Restaurant Review: Preparazzi at 29 Boon Tat Street, Singapore

by Karen Skylove

"Cooking is like love.  It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." - Harriet van Horne
I'm not a great cook, nor do I love cooking (yet). But I can tell when a chef abandons all but his heart and soul, diving into his art and craft with pure love for it. I can tell that Jeremy Nguee of Preparazzi is one of those chefs.

I had heard of Preparazzi previously – but only the part about Nguee winning the Martell VSOP business plan challenge and setting up a business to do catering and private cheffing. So when my friend Ruth suggested we eat at Preparazzi for dinner, I wondered why I hadn't heard about the restaurant.

I finally understood when I arrived at Preparazzi on 29 Boon Tat Street – upon stepping in I must have had a befuddled look on my face, for Jeremy turned from his conversation with a patron to ask if I had a reservation. He said I looked as if I had stepped into the wrong place – to which I replied, "It wasn't what I was expecting." He asked what I had expected and I replied saying "for it to be more crowded." Then again, it was a mid-week Wednesday and then I learned the restaurant had just officially opened over the weekend and was completely packed then and during lunch too.

Anyway, turns out my friend R is friends with Jeremy. We all got chatting and he recommended we share the starters and mains and save ample room for the dessert. I'm glad we took his advice because in total we tried TEN dishes in two hours which is a lot. Preparazzi also has a lunch menu with most main dishes going for $15 – I wish I could try lunch but unfortunately I don't work in the Raffles Place area.

We started with:
Jamon Iberico / Buffalo Mozarella / Rock Melon Ice Cream / Olive Oil Pistachio Ice Cream

This was really a pleasant surprise – for some reason the disbelief in me led me to think we would get a 'pseudo ice cream', or a dish that looked like ice cream but wasn't actually ice cream. How could ice cream, jamon iberico and mozzarella exist in the same dish?? But turns out, I was dead wrong. The combination of flavours, textures and temperatures was perfect – and for someone who rarely eats pistachio, let alone in ice cream form or for a starter, I was really really surprised to find how well it worked.

Baby Clams / Martell VSOP

Unfortunately I forgot to snap a photo of this – I'm not a huge fan of clams but these were done just right with the Martell, which enhanced the clam flavour. When we got down to the bottom layer of the last 10 clams or so, we found that they had not opened, so we asked if we could get a few more fresh clams. To our surprise, they replaced the entire bowl and gave us a completely new, full serving of clams.

Smoked Salmon Terrine / Egg / Potato / Carrots / Beetroot

For some reason I had forgotten what terrine was and so had hardly a clue of what to expect. My other friend, A, distributed the dish evenly among the four of us. Again, the flavours and textures were in perfect harmony – it also helped that I enjoy smoked salmon and I was surprised by how well the beetroot sat within the whole dish, given beetroot is not a regular ingredient in my meals.

Fries / Truffle Salt / Curry Salt

Need I say more? I LOVE truffle fries. These were crisped to perfection – not too crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. It was also just the right thickness. The curry salt fries were also very pleasant – not spicy, but with just the right zing to make you reach for more once the truffle fries were gobbled up first.

Moving on to the mains:
Braised Beef Cheek / Garlic Nai Bai Cabbage / Black-nut Puree

This was one of the highlights of the meal for me – beef cheek is again something I don't eat often at all. I'd last watched it being used by Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck in the video of his Victorian feast on YouTube, but that was it.  The beef cheek was braised to a perfect softness and chewy texture, very tender and juxtaposed against the unexpectedly Chinese greens and potato with black-nut puree. I love potato and was really pleased with the different textures going well together.

Duck Breast / Grape Salsa / Pea Puree

This was probably my least favourite dish of the night, but by all other standards, if the rest of the food hadn't been so fantastic, I would probably have thought more highly of it. The grape salsa was really interesting – I wasn't expecting the spicy kick of it once the sweetness of the grape had registered. It made me sit up and apparently I had contorted my face into a weird expression without realizing it until my friend R pointed it out. But I was simply trying to register the different flavours of the grape salsa, together with the pea puree and the tender duck breast. Definitely very interesting! The duck breast was a tad dry for my liking though, and in any case I'm not a huge fan of duck. So take my review at face value and try it for yourself to see if you think differently. If you do try it though, resist all temptation to cut off the fat/skin - R got jibed by Jeremy for attempting to do it, but then we were educated on how expensive the duck actually is and how he goes to great lengths to purchase that special kind of duck - and you may be pleasantly surprised, just like I was.

Grilled Scallops / Angel Hair / Uni Conpoy Bouillabaisse

I was very keen on trying this dish until I saw 'Uni Conpoy Bouillabaisse' - I love scallop but I have never had uni as sashimi in Japanese restaurants. Something about the way it looks just turns me off. But I gave it a shot. And I'm glad I took the leap of faith. The angel hair texture was just right – neither mushy nor hard. I could taste the 'grilled-ness' of the scallops and though I first thought it was a bit bland, I then understood that it needed to be married with the angel hair-uni for a perfect union of flavours. I deliberated a bit more over this one because of my previous (mis)conception of uni (i.e. gross-tasting and puke-inducing) - but my mind was changed. It was slightly salty, had a slight richness to it but not overpoweringly so, and the aftertaste made me think, "if this is how all uni tastes, I wouldn't mind having it once in a while." To me this indicates that the chef had raised the unconvinced, pre-conceived palate of mine to a higher plain of acceptance and inclination towards future trial – and that's a measure of success to me.

For dessert we had:

Tropical Floating Island / Mango Mousse / Cardamom Meringue

C-cup Warm Chocolate Cake / Chocolate Ice Cream

Profiteroles Sable / Banana Ice Cream / Gula Melaka Syrup   

I'll combine a review of these three – simply because you're probably bored of reading all this by now ;) But more importantly, you should not miss out on trying all of these plated desserts. I really enjoyed the profiteroles – the banana ice cream was perfect (sometimes banana dishes can be either too overpowering or lacklustre) and overall it was just the right amount of sweetness. Not the sickeningly artificial sweet that I really hate. So I was really happy with it. I have a weakness for all sorts of warm, lava, soft, chocolate cake – including souffle. I expected this one to be like a lava cake but it was served in a cup (C-cup size i.e. very ample serving size) and was a cross between a souffle and a lava cake. It was AMAZING. I would have had more if not for the fact that my stomach was already bursting by this point. As for the tropical floating island, personally I'm not a big fan of meringue but if you do like it, give it a try. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I did enjoy the mango mousse though, plus the entire dish looked really pretty. Always a plus.

And the best part is, the four of us had 10 dishes for a very, very reasonable total bill of $225. I won't adulterate what Preparazzi offers and Jeremy's talent by saying it was 'good value for money' because after this first visit, I would be more than happy to enjoy more of his creations even if it were more expensive. This coming from a self-proclaimed 'non-foodie' who generally eats to live is a huge change in tune I'm singing. But it's a good thing in this case.

So this ends my very first food review ever. Thanks for reading til the end – if you would like me to do more guest reviews, please leave comments and be gentle. I'm not much of a blogger/writer but I can be persuaded :)

- Skylove

Preparazzi Bar Gourmet

29 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069624
+65 62200629
Mon–Sat: 11am – 11pm (Closed on Sun)
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  1. Hmm I saw the images its very nice, good interior design, superb dining and the main thing bar tender. Lucky clover bar is also same as this as it provides all type of drinks like wine, beer etc.

  2. nice work karen! looking forward to more reviews definitely. and i wouldn't mind trying out restaurants with you! xx, Jolynn

  3. Oh wow, I need to be there. Planning for a party there.