Chef Jason Tan, who led Corner House to be awarded one Michelin Star, is now at Restaurant Euphoria at Tanjong Pagar. The servers introduced to us that Tan has created a “Gastro-Botanica” cuisine. It is not well-defined what “gastro-botanica cuisine” means but I surmise that the food emphasises on vegetables, tubers, herbs, spices, and fruits. The decor itself has motif of onion layers.
THE famous Andre Chiang has his octaphilosophy too. To be honest, I feel that all the philosophy is just rubbish, merely branding and marketing. Our cavemen and women ancestors would roll their eyes so hard if they knew we had all these new-age balderdash in food. Only Japanese can wax philosophically about food because they have a cultural history. Everybody else, it’s just jejune pretension. As I get older, I have little patience for nonsense. Me just want good food, Hulk Smash.
For lunch, the 4-course menu is priced at $128++ and 6-course at $198. Dinner: 6-course at $218++ and 8-course $268. We were there for lunch and took the 4-course set. Throughout the set, each dish is accompanied with a vegetable sauce, and altogether, the sauces form “La Symphonie de Légumes.” All sauces are achieved via extraction and reduction without any addition of roux or starch.
As of any French restaurant, the meal started with free-flow gratis bread. At Euphoria, it’s mochishire, which is “a mix of Brazilian mochi bread with Yorkshire pudding.” My unsophisticated tongue says it’s cheese balls. It comes with a dip of bell pepper, tomato, and ikura. At first bite, they don’t go well together at all, which is strange because cheese and tomato paste are classic pizza combination. But it gets better when you get used to it.
On the official menu, the amuse bouche has a fancy name called “feuille de brick.” But really it’s just open-faced wonton skin topped with tobiko and avocado—delicate but it is what it is, without any surprises. The other one, a black truffle gorgonzola panini, is too salty.
The first course is almost vegetarian. Instead of beef tartare, it is carrot tartare with minced carrots, dill, pine nut, topped with Oscietra prestige caviar and gold flakes. By the side, strips of mala-ish beef tripe are meant to scoop the carrot tartare, although how can sticks scoop things, it is beyond me. By itself, the tripe is rank, stinking like wet feet, but the stench is ameliorated if you eat it with the carrot. It is an okay dish.
The New Zealand Blue Cod is Tan’s signature dish since Corner House days. The first time I ate it, the crispy edible scales were interesting. But since I’ve eaten it several times at different restaurants now, it feels like there is no innovation. What is outstanding on this “seafood platter” is the pair of Hokkaido scallops, the first time scallops gave me an umami bliss. Perhaps it’s the combination with the legume emulsion (cabbage, chestnut, onion, butter, wine) that brings out the shell-fish’s flavour.
Ah! The yuzu kosho, the secret weapon of top chefs, makes an appearance here. Anything with yuzu koshop tastes good and here, it is paired with Maine lobster in this “Surf and Turf.”
For the beef, there is a choice between Westholme Wagyu tenderloin or A4 Toriyama Wagyu (supplement +$38). We opted for the latter. It is perfect. Extremely refined. Fat but not oleaginous, tender but with a nice chewy bite. Usually demi glaze is made with bones, but the vegetarian legume demi glaze (of carrot, onion, celery, spices, red wine) goes superbly with the steak. I can’t tell the difference.
I forgot to take a photo of the dessert but it is interesting. Piemont Hazelnut consists of extremely fat ice cream made from Hokkaido milk, a legume essence of Jerulasam artichock (a gummy, gel-like texture), black truffle shavings. My eating companion found this sweet-and-savoury dessert disturbing but I quite enjoyed the uniqueness.
It is an excellent meal. Service is first rate, food is refined, experimental at times but understandable, and the space is beautiful. We spent $390 for two persons for lunch.
76 Tras Street Singapore 079015
Lunch W-Sat 12pm-2.30pm
Dinner T-Sat 6.30pm-11pm
You may be interested in…
–Buko Nero, Tanjong Pagar: A Perfect Italian Meal From Bread to Dessert
–Barossa Bar & Grill, VivoCity: Australian Dry-aged Beef and Josper Oven-grilled Dishes
–Solo Ristorante, Amoy Street: Your Ticket to Northern Italy
–Mott 32, MBS: Outrageous Prices for Global Cantonese Food with Beijing and Sichuan Influences
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.