Rating: ★★★☆☆
Address: 59 Elgin St, Soho, Central
Telephone: 2555 2172

Tate Dining Room & Bar is Soho’s latest addition, serving contemporary Japanese/ French fusion food lovingly prepared by designer-turned-chef Vicky Lau, who used to work at Cépage. We were immediately drawn to the restaurant’s serene, garden-like setting, with light wooden furniture, potted plants and soft lighting. The restaurant is only open for dinners, and there are two menus available: the 6-course Summer Sensualist Menu ($680) and the 9-course Summer Gastronomy Menu ($980); our table opted for the latter. The staff were polite and warm, and nicely informed us that the restaurant’s name should be pronounced as “ta-tey”, instead of “tate”!

(1) Our first course was called “Ice-cream on Hot Summer Days”, and it was indeed a perfect summer dish! On the right was a piece of hot potato croquette, which was exquisitely soft and buttery on the inside. Spread out in the middle was some peanut butter powder, which was sweet and crunchy. On the right was a potato ice cream, which was enticingly cold and was finely mashed and deliciously smooth and powdery. It tasted like an extremely fluffy version normal mashed potato without butter, and was topped with some caviar which gave savoury touch.

(2) Our second course, “Forest Essence”, was a seared scallop served with black garlic paste and Matsutake mushroom. While the Matsutake mushroom had deep, delectable raw flavours and the black garlic paste was distinctive and remarkable, the scallop was rather flavourless. It was fortunate that the black garlic paste was there to lift the flavours of the dish.

(3) Our third dish, “Foie Gras Terrine”, was an accomplished, beautifully presented dish. The Foie Gras Terrine was soft and delicate, and was served with sauternes gelée and sesame sauce. The lightly-toasted brioche was fluffy and tempting, and complemented the small, decadent chunks of foie gras terrine.

(4) While the presentation was gorgeous, the ““Smoked” Salmon Confit” had a rather disheartening taste. The salmon had a comfortingly soft and pliable texture, but was unfortunately matched with some Smoked Yoghurt which was tasteless and mildly bitter, and left us confused as to why it was added to the dish. Pickled cucumber and apple gelée were also presented, but they did not manage to salvage the dish, especially when the apple gelée was not sweet at all.

(5) Despite its fancy name, the “Harvest Soup” was another disappointment that awaited us. It was a mushroom consommé with brunoise vegetables; the soup was watery and tasteless, and none of us could taste any flavours from mushrooms. We were dismayed by the fact that we had been served a bowl of hot water as one of our 9 courses!

(6) What followed was the “Hamgoustine”, with ham and langoustine ravioli immersed in ham broth. The ravioli had a delightful blend of complex flavours coming from the cheese and fresh langoustine, and the full-bodied broth was also thoroughly infused with ham flavours and was gentle and soothing.

(7) The “Kagoshima Beef Tenderloin” was by far the best dish of the night. The beef was exquisitely tender and simply melted in the mouth, and it formed a perfect harmony with the miso potato purée. The green asparagus was excellently grilled, and the mashed potato was indulgently buttery and soft.

(8) The “Zen Garden” was a signature dessert of Tate, and its presentation exuded the kind of serenity and style that epitomised the restaurant. In the little pot was Matcha green tea & white chocolate mousse on top of black sesame panna cotta. The green tea & white chocolate mousse was smooth and divine and the Matcha flavour was intense. The black sesame panna cotta was decadently creamy and sweet, and its chilled temperature was startlingly refreshing!

(9) We finally got around to our petit four, which was named “Tate’s Mini Dessert Cart”. We loved this opulent, bespoke dessert cart, as well as the goodies that it held on top of it. The mini brownie had a fine, bitter chocolate taste; the little chocolate truffle was absolutely addictive and was gorgeously crunchy in the middle, and we washed it down with an inviting, delicious looking chocolate mousse.

Conclusion: While the menu was elaborate and playful, a note of discord often crept into the creative combinations. For a dinner that cost around $1,300 per head (including wine), we did not leave the restaurant feeling completely full. However, putting the small portions aside, our overall dining experience was quite enchanting.