An Intoxicating Lunch at Lolla

Today is my payday and as per tradition, I treated my Mummy to a nice lunch which usually means a pricier-than-usual meal. This meal was also another cause for celebration; my Mummy and I have both lost weight and just 1kg away from our target. You see, since Monday, we embarked on an hour jog/ walk in the evening around our estate together. So we were both extremely pleased with the results and what better way to celebrate than lots of meat and carbohydrates?! Haha.

My Mummy is not a picky eater and never craves for expensive food. My parents are contented with hawker food or Chinese Tze Char. But when my sister and brother-in-law raved about Lolla especially the Echire Butter, my Mummy was sold and she could not resist when I suggested Lolla. Slightly regretting for picking Korean Fried Chicken over Lolla for my birthday last week, I knew my Mummy was going to be my partner-in-crime, and three days before, I reserved two seats by the counter for our feast. This afternoon, I was especially pleased because all that I wanted to order, my Mummy agreed with me. She just wanted the Echire Butter. From the very start of the meal, when the famous Sea Urchin Pudding arrived, we both fell in love with Lolla. Every bite we took saw us nodding our heads in unison. There were many silent moments between us but that’s because we were lost for words, and the only compliment we could muster was “Hao Chi!” Mandarin for delicious.

So let me show you what we had this afternoon:

Sea Urchin Pudding

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Almost everyone who visits Lolla orders this savoury squid ink custard topped with a generous amount of fresh creamy Uni and served cold. When it was first placed on our table, my heart leapt with joy at the roundness of the little ceramic bowl. Isn’t it cute??? I wasn’t the least bit disappointed with the size as I fully expected it; having read everywhere on the Net how tiny it was. It was also supposed to be very rich – an umami overload. But my Mummy and I had other ideas. We did not mind the richness but we knew it was going to be perfect on the Baguette yet to have arrived so we stopped eating to wait for it.

This dish impressed us the most. My usually-fearful-of-textureless-food Mummy quickly took a liking to it. It was rich but not overwhelming. And there were so many flavours involved that it was hard for us to notice the lack of texture. This dish also excelled because the orange Uni was super fresh. I have tried bad uni before and just that little tiny bit made my gag. I was so grateful for this afternoon’s Uni.

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The blackness of the custard which resembled black tar was especially inviting!

Next up was the Toast with Echire Butter:

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My Mummy was most looking forward to this. A round disk of this French butter was served with slices of toasted baguette from Maison Kayser.  This butter was as dreamy as was praised, and could ever be. I wish I was eloquent enough to describe the joy of what I tasted but lucky for me, someone else described it better:

Beurre d’Echire, with its unmistakable flavor, a combination of creme fraiche’s slight sourness and fresh cream’s sweet wholesomeness, its remarkable spreadability and its sensuous slow melt, epitomizes the differences between French and American butters.

The butter was lucious and rich. It’s slow melt meant I could roll it around with my tongue to satisfiably savour the lusciousness. Contrasting it with the simple toasted baguette made for a complete fulfilling experience.

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The Pudding was evidently not rich enough for me because I still smeared on my Sea Urchin Pudding that was patiently waiting aside on a huge dallop of the french butter. Euphoria!

Then the Spanish Tortilla with Smoked Eel arrived.

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Generous chunks of smoked eel atop a fat well-browned Spanish Tortilla filled with duck fat potatoes and bits of underdone egg within. I was very excited about the smoked eel. The light pink meat was dense yet surprisingly delicate, and was pungent like bacon with hints of smokiness. So combining all the elements in this dish, there was the luscious eel meat, soft potatoes and tender egg; can you see why this dish is so freaking amazing?!

Then our final dish of the afternoon arrived, the Beef Tongue Escalopes.

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I love love love beef tongue. Ever since my Dad took us on a gastronomic expedition to Brass Rail Salt Beef Bar in Selfridges, London, for Ox Tongue sandwiches with pickles when we were little beef tongue had always been a family favourite. Brass Rail’s beef tongue was always succulent, still fibrous, and just a tad gamey. It took a while to ignore that the texture resembled one’s own tongue but once so, major joy!

For Lolla, I was most surprised by the large pieces of beef tongue that had been flattened by a mallet and pan-fried. It was drier than what I remembered in Selfridges but still resembled a steak. The three generous pieces were served with red pickled radish and a homemade Smoked Paprika Mayonaisse with hints of citrus. Delightful!

In the middle of all these, I could not help but notice the organised spices next to me. Especially appealing to me were the Cacao (because it is so expensive!), and Juniper Berries (Gordon Ramsay used it to make a Banana Tarte Tartin).

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However there was one aspect in Lolla that could be improved. When serving a dish, to explain to diners each component on the plate. This will not be difficult for counter seats. I experienced it in Momofuku Seiobo and the short introduction only increased my excitment knowing there were so many textures and flavours on just one plate.  It was a perfect way to start an adventure for every dish. It would make for a more enriching dining experience.

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Lolla was still wonderful. So many suprising and contrasting textures and flavours kept every bite exciting. My Mummy and I were already planning our return visit (in two months) but in the meantime, I got my eyes set on Jaan. 🙂

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