Ash & Elm is the (relatively) new all-day dining restaurant at the Intercontinental Singapore. It took over the space that used to be Olive Tree, which had come to look rather dated and screaming for a new concept. So this is it, a dark, brooding, and very large restaurant that impresses with its chic, New York good looks. Modern chandeliers, mood lighting, timber, marble and mosaic surfaces, and dark colours set off the three serving stations to the left of the restaurant — a dedicated cheese and charcuterie room, pizza station with its wood fired oven & charcoal grill, and dessert station.
Helming the kitchen here is Executive Sous Chef Phillipe Duc, who has a fine pedigree, having lead the kitchen of SPOON by Alain Ducasse at the InterContinental Hong Kong, as well as having worked in highly respected temples of gastronomy as 3-Michelin star Alain Ducasse, 2-Michelin star Les Ambassadeurs in Paris’s Hotel de Crillon, and SPOON des Iles at One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius.
The pumpkin and bacon flat bread ($18) made in the wood-fired oven is a tasty starter perfect for sharing. Comfort food for one who loves pumpkin, this is a winning combination of savoury, sweet and puffy-chewy bread with again that slight crunch from the grill. The Ash & Elm Platter ($24 small/$42 large) of house-cured charcuterie is also a good choice for sharing. It features house cured beef pastrami, house smoked pork loin, roast beef, and foie gras with smoked duck. In fact, Ash & Elm offers another four platters themed around the charcuterie of France, Span and Italy. Of note, is the final platter, a seafood offering with smoked salmon and marlin, tataki, cured seabass and taramasalata. They all come in a choice of small and large sizes.
But for me, the absolute highlight is its steaks, particularly the Beef Tasting Platter. At $108, it is a hefty serving of three steaks — 300g USDA New York striploin, 200g Australian rib-eye and 250g French bavette d’aloyau. It is good enough for three to share. The steaks are perfectly cooked, all nice and juicy, with low, deep rich flavours with slight charring, rounded caramelising and a hint of the grill. Served together, it’s a delicious exercise in exploring the variety of flavours and textures of the different cuts. Needless to say, it is incredible value too.
Beyond that, the grill also offers a selection of very attractively priced meat dishes — a 300g rib-eye goes at $56, a 400g New York striploin enough for two is priced at $90, and a 900g tomahawk steak is $160 which feeds 2-3.
For desserts, have the chocolate hazelnut pizza ($24) which is good for sharing, and the apple tartin ($14) with calvados ice cream. If you prefer cheeses, Ash & Elm has a very respectable selection of European options. You can customise a platter of three to five cheese, starting from $24.
Incidentally, the restaurant has just rolled out a good semi-buffet lunch menu where appetisers and desserts are on the buffet while main course is a la carte from a menu of five options. The appetiser and dessert buffet ($38++) is enough for most light eaters: load up on the charcuterie and cheeses, the flatbreads and plethora of salads, including a good pumpkin and beetroot salad. The soups, I’m afraid, were forgettable. Desserts are good. If you’re going for the three course option ($48++) which includes the main course, get the striploin with creamy polenta which turned out a pretty large and juicy serving. It makes for excellent value, too.
Level 1, InterContinental Singapore
80 Middle Road
Tel: (65) 6825 1008