The Sleeping Rhino”. I reviewed this restaurant before its reincarnation, when it was haute cuisine LUCAS. Here, clear Glass ‘Curtain’ walls look out onto Cantonment Street, and the spiky silver Durian-like chandelier over the buffet table is still there. This Rhinoceros is not in Africa but is in Klapsons, one of my favourite quirky and trendy boutique hotels in the Central Business District.
When you partake of “The Rhino’s Grazing Ground” you’ll relish an eclectic Salad of jade green Avocado slices, sour Mango, crisp, crunchy blanched Prawn with Cress Shisho plus Lettuce all caressed with tangy Balsamico.
There is also a piping hot Mushroom broth made with Portobello and mixed mushrooms. It has a pleasing velvety texture and is served drizzled with sour cream.
You may wish to “Browse Beyond The Greens” and sample a modern take on classic Beijing Kao Ya. Lean Duck Breast Wrap with sweet savoury Hoisiun Sauce, cucumber, carrot & lettuce and served with a Plum Sauce dip.
“The Main Forage”
J’adore the Macadamia-Crusted Salmon Fillet. A very generous slice 50mm thick of prime salmon with an addictive crunchy crust plus al dente carrot batons tied up with a bacon rasher, potato, sweet broccolini, babay onion and light Lemon Butter Sauce. Broccolini is actually a cross between Broccoli and Kai-Lan. The salmon was cooked just right, and therefore was not dry but moist and tasty.
Ham it up!
Chef’s Secret Sauce being poured by my charming companion, B
The titanic slab of Double Coated Pork Rib as big as the Rak porcelain plate (made in UAE) brought back fond memories of Hurricane’s Grill in Sydney. Fall off the bone sweet-savoury tender meat combined with a spicy edged Chef’s secret Barbeque Sauce. Mmmm…I tasted some red wine there, and it was reminiscent of Cajun hot sauce from New Orleans. Cherry tomatoes, baby squash, green capsicum ‘paysanne’ and carrot batons were healthy accompaniments. With it I sipped my “Tough Hide” cocktail concocted with Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Triple-Sec and the tang of Lemonade for that prickly texture on the palate. The innocent bluish-green colour belies its potency. A few glasses of this and you’ll become a charging rhino! The simple garnish of a half slice of lemon needs improving…with perhaps a Maraschino or two for colour.
There are just 3 desserts but you have to be a gourmand to want more after the big portions for the mains and starters. The Travelling Gourmet always says, “A gourmand is a glutton BUT a gourmet is someone who appreciates good food and wine, but not necessarily in huge quantities.” Banana Chocolate Cake with Rum Sauce is very chocolatey and not too sweet , which is good. However, it needs more mashed banana for texture and to balance the chocolate, and more rum in the sauce.
Have a ball or two…
After dinner CHILL-Out at FABRIKA! This open air Sky-Bar has a live band and Chivas 18 year old mixers like Whisky Sour which has a good balance of acids, and the lovely smoky peaty aftertaste of premium whisky. It reminded me of when I toured all the top Whisky Distilleries in the Scottish Highlands.
I must recommend their unique cocktails made WITHOUT ice so there is no dilution. Instead I had Absolut Vodka in a shooter glass and a big tumbler of 3 frozen balls of orange juice and 3 frozen globes of cranberry juice. Pour in the Vodka and…as it melds with the frozen juices, the taste of the interactive cocktail changes from a primarily strong alcohol flavour to… a more fruit forward beverage as the Cranberry and Orange balls melt sexily…
You won’t fall asleep at ‘The Sleeping Rhino’ but it will awaken your tastebuds…
The Sleeping Rhino (ground floor)
Fabrika (Level 17)
Klapsons the Boutique Hotel
15, Hoe Chiang Road
Tel: 6521 9030
Hours: Lunch 12noon to 2.30pm
Dinner: 7pm to 10.30pm