Sunday, January 2, 2011


Happy belated new year everyone! Didn't have a chance to blog cos I was happily spending my new year doing what I do best - eating and slacking. I finally caught my first movie (The Tourist) in a super long time (though I must say it's really not worth catching after all). 2010 has been a great year - can't believe how fast it has passed (signs of age here! but I have been enjoying the last 3 months lots) and I'm 2/3rds done with my first yr at work... Anyway, I had lots of feasting during the last week of 2010 (many more posts to come) and I spent new years day eating again.Since my new years dinner was so delicious, I've decided to let it 'jump queue'. I first read about Artichoke in the papers under the article of the young and up and coming chefs in Singapore. All these articles are great ways for sourcing for new food places to go to but I usually wait 1-2 weeks for all the hype and queues to die down before I visit them. Artichoke serves Mediterranean/greek/middle eastern food (not really sure exactly what type but under Hungry Go Where it's labelled as Greek) so it means all the delicious bread and dips.

Hummus and babaganoush - chickpea puree and crushed roasted eggplant with sumac, EVOO and Turkish Toast ($9) (the 2 plates on the right)
Hummus is one of my favourite dishes (especially when eaten with flat bread) but it's not readily available in Singapore. I've tried making my own hummus with canned chickpeas but I was lacking the tahini so it wasn't tasty. The hummus has a very mild garlic taste and is very smoothly blended. Babaganoush is the brownish lumpy dip on the top right corner of the picture and is actually mashed roasted eggplants. Although I liked eggplants, I was more partial to the hummus cos it was creamier in texture.

Turkish bread ($4) - we loved the dips so much that we decided to get another plate of Turkish bread to go with them. The Turkish bread is crusty and crispy and goes extremely well with the tasty dips.
Char-grilled globe artichokes with wild thyme and EVOO ($7)
The namesake dish - smokey grilled artichokes with lots of extra virgin olive oil perfect for dipping the crispy Turkish bread into. It's served slightly chilled. It's quite hard to find this in most restaurants locally, and other than the artichoke salads at those buffet salad bars, I've only eaten it in pizza.
Roasted beetroot with homemade labneh (lebanese yogurt cheese) pistachio dukka and garlic breadcrumbs ($11)
Beetroot is one of my more favourite root vegetables cos of it's purple colour (same reason why I like eggplants so much) and I like it's earthy sweetness and juiciness. The yogurt cheese is light and creamy and goes very well with the crunchy beetroot, and the pistachio dukka and breadcrumbs add texture and taste to the whole dish.
Twice cooked Lamb Shortribs ($21) - with Moroccan chermoula spices and garlic yogurt
This was my favourite dish (apart from the hummus) of the night. The shortribs were incredibly delicious and tasted awesome. The shortribs were infused with the exotic spices and each bite was incredibly flavourful. The meat was very soft and juicy, not fatty, and went very well with the herbs and yogurt. Do note that I really like this dish alot because the shortribs have a very strong lamb taste - so people who dislike the lamb smell and taste, this dish is not for you...
I think I am completely capable of polishing off the whole plate of 7 ribs myself cos it's so tasty.
Date pudding with smoked milk custard and salted caramel ($10)
The date pudding here is completely different from the sticky date puddings I usually blog about. It's not sticky at all and is more like a cake. Though I couldn't really taste the dates, the smoked milk went very well with the cake. The cake was sprinkled with chocolate powder and had shards of salted caramel on top. The smoked milk custard is actually dulce de leche (or something like condensed milk but slightly creamier) and they're really generous with it.
Apple cake with crumble and vanilla marscapone cheese and maple syrup ($8)
Perhaps it was cos I was very full and I had just eaten 3/4ths of the date pudding and slurped up the milk custard, the apple crumble tasted rather bland and un-interesting. The serving of walnuts is really generous tho!
I like how everything comes with the extra virgin olive oil which purportedly has lots of health benefits (though I'm sure it comes with lots of calories too). The olive oil keeps the dishes moist and has this nice aromatic smell and a peppery zing at the end of it. Great for dipping the bread. The only complaint I have is that my bread seems to run out really quick! And the $4 servings never seemed enough.
The young service crew is eager to please and although I have read reviews online saying their service is slow, it wasn't the case for me. Though the waiting time for the food was fair (then again, we just arrived after 2 large groups ordered) the food came all at once and the food was so delicious so I'm not complaining. I liked how they leave a whole bottle of chilled water at the table - really saves the waitstaff lots of time and manpower.
I am returning soon to try their many 'large plates' and sharing platters like the Haloumi and Mushrom $23) which has pan fried greek chese with organic mushrooms and smashed avocado as well as their lamb kleftiko (stolen lamb). If the lamb shortribs are anything to go by, I'm totally dying to try their stolen lamb...
161 Middle Road, Sculpture Square
Tel: +65 6336 6949


bjorn said...

Hey there,

I'm Bjorn, the chef/owner of artichoke. Just came across your blog entry and I'm really glad you enjoyed your meal! It's funny cuz I used to follow your blog even before I opened artichoke and now my place has been blogged about by you! :)

Anyway, just FYI, we are changing the menu again (we do that several times a month), so do call us to check if the stolen lamb, or any other dish for that matter, is gonna be available on the day you plan to pop by.

Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Artichoke serves moorish cuisine.
you may find ready-to-eat hummus in Cold Storage.

tai tai foo said...

they did warn that the food would take some time to come which is fair.

one serving of olive oil is 1 teaspoon. we definitely had about 20 teaspoons each. HAHA.

i told my dad about artichoke. must drag him there soon. he got high cholesterol. the EVOO will help to lower it :D

BLD said...

It is 20h21 on Saturday night and I am just back from dinner at Artichoke. Our reservation was at 19h30. Count in the two taxi rides from Middle Road to Stevens've guessed it FAST food.
Chorizo: maximum 20 grams of average quality on the board. At 12$ a plate this means 600$ a kilo...
Bocerones: good but let's face it... we can all open a can
Merguez: Sausages more likely
The lamb, well, let's say it was not presented as on your picture. Very mess and fatty.
None of the plates came with any bread, vegetables, or anything. Nor were we made aware of this.
The wine: Tempranillo i.e. red, warm! and average. 10.50$ for a tiny read tiny! glass. Better order a bottle and bring your cooler.
Setting: the place has mega potential. Change the light, the furniture, add candles, plants, music
Waiters: boring and ill at ease.
Signed BLD