Swooping in to nestle in the picturesque enclave of Chijmes, the brand new restaurant-bar Raven banishes the usual associations of ill-omen and death from this bird of prey. Rather, the Native North American view of the raven as “the bringer of light” is embraced in an innovative menu that seeks to enlighten jaded palates with a whole new experience.
Guy and Gordon MacGregor’s latest brainchild features an all-new cuisine coined “The New Americas”, Northern and Southern American comfort food with an Asian influence.
The Bar is the middle ground between the casual Garden and the more sophisticated Gallery (which turns into a VIP lounge). Sofa booths clad with Argentinian leather and black marble tables make the Bar the perfect place to grab some drinks before dinner or capitalise on the great happy hour deals.
The symbolic raven that ties the entire concept together was inspired by the MacGregor brothers’ favourite pet as children. This quirkiness is what sets this restaurant-bar apart; from the vividly painted grand piano by Alec Monopoly in the Gallery, the hand-assembled food truck in the Garden, to head chef Sam Chablani’s creative concoctions, Raven offers a unique journey unparalleled with any other in Singapore.
I started with one of the signature cocktails crafted by Ryan Rhodes; the Agave Smash (all cocktails are $17) is a refreshingly tart and subtly sweet blend of Patron Blanco tequila, Drambruie, agave and fresh lemon. It was the perfect prelude to the rest of the meal, whetting my appetite while being quenching itself.
We were acquainted with the small plates and were treated to not one but two dishes featuring San Marzano tomatoes. It was love at first taste when Sam first tried a San Marzano and vowed to never settle for anything less.
The first of the tomato-centric dishes was the Grilled Flat Bread with a blended San Marzano tomatoes and chardonnay vinegar dip as well as a burratina, chive and basil oil dip ($12). The dish also comes with roasted garlic confit which was a optional DIY to be rubbed generously over the flat bread. The flat bread was quite brittle and dry but served as a great counterpoint to the juicy tanginess of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the burratina.
The second dish, and my preferred dish between the two, was the classic Burratina and Heirloom tomatoes with Gula Melaka balsamic, oregano, fresh basil and dehydrated olives ($18). The simplicity of the dish let the flavoursome San Marzano speak for itself, yet was rendered slightly more intricately with the subtle undertones of gula melaka.
The Tuna Tartare ($17) was hands down the most aesthetically pleasing dish; the pale pink tuna cubes are scattered over a splatter of bright green avocado wasabi puree and yuzu, soy vinaigrette, topped off with a mountain of shaved frozen pear. The raw fish was incredibly fresh though the wasabi and the soy were a bit too overpowering a combination, and at times hid the actual taste of the tuna.
The other seafood dish was a main; the Salmon & Caviar Pasta ($24) with smoked salmon, caviar, onion & mushroom cream and parmesan. This was definitely the most heartwarming and indulgent dish, especially since the portion was quite generous.
Another heartwarming dish was one of my personal favourites; the Fried Chorizo Croquettes with Jalapeño lime vinaigrette and pico de gallo ($13). The filling is a creamy mixture of béchamel and mozzarella with chorizo chunks. Each croquette is coated with bread crumbs and deep-fried so you get the incredible sensation of a variety of different textures and flavours.
Another deep-fried delicacy is the Puerto Rican Tostones with chilli vinegar sauce ($12). These banana fritters are triple-fried in corn batter to get the contrasting “crispy outside and melting inside” texture that many pine for.
Dubbed “porn corn” by the chefs, the Roasted Corn Niblets ($12) are indeed phenomenal. The hands-on experience of bathing the corn in the smoked sour cream and biting off the juicy corn kernels was definitely one of the highlights of the evening. The natural sweetness of the corn played well with the smoky flavours.
Equally stunning as a vegetable highlight was the Cauliflower Steak ($23) with chickpea sofrito, coconut cream, harissa vinaigrette and coriander. There were so many different things going on – an explosion of dense, vibrant flavours overlapping and interlocking – it’s not surprising that Sam called this dish “Deepavali in your mouth”.
Rounding it off were the exquisite desserts; the Green Tea Opera ($13) and the Chocolate Overdose ($13). We were presented with a deconstructed rendition of an Opera cake, with the layered sponge in a flat rectangle that extended diagonally across the plate. The slight bitterness of the green tea was complemented with the sweetness of the green tea and white chocolate truffle as well as the azuki bean ice cream.
The Chocolate Overdose was a medley of various textures such as the Belgian chocolate, exhibiting a bitter chocolate sherbet, a hazelnut mousse, a one-minute microwave sponge and pieces of dehydrated chocolate. Though it was interesting to experience the aesthetically- and texturally-contrasting forms of chocolate, the sponge and the dehydrated chocolate were a bit too dry and tasteless. The chocolate sherbet and hazelnut mousse, on the other hand, were delicious and thoroughly compensated for the other two.
Address: 30 Victoria Street, Chijmes, B1-01/02 Singapore 187996
Tel: +65 8798 2724
Hours: Mon – Thurs, Sun: 5pm – 1am, Fri – Sat: 5pm – 3am