The last time Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband dined at Iggy’s, it was Singapore’s top-ranked restaurant on the San Pellegrino listings and still located in the Regent Hotel. The experience was, quite frankly, underwhelming. Given a number of reports that indicated it had been given ‘a new lease of life’ by its move to the Hilton on Orchard Road, and the fact that it still scored highly on various epicurean rankings, we decided to give it another chance.

Iggy’s is an unusual restaurant in that it’s named for the sommelier, Ignatius Chan. Behind the stove is Akmal Anuar, a chef who presumably shares Iggy’s passion for Japanese influences. The restaurant came in at number nine in the 2013 list of Asia’s best restaurants and second in Singapore to the outstanding Restaurant Andre and it was the top-ranked Singapore restaurant in the most recent Miele Guide.

The location of the restaurant (next to the Hilton grand ballroom) often results in a burst of loud noise every time the imposing black sliding door at the entrance opens if there’s a function taking place, but the main dining room (there’s a separate bar area) is an intimate, if rather chilly area (apparently the restaurant has no control over the air-con) with just 22 seats the night we visited.

In its previous incarnation, the dining room was again very small and the bar seating overlooked a semi-open kitchen. Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband kept glimpsing the chefs at work through a sliding glass door that kept opening to ferry the dishes. There are three choices on offer for dinner – a five course degustation, a 10 course and a vegetarian menu. Trying to pace ourselves in this significant Singapore sojourn, we went for the smallest number of courses, washed down with a delightful bottle of Louis Roederer Brut.

The last time we visited, the food was quite good although the eating implements offered were downright weird. The only course we were given a knife to use was the only dish that didn’t require it. Try eating undercooked duck breast with a fork and spoon – Greedy Girl doesn’t recommend it. The experience was also made more difficult by an incredibly raucous group at the next table. In such  small spaces, there’s no escape.

But, undeterred, we settled in, having negotiated an amendment to the oyster dish for Greedy Girl and hoped for good things. And there were some very good things, such as the dessert pictured at the top of this blog, but more on that later.

Iggy's Singapore

Japanese Ebi shrimp tempura, tomato consomme ‘ginger beer’

We started off with a fun amuse bouche, Japanese Ebi shrimp tempura dressed with curry salt and a mug of tomato consomme ‘ginger beer’ served ice cold (pictured above). It was light and refreshing. The consomme was full of flavour and was slightly fizzy. A very good start. This was followed by a quite heavy cheese puff (instead of bread) which went down the hatch.

Iggy's Singapore

Sea urchin

Iggy's Singapore

Gillardeau oysters

Next up was sea urchin for Greedy Girl and Gillardeau oysters for gluttonous husband. The sea urchin was delicate and delectable, served with a ponzu jelly, topped with trout roe and shiso flowers. This was the chef working all the Japanese angles. It was a very good dish, light, flavourful. Gluttonous husband’s oysters were topped with red cabbage sauce and thin slices and an unusual Cabernet Sauvignon granita. It worked well. Preferring his oysters usually in their natural state, he was quite delighted by this combination of flavours and thought the granita was inspired.

Next up was matsutake mushrooms with wakasagi, a small, thin fish native to Hokkaido, a sudachi foam and sauce made from sweet fish intestines. Having had ‘ishiri’ sauce in Japan (made from squid intestines) we had little trepidation attacking this dish. This was a pretty plate of food but, in Greedy Girl’s estimation, could have done with a bit more seasoning. The sudachi foam was a nice touch but, again, more citrus would also have enhanced the dish. The mushrooms were very nice, much prized in Japan for their aromatic qualities.

Iggy's Singapore

Matsutake mushrooms with wakasagi

One of the restaurant’s signature dishes was up next, a cod spaghettini. This was served with sansho powder and green onions. Sansho powder is essentially a Japanese pepper, made from prickly ash berries. Initially we both felt the fish was too soft and were looking for more texture but it was one of those dishes that, the more you eat it, the more you want to. By the end the fish gave the dish almost a creamy consistency. Delish.

Iggy's Singapore

Cod spaghettini

Our choice of courses came next. Greedy Girl went for the lamb. Apart from the rind of fat on the outside, which was tough, gristly and inedible, the dish was quite nice. It was served with Japanese nasu (eggplant with miso), parsnip, roasted grelot onions, a cucumber raita and rosemary oil. The combination of flavours was good but it meant the flavour of the New Zealand lamb saddle was a bit lost. Greedy Girl was relieved to see a knife on the table to eat this dish, unlike the spoon offered to eat the duck (albeit thinly sliced) on her last visit.

Iggy's Singapore

Lamb with Japanese nasu

Gluttonous husband went for Sawara with lotus root, ginger and pickled Kyoho grapes. Now this is an Asian fusion dish. French principles with Asian ingredients. Gluttonous husband has a new found respect for lotus root, which was prepared three ways in this dish, crispy fried slices, a pancake underneath the fish and some pickled slices. Sawara is Japanese for Spanish mackerel and it was cooked perfectly. Gluttonous husband pronounced himself very pleased with the dish.

Iggy's Singapore

Sawara with lotus root

It was then time for dessert. First up was the amazing ‘Ball in the bunker’ pictured at the top of this blog. Greedy Girl, who doesn’t like ice-cream, decided to give it a go because it looked such fun. It tasted fun too. All the elements were brilliant together – almond biscuit crumbs, a slick of milk ice cream and the white chocolate golf ball which smashed open to ooze out a passionfruit coulis. It was cold, not too sweet and intensely enjoyable. A revelation for Greedy Girl.

We then moved on to the Hinoki chocolate box, which was served with a special little chocolate, salted caramel and peanut baton (in honour of our wedding anniversary). The baton first – it was delish. Perfect dark chocolate coated a caramel/peanut concoction which was almost biscuity. We then tackled the chocolate box. First up was a blood orange jube. Gluttonous husband enjoyed it but Greedy Girl doesn’t like to crunch down on sugar granules. Next was a chocolate chilli morsel. This was quite remarkable – the chilli warmth came through right at the end, leaving a very pleasant sensation. Then, we tackled the macaron. This was a truffle macaron – and truffle it was. The chocolate and cream was laced with truffle oil and was a taste sensation. Greedy Girl wanted a dozen in a box to go. Alas.

Iggy's Singapore

Hinoki chocolate box

Iggy's Singapore

Chocolate, salted caramel and peanut baton

Iggy’s provided an enjoyable evening. It may not have had the gastronomic heights of some of the other leading food experiences in Singapore or elsewhere but it was all consumed with glee – definitely a better experience the second time around.


Singapore Hilton, 581 Orchard Road


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