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With a combined CV boasting stints at Sydney’s famed Tetsuya’s as well as Waku Ghin and Restaurant André in Singapore, you’d guess that Timothy Lim and Tron Young’s first independent partnership would lean towards the fancy haute cuisine of their previous ventures. But not so – with Fordham & Grand, we’ve gotten a bar that’s relaxed, unpretentious and serves comfort food. What was once a garish-red Chinese zi char takeout place now pays homage to 1920s Prohibition era speakeasies with its dark wood, black leather settings and discreet front. There’s also a well-pitched soundtrack of hip lounge tunes that play softly in the background – if you’re wondering what song is playing, just ask any one of the friendly and well-polished wait staff.
The two partners go back a ways: Australia-born Young first met Singaporean Lim at Tetsuya’s; they both subsequently moved to Singapore in 2010 to help open Waku Ghin, before moving on to different projects – Young joined La Maison du Whisky, while Lim worked at André Chiang’s eponymous restaurant. Now, the duo’s reunion spells good news for late-night revellers: Fordham & Grand stays open till 3am. Accordingly, there are two menus for the food: a dinner version comprising of starters, mains, sides and desserts is available till 10.30pm; after that, a pared-down supper menu is offered until closing (last order is at 2am), which features sharing-friendly options like the minute steak with fries ($20) and kurobuta pork sausages and mortar potato ($18).
Cuisine-wise, there’s solid Western-style bistro fare by Malaysian chef Fong Kean Hun, who used to be chef de partie at Resorts World Sentosa’s Joël Robuchon Restaurant. Choice picks for dinner starters are the seared cuttlefish, seasoned with paprika, alongside edamame and onions ($16) and the grilled portobello with egg confit, ham and arugula ($18) – or go for the tasting plate of starters ($30) for a bit of everything if you can’t make up your mind.
For mains, the lobster linguini ($28) was perfectly seasoned with ample chunks of sweet lobster meat and a claw, while the smoked duck breast with spiced raisins and caramelised raisins was disappointing – the meat which came in thick wedge-like strips, was a tad tough to chew. But desserts – and the inspired recommendations from our server – quickly restored the faith. The tart and refreshing orange martini ($15), served in a glass with orange granite and jelly, and French toast with dark rum sabayon ($15) were excellent choices to round off our meal.
Also impressive is the eleven-page drinks menu. A list of 100 wines – all under $100 – ensures there won’t be a credit card meltdown when it’s time to foot the bill, while the range of traditional cocktails (Young was in charge of the bar at Tetsuya’s) holds several surprises – a lychee cocktail is given a glam makeover in the form of litchi champagne ($30), with frozen lychees coated in elderflower liquer, while the Italian classic of pamplemousse negroni ($18) came with ice cubes of grapefruit juice.
Fordham & Grand’s raw appeal lies in its ability to make you lose yourself in its elegant, intimate surroundings, an effect we overheard Young confirming to others – ‘We want our customers to imagine they’re in a different world.’ He’s right – and we’ll certainly be back for plenty of late night escapes.
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