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.

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.

Tippling Club — Singapore (12/2015)

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Tippling Club came up on a search just prior to an earlier visit to Singapore.  Unfortunately, my visit then did not coincide with the restaurant’s serving days.  So, when I planned my winter trip to Singapore, I made sure I had a reservation in advance, which was easy to do via email.  The restaurant is located near Chinatown, a quick walk from that station through the heart of that section, and then down Tanjong Pagar Road.

At first, they sat me at the counter halfway in front of a wall that divided the kitchen into two parts.  Soon after, they said they had a cancellation so that I could move over one seat.

They poured a little water on the white tablet in front of me, and it grew into an oshibori cold towel.

The menu book had the cocktails and wine lists.

They also presented the two choices for menus.  The classic menu was shorter by about a third.  There were a few overlaps in the courses.  I went with the gourmand option.

For my wine choice, I selected a glass of their custom-labelled grüner veltliner from Austria, which worked out fine with the meal.

Soon after my wine was poured, the first bite arrived.  It was a crunchy tomato and anchovy sandwich.  It had a bit of chewiness to it, which was nice.

The next bite was a wild mushroom roll with aioli mayonnaise, served warm and had a slight crunch to it.  The pipette had vinaigrette to squeeze onto the roll.

For the full write-up, click here.

Waku Ghin — Singapore (12/2012)

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Waku Ghin is one of several celebrity chef restaurants at this very glitzy hotel/shopping/casino complex.  I decided I wanted to try it because of the format – chef’s counter seating only with a set menu.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to get any molecular cuisine dishes, but it was very convenient to make a reservation and dine there since I was going to stay at the marina Bay Sands Hotel that evening.  Since it was my arrival day into Singapore, I purposely picked the late seating (8:30pm) just in case there were any flight problems.

Upon my arrival at the restaurant a little before my reservation time, they asked me to have a seat in the lounge as the room was not ready yet. But after a few minutes, they led us to a small room with a counter which could seat about six people, but was set up for only three for this sitting.

 They did not present us with a menu at the beginning.  They asked us about any allergies (no one had any).  It sounded like they have a great deal of flexibility in what they can prepare as there were 16 chefs working behind the scenes.  Some food would be prepared in the kitchen and some would be cooked in front of us on the grill. They will change the menu presented to the customer depending upon when they were in last, except for a few signature dishes.

For the full write-up, click here.