There is no lack of malls in Singapore but another new one is added right in the Central Business District. Downtown Gallery in OUE Downtown (where DBS Building was) offers 160,000 sq ft of retail and F&B space spread over six levels. A new restaurant in Downtown Gallery is VENUE by Sebastian, a casual restaurant serving refined food in small plates for sharing.
Downtown Gallery is in the “soft opening” phase. In spite of the frequent grouses about rising business costs, manpower shortage and thinning margins, the space in Downtown Gallery is filling up. There are quite a number new restaurants and cafes which should bring cheer to those working in that area. We are delighted that among the new restaurants is VENUE by Sebastian, a venture by former Ember chef Sebastian Ng and former Artichoke chef Jonathan Lee.
VENUE by Sebastian in Downtown Gallery has a contemporary bright and clean interior. The colour scheme is predominantly white and grey with muted blue accents. It has an open front, with long bar counters serving as dividers, and an open concept kitchen. The tables are decently spaced out, considering the high rentals in CBD. The place feels modish, relaxed and welcoming.
VENUE by Sebastian Menu
Ember, where chef Sebastian Ng spent many years, is known for its “Modern European with an Asian Twist” menu. Chef Jonathan Lee was from Artichoke, a Middle Eastern eatery. You can thus expect VENUE to serve contemporary European fusion cuisine.
The menu at VENUE by Sebastian is a simple A4 sheet. Apparently, it is updated day by day to reflect the fresh ingredients the chefs have to work with. To order, you write on the menu, like in dim sum eateries.
The menu of beverages is quite extensive and there is a separate menu for wines.
Lunch at VENUE by Sebastian
Venue by Sebastian adopts the small sharing plates concept. It was also explained to us that the chefs believed in serving their food fresh, as soon as they finished preparing the food. That meant that whatever the kitchen finished cooking first would be served; so there would be no such thing as starters or mains, and your soup or salad might come right at the end.
We were not sure how small the “small plates” would be. The two of us ordered the Crispy Tofu ($14), Iberico Pork Jowl ($18) and Potato Gratin ($5) and Pear Tart ($14) to share. In the course of the meal we realized that the food we ordered was too little, even though we would usually be considered “small eaters”. We asked for the Duck Pasta ($19) and also decided to have coffee there. A Long Black was $4. Service Charge and GST would be added to the bill.
The first dish served was the house-made fried tofu with foie gras mirin sauce and iced lettuce. It was beautifully presented and was very delicious. The tofu had a nice texture and the foie gras mirin sauce had rich full flavour but was not overpowering. The iced lettuce was like edible art. We would return to Venue to have this dish again.
The slices of grilled pork jowl came next. They did not look very exciting and the taste was average. The potato gratin also looked rather plain but it was luscious and enjoyable. The thinly sliced potatoes soaked up all the goodness of the rich smooth cream and were tender and flavourful.
The duck ragout hand cut pasta was also good. The pasta was cooked to the perfect firmness and the sauce was rich and intense.
The pear tart looked like a fairly simple home-made tart. The freshly baked hot tart had a crust that was flaky and buttery. The crispy cookie crumbles, the sweetness of the pear and the texture of the ice cream all combined to make the dessert a very enjoyable one.
We had a very pleasant lunch at VENUE by Sebastian in Downtown Gallery. It has a nice atmosphere and the service was attentive, prompt and friendly. We liked the food at VENUE but we thought the prices were a bit on the high side for ordinary patrons – as you would need to order at least 2 to 3 small plates per person for a simple meal. Perhaps VENUE’s target clientele – the investment bankers, lawyers and other professionals working in and around OUE Downtown – would think that the prices at VENUE are quite reasonable considering the good quality of the food, appealing presentation and nice setting. The next time any one of these professionals wants to meet us, we would suggest that he or she takes us to VENUE by Sebastian in Downtown Gallery.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
VENUE By Sebastian
6A Shenton Way
Downtown Gallery #01-02
Tel: +65 6904 9688
Mon-Sat: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-9.30pm
Closed on Sunday
Nearby MRT Station : Tanjong Pagar