Review: Absinthe Restaurant, great starters, so-so main course

I am a very boring person. I can eat the same thing everyday and do not really need variety. But thanks to a close colleague of mine, I have become more adventurous of late. In her own words, she has “decadent interests.” It was through her that I found out about Singapore Restaurant Week. In this one week, top restaurants around Singapore offer a three-course meal for $35-$40.

We picked Absinthe Restaurant, which is located at Boat Quay, for a three-course lunch. This is French fine dining so I knew the portions would be small. The good thing about French food is that you can be assured of the quality of the food. When I was in France a few years ago, every meal I had there was top notch and made with the freshest of all ingredients. I had cheese and red wine with almost every meal. I had mussels for lunch and grilled pork for dinner. It was heavenly. I don’t believe I touched anything processed.

Absinthe menuWe had two starters and a choice between the chicken or tuna for the main course. The dessert was a creme brulee, which I knew I wasn’t going to like because it would be sweet.

The first starter that arrive was the fish tartare. This consisted of raw fish topped with some vegetables and a biscuit. We were given some wasabi sauce on the side.

absinthe restaurant

I really liked this dish. It was a cold dish that was refreshing and the wasabi woke my taste buds. I’ve had sashimi before but this was my first time having raw fish in the tartare form. This gets 9/10 from me.

The second starter was less unusual but no less delicious. It was a warm dish of prawns, salad, chorizo and pine nuts in a creamy sauce. The prawns were tender and soaked up the yummy sauce. The sausages were also very tasty. This was 8/10.

Absinthe Boat Quay

After two delicious starters, I had high hopes for the main dish. I chose the yellow fin tuna, as did my two lunch companions. The waiter told us that the fish would be medium rare and asked if we were okay with it. We murmured our approval.

My tuna arrived sitting on a bed of peas and some grain, which I guess must be the “ragu of spelt” written on the menu. I tucked into the fish.

absinthe tuna

I was disappointed that the fish wasn’t medium rare like the waiter said it would be. The picture below shows you what medium rare should look like. The middle portion should be pink and soft and melt in your mouth. When I cut into my tuna, I did not see any pink. The entire fish was cooked “well done.” At some points of the meal, I thought I was eating chicken breast. The tuna was 5/10.


After the disappointing fish, this was followed by the earl grey creme brulee. I knew I didn’t want it because it was just a sugary dessert that wasn’t nutritious for me. But I took a mini bite anyway just to placate my lunch companions, declared it “too sweet” and left the rest of it there. When the waiter arrived to clear our dessert plates, he noted that I didn’t eat the dessert and asked me if it was because I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to explain to him that I don’t believe in eating sugary, processed stuff so I just shrugged.

I enjoyed my meal, especially the two starters, but I’m not so sure if it was worth $47, given that the tuna was simply not up to standard. Maybe they were just having a bad day since I read many good reviews of this restaurant.


72 Boat Quay, Singapore 049860

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