Vineyard @ Hortpark, Singapore

Barely a week into service, Vineyard @ Hortpark has left me speechless. In a good way.

I shall not wax lyrical about the flora and fauna that is the Hortpark, we’ve all heard the spiel. The true gem is Vineyard – nestled in the midst of the al naturale setting, with the theme amplified through its wood interior and faux fireplace [which I personally find gimmicky but will let it pass on accord of the tasteful experience I had], it tops my list as the ideal chill out spot for a quiet weekend if you’re a wine lover.

Vineyard as i discovered, offers an array of handpicked wines from over 50 vineyards and marries the selection with the best of Thai, French and Italian cuisine. If you’re a food snob like me, the first inkling of suspicion would have bubbled forth by now. I mean, a restaurant with no clear direction in its offering can’t be all that promising – kinda like jack of all trades, master of none right?

But I was pleasantly surprised.

Settling in post a long week and yearning to round it off on a sweet note, we settled on two desserts while basking in the comfort of the space and one dessert captivated my heart in more ways than one.

Lets start with the Hazelnut Crunch Bar served with Fresh Berries and Passionfruit Coulis. I am a huge fan of hazelnuts and chocolate and this dessert definitely hit the mark in terms of flavor and the right amount of bite. Paired with the sourness of the berries and aromatic passionfruit coulis, each mouthful packed a burst of flavors so distinct and yet worked in such harmony that it left me craving for more. Was this the stunner? Believe it or not, it was not.

Enter the stunner. Elegantly plated, i remained disinterested up till my very first bite. You see, I’ve always been a sweets kinda girl and desserts that are anything but usually do not top my list and my expectations for this Warm Lemon Lava Cake with Chantilly Cream, Sesame Tuile and Mixed Berries was at a negative. There I was, breaking into the dessert, wishing it was a warm chocolate fondant. Watching the lemon glaze ooze from the center of the dessert, I was less than excited as I would usually be cutting into a chocolate fondant. And then, the AHA moment arrived.

The warm lemon glaze encased in that golden brown cake was baked to perfection. The cake’s buttery flavor with a hint of vanilla scent was unbelievably intoxicating and then the tartness of the lemon glaze hits you and the combination kept me going for the next mouthful until the dessert was fully devoured and all i could do was stare at the plate in disbelieve. Me, the Queen of Sweets with zero tolerance for anything that detracts me from sugar rush moments had actually fallen in love with something so tart. The Warm Lemon Lava Cake has conquered me and I raise my white flag as i fall off the Sweets pedestal. That contrast of flavors and textures is enough to drive me crazy. That sesame tuile? BREATHTAKING.

Needless to say, I’ll be back for this dessert in no less than a week. Paired with the wide range of wine offerings and quiet atmosphere, Vineyard is that unpolished gem I want to hug tight to my chest and keep it secret from the rest of the world.