I first heard of The Black Swan from my boss, who told us that the food was pretty good, and it’s also rather close to our office. In fact he has had a couple of business lunches there; though the prices are a little steep. But he likes the place a lot, saying it reminds him of the Chicago steak house.
When I was told I would be taken out for an appreciation lunch of my choice venue, my colleague, S, who was also invited, was eager to know what I had in mind. Turned out both of us were intrigued by The Black Swan, and so we decided to check out the menu on the website. The pictures festured, as well as the price points and type of food remind me of db Bistro, opened by Daniel Bouloud, at Marina Bay Sands. But thank God there is the set lunch menu available, which has all our favorite food.
For starter there are Caesar salad, crab salad, foie grais, gazpacho and even beef tartare. As for the mains, there are (my favorite) duck confit, beef tenderloin, beef burger, and sea bass etc. For a two course meal, it’s S$32++, and for a three course, it’s S$38++; but the thing is if you choose the more expensive items for the set like the crab salad or foie grais, there is an additional S$6 and S$8 respectively; same goes for the mains.
Nearer the date, my boss asked me for my venue choice, and after I told him he happily replied that he had the same in mind.
The interior is nicely decorated in warm colors with a prominent round shaped bar with high stools. Surrounding it are square dining tables. When I made the reservation, I was told that only high tables were available which I had to accept since I was reluctant to switch to other restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised, upon arrival, that a regular table was given to us.
S, our boss and me looked through the set lunch menu and we decided we would each order different entrée and mains so that we could have a taste of the different food. Another boss was running late, and when she arrived she only wanted two entrees.
When the food was served, both S and I whipped out our camera phone for pictures. Our boss remarked for the umpteenth time, “how come all of you always take pictures of the food? My daughters do the same too.” And I replied also for the umpteenth time, “I review the food in my blog.”
I had the crab salad which was really good with a light refreshing citrusy dressing. It comes with fresh vegetables and shredded crab meat. I like it that the salad is well prepared with no crab shell bits, which happens in certain restaurants where the preparation is a little slipshod.
Our boss had the beef tartare which I didn’t try since I’m not big on raw beef.
S had the foie grais which I had a bite. It was melt-in-your mouth, but most restaurants can do the the same. In fact Bruno at Tanjong Katong serves heavenly foie grais at bigger portion. I also feel that the foix grais I had at db Bistro, which was served with apricots, was more memorable with the combination of different tastes.
The boss had the beef burger which he generously cut us a piece each, despite my protest, since it is not very big. He assured me that he had a very heavy breakfast. Turned out he took his best friend to check out their childhood wanton noodle place, and binged on the wantons after missing them for donkey years. Anyway back to the burger; it comes with a beautiful sunny side up, bacon and fries. I have to say the patty is rather moist and bun is tasty. The fries are absolutely addictive, even without the condiments. But the other boss told us that the beef burger from Marriott Hotel was better.
The duck confit comes with sliced potatoes with bacon bits. I have to say the duck is wonderfully tender and flavorful, not overly salted.
S, who had the tenderloin, felt that though it was tasty and moist, there was nothing special about it, unlike the one she had at Buko Nero, which comes with dark cherries on the side to balance the heaviness of the beef.
To be honest I had most of the dome cake; it’s not very big but I guess you can call me greedy. It’s made from dark chocolate mousse with marshmallow bits in it. S didn’t like them but I thought they add a different taste to the cake. It’s pretty good though I wouldn’t say it is anything special too.
I’m not sure if it’s because we went for the set lunch and so it wasn’t anything spectacular. Perhaps dinner may be a different story. But if there is such an inconsistency, it doesn’t reflect well on the restaurant. However I must say service is pretty attentive. The wait staff came over regularly to refill the ice water, and one offered to hang up the boss’s jacket after it slipped into the floor.