I had heard about Pollen, a Mediterranean inspired modern European restaurant in the midst of the flora and fauna at Gardens by the Bay for quite some time. And on my birthday earlier this year, I finally got the chance to visit this place!
What I was amused by but rather appreciated, was the value-added service that they provide – a buggy that ferries you to the restaurant from the entrance of the gardens! For lazy people like me, that is just perfect.
When we reached the restaurant, we were greeted by polished and friendly service staff, who showed us to our seats and helped us with menus.
I decided to have the set lunch menu (S$55) as it seemed to offer the most value (yes I know I am very auntie), and Z opted for the Beef Short Rib (S$70).
Before our food arrived, we were entertained by some house bread that was accompanied by a finely pureed hummus paste and absolutely delicious, umami seaweed butter. The bread itself was good too, warm and fresh.
The amuse bouche was a steamed blue cheese puff of sorts, which was quite tasty and fortunately not too strong.
Next to arrive was my starter of a Swordfish Ceviche with Ikura Caviar. It was ridiculously pretty.
Taste-wise it scored too, as the delicate and tart sauce complemented the fresh pieces of fish and roe. It was a refreshing starter that whetted the appetite.
My main course was a Sea Bass with Lobster Gazpacho, Shallots and Sherry Vinegar Jam. It looked pleasant enough and tasted alright – the fish was moist and the lobster came through in the sauce. A nice dish that I quite enjoyed.
However, because of Z’s stunning sous vide Beef Short Rib, this dish paled sorely in comparison.
Now the beef. It was indeed a marvel. For that price, there was really not a lot of beef, in the usual sense.
However what was presented on the plate was superbly tender, with a whole lot of beef essence and flavour jam packed into each thick slice of short rib. To us, it was worth it.
The sauce and sides which came with it were all delicious too. The dish had an overall earthy and very satisfying taste, which hit a perfect note. So very moreish.
And on to the desserts. I chose to have the house signature, the Black Forest – a combination of cherry and pandan flavours with 75% JAAL chocolate and roasted shimeji and cherry tomatoes.
It was really pretty, and did indeed looked like it came from a forest, wooden block and all. But after the amazing main dish, this unfortunately didn’t quite manage to end the meal on a higher note for me.
Or maybe I’m a cuisine prude and don’t embrace roasted mushrooms and tomatoes in dessert. It was nice, the chocolate was of good quality and the sorbet delicately tasty; it just didn’t quite capture our hearts and tastebuds the way the beef did.
Z had the Bailey’s ice cream dessert (I forgot the actual name), which came with small mounds of sorbet, cream and some cookie crumbs. The dish was presented beautifully and looked almost like a garden in spring. Really enjoyable too.
Admittedly, Z would have preferred having a big scoop of the Bailey’s ice cream with whatever toppings just strewn on top of it, but for me this was just lovely. Things that please my eyes add to my overall dining experience.
I really enjoyed the whole lush green, bright sunlight setting, ambience and food of Pollen. I could not have asked for a better place to dine at in celebration of my last year as a twenty-something (now you know how old I am, sigh).
Entry to the Flower Dome is complimentary for Pollen diners and though the flower dome is nothing really spectacular and just like a giant garden, it was still delightful to take a pleasant stroll post meal, around the cooling grounds to enjoy a view of a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Pollen is a restaurant I would gladly visit again, but probably only for a special occasion as the classy, delicious experience comes with a price tag to match.
Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-09
Tel: +65 6604 9988
The Main Dining Room on Level 1 is open all days except Tuesdays, for lunch from 12.00pm to 3.00pm (last order at 2.30pm) and dinner from 6.00pm to 10.00pm (last order at 9.30pm).
The Pollen Terrace at Level 2 is open Mondays to Thursdays from 11.00am to 9.00pm and Fridays to Sundays (and Public Holidays) from 9.30am to 9.00pm.