Review: Morsels

Review: Morsels

Chef-owner Petrina Loh dishes out some unconventional Asian fare in Singapore's chic dining locale of Dempsey Hill

Step into Morsels and you’ll find a cozy 40-seater with a rustic barnyard feel, complete with jars of produce still in the fermentation process. 

 Fish Laver Cracker. Photo: Cheryl Tan

The standout snack for me was the Fish Laver Cracker. A sheet of seaweed is baked and dehydrated before being combined with barramundi paste to form the base of the dish. Tofu is then cured in shio koji (cooked rice that has been inoculated with mould, mixed with salt and water) for six to eight weeks before being blended into a mousse.

You get a dollop of this creamy, cured goodness on top ofthe cracker and it’s topped with bright orange pearls of ikura and katsuobushi (skipjack tuna, or bonito) flakes. There’s a whole bunch of textures as you bite into one -the crispness of the cracker, the smoothness of the tofu mousse and of course, the tiny bursts of salty goodness from the ikura.

Mekajiki Belly. Photo: Cheryl Tan

Moving onto the small plates, I was particularly impressed by the Mekajiki Belly. Slices of swordfish belly are cured with shaoxingwine as well as the zest of a medley of citrus fruits for a day, before beingsat upon a drizzle of vinaigrette made from fermented black garlic and kasu(sake lees).

The vinaigrette adds a great deal of depth and earthiness and the slices of swordfish belly are incredibly tender and melt in the mouth, leaving behind a slightly oily mouthfeel. Topped with tobikoand bits of candlenut, there’s plenty of crunch. There are also bits of pickled celtuce stems on top, providing a hint of saltiness and texture.

Hokkaido Scallop. Photo: Cheryl Tan

The Hokkaido Scallop small plate was another one of my favourites, with seared Hokkaido scallops plated delicately on top of pork belly that is first brined then seared to render out fat. The scallop is fresh and sweet, but the mild flavour does get overwhelmed by the pork belly.

If it sounds a bit too rich, fret not. There’s a slice of pickled turmeric sunchoke sandwiched in between which helps to cut a bit of richness from the sinful pork belly, and the tangy fermented sunchoke puree underneath combines with the tamarillo jus to add some acidity to the dish.

Venus Clams. Photo: Cheryl Tan

Don’t miss out on the Venus Clams. The broth is made with Chinese figs, yu zhu (Solomon’s Rhizome), chicken stock, pickled wakame and even kimchi. Looking at the list of ingredients, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a savoury soup. It’s surprisingly sweet, with a tangy heat that gathers at the back of your throat thanks to the kimchi.

Mop up the velvety soup with some bread on the side, and you’ll find yourself eventually scraping the bread against the bottom of the bowl like us.

Aged Duck Breast. Photo: Cheryl Tan

Next, we had the Aged Duck Breast. That’s not something that we see regularly, with beef being a more common protein to age, but ageing the duck for a week or two was surprisingly helpful in ensuring that the meat is tender. The fat was rendered out as well, leaving a nice crisp skin as well as meat that’s not gamey at all. Topped with chye pohand pickled lily stems, you get a light floral fragrance to go along with the salty and savoury preserved radish bits.

Add in the slices of rice cake below, and you’ve got something that resembles chwee kueh just a little. The chilli oil below adds just the slightest hint of heat, while the Chinese chives add a bit of freshness and a nice pop of green.

Toriyama Wagyu Chuck Roll. Photo: Cheryl Tan

If you can only choose one main, it has to be the Toriyama Wagyu Chuck Roll. Chef Loh has beensourcing her beef from the Toriyama farm for the past four years, and for good reason.

The farm actually tests the blood of all of their cows to see the amino acid levels, and breed only the ones with the highest amounts to improve how umamitheir meat is. The meat is cured with two types of miso, garlic, ginger and shallots for three days, before it’s cooked to a perfect, tender medium rare. T

he slices of beef sit above pieces of deep fried soba oko, Chef Loh’s take on okonomiyaki, with crispy edges anda slightly chewy centre. The sarsaparilla sauce that goes with the beef has incredible depth, with a slight herbal tinge adding to the savouriness.

Morsels' Signature Tiramiso. Photo: Cheryl Tan

Set off to the side, you get a puree of Okinawan beni-imo (purple sweet potato) with cherry kimchi and spinach ohitashi on top. The cherry kimchi is fascinating; you get a sourness that immediately gives way to a slight alcoholic bite that lifts the dish and prevents it from being too heavy. The spinach ohitashi adds an earthy flavour thanks to the mushroom dashi that it’s steeped in, and has a flavour that’s almost reminiscent of licorice. You can’t leave without trying the Morsels’ Signature Tiramiso, or you’ll be doing yourself a disservice.

Made with Saratoga dark rum, espresso and interestingly enough, Milo powder, the true masterpiece is the cream. Chef Loh has ingeniously incorporated shiro miso (white miso) into the mascarpone, resulting in a creamy, savoury layer that is absolutely moreish when paired with the fluffy ladyfingers and that generous sprinkling of Milo powder on top.

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