Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spoonbill Restaurant and Bar at The Olsen Hotel

Art and food. What do they have in common? Well if you’re John Olsen, you combine abstract style food elements into your artwork. John’s art is the focus of the The Olsen Hotel where his pieces of nature and food inspired paintings are displayed throughout all corners of the hotel, including the newly opened Spoonbill restaurant. I was invited to an art tour of the hotel and to dine at Spoonbill.

After being greeted down at the bar area of Spoonbill, I was led around the hotel to look at numerous pieces of art by John Olsen. I really loved his artwork, as it was full of bright colours and I liked the slight abstract nature of the landscape or food he was painting. We were told to pay attention as after the tour, we would be allowed to create our own masterpieces, which would be displayed in the driveway of the hotel. Finally, someone has recognised my artistic talents and was willing to display it for all the world to see. We all enthusiastically got our hands dirty (some of us metaphorically, others like Agnes more literally) and let our artistic juices flow onto canvas. Look at my amazing effort below. You must be amazed at all the intricacies and trying to decipher all the hidden meaning of my masterpiece. Can you tell what it is?

With our artwork completed, it was time to taste some art on a plate. We started with a number of entrees such as Fish Tacos, Mini Wagyu Burgers, Roasted Quail, Seared Scallops and Mussels in Broth. While I was too slow to wrench a mini burger out of the fingers of my fellow food bloggers, I did manage to try everything else. All the food was quite good or very good. The fish tacos was a bit bland for my liking, but the scallops, quail and mussels were excellent. The mussels were my favourite as they were super plump and flavoursome in the broth.

For mains, we tried some Poached Fish, Slow Cooked Pork Belly and the signature John Olsen Paella. The poached fish was really bland and had lots of bones. I had a tiny piece but otherwise left that alone, as did everyone else. Instead, I tucked into the really tender pork belly. It had a good flavour, similar to Chinese Soy Braised Belly I thought. The John Olsen Paella, which John used to love eating and painting, was good. The seafood was really fresh and the rice had good flavour. It could have been improved slightly for my liking if there were some nice burnt crispy pieces of rice at the base. I normally love picking at those crispy bits of rice in a paella. There may have been a salad or three but seriously, WHO WINS FRIENDS WITH SALAD right? So I may have forgotten what the salads were.

While I was already quite full from the savouries, when dessert arrived, my stomach immediately found space again. We got to try the Hazelnut Meringues, Apple Delicious and A Taste of Chocolate. All desserts were amazing. The hazelnut meringues were light and covered in coffee cream and espresso syrup. A perfect balance of flavours. The apple delicious contained a millefuille, a jelly and a sorbet. While the millefuille and jelly were already good, the sorbet was what surprised me. The apple flavour was so clear and crisp and hence my favourite of the three items. Lastly, the taste of chocolate was just pure chocolate indulgence. There was a chocolate fondant which oozed a chocolate lava when you stabbed at with a spoon. It was served with a lusciously smooth ice cream and honeycomb. We finished the meal with some cocktails, of which I chose a Violet Crumble, delicious.

Overall, I liked the food. For me, the highlights were the super plump fresh mussels dish, the paella and the all the desserts. We were seated upstairs in a corner table so I’m not sure what the atmosphere in the restaurant below is like. I would think it will be nice as the d├ęcor is very striking and I could hear quite a lot of noise from downstairs of people laughing and talking. Service is hard to judge as I was there for an event but the wait staff did seem to know their wines and food when questioned, which is a good sign.

My guest and I dined courtesy of Spoonbill Restaurant.

Spoonbill Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. I don’t even know the way I finished up right here, however I assumed this publish was great. I do not realize who you are but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger in case you are not already. Cheers!

  2. Hey, I thought you liked vegetables now? :p

    And you drew... a... ummm... yeah, what is that?

  3. I always love a good apple sorbet! Sometimes it's so refreshing to have a dessert like that especially after a heavier meal.

    As to your art, sky, birds, tree perhaps? Or you were trying to draw an instagram? :P

  4. Who wins friends with salad?

    Well, i love salad. :)

  5. Ahahahaha I love EatPlayShop's comment.. HAHAHAH.. MR POPULAR.. you drew a salad! :P

  6. I found the service to be a little on the ordinary side. Won't be hurrying back!

  7. Keira, thanks.

    Agnes, hmmm vegetables are still not my favourite. I drew magic haha.

    W, the sorbet was definitely refreshing. My art was definitely a a landscape, can't you see it? ;-)

    Michelle, well I know I can serve you salad in the future.

    I-Hua, as if I'd draw a salad.

    James, that's unfortunate. Like I wrote, it was hard for me to know whether service was good or not.