999.99 (Five Nines) @ 29 Keong Saik Road

Just barely six months since its debut along the shop houses of Keong Saik Road, 999.99 (Five Nines) has been hitting the high notes with food critics and diners alike through the gold standard of service and food quality that the restaurant has delivered. Helmed by Chef Masanao Saito, who was the former Head Chef of the Japanese Embassy in Sweden, with close to a decade of experience in the culinary field, diners can expect to find beautiful plates of fusion cuisine elevated with a personal Japanese touch here at this 62-seater modern European restaurant.

Locating the restaurant is definitely not an issue as a fifteen minutes stroll from Exit H of Outram Park MRT Station is more than sufficient for diners to get here. However, those who are driving may wish to park their car at the lots just outside of Exit H to avoid the frustration of waiting for the ones along the stretch.

Unique to Five Nines is not only their eye-catching signboard of five numerical nines, but also the restaurant’s huge open kitchen concept where diners can practically see every step of the cooking process before having the dish arrive piping-hot on their dinner table. The restaurant’s contemporary setting is also shown through the use of matt parquet flooring with other chic furniture in warm shades of brown and black. Nostalgic brick walls retain a slight rustic feel while blending in smoothly with the other colours.

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For a more intimate setting, tables have been set up along the side of the restaurant for smaller groups of guests to interact within the convivial atmosphere. Larger groups would appreciate the bigger tables at the front and back of the restaurant which are perfect for gatherings and parties. Last but not least, seats and tables are also available outside the restaurant for bar-goers to make merry with a glass of alcohol in their hand.

Having heard great reviews about the place, we decided to drop by the restaurant on a weekday evening to satisfy our dinner and dessert cravings. Starting off with something light, the Tuna & Peach Salad $14 featured glistening slices of lean tuna resting atop juicy peach segments with sides of tomato jelly, cherry tomatoes and salmon roe. Flavours were light and refreshing as the jiggling cubes of tomato jelly offered a subtle sweetness and freshness to complement the raw fish.

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For something cheesier, we chose the restaurant’s signature Burrata & Tomato Salad $14 starter which would please even the toughest cheese lover. Soft, creamy and every bit indulgent, the burrata had the perfect “QQ” texture and paired nicely with its other tangy components – tomato jelly, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and orange wedges.

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Moving on to mains, we proceeded to order the crowd favourite Lobster Gratin $29 as recommended by one of the restaurant’s staff. Served in its original shell, Chef Masanao prepares the meat from a whole Boston lobster before combining it with creamy béchamel sauce and finishing the dish with a generous layer of melted cheese topping. True to his words, the dish was certainly as delicious as it looked!

If that is not enough, the restaurant also offers a special promotion where the first 20 plates of Lobster Gratin will be sold at only $19. Fret not for those who had missed their chance as the promotion occurs on a daily basis.

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Similar to the lobster gratin, the discounted price of $19 also applies to the first 20 plates of Beef Tenderloin & Foie Gras $29 – yet another reason for you to order it. Showcasing the premium cut, the Australian beef tenderloin was grilled to achieve a perfect medium rare temperature; beautifully seared exterior with a gorgeous pinkish centre. For a touch of grandeur, an additional slice of foie gras made the perfect accompaniment alongside with a fragrant bed of truffle mashed potatoes.

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Equally exciting was the King Prawn Kadaif Bites $15 which featured two succulent pieces of jumbo-sized shrimps wrapped in golden strands of crispy rice noodles. Taking a bite into it was so satisfying, almost pleasurable I dare say, as the therapeutic shatters added a new form of excitement in the dish. Smears of homemade capsicum and tomato sauce imparted a subtle spicy kick and notes mellow sweetness.

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Another noteworthy dish on the menu was the Truffle Cream Risotto & Foie Gras $19. Using the finest Acquerello rice, the risotto was cooked till smooth and creamy whilst retaining the unique chewy texture of the rice grains. To further intensify the flavours, a delicate slice of foie gras was stirred into the risotto allowing each grain to be coated with its umami fatty acids.

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Oily fishes have never seemed to be on my list of cravings, and this includes swordfish. However, the Grilled Swordfish & Spring Onion $15 changed my impression all too effortlessly! Tenderly grilled with lovely crisscross charred marks, the swordfish was sweet, meaty and flaky without being a tad too oily. Its pairing of crisp lotus roots, charred spring onions, spinach puree, mayo-horseradish sauce and miso-mushroom dust offered a medley of unique flavours and textures which most definitely justified the fifteen bucks!

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For something light and delicate, go for the Scallops & Cauliflower $22 with its plump Hokkaido scallops complimented by a deep caramelized sear. Soft, sweet and juicy, each of them were cooked to perfection and accompanied by adorable pieces of romanesco and a mildly sweet cauliflower puree; simplicity at its best!

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Concluding the meal with a trio of desserts, we started off with the Peach Melba $9. Served in a fancy martini glass, the alcohol infused peaches were simply addictive and even more so when paired with the silky mascarpone vanilla mousse and raspberry puree. Those who are keen to make this lovely dessert at home can get the recipe online on M Magazine’s website.

If you are looking for something sweet and refreshing, the Lemon Granita & Mango Panna Cotta $8 featured a well-balanced combination of sweet and tangy flavours! The deliciously tart granita made for a nice palate cleanser, allowing the sweetness of the mango panna cotta to come through beautifully.

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Simple, rich and every bit indulgent is Five Nine’s classic Tiramisu $8. This nostalgic Italian dessert held layers of smooth, fluffy mascarpone cheese and aromatic coffee sponge. Feel free to order a glass of house wine of your choice for a magical pairing of alcohol and dessert!

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For a restaurant that is both good for romantic dates and celebratory parties, accompanied by prices that justify the high quality usage of ingredients, Five Nines is truly as good as gold! Based on personal experience, the restaurant is almost always fully packed on weekday nights, as well as weekends, and diners might choose to consider reserving a table a few days prior to their dinner date.

29 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089136

Opening hrs:
Monday to Friday,
12.00pm to 2.30pm (Last order at 2pm)
6.00pm to 12.00am (Last order at 11.30pm)

Saturday to Sunday:
6.00pm to 12.00am (Last order at 11.30pm)

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Words and Photography by Kenneth Lim (@exasperatedmilk)
The writer is an avid tea drinker who enjoys slicing cakes with his golden fork. 

Singapore

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