[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]here has to be a reason for Andre Chiang’s longevity in our dining scene, from the time he carved out his memorable creations at Jaan to his current full-fledged restaurant at Bukit Pasoh. When we dined here, we experienced flawless service the moment we stepped into the restaurant, until the last crumb was cleared from our linen-clad table. However, it is the technically assured cooking and ingredient-driven nouvelle cuisine that sets this restaurant apart from other places in town.
There are eight savoury courses in the degustation menu. But before that, a parade of snacks is served – some with a playful slant. Textural contrast is given to small wakasagi or smelt fish snugly wrapped with shredded potato and topped with vinegar powder. This is “our take on fish and chips”, says the waiter. You will get fresh peas stuffed with smoked eel or miniature wild mushroom tarts to nibble on, followed by warm charcoal brioche that’s “hidden” amid a pile of real charcoal pieces. All these items pave the way for the rest of the courses.
Chiang appears to have reinvented his vegetable dishes, offering many pleasant surprises along the way. The chef understands the seasons well. He shares that in early spring, you’ll get more green-coloured vegetables, and towards late spring, the colour matures into a pinkish shade.
(RELATED: Chiang took over a G&T issue as guest editor – here’s what he had to say.)
One of his most striking creations is the mille-feuille of vegetables comprising delicate slices of black daikon, shiso, cucumber and seaweed sandwiched between wafer-thin layers of smoked swordfish and chrysanthemum flower jelly, and perked up with a piquant jalapeno sauce. It’s culinary wizardry on a plate. There’s also the 17 artisan veggies flown in from Chiang’s farm in Taiwan. Ribbons of carrots, zucchini, daikon etc. are draped around mackerel sashimi, and flavoured with umami-packed tuna belly oil.
After a whole procession of savoury dishes, we are served the the pre-dessert. We are utterly mesmerised by the beauty of the thinly sliced Muscat grape blanketing a dollop of airy raspberry mousse. The accompanying peach coulis offers palate-cleansing acidity and light sweetness. Finally, a wooden tool box of petit fours (kaya toast macaron, root beer lollipop, nougat, and hay-smoked financier) is brought to our table, signalling the end of the meal.
Our dinner lasted several hours, yet the courses were paced well. This is a spot for special occasions, where you will need to set aside deadlines, worries and guilt – and simply indulge. Our advice is to make sure reservations are made way ahead of time.
41 Bukit Pasoh Road, S(089855)