The University Club: Lounge & Dining Rooms

Trust seasoned restaurateurs Michel Lu and Yuen Oeij (the pair behind hotspots like Privé and Hacienda Café) to dream up yet another eatery in an atypical locale. The University Club is Lu’s and Oeij’s answer to exclusive dining clubs found in universities such as the Harvard Faculty Club. Located on the fourth floor of the Shaw Foundation Alumni House, it is helmed by The Prive Group’s executive chef Derek Ang whose penchant for modern European is apparent on the menu. Among other things, that means seared foie gras—lopped over a toasted brioche sitting on a bed of sautéed baby spinach, with enough diced sweet mango and delicate jus gras to make a mockery of the divide between sweet and savory. The pan seared baby scallops, however plump and generous they were, need work. Served with chicken mid joints, edamame and topped with Albufera sauce, this curious surf-and-turf entrée confounds the palate with its heavy textures. The crispy-skin barramundi with Bordelaise sauce, strewn carrot puree and vine-ripened San Marzano tomatoes proved quite bland. We felt the dish could be more spirited if the barramundi had a crisper crust. Then there was the duck confit with that characteristic French heft to it, with its root vegetables, mash and mustard sauce. Desserts were arguably the showstoppers of the evening. The range, however limited, sees its apogee in standouts such as the Cinnamon apple crumble and the delish warm chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream. Despite its shortcomings, The University Club serves as a swell reminder of why this city fell in love with off-the-beaten track eateries in the first place. Good luck finding your way there.