Northern Light

It was like there was a pornographic movie playing in the background.

The hushed murmurs and the muffled squeals of excitement from our neighbouring diners seemed to show their unequivocal appreciation for their meal. From their first bite into the spiced prawn cracker, to slurping down their oysters and finally, when they nipped their golden egg with a knife to see the requisite egg yolk oozing out. Admittedly, Mr A and I both had the same quieter sentiments – upon first bite of the first few dishes, our eyes were rolling back into their sockets.

It was one of those nights, stuck in a meeting that seemed never-ending and the yearning to go out and make a night of it. A spontaneous decision to visit Northern Lights was uncharacteristic of us seeing as we generally stay far, far away from Asian fusion cuisine – a result of many mediocre and uninspiring experiences. The menu simply depicts the dishes as a cluster of components so an explanation from our waitress is much needed in reference to some of the dishes. We relied heavily on the recommendations of the wait staff that night, something we tend to do when we are stuck, and are in most case are well rewarded.

The night started off with a nondescript sounding pair of prawn crackers, which ends up stunning us with barely cooked sweet prawns with a light yuzu mayonnaise mixed through and a dollop of kombu mayonnaise, all sitting on a crisp, spiced prawn cracker. We were incredibly impressed and could easily have a whole meal consisting of these little beauties.

Spiced prawn cracker, prawn, seaweed mayo ($5 each)

An equally sensational course followed; a union of cubed calamari and crisp apples were tossed in a yuzu mayonnaise. A delightful display of contrasting textures highlighted by toasted seaweed and smoked sesame.

Southern calamari, yuzu, apple, kombu ($13)

While I had a tough time deciding which was my favourite between the first three courses, Mr A had declared the next dish undoubtedly as the best dish he had had the pleasure of eating this year so far. A hint of smokiness detected in the eel was perfectly accentuated by the sweet yet salty grapes and the brininess of the squid ink.

Eel, unagi, squid sauce, salted grapes, mojama ($17)

The skewers of wagyu were tender although lacking the touch of char that I was looking forward to. While I found the kewpie mayonnaise could overwhelm the wagyu, a light touch was perfect for the thin layers of beef.

Wagyu skewer, miso, tonkatsu ($9)

While the lamb ribs were incredibly fatty and the flesh just slipping off the bones with ease, perhaps our expectations had been inflated too much by the wait staff, as we had been advised to be ready to be amazed. The full-bodied sauce was sticky, rich and salty would have been better suited with a bowl of rice and thankfully, no extremely hot shiso peppers in our dish.

Xinjiang lamb ribs with shiso peppers

The last of our savoury dishes was tasty however again, failed to wow us as the starters had done. Bo Ssam is a Korean dish which centres around pork with many sides to make a lettuce wrap. We found the thick slabs of pork to be dry and chewy, but the flavours all worked well together and I loved the sweetness of the sauce against the sour and salty kim chi.

Kurobuta pork bo ssam, kimchi, lettuce, jang ($34)

The thin shards of decadent chocolate sable were built like a fort surrounding this delightful dessert. Inside, a luscious and creamy vanilla ice cream with dollops of salted caramel and a silky chocolate mousse. The different elements made for a impeccable balance of flavours and if I were to return, I’d definitely finish off my meal with this dessert, again and again.

Broken ice cream sandwich ($14)

While the mains did not reach the highs of our starters, we emphatically enjoyed our meal, especially considering the delectable dessert we finished with. We were only able to try a few dishes but would love to try the chefs menu on our next visit.

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