February 1, 2011
It’s been a while since my visit at The Apron but I still remember the tender lamb and the fun rose water honey bubbles I had that night. It’s my last DOV 2011 dinner and I invited C to join me.
Upon arrival, the menu was brought to us and drinks were quickly served. We picked almost the same items from the menu except dessert.
Bread basket included warm bread and some thin crisp bread with sesame and poppy seeds.
The amuse bouche was then brought in. It looked like a flower pot with cute little plants in it. Popcorn dust, topped with some sweet seasonal baby vegetables and a creamy centre. It’s interesting to taste buttery popcorn in the form of dust. I made the mistake of breathing hard towards the dish (deep breath before taking the snap shot…) and made a mess on the table with popcorn dust. The server came right away for the clean up. He told us a story on how this happened as a great ice-breaker for him and a very up-tight businessman who had his solo dinner there. ^_^ It did make me feel less embarrassing .
Next came out first course, Pickled Winter Vegetables (beets, black puddings, pine mushroom, veal marrow, almond vinaigrette). The pickled vegetables were sweet and pickled to a nice softness but not overly so. They were not overly sour as well. Among the vegetables, there was some white root vegetable that was crunchy and had a nutty, artichoke-like flavor. The server helped us to confirm that those were C’s favorite root vegetable, the Chinese Artichoke! The black/blood puddings was neatly smeared underneath the salad. It didn’t have any unpleasant bloody taste and added just a hint of saltiness and texture to the salad. The veal marrow was interestingly “captured” inside the little sphere. What a great complex starter!
Our mains were the Braised Lamb (Israel couscous, red bean puree, grilled scallions, dry lime parsley foam). It was done two ways with the clean flavor, thinly sliced loin and the slow cooked neck/shoulder in parsley foam. Both cuts were very enjoyable being tender and juicy. The red bean puree added another element for us to try and pair with both cuts of the lamb. Israel couscous was one of my favorite side dish and this one was well executed. (I hate couscous but love Israel couscous :P. They have VERY different texture)
The plate was decorated with some hay ash. Both C and I thought that the ash just tasted like …”ash” and didn’t add much flavor to the dish. But it did make the braised lamb picture-perfect.
I had the Broken Down Baklava (with saffron pistachio ice cream, cardamom dates, rosewater honey) as my dessert. The pastry was crisp, with droplets of the rosewater honey and dates on it. The saffron pistachio ice cream had subtle saffron flavor but the floral sense of the saffron carried well with dominating pistachio.
C had the Stilton Cheese Cake (spiced port, rhubarb chip and puree). I only had a small bite out of this and only remembering it being good and mild in term of Stilton cheese. It had a sweet brulee style top. I think those translucent pearls were the spiced port. I had one which burst in my mouth.
The Apron is truely a hidden germ, serving very nice, complex and creative food. Service was very attentive and our server who also doubled up as the bar tender made our night very enjoyable. C, being picky on her cocktails, told me that he did a great job preparing her martini. All dishes were small (normal fine dine portion). That’s why I went with a girlfriend instead of D. For D, he could have ordered 3 sets of the DOV menu and still leave hungry. The food and the service we got for a $28 dine out dinner had totally exceeded my expectation. We had a very enjoyable night and we stayed there sipping wine and chatting till they closed.