Serving tapas, pastas, burgers and tacos, the new mini gastro-bar of Iggy’s at Hilton Singapore is an intimate and exquisite affair featuring the handiwork of Chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive
Ask a foodie to name one of Singapore’s best restaurants, and Iggy’s will probably pop up. For 12 years, the European restaurant of renowned restaurateur, Ignatius Chan, has been a staunch fixture of the fine dining scene. This year, it even bagged the coveted crown jewel of international food awards, a Michelin star, with credit going to Chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive who joined last August. With its time-honoured reputation, the adage of not fixing something that isn’t broken should apply, but Iggy’s keeps on looking to the future. Case in point: its new mini gastro-bar that rests casually, yet classily, by the restaurant’s entrance.
At first glance, the décor or façade of the gastro-bar doesn’t scream out to you. Nestled just outside the ‘main attraction’ that is Iggy’s itself, you would think that the gastro-bar offered just a mere prelude to the Michelin-winning fare deeper in; the extreme presumption being: a waiting area to have a glass of wine while waiting to be seated. On the contrary, Iggy’s gastro-bar is a casual fine dining experience in itself, with a menu designed by Chef Aitor as well. Comfortably seating eight to 12 diners, the gastro-bar is perfect for romantic dates, business lunches, and even a private party for your squad – you’d wanna book in advance.
Saluting his Spanish roots, Chef Aitor has whipped up a menu of gourmet tapas that are irresistible – the pintxos ($26 for four pieces) is a perfect starter, for instance, that rests a pickled Japanese kohada (a small seasonal fish) atop a miniature salad of escalivada and toast. It’s not too sour and fishy, and refreshing starter to rev up the appetite. Inspired by his grandmother’s recipes, Chef Aitor’s croquettes ($16 for four pieces) are fried ’til crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside with a light filling of béchamel – the chunks of Jamon Iberico add a salty, fatty, decadent touch too. But one starter that I’m sure you’re gonna love? The signature Eggs & Eggs ($39 for two pieces) – a delicate, divine creation that encapsulates a truffle potato espuma (a light foam) in the shell of an egg cooked at 63°C egg, and topped with opulent Kaluga Queen caviar. Breakfast of champions? Why certainly.
For something more substantial, Iggy’s sakura ebi capellini ($26) makes an appearance at the gastro-bar too, but instead, I would suggest you indulge in the bucatini ($26) – a thick-like spaghetti cooked with tender, springy braised oxtail, parmigiano, and lots of truffle (a bit too much, perhaps) for good measure. Keeping up with his Mediterranean traditions, Chef Aitor also has his rendition of the Madrid dish, callos a la madrilène ($24) – a stew of vegetables and (my personal highlight) soft, buttery, juicy beef tripe that’ll convert anyone adverse to offal.
It isn’t all Spanish or Italian influences here, however; Mexican foodies will definitely wanna get their hands dirty for the fish tacos ($22). Served in a pair, one features a fried, fluffy mackerel with creamy avocado mousse and a slightly-spicy chipotle emulsion; the other, a nod to Singapore’s sambal stingray with the use of firm skate, potent sambal chilli, red onions, and a green wrap made from spinach. Japanese influences also show in the 2017 Iggy’s Burger ($38 for two pieces) – another hands-only entrée stuffed with top-class Toriyama wagyu beef.
Going back to the presumption that this gastro-bar is a “mini” experience – it clearly isn’t. More than an afterthought, Iggy’s gastro-bar is probably the alternative you’ve been looking for. An intimate dining experience with the Michlin star-quality of its flagship restaurant, for a portion of the price, this new chapter of Iggy’s works like a charm.
Iggy’s, Level 3 Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883, p. 6732 2234. Iggy’s Mini Gastro-Bar is currently only open for lunch and dinner, 12pm-1.30pm (last seating) and 7pm-9.30pm (last seating).