Saturday, February 15, 2014

Restaurant Labyrinth, Singapore

the layout
Once a while, you come across a restaurant with food so creative that you marvel at the ideas that underpin each dish, and Restaurant Labyrinth is one such place. It's run by ex-banker-turned chef LG, and he's managed to come up with some modern-Singaporean food which is at once familiar and excitingly novel at the same time, which is a pretty hard combination, trust me. It's probably the most creative food I've eaten ever since Restaurant Azurmendi in Bilbao (a 3 star Michelin) and Restaurant Cinc Sentits (Barcelona), which is saying alot. I just love the way all the dishes were created and trust me this is actually fine dining refinement.

We started off with bread, accompanied with garlic puree and olive powder. Creative food and ultimately tasty. A good start.

The amuse bouche of parma ham and mandarin orange sorbet came next; again a delightful sweet-and-salty combination which excited my palate; albeit that the sorbet was slightly too cold and a slightly more 'melted' texture would have been better.

The next dish was a choice between two: InSalata Caprese which came with Mozzarella balloon, Tomato snow and arugula puree. This was a very light dish, everything lightly chilled. Very refreshing: the arugula puree was a nice herbaceous touch. (8/10)

The other option was a "Mango Tomato Bruschetta", which was a play on a steak tartare: there was some extremely ripe tomatoes which formed the "steak tartare", and with a mango "yolk", along with some frisee salad. The tomato was extremely tasty: they were extremely ripe, and there was judicious use of very good extra virgin olive oil. The dissolving of the mango was a lovely touch, adding a zesty flavour and some sweetness to the tomatoes. Excellent. (8.5/10)

Next up was LG's play on the local Chilli Crab: here, the dish comprised of deep-fried soft-shell crab, chilli crab ice cream, crab mousse, caviar, and mantou sand. It was a really creative and delicious dish; with the chilli crab ice cream capturing the gingery and spicy flavours of the chilli crab, the crab mousse had some crab sweetness, and the mantou "sand" providing some texture and bite. I enjoyed all of the elements and I just wish there were more crab! (8.25/10)

The mains came next: "Siew Yoke Fun" consists of roasted pork belly, risotto ramen, and pork scratching. This was probably my favourite dish of the night: the risotto was cooked with a ramen broth, full of pork and chicken flavour which was very intense. The pork belly itself was delicious as well, with the pork flavour very strong, and salted perfectly. The crackling was also superb, not too oily. (8.75/10)

I was also impressed with the other option for the mains: the "Chicken Curry" which was a play on Hainanese curry rice. The quinoa was flavoured with curry and was very robust in taste, and I could really imagine myself eating beo crescent curry rice; while the chicken balls were done very well as well. (8.25/10)

The pre-dessert was a chendol xiao long bao - molecular chendol soup dumpling and gula melaka syrup. Basically, the dumpling skin was infused with pandan, and the texture was overall very light. You're supposed to dip the xiao long bao, which contained the usual chendol beans, into the gula melaka syrup "vinegar" (which had the right texture so it wasn't so viscous) - it was a great dessert (8.5/10)

And usually I don't like desserts, but the final dessert was another sublime one: a deconstructed apple crumble consisting of chocolate crumble, yoghurt ice cream, apple jelly. The chocolate was "burnt chocolate" and was absolutely scrumptious that I licked the plate clean; it paired well with the apple jelly which balanced the richness with some tart flavours. (8.5/10)

I particularly liked the fact that all the flavours really came through and were intensified, in line with one of the aims of molecular gastronomy (for example: to reduce water levels in order to intensify flavours). And here, I think Chef LG and his team really succeeded in doing that. Further, there was a certain playfulness about the food as well - I really enjoyed his modern takes on local Singaporean cuisine such as chilli crab and chicken curry, that managed to bridge the chasm between the familiar and the innovative. Exceptional cuisine and a place I would highly recommend. 


Anonymous said...

this restaurant does look impressive. How much is a meal like that for one?

ceadsearc said...

i paid S$78++ for the food. it's great! i mean it's good value for the quality of the ingredients.