Capella Singapore, remains high up on my bucketlist of staycations in Singapore! However with lead in rooms easily costing upwards of 600 SGD, it might be a dream I will never realised. I had the fortune to check out their restaurant, The Knolls recently and would just like to share briefly about it. Making it one of the rare food reports under the current series, The Hotel Life! Located on the prime land plot of Sentosa, south of Singapore, Capella is housed in restored 19th century British Colonial buildings on a little hilltop, surrounded by lush greenery and overlook the South China Sea. The Knolls is their all day dining restaurant serving up cuisine with a Mediterranean Flair. I had a Black LE from my GHA Black membership to redeem and given the festive period while stuck in Singapore, I was thinking that it might be good to try out one of the option in Singapore. After pondering over various Local Experience in town, the menu at The Knolls interests me the most and it is also rather worthwhile given the prices here.
GHA Black & Local Experience
Before I go on to share about my dining experience, let me share some context on the GHA Black membership and Local Experience. Global Hotel Alliance is a unique loyalty program where instead of the usual points, you earn awards known as Local Experience. This is applicable for the two highest levels of membership, GHA Black & GHA Platinum. Local Experience are awarded from reaching or retaining your membership levels, Black or Platinum. They are also awarded when you stay at a new brand every calendar year for the first time. As a note, there are currently 37 brands under Global Hotel Alliance. Local Experience are extremely worthwhile. They can go from fancy dinners to a helicopter tour of the 12 Apostles. I can easily extract values of at least 150 – 200 SGD from each of them. Going out of the way to stay at a new brand every year can be pretty worthwhile. Some of the redemption of Local Experience requires a stay at the hotel providing them, but there are a lot that do not require them as well. You can check it out at the link below.
5-Course Chef’s Special Dinner at The Knolls for Two
For this particular LE redemption, you can redeem it online in your Discovery account and then contact the restaurant to make a reservation. You will have to provide them with the coupon code that you get after the redemption which will be emailed to you. The menu changes from time to time and this is the menu for my dinner recently.
For comparison purpose, this is the regular a la carte menu at The Knolls. As you can see, most of the dishes on the LE dinner can be found on it as well. If ordered individually, the whole dinner will comes up to easily 270 SGD, I will discount the Croquettes since I do not believe that they are serving the full portion. More details below.
Located on the first level, facing the cascading pool as well as the lush greens and South China Sea nearby, The Knolls have an amazing ambience. Sadly it was drizzling when we were there, the view will definitely be nicer if the weather was good. I love how bright and welcoming the restaurant was, it was decked out in christmas decorations to welcome the festives ahead. We were welcomed in by the host to a table located at the far end of the place. Service was definitely top notch given Capella standards and throughout the meal, we were constantly look after and ask upon on how the food was.
The meal started with some warm bread which was served with olive oil on the side. In the basket was some Squid Ink Baguette and Cheese & Onion bread. They were lovely, especially the cheese one. The bread basket was replenished throughout the meal as well. I love pairing bread with high quality extra virgin olive oil.
The Croquettes Duo starter was served and there were one each. One made with Iberico Ham and the other with Cod & Onion. Both were well executed and the brava sauce on the side was lovely, we finished it with some bread too. Croquettes remains one of my favourites, although it is hard to find good ones in Singapore. The dish would have cost 18 SGD and 16 SGD respectively, making me doubt that this would be the actual portion if ordered from the a la carte menu.
Next up was the Cream of Button Mushroom Soup served with poached egg and truffle oil. This is one of the highlight of the meal and my favourite! The truffle scent is strong and the poached egg adds up another level of texture when broken and mix with the soup. Rather refreshing, it is my first time having such a pairing. Presentation is on point as well with the liquid portion served table side, where the waiter pour the soup into the deep plate. Classy touch. This would have cost 22 SGD from the menu.
For the mains, there were two. First up was a Steamed Atlantic Cod. Paired with stewed cabbage, grilled baby squid and a lobster bisque emulsion sauce. Once again the presentation is on point. The cod is fresh and flaky and the portion was decent as well. The baby squid and the stewed cabbage caught my mind. However, the dish was really heavy with the use of lobster, squid, etc etc. It is missing out a touch of freshness and a refreshing touch. The heavy use of seafood like the lobster bisque completely overpowers the cod. A dash of citrus or spring onions would have been great. The dish cost 48 SGD from the menu.
The second main course was a meat dish, while on the menu is a Slow Braised Beef Short Rib, as my companion does not take beef, the host very kindly swap one them to the Slow Cooked Iberico Pork Jowl. The slow braised beef short ribs came with potato mousseline, snow peas, carrots and shiitake mushrooms with a red wine reduction sauce. The meat was fork tender and it melts in your mouth. Portion was decent as well and the meat itself was already very flavourful even without the sauce. The trimmings on the side was decent as well. The creamy potato mousse was very lovely and buttery. A full bodied shiraz or malbec would be so good with this. The dish would have cost 49 SGD on the menu.
Meanwhile, the Slow Cooked Iberico Pork Jowl was lovely accordingly to my companion. It was tender and well seasoned. The portion is a little small though for this dish that cost 45 SGD. The truffle mash here is especially good.
Given that there were 3 of us, we also got another main from the regular menu to complement the meal. We ordered the Linguini Marinara which cost 35 SGD. Requested for a spize up version, we love the dish so much. It came with fresh and huge seafood. The scallops was especially good and jumbo. Portion is generous, given the high price tag here. There were 2 scallops, 2 tiger prawns and 2 snapper fish fillet. Noodles were well executed and seasoned, al dente!
The meal was wrapped up with some Churros costing 16 SGD from the menu, served with chocolate sauce and dark chocolate ice cream. We did waited quite a bit for the dessert to be served, the churros does seem to be freshly made and they were lovely! Although the ice cream and chocolate sauce leave much to be desired. Especially the chocolate sauce, they were like fudge and served cold. Churros should always be served with hot chocolate sauce that were much more liquid.
While definitely not a Michelin Star quality, I think it is very close to one, perhaps a Michelin Plate? Service was on point and professional. The right balance between being attentive and giving you the personal space. I truly enjoyed the meal and there was more food then required for 2 pax. All 3 of us left with happy bellies. The host and waitress constantly ask for your feedback and make up small conversation. Ambience was lovely and quaint with the Capella environment. It does give you a little escape, bringing you away from the bustling city life of Singapore. I had a great experience and would love to be back, although the high price tag makes it something of a rarity. For those who drive, a parking coupon would be provided as well.