The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Snow-Aged Full Blood Wagyu A4. ‘Nuff said.
The must-orders (if any): Snow-Aged Full Blood Wagyu A4, Octopus charred with Smoked Paprika, classic cocktail.
Summary: Joining the Shangri-La Hotel Singapore’s stellar stable of food concepts and situated in the luxury hotel’s newly refurbished Tower Wing is Origin Grill & Bar, a dual concept which draws inspirations from fresh South-East Asian produce and the colours and cultures of different Singapore districts respectively. The Snow-aged Full Blood Wagyu A4 is a revelation.
Origin Grill promises to bring diners on a journey through South-east Asian heritage, a concept interpreted quite literally through its train terminal-inspired interiors. Whilst the restaurant offers a range of appetisers (sample item: Raw Tuna on Vegetable and Seed Flat Bread), salads (sample item: the very botanical Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallops with Fragrant Chilli Jam) and mains (sample items: Grass-Fed Australian Lamb Rack and Slow Roasted Crispy Pork Belly with Aromatics), the headlining act of the menu has got to be their beef selection, which showcases pure-bred, cross-bred and full blood Angus and Wagyu cattle (both grass and grain-fed) sourced from Australia, Japan and Ireland.
Whilst 2017 has been quite a year for steakhouses, the Snow-aged Full Blood Wagyu A4 is an explosive contender for my favourite from the pack, with its gloriously buttery, uniformly Eagle Company-esque fattiness melting in your mouth in careless sweet surrender (ask any NSMan what Eagle Company is..oh, and Tekong and BMT are lovely! – Female MINDEF-deployed Influencer), being deliciously smoky across every inch of its being and all slick and triumphant in its unpixelated, au naturel glory without any sauce whatsoever. This marvel alone warrants the price of admission, and demands to be experienced immediately. In comparison, the John Stone Grass-Fed Dry-Aged 35 Days is decidedly more traditional in its masculinely beefy ambitions, possessing the right amount of tender beneath all the deep smoky sear. For those who want to sample the variety of beef that Origin Grill has to offer, the Origin Beef Tasting Platter ($198) offers sample portions of four different types of beef, including the wondrous Snow-aged Full Blood Wagyu Striploin as well as the Mayura Full Blood Wagyu Beef Ribeye. Each steak comes with its own unique brand-engraved steak knife.
Smokiness appears to be Origin Grill’s calling card, with many of their grilled dishes having a delectable,sensual char. The decidedly Indian Octopus charred with Smoked Paprika – spiced tomato jam, eggplant pure and fava beans – smelled like it was guilty of having just snogged a cigar-puffing paramour in the back room prior to arrival, straddling the line between wriggly-soft chewy and crikcrik-in-your-mouth crunchy.
After all the smoky, beefy action, the desserts were efficient in their refreshment of the palate, often possessing elements of tartness which bring the proceedings to a clean finish. The Passionfruit Swirl Pavlova and Toasted Coconut combines the tropical succulence of mango with the lightning-sharp zing of passionfruit, while elsewhere the Textures of Chocolate hides a naughty secret.
Whilst the bar’s name may come after the grill, Origin Bar is a distinct enough concept that deserves its own billing, playing the sophisticated urbanite game ala Manhattan and Atlas Bar without the associated fussiness. If you are lucky, you get to enjoy the few couch caverns which provide a private and cosy space for glamorously group catchups and naughty Saturday night whispers alike. The Bar Manager, Adam Bursik, used to manage The Library (you know, that annoying password place which maintained the gimmick long past its sell-by date – bitchy Unlisted Collection secret fan), so you know you are in safe hands potion-wise.
Origin Bar’s signature cocktails are inspired by five local districts of Singapore – Orchard, Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay and Marina Bay. While these cocktails sufficiently entertain – the Marina Bay tribute cocktail “The Pearl” is, like its source of inspiration, one of the most glamorous and glitzy in presentation, served in an over-the-top massive pearl with sea grapes, whilst “Imagination Game” arrives in a mysterious stony vessel – the bar’s spirit collection is well-stocked and should ensure your bespoke or classic cocktails suitably deliver.
For those who were tickled and intrigued by the Suntory Premium Morning Milk Tea and Lemon Tea drinks which possess the clear, transparent quality of water but taste largely like their titular flavours, Origin Bar is equipped with certain science lab-esque wizardry which achieves the same effect for their range of vodka-based infusions (such as their “White Russian”), which look like water but taste fairly similar to their milkier real-life counterparts. Woah.
Origin Grill & Bar
22 Orange Grove Road
Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
My observations are from my experiences from multiple visits to Origin Grill & Bar, as both guest and dining customer.