Are you looking for a restaurant to guarantee a consensual second base landing with your latest online date? Look no further, Circa 1913 has got your urges covered from male/female through to all the non-binary gender spectrum.
Circa 1913 opened in mid-2017 occupying the space vacated by M at the Fringe which closed over 6 years ago. This establishment is situated on the first floor of The Fringe Club, a Grade 1 historic building, which reminded this reviewer of the first public sauna he ever visited. Fortunately, as we enter the stairway leading up to the restaurant, it had none of the humid and strangely alluring stench of a sauna.
The décor is modern, yet cozy, with earthy tones seatings and designer lighting fixtures thrown in to create an overall sensual ambience. To satisfy the artsy crowd, the artworks are supplied by The Fringe Club and rotated every three months. There is even a DJ booth for the resident DJ to entice your date with a cock-tail or join in a ménage a trois after dinner, whatever takes your fancy – no judgement.
You know you are in for a treat when the chef worked at Robuchon in Hong Kong and gay Paris while the front of the house is managed by director Alan Ng who has extensive experience in the catering scene. The appetising drinks and food selection on the extensive menu is reflective of the French-Japanese fusion cuisine, after all, who doesn’t want to eat a good looking Eurasian.
This reviewer and his date, the publisher of this fine publication, were in good hands as we were guided through the menu by knowledgeable staff who then went on to ply us with signature cocktails and a selection of their key dishes. Everything presented to us were wonderfully plated and very photogenic, #nofilter. It was clear that the chef wanted to present food that makes our appetite moist. This is especially evident when almost all the dishes had GOLD flakes. We were reassured that the prices on the menu will not fluctuate with the gold price.
First off the rank was beef tartare with 63 deg Celcius egg ($268). Sounds simple except it’s Waou Japanese premium beef known for its extreme tenderness. This point is not lost on the reviewer as he was once accused by a one night stand of being a tender lover (wtf indeed). Instead of bread, rice crackers were the perfect accompaniment to the tartare which was mixed with sticky okra. Our second starter was Botan shrimps marinated in passion fruit, fennel and mango salsa ($298) which had the perfect balance of sour, herbal, sweet and gold (?) flavours.
Botan Shrimps Marinated in Passion Fruit and Fennel
A real showstopper for Circa 1913 has to be the grilled A5 Waou tenderloin with cocoa beef jus ($1080). This was 200 grams (or 7 inches for readers of this fine publication) of medium rare protein coated with dark cocoa jus and enough gold to make Trump turn green with envy from his orange tan. My date said that this was the “best beef ever”and take it from this reviewer, the publisher has tasted a lot of “beef”. We rounded our main with sashimi risotto al salto ($398) which was burnt rice topped with copious amount of raw uni, scallops, salmon, prawns, caviar, sexy wasabi foam and just a hint of gold.
A5 Waou tenderloin with cocoa beef
Hokkaido Uni Risotto
The chef’s modern technique of cooking also flowed onto the desserts especially with our final dish of sous vide champagne Wakayama white peach with konnyaku ($188). It was pleasantly sweet with an unusual texture. Let’s just say that if you were to be blindfolded, tied up Japanese bondage style and fed this dessert, you would not have thought that it was peach.
Throughout our dinner, we were forced to drink delicious cocktails which were also presented with pizzazz. Ask the staff to recommend cocktails that would match both your food as well as your taste preference.
Exiting this hidden gem, we were both feeling giddy from the cocktails, abundant from the feast and decadent from the gold. Circa 1913 is definitely more than a one night stand, it’s a keeper. This reviewer might even try to go to third base or a home run with their set lunch menu or their full tasting menu with a real date – no offence publisher, it’s not me, it’s you.
Address: 2 Lower Albert Road, 1/F South Block, Fringe Club, Central
Tel: 3643 0288
Words by Starsky and Hutch