[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]his 11-year-old modern French restaurant by chef Gunther Hubrechsen has recently undergone a two-month renovation. Post-revamp, the Belgian chef’s eponymous restaurant showcases a contemporary interpretation of Art Nouveau woodwork whose dramatic curved lines resemble twining tree branches. The dining room is filled with stark linen-clad tables that are well spaced apart and ideal for business lunches or special occasions.
Never missing a beat is the service, boosted by intuitive and confident floor staff. Seeing that we can’t decide from the a la carte menu, the manager brings over a large tray laden with seafood and meat and places it in front of us. “If you like, the chef can prepare something special for you to try,” he says. The showcase of produce includes cabbage grown on volcanic soil (“this will be great lightly grilled”), and melon from Spain (“this goes well with Parma ham”). There’s a whole kinki fish, hunks of Japanese beef, sea urchin and scallops from Hokkaido to boot.
We still can’t decide, so the manager recommends the king crab meat whose sweet, delicate flesh is complemented by soft, slightly spiced tomato rice. According to the chef, he uses only live crab, hence the natural succulence. We also order the grilled hamaguri clams whose taste of the sea is accented by a tangy sweet tomato gratin. For mains, we opt for the Tasmania sirloin steak served with fries and a dollop of mustard – simple, classic, perfectly grilled beef that hits the spot.
We also can’t resist the signature cold angel’s hair pasta from the a la carte menu. The helpful manager suggests that he’ll get the kitchen to split the dish into two portions.
Our pastas arrive, crowned with gleaming pearls of oscietra caviar and shavings of truffle. We silently and swiftly slurp up every delicious strand.
Before dessert, a range of soft and hard cheeses is presented on a large wooden plank. We choose a few varieties and complete our meal with the signature apple tart “aux dragees” laced with salted caramel and served with Havana rum raisin ice cream. If you want some tableside showmanship, try the classic crepe suzette flambeed right in front of you.
Why do diners continue to flock to Gunther’s? There are no gimmicks here. Guided by the seasons, the menus show off unadulterated flavours of the ingredients. Furthermore, wine pairings are approached with as much finesse as the food. More than 350 labels of wine, with the majority from France, have been carefully selected to pair with the chef’s creations.