The location was really unique; the local newspaper reviewed it fairly well and the last straw came when fellow blogger Chubby Hubby made a plug for it. Naturally, The Academy Bistro went on my radar screen since and I finally scratched it off my "to-try" list when I made reservations for us to have our anniversary dinner there. I was looking forward to a delightful fusion dinner, as its Executive Chef Jimmy Chok, was known for his exquisite and classical French dishes infused with an Asian touch. Unfortunately, I do not have both the reviewers' luck because my experience fell short of what I expected.
My inital fears of tight and inconvenient security checks were unfound and we found ourselves seated in a rather spacious and sparsely decorated "dining area" cornered off from the vast lobby floor of the new Supreme Court very quickly.
Dinner was made available on Friday nights only and you can to choose to go with 3-courses ($45+++) or the entire 5-course ($60+++) menu that changes weekly. We both took the 3-course option. First up were our appetizers. I did not note down the descriptions of our menu so I have to just relate what was on my plate in a very amateurish manner. On my plate were a couple of seared scallops sitting on thinly sliced pear, perfectly done as they remained plump and juicy; a 1/2 piece of salmon just seared on the outsides so it was only warm and still raw in the insides. Surrounding them were bits of sun-dried tomato and dried apricot slices, a few greens, cherry tomatos, generous drizzle of olive oil and an interesting black sauce which definitely had hoisin in it. This appetizer was delicious and the portion, generous. I was looking forward to the rest of my dinner at this point. J took the other option, which was duck wrapped in a rice paper roll, with a foie gras terrine and mango salsa. No particular reaction from J on his dish.
Next up for me was the mushrooms in chicken consumme. It was another appetizer because I did not like the choice of dessert - it was bananas. So anyway, the soup tasted much like traditional chinese double-boiled soup, with a generous handful of dried shitake mushrooms but the extra dose of oil often drizzled as a finishing touch to creamy western soups seemed to be out of place here. No "wow" factor here for me.
For main, I had the fish option (as pictured above). Stated on the menu was panfried cod with a lime salsa dressing but what appeared on my plate seemed to be some variety of seabass instead. It lacked the "fishiness" and oiliness associated with cod. I was sorely disappointed because I simply LOVE fish and an oily fish will only bring me up to the next level of satisfaction. Anyway, moving past the issue with the variety of fish, the fillet was also overcooked and hence, the flesh got fiberous and slightly chewy. The only saving grace was the bed of sauteed mixed funghi that the fish was sitting on. They were delicious! In anycase, I was hungry so I still finished every morsel on the plate. J, the meat eater, took the lamb option. The meat was tender and thus, no complains from him. He also enjoyed the mushrooms, which was the same as mine.
Dessert was a warm option; a whole banana was accompanied with chocolate and wrapped in filo dough, baked until crisp and served with caramel sauce. A simple dessert hard to go wrong, especially when you have chocolate. But I have an issue with bananas all the same so no dessert for me.
So while service was attentive, I doubt I will make my way out to go back again. But if you are looking for a quiet and unique place to have a decent dinner without busting your wallet, you may just find the right spot at The Academy Bistro.
The Academy Bistro
1 Supreme Court Lane
Tel: (65) 6337 3558