Known for his “Gastro Botanica” brand of plan-forward cooking, Jason Tan’s new venture is a more personal expression of his cooking philosophy than ever. The humble onion, his favourite ingredient to work with – such that his widely-recognised signature dish is a textural exploration of the allium – appears as a motif that recurs throughout the restaurant. Everything, from the tableware to the wall fixtures and ceiling installation, recalls the onion (thankfully, tastefully) in one form or another.
With a new restaurant and a new partner, the classically-trained Tan has also had the chance to somewhat reinvent himself. In a bold move, he’s created a new language to build his dishes around: a series of fully vegetable-based sauces that replace many of the meat-based stocks and sauces traditionally used in French cooking. In order to create an oeuvre of sauces with the same impact as traditional ones, 30kg of over 30 types of vegetables are prepped each day and cooked down to just 2 litres of “essences” – sans roux or starches – that are then used to create sauces for each this.
These aren’t all direct, vegetarian analogues of the mother sauces either – while there’s a demi glace made by painstakingly roasting and cooking down a medley of vegetables, there’s also something Tan calls Legumes Essence, a dashi-like creation based off just charred onions and kombu.
The innovative approach to sauces translates into a gastronomic experience that is still indulgent, but won’t weigh one down, especially after an entire procession of courses. A dish of rich, flavourful lamb’s neck with garlic scapes, for example, is complemented but also lightened with the intense but clean-tasting demi glace. There is also smooth, tender locally-bred patin fish, simply filleted and steamed. This comes with strips of squid, four kinds of cabbages, and a cabbage, butter, and vin jaune sauce that highlights both the fish, and the brassicae sweetness of the dish.
While Tan’s still offering his signature Oignon Doux Des Cevennes dish, there’s also a new variation on the theme: the Oignon Jamboree, a five allium amalgamation of onion and smoked eel parfait, onion puree, pickled onions, onion broth, and spring onion oil – all topped with a prodigious mound of Kaviari Oscietra Prestige caviar, a label that’s offered to only three restaurants in the whole world.
The caviar isn’t the only thing exclusive to Euphoria that’s on the menu too – the Damascus steel steak knives used are special commissions from the same swordsmith that made the weapons for Wuxia film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Be sure to save space for the bread course. Tan’s taken several steps away from the ubiquitous sourdough to present his own creation, dubbed the “mochishire”, the cheesy, chewy, and fluffy lovechild of pao de queijo and yorkshire pudding – served warm and with a savoury, extremely addictive caramelised onion dip.
One the more interesting dishes you’ll encounter is a seemingly innocuous pre-dessert – a palate cleanser of sorts – that tops celery-lemon granita with a housemade white sesame foam for a flavour combination that surprisingly works.
For dessert, Tan brings things back to familiar flavours – a smorgasbord of corn featuring cornflake semifreddo, buckwheat puffs coated in Valhorna’s toasty Dulcey chocolate, and sweet corn butter financiers – all covered in a frosty shower of nitro-frozen corn-calamansi snow.
If you go in sitting on the fence about the wine pairing, do it. Euphoria’s sommelier, Marcus Tan, is part of a new breed of local somms that place more emphasis on allowing patrons to discover new wines. While the prerequisite appellations are in no short supply on the menu, Tan’s more than happy to recommend bottles that are a little more left-field – expect gems like traditional method sparkling wine from Tasmania (Jansz), and even slightly sweet, high-acidity sake that has been inspired by Riesling (Emishiki ‘Monsoon’ Tamasakae).
76 Tras Street