Nouri — Singapore (11/2018)

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Nouri came as a recommendation from the restaurant team at Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan in Singapore. They had a wonderful lunch there and thought it would be a good new place for me to try. Several months later, I managed to add it to my dining agenda for a planned trip to Singapore. They serve both lunch and dinner, and reservations can be made through the Chope website/app. They require a credit card to confirm a reservation. The chef, Ivan Brehm, is from Brazil, has beenin Singapore for about six years, and has spent time at places like Per Se in New York and The Fat Duck (six years). With the open kitchen right next to the dining area, one can watch the team at work from any seat. For dinner, they offer a 5-course and a 7-course tasting menu (samples shown below) or a 7-course Omakase menu where you don’t know what will be served (for a slightly higher price).

In addition to wine pairing and sake pairing options, they have several wines offered by the glass and bottle. They also have an extensive tea selection (though not tea pairings at this point) because the chef spent some time working in a tea shop. We had a white peony tea with the Omakase menu dinner. We ended with a Silver Needle white tea.

The meal started off with bread and broth. The broth started out from 7 different vegetables from their farm in Cameron Highlands. It was topped off with a little mustard oil. In the white bowl was a silken soft cheese (in the style of silken tofu, but made with whole milk) mixed with a little egg to form a panna cotta or chawanmushi to have with/on the bread.

The first snack was compressed bitter gourd with fermented black beans, sesame seeds and mint. There were several flavors and textures to stimulate the palate.
The next snack was abalone, kimchee, mashed pear, and kimchee granita.

The next course featured citrus-cured hamachi (amberjack), served with Osetra caviar, sunflower petals, hand-pressed coconut milk and basil oil.

The next dish was Carabineros (deepwater scarlet) prawns, served with local cherry tomatoes, broccolini, a tomato/seafood/olive stew broth, basil oil, and some black olive oil underneath. It was fished at the table with a roasted tomato broth. This was a warm dish with a nice tartness to it.

For the complete write-up, click here.

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Restaurant Labyrinth — Singapore (11/2018)

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Restaurant Labyrinth is a 1-star Michelin establishment that takes the traditional local flavors of traditional Singapore cuisine and present them in new and modern ways. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance and can be done with the Chope reservation website/app. They only offer a multi-course tasting menu for dinner, and they feature locally-sourced ingredients (Singapore and the nearby regions that contribute to Singaporean flavors). They do ask about allergies and dietary restrictions beforehand. They have their wine list on a tablet for review.

As part of the introduction, they bring to the table a display of many of the ingredients that will be featured on the evening’s menu.
The first presentation was not listed on the menu and was a oolong tea-smoked quail egg with a runny yolk inside.

With the quail egg, we were brought some kombucha (aged 5 weeks) infused with rosella (hibiscus).
The menu presentations began with three platters. The waffle triangles were served with chicken liver paté, goji berry jam and pandan juice sprinkled on top. Next to it were the homemade lapcheong (like Chinese sausage) with barley, diced chicken, crispy rice, and pickled bok choy in a burnt rice “nori” (or crêpe). On the far right were the small bites (“nasi lemak” cheong fun) made from egg yolk gel and ikan bilis sambal (dried anchovy chili paste sauce) wrapped in rice pastry skin and topped with deep-fried black chicken skin, cucumbers, and fried anchovies.

For the complete write-up, click here.

Eden Hill Two Visits — Seattle (8/2018 and 10/2018)

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I heard about Eden Hill from one of Andrew Zimmern’s Travel Channel shows. He did a short segment on innovative Seattle restaurants, and he briefly talked about Eden Hill. It’s a small, neighborhood-type restaurant in north Seattle. They serve an a la carte menu, as well as a tasting menu and a Grand Tasting menu, which requires a reservation and a pre-purchased seat (from Tock) for the bar/counter.

The first course was a beetroot and tomato salad, where the tomatoes have been dipped in a beetroot sugar “glass”. This was garnished with olive oil, key lime, basil and sea salt.

Next up was a “martini” with pressed corso (dried fruit) with grapefruit and a little calamansi vinegar and truffle oil. The “olive” was a baby peach stuffed with ricotta.
I decided to try the wine pairings with my dinner. The first beverage pairing was a French champagne.

The next course was squash blossom with cheese and fermented squash (from last season) fried and served with elderflower.

The next dish featured local mussels, a corn fritter, and micro sorrel.

For the full write-up, click here.

For the write-up of the second visit, click here.