We’re starting to miss classic fine-dining restaurants, since the latest openings have been trendy joints with open kitchens and counter seats. So, we rejoiced when Lewin Terrace – a Japanese-French fusion 82-seater – opened in the colonial-era bungalow formerly occupied by Flutes at the Fort.

Nestled in Fort Canning Park, the restaurant seems geared for romance – it’s a charming 106-year-old black and white mansion perched on a lush green hill, and it feels intimate at night. The balcony, with white tablecloths billowing softly in the breeze, might just be the perfect spot for marriage proposals.

 Located next to Central Fire Station, the106- year-old mansion was once the fire chief’s home during the British colonial era.
Located next to Central Fire Station, the106- year-old mansion was once the fire chief’s home during the British colonial era.

Food-wise, chef de cuisine Ryoichi Kano’s blend of Japanese flavours with French techniques is tasty but unremarkable. Thankfully, the house has talented sommeliers to lift the experience. They’ve snagged Les Amis’ former award-winning chief sommelier, Daisuke Kawai, while Atan Rasyidi, from Nektar and Bitters & Love, makes customised cocktails. Get the most of your experience and go with their drink pairing menu – it’s good enough for return trips.

The charcoal-grilled duck with leek, warabi (bracken) and a drizzle of vinaigrette, paired with a Volnay- Robardelle Premier Cru 2009, is an outstanding combination. The duck is beautifully grilled, still red and juicy without that gamey taste, complemented by the light elegance and fruity aroma of the red wine.

The two slices of foie gras with fruit sauce look as delicate as they taste.
The two slices of foie gras with fruit sauce look as delicate as they taste.

The foie gras terrine with passion fruit, mango, pineapple and lime sauce also pairs well with the restaurant’s saffron martini made of spice rum and saffron-infused milk. The dish is artfully presented on a large white plate holding two small slices, its fatty taste harmonising with the cocktail’s sweet, creamy texture and spice notes.

The dragon fruit carpaccio is the only dish that can stand on its own without alcohol. The fruit is sliced thinly over crabmeat mixed with avocado mayonnaise and sanbaizu jelly – a solidified vinaigrette of soya sauce, mirin and dashi. It’s a delicate dish and the jelly gives an umami burst that refreshes the palate.

Our experience at Lewin Terrace is the sum of its parts. The ambience and excellent wine pairings create a good dining experience, even if the food is just decent. If anything, we’re grateful to have classic fine dining back on the culinary map.