Ards Restaurant Singapore is a new restaurant at Duxton Hill, Tanjong Pagar. It is helmed by two young chefs who have worked at some big name restaurants. The letters “a r d s” stand for Asia, roots, distinct and singular. Chefs Ace Tan and David Lee seek to create a distinctive fine dining restaurant that reflects their Asian roots. According to their website, “Our mission is to leave you thinking, “You have not been to Asia if you have not been to Ards”. A bold mission statement. I am not sure they succeeded in leaving us with that feeling after our lunch at Ards Restaurant Singapore. What they did succeed was to give us a great lunch experience and left us thinking that this could be the best new restaurant 2017 in Singapore that we have tried.
Ards Restaurant Singapore occupies two levels of a shophouse along Duxton Road. There decor is simple and modern. There are about six small tables downstairs and a few more upstairs. The kitchen is located at the back end of the space. It is a modestly decorated space but we were impressed with the attention to detail. The tables and cutlery were aligned with military precision. The thick tablecloths were brilliantly white, spotless and flat (probably ironed).
Ards Restaurant Singapore Menu
Ards Restaurant Singapore has a lunch menu that contains eight items. Diners can opt for a three or five course lunch at $48++ or $68++ respectively. There being two of us, we figured we could try everything on the menu if we ordered one of each. That was what we did. Here are pictures of the Ards lunch and dinner menus. There is another menu that costs $188.
The amuse bouche was a pair of warm, curry coated walnuts served in a box. The walnuts with curry taste were extremely good. We were almost tempted to order a plate of this to go with our drinks. Some interesting bread and butter were served. A slice of toasted sour dough, a slice of chilli bread and some ginseng butter with crisp macha toppings. In terms of first impressions, Ards scored very highly. If they put in so much thought into the bread and butter, the main items should be something else!
We were not wrong. More drama followed. The next pair of amuse bouche was served in a pot with billowing smoke. Once the dry ice have exhausted itself, the two items were revealed. A slice of pickled papaya and a sea shell containing strips of abalone on artichoke. The pickled papaya was so-so. The other item had interesting flavours.
Next were three appetizers. The Gelatin was a dish of beef tartare embellished with all kinds of things. We are not usually fans of cold beef but this was one of the best we have tried. The meaty taste was low, overwhelmed by a mix of flavours. The menu mentions umeshu jelly and fresh yuzu, but there were many more that we cannot identify.
The cold dish known as The Sea was chopped up pieces of Hokkaido scallop. Like the beef, the dish was prepared with a lot of nice things which they describe as “umami snow”. A clear tomato juice was added. The overall taste was great.
The final cold appetiser was not as beautiful as the first two. Mum’s beet soup was a dark soup with bits of corn and carrot floss. It had a rich refreshing taste.
The Art of Roots was the first main course. Different types of root vegetables placed on a bed made of 18 types of grains. It was a wonderful creation using only vegetables.
“The Ocean” was a dish of red garoupa served with mussels in seaweed butter and crustacean sauce. We do not know what exactly seaweed butter is, but the overall taste was very good. This was the best main course.
“The Missing Duck” is a dish of confit duck which is hidden under a piece of cabbage. The taste of the duck and sauce was good but enjoyment of it was reduced by the sinewy texture of the duck. This was the least preferred item of the day.
There were only two types of desserts. The Pearl Barley was the more substantial dessert. It had a combined taste of barley and coconut. Unusual but yet vaguely familiar.
The other dessert – Rose Apple Dumpling was a lighter, more playful dish. Made with rambutan cream, rose apple ice and sour cherry sauce, it was the perfect dessert to end a meal on a hot day.
It was a great dining experience at Ards Restaurant Singapore. We had good food with flavours we have never tried before. The service was friendly and professional. The prices were fair for what Ards had to offer. We only wished that they had chosen a different name. We keep getting Google results for a certain medical condition when we search for “Ards”. It is only with ” Ards Restaurant” that we were directed to the right place. The wine at our meal was a versatile Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2013 which was good with the wide range of dishes that day.
Overall Rating: 5 TOPs
Restaurant Ards Singapore
76 Duxton Road
Tue-Sat: 12-2:30pm, 6pm till late
Sun: 6pm till late
Nearby MRT Stations: Tanjong Pagar, Outram
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog