Upon arriving to our hilltop destination where this colonial style building is located, you could very easily mistaken your surroundings to be anywhere but Singapore. Tamarind Hill is a modern Thai restaurant nestled atop the forested Labrador Nature Reserve.
As we made our way up the majestic staircase, we were greeted by two lovely staff members at the restaurant’s main entrance asking for our reservation with warm & welcoming smiles. That was quickly followed by “Oh Miss Amanda, you must be the reviewer, we have reserved the best table for you inside, please follow me” – we were off to a great start!
Seeing that it was our first time here, our friendly server offered to take us on a tour of the property. One thing was clear, the designers had put in a lot of effort to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor space. Small groups of people were comfortably enjoying the outdoor ambience, sipping on the restaurant’s signature Tom Yum Martinis while listening to the crickets sing their song.
Meanwhile, back to our “special table” which offered the restaurant’s best vantage point. This lovely corner table enabled us to watch people’s reactions as they walked through the front door. For returning customers – the look was that of pure joy. It was clear that they were delighted to be back. Newbies like us were captured by the first impression the space offers up, and were immediately captivated by the warm wonderment. Tamarand Hill knows how to make a lasting first impression.
Now to get down to business, the food & wine.
The wine selection at Tamarind Hill was vast and very impressive. We saw a sweeping variety with a good range in pricing – something for everyone. This included one of our favourite wine, the ESSER Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 from San Lucas. The mouth filling flavours of black fruits, cocoa and vanilla would make the perfect companion to the fiery supper we were about to indulge in.
Choosing a couple of starters from this menu was always going to be a stern undertaking. After much debate, we settled with the Poached Tiger Prawns Wrapped In Smoked Salmon (served with lime chilli vinaigrette and fresh cilantro) and the Deep-Fried Tofu Flavoured With Kaffir Lime Salt (Served with sweet peanut sauce). On their own they were spectacular, but together they collided into a fiery and flavoursome celebration – an occasion mastered by the Thais, and in particular food designer and executive chef Khun Wanthana Nikosaen. Chef Wanthana reigns from a small village near Laos, North-east Thailand but believe me, there’s nothing small about the flavours in her cooking.
Before we had time to lick our fingers, our friendly server had arrived with a tray full of our mains. It was as though he knew that we were about to be treated with a culinary experience we will never forget – something clearly he has seen on many occasions. He was absolutely right when it came to the Massaman Beef Curry (Served with roasted potatoes and cucumber relish) and the Lemongrass Rice. The succulent beef cubes melted away as it tango’d around a robust yet elegant Massaman gravy.
After careful examination of the desert, we decided to try the Pandan Creme Brulee (With mint and jack fruit salsa), and in true Tamarind Hill fashion, we were not disappointed. The traditional French desert discovered in 1691 was cleverly fused with the powerful flavour and colour of the Pandan leaf – very well done indeed.
All in all, we give Tamaraind Hill a 4 star rating (from 5 stars) and suggest who come here with somebody you want to share something special with. If it’s during the cooler months, get a table outside and enjoy the lush enclosure and sounds of the forest. The venue could be a good choice for a wedding but would need some colour to dress it up a little.
We hope you enjoy your journey up the hill as much as we did.
30 Labrador Villa Road, Labrador Nature Reserve