And indeed he was.
Aerin's is well-positioned near a water fountain, with a cheerful, open-dining concept where diners are separated from shoppers by only some potted plants. Foodwise, it was pleasant, but not outstanding.
Our starter of calamari (SGD12) came with a salsa of cherry tomatoes and sliced onion. The batter of the calamari was light and airy, but the chef's light touch was also manifested in his seasoning. Which resulted in calamari and salsa that were too bland. The salsa was fresh, and therefore would have been good if it were more tart. We discovered a battered fried mini octopus, tentacles separately battered and all, on the plate which amused us. Calamari by definition, should be battered squid rings, not octopus. DH said it looked like a fried spider. Fortunately, it didn't taste like one.
DH's steak sandwich (SGD18) main was pretty good, the steak was well-marinated and tender. It came with flatbread on it rather than the usual types of bread, but it worked well.
My main of Aerin's tagliatelle with mushrooms in cream sauce (SGD18) was interesting. It was topped with diced smoked salmon and some salmon roe, which provided a unique dimension to this dish. I have been toying with the idea of adding smoked salmon and salmon roe to my pasta, and was wondering how this combination would work with a cream sauce. The verdict? As the smoked salmon and salmon roe are both rather salty (with a bit of a sea-side tang?), I would make sure the cream sauce is less salty to compensate.
We shared a dessert which was part of the Xmas set, and wasn't generally available, the sticky date pudding with toffee and some brandied sauce (SGD9). It was not bad, not too sweet, and I could taste the alcohol in it. It could have been better however, if the pudding were richer in taste and texture. It was more like a fruitcake, rather than a proper pudding, I'd say.
DH's latte (SGD4.80) arrived, and it was so pretty! I liked how they bothered to add a little pretty design.