Rosemead’s new Farm-to-Table Grill Identity is a stunningly rich and Refined Californian feast
Comfort is an expansive and profound concept. Supreme comfort denotes disparate notions, emotions, and fascinations. For some, it’s plain nostalgia. And others, it’s unalloyed gratification. At Rosemead, it’s a chef’s earnest love letter to his roots.
Once upon a time, this Raffles Place restaurant was charted on a vision of elevated Californian-style casual fine dining. Challenging to fine-tune — even more tenuous to articulate, at least in Singapore. It had sparks, varyingly brilliant, but accumulatively blinkered amidst overshadowing large monetary hurdles on its menu.
The fine-dining aspect is perhaps lost in translation, despite elan and conviviality by the team led by Jigger & Pony Group Executive Chef David Tang, a native hailing from eponymous Rosemead, California.
With utmost candour, the Rosemead of 2022 struggled to justify regular date night extravagance, delightful as it might have been. Lest certain areas might have deferred ensuing visits, however, realise this — it has changed. Evolved.
Revitalised, the new farm-to-table Californian grill modus operandi is a charmingly comforting experience. Like a snug weighted blanket, it buries you in warmth, sincerity, and a truly lusty heft in flavours.
Foundations and inner workings bide the status quo — the elegant, rustic chicness still à la mode, the team not missing a step in service tempo, and the august grill, specially procured from Atlanta, never dulling in its fiery splendour.
All its sophisticated machinations remain in place, and comforting tastes of California continue rising from the embers of this impressive wood-fired behemoth, majestically affixed to the centre of the space. At the crux of it, Rosemead is still the same restaurant, albeit renewed with purpose.
Light bites but great heights
Memories of the original run’s house rolls persist but Chef David’s new Rosemead provides a strong reason to forget, as dinner commenced with two magnificent bread-based starters: Chicken Liver Donut ($12/2pcs) and Warm Cheese Puff ($14/2pcs).
Both were mesmerising in their own right, with the former sheathing rich chicken liver pate in fluffy donuts, masking most traces of funk with a sharp medley of quince jam and smoke shallot.
Enjoyable, but made to pale in the splendour of the Warm Cheese Puff, it might be simple confectionery but it might also have a legitimate claim as Rosemead’s crowning jewel, despite its simplicity.
These tremendously sapid cheese choux buns set the pace for the night with the most euphorically airy texture and a molten three-cheese heart that pumped out oodles of umami, supported by undercurrents of sharpness and mellow sweetness.
Another lighter indulgence that hit with a hefty wave of comfort was the Sweet Potato Gnocchi ($36) which competes with the calibre of Singapore’s most respected pasta bars.
Immaculate pillowy bite meets the most gratuitous dose of biting umami — the chemistry between the golden cordyceps and outrageously potent dashi speck in the glistening parmesan sauce? Simply heaven.
The Warm Embrace of Rosemead, California
In touch with its core concept as a farm-to-table grill, smoke is an element which pervaded Rosemead’s menu. Certainly, there was a gauntlet of strong contenders.
For those easily entranced by seafood, the inimitable lusciousness of the Wild Tiger Prawns ($32) justifies utmost exaltation for the sumptuous, almost melt-in-mouth texture and the intense bouquet of smoke and brackishness.
Palates craving more certainty would also salivate at the sight of the American-style Miyazaki Wagyu A4 Striploin ($92/160g), gussied up with the regal golden yolk of the sunny-side-up.
Steak is, of course, an unambiguous dish — classically simple and without too much room for manoeuvres. The focus is entirely on the protagonist and needless to say, the resplendent marbling on the Miyazaki Wagyu makes savouring it a thing of luscious beauty.
Besides a plush tender bite and scores of opulent fatty decadence, Rosemead’s striking anchovy rub also clads the steak in a glaze of exuberant sweetness. To finish it all off, it’s presented to the table with a hearty mushroom bordelaise.
However, you’d be surprised to hear that my vote for unequivocal standout had to go to Rosemead’s Ora King Salmon ($40).
As much as that trite orange and white begets doubt, this meticulously confit-and-broiled specimen is anything but banal. Impressively, the textures clearly trumped over every other dish, including the kingly Wagyu.
Beautifully clean, it welcomes you first with a tender meaty bite on its facade but you’ll quickly feel your incisors meeting with an ethereal softness, most aptly described as a marriage between gently dissolving blissfulness and delicate sashimi-esque silkiness.
After the heavy mains, Rosemead’s desserts also proved a solid indulgence. It’s kept tidy and undemanding with the sinful Tres Leches Cake ($10) and Roasted Pecan Pie ($10) both blanketing you with that classic American-style comfort.
When it’s all said and done, I confess I was blown away by this incarnation. Easily sleuthed from my verbage —as one who shies away from repetition— the core theme is an ineffable “comfort”.
Last year’s Rosemead witnessed me leaving satisfied but also dubious of the pricing strategy, rueing wasted potential.
This renewed purpose shows a side of Chef David’s concept that’s charming, sincere and, above all, much more merciful towards your checking account. As a matter of fact, it could veritably prove to be one of my few most memorable meals of 2023.
Make your reservations here.
- Address: 19 Cecil St, Singapore 049704
- Hours: (Mon) 12pm–2:30pm, (Tues–Fri) 12pm–2:30pm, 6pm–11pm, (Sat) 6pm–11pm
*This was an invited tasting.