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Venue by Sebastian: Yummy Plates of Deliciousness

We have been fans of Chef Sebastian Ng since our visit to Restaurant Ember back in 2009. After a 12-year stint at Ember, Chef Sebastian decided to take a break in 2014 and left the restaurant to recover from the stresses of a frantic kitchen. Following a three-year hiatus, he opened the more casual Venue by Sebastian at Downtown Gallery in 2017.

Venue is a relaxed dining concept where Chef Sebastian showcases his eclectic mix of French dining with Japanese influence and the occasional nod to local flavors. From the outside, the restaurant looks almost like a school canteen with two rows of tables in the middle and scattered tables at the periphery. The menu emphasizes plates meant for sharing, much like a tapas bar. Although they are not decorated as elaborately as those served at Ember, the top-notch ingredients, robust flavors, and meticulous cooking techniques have not been compromised. What you end up with is a casual restaurant where you will be delighted with plate after plate of deliciousness.

Must Try Dishes

Grilled Chicken Neck Skewers $9 each (Seasonal Menu)

We started our meal with two innocuous-looking skewers of grilled chicken neck. I think this is my culinary discovery of the year! We never expected chicken neck meat to be so special. Most of the time, the neck is used to make stock or just thrown into the bin. But, when seasoned with salt and grilled, they become springy, umami, morsels of meat which were quite a revelation for us. Yakitori fans would have known of these “sesemi” skewers! I used to think that the chicken “oysters” were the best part of the chicken, but now, the “sesemi” is the champion! 4.5/5

Braised beef cheek with potato puree $38 (1/2 portion shown)

Another dish that was quite a revelation was the braised beef cheek. We have been to many restaurants which has slow braised beef cheek/short ribs with mashed potato and it has always been a dish which we enjoyed but Sebastian’s version is probably the best one which we have come across. Most places usually cook the cheeks till they are fork tender and falling apart but over at Venue, Sebastian has cooked it in a way that the meat fibres are tender but still very much intact, almost like the texture of ham. The potatoes were also excellent. Rather than just having loads of butter, (which is also good but easily achieved), Chef managed to really lock in that potato flavor. The gravy is also delicious and is slightly sweet due to the addition of mirin. This is the kind of dish I could eat every week. 4.5/5

Ember’s Signature Spicy Seafood Pasta $38

Fans of Ember have been lobbying Chef Sebastian to bring back his signature seafood pasta. He has been resisting the idea because he cooks the pasta more like a Hokkien Mee where the pasta is simmered in the clam jus for a good 8 mins to absorb all the seafoody flavor. The seafood is very fresh and cooked perfectly so they are still nice and tender and the pasta was delicious as it had absorbed all the sweetness of the stock. 4.5/5
Mushroom Tofu $9 (2 pieces) (Seasonal Menu)

Sebastian’s fried tofu looked quite innocuous at first but it was a revelation when I bit into it. I wasn’t expecting the texture to be so soft and slimy (in a good way) and the mushrooms were packed with umami. It’s one of those dishes which has inspired me to try to recreate it at home! 4.25/5

Can Try Dishes

Hot angel hair pasta with konbu and sakura ebi

Chef’s angel hair pasta with konbu and sakura ebi is one of those things that combine nice toothy carbs with umami-rich ingredients that entice you to keep going for that next mouthful until you clean up the plate. 4.25/5

Foie Gras Mousse with house made brioche $19 (half portion shown)

This dish truly showcases Venue’s culinary style. It embodies fine dining without unnecessary embellishments. The chef could have opted for a more elaborate presentation of the foie gras mousse and brioche, adorned with fancy microgreens and redundant ingredients, thereby increasing its price. However, the essence of the dish lies in the proven combination of the creamy foie gras mousse and buttery toasted brioche. You don’t really need anything else. 4.25/5

Crispy Potato, poached egg, mushroom and chorizo $9 (Seasonal Menu)

This dish reminds me of the Spanish huevos estrallados with fried eggs combined with confit potatoes. The crispy fried potatoes add an extra dimension of texture to the dish and the mushrooms and chorizo adds more intensity of flavour to the already yummy dish. I can just imagine the dish topped with shaved truffles! 4.25/5

Chef Sebastian and his wife who manages the front of the house.

Conclusion

A fantastic spot to savor high-quality modern European cuisine without any unnecessary frills. The laid-back canteen-style ambiance betrays the fact that the dishes are crafted with care, featuring well-prepared and impeccably sourced ingredients!

Special for ieatishootipost readers
Just show this post and receive a free dessert with $100 spend and 1 for 1 glass of wine (house pour). Valid till 31 Jan 2024.

Casual dining area with an open kitchen

Menu

Disclosure This is a media-invited review.

Venue by Sebastian
Address

Downtown Gallery, #01-02, 6A Shenton Way,
Singapore 068815
View Map

Opening hours:

Lunch: 11:15 am to 2:00 pm

Dinner: 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm

 
Closed:

Sunday

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