Lazy Susan at Open Door Policy (19 Yong Siak Street, tel: 6221-9307, www.lazysusansg.com)
Lazy Susan, the Spa Esprit Group’s new pop-up dining concept which aims to work with a roving door of international chefs for culinary mash-ups with an Asian touch kicks off with Toronto-based chef Haan Palcu-Chang and his take on iconic local dishes. The stubborn pride that Singaporeans have in our local food sometimes means that it’s hard to swallow the idea of a foreign chef riffing on iconic dishes and selling them in a “cool” eatery, but don’t be quite so quick to dismiss chef Haan’s interpretations.
For his limited-time-only menu, he’s eaten his way through the stalls at Tekka Market and Tiong Bahru Market to seek inspiration. The resulting selection of 10 dishes sees either local dishes spruced up with decidedly “foreign” ingredients (as in the case of fried carrot cake with a light curry sauce and jalapenos and surprisingly, plenty of wok hei), or reinterpreted (like the wonderfully crispy and tender har cheong chicken served with rice waffle and an incredible sambal maple syrup). In either case, the flavours stay true to the original, and the dishes are just quirky and delicious enough to warrant a try even if you can’t quite reconcile the notion of ordering fried carrot cake at a restaurant like Open Door Policy.
The Lazy Susan pop-up at Open Door Policy is available from now to January 24.
Odette (#01-04 National Gallery Singapore, tel: 6385-0498, www.odetterestaurant.com)
There were few restaurants that came as highly anticipated last year as chef Julien Royer’s (previously from Jaan at Swissotel) maiden solo effort Odette, a modern French fine-diner (inspired by and named after his grandmother) that promises to showcase the best of seasonal and artisanal produce from boutique producers around the world – and he has duly delivered. The dishes, presented in four- to eight-course menus, shine with passion and love and an incredible attention to detail, but never veering into snooty territory – just like how he used to do it at Jaan.
The crowning glory is a Challans Guinea Fowl served as leg confit and charcoal-grilled breast, but fans will recognise and delight in the mushroom tea with cep sabayon and buckwheat and the 55-minute poached egg with root vegetables and truffle shavings, both a spin on his iconic dishes at Jaan.
We were fans of chef Julien ever since he took over the reins at Jaan and transformed it from a cold, snooty establishment to a charming and welcoming fine-dining hot spot. Judging by the flying start that Odette is already off to (and with chef Julien as co-owner), we’ll continue to be fans in the years to come.
The lunch menu is priced at $88 for a four-course meal and $128 for six courses. Dinner is priced at $208 for six courses and $268 for eight courses.
Chef’s Table at Dolce Vita (Level 5, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, tel: 6885-3500, www.mandarinoriental.com/singapore/fine-dining/dolce-vita)
Perhaps the most value for money set dinner menu in town ($150 for six courses and inclusive of wine pairing? Count us in), Dolce Vita’s newly launched Chef’s Table menu lets diners enjoy kitchen theatrics and personal service from head chef Omar Bernardi and sommelier Inthran Ramasamy from their VIP counter seat around the restaurant’s open kitchen.
The six-course menu changes monthly depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients. But if you make it down in time for January’s menu, there’s plenty to look forward to – like a perfectly al dente green pea risotto with cubes of smoked eel, and a fork-tender red mullet with confit langoustine. The wine pairing is also impeccable.
The Chef’s Table menu, priced at $150 per person inclusive of wine pairing, is available only every Friday. Reservations required.