VENUE by Sebastian – Downtown Gallery

Opened to much attention is Venue by Sebastian, a new casual dining concept featuring contemporary European cuisine in Downtown Gallery situated along Shenton Way.

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Chef Sebastian Ng helms the kitchen at Venue by Sebastian, who used to head now-defunct Restaurant Ember. Venue by Sebastian is aimed to serve contemporary European cuisine in a slightly more casual dining environment as compared to the Restaurant Ember in the past. The interior features a largely white colour scheme with shades of grey and wooden accents to incorporate a clean, modern and contemporary feel that reflects the restaurant’s theme. Orders are made via an order chit, and the soft launch menu for lunch featured a variety of dishes from toast, sides, fritti and greens, meats and desserts alongside a comprehensive list of beverages from coffee and tea to various types of alcohol.

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(Whitebait, Chili Salt)

Being hungry, we decided to order the Whitebait from the fritti and greens section of the menu to snack on while waiting for the mains to arrive. These were pretty addictive — crisp, fried whitebait seasoned with chilli salt for a paprika-like flavour amidst the crispiness and saltiness; a side which we found ourselves snacking on irresistibly which was finished in no time.

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(Duck Confit, Truffle Emulsion, Frisee)

Our choice of main to share was the Duck Confit; one of the dishes listed on the Pan, Coal and Roast section of the menu which comes served with Truffle Emulsion and Frisee. The Duck Confit was well-executed; crisp on the outside with the tender, juicy and savoury meat within that came off the bone easily with a pull of the fork. The meat was also brined to the right degree; suitably savoury without being overwhelmingly salty, thus making it a pleasure to have without being jelak to finish. Smothering each morsel of duck confit with the truffle emulsion on the side which was texturally similar to a mash, it induces an evident truffle aroma to the duck confit without overwhelming the flavours of the duck. The truffle emulsion, despite being pretty strong in flavour, felt more like an addition of a flavour element to the entire dish, integrating well with the other elements; a delightful dish to finish especially for truffle lovers.

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(Chilean Seabass, Mushroom & Bacon Ragout, Truffle Yuzu Butter)

We also shared the Chilean Seabass, which is plated atop Mushroom & Bacon Ragout and Truffle Yuzu Butter. This was a dish that we truly enjoyed; the Chilean Seabass was expertly done; the fish being smooth and flaky, disintegrating without much effort with a  push of the fork and with the moisture of the fish locked inside. The mushroom and bacon ragout adds savouriness and earthiness to the fish, creating a burst of umami flavours, though the entire experience of the dish would not be complete with the truffle yuzu butter; it adds a smooth, rich and buttery flavour to the fish that comes with a very short, mellow citrusy tang for its finish, while the truffle takes a back seat, contributing to the richness of the sauce. Combined with the fish, it adds a silky, smooth texture with a flavour burst to the entire dish. It was a dish that we felt sad as it disappeared from the plate because it was all gone too fast, too soon, but definitely, one that we would recommend.

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(Apple “Pie”, Rum & Raisin)

Taking inspiration from the traditional Apple Pie, the Apple “Pie” with Rum & Raisin Ice-Cream sees a twist where the caramalised apple slices come packed within the crisp and flaky filo-esque pastry with rum & raisin ice-cream served on the side. It ends the meal on a good note; the caramalised apple slices within the pastry were suitably sweet; just sweet enough without being intensely so that it ends one in a food coma. Instead, it was well-balanced, while the smooth and creamy rum & raisin ice-cream on the side compliments the Apple “Pie” well with its evident whiff of boozy flavour from the rum; adds a dreamy touch to the dessert.

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(Cold Brew Coffee with Milk)

Coffee is usually something we tend to avoid at casual dining spots (they just seem a little off from the usual speciality coffee that we are familiar with), but we knew we had to try it when we noticed them serving up Cold Brew Coffee with Milk. It certainly did not disappoint; the Cold Brew was actually better than some attempts by cafes that claim to be part of the third wave coffee movement. It came with a good coffee to milk ratio, carrying a nutty body without being too bland nor milky. Overall, a pretty surprising attempt on Cold Brew Coffee with Milk for a casual dining spot.

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While still in soft launch phase, Venue by Sebastian is a promising spot to keep an eye out for. Our experience at Venue by Sebastian was one which we enjoyed with great food and great service in a good environment. The food was executed with skill and finesse, showcasing the chef’s capabilities, while the service was also patient, attentive and friendly, with the staff engaging in small conversations with the patrons as well.  Prices are also rather reasonable, for there seems to be something for everyone in terms of variety and price. One of the places we found ourselves wanting to return to try out the other dishes on the menu, it would certainly be a place that is worth checking out before it gets popular. Here’s wishing all the best for Venue by Sebastian for the days to come!

VENUE by Sebastian
Downtown Gallery Tower 1
6A Shenton Way
Singapore 068809

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