Restaurant review: 999.99 Five Nines at 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136

April 12, 2016

A new gastrobar restaurant called 999.99 has opened up recently (last year in December) on the fiercely competitive Keong Saik Road, but for some reason I have a good feeling that like pure gold, they will be here to stay for a while. I found out that the restaurant was named Five Nines because that is what you would use to describe the purest gold. However, while you might have to shell out top dollar for the finest gold, 999.99 is all about 'affordable modern European cuisine'. That phrase stuck in my mind when I got the invite. And I realized how true it was, with a surprising twist. 

Like all shophouse eateries along Keong Saik Road, the place was long and rectangular shaped, with tables along the wall, as well as a bar counter just along the open kitchen where you can see all the chefs busying themselves! That's where we sat. It's a good thing ventilation is excellent - we barely smelled like food after leaving.


My view of the action. One of the chefs just kept running hot butter/oil on steaks that came out of the oven, repeatedly. Interesting!


What was pleasantly surprising for me is that the European cuisine is cooked by the Japanese Executive Chef Masanao Saito from Tokyo, and hence you could really taste the Japanese touch in the food which I really liked! Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines after all. He began his career as a Chef de Partie in an Italian restaurant in Tokyo and worked through the ranks before moving to Stockholm, where he was the Head Chef of the Japanese Embassy and served Japanese Kaiseki and French cuisine to Japanese and other dignitaries. He then moved to Singapore in 2014 to head up a Japanese restaurant in Cuppage Plaza before helming Five Nines now.


On to the food itself! Before we began, we each had a sheet of the menu which had prices blanked out. We were supposed to taste each dish and then guess how much it costs. I'll reveal at the end if I had over or under estimated them! 

First up, the Burrata & Tomato Salad (S$14). It was light, refreshing and the use of tangerine slices and tomato jelly really gave the classic salad a fresh shake. I really liked it, even if the burrata was not as big and bouncy as I would have liked. 3.5/5


Next up, the Oyster Ajillo (S$13). I don't like oysters, so this dish was wasted on me. I can see why some people might enjoy it though. Mushrooms were all very juicy. 3/5


What I really really loved was this King Crab Croquettes (S$13). It's only 13 bucks for two big fat croquettes cut into 2, that were so creamy and perfectly crusted in the batter that one typically will have with katsu. The creaminess was incredible too - so smooth and naturally sweet. I was really enamoured with this dish. Granted, the amount of king crab in there was not very perceptible, but for this price and the taste..! 4.5/5


Some might feel compelled to order the Chilled Caviar Capellini (S$20) but I felt that this was one of the weakest dish on the menu, unfortunately. It was rather bland and while the angle hair pasta was perfectly al dente, maybe a mentaiko pasta would have been much more satisfying, given how great the cream is at this place. It is also quite a small portion. 2/5


An outstanding dish that blew everyone out of the water was the Grilled Swordfish & Spring Onions (S$15) instead. This was done to perfection. The swordfish tasted like a solid, white steak. It was firm and not flaky or hard, but still fresh and substantial. Wow. And the best part was the price! Everyone at the tasting overestimated the price.


The Rossini, of Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras (S$29) was tasty too, for steak lovers and only available during dinner. This was the beef that the chefs kept draping hot oil over to cook it and seal in the flavours. We could see how much effort when into it! My only gripe was how small the foie gras was. It's literally a morsel! Still, it's a good deal and if you are the first 20 customers you get this for S$19 (limited time only). That would be a complete steal!


Another complete steal and star of that night's dinner was the Lobster Gratin (S$29). First 20 also get it for S$19. The Lobster Gratin is also featured in the restaurant’s 2-course and 4-course set lunch menus, which are priced at $19++ and $29++ respectively. The famous cream and cheese sauce once again featured prominently on top of the juicy succulent lobster. No complaints. Could eat one of these by myself, easy! 4/5


Then we come to desserts. Unfortunately I thought the mains were stronger. I'll rather drink one of the very affordable wines (less than $10 a glass) than pack on the calories with desserts. For example the Pistachio & Chocolate Cake (S$9) was too sweet overall for me to truly appreciate the flavours. 2/5


Tiramisu (S$8), while priced nicely, was just ok - a little too creamy and not enough alcohol in there for me. Like an innocent bystander in a car crash, it probably did not know what went on before. 2/5


The one I'd recommend would be the Lemon Granita & Mango Panna Cotta (S$8), which was tart and refreshing with a very smooth mango panna cotta. This would be the perfect ending to the symphony that was 999.99's dishes. 3/5

There you have it! Here's my menu guess sheet. I guessed all the dishes to be $174 when in fact it only costed $158. Wow. And I was being really smart about it already! I think this was a really fun exercise to play 'the price is right'.



999.99 Five Nines really gave me a run for the money with all the dishes. I would definitely recommend anyone around Tanjong Pagar/Chinatown area to check this restaurant out. Order the croquettes to start, steak or lobster (depending on your preference) and the grilled swordfish and lemon granita with mango panna cotta to end.

999.99 - Five Nines
29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136
+65 62217098
Mon-Fri: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 12mn, Sat-Sun; 6pm - 12mn

Thanks to Food News PR and 999.99 for the invite!

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