Off a busy street, a slightly hidden entrance to Tim Raue in the back courtyard through archway under the building gives the arrival a bit of exclusivity. Décor of the restaurant has a feel of a chic and spacious office. Odd pieces of china and birdcages dotted around and it is on the whole relaxed and comfortable. The six course spring menu starts with an assortment of small dishes including Japanese radishes, raw sweet prawn with a cognac reduction, marinated pork belly, all exciting and teasingly small enough to make one wanting more.
The first course of Goose liver-jiaogulan|nori is impressive. Never has a goose liver dish where the goose liver is so relegated to provide the background creaminess and earthiness, while the jellied and dried white grapes and wasabi fill in the high notes. The background bitterness of the mocha tea powder elevates this to a complex and highly enjoyable dish,
The next course of Cod fish-curry leaf|bergamot is probably one of the best dish I have ever had. Where do I start? The warming broth with excellent acidity, nicely offset by the creamy core. The fragrance of bergamot comes through beautifully, an essential ingredient for any on-trend chef. The perfectly cooked cod, lovely as it is, provides the perfect body to carry all these flavour. The heat of the jelepeno comes through and balanced by the savoury deep fried curry leaf. A little bit of heaven.
Then things starts to go downhill. The Red prawn-kumquat|kinome has a distinctly south east Asian fragrance with a warming prawn and a mash of prawn. The kumquat gives it fragrance and acidity but this is rather ordinary compared to the previous two courses. The Beggar chicken-lotus leaf|field salad is in fact a nicely cooked guinea fowl in lotus leaf with a myriad of earthy, mushroomy accomplishments. But it was no more than a decent savoury dish. The Veal-celery|jalapeño is a lovely stewed cheek of veal with a jalapeño jus. I like the use of jalapeño which gives a hint of heat and subtle capsicum flavour. The dim sum of veal is sadly too dry but in an otherwise light pastry, probably due to some timing issue. The side of refreshing apple and celery log does just that: light, refreshing, yet complimentary to the flavour of celery and jalapeño in the veal. Very clever and subtle.
The desert of Thai mango-lime|saffron is a desert that emphasises acidity rather than sweetness. The fragrance of saffron, limequat is there, the mango is perhaps too green and not sweet enough but the green peppercorn gives it a good kick. This is a sophisticated desert and definitely one for those who avoid deserts. The lovely petite four was brilliantly revealed as one of the boxes opened empty! The replacement comes with little nuggets of lovely white chocolate and raspberry centre and a delight even for someone who doesn’t usually enjoy white chocolate.
In this meal are a couple of the most brilliant dishes I’ve had and it shows some great understanding of ingredient and flavour. Despite the unevenness, it is a very exciting dining experience which is not usually a feeling a restaurant induced.